Writer Rage: Giant Creepy Human Centipede of Weirdness

Author Jenny Trout does chapter by chapter book reviews, right? And I love her blog and her snark, but I found myself totally lost when I read her review of the first three chapters of After.

So I decided to read the thing since she said the chapters were blissfully short. She was right, of course, but the thing still pissed me off.

And this is what I bombarded my friends on Facebook with.

This is just part one of my FB ranting about the first book. There’s three in this series. But I’ve only finished the first, so let’s focus on that for right now.

Also, I didn’t start ranting until, like, chapter six or something. That’s how early/late (however you want to look at it) that this thing started bugging me.

A few quick things before you enjoy my writerly rage, the author’s warning:

This book contains detailed sexual scenes and tons of explicit language. If that isn’t your thing, you shouldn’t continue on, but if it is then you’ll enjoy. 🙂

Now this has been lauded to be the next 50 Shades of Grey, the sexy scenes of which nearly put me to sleep and were totally boring and unoriginal, so I wasn’t too concerned about that going in. I was just hopeful that maybe these were somewhat interesting sexytimes. Also,  I swear like a sailor on a regular basis so “explicit language” does not make me blink.

This next bit from the author’s note is a bit more worrisome, though:

Also, yes there are loads and loads of typos, be easy on me, this was an amazing and fun time for me and no one was reading it, I am fully aware of all the mistakes 🙂 Thank you for reading 🙂

Believe me, that thanks is unwarranted, Ms. Todd. I can understand an incorrect word here and there, because even I do that, but I don’t forgive people who can’t hit F7 and conduct a spell check. It takes five minutes, tops (unless you’re like me and don’t spell check until at least fifty pages have gone by since the last one).

But even if no one was reading it and she wrote it just for herself originally, you’d think even she would get caught up on the misspellings and want to fix them. I mean… if she were actually serious about this thing, which I question.

Also, that author’s note makes me feel like we’re in high school and posting to FF.net and saying stuff like, “don’t like, don’t read,” or “I had to write it for class and I just had too much fun with it that I had to post it here.”

Now, as we go, keep in mind the author is 25 years old.

All right. Let’s do this.

After001After002

I’m not sure how or where this trend started, but I don’t think it’s a good one to encourage. There’s enough slut shaming happening in school and in television right now, we don’t need to enforce the idea that if a girl enjoys sex she’s automatically a slut. It’s unfair to everyone involved. Putting it in our fiction only exacerbates the problem.

After003

After004I don’t know where this trend started, either. But it definitely has its roots in depicting an abusive relationship. I don’t want to get too much into this right now because I definitely need to really think about it before I talk about it, but I bring it up now to remind me later and to point out that there are extremely popular works of fiction glorifying abusive relationships without admitting that they’re abusive and women are just eating this up with giant spoons and that worries me to no end.

After005After006After007This is going to be an ongoing problem in the book/novella/story/whatever. Harry, the hero, will say things that Tess, the heroine, considers dirty. But I don’t consider these things dirty. They may not be appropriate to talk about in polite society, but they’re certainly fine to talk about with someone you’re being intimate with. Tessa’s virginal mindset is something I had to deal with growing up because of how I was raised and I felt for a long time that sex and sexual acts were dirty or wrong or whatever. I have since changed that opinion and I’m mildly offended when people, like Tess, consider something completely natural and, frankly, amazing to be dirty or wrong or what-have-you. It’s another form of slut shaming.

After008Again, virginal mindset in which she was raised to think her virginity was the best thing about her and that if she allowed anyone into her pants before marriage, she was considered “damaged goods.” I’m not saying that waiting until marriage before having sex is a bad thing. What I’m saying is thinking that someone who didn’t wait isn’t as pure and noble as yourself because you’re waiting and they didn’t is a bad thing. Let everyone make their own decisions and if their decision isn’t one you would have made, let it go.

And if you do decide to do something you once considered out of bounds or “dirty” (a word that I don’t enjoy using when it comes to sex unless there’s actual dirt involved, like if you have sexytimes out in the woods while you’re camping and you haven’t had a shower, then it’s dirty or whatever, Idk), there’s no reason for you to be ashamed or embarrassed by it. If your partner who engaged in said decision makes you feel ashamed or embarrassed, you need a new partner. Pronto.

