Fifty Shades Dominating Sales Charts

The novel Fifty Shades, that started out as the Twilight alternative universe fanfiction called Master of the Universe, has rocketed to the top of sales charts on Amazon.com and USA Today. It recently received coverage on the Today Show and MSN.

Currently it is number 26 on the USA Today bestseller’s list. It is in the number three position on Amazon.com behind the first two novels in The Hunger Games Trilogy.

We haven’t ever really covered fanfiction on the Lexicon other than to make mention of when it was connected to a larger story, or to mention fanfic archives in passing Fanfiction.net, Twilighted, Ramblings and Thoughts(in the spirit of full-disclosure Laura founded this site but it has been run by Open Home for the last two years). When we opened the Lexicon, we actually made a conscious decision not to incorporate it as part of our site because we had experienced first hand back in our Harry Potter days A) how much work moderating a fanfic archive was and B) how much contention usually surrounded it. The largest number of complaints and flames wars we had to deal with on our Potter website were fanfic related, and we didn’t want to repeat the headache.

Fifty Shades has certainly had its share of controversy surrounding its success. There seem to be three basic camps into which people fall. Some argue that it is the illegal publishing of a derivative work of Stephenie Meyer(it should be noted that there was been no legal action from Little Brown or Stephenie Meyer regarding this work that we are aware of, though they are no doubt aware of its existence). Others argue that it is such an original story that it’s not illegal, but that promoting it initially in the Twilight world then doing a global replace on the names is unethical. Lastly the third camp has no problem with the work at all and defends its journey from AU fanfic to self published fledgling publishing house success story.

Where does Stephenie Meyer stand on the issue? Unknown as far as this specific work.  Her most recent statement regarding fanfiction of any type can be found in the transcript from the fanjunket interview of June 2010.

Where do you stand? Please, if we could beg a favor for the sanity of our moderators, please attack the ball and not the players. No doubt people will have incredibly strong opinion here, but lets keep it to healthy and spirited debate of the work in question and not personal attacks on those having an alternate viewpoint.

Comments

  1. I am in the last camp you mentioned. The characters in the original Master of the Universe were described as Edward and Bella, but their characteristics had nothing to do with the story. Edward is a virgin vampire in Twilight and Edward in 50 Shades is into the BDSm lifestyle. That’s more than a subtle difference.
    The story takes no part of Twilight to adapt to 50 Shades so if it were published without anyone knowing it was originally a fanfic no one would bat an eyelash at the story.
    I love it and have read it as both Master of the Universe and as 50 Shades. It is a very original story that engrosses me each time I read it and I’m glad it has been published for more people to read what a great work it is.
    It’s not Twilight or has anything to do with it so I’m not sure what the issue is at all.

  2. rhiannon says:

    i am in the camp that yes it did start as fanfiction but now it has no connection to the twilight universe and it is a very creative story

    • I initially thought so too.
      I thought she changed the recognizable aspects but I found this comment on the “Dear Author” blog-site and I’m appalled.

      Here is the comment:
      The similarities between Twilight and FSoG go beyond well-known tropes, in my opinion. Characters are about far more than their names, and the characters in this series share so many similarities to the Twilight characters that it’s clear they are not “original” to E.L. James.

      * both Edward and Christian were adopted.
      * both Edward and Christian have a deep, dark, dangerous secret that no one is privy to, except for the heroine and by extension us
      * both Edward and Christian are rich and more sophisticated than the heroine
      * Although their personalities do have differences, both Christian and Edward have stalker tendencies and are domineering
      * Both Edward and Christian have reddish/bronze tinted hair
      * Both Edward and Christian give the heroine a car
      * Both Edward and Christian are piano-players
      * Both Edward and Christian have a loving supportive adoptive family comprised of Carrick/Carlisle (the father), Grace/Esme (the mother), Elliot/Emmet (the brother), Mia/Alice (the sister).
      *Jasper and Rosalie/ Ethan and Kate in FSoG. Rosalie and Kate are both blonde, beautiful and a high contrast to Bella/Ana. Kate and Elliot end up together as a couple which is reminiscent of them also being a couple in Twilight (Rose and Emmet).
      * Jasper and Alice are a couple in Twilight, Ethan from FSoG ends up setting his sights on the proto-Alice character in FSoG, Mia. BOOM! there you go, your whole Twilight Cullen cast/ensemble, reloaded.
      * Both Twilight and FSoG have the couple following the arc of initial attraction, hero attempting to separate himself from heroine by stating he’s not right for her, heroine pursuing relationship, heroine finding out dark secret, heroine still pursuing relationship, couple briefly parts/breaks up and then reunites, couple marries, goes off to exotic/romantic honeymoon, heroine gets preggers prematurely, hero reacts extremely negatively, heroine still has kid. Hero eventually comes around about kid.
      * Both stories are set in Washington state.
      * Jacob/Jose (Twilight/FSoG) both dislike the hero because they want to be with the heroine. The heroine is not interested in Jacob/Jose but Jacob/Jose continues to pursue her until he gives up and realizes that the heroine chose the “bad guy” over them.
      * Anastasia is essentially, Bella (more so than Christian being Edward, where there are more differences). She has pretty much all of Bella’s mannerisms. She talks like Bella, she acts like Bella, she says the same things Bella would. She is highly clumsy and uncoordinated, she is quiet, reserved, not popular, odd one out, like Bella. She bites her bottom lip like Bella. She feels a bit like a fish out of water in the presence of the Greys just like Bella feels in the presence of the Cullens. At most she is a proto-Bella but essentially the same character at the core.
      * Both Bella and Ana have a bit of an eccentric mother that lives somewhere else and has remarried several times (at least twice from what I remember).
      * Both Bella and Ana have a father that they love, that lives by himself (is a bit of a loner), that has a great relationship with them, even if slightly distanced. The main difference is that Ray (FSoG) is a stepfather to Ana, while Charlie (Twilight) is blood father to Bella.
      * Both Charlie and Ray have a love of fishing.
      * Both stories feature a stalker (Victoria/Leila) who stalks Bella/Ana and wants to hurt/kill her.
      * Jasper and Rose pretend to be twins in Twilight. Ethan and Kate (their parallels) are twins in FSoG.

      The above bullet points are courtesy of commenter Camaro/

      Why is FS set in Washington State? Why is “Ana” clumsy? Why does she like classic novels? Why does she blush and bite her lip? Why is “Christian” adopted? Why does he have “dark, copper-colored hair”? Why does he play the piano? Basically, how do these character traits and the setting serve this story? The only answer I can see is that it’s because that’s how they were in Twilight.

      • Lynne Stringer says:

        If that is correct then there is no doubt that what she has done is rip off SM. While some similarities are not unusual and can be coincidental, there are far too many here for it to quality on that score. She’s just rewritten Twilight to suit herself.

  3. I’ve read the original Master of the Universe and its sequel MOTUII. Like Leslie said, The Twilight Saga and 50 Shades have no resemblance at all to one another. If you insist on there being a similarity, the only one is that of the love story between two people who might not otherwise have met had it not been for the circumstances they found themselves in.

