Thursday, 30 August 2012

Part 4: Sex sells… & Finally!

When I was a girl, scantily clad women were often draped across car bonnets (hoods) to sell the idea that the latest vehicle would make a man sexier, more appealing. Very little has changed, although fewer women are draped over cars… these days.

Advertising can be blatant or subtle and subliminal. And yet I began to wonder if this novel, 50 Shades, was a vehicle for product placement?

Perhaps not intentionally, maybe E L James tried to anchor her timeline so that we, (the reader) would know the story was current. For example: Mr Gray gives his protégé subordinate a MacBook, an iPad and a Blackberry. So that he can keep in touch? Or more ominously perhaps, he can track her as he uses GPS.

But the other question I’m curious about is that this book trades heavily on a previously successful trilogy of books written by Stephanie Meyer. What is plagiarism again?

These characters bear a direct and striking resemblance to the originals and that’s because ELJ started her writing on a fan fiction website. She chose to write her own version of what happened and all that’s missing from her fantasy version is werewolves and vampires.

Bella in Twilight had divorced parents, so does Anastasia.
Edward had access to fast cars, an expensive life style and plays the piano, as does Christian.
Bella is clumsy. So is Anastasia.
Edward’s good looking etc… the list goes on & on. All based in Seattle.

I thought ‘plagiarism’ was: ‘a close imitation…’

It seems to me that this flexibility maybe a result of the publishing industry struggling to survive in these tough economic times and that flexibility means plagiarism is now okay?

Therefore paying homage to a chosen author is acceptable. I wonder what Stephanie Meyer thinks?

Here’s a thought: will this book’s success mean that ‘erotica’ will no longer be stocked on the top shelf at motorway service stations and small independent newsagents?

And finally the reason for writing this quartet of posts – reading this trilogy triggered several thought processes for me and made me more enquiring.

Far from being discouraged I’m encouraged to keep writing because if ELJ can make it – why can’t I?

Tomorrow, I’ll move on to something completely different after this little interlude!

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