I’ve been thinking a lot about fantasy this weekend. Honest. But I have just had erotica thrown in my face at every turn.
My weekend started at midday on Thursday. I took the afternoon off to enjoy the heatwave out of the office but sadly it was just too hot so me and my mum went to the local shopping mall to eat ice cream and be Ladies What Lunch. Very nice.
We ended up in Waterstones and before I marched into the Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror corner, I spotted the piles of 50 Shades of Grey hidden beneath a table. Gleefully, I ran over, pulled out a book and opened it randomly. My mum followed and we stood, flicking through the pages, reading the odd line out to one another and, needless to say, made a bit of scene, laughing until we cried at the entrance to the shop.
The first word I saw was ‘blush’. I randomly flicked to another page and there was another ‘blush. Another page and there the heroine ‘flushed’. Another page and there she was, flushing again. My mum’s copy was the same and the game of ‘find the sex references’ quickly turned to ‘find the word ‘blush/flush’ on every page’. Seriously, does Anastasia Steele spend the entire book with a red face?
It reminded me of one of the first novellas I finished when I was a teenager. My mum read it, as she reads everything I write, and pointed out that everything my characters did, they did slightly. They smiled slightly, they inclined their heads slightly, they frowned slightly. I re-read it and she was right, I had used the word ‘slightly’ an infuriating amount.
Without even reading 50 Shades of Grey, I can tell that E L James has made the same mistake. Could no one have pointed this out to her, like my mum kindly pointed out to me?
Ok, maybe Anastasia needs to blush. Apparently this woman goes from no sex life whatsoever, not even with her own hand, to s&m sex. Personally, I have no idea how someone makes that leap and if it’s going to make her blush on every page maybe it’s not the right lifestyle choice.
I took Friday off work to write. I failed miserably and am very annoyed with myself. I did, however, have a think about a new title for The-Novel-Previously-Known-As-Silver. Perhaps, Duty Bound?
I know that every title will be taken, I just need it to not be taken by a dark fantasy book. Duty Bound sounds more like a naval or military fiction to me, so I did a quick search.
Was my Kindle app filled with military and naval fiction? No. Erotica! Bondage erotica.
I didn’t take any time to see when these were published and whether they are the result of 50 Shades of Grey’s success. I was just disturbed by the sudden influx of bondage erotica on my innocent smartphone.
So I won’t be renaming The-Novel-Previously-Known-As-Silver as Duty Bound. Emily May deserves more I think. Although I have been reconsidering the plot as well as trying to finish editing my second novel and the conclusion I’ve come to with both of these is that I want my writing to be darker and grittier.
Maybe more sex is needed, although I’m concerned I’m falling into the 50 Shades of Grey trap every time I think that. Maybe more violence. Perhaps more realism. Finally, the years of The Dark Knight trilogy, Game of Thrones and Joe Abercombie has crept up on me. I want my writing to sparkle, I want it to move people, I want my books to be page turners and I want them full of realism, darkness and grit.
And then I read this article, about gritty fantasy. It’s like they read my mind...
The word of the year may be erotica but I'm sticking to my fantasy, but perhaps more sex is needed? Hmm, might have to explore this further on Tuesday...
On a separate note, did everyone enjoy the Olympics Opening Ceremony? Bloody marvellous!