Writing fanfiction isn’t a waste of time, like some might think.
At least not for author EL James, whose smash hit novel 50 Shades of Grey is actually based upon a fanfiction she wrote a few years ago.
Fanfiction is a craze that’s been around for longer than most people would believe. It’s literally fictional situations based upon a television series, movies, books, and even bands and celebrities that are written by fans. Fanfiction gained a majority of it’s publicity over forty years ago when fan-made magazines for Star Trek published some fan written romantic situations between Spock and Captain Kirk.
However, not much else usually comes from fanfiction except a few misspelled reviews or thumbs up. Then it’s off to the next venture.
But the story of EL James does inspire hope for fanfiction writers everywhere, as she is truly living the dream.
Originally published on fanfiction.net under the pseudonym Snowqueen’s Icedragon, James’ fanfiction entitled Master of the Universe depicted the two main protagonists of the Twilight saga, Edward Cullen and Bella Swan, engaging in some very adult, and very romance-novel-typical behavior, creating quite a stir between other fanfiction authors and Twilight fans alike.
Her novel 50 Shades of Grey depicts very similar situations as the fanfiction, with almost 90% of the novel being word for word the same. The story’s main difference, however, is that Bella and Edward have been replaced by the equally charismatic and charming Christian and Anna. The story is just as engaging, investing readers in a very passionate and risky romance not meant for children.
And now that same fanfiction, with just a quick change of the names of the characters, has led James and her novel to climb to the top of best sellers lists, as well as sign deals for two more sequels as well as a film deal with Universal Studios that is worth millions of dollars.
While not every fanfiction author will be able to grab hold of the same success as EL James, her story does instill hope in struggling authors everywhere that anyone has a chance to be that successful.
And all they have to do is start out as a fan.