    Also, E.L. James, aka SnowQueens Icedragon, talked about having to remove her story from the fan fiction site it was on so that it could be published. Both women, James and Stephenie Meyer, should be commended for taking the bold moves they did to produce their respective works of fiction. My hat’s off to both of them.

  4. Loved the fic and have read and re-read the books. There’s something about the way the author writes her character, Christian Grey or 50 Shades. He’s brooding, mysterious and self loathing. A Byronic-like character.

    It’s also a love story with a twist of kink but truthfully most of the sex is simply extraordinary ordinary sex not BDSM. But when it is BDSM, it’s always consensual.

    To me it’s a young woman who is a sexual virgin who meets and beguiles a man who is an emotional virgin. Together in the three book series the forge a path together and find a place where one is healed and both fulfilled.
    My 2 cents.

  5. smitten_by_twilight says:

    My 2 cents: unethical. Either it was unethical to post as fanfic, or it’s unethical to publish. It’s either Twilight-related or not, so which is it?

    • rhiannon says:

      it WAS when it was fanfiction..but the only thing it had in common with twilight was character names. now it has NOTHING to do with twilight and there is nothing unethical about it

      • smitten_by_twilight says:

        So then, it was unethical to post as fanfic when it only borrowed characters’ names, not personality traits or other characteristics.

        • rhiannon says:

          so that would mean ALL fanfiction, every piece ever written is unethical!!

          • smitten_by_twilight says:

            No, speaking as a reader and writer. When an author approves for others to write material based on her world/characters, ff that is based on her world/characters and posted giving that credit is not unethical. However, when original material that bears only a slight resemblance to work that it pretends to be ff of, posts as ff and takes advantage (maliciously or not), of that built-in audience, that is deceptive. Readers seek out the material looking for something with a connection to the original; if there is no substantive connection, then the posting of the material is deceptive and unethical.

  6. Danielle says:

    I personally feel used. I read MotU as a fic and enjoyed it.. But I feel now as though my reading it as a fanfic was only a stepping stone on the way to her being a published author. Like the only reason it was posted was so that it could be dangled in my face when it was turned into a book. Not an attack at the author, more power to her for becoming successful. I just feel as though if you’re going to post something as a fanfiction, leave it as a fanfiction instead if then turning around and using that same story for your own personal gain. I guess the moral of this to me is that it’s unethical to use someone else’s fanbase to get yourself known.

    • “I guess the moral of this to me is that it’s unethical to use someone else’s fanbase to get yourself known.”

      So, it’s unethical for Cassandra Clare to be a published author? She got her start in fanfiction and she’s got a fabulous series of her own, The Mortal Instruments.

      • Danielle says:

        Yes, in my opinion. Why ride the coattails of someone else’s success? If your work is that great, you will gain a following of your own. Why is there need to use someone else’s work to make yourself famous?

        Cassandra Clare did indeed get her start in fanfiction. I have read the Mortal Instruments series and I did enjoy them. That doesn’t change the fact that I think it’s unethical.

        • I was just thinking a lot of other fields do this same thing. Beginning photographers sometimes work with established ones at the latter’s gigs to learn more. The latter gets the credit for the former’s photos at the shoot. The former gets to see how the latter’s clientele reacts to their images. Then the former eventually branches out on their own. They (along with people in business, music, and more) are using someone else’s work, talent, reputation, to get their own start.

          I guess what I’m thinking is sometimes women are really emotional thinkers and attribute too much depth to it. Tons of people everywhere have their start by either learning from, emulating, or improving something that a ‘famous’ (or more established) person does. I don’t have a solid opinion on this (I’m not a writer either), but I don’t see why this is all that different. Perhaps what would make it ‘ethical’ as was argued is for Stephenie to OK it. But that’s not going to happen. Her desk would be flooded with requests forever more.

          • smitten_by_twilight says:

            Lulu, Josh made exactly this point further down with regards to published fanfiction that is author-approved (Star Wars, etc). What you’re describing is like an apprenticeship; the teacher puts their name to work done under supervision and in a learning environment. They get the credit, and also the responsibility if someone doesn’t like it. (Come to think of it, this is exactly what happens in my own field as well.) It would make it ethical if Stephenie approved it as published, Twilight fiction. Or if she left the fanfic as fanfic and wrote something new for publication, like when apprentices start to do their own work under their own name.

            Sorry if I seem to be the one constantly harping here. I know that there are quite a lot of people out there who have given up arguing this side of the situation, apparently out of despair.

      • Twilight_News says:

        Just as a point of information, cassandra clare’s published work does not repeat her fanfic material. She certainly had people who enjoyed her writing in the Potter and Lord of the Rings universes, but those stories were not reworked and published. It was an entirely new world.

        • Danielle says:

          Then I would have to retract my statement of Clare’s work being unethical. Just because she wrote fanfiction doesn’t mean she can’t publish work with a brand new story, plot, characters, etc.

          Where I have a problem is when stories are originally posted for the sole purpose of entertainment as fanfiction, but are then reworked and published with different names. If an author has plans to publish a story, they shouldn’t be posting it with Edward and Bella’s names as fanfiction just to get people to like it. That’s what I have an issue with, not a fanfic author becoming a published author.

          I was not as familiar with Cassandra Clare’s start in fanfiction. I had heard that she got her start there but didn’t know the details.

          • Jazz Girl says:

            But couldn’t it still be said that she capitalized on another fanbase, given that many of those fans who read her work as fanfic likely purchased her orginal work because they were familiar and liked her fanfic? I just think sometimes we try to simplify something that’s more complicated. There are shades of grey to everything.

        • Oh, I know that, but the point i was making was that she got her start in the fan fiction world.

  7. MeyaRose says:

    While I agree that it bears absolutely no resemblance to Twilight, even when it was a fanfic, the only thing in common was names and places, but ‘Bella’s’ voice was very different, and ‘Edward,’ obviously, is a sadist and a truly messed up individual that Bella helps to heal. So, yes, its original and Stephenie Meyer and her publishers have absolutely no grounds to take legal action. By the way, most Twilight fanfiction nowadays is “All Human” or “Alternate Universe” and the “Edward”s and “Bella”s bear little to no resemblance to SM’s Edward and Bella.

    However, it would not have been published or be as successful as it is now if it hadn’t been originally posted in the Twilight fan community. THAT’S my issue with it. The fact that original fans of the story had it for free, chapter by chapter, and then in the last few chapters were told that if we ever wanted to read it again (and I had read it many times, incomplete as it was at that point, and knew I’d want to again) we’d have to buy it in its published form. Everything to do with the fandom and how it got its current ‘real world’ popularity bothers me, not any thing that really has to do with Twilight itself. I mean its one thing to publish something and be like “If you liked Twilight, you’ll like this.” Its quite another to post it in a Twilight community as fanfiction and then ride on the success it made in a free, just-for-fun community to bring it to the commercial world.

    So yeah, its unethical, but it certainly isn’t illegal.

    • Danielle says:

      MeyaRose, I agree with you. It was intended to be, as you said, a just-for-fun piece of work.. Very well said.

