Posted by: Shar & Mare | August 2, 2012

WRITING: Could I Write “50 Shades of Gray?”

Dare I read 50 Shades Of Grey?
I admit, I think I am one of 4 people who still have not read “50 Shades of Gray.” I am pretty sure it is because I would turn 50 shades of RED. I like romance, innuendo, subtlety, being titillated with the hint of something versus having something graphic in my face. That is me – I am making no judgments here!

By the way, Sharon (co-editor of LifeBytes) has read it … like 4 times already … again, no judgments here (well, maybe one but I will let the readers guess! LOL). Sorry Sharon.

I have been told that this book can be very graphic. I think I may be afraid to read it. I am not even sure I know what that means. Hey, when I listen to Celine Dion’s song, “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” and the lyrics sung are:
“When you touch me like this or when you hold me like that or do it like this?”
I find myself asking, “What is like this? What is like that? Do like what?”

Or, when Celine sings, “There were things I’d never do again, but then they’d always seem right.”
Again, I am yelling at the song, “What? What things? What didn’t seem right but then they did? What?”

I am afraid to read it because what if I like it? Will that upset me? I don’t know. Who knows, maybe I will read it several times like Sharon 😉

I wrote a novel entitled, “Cracked Edges.” In it one of the main characters who is in her late 20’s meets someone and they take a boat out on the water for a date and let’s just say they enjoy each other’s naked embrace as the ebb and flow of the water carries the boat and their pleasure to a beautiful place. My mom, who was a fabulous writer, was enthusiastic about helping me edit this novel and fine tune some of the story. Well, when she came upon this scene in the book, she put her pen down, tilted her reading glasses and said, “If you want to be taken as a serious writer, you don’t need this kind of explicit and non-important descriptions just to appease the lowest common denominator of your reading audience.” Ouch. Now THAT was a JUDGEMENT! She continued, “You can do better. You can write beautifully and illustrate your characters, their feelings, and their angst all while taking the literary high road.”

Well, as you can see, my mother did not mince words and if she were alive, she would never read “50 Shades of Gray.” But, I understood her point.

But, as a writer, I wonder how you can balance some of the more romantic and sexual aspects of a character and their relationship and illustrate it with description but not have it spill into over indulgence or unnecessary graphics. This is something I still struggle with.

Sharon and I have been soliciting stories for our book. A few came in from EROTICA writing sites. As I started to read them, I found I was uncomfortable. I felt it even ceased to be graphic and was unnecessarily vulgar and explicit. I took the piece and edited out what I felt we could not keep. Out of about 100 lines, I was left with about 10 lines I could see us keeping.

Sharon read the same story and when I showed her my edits, she truly laughed out loud and said that it was no longer a story with my edit. And, that we had to cut a few things but leave the essence of the relationship and if that was vulgar or graphic or down and dirty, then that is what these 2 people in the story were about and how they communicated. I understood her position. But, I then said, “then we have to make a decision about what level we want to go to or lines we want to cross in representing stories and subsequently, the characters in the story.” I will admit we are still in debate on this.

But, could I write “50 Shades of Gray?” I don’t know. Let me read it (I just gave myself an excuse that I now have to read it for the readers of the LifeBytes blog!) and I will report back. Maybe I will write “50 Shades of Pink” about a 30 year old virgin who goes on really boring dates! That saves me descriptions of the graphic sexual situations. LOL LOL LOL

Have you read “50 Shades of Gray?” Please share your thoughts about this. Mariann



  1. I haven’t actually read it yet either, but as a writer I agree with you that it is sometimes difficult to find the right “tone” in sexual or romantic encounters as the line between kitsch and smut is a thin one indeed….

  2. As Y’all may have guessed Mariann and I are the Odd Couple of writing. Mariann being the super-conservative Felix and me (Sharon)…well, slightly more liberal in every way Oscar. Except that I don’t leave heaps of clutter all over my house!

    This is proving to be an infinitely interesting and debate-filled experience when it comes to compiling and editing “LifeBytes, Real Stories of Online Dating”. All good though, I think we’re going to end up with a group of stories that charm and entertain you, dear reader.

    So, really, what did you think of 50 Shades? I thought it was, ultimately, more romantic than explicit. But try to tell that to Mariann!!

    I think we should all start an online petition to get her to actually read the book. Whatcha think?

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