E.L. James, the best-selling author of "Fifty Shades of Grey," is picking up the pen, or the cursor, whatever the case may be, again.
But the woman who made it socially acceptable to read soft-core porn while riding public transportation has a project that is bound to leave literary critics reaching for the rusty razor blade.
James will write "Fifty Shades of Grey: Inner Goddess (A Journal)," which will serve as a how-to-guide for aspiring authors looking to spin their own pieces of "Twilight" fan fiction into literary sensations.
Publisher Vintage Books said the project will involve excerpts from the novels, writing tips and writing playlist. The cover, fittingly, is leather and boasts a red rippon marker, so you'll never lose a bodice-ripping minute scrambling to find your place. It hits stores on April 30, 2013.
James' book has sold more than 70 million copies worldwide and ignited a bidding war for the rights to a film version, which Universal Pictures and Focus Features won in 2012.
What it did not do is inspire critical raves.
"This is like Tom Wolfe –bad sex scenes but punctuated by non-sex scenes that are gut-wrenchingly awful," Julieanne Smolinski wrote on Vulture. "A passage where we find out what Anastasia Steele looks like via girl-frowning-at-her-appearance-in-a-mirror exposition should be punishment for vehicular manslaughter in some states."
Even critics who acknowledged the novels' pleasures conceded that James is not much of a prose stylist.
"So you decide if you want to read them. It’s the same as deciding to do crack, or watch every episode of all four seasons of a series in a single weekend," Paige Nick wrote in the Sunday Times. "You know it’s bad for you, but in some mindless, drooling way, you also know how good it feels to succumb to complete undemanding escapism."
But at least we'll get to find out what's on James' playlist. I'm guessing "Whip It."