 

After009Eleven RudeAfter010There’s a lot of arguing that happen in this story. Harry and Tess argue all the time. I shit you not. I have no problem with characters who argue a lot, I really don’t. My problem here is that it wasn’t written very well. Every time there was an exclamation point in the dialog, the dialog tag would include the words “shout,” “yell,” or “scream.” And exclamation point just wasn’t descriptive enough for Ms. Todd, it seems. This was mostly a pet peeve that kept getting poked at throughout this ordeal.

After011This was another ongoing thing in this. The entire time she roomed with Steph, Tessa would borrow her makeup without asking permission first. It was a huge example of how she had no respect or concept of boundaries whatsoever. If I ever found out someone was using my makeup with asking me first, I would feel massively violated and I would have to buy an entire new kit. I have sensitive skin and have to use hypoallergenic makeup to avoid infection, hives, and breakouts. I don’t share makeup, especially eye makeup, which is what Tess was using most. Every time she did this, I cringed. It was horrible.

After012After013

This was the part where I was starting to get the feeling that something was up. That maybe this whole thing wasn’t on the level. There were a few similarities between this and 50 Shades, and if there were similarities there, there would be some between this and Twilight seeing as 50 Shades is Twilight porn. But this was the big clue that maybe this was more like 50 Shades than I previously understood it to be.

So, seeing this one made me hyper-aware of anything that reminded me of 50 Shades, because while I didn’t read Twilight (because I have no interest in vampires that don’t die or get ridiculously ill in sunlight), I did read the porn AU because I wanted to understand why people loved it. Also because Jenny Trout did a sporking. I only read the first one, but that was enough for a lifetime.

After015After016

Michael’s my ex (often referred to as the Lawyer) who understands me super well and will often go along with whatever silliness I can think of, even if it’s illegal. He helped keep my rage a little less rampagey by making comments like this.

But seriously. The entire book, the genitals were never referred to by any sort of name whatsoever. They were referred to as “down there” on occasion, which is a distinct 50 Shades attribute, and fucking annoying, by the way. I don’t understand the appeal of not calling your heroine’s vagina a vagina or a pussy or a cunt. I mean, really. This is supposed to be erotica; use the appropriate vocabulary. “Down there” could mean anything. Is he fingering her knee or something? Be a bit more descriptive if you’re writing sex.

After017

After018 This is a by-product of slut shaming and everything that goes along with it. If you have sex and you weren’t coerced and you were sober and you consented, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Own your sexuality.

After019_Merida UGHMerida UGH

Yeah, he said something like, “Do you want me to kiss you down there” and I nearly threw my Merida cup across the room.

After020After021

Seriously. I wrote hyper-dramatic characters when I was sixteen. Since then, they’re only dramatic when it’s appropriate. Like when McReady finds out Belldonna’s been betraying him and their crew the whole time or when Cora’s done everything possible to save Dominic and he dies anyway or when Holmes is being an asshole and Bennett doesn’t care for it and she calls him out or when Lizzy’s father’s an asshole and Huck needs to save her from getting her ass beaten to death. You know. When dramatics are appropriate. Otherwise, they’re fairly rational people. Because I stopped being overly dramatic myself when I got out of high school.

After022

For the record, Harry Styles is the hero in this. You know, this guy:

Jenny Trout calls him "The Bad Boy Who Lived" and it makes me giggle.

Jenny Trout calls him “The Bad Boy Who Lived” and it makes me giggle.

Personally, I would’ve gone with Niall Horan:

And Jenny calls him "Baby Draco." Which also makes me giggle.

And Jenny calls him “Baby Draco.” Which also makes me giggle.

Because I’d rather be imagining Baby Draco’s face over The Bad Boy Who Lived any day. But recently, I’ve had a thing for blonds, so…

After023After024After025

If someone had warned me the slut shaming was rampant throughout the entire story, I wouldn’t have bother to even begin reading it.

After026

Seriously, Tess has been fooling around with Harry while she’s still dating Noah. I get that there’s sometimes an allure to the bad boy you’re not dating, but come on. If you willingly cheat and justify it more than twice, you’re officially a bad partner. Break up with your partner because no one deserves to be cheated on.

