Fifty Shades of Jealousy?
By Eileen Wharton
Ok, it might seem like I’m jealous or bitter or both. And maybe on some level I am (Who am I trying to kid? On most levels I am). I would certainly like to have sold 2 million copies of my novel. I would positively relish everyone talking about the characters I created and I would definitely love to be counting the coins as they roll in. I’m sure I could have written a novel similar to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (it reads as a first draft, just count the adverbs!) However I am not very good at writing sex scenes. It’s incredible really cos I’m amazing at sex. It’s just that when I begin to write sex scenes it’s like total porn! There’s no Mills and Boon type romance, no fifties film star sex scenes: a flash of a shin and a bra strap. It’s all dripping sexes and bulbous heads, not to mention threesomes, felching and Mongolian clusterfucks. (Sorry, I wasn’t supposed to mention them.)
Much to my chagrin (notice the cliché of the type used in said novel), I found Mr Grey incredibly tame and Fifty Shades indelibly boring. Sorry EL James. Also it did nothing for Women’s lib. Having married into a male chauvinistic society, I realise some males’ necessity for total dominance. Tell you how to dress, move, think… The fact that Mr Grey had money and was able buy Anastasia anything she wanted (or didn’t want) didn’t fool me. It maybe appeals to some women’s desire to be ‘kept’ and dominated. Domination in the bedroom I have no problems with but men who want to control every aspect of their women’s lives fill me with dread. I know it’s only fiction and escapism but it really isn’t setting a good example to young girls or us old girls for that matter. (BTW ‘the contract’ was laughable.)
I do like to support other writers and am often genuinely thrilled when I hear of someone doing well but as a struggling writer it’s hard not to envy the success of others. I write children’s books as well as novels for adults and every time I come to the end of a story and get ready to send it out for publication I groan as I discover that Jacqueline Wilson has beaten me to it. Are there no issues the woman hasn’t covered? Don’t get me wrong I admire her and have enjoyed many of the books she’s written but I like to write issue-based books for kids and she’s written them all!
And don’t get me started on Julia Donaldson. They tell us don’t write in rhyme, and then I find that all the time, Mrs Donaldson does just that and is pulling money out of a hat. Ok, it’s not my forte soI should leave that alone. But you can’t turn round in Tesco without being accosted by one of Julia’s creations. I’m surprised there’s room on the shelf for scotch rolls. Speaking of which I haven’t had breakfast. Back in a mo….
I don’t even need to mention JK Rowling. The amount of times people have said to me, when they learn that I write, ‘Ooh you could be the next JK Rowling.’ People honestly believe that most writers are rolling in it, swanning about in scarves, clutching quill pens, signing books and counting their gold. If only…
I’ve been writing seriously for about twelve years and have so far earned approximately £2350, which works out as £195.83 per year. Maths is not my strong point but it equates to about 20p per hour. (Two thousand of that was an award from New Writing North.)
You get my point though. Writing is tough. There are far more rejections than acceptances (unless you are one of the above.) If I had more sense I probably wouldn’t do it. I have no idea what drives me. All I know is that I have to do it. I am determined to make a success of it and my envy only spurs me on in the hope that one day a struggling writer will blog about their jealousy of my success.