15 Howlers from Fifty Shades of Grey

04/12/2015 08:46 pm ET | Updated Jun 03, 2015

I recently re-read Mark Twain's smackdown of James Fenimore Cooper's dreary 1841 novel The Deerslayer which Twain ends with this barrage: has no lifelikeness, no thrill, no stir, no seeming of reality; its characters are confusedly drawn, and by their acts and words they prove that they are not the sort of people the author claims that they are; its humor is pathetic; its pathos is funny; its conversations are -- oh! indescribable; its love-scenes odious; its English a crime against the language.

Fifty Shades of Grey
came right to mind. The book is a marvel--but not the way I imagine the author intended. It reads like a first draft teenage fever dream. It would make a superb primer for creative writing students in how not to create character, how not to set scenes, how not to do sex writing, and how not to write prose. Yes, it's a best seller. So what? Brilliant marketing and karma did that, not quality.

Like The Deerslayer, it's often very funny, unintentionally so. Here are 15 terrific examples, though going to 50 wouldn't be difficult.

1--My subconscious has found her Nikes, and she's on the starting blocks.

2--His lips quirk up.


3--A frisson of trepidation mixed with tantalizing exhilaration sweeps through my body, making me wetter.

4--Each one is kissed and nipped gently and my nipples tenderly sucked. Holy crap. [the narrator's comment, not mine]

5--My inner goddess glares at me, tapping her small foot impatiently.


6--He looks

7--I can feel myself quicken.

8--I slice another piece of venison, holding it against my mouth.

9--And I come, my orgasm ripping through me, a turbulent, passionate apogee that devours me whole.


10--I rub my wrists reflectively--two strips of plastic will do that to a girl.

11--I know that lurking, not very far under my rather numb exterior, is a well of tears.


12--He kisses me passionately, forcing my lips apart with his tongue, taking no prisoners.


13--My subconscious is staring at me in awe.


14--He lays still, letting me acclimatize to the intrusive, overwhelming feeling of him inside of me.

15--I glower inwardly, walking away.

I have to sign off now because my subconscious just found its missing car keys.

Reposted from the Writing Across Genres blog at

Lev Raphael is the author of the comic Nick Hoffman mystery series and many other books which you can find at Amazon.