Monday, July 2, 2012

50 Shades of Wha...?

So...I kept seeing this title appear on Pinterest.

And on Facebook.

And I wondered....what is this new hot book everyone is talking about? So I googled "50 Shades of Gray reviews". I learned two things:

1. This is a book that is categorized as a romance, but is essentially erotic pornography. But much worse because it's very demeaning to women as well.

2. It is very, very poorly written.

Okay, so #1 was a disappointment- I thought maybe we had another Hunger Games-type wunderkind in our midst. No such luck. And in fact, this book appears to have women everywhere indulging in literary pornography for the first time, which is concerning and disheartening.

Is it wrong that when I learned #2 I was very happy? It's kind of like when you meet someone new and she's gorgeous and her kids are perfect but then you learn she can't cook. There's a definite reduction in the intimidation factor and you can rest assured you've got something she doesn't. Totally catty, I know, but you know what I mean.

As I’m sure we’re all aware by now, the publishing industry follows trends, just like the fashion industry. Case in point: is there any shortage of YA vampire or dystopian novels? Nope. When a book makes a splash in one genre, a wave of similar books is sure to follow.

Unfortunately, our motto to “change the world one book at a time” is the same goal publishers have, only sometimes the books they’re changing the world with are books like “50 Shades.” And that means the change is not going to be a good one. Fortunately, as writers and guardians of virtue, we have the abilities to combat this wave with one of our own- with books that are well-written and have meaning and substance.

The fact that this book is written very poorly, ladies, is a boost to our side of this battle we fight every day as Mormon Mommy Writers. What this means to me is that if we want our work, that embodies the good wholesome values we know to be right, to stand its ground against fashion waves like "50 Shades", then we have to polish it and make it shine. The time for fluff is over. You can't pop out a first draft, have your mom take a look at it, make a revision or two and send it off to an agent with your fingers crossed.

Is this a call to arms? Yeah, I kind of think it is! Now is the time to write that story that's been simmering in your head. Now is the time for us to lay it all on the line and get REAL critiques from people who know good literature. Now is the time to take that leap and push that baby off your computer and into not one, not a few, but LOTS of agents' hands and get it published, because without writers like us, the women of the world will be drawn to literary garbage like "50 Shades." WE are the ones who need to give them alternatives- good, worthwhile alternatives that draw them into the light and away from the dark. 

If nothing else motivates you to pursue your dreams and fulfill your calling as a writer, let this be the catalyst that launches you into action. 

NOW is the time!

Okay, I'm off my soapbox now. I believe in us, ladies. This is one battle we have the tools to fight, and I expect us to do so.

On a side note, I will be needing some maternity leave from the blog starting at the end of July and possibly into the beginning of August. I would love to hear from some of you lovely ladies out there- anyone want to do a guest post for me? Contact me at kaseytross (at) hotmail (dot) com if you're interested. :-)


  1. Thank you for candidly expressing the inappropriate nature of those Fifty Shades books. I was hearing about them too. Women gushing over them. I went to the store and saw it on the shelf and read some of the blurbs about it. I saw the word erotic and immediately put it down. Do women not know the meaning of that word. If it says erotic it is going to be, as you put it, literary pornography. It is so disappointing to me. I am glad to hear it is poorly written as well. Another reason to solidify my feelings against reading it. Also thanks for the encouragement to keep writing and write something worth reading.

  2. Amen Sista! Everywhere I go women are talking about these books. I'm disturbed by how accepted these books are by..well everyone! Even women that aren't typically readers are rushing out to buy these books based on the recommendations of others. When I've been asked if I've read them and expressed that they're a little too steamy for me, people look at me like I have two heads. I'm glad to hear they're poorly written, and thank you for the call to arms! I know I have a better book in me then this junk.

  3. What a timely post! I just did a Relief Society lesson about the disturbing trend that this (stupid) book and the (stupid) movie Magic Mike are showcasing.... women and pornography. It's a trend that, unfortunately, means that over 17 percent of American women admit a porn addiction. Since the words "admit" and "addiction" are in the same sentence, it stands to bear that the percentage of those who have that addiction is probably much, much, higher. Satan is attacking the women of the world, who USED to be kind of immune to at least visual pornography--and they are jumping on the bandwagon. Thank you for the post and the call to arms!

  4. Thank you for writing this. I am so happy to read that others share my opinion about these books. A lot of people have recommended these books to me and when I checked out the description- I was floored!! It is so disappointing that this is what is on the top seller list every time I look for a new book on my Kindle. And I totally appreciate what you said about them being poorly written, nothing annoys me more than to read a book that is not written well.

  5. Thank you for posting about this, Kasey! Your post actually brought tears to my eyes because this is why we started this blog over three years ago, to combat the worldly views of the world with words. As those worldly views get worse and worse, the number of righteous writers is growing exponentially! Proof that the Lord is with us and will help us in our mission to change the world one book at a time!!

  6. Thanks for this post! I, too, have been hearing so much about "50 Shades" and was extremely disappointed/disgusted when I learned of the subject matter. It's so sad that the world accepts this!

  7. I have not seen this book, but when you described it as being literary porn I was not surprised to learn that it was also poorly written. It is laziness and a lack of creativity to spit something out that is more worthy of the dust bin than our consideration. Thank you for your "battle cry" for higher quality literature. the laptops!!

  8. Well said, Kasey! ( usual...)

  9. Thank you for this awesome post - let writers everywhere unite!!!

  10. Not everyone in the industry believes 50 Shades is opening up a good market. Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary said that not only does it make her life harder as an agent,but "No matter what 50 Shades is, I would not have been the agent to spot its 'genius.'" (You can read her blog post here:

    There's hope yet! :D

  11. Thanks for the post. Well said! As an author who's been encouraged more than once to step to the "harlequin" side of the market (because "that's were the money is") it is validating to know that there are others who, like me, believe that this kind of stuff is pornography. My personal philosophy is to write (and read!) things that I'd be okay with my grandma & children reading. We don't have to sell out to be successful. We can make the difference.



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