Fifty Shades of Grey, that’s what!
Come on now, own up, how many of you read it from beginning to end, and liked it? When it first came out I did what I usually do when a novel captures the public’s imagination, I went to my local Amazon site. Using the ‘See Inside’ option, I began to read the first paragraph of the Kindle version. That’s as far as I got. To say I was appalled would be an understatement. It wasn’t the subject matter of the book that bothered me. There have been many well written examples of erotica across the centuries, if that’s what rocks your boat. It was the simple fact that Fifty Shades is so poorly written. Having said that, I must congratulate Erika for writing a book that has sold in its millions.
Now it has been made into a movie, it evokes memories of when Vladamir Nabokov’s novel, Lolita, a tale about a paedophile’s sexual obsession with a twelve year old girl, published back in nineteen fifty-five, eventually appeared on the silver screen in the early nineteen sixties, starring James Mason, with Sue Lyon taking the part of his vulnerable young target. Thinking about it, Lolita was probably the first modern fiction written about paedophilia. Back then in the fifties and sixties, the practice of grooming children by both men and women to fulfill their depraved sexual needs was hardly ever heard about. Thankfully today’s society abhores paedophiles, therefore no book of fiction featuring one of them would ever be taken up by any reputable publisher, not even Amazon. If a publisher ever contemplated it, massive public protests would ensue and they would soon find themselves out of business, especially here in the UK.
Whoops, sorry about that, I’m getting a bit off piste…
The point I’m trying to make here is that even though English wasn’t his first language, at least Nabakov knew how to write, unlike Erika, who has no excuse whatsoever given her former occupation as a television executive, where an excellent command of the English language is mandatory to hold such a position; paramount in fact.
What totally galls me and just about every other writer I know, whether mainstream or Indie, is that Fifty Shades of Grey, appears to be what many think constitutes a ‘well written book’ these days. It isn’t. But it is proof that language standards have dropped, nay plummeted.
It doesn’t help when books like that are critically acclaimed, purely because it is popular with airheads and other illiterates, while genuinly well written books are totally ignored, or worse, not even considered by publishers and the general public.
Erika was lucky that she self published it when she did. Had she tried to do the same today, I doubt if she would have been successful. Why? Because as Derek Haines says in his recent post Self Publishing Is Dead, Long Live Self Publishing | Just Publishing the gold rush days for those wishing to cash in on self publishing are now well and truly over. In other words, if that is your reason for writing a book, you are too late. Hopefully once the get rich quick fraternity have given up and disappeared, only those of us who are serious about writing will be left.
If Fifty Shades is the kind of badly written book you truly want to read, god help you. Here’s a thought – why not choose to buy a truly well written book instead? You never know you might actually enjoy reading it, whether its erotica or something else.