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Top 10 Signs You’re Reading Bad Erotica

February 20, 2015

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Years ago, we popped our sex-writing cherries at Nerve.com, the online magazine about sex that featured impressive original fiction by the likes of Jay McInerney and Rick Moody. As young, naïve, and underpaid Internet employees, one of our duties included trudging through the slush pile—that four-foot-high stack of unsolicited submissions by amateur writers who thought they grasped what Nerve’s “literary smut” was all about.  Alas, they did not. Long before the excessive adverbs of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” we got second-hand embarrassment from poorly written erotica trying so desperately to be compelling lit via Nerve. So we soon developed a battery of criteria to quickly identify the runts. Never again would we struggle for long through prose so cheesy it came with crackers (except if we were having a bad day and needed a good chuckle). Now, neither will you:

  1. The text is sprinkled with “creative” euphemisms for the penis, in particular those that call up manly pursuits such as cars, the great outdoors, or weaponry: lust log, love muscle, rod of steel, love gun, etc. Bonus negative points if the adjectives “engorged,” “pulsing,” “throbbing,” or “glistening” appear before such synonyms.
  2. Meanwhile, the word “pussy” is used exclusively and without restraint.
  3. She’s running her fingers through his waist-length locks.
  4. He has a 13-inch penis (and it’s not Sci-fi erotica).
  5. It’s Sci-fi erotica.
  6. “Come” is spelled with a “u” and no “e.”
  7. You note excessive use of fire imagery, as in: “The candles flickered and the fireplace roared as he stoked the flames of her burning desire with his fireman’s pole until she was so hot and bothered, the fire alarm rang and the sprinklers busted a nut all over their smoldering lust.”
  8. It reminds you to make an appointment with your urologist/gynecologist.
  9. It contains at least one metaphor or simile that tries a little too hard, such as: “His hands roamed like blind rattlesnakes searching for shelter in a dark, moist cave,” or “Her love juice was the finest wine he had ever tasted, the ambrosia of the gods, the center of a Cadbury’s Creme Egg.”
  10. She has an orgasm just from giving a blowjob.

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The 8 New Habits of the Modern Single

February 19, 2015

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by Stephanie Castillo for YourTango  |  photo via flickr

Match.com’s latest survey reveals new dating rituals and rules for today’s modern single.

Bad news bears, singles: Match.com has released the results of a new survey that shows that dating rules and habits have changed. Again. But even though the playing field has become a bit of uncharted territory, some traditional dating dos and dont’s still apply.

“It’s important for singles to know that the dating rules have changed,” says Whitney Casey, relationship expert for Match.com. “This study finds that dating behaviors drastically differ between the ages. Younger singles are more likely to friend their date on Facebook, communicate by text after a date, and be evasive about their availability if they’re not interested in a second date. Whereas older singles are more cautious when it comes to dating in the digital era.”

That said, here are the eight dating habits — new and old — you need to know about.

1. He asks, he OR she pays. The one traditional dating ”do” that still stands is the general belief men are supposed to make the first move. However, Match.com found 41% of women would offer to pick up the check on a first date. You hear that guys? If you ask us out for dinner, we might just foot the bill.

2. All it takes is 15 minutes to determine if you have chemistry. Thirty-one percent of both men and women agree that 15 minutes of a date is all it takes to decide. Worried your next date will bail if he’s not into you? Don’t, because Match.com found only 12 percent of singles would actually leave before the night was over.

3. Honesty is (still) the best policy. Not enjoying your time out with what’s his name? Tell him. The survey found 52 percent of singles think it’s best to politely tell your date if you’re not interested – and we agree. Neither party gets anything out of being dishonest and you never know when you’ll run into him or her again later in life. Remember: manners matter.

4. Don’t go all the way on the first date. Eighty percent of singles agree that you shouldn’t have sex on the first date. Holding out on your date builds mystery, and if your date can get it all in one night, they’re less motivated to call back for round two.

5. It’s OK to follow-up - it’s just a matter of when. Forty-eight percent of women like to follow up after a first date within 24 hours where as 68 percent of men like to “play it cool” and extend the follow-up to almost three days after your date.

6. Classic phone communication is best. In this digital era, there are hundreds of ways to follw up on a date: text, e-mail, instant message, etc. But surprisingly enough, the survey found 80 percent of singles prefer to talk over the phone.

