My Love/Hate Relationship With 50 Shades


I finally finished 50 Shades of Grey *slumps exhausted into a heap* πŸ˜‰ Actually, it’s the quickest I’ve read a book in a long while lol.

I’m not going to do a review, I read it as a “writer” because I was intrigued about this whole phenomenon. Why were some people dissing it? I like to make my own mind up πŸ™‚

So, I’ve decided to do a Love list and a Hate list….perhaps then I can decide how many stars to give it on Goodreads πŸ˜‰

What I Loved About 50 Shades
Christian Grey: Wow, what a great character! Yes, I bonded lol. I guess I’m just drawn to dark, mysterious men. Who is it that’s been cast in the film role? To me, when I picture him I’m thinking Christian Bale, sorry, can’t help it lol. I could see the connection to Edward (Twilight) but to me it wasn’t glaringly obvious.

I Liked Her Style: Yes, I did, it was easy reading. As I’ve said a lot of times on this blog, who cares about verbs, adverbs, show and tell (yes, I know the publishers do lol). If its a good story, engages the reader, then so what. I don’t consider my own writing to be “literary” and I don’t want it to be. If that really is crap writing then I may as well give up now! Lol. Seriously, i don’t believe my writing is any better. I don’t feel that I’m in a position to judge, people in glass houses en all that. It actually gave me hope that you don’t have to be the best writer in the world to be successful.

What I Hated About 50 Shades
The Repitition: Ok, I was warned about this before I started. The first thing that bugged me was the word “Equilibrium” which seems to crop up in every few chapters and IMO, stands out like the proverbial thumb. But the really annoying thing was the biting of the bottom lip. Towards the end I got to screaming point lol

The Sex: Ha ha ha, I’m sorry, but I got a bit bored. As a man, if you read this book, prepare to feel inferior lol. Hell, as a woman reading this book you could be convinced there’s something wrong with you! Lol.

Ana: Oh, what a wishey washey heroine, IMO. I just didn’t particularly like her. I had no sympathy for her to be honest. I know she was suppose to be a young naive girl, but I found that quite annoying. If she’s that naive and innocent, surely, she would have run a mile lol.

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E L James is making a fortune (check out this article). So I for one would LOVE to be known as a crap writer if it meant I could buy a swanky London pad with an indoor swimming pool lol πŸ˜‰

Also check out this article which seems to echo my view that this book has something And this one which I think gives the best argument I’ve seen to date πŸ™‚

I’m getting a little bored with all the “it’s badly written” comments. The same was said of Stephanie Myers and JK Rowling, and look where they all are now. Is it time, as writers, we wake up and realise that these books are what the public want? Isn’t a book that gets people reading who don’t usually read a good thing?

Kate Walker said at Caerleon that, in her opinion, the reason 50 Shades is so successful is not because of the sex. It’s basically a love story, centred around the emotional conflict of the two main characters. The “will they won’t they” element is what people keep coming back for.

what do you think…..Have you read it? Will you be reading it? And how does it make you feel about your own work?

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59 thoughts on “My Love/Hate Relationship With 50 Shades

  1. Vikki, I’ve heard some “good” I guess you’d call it from some giggly women on TV talking about the sex and bondage and all that, but it always sounded to me like some kind of Harlequin Romance on steroids. Or like that old movie/book already done/written — Nine and A Half Weeks — remember with Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke?

    But I agree with you, the woman is making major bucks with this and I don’t imagine she really cares whether someone thinks it’s “crap” or not. Maybe I’ll get around to reading it eventually. Nice post and I’ll check out those other links your recommended.

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    • Oh yeah, I remember 9 & 1/2 Weeks, wow, yeah, that’s a blast from the past lol πŸ˜‰

      I really admire her, and I’m soooo envious! Lol. I just wish I could write 3 “crap” books and make that kind of money *deep sigh*

      It all goes back to “concept” and 50 Shades has an abundance of it! πŸ˜‰

      Thanks hon xx

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  2. I had issues with this book apart from the writing. I harbor no illusions that my writing is better than hers, but the mistakes she made are ones that an editor should catch. I hate show/don’t tell and all the other writerly things you mentioned so I didn’t notice that. I noticed just the feel of the language; it felt awkward and uncomfortable. The repetition just made me angry (it’s worse in the next book). I wanted to scream for her to stop using some words! I just feel like there are better writers who aren’t recognized. That frustrated me.

    I’ve come to the point where I just have to give her props inspire of my complaints. The storyline is interesting even if I have problems with her writing. She’s a smart lady who is making mad money (something I am not doing) so I’ll just have to deal, won’t I?

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    • Yeah, now that, I really can’t understand….but isn’t that where we’re being a little unfair? Shouldn’t we be hating on the editor and the publishers? A good editor can make or break a book….she must have had a really useless one or a lazy one lol πŸ˜‰

      Yeah, I can understand why you were frustrated about it. It’s the first erotica I’d ever read (apart from your EXCELLENT stuff) so I guess it must be annoying if you’ve read much better stuff from authors who haven’t been as successful 😦

      Ha ha ha, come on CC, you can do it, now is EXACTLY the write time to jump on the band wagon πŸ™‚

      Thanks for sharing your views πŸ™‚

      Xx

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      • True in the lazy editor, but aren’t we still judged by our product?

