Fifty Shades of Do You Even Know What a Plotline Is

I’m doing something different. I’m going to attempt to update twice a week: one day about everyday things, one day about writerly, novel-shaped things. Today is the Writerly, Novel-Shaped Day. And if you haven’t guessed, I’m going to discuss a very popular novel.

If this is the novel that made your year, good for you. You read all three books? Well, awesome. Glad to see you engaging with a book. Please consider reading more books in the future. If this book did it for you, stop reading this blog post.

If, like me, you find this novel to be a thorn in the side of actual literature, by all means, continue reading. Many people already know Fifty Shades of Gray started out as fan fiction. I’m in no way bagging on fan fiction; in fact, not only do I read fan fiction, I’ve even written a couple. Not ashamed. Fan fiction is a good outlet. However, in the case of Fifty Shades, it was Twilight fan fiction. And bad fan fiction is BAD. We’re talking My Immortal standards here.

I’m no fan of Twilight. I found the plotline, when there was a ghost of one, simplistic at best, the characters were not developed, cliché, and Bella is probably the worst role model for every girl ever. She may be a teenager, but she’s utterly devoid of personality, common sense, and intellect. Fifty Shades may actually be WORSE. Unless you read it as a comedy. Then it’s hilarious.

Do you really expect me to believe that Ana, a 21-year old college girl, has never held anyone’s hand? And that she doesn’t have a computer despite being an English major? That she miraculously made it into college despite her apparent mental condition? “Her inner goddess” should know something is massively wrong. Aside from basically making every character a Mary-Sue, there is actually one thing that makes this “book” far worse. Let’s talk about descriptions.

“His voice is warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel… or something.”

Or something? With an ellipses? Seriously? Clearly, though the break allows the reader to fully grasp the emotional connection between subjects. The “something” implies that he is mysterious, something she can’t quite identify.

Oh wait, it’s just poorly written fan fiction.

There’s also a part where he mentions all the “vanilla sex” they’ve been apparently having in the Red Room of Pain (yes, it’s capped like a proper location). She says something like,

“I thought it was chocolate fudge brownie sex. With a cherry on top.”

Surely, I can’t be the only one with the “Are you kidding me?” face on. How the hell did this get published? E.L. James landed a book deal because it was a popular story based on Twilight. Her 21-year-old heroine acts like she’s 16, her 27-year-old protagonist is just a creepy stalker who likes tying people up. Sounds like a cross between Twilight‘s Edward and Jack the Ripper.

I could understand if the book was just poorly written, but the fact that it has no original merit whatsoever is a stab in the chest. Has all of literature seriously become some gimmick? Sure, editing accidents happen. I’ve seem some pretty funny typos.

But when the ENTIRE BOOK is one glaring error? How do you overlook that?

Those of you who’ve read my blog over the years know my writerly ambitions. For me, books like Fifty Shades of Gray mean only one of two options:

Either my work will be a godsend to the literary world, or I am absolutely fucked for knowing how to properly format a sentence and use a thesaurus.

I’m not saying don’t read it. I’m saying don’t read it seriously. As a comedy, Fifty Shades has some merit. It may be difficult to read through the blinding tears of laughter. I wouldn’t drop the money on the series either. Rent it from the library. Borrow it from a friend. Or just read another fan fiction. One with a plot line and actual formatting. They exist. I’ve read them.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Fifty Shades of Do You Even Know What a Plotline Is

  1. I am loving all the ranting reviews of this book. I have not and will not open it up but I love how everyone else writes about it. Another great one – thank you for ranting!

    • onegirlvaudeville

      Thanks for reading! I’m just flabbergasted on why people praise it when really, there’s not a thing about it that’s decent.

      • My dad said it had a really good plot – and yet…here you are telling me it has no plotline so I think he’s just crazy.

      • onegirlvaudeville

        I think I’d be completely wigged out if my dad ever touched 50 Shades, and then told me about it. It was bad enough that awkward day he decided to watch True Blood with me.

        I guess it depends. If you like Twilight, there you go. It’s basically the same story. There’s something to do with bad guys, and then nothing happens. But there is a lot of sex. And who needs plot where gratuitious sex is involved? “Chocolate fudge brownie sex. With a cherry on top.”

      • Well listen to this. I bought my dad 50 Shades of Grey because (he’s 76 and just learned how to google mind you) he kept reading all this stuff about it on google news and said he wanted to read it. So I was like okay…well give this a go. It was before ANYONE on the blogs had started talking about it.

