Have you read 50 Shades of Grey? I haven’t. And I won’t. One of the things I’ve learned over the years of sticky-beaking at other people’s stuff (ie, house hunting) is that there are some people who only own two books – The Da Vinci Code and Harry Potter. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that the third book they’ll buy is 50 Shades.
I highly recommend Katrina Lumsden’s fabulous reviews of the 50 Shades trilogy. From now on, all book reviews should contain gifs. Go and read them, I’ll still be here. I’ll put the kettle on.
The thing that’s most frightening about all the 50 Shades reviews is they all say the same thing: the writing is terrible.
As a writer, that terrifies me.
Sure, I write here for you. I self-publish – without a sub-editor and usually without too much thought – several times a week. Oh, ok, several times a month. I have no fear of publishing here. I should have that fear. It’s permanent and here for anyone who wants to Google me (or any of these terms).
But fiction, that’s a whole other kettle of sphincter clenching.
I’ve started writing again, for the first time in about 20 years. I’m fucking rusty (ew, that sounds tetanus-y). I had to have quite a few wines (ie, get drunk) before I could show my first story to ManFriend. I know, I know, you should never ask your partner to be your Reader because they’re not going to say anything bad about your writing. But I wanted him to really like it – even though it’s not his genre – and say how awesome I am at writing. That’s a lot of pressure. Particularly as, like I said, I’m very fucking rusty.
But what if it gets published and people say, “hey, the story’s ok, but the writing is awful“? I’d be mortified. How must E.L James be feeling about what’s being said about her books? She’s sold 20 million copies, but that criticism has gotta hurt. Hurt all the way to the bank, sure, but still hurt. I can’t stop thinking about what bad reviews would feel like. (Wow, could I sound any more arrogant? It’s not like an editor’s never told me a story is shit, but I’m talking loads of bad reviews.) I’m not suggesting that reviews should only be nice. Just using the reviews to share a fear that what if I’m no good at the thing I want to do?