How Not to Fall

How Not to Fall

Today is the book birthday of the novel I wrote because I was *sure* it must be possible to write the story of a young woman experiencing her sexual awakening with a more experienced, older, more powerful man… in a way that’s feminist, sex positive, and, not least, medically accurate. And you, dear blog readers, said, “Write that. You should write that.” And darn it all, I did.   And it turned out, writing it was good for my soul, and I have continued to write because of that. Even if I never publish another romance novel after How Not

emily’s 180,000 word love letter to romance novels

emily’s 180,000 word love letter to romance novels

A hundred years ago, I read 50 Shades of Grey and found it to be the worst novel I have ever finished… but I also saw what worked for so many people about the story. I saw, because I am a reader of romance novels. I believe romance novels contribute something important to the world: Romancelandia is pro-woman, pro-sex, pro-pleasure and full of happy endings. And I felt betrayed by 50 Shades because, though it tried, it failed to be any of those things. It did not do what a romance novel is supposed to do. I read romance to experience

Emily Read 50 Shades Part 5: why this book is bullshit, and what I intend to do about it

Emily Read 50 Shades Part 5: why this book is bullshit, and what I intend to do about it

This is the last one. I’m finished with it. And I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about plot structure. In the process of writing my own book, I learned how novels are constructed – or really, I learned how stories are told. There is a typical structure to a well-told story, which the best storytellers can mess with but which, overall, good stories will tend to follow, whether on purpose or not. And 50 Shades is TEXTBOOK. The journey-lauching first plot point happens right at the 20% mark (she signs the “nondisclosure” thingummy, without which nothing else that

Emily Read 50 Shades Part 4: You. Are. Mine.

Emily Read 50 Shades Part 4: You. Are. Mine.

In today’s edition of my decreasingly neutral report of my read of 50 Shades – hereafter bearing the title “Worst Book I’ve Ever Finished”: Attachment. It’s the biological motivation system that bonds us emotionally with each other. Us and the other mammals, but us especially. The person you’re attached to is your SAFE HAVEN, your EMOTIONAL HOME, the place you go when you are stressed out. Attachment is what jealousy is about – attachment threat – and it’s what the desire to be “possessed” is ultimately about. So when Ana gets all eager about “belonging” to” the hero, that’s attachment.

Emily Reads 50 Shades Part 3: “don’t make it more than I can bear”

Emily Reads 50 Shades Part 3: “don’t make it more than I can bear”

In today’s edition of Emily Reads 50 Shades, I want to discuss two important phenomena in social science: the ironic process, and social influence. 1. IRONIC PROCESS: Don’t think about a bear. Right? Okay, now don’t find that bear sexy. Whatever you do, don’t imagine the warm soft fur brushing against your nipples. Don’t do it. Are you getting turned on by the thought of bear fur on your nipples? Pervert. No. Not a pervert. Just another victim of the ironic process effect. The harder you try to do something, the more you fail, and the harder you try NOT

Emily Reads 50 Shades Part 2: There’s something about Ana

Emily Reads 50 Shades Part 2: There’s something about Ana

“There’s something about you.” That’s why Christian Grey wants to fuck Anastasia Steele hard. There’s something about her. Part of that something ends up being the fact that she is a virgin. Of which much has been made in critiques of the book, right? It’s genuinely true that not a large percentage of American women get to college graduation never having had sex. So why is Ana a virgin? Two reasons, I think: 1. the history of the genre; and 2. drama goes to extremes. The history of the genre, right back to Pamela (tellingly subtitled “Virtue Rewarded”), is virgins

Emily Reads 50 Shades Part 1: What is it about elevators?

Emily Reads 50 Shades Part 1: What is it about elevators?

Plenty has been said about what’s wrong with 50 Shades of Grey – in fact, y’all pointed me to several examples of bloggers blogging their reads, like Pervocracy’s, a chapter-by-chapter account that is by turns hilarious and profound, and sometimes it’s both at once. Cliff points out, among other things, the seriously, seriously big problems with consent and communication in the book. It also has some pretty major problems with, um, sentence structure and vocabulary. But those things aren’t what I want to comment on here. What I’m interested in is why such a bad book – and as a

I’m going to read 50 Shades.

I’m going to read 50 Shades.

It’s a long story, but in the end what matters is: I am obliged to read 50 Shades of Grey. I got 4 pages in and started shopping for shoes online, which is when I realized I’m going to have to do something pretty drastic to make it through. So I asked Twitter for advice, and based on everyone’s ideas (“Read this instead,” “Only read even numbered pages, you won’t miss anything,” and “try to analyze the text to see where it was adapted away from vampirism,” among them) I’ve decided I’m going to blog about it as I go,