Thursday, August 30, 2012

British charity group wants to do a book burning of "Fifty Shades of Grey"

A British charity, Wearside Women in Need, is planning a book burning of erotic novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" on November the fifth. The group, which is against domestic violence, is disgusted by the book which they claim is trying to make domestic violence sexy.

I've read Fifty Shades of Grey and in my opinion it was disturbing. I know alot of people are calling it a romance and claim that all the sex in it is censensual. I didn't think it was a romance. Ana is pressured into the BDSM lifestyle and struggles to enjoy it. In several scenes she is brought to tears and she even asks Christian at one point not to beat her. He finds beating her pleasurable. He is confused and hurt that she doesn't enjoy it too. He doesn't understand her fear.

Ana participates in the lifestyle out of a fear of losing him. She is manipulated and controlled by him. He takes over her life and she just lets him do it. This is not what I would call "consenusal" sex. It is domestic violence.

I don't think this book should be banned, censored, or burned though. I don't believe in censorship. Just because I did not like "Fifty Shades of Grey" doesn't give me the right to try and stop others from reading it and possibly liking it.

Book burnings should remain a thing of the past.

Is it okay to bad mouth books online?

I've read a lot of books I haven't liked. Some I've closed in disgust at the end and regretted the time and money I spent on it. Others I've painfully forced myself to finish for some reason or another. Then there's the ones I get bored half way through, drift away, and never come back to finish them.

I almost never post reviews online. I don't think I've ever posted one on Amazon. I hear stories all the time of authors getting into fights with people on Amazon over bad reviews.

One of the biggest problems authors suffer from is arrogance. We spend hundreds of hours crafting our babies, pour our heart and soul into them, and then when we're done we bravely let go of their tiny little hand and watch them wander into traffic.

It's understandable that some of us would go all Dumbo Mum on anyone who might dare critcise our little darlings after all the work we put into giving them life.

Writing is hard. But responding to negative reviews and challening people on their opinions is wrong. It's unprofessional. Risky. Part of being an author or any kind of artist is learning how to accept critcism. Not everyone is going to like your master piece. Not everyone is going to see it through the same rose tinted glasses you have on.

Writing a bad review online is one thing...being a troll is another. If you read a book and don't like it you are entitled to write a bad review. Be fair and honest. Tell the author what you liked and what you didn't like. Don't take it one step further and start harrassing the author on social networking sites. Don't flood their inbox with hate mail. What are you trying to achieve?

Is it okay to bad mouth books online? Yes, to a degree. But when you start attacking the author, stalking them, or making their life miserable then you have over stepped the line. Pick your battles. Move on. There are bigger and better fights to pick in this world than launching crusades against authors.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Marisa Quinn Fiction Author: The YouTube channel!

I have changed what was my personal YouTube channel into the official one for myself as an author. You can find it here. The book trailer for Echoes in the Wind has been uploaded and all future book trailers will also be put on there.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New social media page

I've added a new social media page to my blog. On it you can find my facebook page link and my Goodreads page. I'll add my Twitter and (if I can figure out) a link to my Amazon page onto it tonight. You'll notice that my Goodreads page is advertising Whispers in the Dark which is out of print now. I tried to remove it and can't. Echoes in the Wind will be coming into my Goodreads page later today. I put a note on Whispers in the Dark's Goodread page informing people that it is (mostly) out of print now and the book to buy is Echoes!

Echoes in the Wind book trailer!

I present to you the Echoes in the Wind book trailer! Link is on the right hand side of the page. I finally figured out how to embed the YouTube clip on here. I'm not the sharpest pencil in the box sometimes.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Twilight fan fiction author gets 7 figure deal for erotic novel...and no it's not E.L James

Author Sylvain Reynard has signed a seven figure publishing deal with Penguin Publishing for his erotic novels Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture. The books began as Twilight fan fiction and will have a print run of 500,000 trade paper back copies. More twilight fan fiction getting published....

I shouldn't be surprised. This sort of thing happens all the time. An author will strike gold with a plot or a theme and for the next few months to a couple of years publishers will do their best to copy that author's popularity with clones.

It happened with Harry Potter. It happened when the Lord of the Rings movies came out. It happened with Anne Rice and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the "Bodice ripper" romances of the 80s and it's happening with now with erotica thanks to the success of Fifty Shades of Grey.

It's not just new authors hoping to jump onto the erotica band wagon. Publishers have started reprinting erotica novels that have been out of print for years and putting them back onto the shelves in a "Here's hoping!" moment that people will pick them up as well.

And it's not stopping there. Plans are in place to rewrite old favorites like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice into erotica.

How thin is the line between inspiration and plagiarism? Is it wrong to write a piece of fan fiction and then try to get it published?

Yes and no. You cannot copyright an idea. The plot, theme, and characters in Twilight can be seen in tens of thousands of other books. Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey are too very different and at the same time very similar books. Edward and Christian are in my opinion completely different characters. Ana and Bella are very close but do have their differences. The relationship between Ana and Christian is radically different and at the same time similar between Edward and Bella. Both are intoxicating, intense and frightening.

Do we really need another clone of them though? I was watching the Hunger Games the other night and I said to my husband "You know what's good about this? It's not Twilight fan fiction. It's completely original." And he agreed.

You cannot copy right a character or a plot or a theme. But after a while things became stale and flooding the market with clones of Fifty Shades of Grey is eventually going to turn the public against erotica again.

