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message 1: by Everly (new)

Everly Anders | 207 comments Mod
For those of you who have not been under a rock, you know all about the success of the runaway hit, 50 Shades of Grey. You may not agree with the subject matter, but you have to say something for the author who has never written anything before and decided to tackle a subject that no one else has talked about. What are your thoughts?


message 2: by Judy (new)

Judy Olson | 7 comments I would congratulate the author on the obvious success of these books, but will not be adding them to my TBR list because this type is not my particular cup of tea.


message 3: by Sandra (last edited Jun 14, 2012 10:02AM) (new)

Sandra  (myfictionnook) | 37 comments Actually, she has written before. A fanfic called Safe Haven, which was posted on FFn and her now defunct blog under the name SnowQueens IceDragon. She then 'published' on FFn, and continued on her blog, a story called Master Of The Universe, also a Twilight fanfiction, that ran on and on and on, which then became 50 Shades of Crap. In three installments, so she could maximize the milk of that cow.

Copies of the fanfic are readily available if you google it. Dare to compare.

I was around for much of the time this novel spent as a fanfic, and whether the subject matter or not appeals to someone doesn't negate the fact that the published version is an 89% match to the fanfiction, which was based on Stephenie Meyer's characters. In my eyes, this is a very shady, illicit and amoral way to make money. The author was given free beta (editing) services, free help from the fandom as far as location/expressions/Americanisms were concerned, free banners etc - all because in the fandom, people support each other. To then turn around and claim that it was never really fanfic is a blatant lie, IMHO, one that's been proven incorrect on many blogs and news blips. The initial success of this 'novel' in its published form came also from the fandom - most of the early readers and supporters are those who initially read this as fanfic.

Of course, this author is not the only one who's pulled her fanfiction and decided to publish it. A great number of writers have done the same. It's a shameful trend, IMHO, and one that I won't support.

If you want to write a book, you should do so based on your own characters. Not someone else's.

I'm aware of the argument that FSoG does not containing vampires. Many people, myself included, have done the comparisons. It's Twilight - just with whips and chains and thangs.


message 4: by Everly (new)

Everly Anders | 207 comments Mod
Very interesting stuff Sandra. Thank you for your thoughts!


message 5: by Lauryn (new)

Lauryn April (laurynapril) | 44 comments I have not read it, so I can't comment on the work itself. From what I've heard it's very different from Twilight, and the subject matter alone doesn't seem like something I can visualize Edward and Bella being apart of. So, just because it started out as fanfic doesn't mean that it's not her work.

I like to think that the point of fanfic is to write about characters that already exist in books and on TV in a way that readers recognize them as those characters, and then putting them in your own storyline. If this started as a piece of fanfic, and when you read it you said "that's bella" and "edward is so in character" then thats a good piece of fanfic, but if you're going to publish it as your own you shouldn't still be able to say that about the characters in your own work.

From what I know about 50, the storyline is definatly hers, but if she just took Bella and Edward from her fanfic piece and gave them new names then I don't think the characters are really hers. But, if she really re-worked it and made them new and different then I don't see anything wrong with it.

There's nothing wrong with having your characters inspired by other characters. Even Stephanie Meyer's Bella and Edward are inspired by something. Maybe people she knows, maybe she puts a little of herself into them, and maybe she was inspired by other starcrossed characters in literature, like Romeo and Juliet or Buffy and Angel from Buffy the vampire slayer, because in all honesty I always wondered if Twilight started out as Buffy fanfic.


message 6: by Sandra (last edited Jun 14, 2012 11:11AM) (new)

Sandra  (myfictionnook) | 37 comments Hi Lauryn,

at 89% the same, she basically changed names. And possibly Edward's eye color from green to grey. Also, some of the numerous ellipsis were removed.

These status updates are an example of how this novel was
"nothing like Twilight". http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

This issue has been debated for over a year now, ever since the first novel came out.

Yes, authors are inspired by other characters, but when you write a fanfic, you are taking on someone else's characters and their individual idiosyncrasies as your own. You don't have to explain why Edward is a certain way, or that he likes to play the piano, or that he's highly intellectual, because that is implied when you name your character Edward Cullen.

Or that Bella is klutzy, shy and has low self-esteem - you don't have to go into detail, because it is expected for that character to be that way.