    • Jazz Girl says:

      But, at the same time, MeyaRose, wouldn’t you agree that there are plenty of ways by which you can save a completed fanfic? In as long as one does not distribute the fic, or use it for personal gain (thus violating intellectual property rights), it is perfectly within the rights of the reader to keep the fic for their own personal use. I have no less than a dozen fics that are now pulled (some published some not) on my ereader, or in printed form on my bookshelf for that specific reason. I personally bought 50 Shades to show support to Icy, as well as Sempre to show support to Khar. That was my choice. And, in defense of the authors, they are usually not pulling the fics to be malicious or to take them away so you have to buy them. Often they are told they have to take them down from public domain as a condition of being published, because the publisher themselves have to protect their investment. I’m not criticizing your position, just pointing out that sometimes there are more circumstances than we are aware of at work.

      • MeyaRose says:

        Oh, I’m aware of those circumstances. That’s why I won’t say its illegal, in fact it is very legal, and legality is the very reason it is pulled from websites. But there is a big difference between legality and ethics and the way this story got its success is unethical. That being said, I am aware that some, if not most, of the accusation of lack of ethics should go to the publisher, not the writer. I bet they saw how successful it was in the fan world and thought, hmmm if we let her publish and take away all the Twilight references I bet we could make a lot of money. But that is the way it is in every industry. The fact is a movie won’t be made in major studios unless they think they can make a profit on it. Why should publishing be any different?

  8. Joshua L. Roberts says:

    In truth it doesn’t really matter where a story’s creation starts, whether original or fanfiction, it is where the story ends in development. As 50 Shades of Grey’s plot, characters, setting and whot-knot is completely different than Twilight, there is no reason for Stephenie nor Little Brown to be concerned, unlike a certain Russet Moon fiasco. Stephenie has often stated that some of the fanfiction writers were so talented that she wondered why they didn’t try to create their own worlds more often, and this writer did just that.

    We, of course, see this in Hollywood all the time.. Remember Armegeddon vs. Deep Impact (DI SO much better movie)… Donte’s Peak vs. Volcano…

    • smitten_by_twilight says:

      Poor comparison, Josh. Armegeddon and Deep Impact, Dante’s Peak and Volcano, were movies with different plot, characters, locations, etc, that had as their central point the same natural disaster, not that stole plots from each other. Natural disasters are not original ideas owned by anyone, except maybe nature.

  9. jennifer says:

    I will never, ever read fanfic. Not because I thnk it’s illegal (I do) but because I think no one, NO ONE(!!!!!!!!!!!) can improve upon the original creation that is Stephenie Meyer’s (or JK Rowling’s for that matter). I don’t want to taint the memory of the Twilight (& The Host & the Harry Potter) that I know and love. If I read fanfic, I think I would be thinking the whole time “This sucks! Stephenie Meyer would NEVER have her (HER!!!) characters do that!!!” So, I save myself the heartache.

    • @Jennifer

      My, how wrong you are. I’ve read some beautiful fics and yes…that writers were much more talented than Stephenie Meyer. You’re missing out…

  10. Hmmm. I was never a reader of fanfic UNTIL I started reading Twilight fanfic so I don’t have a long history with it in general. I guess I fall into the third category. As long as Meyer’s intellectual property wasn’t stolen, and I don’t believe it was, good for the “50 Shades” author. I had read the story originally as fanfic, but have not picked up the book as of yet. (It’s on order.) I did just finish reading “Sempre (Forever)” by Darhower which is based on the “Emancipation Proclamation” Twilight fanfic. I enjoyed the book as much as the fanfic so maybe I’m biased.
    I think most, if not all authors, get their basic ideas or themes from somewhere, for example “Wuthering Heights” or “Jane Eyre” so I don’t see the harm. It’s just my two cents. I’m not a published author so I perhaps don’t have the correct frame of reference.

    • Jazz Girl says:

      Another excellent point to be added. Even the most well known and respected authors take theories, ideas and plot devices from somewhere. The connection is just not as widely publicized.

      • Lynne Stringer says:

        The honest truth is, when it comes to writing, there are only about seven real stories, anyway. Most writers borrow things from other stories. Even Romeo and Juliet was not an original idea when Shakespeare wrote it. However, if the majority of the characters in this story are recognisable as the characters from Twilight, then that is going a little too far. I haven’t read it, though, so I don’t know if that’s the case or not.

    • Is anything really original?

      Jane Eyre, with Bronte’s brooding Edward, were inspirational to Stephenie Meyers, per her own words.

      So SM wrote about an Edward, however the reality she placed him in was what made him unique and loved in her books.

  11. Jazz Girl says:

    This is such a tangled issue that trying to untangle it by the simple question of ethical vs unethical is.. pat at best. Here’s the reality. Fanfic authors, whether originally writing just to excercise their creative juices, or with the intent of massaging the kinks out of a story they have to tell, put in hours upon hours of dedication and work, just as authors who are contracted and paid for their work do. I would argue that fanfic authors actually work harder for their fans than traditional authors because fanfic authors have the added complication of immediate feedback through PMs, reviews and the thousands of blogs that exist out there for the sake of reviewing and reccing fanfic. They have to deal with writing chapters knowing that what happens won’t make everyone happy and hearing about it immediately and directly, having their every word and paragraph questioned; even polemnically depending on the story and following. Many are so dedicated to their stories that they create websites and blogs, post pictures and teases, just to respond to a rabid fanbase who want more more more but want it on their terms. When Kharizzmatik was writing Emancipation Proclamation (another fanfic that has since been published and continues to draw controversey), there were people who were literally claiming suicidal thoughts at the idea of certain things happening in the story, even with Khar’s adamant warning that HEA isn’t universal and many would be disappointed by how the story ended up.

    When it comes to what drives fans to fanfic, I have to disagree with Smitten_by_Twilight in her assertion that most fanfic fans seek out fanfic as a connection to the original work. That may be true in the very first forays, and possibly for those who stick to canon stories. It was certainly true for me in that it was the reason I originally avoided fanfic like the plague (ironic considering I rarely read anything but nowadays). I didn’t want anything tarnishing what had touched me so deeply about the original characters and their story. Absolutely, I wanted more Edward&Bella. But the thought of reading something subpar, or someone’s crazy interpretation of them kept me away for months despite the best efforts of some of my Lex-friends. When I finally did give in, I specifically stayed away from Canon stories for that exact reason. If I read AU, I could find wonderful stories without feeling guilty or betrayed. I could keep Edward&Bella and the rest of the Cullens perfect in my head, but still engage my voracious need to read. The other issue I have (and this is likely specific to my brand of crazy) is that I couldn’t get interested in a story that wasn’t Twilight-related. It’s completely insane, I know. But, the reality when I first started reading fic in 2009 was that I absolutely could not connect to characters not named Jazz, Alice, Bella, Edward and so on. I just couldn’t. I tried. I even tried rereading some of my favorite and most treasured literature. No joy. So, I stuck with fic, and eventually found my way to some of the best AU stories out there… the ones that have characters and plots and stories so original that trying to draw a line between them and Twilight is almost impossible. And I found that, as long as I had my beloved characters with me, I could lose myself in a story again. I knew and know today as I read that they aren’t Edward&Bella as they exist in Twilight. That doesn’t matter to me. It just helps me find myself in the story and be able to read it. It’s not about it being a Twilight story, persay, because almost NONE of the fic I read has anything to do with those crazy kids and their adventures. It just is what it is.

