What I Like About 50 Shades of Grey
I've been giving a lot of thought to the novels in E.L. James's 50 Shades series. As an author and semi-retired literary agent, I want to learn as much as I can about any best selling book. It is without apology that I admit one of the reasons I want to learn is for the sole purpose of duplicating whatever the successful author did.
This is not a bash the book blog. Yes, the writing could have been stronger, and yes, she could have used a good editing or two, but I've seen worst-- hell, I've written worst.
It's my understanding that this story started out as fan fiction, if that's true I congratulate Ms. James for taking it to market. And, truth be told, I've even seen worst published by major publishers.
Every reader has her own nerve-wracking over-used 50 Shades phrase, my phrase was long finger(s). I get it, the man had long fingers! Long fingers can reach, and long fingers can circle from within, and aren't long fingers wonderful to find on your boyfriend's hand? I understand the implied correlation between long fingers and length found in other parts of said boyfriend's body. By the way, as I recall from my single days, don't trust that old wives tale.
I want to praise Ms. James for her plotting. I don't care what you think about the story or the writing; you should admit that she's a comprehensive plotter. I should stop and define here. Writing is her use of words and punctuation, story is what she wrote about, and plotting is the way she got from place to place within the story. For my purposes story is a car and plot is the road.
I didn't find one plot point (thought, move, or event) mentioned in the first book that wasn't explained or ultimately found to be untrue to the story. If a character saw or heard something, Ms. James made use of it somewhere along the way. I was unable to find anything used as a red herring or just dropped as some authors do.
Even the little things are covered, for example: Christine transports himself and Ana to an event. While he's at the event, he had a little wine. I was interested to see if he would transport them back home. No, he didn't, he knew he would probably want to drink and he made alternate arrangements to get them home. If that description reads a little strange, I'm trying to avoid a spoiler.
Granted Ana and Christian are big ole freaks and there are authors who could have said it better, but I believe the novels are a hit because the author created real people. Ms. James wrote it in the voice of a young woman who is communicating with her non judgmental friend(s).
There's a more selfish reason I'm interested in her novels. I believe many of her readers will enjoy my novels too, the sex is just as hot and the characters are as true. Maybe it's the teacher in me, but I believe reading, just about any kind of reading, is a good thing. There are people who haven't read a book since high school who are saying, "I enjoyed that, what's next?"
I believe in this world of texting and internet communicating, readers are willing to give an author a pass on the technical stuff like grammar and creativity, but she must make sense. If you can read the lyrics of any rap song or most cell phone texts, you can read these books. You might not agree with what happens in 50 Shades, but the characters are true and honest with themselves, each other, and the reader.