        So then…oh yes, it gets worse.

        My mom and dad are talking and my dad said the first 100 pages is nothing freaky.

        My mom says, “I’m going to read those pages and find something freaky and know you’re a freak.”

        Then my dad goes, “It’s nothing, just vanilla sex.”

        DID I EVER WANT TO HEAR MY DAD SAY “VANILLA SEX”….no….

        BLEH.

        And now you know the full story on the many reasons that I refuse to read this book even though all three sit on our hallway bookshelf.

      • onegirlvaudeville

        That is horrifying. Come here so I can give you a cup of a tea, a scone, and decent literature.

      • That sounds like perfection.

  2. I am currently reading this book series and am on book three. I usually don’t read silly books like this and stick to the classics (huge fan of silvia plath, love Salinger, and loved The Perks of Being a Wallflower) however I did cave to reading both Twilight and Shades of Grey to see what all the hype is about and I have to say, they aren’t that bad. Sure they aren’t well written and they only merely throw in a few obscure adjectives here and there to seem intelligent and sure the plot lines are ludicrous and thin but they are just plain fun. People love reading something absurdly unrealistic when it comes to romance and at least Shades of Grey doesn’t act like people don’t have sex like many other books do. However, that being said, the sex gets old by book three and the books become 750 pages a piece of fighting then sex then fighting then sex. But nonetheless they still are entertaining. You do have to buy into a lot (that she doesn’t have a computer, that she is a virgin at 21 yet is so beautiful and desired, that she as a virgin would like all this kinky sex and that sex is so unbelievable for her that she gets too exhausted to function after, that she is able to change a sexual dominant into a hearts and flowers guy when she really doesn’t seem to be anything special…). But, if you can buy into all the things that don’t add up it actually is an entertaining read. I’m not saying it should be winning any writing awards at all because it is not even really a novel but rather a story but is it a fun read for a rainy day…sure.

    • onegirlvaudeville

      I just don’t understand the hype. Why is it so wildly popular? I understand about reading fluffy things for entertainment, but I don’t understand this insane flock to publishing fan-fiction. I read an article this morning where someone’s written a version of Pride and Prejudice where Darcy and Elizabeth are both bisexual and have affairs with other men/women. I can’t really fathom whom. There’s another erotic version of Jane Eyre. Maybe it’s because I spend so much of my time reading and writing about reading that I feel cheapend or cheated by things passed off as Best Sellers. I just wish someone could tell me WHY they like 50 Shades without using the words “Oh, it’s such a great book! I loved it!” or the phrase “mommy porn”.

      • I agree with that. I think there are so many great novels out there that are unique and different by writers who struggle to get their work published and E L James just wrote about a strange relationship that alternates between fighting and sex and she climbed the charts to being a bestseller like her book was Catcher in the Rye or something. It’s really only popular because it contains sexual content that is socially acceptable for women to be reading. Women are supposed to not watch porn and be all about love and relationships and this book satisfies their sexual appetite while still being a romance novel of sorts. Plus, most of the women reading this book could only dream of the passion and great sex in the book as they have kids and have been married for years so I suppose they find it exciting and scandalous to be reading something so detailed while today’s youth isn’t really as intrigued by it because sex is more casual with young women. I suppose it is popular because so many women probably see it as a women’s lib thing to be reading pornographic content especially about BDSM and they can justify it’s appeal to them in that it’s a romance novel but again it shouldn’t be claimed as great writing or anything. It is just a fun story that can maybe help revive the sex lives of some older marriages by making women more sexually confident and aroused. I’m honestly surprised at how well it’s don’t simply because of the graphic sexual content but in a way I feel like it’s a step in the right direction since so many right wingers are so opposed to sex in the media when it’s just a natural human interaction. At least they promote safe sex too haha. Also, I feel like maybe it will get some people who don’t normally read to read, and any reading is better than none. I just hope after people read this they move on to better novels that can satisfy their intellectual appetite as opposed to their sexual one.

  3. Emerylde

    I read a few different sample segments from the book via Amazon.com. I was extremely underwhelmed. I completely agree with your assessment.
    Cheers!
    Em

  4. Kacey

    I read it for research purposes and wanted to cry and how badly written it was! You have hit the nail on the head! Were you able to figure out where the “heroine” lived? The location changed too much for me to figure it out and after a while I didn’t care. I hated this book.

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