7. Yes, you can Facebook-friend your date.  ust not too quickly. Ah, the social media dilemma that plagues all singles. As far as friend requesting your date goes, 21 percent of young singles say it’s OK to request a friend after 2-3 dates while 11 percent of older singles wait until the relationship is exclusive to do so. These low percentages mean keeping your add-friend trigger finger under control while in the early phase of dating.

8. Introduce your new man/woman to your friends. Sometimes your friends get a bad rap when it comes to dating, but 50 percent of men and 35 percent of women will introduce their dates to their friends within the first month of dating, regardless of how old they are.

This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: The 8 “Golden Rules” Of Modern Dating You NEED To Memorize

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What It Means When You and a Friend Have the Same Dream

February 19, 2015

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Lena Dunham in “Girls”

Other people’s dreams are never interesting…except when they’re about sex. Each week, our dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg tells one lucky reader what their dirty dream means. Got a dream you want Lauri to analyze? Click here to submit it (18 and older only, please). This week, a reader tells Lauri:

I had a dream that I was spending time with a young male child in a room. From the other side of a door, I could hear my best female friend talking to another child. The weird thing is: she had the same dream from her point of view. We tried a relationship a while back, but there were some issues. I live in Ohio, and she lives 500 miles away in Illinois. We’re not sure what it means. We assume the children in the dream are our own.

Lauri:  We’ve been getting an onslaught of people writing to Em & Lo claiming they had the same dream as someone else. It’s called Shared Dreaming and it happens more often than you might think. The reason why it happens is because the two people who experienced the same dream are often both involved in the same issue and therefore dream about the issue in a similar manner.

The issue you share with your friend is a romantic relationship that didn’t work out. The door in your dreams probably symbolizes that you two have closed the door on that aspect of the relationship and are now just friends. But it could also symbolize what came between the two of you, besides the distance. Were either of you not open enough?

The children in the dream, rather than being your own children, are more likely the childish part of yourselves. Did the relationship end due to childish behavior?

Our dreams help us to figure out our issues and it seems that, through your shared dream, the two of you have figured out why the romantic part of your relationship didn’t work out… and sometimes people are simply better together as friends.

 

Visit Lauri’s site, WhatYourDreamMeans.com, for even more dream interpretations! If you want to be able to figure out your own dreams every morning, then check out her latest book, Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life, which will give you the tools you need to become a dream expert, too. Check out all of Lauri’s books here.

 

 

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What Men Really Think About Bitchy Women

February 17, 2015

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Advice from three of our trusted guy friends. This week they answer the following: Do men really love bitches?

Straight Single Guy (Colin Adamo, author of Hooking Up & Staying Hooked): Guys love a challenge. That’s why we’re always trying to fix cars, throw the perfect spiral, or look cool with really awful facial hair. If we’re ever with a bitch, it’s only because we want to overcome her militant manner and make her swoon for us. We want to find her soft spot and turn her around to show the world she’s not all bad — that way we look great, too, for having cracked her stone cold exterior. Don’t feel like playing the B-Card is ever going to help you out, though. Most of us tire of silly games like this pretty quickly — and even if we do love bitches from time to time, the good ol’ American sweetheart will always win out.

Straight Married Guy (Matt): I don’t think so. Maybe some guys like getting treated like shit and pushed around, but that was never my thing. I mean, if a girl is attractive and a real bitch, in my single days, I’d probably have wanted to have sex with her. But that’s just because there’s this idea that the sex would be more charged. Sometimes it was, sometimes it wasn’t. I don’t think bitchiness equals hot sex on its own. But beyond sex: dating (or falling in love with) a bitch? Forget it. Life’s dramatic enough on its own — I don’t need to fall in love with a pain in the ass.

Gay Committed Guy (Terence): That’s a big can of worms. I might be old-fashioned, but I’m having trouble typing the word bitch. When did this word become commonplace, or even acceptable? As I’m trying to think of how to characterize a b****, I can only think of that show Bridezillas. So let’s use the terms girlzilla and boyzilla instead. I think a man who claims to love a girlzilla has as many issues to work through as the girlzilla. His willingness to accommodate a difficult and unpleasant woman is saddening and self-destructive. In fact, it’s a mutually destructive cycle of immaturity that wouldn’t know love from a can of worms (I had to squeeze in my worm metaphor one more time). There ain’t no love for a zilla.

