As is fairly usual in the blogging world, I spend much more time having a nose at other people’s blogs than I do on writing my own. A few days ago, I stumbled across this post entitled “Do you hate E L James? #fiftyshades” on Damyanti’s Daily (w)rite and stopped off for a read.
The article is well written and does just what any good article/blog post should do – it causes you, the reader, to stop and think. So, this post is my response to that article, which you can read here: https://damyantiwrites.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/do-you-hate-e-l-james-fiftyshades/
Now, first off I have a confession; I read the whole trilogy though it was clear by the bottom of the first page that it was not written to the good standard that we have rightly come to expect from published books. But the woman had the presence of thought to write about a taboo – something everyone has heard of in whispered conversations in dark places but never really understood. While some mock her for it or suggest she is encouraging abusive relationships (Not an opinion I share) very few people mention the fact that she spotted a hole in the ‘market’ and took advantage of it. Now in spite of her far from top notch writing skills, that has sold her an awful lot of books!
As to the grade of the writing itself; in the beginning I think she was writing on the internet, much the same as many of us have done. And while that doesn’t mean we should lower our standards – it’s a fantastic platform on which to learn the trade so to speak – with other writers often leaving helpful critique and constructive criticism in the comment box. When it came to being a properly published piece of fiction – I’m assuming James had the help of editors, proof-readers, copy-editors and such – surely these people too have to take some responsibility for the shoddy writing? They are after all paid to fix inconsistencies and grammatical errors.
Lastly, as a writer who is finding all sorts of online writing communities, starting at ff.net and later finding forums and blogs just like this one, I have found that there is an awful lot of support. Another writer will tell you if you are doing a good job as well as pointing out any holes in your plot by asking all the right questions, usually in a kind way. The thing that I don’t understand is, what makes E L James any different? Why, when she puts herself out there is she being ridiculed and abused? Whatever happened to supporting other writers or offering the constructive criticism we have all found so useful at times? Sure – she’s rich, sold millions of books and has a nice car but when you break it down she is still just a writer, learning all the time like the rest of us.