Friday, July 13, 2012

Give Fifty Shades a Break!

My Soapbox - get ready for the exclamation marks!!!!!!

It's a part of life. People have opinions. As a quiet person, I find it quite annoying when people don't shut up about one opinion or another. Yeah, it's okay to just say what you believe, but to go on and on about it drives me crazy. Be it politics, news, work issues, or....writing. 

One of my pet peeves is how people think romance writing is not true writing. It is! We romance writers have to plan our books (although I would call myself a panster, I do plan what I write in my head), create believable characters and conflict, write convincing descriptions, choose correct word choices, and, oh yeah, add that to-die-for romantic tension. But, there are all types of romance writing. They all cannot be the same and wouldn’t it be boring if they were?

My latest pet peeve is the Fifty Shades of Grey bickering. There are plenty of people who have opinions about Fifty Shades. But, why is it that I hear more negative comments than any other? (Especially from those who have only read a snippet of the series).  I know there are people out there who ENJOY the book. Like me. There. I said it. Well, I think it's because the lovers of the book are scared to say they like the book, behind all the negative hype. No matter what, there are going to be views on both sides. Love it or hate it. 

But, I want to say to those other writers… How dare you?

Do I go around saying how much I hate every book I don't like? No! Why? Because, first I don't think I have a right to do that. I am by far not the best writer in the world, and unless you are William Shakespeare or Charles Dickens, you aren’t either!

Second, I don’t say anything negative because I know how hard it is to write something! We should be there to support other writers. We, as writers, should know how hard it is to birth a book and give it life. Our books are our second lives. We live and breathe these books. That book you are criticizing is someone’s baby. Would you tell another person, “Oh, your baby is really ugly. Why did you conceive him.” No!

Third, we should be happy that this book put Erotica on the radar. I never really opened up an erotica novel before this, since I am more about the emotion behind the romance. This book showed me that there is emotion behind erotica! So, I find Fifty Shades an eye-opener. 

By the way, would you, as a writer, NOT want to be in E.L. James position - becoming a worldwide phenomenon, selling millions of books in three months’ time, becoming a household name?

So, bravo E.L. James! Although you have critics out there, you also have romance authors who strive to do what you've done. If I could be in your shoes, I would be an even happier woman. 

Hopefully, I haven’t lost any fans out there. I’m just saying it how it is, which is a big deal for a shy girl from bodunk Louisiana. J

Now, I’m off to read the last in the Grey series. So, there!



  1. Nicely put. I didn't enjoy 50 shades, I just couldn't get into it. But I certainly wouldn't get online and rant about why I didn't like it. I agree with you. I haven't written a best seller, what the hell do I know? More importantly, everyone has different tastes. (I didn't like Eat, Pray, Love either and most of the world loved that, too!)
    I do find it interesting to hear your point of view on this, as a romance writer. I know some seem to be concerned because of the fact that many people don't take romance writing seriously already, and 50 Shades doesn't help that. Personally, I think writing a really good romance would be very hard! I don't know why people seem to think it's not 'true writing.'

  2. Thanks Rachel for your honest input! I understand that some use 50 Shades as a basis to criticize all romance, but I'd hate for all mysteries to be judged by John Grisham or Horror only by Steven King. Know what I mean? People need to have a more open mind and just stop ranting. :) Although, it does appear today is my day to rant. LOL!
    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I just wrote on this too. Enough already.

  4. I agree Melinda. I haven't read it, but I've heard many people ranting or raving about it.

    It's definitely because this society is hung up on not enjoying sex. Not wanting to be the one to admit they actually enjoy it or or reading about it.

    With the population as it is we all know you like sex, people. If you don't want to admit liking sex in any form, Don't Talk About it!!! :)

    1. I agree! We are all sexual beings, so just deal with it people. LOL!

  5. As someone who is way familiar with this sort of writing (can you say cyber sex and role playing mud sex?), I'm no stranger to the steamy love scenes explained to me by others who have read it. Ten years in the role playing on MUDs gave me my fill of what that's all about! Try interactive reading. :D

    There's nothing wrong with someone putting out a product they KNOW is going to make them a lot of money. There's a market for it and we are a capitalistic society. It's all fair game.

  6. Folks boost themselves by denigrating others, it's really that simple. Like hens pecking the new chicken on the block to death. It's mob mentality. Boo to them.

    I'm with you; I respect the hard work that goes into any artistic endeavor. I might make free to state why a particular thing doesn't work *for me*, but to grind it into the ground? I don't feel the need to do that.
    Some Dark Romantic

    1. Here, Here! I completely agree. We can say why we didn't like it, but then we need to MOVE ON, open another book and enjoy. The end. :)

  7. You make a really good point, and it's good to hear it from another writer's point of view! I admit, I'm not a big fan of the books YET. I'm about 100 pages in, and while the sex scenes are fun to read, a lot of the characters themselves bug me. HOWEVER, I've heard from more than a few people that the traits end up helping the story in the end, so I actually think I'll continue to read it. Seriously though, it's good to hear this kind of thing from another writer. I'm an artist and I am a pretty terrible writer, so I give major props to E.L. James for finding such great success with her series. Honestly I don't like just "giving up" on a series. I'm not a Twilight fan, but I still read all four books and I still give kudos to Stephanie Meyer since she was passionate about her characters and had a lot of success. I can absolutely admire that. Anywho, before I ramble endlessly, this post has given me more reason to give the series another chance. Great post!

  8. Well, I have agreements and disagreements both with this post. :) To get the disagreements out of the way first, you don't necessarily have to be Shakespeare to talk about him. People like what they like, they don't like what they don't like, and they may not have the talent or skill set to right a whole novel in response. I've seen a fair whack of commentary to the effect that 50 Shades both treats kink as something borne of trauma that needs to be "cured" and that it echoes a lot of the creepy stalker themes from its inspiration-source, Twilight. I'm pretty sympathetic to these sorts of critiques.

    And now where I agree: women get so much shit for writing romance (after it's been promoted as the only acceptable genre for women for, oh, about 300 years, so the criticisms read as setting rules and then punishing people for thriving within them). While some of the criticism of 50 Shades stands on, IMO, legitimate grounds, so much more is aimed at shaming women for, gasp, having success and sex drives. I won't play that, at all. Get down with your bad selves and like what you like. My very favorite Shakespeare play, Much Ado About Nothing, is a giant pun on Much Ado About Vagina.