And that's what's wrong with taking a fanfic, doing a find/replace on names, and calling it your own. It's not.

ETA: And if you do write your own characters, and develop them from the ground up, it's not a fanfiction, and it shouldn't be posted as such. Yes, it happens, but until the legalities of the whole situation are adjudicated in court, my opinion remains that a fanfic doesn't belong to its writer, but to the owner of the IP that writer is using.


message 7: by Lauryn (new)

Lauryn April (laurynapril) | 44 comments Sandra wrote: "Hi Lauryn,

at 89% the same, she basically changed names. And possibly Edward's eye color from green to grey. Also, some of the numerous ellipsis were removed.

These status updates are an example..."


I agree that if all she did was change their names then those characters are not her own. My point was that we shouldn't take this case and use it as a reason to think poorly of fanfiction or of writers who used to write fanfiction.

Fanfiction is written out of love for anothers work and no one should make money off it. But, that doesn't mean that anyone who writes fanfiction just takes their stories and gives their characters new names. There are a few authors who have done this, but there are also authors who started writing fanfic and grew their skills and then started developing their own characters.

I'm not trying to debate whether or not this particular author did things correctly or not, and from what you've said she hasn't. What I'm saying is there is a fine line between being inspired by and copying. (Though maybe it's less 'fine' in this case, I can't say as I havn't read the book). And, as writers do use other characters as inspiraion, we should be careful about how we handle issues like this.


message 8: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (myfictionnook) | 37 comments Lauryn wrote: "...and use it as a reason to think poorly of fanfiction or of writers who used to write fanfiction.

Fanfiction is written out of love for anothers work and no one should make money off it. But, that doesn't mean that anyone who writes fanfiction just takes their stories and gives their characters new names. There are a few authors who have done this, but there are also authors who started writing fanfic and grew their skills and then started developing their own characters."


I completely agree. I write fanfiction myself, and I enjoy it. It's a wonderful, creative outlet to me, and it has allowed me to hone my skills.

There are many talented writers in the fandom I belong to, and I will cheer loudly for any one of them, if they write something that wasn't once one of their fanfics.

The people who simply take down their fanfictions, change the names and a few other minor details, and then publish it as 'original' fiction are exactly the ones I have an issue with. And Ms. James is just one of them, albeit the most famous one to date.


message 9: by Lauryn (new)

Lauryn April (laurynapril) | 44 comments After reading your comments in the link you listed above I understand why you are so outraged by Ms. James. It appears that this is not just converted fanfiction but possibly a rewriting of Twilight with more sexual themes. Converting fanfiction is one thing but copying character for character and using the same relationships and story structure are another.

I personally would never take one of my fanfic stories and rework it as my own. I wrote them to be fanfic and they should stay that way, but I think if you have a new and origional story line in your fanfic piece that you could sucessfully make it completely your own. It would appear that 50 does not do this.

Sandra, I think you and I probably agree on this subject much more than we disagree.


message 10: by Rob (new)

Rob Osterman (robosterman) | 168 comments There's a lot here worth commenting on and I'm hestitant to do too much as I've not read the books.

On the subject of Fanfic/ Original Fic, I just hope she's got a bigger army of lawyers than Meyers does. As the books make more and more money, they create more and more incentive for Meyers and her publishers to let a few judges decide where homage writing (aka not for profit fan fic) and professional writing start and stop.

~Personally~ I think the road she took to get where she is with this particular work is inappropriate. I already feel a little skeevy knowing that the characters I'm writing about started in Startrek Online as ~my~ characters there but I've also worked very in my world building to distance myself from Star Trek and other Sci/Fi franchises.

To have an ~entire~ novel series first written with another person's characters and then just tweeked enough to feel safe for publishing, however, doesn't feel right.

As to the content?

I think it's interesting how something that's not that terribly uncommon a fantasy is becoming a mainstream conversation point. I find it amusing that hardware store guys are explaining to housewives how if they're going to clothes line for non clothes purposes that they need the thicker stuff to avoid uncomfortable pinching. Perhaps this is a generally good thing to get more couples talking?