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Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. Colin Adamo is the author of Hooking Up & Staying Hooked; the other two are a little shy.



Top 5 Love Lessons from “The Bachelor” (Iowa + Hometowns)

February 17, 2015

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from “The Bachelor’s” hysterical Twitter feed

It’s kind of ironic that “Fifty Shades of Grey,” with its helipads and helicopters and gliders and penthouses and fancy cars, came out the same weekend “The Bachelor” aired its least glamorous episodes ever, featuring the scent of manure in the air, the shuttered businesses of a 400-person town, the fluorescent-lit high-school hallways of one’s glory days, the tattered drapes and 80s-style couches of three-star midwestern hotels… (Seriously, shouldn’t these ladies be traipsing quaint European villages by now?) In a first for the show, the producers pulled back the curtain to reveal the real Bachelor with all the bells and whistles removed — in this case, Chris Soules in his natural habitat, a ghost of a town called Arlington, Iowa. The ladies quickly learned that life with Prince Farming would include fifty shades of corn and not much else. That only one of the remaining contestants expressed a real impulse to run just goes to show how lights, cameras, too little food, and too many cocktails can really impair one’s judgment.

Don’t let your romantic judgment be impaired, either: learn the dating lessons from this week’s double feature of  ”The Bachelor” right here, right now:

  1. Beware the man who’s main method of communication is silent bobble-heading. Also, look out for someone who, when he’s at a loss for words, immediately starts making out just to fill the long, awkward pauses.
  2. Talking shit about other women to your date is unattractive. Only do it if you want to get dumped.
  3. If you feel you are being mistreated in your relationship, by all means speak up and speak your mind to your partner. But do it in private, not in front of other people — especially if those other people are interested in your partner for themselves.
  4. Everyone makes mistakes. Even if you have regrets in your past, own them. Don’t treat them like a mutant half-sister you secretly keep locked in your attic (unless, of course, your regret is enslaving your monster sibling). So, you took some nude photos on a lark — so what? The bigger the deal you make of these kind of mistakes to your date, the worse they’ll seem.
  5. Don’t throw your friends and relatives under the bus in a paternalistic effort to protect them from getting their hearts broken. Let them make — and learn from — their own romantic mistakes.

Read up on last week’s love lessons learned from “The Bachelor.” 

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How to Spank Like Christian Grey

February 13, 2015

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The following is an excerpt from the “S” section of our A-Z book, 150 Shades of Play: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink. Every bolded word below indicates an entry in our encyclopedia of sorts. The book is on sale now!

Spanking is hand-to-tush contact, which many consider more intimate and less scary than any other type of flagellation. It’s Christian Grey’s calling card. Spanking is definitely safer for newbies, since you have much more control over (and better aim with) your own hand. Spanking can be a seasoning (a few spanks during a particularly passionate bout of intercourse to add some kinky flavor), an appetizer (spanking as foreplay before more orgasm-focused activities, like the first vaginal balls scene in Fifty Shades of Grey), or it can be a meal in and of itself (a session in which the spanking is the goal — the main course, if you will — that takes half an hour to serve and enjoy).

If you’re hungry for more than just a sprinkle of seasoning, then follow the rules of any first-time flagellation: Have the spankee lie across your lap, kneel on a bed, stretch out stomach-down, or bend over something they can put their full weight on for comfort; start slowly and build up intensity gradually with your bottom’s permission, varying your pressure and strokes; and contain your spanking to the lower, fleshier halves of each cheek and the backs of the upper thighs (even if you’re just having a spanking snack during sex, this area should be your target) — avoid the lower back, tailbone, and back of the knees at all costs.

Specific considerations for spanking include the following:

  1. Remove all bracelets and rings.
  2. Start with a butt massage.
  3. Follow each blow with a short massage, too, to spread out the pain and keep things nice ‘n’ warm (at least during your first few sessions together).
  4. A woman might like particular attention paid at the intersection of ass crack and crease, with the vibrations reverberating throughout the vulva, but definitely steer clear of the guy’s family jewels.
  5. Remember that, because of your close proximity to your partner, spanking is especially great for pleasantly diddling their lemonade area while whacking the steps of their fudge factory ‘round the corner.

