Monday, June 29, 2015

#AskELJames and My Own Fears as a Writer

Apparently, today is one of those days where I get uber paranoid, terrified, frustrated and angry all at once... as if the rest of the world isn't already so goddam negative, all that bad energy is getting to me.

Let's be clear: I'd only read the first "50 Shades" book and I saw the movie twice. First in theaters and second after getting it on DVD. The movie was much better than the book. For someone like me who gets sensitive around a lot of sexuality, it was a relief that the movie only had 4 major sex scenes. And yes, that does kinda scream to the school of "this genre is probably not for you"... but forgive me for wanting to stretch my boundaries every now and then.

As a writer... I will concede that the book was badly written... but the attacks that really caused this Twitter trending event to go off the rails came from all the critics of the "50 Shades" series and the author didn't answer any of those concerns.

Concerns that she not only misrepresented BDSM as rape culture but also condoned domestic abuse and perpetuated that "it's okay because Christian Grey is rich." I'd heard many of these concerns before and reading the first book, I understood them.
It's written from Anastasia Steele's POV, so I see and feel everything she feels. I felt the sexual liberation when she lost her virginity and I did feel the heat in the sex scenes. One caveat I had was that it was just too damn repetitive and too damn often that they [excuse me] fucked in this book. But seriously, how often can you write sex scenes and keep the reader engaged without it getting repetitive?
What I REALLY felt reading the book... her low points where she felt used by Christian, the moments where it felt like he really didn't have a heart...

The movie treatment gave Anastasia Steele more positive qualities. Granted, the second time I saw the movie, her pleading with Christian for this relationship to be NORMAL... it got a little repetitive too. But I liked that she was taking initiative about things.

I did have a point to all this....I just got a little lost in rehashing all these details.

We all have our fears as writers. The most prevalent is not getting published and all this hard work being for nothing.

One I have frequently is that people will say my writing is terrible. That my characters are two-dimensional. One of my own fanfics [based on one of my favorite animé series] that I transformed into original fiction... a couple of my commenters said the writing was terrible and my protagonist was a "Mary Sue"... which is writer's slang for BORING.
People have used the same phrase to describe Bella Swan.

Which is yet another issue I had with #AskELJames... I know "50 Shades" was originally "Twilight" fanfiction... but I never saw Bella and Edward's relationship as an abusive one. The only real negatives I saw was the stalking and the beginning of "Eclipse" where he wouldn't let her see Jacob. I feel about Jacob Black is another topic all to its own... but the short version: I liked him in "Twilight" and "New Moon" (up until he became a werewolf and nearly led Edward to commit suicide... HATED him through most of "Eclipse" and that hate continued until the 2nd half of "Breaking Dawn" after he finally got over Bella.
Yeah, I'm VERY Team Edward and Jacob spent the majority of the series annoying the hell out of me.

Admittedly, in the movie version of "Eclipse," I was incensed that Edward wouldn't let Bella see Jacob by unattaching her car battery... but all the feels I had for Jacob when they finally got time together blew up when he said he'd rather Bella was dead than become a vampire.... I don't care what the circumstances are, you do not tell someone you care about "I rather you were dead"...

Kristen Stewart's portrayal of Bella, I have my nitpicks about... but I've lived and breathed her while reading the books. I know she's better than a lot of people give her credit for.

And again, I'm side-tracked a bit.

I'm afraid I'll never get published. I'm afraid nobody will like my stories. That they're called "bad writing".

One fear with this particular story I'm writing... well, it's warranted, but it's also unavoidable.
When you write about sex and selling yourself for sex, there'll always be critics. No matter how much I rationalize that there are few other options for these girls, people are going to disagree.

I just hope people don't draw negative conclusion about ME by reading the books.
That I'm making light of these situations to further my writing career, that I don't take it seriously...

My characters are by no means perfect. I just hope I don't wind up making Talia and Amber too unlikeable.
Right now, the criticism I could draw about Amber is that she goes too far to achieve her goal. That being a bitch doesn't justify her feelings about things. And also that the other characters shouldn't be willing to automatically forgive her after she explains her motives... Talia is the only one who takes a while to come around. And likewise, it takes a lot for Amber to accept Talia's motives.

Amber wasn't just Talia's antithesis, but she also answers a lot of criticisms Talia may get from readers.
Initially her grand explanation for EVERYTHING is that her stepfather persuaded her to have sex with him and she fell in love with him and her sleeping around with strangers for money is her way of getting back at him.
Amber doesn't buy into it, especially because Talia's experiences were the result of childhood naivety. Whereas many of the other characters actually experienced abuse and Talia's business of using dance to flaunt sexuality is equivalent, in Amber's view, to portraying yourself as a piece of meat for consumers to drool over. As if all the horrors some of them endured meant nothing to her.

Again, what I aim to do with my story is to get faces to girls that have gone through this type of abuse and show how they can use it to fuel their actions to help them channel that negative energy and therefore heal.

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