        I should jump on the wagon though I can already tell my stuff won’t get noticed like hers has. I’ll keep honing my skills though.

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  3. There really is no problem with people enjoying this book, but from the writer’s side, what happened to standards and bare minimums? The problem with books like these is that other writers lower their standards and compromise their vision to sell books.

    People are in complete liberty to read and enjoy any book that they want, but writers should still strive to do their possible best.

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  4. So glad you asked!
    I’m almost finished reading it. Like you, I find it hard to stop reading. But then, once I stop, I always ask myself why can’t I stop reading? Do I keep hoping one of these people will come to their senses? Am I afraid for Ana? Do I hope Christian will change?
    I like Christian as a character too, but find him utterly implausible, in that he is portrayed as such a ‘good’ person with this dark side. Now, mind you, I haven’t finished yet, but I’m not holding my breath that his two sides will come into harmony and makes sense.
    And Ana, if it weren’t for the money, she could do so much better in her choice of men! Again, that she goes along with Christian’s strange agenda seems hard for me to… um, swallow. πŸ˜‰
    But I suppose this is typical chick-lit fare, which I don’t read much of.
    As far as the writing, it’s strange to me, because some passages seem to fly off the page (some of Ana and Christian’s emails for example) and others seem mired in clumsy language and impossibly clunky structure. It seems a shame, because it feels to me as if these pages needed the attention of a skillful editor. Odd, for a bestseller.
    I have to say though, one of the really cool things about learning to write my own stories is the insight it gives me into those of others!

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent on this, I don’t usually write blog posts in other people’s comments. πŸ˜‰

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    • Ha ha ha πŸ™‚

      Hmmmmm, interesting, that you find him implausible. Jekyll & Hyde? I think people like that do exist, constantly battling with their demons from their past. Would e interesting to see what a psychiatrist would make of him lol.

      I totally agree!!! We should be aiming our complaints at the editor. I really can’t understand why it wasn’t edited better 😦

      Ha ha ha, you are very welcome, and thank you so much for your opinion Kirsten πŸ™‚

      Xx

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  5. I read the entire series and also had a love/hate relationship with it for pretty much the same reasons you listed. I found Christian to be such an interesting characters and I loved watching him evolve.

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  6. I only read the first one. Like Kirsten, I found it difficult to put down, but when I did, couldn’t figure out why I kept reading it. Repeated phrasings, unbelievability and not much character development for Ana. Being an American, what really bothered me was the fact that Ana was born and raised in the States, yet she’s constantly spouting British phrases and words and it just frustrated the life out of me. I wanted to smack her. We don’t take our “rucksacks” on a “holiday”. We use a suitcase or a backpack on vacation. Oh, and someone said they “throw shapes” in the third book. Had to look that one up. NEVER heard of that before. I think here, we just go dancing or clubbing. Then again, it’s been about a decade since I did any of that, so I could be wrong on the terminology. To me it screamed that the author didn’t even bother researching the location of her story.

    The book reminded me of the books from the eighties where the little inexperience virgin is able to change the millionaire into the man of her dreams and he’s more than happy to oblige. You hope for more out of the character, but she never really grows. That’s how I felt about Ana. Take out Christian’s stalker/control freak tendencies and I would have fallen in love with him. And, I would think a book marketed as BDSM Erotica wouldn’t cause the readers to skip the SEX scenes. Most people I’ve talked to end up skipping about 50% of the sex scenes.

    Glad you enjoyed them. Like a workshop moderator said, all romance, or just writers in general, should at least read the first one. Obviously, there’s something that appeals to readers. Whew! Sorry to be so long winded on you!

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  7. I have to say that I down loaded a copy to my phone, as everyone I knew was reading it, however, I still haven’t finished it and I’ve had it on my phone now for well over two months. – My very singular thought is that there can’t be a bad book, because, someone, somewhere, has read a book and enjoyed it, So it’s not a bad book, it’s just not a book that interests you πŸ˜€ xxx

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  8. It’s created a buzz around books, so maybe it’s not such a bad thing, and if people make comparisons with ‘standards’ of writing then those kind of reflections seem fine to me. On Amazon it’s got a healthy 4 stars after about 500 reviews, so it can’t be that bad. I don’t think I’ll be reading it myself though.
    I like the fact it’s created a buzz around books again, with many in the workplace talking about it, and copies being passed around.
    One of my (female) colleagues at work is being tormented by her own mother who is reading the trilogy, and every time she visits, when she’s leaving, she shouts out which bit she’s just been reading through the car window, in lurid detail. And she will insist on my colleague reading the books and then test her to see how much she’s read.
    I suggested to my colleague that she invents a few sections, really lurid, to wind mum up. An example:
    ‘Did you read the bit where she nails his cock to the coffee table and they have to send out for a french polisher to come and repair the coffee table?’