I think it's more the case that the right book hit the right audience that was ready for it. Given the ... alternative life style overtones of Twilight, it's not a surprise that someone would just them a little more front and center and then play with them. In some ways I'd almost rather we'd skipped over Twilight all together and just got straight to 50 shades so there's no confusion about "adult" relationships and more "traditional mainstream" ones.


message 11: by Sandra (last edited Jun 14, 2012 01:23PM) (new)

Sandra  (myfictionnook) | 37 comments Lauryn,

you may be right. To me, it goes beyond reworking.

Let's say you use the original Twilight characters, their family relationships, their idiosyncrasies, their looks, their names, their entire make-up and write your fanfiction story around them. You didn't do much character development, because the characters are pretty much already done - you just tweak the situations a little (or a lot) and call it a fanfic.

Then you take that same fanfic offline, find/replace names and some minor details, and call it an original novel.

If your story is really that new and original, then why make it a fanfic to begin with? Why try to force your own characters to behave like the one from the story you fanfic'ing? I tell you why - because you know that there's a built-in audience for it.

"Hello, fandom, look what I got for you - it's a story with your favorite characters. Won't you give me reviews and concrit and banners and assistance all for free? I'll update every few days, just for you. Oh wait, now that it's finished, I'm going to just pull this find/replace thing and whoopdidoo, I have an original novel. Why are you crying foul?"

And while the above may be legal (so far), I find it morally reprehensible, even if your story was original and your own characters, but with the Twilight character names and attributes.

Elle - I apologize for taking this thread so far off-topic, but this is something I've grappled with for quite some time now.

ETA: After reading through this again, I want to make clear that I'm not talking about anyone in particular when I use "you" in the above.


message 12: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (myfictionnook) | 37 comments Rob - the problem is that you can separate 50 Shades from Twilight because that's where it came from. I've read the first 50 Shades book and it is almost exactly like the first 1/3 of the fanfic.

You might be right, though - perhaps this book was published at the right time with the right kind of topic, which may have contributed to its success. I can also assure you that this book wouldn't have become as big as it is, if it weren't for the relentless promotion from parts of the Twilight fandom. There are many, many other erotic novels with similar concepts that didn't make it this big. And most of them are better written, to boot.


message 13: by Denise (new)

Denise Baer I haven't read the book, but heard somewhat about it being sexual in nature--bondage. BDSM peaks many people's interest and I think it's popular because many women like being submissive. They want change and excitement in bed and this book fulfills that want. I believe that's why it's successful.

I read an article (sorry I don't know where) that stated blindfold sales increased since this book.

Other authors have stated the writing is poor, again can't comment on that, but it doesn't matter. Great story always trumps great writing.


message 14: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (fangirljeanne) As Sandra has done a great job of giving details about the sorted past of this Twilight fan Fiction turned best selling novel, I will only add a few additional points.

First, BDSM erotica has been a thriving subgenre of romance for easily ten years (one could argue longer, but I don't want to quibble). Although, this particular brand of moralistic (Beauty and the Beast) tale, in which the heroine 'saves' the hero from his darkness, in this case BDSM sex, doesn't legitimate represent the lifestyle.

In fact, the insinuation that the novel makes about the lead male's past abuse being directly connected to BDSM and the manipulative demands of the heroine for him to give up or diminish them in favor of 'healthier' forms of sexual expression is insulting to the entire BDSM community.

So James isn't actually tackling "a subject that no one else has talked about." She is using the taboo of it to sell her subpar novel. If you read the novel there are only two very minor instances of BDSM play in the series, tantamount to a rough spanking.

Second, I think it's important to not get distracted by the debates about the similarities between the fan fiction and the novel (though said similarities are well documented), but rather the nature of how this story became a best seller.

In truth, James pulled inspiration from multiple sources (including Twilight, Pretty Woman, Beauty and the Beast and countless 80's Romance novel cliches) to construct this story, but rather than self publishing it as an original novel (like she and her publish are asserting) she published it online as a Twilight Fan Fiction. She used the names Bella and Edward, even used the basic characterizations of the lead characters and the story structure of the Twilight novels (primarily the first one), but this is incidental. What is important is that she marketed her story to Stephenie Meyer's fans as Twilight fan fiction, a story about their beloved characters.

