Monday, July 30, 2012

Reading and writing

I started to write regularly, three years ago. Wow, how time flies. I remember this, because it was my first summer back in the USA. I had just moved into our new home after spending  two years back in Wales, where I'm from originally. One of the reasons we decided to buy this particular house was because it had an amazing outdoor pool and knowing the summers here can be hot and having previously always been very jealous of our great friends who had pools, we succumbed. It was therefore the first time with my children that I actually summered at the pool, in our very own garden. The kids were ecstatic and I was in my element. For the first time in such a long time I was able to relax and enjoy reading, whilst they swam. I also developed a desperate need to write and when I started I simply couldn't stop. 

At the time I was reading, Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, ever heard of it? Haha. Well, believe you me it wasn't an automatic choice. I had heard about the book through a friend,  whose daughter was really into the twilight saga. I scoffed and shook my head denying at interest. Until, I was at a yard sale, please don't frown, and I saw a copy for 50c!!! Well, I couldn't resist. I thought it must be fate and realized it was my chance to discover what all the fuss was about. Honestly, I never anticipated that I wouldn't be able to put the bloody book down. That weekend I ignored my husband, the housework, the cooking, and the kids. My fingers were glued to the pages. I fell in love with Edward, I'm not at all embarrassed to admit. I've always loved the supernatural, anything that makes your spine tingle, your insides quiver, and your tiny hairs stand on edge. It's wasn't about age, it's was about the romance and the qualities of Edwards character. His old world charm, his soul, his morals, and his undying love. For me romance is about the courting, the lead and build up to the hero/heroine, falling in love. The roller coaster ride of will they, wont they, the obstacles that are in their way that make it seem impossible. The eyes that meet across a crowded room, that first touch where their hands meet, the first kiss which lasts forever.
"Isabella." He pronounced my full name carefully,then playfully ruffled my hair with his free hand. A shock ran through my body at his casual touch."Bella, I couldn't live with myself if I ever hurt you.You don't know how it's tortured me." He looked down, ashamed again. "The thought of you, still,white, never see that flash of intuition in your eyes when you see through my pretenses would be unendurable." He lifted his agonised eyes to mine."You are the most important thing to me now. The most important thing to me ever."

I read the first book cover to cover within 48hrs. I was so besotted with it I had to go out and buy the next installment immediately. I simply  couldn't wait to find out what happened next. And although I found New Moon my least favourite of all the books, I raced through them and was very reluctant to read the last ,Breaking Dawn, knowing it was coming to the end. The point I'm trying to make is that when I read these books, I was simply a reader. I had only just started to write and I wasn't critically appraising the book or the writing, simply soaking up the story. Nothing more. Now three years later, I cannot pick up a book without examining its for POV, tense, the voice, the characters, plot, studying the narrative, the dialogue, and the grammar.

Does it take some of the pleasure out of reading? Hm, I guess it's like wine tasting and I'm not a connoisseur, but I love red wine and finally I know what I like and what I don't. To become a better writer you have to read, explore many different styles of writing and to find your own unique voice and style. I'm still learning and there's lots to learn, but whilst I'm almost paralysed with fear that I'm rubbish, that I'll never get anywhere, there are those that are simply doing it. I do agonize over every word, sentence, my characters, my plot, and so on. It almost makes you too scared to write out of fear of what the comments will be.  But one lesson I'm  realizing is that most readers, just read and they decide what they like. Sometimes, whether it's written well or not is a moot point. If, the story or the characters pull you in, you've captured your audience. Knowing, what will capture your audiences imagination is something no-one can ever truly predict or know for sure.
I'm currently reading, Fifty shades of grey by ELJames. Again, this isn't a book I would ever usually choose to read, erotic, BDSM, ( sexual acts involving bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, sadism/masochism). I'm reading it for several reasons, it's my book clubs choice for the summer read, really, out of curiosity and because even though it's really not my thing, this book has become a phenomenon. The author first published it as an ebook and quickly the demand superseded all expectations. Who'd of thought that one woman's fantasies could be desired by so many.Wickipedia states that the books have sold more than 31 million copies around the world, it's the fastest selling paper-back, out selling Harry Potter. That's staggering!!! One has to simply wonder, why? Firstly, I'm so in awe of anyone that is able to write a book, have it published and make a truck load of dosh, amazing. Bottom line, millions have bought and read this book. I haven't bought the book I'm borrowing it and really will not buy the sequels, that's not to say I won't read them, I probably will, but I'm in no rush. I wasn't looking forward to reading the book maybe because there has been so much said about it already that it has put me off. It's written in the first person point of view and in the present tense which isn't the norm for main stream fiction, but that wasn't what jarred me.

Anyway, I'm three-quarters of the way through, and I still don't get it. Christian Grey is so many disturbing multipersonalities , he's a complete control freak who wants total submission from Ana a twenty-one year old student . This isn't love, it isn't a relationship. It's totally about his enjoyment, not hers. His concern for her is that she remain safe and healthy so that he can, Fuck her whenever he pleases.The writing is cliched, very repetitive, and as a British writer who is writing about an American student the language is a mix of English/ American which is confusing and immediately pulls you out of the story. I found myself cringing over every, "Oh my, my inner goddess, don't bite your lip, the way his trousers hang from his hips" Phrases that are used over and over. I found myself screaming how could you let him hurt you, humiliate you with the spanking. How can anyone like a character than literally gets turned on by inflicting pain. Already, I'm thinking the battered woman syndrome, where woman make excuses for their partner/ husband. I can see that already Ana is doing that, feeling sorry for him because of his abuse as a child. I understand that Ana who was a virgin when they first met and was subsequently deflowered by him, is under his spell, his sexual magnetism. But to not be able to touch him, or  to call him by his first name, to submit to all that he desires!!!! Argh!!!!! I could go on but I'm not, only to say that I will never have a character such as Christian Grey in any of my stories. The world is full of sadistic people who abuse the weak and it's just not something I want to write about. I may never be successful but that wasn't really why I started to write.

 "And then this evening, he actually hit me. I've never been hit in my life. What have I gotten myself into? Very slowly, my tears, halted by Kate's arrival, begin to slide down the side of my face and into my ears. I have fallen for someone who's so emotionally shut down, I will only get hurt -deep down I know this-someone who by his own admission is completely fucked up."
Have a good one. Any comments, would love to hear them Jen x


  1. I kept waiting for the talk about Entertainment Weekly. It didn't happen, but you've got a new reader.

  2. Hi Tony and thanks for the follow. I know, I should explain the top 2 pictures are of actors that have been rumoured to be playing the part of Christian Grey in 50 SOG and the other speaks for itself. Who doesn't like pictures. Cheers and I have become a follower to.

  3. Enjoyed reading your musings. I felt the same way about 50 Shades. It was about abuse, not love.

  4. Absolutely, thanks for your comment Peggy...