An Open Letter to EL James

Hello Erika. Can I call you Erika? I kind of don’t want to because I keep having to correct myself, but I suppose it’s not your fault that your parents didn’t know the right spelling of Erica.

Anyway, I feel compelled to write to you, two days after the debut of your new ‘novel’, Grey. What, why the quotation marks, you ask? I figured it was obvious, but I am as hesitant to call your latest work a novel as I am to call you a writer. Yes, it is a collection of words available for sale, and you put words on (virtual) paper, but to me the words ‘novel’ and ‘writer’ still imply a certain amount of quality, which is sadly lacking from your output.

Which brings me to the crux of this open letter. I can understand the urge to take whatever is floating around in your brain and put it on (virtual) paper. I can understand the way something will continue to haunt you until you fix it down. What I cannot understand is why you feel the need to then inflict it upon the world.

‘Thousands of readers wanted to see the story from Christian’s point of view’, you said. Maybe this is so, but considering the amount of books you have sold, thousands represent a tiny voice in an ocean of people shouting ‘please dear God no more, make it stop!’ For every one of those thousands of readers who wanted to get inside Christian’s head, there must have been at least ten who wished there was some kind of mind-brush capable of erasing your drivel from their brain, or who wished they’d never paid to read your enormous pile of shit. I know I am one of them.

But no, Erika, you chose to listen to that tiny minority who still live under the delusion that Christian is in any way desirable. You chose to rehash a dire book and re-write it without improving on it in any way, shape or form.

Have I read it? Good God no, I’d rather scoop out my eyes with a rusty spoon. But I have read enough reviews to know that your ability as a writer has in no way improved, and that you have not even had the decency to put a nice twist into the story. No, by all accounts it is an exact copy of Fifty Shades of Grey, scene by scene, word by word. I’m thinking that the only way this book might be marginally better than the original is because we won’t have to put up with Ana’s inner goddess anymore, but somehow I think that you’ll have come up with an equally annoying thing for Christian.

The thing is, Erika, I know the lure of writing down a story from the point of view of one of your other characters. I have done it too. The only difference between me and you is that my switched viewpoint stories live only on my computer hard drive, not on Amazon with a price tag of £3.66. I’ve not tried to milk more money out of my books by giving you the exact same story again. Okay, I don’t sell nearly as many books as you have done (and yes, that really pisses me off), but even if I did I would have more pride than to do that. Besides, the couple of times I did start to write some scenes from the opposite point of view, I got bored after the third time of having to check what it was, exactly, that they said again. Take it from me, it’s much more fun to take a completely different point in time instead and write about something that people won’t know yet. That way you give them both new content and a fresh viewpoint.

Erika, I implore you to look on Goodreads and check out all those reviews of Grey with gifs showing people flogging dead horses or milking cows. They’re trying to tell you something. You’re already a multi-gazillionaire (and yes, that also really pisses me off); you really don’t need any more money. You haven’t had the decency to learn how to write in the time between Fifty Shades Freed and Grey, and if you actually had a professional editor (something I highly doubt) I’d imagine he or she has quietly killed themselves.

Please, please, please, Erika, do not inflict any more of your atrocious drivel onto the world. I know I don’t have to read it, but unfortunately I do have to sit through all the incessant advertising and the people trying to proclaim it’s actually worth reading. I am not a violent person, but if you insist on publishing more ‘books’, I will be forced to come find you and cut off your fingers so you’ll never type anything ever again.

And don’t say that you can use speech recognition software, because that’ll just force me to also cut out your tongue.

Please, Erika, no more.

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