Romance novels are a multi-billion dollar industry. Romance novels sell better than any other genre, which is part of the reason for the flood of romance novels that come out every year. Last year’s figures haven’t been released, but for the second or third year in a row in 2016, romance novelists filled the top 5 writers who made the most money. Number 1 has been James Patterson for a very long time and I’m not sure he will ever be dethroned simply because of the sheer volume of sorta Patterson novels he releases. But that’s another post for another day.
And even though lots of readers love Stephen King as well as Nora Roberts, Roberts still out sells King. Which is why it wasn’t that big of a shock when Fifty Shades of Grey became a bestseller. Despite the fact that it deals with counter culture…
Every so often something comes along and makes counter culture trendy. Which is ironic and absurd considering counter culture is not supposed to be trendy. The Ramones did it in the 1980s. Punk music never reached the heights that rock and roll did, but most people who lived through the 1980s, knew at least one song by the Ramones who are a punk rock band. I was fond of I Wanna Be Sedated, but then who wasn’t?
The problem with it is we get a very narrow glimpse into life in a counter culture based on the bias of the person or people who made it trendy. Like what happened with Fifty Shades. Suddenly, the world was given a glimpse into a dom/sub relationship. Only, it is a broken, toxic relationship. I didn’t make it through the first book because I was annoyed by Christian Grey. I haven’t watched the movies because I don’t believe it would alleviate my annoyance with Christian Grey.
I remember a couple of twenty-somethings saying things like they wished they could find a guy like Grey after the books came out. Um, no, no you don’t. My annoyance with Grey was that he wanted a bottom, but he didn’t want to be a good top. The dom-sub world works on mutual trust and a clear understanding of roles and expectations. A good top or good Dom should respect his sub. Grey doesn’t do that very well. It makes me wonder… I know the author says she based it on her dom/sub relationship that she lives in. If her Dom is like Grey, she needs to run away.
It’s been so long, I don’t remember any specific details on why Grey was a terrible top, except that he didn’t respect his partner. I just remember thinking “Good lord, this guy has serious issues and should not be allowed power over anyone, ever”. If you want a better understanding of Dom/Sub relationships, read The Story of O. Even though it was published in the 1950s or 1960s, it is a much healthier dom/sub relationship. It also does an excellent job of explaining the role of a top. It was recommended to me by a lady who was a top.
Where was I going with this? Oh yes, the glimpse into the dom/sub world we get from Fifty Shades is dysfunctional, yet it has made the lifestyle somewhat trendy and more acceptable in society. It has also lead to an increase in fan fiction. If a piece of fan fiction can make someone rich, then what’s to say fan fiction won’t make someone else rich. Someone once gave me a short story in which Aislinn and Malachi were married. It was interesting, but they had made Malachi far more caring than he really is. Part of the reason I can’t write with Malachi very well is because I think a cod has more feeling than him. He’s too dominate for my tastes as a writer. Which might have been the problem with Christian Grey. If the writer is a Sub, his dominate personality may not have been attainable for her as a writer because she is dominate enough to truly understand it. He’s not a psychopath like Malachi, but he does have some strong personality traits that came across as abusive and uncaring.