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    • Ha ha ha, no, that’s fair enough, I’m actually shocked by the number of men who HAVE read it πŸ˜‰

      Oh gawd yes, people are reading it who haven’t picked up a book in years, so that’s definitely a GOOD thing!

      OMG!!!!! Ha ha ha, that’s so funny! I think my daughter would be mortified if I started spouting sections to her lol.

      LMAO…..oh, I think ELJames should add that French polishing bit!

      Thanks for giving me a laugh honey xx

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  9. Well guess what after vowing not to read it I’ve read all three agree with what you saud really although batman far too old to play Gray. Abd was not very well written at all cxxx bye

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  10. I went on vacation two weeks ago with my family. I packed four Kierkegaard essays, Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, and a couple of classic “prize-winning” novels.

    My mom brought the first two 50 Shades books.

    I read bits and pieces of the philosophy, but has no desire to delve into the heavy, “masterful” reading while I was trying to relax. My mom, on the other hand, ripped through both books and started on a vampire novel, disappointed that she didn’t have the third book with her.

    If the books are selling, and the author does not have a literary chip on the shoulder, then perhaps the definition of “bad” or “poor” or “crap” writing needs to be redefined. From the excepts I read, no one will accuse James of being this generation’s greatest wordmaster, but she provided a series of stories that have captivated our culture.

    My question in regards to 50 Shades it his: if everyone who read the book had to give an opinion of it without being influenced by its stigma or other reviews, what would they say?

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    • Thank you thank you thank you!!!!! I TOTALLY AGREE! πŸ™‚

      I have to admit, I keep my mouth shut when it’s being discussed in a group because I feel I’m a lone voice. I even worried about putting this blog post up for fear of being condemned 😦

      I’ve never been one to go with the crowd, but I also find it hard to stand up if no one else agrees with me lol πŸ˜‰

      Really appreciate your comments honey xx

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      • I drew a picture for an art therapy project in a Group Dynamics course and likened myself to an owl in an empty forest that overlooked a busy city that was filled with jungle animals.

        The message was there (or at least I thought so), but the drawing it was “poor.” I’m not an artist, but I was telling a story through that medium.

        50 Shades tells a story through a medium with high, inconsistent standards for quality. If the stigma of it being low quality/amateur’ish writing is stripped away, I think more people would enjoy the story. The fact that it sold 10 million copies in 6 weeks should be enough proof of that.

        You are completely in the right with your post. πŸ™‚

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  11. I’m not going to read it on principle. I’m not sure what principle, but one of them. It might be that too many other people are reading it and the hype puts me off.

    Any book that becomes popular, some snooty type will complain that it is not well written. Whether that is the case I likely will not find out my view for a while.

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  13. I haven’t read it. All the hype has put me off. (Don’t suppose the author is too worried though!)
    I don’t understand why some people are so against the books – if it isn’t their sort of thing then why don’t they just not bother reading it?

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  14. The hype about this book has completely put me off. I always find the argument about what is well written difficult because often the people that bang on about this are just book snobs and frustrated writers and it seems very subjective to me. That said all the comments about it being poorly written are what initially deterred me, that and the fact once any book gets too hyped I am put off reading it. I’ve not read The Da Vinci Code or Captain Correlli for the same reasons.

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    • Thanks Jan, yes, I agree, I do wonder how many of the reviews are snobbery rather than taking it at face value. I don’t think EL James ever claimed to be a fantastic writer πŸ™‚

      I’ve not read the Da Vinci Code or Captain Corelli either, but only because I’ve seen the films πŸ˜‰

      X

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  15. First of all thank you do much for writing this AND for everyone’s insightful comments!! As a closet frothy romance writer I began reading this a few weeks ago, then put it down once I began feeling the formula in the structure. Based on your review and the comments below, I’m gonna give it another shot because although it may become just a guilty pleasure read, complex and sexy male characters are always in short supply.

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  18. That’s so true! Seriously I couldn’t put this book down and yet it annoyed me at the same time. Christian Grey is what kept me hook though. In terms of ‘men you fantasize of’ he’s topping the list. But Ana was so annoying!

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  19. I only read the samples which were more than enough for me. I don’t see the point in knocking her writing because as you’ve said, clearly it holds something for a lot of people. However it’s success does leave me incredibly frustrated only because my books have love stories galore and I’m not seeing a fraction of the sales she is. That said, I should get over it as whining certainly is not going to help my cause, lol.

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    • Oh gawd yes Bridget! 😦

      I can only imagine (not having had anything published myself) how frustrating it must be for published authors who’s work IS better.

      (((((hugs)))))

      But I think that’s the key, the story captured the public….the quality of writing is irrelevant.

      Now, how do I come up with a great story idea πŸ˜‰

      Xx

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  20. Totally agree with you Vikki – if it gets people reading, it’s a good thing. I personally loved Harry Potter and the Da Vinci Code, just because they’re rollicking good stories! It’s like with films – those the critics love I tend to have no interest in, I much prefer the blockbusters they sneer at πŸ™‚

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