We don't need more Twilight fan fiction being sold in bookstores. What we need is more original, thought provoking books like the Hunger Games that are so original, so fresh, that when you finish you go "Wow!" because you've been on a real adventure.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The myth of the rich author

I was watching a repeat of a show called "The Project" this morning and they had a segment about romance books so obviously it focused on "Fifty Shades of Grey" and then switched to the only other romance books anyone reads: mills and boon.

Ah, mills and boon. Does anyone here actually read them? I never see them in the shops. You know what I see? paranormal romance. I hate mills and boon. The books look like they were published in the 1980s and they are boring and corny looking.

What I hate more is the idea that writing mills and boon is a money maker and if I had any sense I would drop everything to write them because if I listen to the Project WELL THEN! I could be making thousands of dollars a year off them and develop a readership of millions.

Oh, and this is my favorite bit...anyone can do it. You heard me! anyone! No skill or devotion or knowledge of the publishing industry required! All you need to do is sit down at your computer for hundreds of hours, write a manuscript of publishable quality, and then somehow get noticed out of a sea of millions of other unpublished writers and get published, and here's the easy part: sell enough copies to be successful.

Sound easy? Of course it is. Anyone can do it. You don't need skill or even writing ability or a fondness for romance books. Writing should never be about the love of writing it should be about making money! money! money!

Okay, I'm being serious now...the advice the project gave was the worst ever. What Mills and Boon actually said was that they accept manuscripts for submission from writers who do not have agents. That does not mean that anyone can send them their scribblings and expect to be accepted.

I know writing might seem like an easy task but trust me it is not. I have barely written anything at all this year because my muse has been on holiday. I have had two stories published and I am not rolling in the dough yet.

The reality is that the odds of getting published are insanely high and then the chances of actually making a buck (and enough bucks to live on) are even higher. Making "thousands a year" might sound like a lot but it is not enough to live on. Do not go into writing thinking that it is easy and that is a quick ticket to making a quick buck. Saying that anyone can go into writing is insulting because it says that there is no skill in what we do.

The last thing publishers need is more manuscripts landing on their desks. They already have enough they do not need manuscripts coming from writers who don't know a thing about publishing and probably didn't even take the time to edit their book because, well, they were told anyone can write a book. Surely it's not their job to edit it too, right? Isn't that the publisher's job?

Another thing that bugs me is the delusion that the only romance books available to make a buck in are mills and boon and that if you wanna make it big that is where to aim. There are hundreds of different romance genres. Hundreds of different romance publishers. Don't listen to the Project. Writing is not easy and publishing is not easy to break into. You could make more money looking for gold in a river bank.

So I finally read Fifty Shades of Grey. Here is my review.

Meh. That about sums it up. I've posted a lot about this book in the past few months. I argued that erotica (or just one or two sex scenes) in a book does not make it porn. I've questioned the author's writing skill and if her publishers decision to publish a book that began as fan fiction was wise or not.

Was the book badly written? No, but it was rough. E.L James is not a bad writer. She has bad habits that could have been fixed with a good editor.

The first page was probably the worst page in the whole book. Never EVER start a book with a character staring in a mirror brushing her hair. Why? It's boring. And it's a poor way to describe their appearance. It's called telling not showing. The book is written in first person. Ana is telling the story. Ask yourself this: how often do you focus on your own appearance in your head and think to yourself "Oh, my shoulder length brown hair is being uncontrollable!" You don't. This is something I've learnt in writing. Yes, describe your character's physical appearance. But ask yourself this: one is it really important to the story and two how can you do it in a way that doesn't come across as boring and cliched?

James repeats a lot of words and phrases throughout the book. This is an easy thing to slip into when you're writing. Writing is hard and despite what some stupid TV programs might say not everyone can "do it" like there's no skilled involved. When you write a 300 page novel you will repeat certain phrases and sentences. You will probably not even be aware that you are doing it. A good writer will go back in edits and notice these mistakes and delete them. James did not and all of those "Holy craps!" and "Inner goddess" moments got really, really tiresome.

The plot. I don't think I've ever read a book with a thinner plot before and I read Mary Janice Davidson's "Undead" series. The "plot" of the book is Christian Grey tries to convince Ana to sign a contract allowing him to engage in rough sex. That's it. In between the pages and pages of fucking he slowly takes over her life and this is what i found most disturbing: started to frighten her.

Yes, that's right, Grey is so controlling, his temper so thin, that in several scenes Ana is actually afraid to be around him and is brought to tears a couple of times. He doesn't just like rough sex he wants to control her entire life and beat her when she displeases him not for sexual pleasure but to make him feel good as a control freak.

This was the biggest problem I had with the book. People are calling this a romance. Fear should not be in a romance novel. You should not FEAR the man in your life. You should not have to ask him NOT TO BEAT YOU.

This book has outsold all 7 of the Harry Potter novels. On one hand I want to go "Hooray! People are reading! This is good for erotica!" but mostly I just want to sigh, shake my head, and delete my copy of the book off my e-reader.

This book is not worthy of the height of fame it has achieved. It is not terribly written but it is not great either. JK Rowling's books were a master piece and deserved every penny they earned. E.L James has been lucky. Her book still reads like a piece of fan fiction. A good piece of fan fiction...yes...but still fan fiction. It is popular for one reason only: that it began as Twilight fan fiction.

It is a freak show. People are buying this book not because it is well written but because it has become so popular and they want to see what it is all about. In twenty years time what books do you think I'll still have in my bookcase? Harry Potter or...this?