Through this short cut she was able to garner an emotional attachment to her story that would have been hard won if she'd published it as original. She also used the promotional fan websites to market her story to other fans, utilized the knowledge and skills of those fans to edit her stories. She even used the skills of a fellow fan to design her website both in it's original fandom form and it's current form as her author website (the details of which was proved by Galleycat, until James asked the WayBack machine to exclude her site from their archives).

All these services were provided for free, one fan to another. After all this is the nature of fan communities, because we are all doing it for the love of Twilight, right? Not so much in the case of James.

Once she had finished writing both two complete fan fictions about these characters (Mater of the Universe Part 1 & 2, that then were divided into the 3 50Shade novels) she pulled them off the internet did the bare minimum of an edit to the manuscript (replacing names and other minor changes) and published them for profit. Using the new found followers she acquired in the Twilight fandom to help her promote her novel on GoodReads, Amazon and even on book review blogs created by her readers for the primary purpose to promote her novel. You can see many of these readers' reviews mention reading the story as a fan fiction. These well intentions readers who truly believe that James is one of them (a friend and fellow fan of Twilight), but is she really?

In my opinion, no. James is simply a marketer who has a marginal ability to write.

In actuality E.L. James or rather Erika Mitchell started out in television and has many connections in advertising and marketing. It is these connections and the connections she made through the Twilight Fan Fiction fandom that used to promote her novel.

So the issue isn't whether Fifty Shades of Grey is or isn't a fan fiction, it is. That is a fact. The issue is that Erica Mitchell used Stephenie Meyer's fans and fandom to market her novel and launch her career.

As writers would you want your fans to be exploited in this manner? Is fan fiction a legitimate form of marketing a novel? If so, how comfortable would you be with someone wrote a fan fiction based on your characters and world only turn around to claim the story is their own and try to sell it?

The fundamental issue is a matter of ethics. Fan communities are based on mutual trust and respect. Fan works (like fan fic, fan art, etc) are created to celebrate someone else's creation and to share that joy with other fans of that work. It is not a writer's workshop or a place to market other works.

However because of the success of Fifty Shades many other fan fiction authors are pulling down their fan fiction in the hopes that they will have similar success. Worse yet there are publishers are exploiting this "new slush pile" of fan fiction to find authors who have established readership and giving them contracts to publish the fan fiction only to turn around and market to the people who reader it for free as fan fiction.

I will end my comment here, but I just want to say that before you brush aside this book and the issues surrounding it, I ask that you think about how it has contributed to the division a community of fans. Not to mention how it has lowered the standards of many legitimate publishing houses who are desperate to turn a profit. Yes it changed published, but is it for the better?


message 15: by Everly (new)

Everly Anders | 207 comments Mod
Lauryn wrote: "After reading your comments in the link you listed above I understand why you are so outraged by Ms. James. It appears that this is not just converted fanfiction but possibly a rewriting of Twiligh..."

You make some great points!


message 16: by Everly (new)

Everly Anders | 207 comments Mod
I read an article that said Myers did not mind E.L James writing a fanfiction piece from Twilight. She also said the success did not bother her. We shall see what her lawyers think though. Whether you like fanfiction or not, it is here to stay. I run a Facebook page and have over 4,000 teens on it. Most of them say the write fanfiction. They are going to be the next generation of writers, so we had better get used to it. I personally love fanfiction and don't see any problem with it. Let's face it, people have been emulating other artists for hundreds if not thousands of years, this is just the first wave of people admitting it. I think as long as you say it is fanfiction, then you're ok.


message 17: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (fangirljeanne) Elle wrote: "I read an article that said Myers did not mind E.L James writing a fanfiction piece from Twilight. She also said the success did not bother her. We shall see what her lawyers think though. Whether ..."

Well said and I agree, Fan Fiction is here to stay and there is nothing wrong with it as long as it stays fan fiction.


message 18: by Rob (new)

Rob Osterman (robosterman) | 168 comments I think that is the fundamental thing really in all this:

What the blue bloody blazes is Fan Fiction? Who is it for? And can/how do you make profit from it?

Another personal thing: I had the idea to tell the story of Hogwarts during WWII. How would the wizarding world deal with the Nazi rise in Germany? Specifically, what if a well intentioned young wizard were to sneak a muggle German Jew into Hogwarts to help hide her during the war?

