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Readers See Right Through You

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Admit it. The only reason interesting things happen to your main character is because they’re the main character.

Don’t tell me that’s not true. It’s not healthy to lie, especially to yourself.

Fine, fine. If you insist, I’ll listen to your elaborate reasons as to why your MC is the chosen one.

You might just surprise me like  E.L. James did with her Fifty Shades of Grey series.

*SPOILER ALERT* (if you care . . . dare . . . whatever)

Why would a successful entrepreneur who loves sexcapades aim his attentions so hard on a naive, average college student? Because Ana (the MC) physically resembles his dead birth mother and he wants to control [PUNISH] the heck out of her! BOOM!!

One of the best explanations I’ve read for why the hot love interest would suddenly be interested in the plain jane MC.

Hate or love this book, but that one concept is psychologically plausible. That’s what kept me reading, not the crazy sexcapades. I’m not one for the erotica genre. I even skipped a few scenes with simple flips of the page and STILL walked away with a good enough read. Now would I say the trilogy is one of my favorites or one that I’d recommend to others . . . that’s a different story.

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On the surface, Fifty Shades is chock full of wishful, fanfickory thinking and sex, BDSM style. I’m talking contracts, set rules, a red “play” room, and safe words. The whole shebang. But if you look more attentively, you’ll find that most of the scenes (even a few of the sex scenes) reveal a lot about Grey’s traumatic past and Ana’s potential to play both sides of dominance and submission. From what I read, each scene encompasses a power struggle and an opportunity for growth within and between the two characters.

EXAMPLES:

  • Ana struggles to make sense of her own sexuality and psyche more so than Grey’s. What is she open to, what does she like, what isn’t acceptable? Also, is power and dominance linked to one’s gender, age, intelligence, self-esteem, self-confidence, worldliness, or simply a signed agreement?
  • Grey doesn’t want Ana to EVER touch his chest and back. This isn’t negotiable. The horribly fascinating thing is there are burn marks on his chest and back. Does Ana eventually get to touch him there? How? Why?
  • Grey has former submissives; he isn’t new to BDSM. How did this start? Who introduced him to it? Will the revelation spring them forward or cause them to fall back in their relationship?
  • Grey’s former submissives have dark hair and other features that Ana possesses, too. Why? (You know why. I spoiled you)
  • Control and manipulation go far beyond the sex scenes. Is their relationship abusive? When is the right time to walk away? Should they trust their instincts?
  • Why do Grey and Ana crave such an erratic, off-balance, scandalous, tiring, painful love? Is it the kind of love they think they deserve? The kind of love they never thought they’d fall for? The kind of love that can grow and morph into something healthier?

Further Reading (written by someone with a therapist and lawyer/professor background):

Have you read the Shades series? Or did you spoil yourself by reading this post? Either way, what do you think of what I said? Agree or disagree?

What about YOUR main character(s)? Do you provide a plausible explanation as to why major things happen to them, or do you rely on readers to suspend their disbelief?

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6 comments on “Readers See Right Through You

  1. Ha, actually never read the book so…

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  2. No, actually I am the opposite. I am always critical of plots rely to much on a reader’s suspension of disbelief, almost to the point where it could potentially ruin a story for me. I have to control this in order to allow myself to enjoy a lot of literature.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sometimes it’s true, both in books and in films. In some romantic stories sometimes one wonders why quite a fabulous character would fall for somebody who is so run of the mill (My best friend’s wedding, for instance). Yours is the second post in two days I read about Shades that makes it sound more interesting and goes against the extreme reactions. Not sure if you’ve read this one. https://litworldinterviews.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/50-shades-storm-in-a-teacup-a-womans-thoughts-by-ftthum/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I’m tired of rolling my eyes. 😛 Is it too much to ask for the chance to believe wholeheartedly in a story and its main character(s)?

      Anywho, here’s a big thank you for the recommended reading! I loved that post, left a comment, and mentioned you ^_^.

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  4. I read all three, wasn’t particularly offended but was interested more in the psychology behind why both characters acted as they did, particularly Grey’s. It explored the possible long-term effects of childhood abuse, neglect and ultimately self-worth.

    I dislike being told what to think about a book or movie because of hype surrounding it. I actually read it because a lot of my much younger colleagues were in awe at the sexual exploits of the MCs and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I also enjoyed telling them later that older married couples have often explored their sexuality in many ways and that it wasn’t so terribly shocking. The look on their faces was worth it.
    If you can engage with some aspect of the MC and their struggle – no matter what it is – it’s worth finishing the book. The subsequent books dwelt less on sexual fantasy than the first if I remember correctly. I don’t know about the movie. I haven’t seen it and probably won’t for some time but only because I hardly ever watch movies. I do, however, like to compare the movie version with the book when its applicable so I probably will make a point of seeing it at some time.
    Now, I must go and check your links to see what others are saying. As I said, I hate when people get all righteous and pompous on books/films for whatever reason. It seems to be the case with this one that decrying it is popar. E.L. James may have written the book to titillate and shock – I have no idea – but I do think there is a bit more to it than that. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this. Thank you for sharing a breath of fresh air against popular opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

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