    Another idea to keep in mind in this debate is that, while it’s true that some authors actually start their stories with the full intent of tweaking them for marketing, most do not. Most are fans who want to excercise the creative juices that Twilight gets coursing through them and feel like they have a forum in which to do that. To turn around and bash them and hurl accusations of using fans and all of the other things that are routinely hurled at some of these authors because their story turns out to be very well written and open to a wider audience with a few tweaks is the height of hypocrisy, in my opinion. To deny them their success and the recognition that they’ve earned because we feel slighted is selfish, in my opinion. Unless you were integral in writing and tweaking the story and are not getting credit, than there is no basis for the ownership that some fans seem to take of these stories.

    The bottom line is that we all have a choice to read or not to read any version of a fanfic story. You have the right and the ability to close the browser, or to just not buy the published version. In the end, the stories are the property of one person; the writer. What they choose to do with it and in what forum is their business. Hurling insults and accusations just makes us all look ugly.

    • Really good points. I especially agree with pointing out some of the hypocrisy.
      I’d LOVE to see your fanfic list. I’m always looking for more because a book a day just isn’t enough. You know how it is. For me, “Emancipation Proclamation”, while flawed (what isn’t) was just utterly fantastic and engrossing. I literally couldn’t STOP reading it.

    • Jazz Girl… I stubbled across this post today and was fumbling my way through reading the comments and have to reply (days late I know) to say that I thought your comment was so perfectly stated and spot on. I wish everyone in this fandom would read it…

      I am so befuddled that people think these authors BEGAN thinking ‘I’m going to write this as fanfic, so I can use SM’s fans to get myself published.’ How could anyone think these ladies were that predetermined? They are just fans like you and I. They felt creative. They started to write. They wrote well…. And they had so many of us say ‘Wow I wish my friends could read this – it’s really very good.’ And THEN they thought, ‘Maybe I am good enough. Maybe other people would read this?’ I do not for one second think Icy or Khar started out MOTU or EP ever dreaming this is the world they’d be in…

  12. Sorry, but I’m not understanding the words “used” and “unethical” when discussing E L James and her decision to accept an independent publishers offer to take her story to press.

    I followed the fan fic story from Oct. 09 (when it was NOT fabulously well-known) to its completion on her own website after Fanfiction.net pulled the story from their site. Throughout writing the story, she personally engaged with he readers on a forum. It was a very fun and real interaction. Never once did I feel used or that she had an agenda. It’s befuddling to me.

    Her original story finished, after being pulled off fanfiction.net, on her own independent website (last time I checked those sites costs $$). I can’t even imagine what her readers would have done if she hadn’t been able to finish writing the story? I would have been very sad.

    She was gracious enough to share the news that she was going to publish, and now 50 Shades is being enjoyed by countless women who have never heard of fanfiction.

    Unethical, to me, would be having such a great story kept hidden away for only Twilight fanfiction readers to savor and enjoy.

    Laters!!!!

  13. smitten_by_twilight says:

    It’s wonderful that so many people are interested in these ethical issues. In the end, many ethical questions do come down to the pat decision of ethical or unethical, and certainly in an absolutist world, that determination can always be made. In the real world, sometimes things are ethical or unethical, and many times they are … gray. :)

    While most canon stories borrow significantly from the original work, at least in setting, the opposite is not necessarily true. Many AU/AH stories also borrow significantly from the original work, in preserving significant elements of the characters or plot. For example, an AH Bella may not only superficially resemble Bella, but also have similar personality characteristics, like insecurity, virginity, and strong caretaking qualities; Edward may be dangerous but protective and large-hearted … these characteristics may combine to make them noticably resemble the original characters. Ditto for general plot outlines and secondary characters. This is the kind of thing in which the original material should definitely be credited.

    There are other kinds of story inspiration that are less specific. Stories about, say, modern day witches need not credit the TV show Charmed unless they connect more specifically, by eg being set in San Francisco about three (or four) sister witches living in their grandmother’s home. Material that inspires the author to write something noticeably different need not be credited and the material is not necessarily fanfiction. That’s why the plethora of current vampire shows and movies don’t need to credit Twilight. And an AH that shows insufficient connection to Twilight is not sufficiently derivative to be called fanfiction.

    Emancipation Proclamation or Sempre, mentioned by a couple people, is to me a good example of grayness. I should preface this by saying that my ethical training taught me to weigh pros and cons in making ethical decisions. I found EP (which I loved) to be barely derivative of Twilight. While the Edward and Bella characters shared notable personality characteristics, I didn’t think the secondary characters were very similar (sometimes not at all), and I thought the settings in Forks and Phoenix were incidental and would have been more convincing if set elsewhere. Additionally, I found the subject matter of human slavery to be both pretty well written and deserving of a voice – this is an issue that cannot get too much attention, until it is eradicated. For me, the publication of EP by filing off the serial numbers, so to speak, is a shade of gray that I approve of – on balance, I consider it more ethical to publish than not to publish, because of the value of a material that can popularize an international injustice. (Now that I know the published name, I must run out to support the cause!)

    And no, I don’t think the popularization of a BDSM lifestyle deserves similar attention. I view BDSM as morally neutral (when between consenting adults as its proponents agree), and also as having some attention out there (see Anne Rice), so I don’t think that the pros outweigh the cons on that basis.

    • Since you brought up the word unethical in the comments thread, people have been continuing to discuss it.

      FACTS: A publisher liked the fan fiction story. They published as a book. Women are loving FSoG.

      Recently another fan fiction author was told that a published book had a story line similar to her fan fiction story. Her story was started before the book. She alerted the publisher, and low and behold, the publisher pulled the book and ate the publishing expenses. So a publisher felt that the fan fiction writer’s intellectual property rights were violated.

      I think those who are angry at Fifty Shades being in a published book form will continue to be upset. I think women everywhere will continue to read Fifty Shades.

      • smitten_by_twilight says:

        Since you bring it up:

        FACT: I did not originate the term unethical in this discussion, the Lexicon did.

        FACT: 50 Shades of Grey was self-published. This is a very and perfectly valid form of publishing that includes many notable authors, but it does not include a publisher “liking” it.

        Certainly a ff may be sufficiently original to be stolen from. But by definition it is not composed exclusively of original elements, else it would not be ff.

        I’m sure many people are angry haters, and I hope no one lumps me in that category. My feelings about EL James and MotU/FSoG are not passionate enough to even qualify as annoyed. I just think what she did was wrong.

