One of my favourite TV shows is Sex and the City. I have all the DVDs, the TV shows, the movies, I adore this show. I even have an etched SATC cosmopolitan glass with from when I worked at Paramount Pictures and it was used as marketing material.
So, considering how much I love Sex and the City, you'd think that I'd like 50 Shades of Grey. But I don't. The difference between the two is vast.
I cared about what happened to Charlotte, Carrie, Samantha, and Miranda. Sometimes they were selfish. Sometimes they were reckless. Sometimes I couldn't understand how it could be so difficult to find Mr Right. The thing is, I cared about what happened to them. I laughed with them. I cried with them. I wanted them to find the love of their life. I hated it when they fought and didn't talk to one another. And I freely admit I loved Big.
I didn't finish reading 50 Shades of Grey. And it had nothing to do with the writing. I just couldn't connect with either character and I didn't care what happened to them. They could have slipped off a cliff and I would have said, "Meh. Fish will get a feed tonight."
Both stories are uber-successful. Both writers are uber-successful. (Sex and the City is based in part on a book of the same name by Candice Bushnell). Both writers have the type of success all writers dream of.
When 50 Shades first came out, my husband asked why I didn't write something like that.
I don't begrudge E L James her success. Often, these mass widespread successes are driven by the market, not the publisher or marketing campaigns. In my opinion, this book came at a time when adults were fleeing the YA market (Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer) and these women wanted something to distance themselves from teenagers. What is more distant to a coming of age vampire novel than bondage.
The market i.e the readers made 50 Shades the success it is. There's no point yelling at E L James. She wrote a book. It went supernova. Every writer on the planet wants their book to go supernova. But this does open up the question of whether a writer would write something they don't particularly care for if it sold books and made them money.
I don't even bother contemplating writing a book like 50 Shades. It's not what I write. It's not why I write. I much prefer the interaction between the SATC girls and their men than I do the interaction between Ana and Christian.
So would I be E L James for the money? Much to my husband's disappointment, the answer is no. Much like in love where there is a line that can be crossed where we settle for less than we want, I can't trade money for my conscience. Pity. I'd like a new house, new clothes, to give up work, new furniture...
Friday, 20 February 2015
50 Shades vs Sex and the City
D L Richardson is the author of the Welcome to the Apocalypse trilogy, the Shivers series, and 3 young adult paranormal books. She is currently writing a new sci-fi series Earth Quarantined. She grew up on sci-fi TV classics such as Lost in Space, Space 1999, Bionic Woman. Most of the movies she watched as a kid were on TV, and the first sci-fi movie she saw in a cinema was Return of the Jedi. She’s also a fan of classic horror movies such as Evil Dead and Hellraiser. She used to watch these on VHS as a teen with her friends when she was meant to be doing homework. Books are known to spill out of every available space in her home. TWo of her favorite authors are Dean Koontz and Anne Rice. Her favorite book is The Hobbit. When she's not writing, she can be found wandering in her yard waging war on weeds, watching back-to-back episodes on Netflix, playing her piano or guitar, curled up on the couch reading a book, or walking the dog.