A.k.a. fanny dusting. See also floggerspaddlesslappers, and arnica cream.

150 Shades of Grey: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink is on sale now in paperback and e-book form!

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How to Hardware (Un)Like Christian Grey

February 11, 2015

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The following is an excerpt from the “H” section of our A-Z book, 150 Shades of Play: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink. Every bolded word below indicates an entry in our encyclopedia of sorts. The book is on sale now in both paperback and Kindle form!

A hardware store is a one-stop shopping center for all your BDSM needs. Who needs specialty sex shops when you can find everything at your friendly neighborhood True Value at half the cost? Even Christian I-Fly-My-Own-Helicopter Grey does it, and he could afford freakin’ diamond-encrusted BDSM gear if he wanted. (And how convenient if your potential sub just happens to work at the hardware store — oh, the foreplay possibilities!)

Of course, you’ve got to have a bit of a D.I.Y.-streak, but if you’re willing to put in the extra elbow grease (or should we say Crisco?), you can completely decorate your dungeon or playroom with the following: welded-link chains with “quick links” to aid in adjusting chain lengths; two-by-fours, tubing, and rods of wood, metal, or plastic to create spreader bars; duct tape for bondage (over material only please, to avoid pulling off hair and skin); keyed locks (safer than combo locks which may take too long to undo in an emergency sitch, though not if you’re the type to lose things, like keys); single- or double-ended snap hooks, snap shackles (or “panic snaps”), and carabiners for securing D-rings to other things; eyebolts (not flimsy screw eyes) to anchor chain ends; block and tackle devices for suspension; and miles of natural filament rope for bondage masterpieces.

[More important safety info below the movie clip]!

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

But please, whatever you do, don’t buy cable ties as wrist and ankle restraints like kink “expert” Christian Grey does in the first book of Fifty Shades and in the freaking movie – not only is that bush league, it’s dangerous. The only thing you should be using cable ties for is organizing all your rope.

If your hardware store doesn’t have the high quality and durable materials you’re looking for, try boating or outdoor adventure stores instead.

150 Shades of Grey: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink is on sale now! It contains more information on all the bolded terms above (plus so much more!).

 



Dear Em & Lo: How Will “Fifty Shades” Affect Young Women?

February 11, 2015

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Dear Em & Lo, 

Have you thought about the effect that this film may have on young girls — how this film will set their expectations as to what sex is like?

– Fifty Shades of Fay

 

Dear FSoF,

Honestly, we haven’t. We’ve been too distracted by our upcoming ladies night screening of it!

But it’s a great question, and its implications are interesting.

First off, the movie is rated R. Of course this won’t stop people under the age of 17 from seeing it, but we don’t think all adult content should be banned because of the chance that it may get into the hands of some younger people who are not mature enough to process it. Parents and educators have to give their kids guidance about media, talk to them about the distorted fantasies, stereotypes, and violence they’re bombarded with these days. Frankly, we’re much more concerned about the effects hardcore porn has on young people’s perceptions of how sex is supposed to be — something, unfortunately, most kids have been exposed to. (Compared to the stuff they can find online, we’re afraid this film will seem downright quaint to most of them.) Hell, advertising and women’s magazines in the aggregate are much more worrisome than this single movie. Even scarier is the chance that young people will think that, due to its popularity, the Fifty Shades trilogy represents decent writing (we’re only half joking here!).

One of the reasons we’re so looking forward to the movie is to see how (or if) the female director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, a feminist-artist powerhouse, was able — despite author E.L. James’ resistance — to transform the movie into a tale of female strength and empowerment. According to an article in this week’s Time Magazine:

[Taylor-Johnson] thought she saw how to address the troubling power dynamic in the book: give the control to Anastasia. Put her in charge of her own odyssey. “This is the emotional journey of somebody who doesn’t seem as strong as she becomes,” she says. “And by the end of the story, she holds all the power.” Taylor-Johnson wants to reclaim the sexual-submission fantasy for empowered women. “To be a feminist,” she asks, “do you always have to be on top?”