  14. I am on the third camp. I have no problem with publishing prior fanfic. A few days ago we had a debate in twitter about this. And I will reiterate what I said here. I have supported P2P fanfic authors and bought their books because I want to support them as authors/people. I have read many a fic but have become friends with no so many an author. And those that I have befriended are the ones that I am buying as published books. Nobody is taking advantage of me, as it has been written “ad nauseum” in several blogs. NOBODY. I am buying because I WANT to buy them and I want to buy them because I want to show my support to THEM. They gave me stories for free, hours and hours of enjoyment. And what I can give them now in return for that, is my money to buy their published books. Call me crazy! It has nothing to do with” “why would you want to pay for something that you read for free”? and more with “thanks for writing this story that gave me so much pleasure, here is my show of gratitude and hopefully that will help you to keep writing more in the future for my enjoyment”

    We could go on and on about this as we have been doing for weeks on end. Ethics is a tricky word to use. Somethings may be ethical for me an unethical for you! If that was not the case, we would all have the same ethics. But, alas, that is not so. What is right for me might be wrong for you. And usually we surround ourselves with friends and people that share our same believes and ethics. But at the end of the day is only our opinion. I dont go out there and spill hateful things about those that are not like me/share not my same beliefs. So I say, stop being mean, calling peoples names (either if you support her and other P2P authors or not), insulting authors and each other, sending death threats, calling their jobs, harassing their kids and being so nasty. There are so many more worthy and relevant things in life we should be discussing and not if 50 should have or not have been published. It’s done! I am so very happy for her succes and for every other P2P author out there for doing it. And I am also happy for every non P2P author. To those I show my gratitude by reviewing, by telling them how much I enjoy the stuff they are doing for free (and not leaving nasty reviews!!!), by contributing in their compilations for charity, etc.
    If only we could dedicate the same amount of passion and energy to things that can really make an impact!

    • smitten_by_twilight says:

      Carolina, I think you are confusing the terms “ethical” and “moral,” which are related but different. Everyone does have individually different systems of moral beliefs, or values. Ethics tend to be more defined, and in this particular case we’d be discussing ethics as it relates to literature, for example, plagarism. (No, I’m not accusing James of plagarism! Quite the opposite.) It is always unethical, for example, to quote another author and not credit them. It this case we have the opposite – an author whose fans widely defend her as creating an original work – who initially claimed it was derivative work. The ethics here are a bit murkier, which is why the debate.

      Why aren’t we spending our energy on something better? Well, this is a small issue, compared to global warming or women’s rights, but our ethical standards as a community are important. Especially if we are going to tackle the bigger issues with respect, love, and an ethical approach.

      • Assuming you have the books in hand or on your e-reader since you’re commenting, you will see that it is an independent publishing house.

        I have a friend who is an editor for TWCS. E L James doesn’t own any part of the publishing house. They are asking for submissions, please see below.

        http://ph.thewriterscoffeeshop.com/static/submissions

        • smitten_by_twilight says:

          My misunderstanding, then: not self-published. However, for a publisher to agree to publish something only states that they don’t think it is illegal and that it might make money. They may or may not consider it ethical.

  15. OMG….just say that Fifty Shades of Grey is now the #1 on the NY Times best-sellers list in the print and e-book fiction category.
    http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/overview.html?src=tp

  16. Read Sempre by J.M. Darhower. It started out as a twilight fanciful called Emancipation Proclimation. It’s a story about a modern day slave girl and the mafia prince. They discover that they are more similar than they thought. It is one of the best stories that I have read sense the Hunger Games.

  17. CatWhit says:

    I first read Master Of The Universe on Twilighted and loved it. The only thing was, it had nothing in common with Twilight other than character names and a romance. A lot of really good fanfictions are like this. When I found out MotU was being published I couldn’t wait to get my own copies. I have the trilogy on my bookshelf and am so please E.L. James got her work published. Regarding “that promoting it initially in the Twilight world then doing a global replace on the names is unethical”, it’s more accurate to say that it’s unethical to write a fantastic story and lure in the Twilight fan base by using the same character names (not that I object to either approach personally). If you’ve read the story you’ll see it really has nothing to do with the Bella and Edward we all know and love.

  18. I can’t understand the backlash with this. As long as the stories aren’t too similar and there is no copyright infringement, where is the harm? I don’t think Stephenie Meyer is losing sleep over it and she hasn’t come out publicly saying it strongly offends her.

    Considering how hard it is to get a book published, fanfiction is a great tool for aspiring authors. It gets their name and work out there, and gives them an opportunity to have their work critiqued. If their work is good enough, they may even be contacted by those in the publishing field.

    For those of us who read fanfiction, we get to read stories for free, and have a dialog with the writers.

    • Very good point. Some of you may be familiar with a little series called the Mortal Instruments. Cassandra Claire started out as a fanfic author. Just thought you’d be interested in that little tidbit.

  19. smitten_by_twilight says:

    Apologies to the wonderful Laura and Lori for unintentionally implying they originated the debate of the ethics of MotU/FSoG. They just gave us a place to have a civil discussion about it!

    • Twilight_News says:

      no apologies necessary. like we said we don’t usually cover fanfic but when the story hit main stream and was huge it would be disingenuous (we felt) not to present the facts as we understood them (especially since mainstream media omits details) and let people discuss.

      It’s actually refreshing to see it here without people ready to kill someone over it. We’ve heard of some truly awful reactions ranging from harassment to threats regarding fanfic. And to be honest we’re glad we had the foresight to avoid this powderkeg of hosting fanfic having been burned by it in the Potter universe.

      In fact a couple of years ago we had cited an article in a major national magazine that mentioned a fic author by name. That author contacted us and asked that her name be removed because she had acquired a stalker. Of course we complied, but what a horrible mess.

      No matter what your opinion, one thing I think we can all agree on is that violence and threats are uncalled for under any circumstance.

  20. Long ago when the internet and I were both much younger, I first fell in love with fanfic for the X-Files. (I know I’m really dating myself here.) I became obsessed, especially with a story by a writer named Storm that picked up the show’s story line from the previous season end. She wrote prolifically for several months until the show started its next season. Her fic was so good, that I was disappointed when her story ended and the show resumed. I never held the same love for the show again (and this was when it was still highly rated). It just wasn’t as good as what happened in her story. I swore off fanfic and have chosen to abstain from it – no offense to anyone.

    That being said, I don’t think there is anything morally or ethically wrong with fanfic. It is a healthy and creative outlet for talented individuals to express themselves and their love for the another creative work, whether that’s a book, tv show, movie, etc. I also don’t think there are any moral or ethical issues with using another work as an inspiration for your own creative work – the key word being inspiration. However, I also remember the penalty for plagiarism in the educational world was academic sudden death. Merriam-Webster lists the definition mentioned in earlier posts concerning referencing source material, but it also defines plagiarizing as “to commit literary theft” and “present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source”. So where does that leave fanfic?

    In my opinion, fanfic is for the enjoyment of both the writer and the reader. I believe it is morally and ethically wrong for a writer to financially profit from fanfic – that becomes plagiarism in my book. Because to me the definition of fanfic is fic based on whatever work for which the writer is a fan. If a story had completely different characters – names, personalities, voices, events, plot line – then it is not really fanfic; it’s an original story. If you wrote an original story, why would you post it as fanfic?

    • In truth, if you look at all the Star Wars novels out there… in all honestly, none of them were written by George Lucas, nor did he request them to be written. In that respect, they are all fanfics…but they are sanctioned fanfics, that were submitted to Lucas for approval, before they were published.

      In this respect, I completely agree, Fanfiction is not just a viable way of entertainment, in many ways, it is what helps keep a book/movie hot long after its time. This is why Lucas was brilliant in that he nurtured other talents to use his saga as a foundation, and in turn he gets free press and exposure. Star Wars wouldn’t be what it is today without interest in Fanfiction.