I think it'd be a compelling piece of fanfic. But I didn't pursue it because I wasn't sure how I could justify the time spent on it when I could be working on stuff that I'd own out right, free and clear, to sell.

And that's where this all rubs me wrong. If it weren't for the fanfic and the fandom communities, it'd just be another BDSM novel that, like Twilight, goes out of it's way to "Get it Wrong" about relationships.

And maybe that's another stick in my craw.

Meh. For those that know that love isn't about telling your partner that you'll just make their choices for them, or that BDSM isn't caused by abuse, I suppose it's no matter.


message 19: by Everly (new)

Everly Anders | 207 comments Mod
Ok, I know a lot of people here have a lot to say about the fact that it is fan fiction. There seems to be some confusion about whether she admits that it's fan fiction or not. Here is a link to her interview on The View where she clearly says it's fan fiction.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6oGgx...


message 20: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (fangirljeanne) Why she has admitted to it starting out as a fan fiction, what is debated is how other details about how the fan fiction became a published have been distorted.

She claims that she started posting the fan fic to FFnet, but pulled it down because of the explicit content and then reworked it into an original. Not true.

All three books in the 50Shades series were written and posted in their entirety online for free as the Twilight Fan Fictions Master of the Universe Part 1 and 2. (The first two books are Part 1 of the fan fic split in two. The last book is Part 2.) She did pull her fic down from FFnet, but only to post it on her own website and continued to post it until both parts of the fan fic were complete. [This is validated by the many complete copies of the fan fic that can be compared to the books and Galleycats article about the web history of her website.]

She and her publisher maintain that the fan fiction was heavily edited and doesn't resemble the fan fiction at all.

Again, false. Dear Author did a side by side comparison of the fan fic and the first book proving there was very little difference. If one fan fiction they would be able to see the same is true of all the books.

Unfortunately, the author is trying to eliminate all the copies of the fan fiction that are available online. If there were no similarities between the fan fic and the novel why woud the author work so hard to cover up proof?

There's a difference between admitting the truth and distorting it. One has to wonder why she is not being completely truthful about the entire backstory.


message 21: by Rob (new)

Rob Osterman (robosterman) | 168 comments There's a difference between admitting the truth and distorting it. One has to wonder why she is not being completely truthful about the entire backstory.

I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that she's becoming rich and all of it could vanish in an instant if a judge or two decide that she's on the wrong side of international copyright law?

Of course.. this will also put the legality of Fan Fiction once again front and center. We know that some things are out right off the table based on the rules regarding the Harry Potter Lexicon and their efforts to publish a complete handbook of the Potter-Verse.

But what about having an original story that simply features characters with preset backgrounds? Is that a violation ~of the law~?

Good or bad, the courts don't rule on morality, only what the laws say.


message 22: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (fangirljeanne) Rob,

YES! Thank you for being one of the first people to bring up the whole HP Lexicon kerfuffle. That is great example of blatant infringement.

While this is might be trickery to convince a judge, but I think that taking the angle of showing how the root of the book's success is that it started as a Twilight fan fiction. That is how it came to be written, that is what lead to it being initially published (by a publisher based in the Twilight fandom) and it relied upon the emotional attachment that Stephenie Meyer's fans had for her characters Edward and Bella to garner a fan following.

I would really love to see this debated in court, not only to have the issue Fifty Shades legality clear up, but so it could be clearly defined that MONEY/Profit is the defining factor in infringement. To profit from a derivative work without the permission of the IP holder is theft and is wrong.

That's just my personal feelings on infringement and fan fiction, I know others don't see it that way.

Good or bad, the courts don't rule on morality, only what the laws say.

And sadly, there is no case, that I'm aware of that clarifies this issue.


message 23: by Rob (new)

Rob Osterman (robosterman) | 168 comments ~chews on that a little~

But is money really the only way we have true infringement? Is intent enough? Is the use?

What is profit? I write original work, but I could get a name better known by writing fan fic and getting people to know me. A good lawyer could make the case that my Queen's Fury sales only came as a result of my popularity from writing unapproved fanfic.

Where it gets dicey is that I'm not even sure that the ~concept~ of fanfic is wholey legal, but no one wanted to deal with it because fans want what fans want and no one wants to bite the hands that feed them. I'd be flattered that people liked my stuff enough to write about it. It'd be great publicity for my writing. But that doesn't make it ~legal~.