Our answer to that question has always been “No.” Our resident radical feminist, Lo, enjoyed Anne Rice’s original BDSM trilogy The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty…in high school. Our generation also ate up the movie 9 and a Half Weeks as teenagers, and we didn’t become doormats (in fact, we may have learned how NOT to do kink). In our first Em & Lo sex manual, 2003’s The Big Bang, we wrote, “Just because you like to be tied up, spanked, and called ‘bitch’ doesn’t make you a bad feminist.” In our next book, Sex Etiquette for Ladies and Gentlemen, we wrote the following:

A fantasy may be counterintuitive to the lady or gentleman you present yourself as in society. For instance, a feminist may fantasize about bending over a carburetor dressed in cheesy, scratchy lingerie with her hair teased, sprayed, and back-combed in the tackiest of styles. This is perfectly correct, for one’s fantasies should not be bound by ‘politically correct’ mores. And no, seemingly hypocritical kinks do not necessarily reflect deep-seated repression, neuroses, or issues. As with dreams, fantasies may be inspired by something as shallow as the previous evening’ televisions lineup or that summer’s trashy beach reading (no matter what Freud said).

For a lot of women, the submissive fantasy is an effective one — and you can’t legislate people’s turn-ons, despite the countless attempts made by righteous, religious conservatives (many of whom have secret Red Rooms of Pain in their own basements!). As far as we’re concerned, BDSM and (self)respect are not mutually exclusive. As long as we teach young people how to make smart choices, be as safe as possible, understand the difference between fantasy and reality, respect each other, talk to each other, and elevate sex to a sacred level (even when it’s casual), then it shouldn’t matter if they eventually like to be spanked once in a while.

We’ve always tried in our own small way to be a part of that educational effort. In all our writing about sex and relationships, we’ve endorsed and emphasized comprehensive sex education, open communication, consent, and safety. As far as Fifty Shades goes, we’ve actually written about the ways we hope the film will improve upon all the troubling elements in the book: Christian’s stalkerish abuse, Ana’s total lack of any sexual experience, her lukewarm reaction to kink, her issues with eating, the dirth of well-adjusted kinksters, etc. They’re improvements any viewer would benefit from, whether female or male, straight or gay, old or young. Hopefully the movie delivers, but with James fighting tooth and nail to stick to the original story, warts and all, for the sake of her fans, we’re not holding our breath.

One thing’s for sure, though: there will NOT be enough equal opportunity nudity! More male nudity in movies would go a long way to evening the playing field for women. And not just in the bedroom, but in all areas of life.

Check back here at EMandLO.com next week to see just how good or bad we think the movie turned out  – not just for young people, but for us all.

Laters babe,

Em & Lo


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10 Simple Steps to “Fiftyize” Your Love Life

February 10, 2015

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Here’s a nifty little 10-step program for introducing BDSM into the bedroom, inspired by our book, 150 Shades of Play: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink:

 

1. Talk Dirty to Him

Bringing up BDSM with your partner can be shocking and awkward. A great way to test a fantasy is to incorporate it into dirty talk. Whisper in your partner’s ear, ‘What would you think if I did this to you? I would find it so sexy.’

 

2. Safety First

Physically and emotionally, kink can be heavy, so it’s great for long-term couples who already have built up trust. Still, if there’s going to be bondage and a little struggle, have a safeword other than ‘no.’ It can be ‘red,’ ‘banana’—something you normally wouldn’t say during sex.

 

3. See No More

S&M is about ceding control, so a good entry point is bringing a blindfold to bed and seeing how you like it. One night, one of you can be the boss; the next night you switch it up. Kink isn’t just sex—it shows you’re really interested in turning each other on and asking each other about your fantasies.

 

4. Cuff Love

We’re all about working up to things gently. Padded, velcro handcuffs are familiar and easy to use. They’re a way to establish if you might like to move on to more kinky things, like rope ties.

 

5. Dress the Part

There’s a whole style to kink. Bring in textures like leather, latex, garters, and high heels. Anything you wouldn’t normally wear in bed.

6. Light Biting

When you’re really turned on, pain can feel a lot like pleasure. You don’t have to get a punishing spanking from a Christian Grey–type to get a kick out of pain—sometimes a nibble on the nipple, one single well-timed spank, or a little hair-pulling is all it takes to heighten the sexual tension.

 

7. The Sound of Music

Music helps drown out the world around you and lets you focus on the pleasure at hand. Try Nine Inch Nails, Muse, Radiohead, The Brazilian Girls, Massive Attack, Marilyn Manson, Prince, Peaches, The Cure, or Kings of Leon.