      As for 50 Shades of Grey… No matter how it started, or where it started, if the characters are different, if the story is different… if the plot is different… It is now its own entity, and can be treated as thus…While some people might still cry foul because the lead characters are Edward and Bella, the reality is both Bella (i know a few girls with that name) and Edward are popular names, and as long as they are different people versus copies of Stephenie’s work, then James is safe.

      NOW if James had tried to publish a book that was showed a continuation of Stephenie Meyer’s work, or the “Adventures of Alice and Jasper!” then there would be trouble.

      • smitten_by_twilight says:

        Yes, but those “Star Wars” novellas were sanctioned published fanfic – they even had the movie logo! Ditto for Star Trek, Darkover, and lots of others. That’s the point, they we’re sanctioned, FSoG and Sempre were not. And I’m starting to wonder if, between the papz and the critics and haters and all, Steph is feeling a bit kicked. I’d hate for her to feel like the fans who express devotion and gratitude are contributing to the kicking.

        • E. L. James book, by my understanding, started out as a fanfic, but matured into something totally different. In short, 50 Shades of Grey no longer takes place in Stephenie Meyer’s world. If this is the case, other than a few similarities, it doesn’t harm Stephenie nor Little Brown. This is what determines of it is legal or not. If James used the same characters, same context, and started a “new” Twilight series w/o permission from Stephenie or LIttle Brown, then LIttle Brown has grounds to sue, as was the case with Russet Moon.

          While I haven’t read 50 Shades of Grey, based upon what I have read about the book, is that it is totally different that Twilight.

          Many times as fanfiction writers develop their craft, some of the stories they originally started working on, that were once apart of one universe, takes a life of its own, and spawns an entirely new universe. There isn’t anything legally wrong with that. As long as certain qualities (of which can be trademarked) don’t carry over.

          You could say that 50 Shades was a Twilight inspired book.

          • smitten_by_twilight says:

            Josh: Legal does not equal ethical. Shame on you for suggesting that anything not legally actionable is ethical!

      • So what you’re saying is as long as an author changes the character names and a few of the situations the characters portray, then its okay to publish a work that is a rewrite of another person’s book or movie? I guess that’s okay out there in Hollywood, where you love to remind us that you reside. The same rules of morality and ethicality don’t seem to apply out there.

        Get informed Twilight fans. The rest of the world recognizes these books as Twilight based erotica. And stand forewarned, looking this title up on Amazon might reveal a whole new world of suggested for you products:

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/10/fifty-shades-of-grey_n_1336990.html

        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/10/business/media/an-erotic-novel-50-shades-of-grey-goes-viral-with-women.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

        http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/46590258/ns/today-books/t/triple-x-trilogy-novels-has-women-talking-quietly/

        The last link has a video from the Today Show that includes comments from Dr. Laura Berman and Dr. Drew Pinsky. After watching it, there is no wonder that Stephenie hasn’t yet persued any kind of action against E.L James – she doesn’t want to be associated with what they describe as a fairly violent BDSM story.

        I do find it interesting that the women interviewed in the piece adamantly defend their reading and enjoyment of FSoG, as some fans defend their reading of Twilight. Yet, these same women would probably never be willing to read or admit to reading Twilight. It says a lot about our society when a BDSM novel is praised while the same story set in a more chaste, pure, and demure environment is mocked.

  21. Gigi Cullen says:

    Could someone please enlighten me on the subject. I have never heard of these books at all or how they started. Love everything twilight but don’t have time to keep myself informed of all things Twilight. Thanks

    • Christina says:

      I’m with you. I have no idea what all these people are talking about. Lol.

      • there are hundreds of thousands of stories on fanfiction.net that fans write themselves to either further along the story of twilight, fill in gaps, or just use the characters in completely different situations (like they’re all human, etc.). readers can comment on each chapter, telling the author what they liked and so on. some of these authors have taken their stories, changed the characters names and revised some and published them as their own original works. some people think this is wrong because 1) they used twilight’s therefore stephenie’s fan base to get famous, 2) they used stephenie’s intellectual property (twilight and all included) to get famous/published/make money. other people think it’s completely fine as long as the published work doesn’t use a single thing from stephenie’s world.

        make sense?

  22. I can’t help but think that if it is post on a fanfiction site that it needed to stay that way, not be made into a book. That is just my opinion, I don’t write fanfiction. People put a lot of work into the stories and the research involved but use that time to write their own book rather than use the twilight fans to see if it is any good first. It just seems wrong to me.

  23. I dont have a problem with it. I read the complete story on her blog and really enjoyed it. But i refused to pay $20.00 per book, for a story that i have already read or already know the outcome. I will wait until the books becomes cheaper.

  24. Lynne Stringer says:

    I must confess I’ve never really understood fanfiction that does nothing more than keep the character names from Twilight and then proceeds to change everything about them, including their personalities and every circumstance they find themselves in. In my mind that’s not fan fiction, as it has nothing to do with the Twilight world at all. I get that it can be a great forum for writers to explore their skills and things like that, but if the characters bear no resemblance to their namesakes, and are not even vaguely in the same world , it seems a little like cheating to me; an easy way to get an audience.

    • lynne–i agree with you, i guess technically it’s not really fanfiction if it’s not ‘canon’ in some way. that makes sense. i can say as a reader though, i adore so many of these stories that are not really related to twilight. i appreciate them because since the author likes twilight, we have something in common, and they usually write a plot that i enjoy. so i’m glad they are writing under the fanfic category of twilight because it makes it easy for me as a reader to find stories i know i will enjoy.

      • smitten_by_twilight says:

        If it really is fanfic, it should relate to Twilight, even if it is not canon. An awful lot of AHs have the whole Cullen family in identical or similar roles as they are in the books. Carlisle and Esme are the parental units, Carlisle is a doctor, Esme is a decorator or architect or something related. Alice and Emmett, and often Rose and Jasper, are age-peers of Edward and Bella, siblings or friends. Alice is generally pretty light-hearted and into fashion. Emmett is light-hearted and big, very protective. Jasper is often all about Alice and still from Texas. Rose is beautiful and still a little witchy. And there usually aren’t extra siblings, although there may well be friends with names like Angela, Jessica, Mike, and Tyler. Jessica is still gossipy, Angela usually pretty sweet, Mike and Tyler generally still after Bella and Edward’s not so fond of them. Ok, one AH fanfic doesn’t usually have all of this, but you see what I’m saying. If a story is original, why are parental professions so limited? Why aren’t the number of siblings different? Why is the burly guy with the blonde bombshell and the brunette pixie with the lanky southerner? Answer – because it is fanfic. The author is connecting to the characters, and inviting us to connect as well.

  25. Christina says:

    I have absolutely no idea what the heck this article is about. What the heck is Master of the Universe? What is Shades of Grey? What is going on?!?!?!?

    • smitten_by_twilight says:

      Gigi and Christina, and other confused people;

      I’m not an expert in this debate, but I’ve been following it, so here’s my shot at filling in the gaps in the Lex’s description of the issue, and I hope it’s not too basic.