Sadly I'm going to bet my next royalty check that we'll never know for sure. The more money 50 Shades makes, the more likely it is that some settlement will be reached so that everyone makes a ton of money and life goes.


message 24: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (fangirljeanne) You make a great point.

After all, Cassandra Clare got her book deal based on her existing reader base from writing fan fiction. Not to mention, that if Joss Whedon and JK Rowling were to look closely at the Mortal Instruments series (specifically the first book, which started life as an unpublished fan fic Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Harry Potter crossover fic) they might think they are owed some royalties.

So where is the line between legal derivatives and clever thievery?

I'm with you, I don't think we'll ever know.


message 25: by Lauryn (new)

Lauryn April (laurynapril) | 44 comments Of course.. this will also put the legality of Fan Fiction once again front and center. We know that some things are out right off the table based on the rules regarding the Harry Potter Lexicon and their efforts to publish a complete handbook of the Potter-Verse.

This is exactly where I fear this issue with 50 shades will go. I don't want to see fanfiction become illegal or for there to be restrictions put on people's creativity and their ability to share their love of other people's work.

It's legal to write and sell parody's of other people's work which gives someone the ability to make money off another's existing fanbase and in turn they make fun of the work they represent. I don't want to see fanfiction, which no one (should) makes money off of, and is written with respect of another's work, become illegal.

To copy someone else's work and make money off it is wrong, but it would also be wrong to take this too far and make fanfiction illegal. Where does it end? Should we be upset about "West Side Story" because it's based on "Romeo and Juliet"?

Inspiration is powerful, and maybe there's a thin line between being inspired by and stealing. But it's not worth it to persue thievery so far that we make inspiration illegal.

Also, as a side note, Joss Whedon has always supported fanfiction, and I think fanfiction is in part how his characters still live on years after their shows have ended. I dare to say that without fanfiction keeping Buffy alive, his Season 8 comic which came out four years after the series ended would not have been as sucessful. It's wrong to steal, but anything that grows your fanbase, including fanfiction, helps your sales.


message 26: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 54 comments @ Lauryn: Where does it end? It doesn't, not really. It all depends on how far a particular author and his/her lawyers want to take it. My favorite piece of writing on the matter is this little gem from Orson Scott Card (I know he rubs some people, sometimes including myself, the wrong way, but when he's on, he's REALLY on)-

http://www.linearpublishing.com/Rhino...


message 27: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (fangirljeanne) @Masha

I'm going to have to disagree about Orson Scott Card being on. After reading that rant I can't figure out whether he is more upset over JK Rowling supposedly stealing his ideas or that she had the audacity to sue a fan who was trying to profit off publishing what was essentially en encyclopedia based on her work (the contents of which were predominantly made up of direct quotes from the Harry Potter books).

It also demonstrates how inconsistent Orson Scott Card can be depending on his mood or personal stake in the topic. In the past he has been VERY adamant about how authors do precisely what Rowling did, or in his words to to AGGRESSIVELY protect your own authorship of characters.

I know that Rowling's reasoning for the lawsuit (other than the obvious infringement) was she was in the process of working on her own guide to the Harry Potter universe. The published Lexicon was in direct competition.

As a HP fan who watched this situation go down my personal objection to publishing the lexicon was A) It was already available for free online and B) that despite what Steven Vander Ark claimed he was not the only person who worked on the Lexicon. In fact the lion share of the work done compiling, confirm and creating the Lexicon was done by volunteers. Fellow fans who donated their time and worked to create something that could be shared (for free) by other fans.

This Lexicon case is a wonderful example of how individuals exploit the generosity of a fan community for their own gain. Much in the same way that authors like E.L. James who pull down their fan fiction to publish it for profit.

While I understand that this does bring the question of the legality of fan fiction itself for some people, but to me it's an issue of exploitation of the fan community.

Fan fiction by definition is fiction made by fans for fans. It is a shared experience that celebrates a beloved IP. The operative word being share.

It is only when the sharing aspect stops that it is no longer a fan work and it is crossing the line into profiting off someone else's IP. /end rant


message 28: by Jeanne (new)

Jeanne (fangirljeanne) I wanted to share this with you guys to shed light on another aspect of this issue and to further demonstrate what I mean when I say that people are exploiting fan communities and fan fiction.