 

8. Put a Ring on It

150 Shades of Play tells you about all sorts of S&M, including tamakeri, the Japanese porn fetish of getting kicked in the balls. Of course, if your partner wants you to kick him in the balls, that’s probably not the best first step. Start out with a vibrating ‘love’ ring for his manhood—it’s a little something for both of you.

 

9. Light My Candle

BDSM temperature play is a scale from ice to candle wax. But be careful to use only plain white candles; scented candles burn too hot. Blow the candle out, test the wax on your hand first, and when it hits the skin, massage it in. Some new candles even melt into massage oil.
 

10. Toys and Girls

Handing over the controls of your sex toy to your partner suddenly seems a lot more kinky than doing it on your own. Sex toy design has gotten so much better in the last 10 years; it’s a lot more wireless. LELO makes a great, wireless bullet vibrator your partner can use from the other side of the room, or even while you’re taking a bath, as it’s completely waterproof! Other wireless vibrators can be controlled by a cell phone as a way of spicing up a long-term relationship.

 

This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com.

For more inspired ideas about kinking things up, check out 150 Shades of Play, available from Amazon.com in both paperback and e-book versions! 



The Top 5 Writing Lessons of “Fifty Shades of Grey”

February 6, 2015

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According to Wikipedia, the Fifty Shades of Grey series “has sold over 100 million copies worldwide and been translated into 52 languages, and set a record in the United Kingdom as the fastest-selling paperback of all time.” Not only has it introduced many people to the world of kink, it’s given them a lesson in how not to write. And if a lack of literary merit didn’t slow down sales, well, at least people can learn about the elements of style while being turned on by the elements of sadomasochism.

1. Avoid repetition of words and phrases. 

When Ana first meets Christian Grey, she thinks she spots a “ghost of a smile” in his expression. That’s a nice, descriptive way of putting it — it’s easy for the reader to imagine. The problem is, James uses the same exact phrasing only a few pages later, for the same character. And that’s not the last we hear the term “ghost of a smile,” either — it pops up a few more times in the first book. Using something so specific again and again just comes across as lazy.

 

2. Use adverbs sparingly. 

Anastasia Steele never met an adverb she didn’t like, especially when it’s modifying the way she or another character speaks: “I mumble almost inarticulately”; “I murmur apologetically”; “he murmurs softly.” (For painfully excessive use of the word “murmur” throughout Fifty, see rule #1).

 

3. Don’t use substitutes for the verb “said.”

The Fifty Shades characters rarely just “say” something, they whisper it, they breathe it, they moan it, they mumble it, they murmur it, ad nauseum (see rule  #2, and then rule #1). One of Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules on Writing is this: 

Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in. But “said” is far less intrusive than “grumbled,” “gasped,” “cautioned,” “lied.” I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with “she asseverated” and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary.

What he said.

4. Be accurate. 

There is such a thing as creative license, but E.L. James’s should be revoked. Like driving, creative license is not a right, but a privilege, and should be used responsibly and with the utmost care. For example, the author creatively personifies Ana’s internal struggles over various situations as two polar-opposite people living in her head: a sex-loving, open-minded, free-spirited, back-flipping “Inner Goddess” and a careful, cautious, judgmental worrier called her “Subconscious.” Cute, but what Alanis Morissette did to the word “ironic,” E.L. does to the word “subconscious.” To quote Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” If it were truly Ana’s subconscious guiding her, Ana would not be aware of her — that’s what the whole “sub” part of that word means: not conscious! Similarly, there are a ton of British anachronisms in a story about American characters living in American cities with nary a funny Mancunian sidekick to rub off on them. James even includes an apology at the end of the third book for including a scene so preposterous that it defies all logic and law — that’s when you know you’ve abused your creative license.

 

5. Don’t worry about the rules of writing.

E.L. James didn’t, and look where that got her: laughing all the way to the bank! The most important thing is just sitting down and actually writing. As long as you do that — ideally with passion and conviction — then there’s a chance (albeit small) that you can ignore rules 1 through 4 above and still be a success.

If you liked Fifty Shades (despite the writing), you’ll love 150 Shades of Play, our how-to companion piece to the popular trilogy! 

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