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Monday, February 11, 2013

Why 50 Shades got it Wrong

To be fair...I'm sure 50 Shades has it's place. And I don't have anything against explicit sexual literature. (And I use the term lightly). But it was so poorly written. So very very poorly written. I don't want to laugh and say "Um. Yah. That is not what a woman would think/say/do EVER." when I'm reading a sex scene. Fantasy is one thing, but it has to be based in some semblance of reality in order for me to get lost in it. Do you see?

That said...Diana Gabaldon has written some of the most absorbing...Historical Romance (?) books on the market. Personally I would argue the are simply Historical Fiction. I mean every good love story has sex, yah? Romeo and Juliet has sex...Elizabeth and Darcy have sex...we just don't get to read about it. In Diana G's books she writes it in. Very well. And tastefully. And it makes you lust after the lead character Jamie as though he were a living, breathing, entity. She writes seduction. Not just sex. He acts like a stubborn, bullheaded scotsman. She acts like a self-righteous know it all. But some how...these are two of the best suited lovers in a long time. And when they get together...you feel what they feel.

"He was surprised. 'You don't need to wait? I canna do it again right away after....'
'Well, women are different.'
'Aye. I noticed.' He muttered.
He circled my wrist with hes thumb and index finger. 'Its just...you're so small; I'm afraid I'm going to hurt you.'
'You are not going to hurt me,' I said impatiently. 'And if you did, I wouldn't mind.' Seeing puzzled incomprehension on his face, I decided to show him what I meant. 
'What are you doing?' he asked, shocked.
'Just what it looks like. Hold still.' After a few moments, I began to use my teeth, pressing progressively harder until he drew in his breath with a sharp hiss. I stopped.
'Did I hurt you?' I asked.
'Yes. A little.' He sounded half-strangled.
'Do you want me to stop?"
I went on, being deliberately rough, until he suddenly convulsed, with a groan that sounded as though I had torn his heart out by the roots. He lay back, quivering and breathing heavily. He muttered something in Gaelic, eyes closed.
'What did you say?'
'I said,' he answered, opening his eyes, 'I thought my heart was going to burst.'
I grinned, pleased with myself. 'Oh, Murtagh and company didn't tell you about that, either?'
'Aye, they did. That was one of the things I didn't believe.'

~Diana Gabaldon "Outlander"

Diana does this a lot. The use of dialogue. The byplay between characters to get at what she's trying to convey. It's very clever. And not a single Inner Goddess sighed anywhere...

So. What do you think? Taking into account that there's a place for every type of scene...Does this type of dialogue heavy byplay leave you cold? Or is this what you're aiming for in the bedroom of your books? So to speak...


mshatch said...

Oh yeah, that's exactly what I want in a romantic scene *sigh*
Maybe I should the rest... Goodness is it hot in here or what?

Huntress said...

I enjoy the journey more than the destination I think.
This passage is from a book by Jack London called Burning Daylight. He is known more for Call of the Wild and White Fang.

Dede and Daylight have just been married and this is their first night together.

'She heard the footsteps of Daylight returning, and caught her breath with a quick intake. He took her hand in his, and, as he turned the door-knob, felt her hesitate. Then he put his arm around her; the door swung open, and together they passed in.'

I know, I know, it doesn't seem like much and now I'd probably add a bit more. Like the seduction after the door closes. But to me, those words are a real turn on.

D.G. Hudson said...

I'm a fan of Diane Gabaldon's writing, and you're right, she handles the subject of love, sex, and seduction well. When I met her for a crit appointment at a writing conference, I understood why. She's a delightful woman in person.

You're right on many counts in this post.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

I love good dialogue. :) I love characters that have a great back and forth.

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

Whoah whoah whoah... You obviously were not impressed with the tampon scene in 50 Shades, right? I suggest you go read it again, miss opinionated. :P

Liz said...

I loved Outlander. Done right, those scenes are great.

Alicia C. said...

You're so distracted you're typing in incomplete sentences! ;) yes! Read them all! So good! I think there's only one weak one...and that's mostly just a 'bridge' book...listen to me...a 650pg fricken bridge book. *jealous*

Alicia C. said...

This concept was going to be my topic for tomorrow if I hadn't gotten any submissions. Though...I guess it's just more on the whole seduction thing...Nothing wrong with that! Enjoying being seduced...

Alicia C. said...

I would love to meet her. The amount of research and knowledge that goes into one of her tomes is just mind numbing to me!

Alicia C. said...

Indeed. It's something I struggle with...but there are some writers that seem to make it look effortless. :)

Alicia C. said...

I think there's a dent in the wall where the book hit it when I got to that scene...

Lord. No woman in her right mind...no MAN in his for that matter...sorry..I don't buy it. Not in a million years! ;)

Alicia C. said...

I think I've read the first one at least four times. So good. I have one sister that refuses to read it on the basis that it's "sci-fi" because she's a time traveler. So sad...her life is empty and meaningless... HA!