This author has pulled her fan fiction and published it. In the image below she explains how she converted her original novel to a Twilight fan fiction for the express purpose to get feedback and gage whether people would read her work.




message 29: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 54 comments @ Einfach: The point Orson Scott Card was making is how easy it is to make a case that someone's work is "stolen." (My husband thinks Harry Potter is a ripoff of Lord of the Rings and made a pretty good case of it as well). Of course if you want to go down the road of "gifted child saves the world" I'm sure it's been done before Ender's Game as well:) As to the other link you posted, as I said, he's not *always* on, only some of the time.


message 30: by Marina (new)

Marina Fontaine (marina_fontaine) | 54 comments By the way, with all the controversy about fan fiction, I think the point of this thread got lost, namely what people think of this series being as successful as it is. Yes, erotica and BDSM lit have been around forever, but now it's getting closer to mainstream. It's not my cup of tea, but I would not have any problems reading these books in public; and that probably wasn't the case before.


message 31: by Rob (new)

Rob Osterman (robosterman) | 168 comments I'm not so sure about the not having problems reading them in public. Maybe it's just me but I keep wanting to stop people I see with a copy at the store and say "You know, if you're looking for Twilight, it's over there, and if you're looking for something with blindfolds, there are better books out there."

I do think it's both encouraging and discouraging that there's a best seller that's written decently (probably about as good as I think I write) but has leveraged something else to become that best seller.

Eragon got to ride the anti-school wave because it was written by a home schooled son of a former book editor and every interview could lead off with "So, could you have done this in a traditional high school?"

Harry Potter, which I do enjoy, had a compelling story to the author, writing in coffee shops as a single mom, and then was catapulted even higher and faster through backwoods religious groups trying to get it banned. Nothing sells books like trying to get them banned.

I sometimes wonder if I should just give up "Doing it Right" and spend some time coming up with "strategies" to create mini controversies or looking for the Avenue to get things out there. Rather than focusing on writing, maybe I should be looking for fan groups to leverage, writing groups to exploit, and scandals to fabricate. Those do seem to be the fastest roads to best seller status.


message 32: by Catrina (new)

Catrina Barton (kittyb78) | 36 comments I've written Fanfic for Inuyasha for the past six years {mainly about Bankotsu and Kagome} Writing fanfic, {as long as you post the proper disclaimers and don't make money off the fanfic} is totally legal.

Also, authors who do not approve of fanfic and don't want their characters used for it are clearly put on a not to be used list.

What EL James did is wrong and immoral. A lot of my fellow fanfic authors and readers are pissed about what she did because it makes us all look bad, and really we aren't.

We work hard to learn to hone our writing craft! Most stick with Canon characters from the series, movies, games, ect. But a lot of us create OC's {original characters} and add them to the worlds with tons of new twists.


message 33: by Kelly (new)

Kelly I am not experienced in the world of fan fiction, so I am not sure that I can really give an educated opinion, but I know as a reader and a writer both it makes me uncomfortable knowing that it was began based on another author's work. I feel that it is unethical and possibly illegal for her to be making a profit from it.

As to the subject matter, I think it is fantastic to see us as a society accepting a book on a topic that formerly would have quite possibly be considered taboo.


message 34: by Catrina (last edited Jun 19, 2012 06:55PM) (new)

Catrina Barton (kittyb78) | 36 comments It is highly illegal what EL James did! {not to mention unethical} Because she's made money from it, she broke ALL the rules of fan fiction.

As I stated above of lot of my fellow fanfic authors {those of us who started out by writing fanfic} are pissed about what she's done, because it makes us all look bad. Especially to other writers.

You'll get no argument from me about how it's unethical and immoral what she did. But, don't assume all of us are like her.

{Myself included} we've worked hard to learn the basics of the craft of writing. A lot of us create our own characters {OC's} to toss into the world, because we like how many possibilities there are.

However, I'm not one of them who will take my fanfics and make them into books.

I've crafted my own world, my own races, and my own characters for my Novels.

I followed the rules, yet because I started out learning to write through fanfic, I'm judged along with EL James and that's not fair!

I still write fanfic, because my readers enjoy my twists and turns on the plot. I take the characters and start in canon world, then my twists and turns kick in really fast!