      There is a category of fiction called fan fiction, or sometimes fanfiction, abbreviated fanfic or ff. What distinguishes this category of fiction is that it is new material by a reader (who then obviously becomes a writer) based on a universe or characters created by another author. Twilight fanfic is a very large subset of this category, and Twilight fanfic ranges from stories that are extremely close to what Stephenie wrote, for example stories that fill in the gaps in the timeline or are told from a point of view other than Bella’s, all the way to stories with no vampires, no werewolves, that may or may not partner the characters in Stephenie’s way. Usually, the stories are noticeable linked to Twilight. Depending on the content, the connection may include using several character names, or may involve new characters that are recognizably in the Twilight world, magical critters and all. There are thousands of stories, so a lot of variation.

      A Twilight fan named EL James, who went by the online handle Snow Queen Icy Dragon (did I get that right?), wrote a novel-or-longer length fanfic that was one of the extremely popular ones. It was what’s called all-human, meaning no magical critters, and centered on the emotional and very sexual relationship between the protagonists, who were named Edward and Bella. The fan/writer has, over the past year or so (timeline?), pulled the fanfic version from the places where it was posted online, changed elements of the story including the characters’ names and book title, and published it as a trilogy with a start-up publishing house. It has been selling like gangbusters, prompting news articles and an appearance on television. These articles and appearance, though conducted by outlets that are certainly aware of the existence of fanfic, generally completely fail to mention that the books began as fanfic. I think that so far, these facts are not in contention.

      The debate centers over whether or not this is an ethical thing to do – we have not been discussing the legality of the issue, or whether it’s fun to make buckets of money, or really even whether it is worthwhile fiction or not. Just the ethics of it. Pretty sure you can read what I think in the earlier comments. I will comment personally – I have not, I *think*, read MotU, and will not buy FSoG. But everything I hear from fans indicates to me that it is not as disconnected from Twilight as they insist. If anyone determined to prove a point wants to send me a file of it, I will read it so that I can speak from knowledge. But I suspect you would merely give me more talking points.

      • Joshua L. Roberts says:

        Smitten, I think there would be more of an ethical issue had the writer tried to cash in using trade marked, copyrighted Twilight material, without any sort of consent from Stephenie Meyer or Little Brown. From my studies, James’ book, even when it was a fanfiction had little to do with Twilight other than character names. James saw that her book was popular, she decided to make the needed changes, and publish it.

        I don’t see anything wrong with this. Fan Fiction to some writers is a great way to get noticed, get feedback, and help launch your career. I’ve seen people do this all the time. If they choose to take their stories and try their luck and make some money, good for them. James took a risk. She could have spent tons of money Self-Publishing and not sold one book, but she became successful.

        Sure the Twilight connection bolstered her sales, but at the end of the day… 50 is its own book…

        • smitten_by_twilight says:

          Josh, there would have been more of a LEGAL issue had the published work included more copyrighted material, and thus also more of an ethical issue. But there is still an ethical problem – and some people say there is a legal one as well, even if Steph/Little Brown/Summit have not yet chosen to pursue it.

          I don’t have any problem with writers developing themselves in fanfic and even with them launching careers with a fanbase they’ve developed through fanfic … as long as when they actually publish, its original material. The more I listen to fans protesting that it is original material, the more I think it’s not. And if it were, it would have unethical (not illegal) to publish as fanfic.

    • lol Master of the Universe was a fanfiction of Twilight in a alternative universe setting. Meaning it’s a fans story of twilight that’s completely different from it, but still uses the character names. Fifty Shades of Grey is Master of the Universe published. So Master of the Universe + publish – Twilight = Fifty Shades of Grey. I hope that helps.

      • Christina says:

        Ohhhh. Thanks! I Googled “Master of the Universe” but I couldn’t find it online–I guess because now you’re supposed to spend your money on the book.

  26. missjuju says:

    According to an article on HuffPost, the series is getting ‘for real’ published by Vintage Books, a division of Random House.

    I keep waiting for the absurdity to end, but it never does.

  27. Interesting article. Interesting comments. Thanks for the discussion.

  28. thephantomcat says:

    Sounds like a good read.

  29. IMO, if a fanfic writer wants to turn their fanfic into a (self)published original novel, then there *has to be* very notable differences between the fanfic version and the published work because it seems like lazy and unethical to write something as fanfiction and then turn it into a novel for profit with only a few minor changes like names and locations. I’m not interested in reading something that I could’ve read for free online. I know that there are some fic writers that decide to self-publish with OmniFic and what’s being sold is basically the fanfic with like name changes and that’s about it. and I don’t want to read that.

    As for MOTU, I tired to read the fanfiction version of it but couldn’t get passed the first handful of chapters,

  30. Shirleegirl says:

    I have read both Masters of the Universe and 50 Shades and love them both. As far as the similarities between either of them and Twilight, what I see in MOtU and 50 Shades is more Rob mannerisms than those of Edward Cullen so see nothing of Edward or Bella in these stories. I think of Rob and go to my happy place

  31. I think it is a fair statement to make that if this story hadn’t been fan fiction in the beginning, it wouldn’t have gotten the attention it did. There are TONS of awesome writers out there in the big, REAL world who struggle to get their work published, and along come this porn writer and she gets not one, but TWO contracts. I can see where some would think that’s a bit unfair.

    I’m currently reading MOTU, and so far, I’m not impressed. I’m a librarian by profession, and this isn’t a book I would ever buy for my shelves at home. So far, MOTU is poorly written, filled with grammatical and punctuation errors and words/phrases that are so overused as to become annoying. I have read B & E fanfics that were WAY better than this story. But as my hubs says…(and he is surprisingly intuitive at times. LOL)…SEX SELLS.

    Even poorly written sex.

    I’m not through reading it. Maybe my opinion will change if I can manage to finish it. In my opinion, Wide Awake was a much better story than this will ever be. However, angstgoddess chose not to capitalize on her fan fiction fame and has moved onto other things. I cherish my PDF file of Wide Awake. I feel I will delete MOTU from my Kindle after I finish it.

  32. I personally have no problem with an EL James publishing her story. MOTU is one of my all time favorite ff pieces. BUT, was it worth the $60 price tag? Thank you but….NO!

