About a month ago I caved under the peer pressure and downloaded the first book of the hot Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James. Having now finished the third book, I’ve decided that I’m really more of a 31 flavors kind of gal rather than 50 shades. What does that mean? I’m a big fan of Baskin Robbins… right? Well, that is true. But that’s not where I’m going with this. I have always been a big supporter of the phrase “less is more”. It doesn’t matter to me whether you’re talking about too many Christmas lights or excess print in advertising. If you over-do it, you can actually detract from the beauty of your product. For me, such was the case with the explicit sex scenes in these novels.
Now…. allow me to clarify a couple points. First, I enjoyed the stories and characters a great deal. The drama, suspense, and plot twists made them seem very soap – like, which is a plus in my mind. James ends each of the first two novels with great cliff-hangers. Another plus. I was so anxious to find out what happened that I downloaded the next in the series as soon as I read the last page. Second, when I say that the explicit scenes were a little much, that should not indicate that I am any sort of prude. Those who know me would tell you that I am anything but.
James weaves a great tale and clearly, sex does sell. But I eventually found myself skimming over some of the graphic details just to get to the next reveal in the story. I have written a few steamy scenes myself, but I prefer to lead the reader up to the good stuff and let them take it from there. Not only does this keep the focus of the novel on the characters and the plot, but it also leaves more to the imagination. If you ask me, the imagination is a very powerful tool and I think it’s worth developing.