Monday, May 2, 2016

Share the Darkness

When Batman v Superman came out in March, there were plenty of critics (and average people, I suppose too) who complained that it was too dark and gloomy, unlike Marvel movies.  Superhero movies should be light and fluffy!  From a pure profit motive that might have been a good idea for DC/WB.  I mean leading up to the film's release they were talking about how there could be an R-rated cut, which signaled pretty well that it wasn't family friendly.  That kind of limited how many kids parents would let go to see it.

About the same time, I got a two-star review on my pseudonym's book Transformed for Thanksgiving, which said:

Well written story. The characters I found to be very sad. The wife has 38 years to learn how selfish her husband is. Yet when changed she becomes as useless as he ever was. So nothing to enjoy reading . Most of us live with unhappiness, thus reading about it is no fun. 

[As a side note, the "reviewer" was apparently under the impression the main character got married the moment she was born.]

The story was one of those that originally I thought would be kind of funny.  At Thanksgiving a woman is tired of her husband just sitting around watching football and stuff.  She makes a wish on the wishbone and finds herself transported to an alternate universe or whatever where her husband is a shy hippie girl and she's the stronger, more dominant one.  It doesn't take long before her new power goes to her head.  In the course of one day she cheats on her husband and just about rapes him in bed.  So, yeah, it got a bit darker than I thought.  If you were looking for a lighthearted, heartwarming tale that wasn't really it.  But then why are you reading erotica in the first place?  If you want light and fluffy get one of those cozy cat mystery books.

Honestly I don't think just saying "this was sad" or "this was dark" is a valid criticism.  Shakespeare wrote comedies and tragedies because there's a time when you want Taming of the Shrew and there's a time when you want Romeo & Juliet.  It's like with music:  if I'm in a down mood I might listen to Everybody Hurts by REM or if I'm in a good mood I'll listen to Shiny Happy People, also by REM.  Even simpler, not many people can eat the same thing every single day.  You need variety or else it gets to be a drag.

So when you bitch that a story is dark or sad and that's your only criticism, you're denying something basic, which is that people need choices. So yeah all superhero movies don't have to be like The Avengers and all gender swap stories don't have to be light and fluffy either.

That being said, the criticism I hear the most among pretty much all my names is that so-and-so didn't like it not ending Happily Ever After.  Sometimes I just want to say, "What are you, six?"  If you're a grown up, you should be able to handle that not everything will end Happily Ever After all the time--just like real life!  And as the writer I don't really want to make every story end happy because then there's not much fun or surprise in it for me or the reader, which is especially true when you write as many stories as I have.


  1. Well, your cover of a smiling woman does suggest fun and light. So I can kinda sympathize with the reviewer on this one.

    1. Yeah, well, there was only one sexy Thanksgiving woman so I didn't have a lot of choices.



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