  33. wow, that took a while to catch up on this discussion. so many opinions! they are just that though, opinions, so here’s mine (and i went back through and added more things, so sorry this is disjointed):

    i don’t have a problem with someone finding a following through someone else’s (stephenie’s) fan base via fanfiction. i get that. we both love twilight, we are similar in that way, and the chances are greater (although not definite) that i will like your story because of it. (in fact, i prefer this! i’m not a ‘reader’, and i don’t have access to a library, and i feel generally overwhelmed at trying to figure out how i’m going to find another book to love like twilight. like jazz girl said a while back, edward and bella were it for me :) at least for a long time, so i’ve appreciated all these writers who have given me entertainment by writing twilight fanfiction).

    i feel like fanfiction is a way for those who have always loved to write, but never pursued it as a career, to express themselves, share their talent, get better at it through reviews, and have an overall entertaining experience.

    for those writers who are just putting their stories out there in an effort to publish someday, i get that too. we are all humans with families and complications, and putting yourself on a road as a starving writer is simply impractical and out of the question for so many. so without this outlet, we would have never had the pleasure of enjoying their talent otherwise. it’s free and open to the public. benefit for the reader and the writer. -and the writer gets to make a conclusion: ok, i am good at this, i should pursue this. (or, well, that was fun, but i should keep it as my hobby and not quit my day job).

    when i first started reading fanfiction in about 2008 or 9, i was shocked that someone would spend hours, days, months, and even years writing and sharing their amazing stories for FREE! i thought of it as a gift the writer was giving me. i have read and loved well over a hundred stories. if one of these stories publishes, and i could afford it, i would buy it as a thank you. these writers have filled many of my days with laughter, intrigue and interest, and really helped me keep distracted when i was grieving from my personal life. i was often sad that they didn’t get anything in return for all that time spent. but i knew they knew the nature of fanfiction. so if they go through the additional time and money it takes to revise (sever the twilight world) and publish, i think they have worked for that and should be compensated. i am happy for them.

    i feel that if someone discovers they are actually really good at writing (because they get that rabid feedback from thousands of readers), then they have discovered a talent of theirs, and if you can make money doing what you love, you are one of the lucky ones. it would be very wrong, to use a story that leeches something off of stephenie’s world directly. if that’s not happening, i’m happy for those who discover this ability, discover the enjoyment their story brings to others, and desire to share that with the rest of the world by publishing.

    that’s how i see it. no offense meant for those who have other views. i have read and appreciated your points of view.

  34. purlgurl says:

    I just feel badly for any people who think “50 Shades” is the be-all-and-end-all of this genre – IMO “The Submissive/Dominant/Training” trilogy (up on Twilighted) and “For The Potions Master’s Amusement” on Ashwinder.Sycophanthex (Hermione Granger/Severus Snape) are vastly better-written BDSM-themed ff.

  35. purlgurl says:

    I just feel badly for any people who think “50 Shades” is the be-all-and-end-all of this genre – IMO “The Submissive/Dominant/Training” trilogy (up on Twilighted) and “For The Potions Master’s Amusement” on Ashwinder (Hermione Granger/Severus Snape) are vastly better-written BDSM-themed ff.

  36. Moonbeam says:

    When MOTU was originally published, it was definitely a brand new universe. Yes, it was admittedly inspired by the romantic emotions the author may have felt when reading Twilight, but if you read it — there’s no doubt it was new.

    I also feel like I should point out that Stephenie Meyer has admitted she was influenced when she wrote Twilight by, for example, things like the X-Men (who play superpowered baseball all the time in the comics) and even Pride and Prejudice (which Bella even mentions in the first Twilight book).

    Twilight is as different from Pride and Prejudice and the X-Men as 50 Shades/MOTU is as different from Twilight. If there were similarities, I’d definitely be concerned. But there just aren’t. And if there were similarities, I would expect the author to change them before publishing it for profit.

    So it’s totally ethical.

  37. I actually just read all three books this past week. I had no idea it began as an AU Twilight fan fic. To me, it doesn’t resemble the Twilight stories in any way shape or form. More than just names has been changed, but I also remember, while reading the book, that certain mannerisms, phrases, or actions reminded me of Twilight and the Anita Blake series. I mentioned to my daughter that I thought the author was a fan of those two fandoms. Crazy to find out how accurate that assessment was.
    As for how I feel about a ff being altered into another book…well, I don’t agree with it. It’s just not ethical if all you do is change the names.

  38. Diane Davis says:

    If ever a fanfic bore little resemblance to the stories that inspired it, it’s this one. MOTU’s Edward was, in fact, the anti-Edward and Bella shared few characteristics with the original, the most pertinent difference – in Twilight, she is necessarily the sexual aggressor. The story was in no way derivative and the names were merely a shortcut that allowed readers to picture the main characters more vividly and give them a vested interest in a HEA. There’s really no logical issue here.

  39. Unethical. I feel that it’s not an issue of her even using the names of the characters in Twilight, but moreso an issue of her writing in the style of Stephanie Meyer. Even if all the names are changed and certain characteristics changed, she still wrote the piece with Meyer’s characters, locations, etc. in mind.

  40. It’s always nice to see someone profiting off Stephenie Meyer fans. The ‘borrowed’ elements are far from subtle and I’m completely dumbfounded that she is getting away with this. How pathetic. She didn’t even bother to change the location.

    Not to mention that it is a completely unrealistic, poor, and all around disgusting depiction of true BDSM relationships and scenarios. It’s insulting to people that actually participate in the lifestyle. I’ve been a submissive for many years, and I’ve spent time in a contracted relationship and it is not something to be treated as a disease, or practiced only by those with a dark past, as the author makes it out to be. She portrays it as something shameful, and that is ridiculous.

    This story was a joke as fanfiction, and even more so now that people are supporting her. His name may be Christian Grey here, but really he’s just Edward Cullen with a riding crop, because that’s exactly what this started out as.

    She used the fans, she used SM, and that is all there is to it. You can argue this until the end of time, her fans will simply say that we are jealous of her success. No, I am appalled that someone could be this disturbingly unethical and immoral. Period.

    You know, it’s amusing to me that all of these women shout and scream their feminist rights, yet they read this book. To support an author that maliciously and intentionally released contact information on another woman that needed privacy, publically and privately bashed the same fans she is making money off of, and complained continuously about having to give to charity, is completely disgusting to me. Not to mention the blatant copyright infringement issue, or the depictions. Honestly, actual submissives, like myself, see this book for what it is; trash. Suburban soccer moms, on the other hand, simply see porn to light their fires. The media sees controversy.

    They are blindly supporting a rude, manipulative hack that cannot even come up with an original idea, and even then she still wrote it poorly. How sad.

    My apologies for doing this on your page, as I am sure her insane fans will now be blowing up your comments, rushing to tell me that I am simply jealous of her success, as that seems to be their only comeback.

    It is unethical and wrong. Period.

    Also, for anyone who is interested, I actually have a list that compares FSoG to Twilight, the plot and characters.

    • Diane Davis says:

      You have a list of comparisons between the novel and fan fic. Why? Although I’ve read neither, as a former editor I can assure you your ethical and infringement concerns are unfounded and so vehemently expressed as to be revealingly jejune. Bothering to compile the list mentioned above, indicates some personal and very emotional investment on your part. As to the author’s unrealistic portrait of BDSM, I refer you to the concepts of fantasy, escapism and guilty pleasures.

      • I’ve seen a list like this on a blog.
        It bothers me that a lot of people don’t care that she “borrowed” a lot of things from copyrighted material. And yes, it’s probably legal but that doesn’t mean it’s ethical.

        • Lynne Stringer says:

          I agree, Diane. While I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey, if the list of similarities to Twilight that I’ve seen is accurate, there is no doubt that this book is doing little more than ripping off SM’s work, and using her stories as a way to become a successful writer. Although it’s unlikely that the similarities are great enough for a legal battle (although the fact that it is known that it was originally Twilight fan fiction is a big factor that could win a fight if it came to that) this author has shown us that she is little more than a copycat. She has just rewritten someone else’s work. While it may be legal – just – it is unethical, and I don’t think it will earn the author any kudos in the long run.

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