Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fifty Shades of...Green?

Before I turn my attention to the report cards awaiting my marks, I thought I’d spend a little time discussing erotica. I figure, why not?

Regardless of what you think about the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, one thing cannot be disputed: the trilogy has lifted the taboo against women reading/admitting to reading/discussing erotica. If my school’s staff room and my circle of friends (ages 25 to 60+) are any indication, women of all ages and from all walks of life have either read one or more of the books, are currently reading one, or are seriously contemplating reading the books. Curious what all the hubbub was about, I downloaded the first one onto my Nook, as well as another unrelated book, also labeled ‘erotica’, for comparison’s sake. I’ve now read the first two Fifty books, and as a mere fledgling writer it isn’t my place to judge their quality, but I will say the writer can really create a steamy scene. I’ve read a little of the other unrelated book as well, and it too is plenty steamy. Okay, I’ll admit it: reading erotica is fun.

And it’s the new hot book genre. I’m sure we will be seeing many more erotica titles showing up on bestseller lists this summer and fall. There are people in my writers’ group who write erotica, and had been long before this new craze started by Fifty. They are way ahead of the game; writers who want in on this game have some catching up to do. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve asked myself if I want in on it. Can I write erotica?

I don’t think so. I can write, in fact I have written, steamy. Plenty steamy. But the level of graphic detail required by erotica is out of my comfort zone. I have a couple of great titles for erotic books, but I don’t think I could ever go beyond that. Those titles will just have to find their way to other stories.

So am I fifty shades of green…with envy… that this author turned what was once a fan fiction story into a global bestseller? Sure I am. But I seriously doubt that I’ll be jumping onto this bandwagon. I might, however, secretly hope that other writers will!


  1. Elizabeth ParkerJune 6, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    I have been reading all the commentary surrounding these books with great interest. I have not read them and I can tell you with absolute certainty I couldn't write one. Just the thought of my mother reading what I have written is enough to keep my writing just this side of steamy. :-) Great post!

    1. Thank you Elizabeth! I agree with you completely!

    2. Haha! I can totally relate to the whole "mother reading what I have written" sentiment, Elizabeth.

      Great post Monica. While Erotica isn't really my thing (I write YA), it is fun reading once in a while.

    3. Thank you Melania! That mother test is a hard one to pass! Though my mom has been gone for a long time, the thought of ANYONE I know reading anything I might write on the erotic side of the scale is more than a bit scary.

  2. Monica,

    As one of the romance writers whose work is 'red hot', I love to hear the musings of writers exploring where their own work will fall in the spectrum of sweet to hot.

    We all have to decide on our journey as writers, where we are comfortable, how much our characters want us to share with readers.

    I surprised myself by ending up on the hawt end of the scale. I'm not at the far end, with menage or kink, but my characters do take me into the bedroom (or wherever) with them. That's my comfort zone ... until my Mom wants to read my books. Funny how we're more comfortable exposing our fantasies to total strangers, hmm?

    I haven't read 50 Shades either, but I am thrilled that the author is pulling new readers into romance. I mean, what's not to love about a genre that includes love, humor and can take you to other worlds for the adventure of a lifetime, all with a hunk in tow?

    best wishes on your own journey,

    1. Oh Cathryn, thank you for replying to my blog! I am so impressed with your comfort zone when it comes to writing hawt. And I've read some of your work, so I know just how hawt it gets! Yes, this is a journey for me--as a new writer, as a writer finding my way through the "hot zone"--all of it. I appreciate you sharing your musings on the topic!

  3. Hi Monica, I found this blog through Cathryn's facebook post. She's braver than I am, writes hot and even talks about it on TV. My first published story is called Betty Being Bad, and yeah, its hot. I thought it would be a good way to break into romance. For me, writing erotica was easier than promoting it. I realized too late that it was beyond my own comfort zone. My next story will be hot, but not so explicit that I'm embarrassed to tell my friends about it.

  4. HiTammy! Thank you for visiting and for the comment! Yes, writing erotica is one thing, but asking people to read it is something else altogether. Especially when you know the people. That's where I would turn Fifty Shades of Red...

  5. Hi Monica,

    I've not read and do not plan to read the 50 Shades books. And as for my writing - I've been told there are hot, steamy love scenes. While I'm not deterred due to my mom because she died 10 years ago, I've 16 and 22 year old granddaughters and their friends.

    What's important to me is to stay true to my character's stories and to be comfortable with what I write so I am able to be effective in promoting my books once published.

  6. Hi Judith,

    Your comments about staying true to your characters' stories and comfortable with what you write are excellent, and so true. And like you my mom is gone, she died 12 years ago, but the thought of people I know reading erotica I'd written is quite horrifying. Both you and Tammy make very good points about being able to comfortably promote your books...I agree wholeheartedly.