I use tons of twists and turns that are not canon and barely have to do with the worlds. I delved far deeper into the character's personalities. Like Bankotsu {from Inuyasha} is a stone cold killer. {He's a mercenary.}

I love to explore why he's that way.

What happened in his childhood to turn him so bitter and brutal by the tender age of 17?

What did he suffer through to make him the way he became?

Was he abandoned by his parents?

Were they killed in front of him?

Was he cast out from his people?

Who were his people?

There are millions of questions, billions of possibilities.

So little is even known about his character. I like showing that cold blooded or not, he's still human, or was before he died. :P


message 35: by IUHoosier (new)

IUHoosier | 14 comments Elle wrote: "For those of you who have not been under a rock, you know all about the success of the runaway hit, 50 Shades of Grey. You may not agree with the subject matter, but you have to say something for t..."

I like the fact that these books have gone mainstream. It astounds me how many friends, family, and acquaintances have read them, and have told me that I should pick them up as well - including my 70 year old mother in law.

While I am shocked at how many have willingly picked up BDSM material (and are proud of that fact), its been entertaining to get their takes on the material. They have honestly enjoyed the experience and I've made some suggestions to a few that were more open to the material, telling them where to find more. I'm also beginning to wonder if we're going to see a baby boom in the near future because of these books ;)

As for the overwhelmingly bad opinion most of you seem to have on the author's fan fic beginnings - I'm not even sure if most of the current crop of readers realize that the books were begun as fan fic for Twilight. I know most of my friends/family/acquaintances were clueless about it when they picked up the books. And the majority of them haven't read Twilight at all.

I do not honestly have an opinion on her making a profit from something that started as an ode to another series. If Stephenie Meyer isn't upset about it, why should we be? Hers is the ultimate opinion on this particular topic. The only fan fic I've attempted to read has been Jane Austen - I've paid for some of those books, what's the difference? And I don't mean to be antagonistic, I'm honestly curious. As a reader only, not a writer, I do not understand the angst.


message 36: by Kelly (new)

Kelly The newer crop of readers being unaware of it's origins doesn't absolve the author of wrongdoing. If a thief steals a ring, that is then sold to a pawn shop that perhaps didn't fully vet the purchase and a man buys it who wants to propose to his fiance, is it his fiance's fault she is now wearing a stolen ring? No. It is still the thief's fault, and the pawn shop owner has some culpability as well for not observing due diligence. It doesn't invalidate the couples marriage or make the ring any less lovely, but it sure does put an ugly tarnish on the behind the scenes story.


message 37: by Karen (last edited Jun 22, 2012 07:36AM) (new)

Karen A. Wyle (kawyle) | 107 comments I did a blog post two months ago about Fifty Shades, copyright law, and why I think Ms. James has a decent defense re copyright violation. It's at http://looking-around.blogspot.com/20....

I was also impressed to see a snippet of an interview with Stephenie Meyer about the series. The interviewer asked how she felt about the fact that the series couldn't have existed without Twilight, and she demurred, saying that it might have ended up somewhat different, but that James obviously had a story to tell, and would have told it in any event.


message 38: by Rob (new)

Rob Osterman (robosterman) | 168 comments I do not honestly have an opinion on her making a profit from something that started as an ode to another series. If Stephenie Meyer isn't upset about it, why should we be? Hers is the ultimate opinion on this particular topic.

Here's part of the "thing".

Was it true fan fic when it started? That is to ask: Did James sit down and say "I have this wicked cool story I want to tell about Bella and Edward" or any other characters in that world?

Or was it labeled fan fic to get it read? That is did she tell a story and make the names and physical descrips enough to get the fan fic community to give it a read and with that free beta feedback?

In the case of the former, more power to her.

In the case of the latter....?


message 39: by Lauryn (new)

Lauryn April (laurynapril) | 44 comments Karen wrote: "I did a blog post two months ago about Fifty Shades, copyright law, and why I think Ms. James has a decent defense re copyright violation. It's at http://looking-around.blogspot.com/20......"

You make some excellent points in your blog post.


message 40: by Rob (new)

Rob Osterman (robosterman) | 168 comments You're not the only one blogging on this. :)

http://fictionbyosterman.blogspot.com...


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