Thursday, July 5, 2012

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.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Please stop

I think something needs to be done about the headlines that pop up on internet log-in pages. I just logged into Comcast to check my email and read the headline:

“Boy who impersonated police officer had done it before.”

Come on, you can’t leave something like that out somewhere where a creative mind might see it!

My mind immediately went to Stewie, the baby on the animated show Family Guy. Just last night Stewie and the family talking dog, Brian, built a time machine and went back to Germany where Stewie impersonated, among other things, Hitler. I have no idea why I like Family Guy. It seems the show is built around the premise of ‘how many times can we jump the shark in this half hour?’

If I hadn’t stopped to write this, which is a time drain, I would have clicked on the Comcast story to learn how a boy, operative word boy, got away with impersonating a police officer multiple time.

Before my husband retired, he mentioned several times that, while at work, he tried to avoid looking up things on the internet because he never seemed to be able to find what he was searching for and it invariably turned into a time glut. I used to be smug about my ability to get in and get out with what I needed.

Not anymore.

I would write more about it but I need to stop and take an IQ test to see if I can score higher than the 114 points of some guy I don’t recognize and about whom I couldn’t care less.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Churchill and the Borg

Okay, as much as I hate to admit this, my kids might have been right about something they’ve been saying about me for years. They say when I mishear something and I tell them what I thought I heard, it’s usually so ridiculous I should know that’s not what was said. I usually tell them of course I do, that’s why I’m repeating what I thought I heard. Then they say why didn’t you just go to the logical word substitute. And of course I can’t answer this because I don’t share a logic with normal people. This is not to say I’m not logical, just not in ways others might call traditional. I share perfect logic with the many of the people I call my friends. And the friends that don’t share it are very tolerate and often amused.

Today while I was working at my desk I had Book TV on the television in a room that’s about ten feet away. There was a very knowledgeable man on talking about Winston Churchill. By the way, I think it’s funny that so many people will spend their whole life researching one other person!

But back to my issue.

At some point he said, at least I thought he said, “and then Churchill was captured by the Borg and at the time Hitler. . .” My mind immediately started thinking about how bad (meaning cool) Churchill must have been because not many people got away from the Borg. Even Captain Jean Luc Picard was assimilated before--then it struck me. Wait a minute, the Borg does not exist!

The Borg is a race of villains from Star Trek, the television show.

So now I’m wondering what did this guy really say? He’s been speaking another ten minutes while I was thinking about the Borg. This is the real reason why I can’t go back and find the missing word most of the time. Usually by the time I realize I’m off track the race is over.*

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I hope Mom is laughing

My father had a great sense of humor and he often teased my mother by saying that she had none. It wasn’t a fair comment, she had a sense of humor but it didn’t come close to being as active as his. I learned early on that she loved children and dogs and she liked cute stories about them too. Over the years I saved my stories about these two subjects to share with her because, like most kids, I liked to make my mother laugh.

My mother died five weeks ago and I have stories with no place to go.

The movie Marley and Me is coming out soon and it’s just the kind of story that would have had her in tears with laughter.

My daughter is going to Michigan for Christmas, to help my brothers close-out our family home. Since I can’t travel right now, she’s going to pack for me.

Lots of luck with that!

I have no idea how she’s going to determine what’s important to me, or even her and her brothers, from over fifty years of seven lives in a large house that was very much a home.

Every time I see the commercials for Marley and Me, my mind immediately goes to Regina will be in Michigan, she can take Mom. . . oh wait. Then I stop and remember why she’s going to be there.

My father was a big fan of Seinfeld. After he passed away, I wondered if he somehow got a chance to see how the Seinfeld sitcom ended. I strongly believe there a wide variety of opportunities on the other side to participate in what we over here call leisure time activities.

My mother is with her best friend now, my Aunt Vivian. They used to go to woman’s day at the movies for half price. I hope they’ll take the time to see this movie and Mom gets a chance to laugh.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What does it mean when you can't stop thinking about the death of a man that you once dated? Dated is used loosely here, I think we might have eaten two meals together--a lunch and a dinner. The rest of our time was spent in his apartment or mine--which was the next building over. The reason I mentioned the lay-out of the buildings is to indicate that visiting each other didn't require a lot of effort.

He worked in the same building as my father and they were great work friends.

My father was the type of guy who could be friends with his 2 year old grandson, my thirty years younger "date" and people his own age. I never told him I was seeing this guy because I knew it wasn't real.

So why can't I stop thinking about it? His death, not his life and certainly not the limited time with me.

I guess I'm feeling my mortality. He was only 61. I guess I want to say God rest his soul. I think he was a good person, like I said, my father liked him. Me? I didn't know him. God speed, Bob.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Kid Nation

Tonight was the last night of Kid Nation. I believe I watched all of them, some twice, and I must say I loved this show. It wasn’t at all what I expected--which was a junior version of Survivor. I have so much hope for the future after meeting this kids. I hope CBS gives us an update on what the children got as compensation for participating. Since there was a limited amount of Gold Stars I hope all the kids were given something to put in their college funds. In the end I even liked Taylor!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Here's something I wish somebody would have told my husband before we got married. If you come upon your wife, sitting on the bed naked and she was doing the exact same thing before you went to take your shower, then obviously you have stumbled upon her critical (say it with me) sitting-on-the-bed-naked time!

If he stops her to say things like "Why aren't you dressed?" or "We have to be there in an hour." He's cutting into her sitting-on-the-bed-naked time and he's the one causing the problem!

Every woman knows the cleaning out the purse time comes after the sitting-on-the-bed-naked time and questions only slow down the process.

Consider this message a public service.