After027

I am not very vocal personally, I tend to be very quiet, but I do communicate what I want if something isn’t being done right. Because everyone involved in sexytimes deserves satisfaction. So I don’t see why people keep writing heroines who can’t ask for what they want in their erotica. I mean, how hard is it to say, “Hey, honey, you’re super good at going down on me and I’ve had a rough day. Maybe we could just do oral tonight?”

I’m told, by sources that are not me and my understanding of men who will sleep with women, that men who will sleep with women find it hot when they communicate what they need to get off during their random encounters of the sexy nature. My source may be a certain Lawyer, he may not be, but if he is a certain Lawyer, he’s probably very wise as to what the average Joe who sleeps with women like. Just sayin.

After028 After029After030

50 Shades reference. Though, I’m willing to believe that while Christian Grey’s nightmares were faked in order to emotionally manipulate Ana Steele, Harry’s nightmares may actually be genuine. It’s really difficult to fake a cold sweat. Doesn’t make the parallel any less annoying.

After031After032After033

But seriously. I think the boyfriend, Noah, may actually be closeted. Which is fine. But I don’t think that was Ms. Todd’s intent when she wrote him. I think she wanted him to just be this kid that’s known Tess since they were little and only dated her because it was expected and that he loves her in a more platonic way. Because Tess ends up realizing that she loves Noah platonic-ly and whatnot and so it was probably a two-way street of platonic love in their relationship. But everything this kid does feels super closeted to me. I’m willing to bet that even if he is closeted, he’ll never come out because that’s not what’s expected of him.

After034After035After036

More slut shaming mentality. There’s no reason to be embarrassed by sexytimes unless it was in a somewhat inappropriate location and you were caught with your pants down. I think that’s probably the only time it’d be fine to be embarrassed.

After037After038

This is when I actually twigged that it might be 50 Shades fanfic. This quote is lifted directly from 50 Shades; Christian Grey says it over and over and over.

After039After040After041And we’ve got our title for the After series reviews. There’s really no other way to describe how it felt to read this after reading 50 Shades and Jenny’s sporking of it.

After042After043

It literally took two paragraphs before I retracted my impressed nature of the confrontation. I was so hopeful, too.

After044_Crazy PillsCrazy pills

I don’t even remember what was going on at this point, but this was a repetitive reaction from me throughout reading the story.

After045

I drive a 2003 Corolla and they are good cars. They last forever and they’re safe. Just because Tess got it at a previously-owned dealership and the salesman was slimy doesn’t make her 2010 Corolla a bad car. I was actually offended by how dismissive she was about it. They’re good cars. If Toyota developed a hybrid Corolla, that’d be my dream car and I’d never drive anything else for the rest of my life.

After046After047

I write run-on sentences. I know I do. I wrote one earlier in this post. But I don’t write five of them in a row. If you’re an aspiring writer, don’t do that. It makes it really difficult to figure out what’s being said. Or trying to be said, at least. Sometimes a run-on can work very well in your favor. Just not a bunch right in a row.

After048Anything could have happened, really, and I would have reacted the same way. They could have attempted to help throw the One Ring into the fires of Mt. Doom and they would have gone about it in the most illogical, idiotic manner conceivable.

After049After050And that’s all for part one. There’s at least a part two on the way, plus the discussion I had about this with my friend, Handsome James, and since I’ve already started reading After 2, I’ll be raging about that as well. I’ll just be raging about it on Twitter since I promised Scottie I would so he wouldn’t have to unfriend me on Facebook. Scottie’s a good guy and he also banters with me wonderfully, but there’s only so much of my writer rage he can handle.

So in the next few days or so once the writer rage posts of After (1) are completed, if you follow me on Twitter (and if you don’t and would like to since I’m awfully quiet, my handle is @MissAliceGracey), you’ll definitely be treated or possibly tortured by some more writer rage. I promise I’ll actually swear because my family doesn’t do Twitter. I hope.

Good night, friends!

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About alicegracey

Writer, Actor, Advice Nerd. At least, that's what it says on my business card these days. Mostly, I just write in order to try to get my brain to shut up. I like to share what I write, but be warned, I don't do happy.
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