esperate for another hit, publishers are flocking to fan fiction sites in an effort to create another lighting in a bottle sensation like that of Fifty Shades of Grey but is there a hidden danger in this lurking in the shadows for authors of fan fiction?
Say what you will about fan fiction, but the fact of the matter is, it’s growing in popularity and that’s actually a good thing for authors and readers, a like. Fan fiction is unique in the fact that it allows authors to explore their abilities and creativity while allowing readers to enjoy a story and characters that may have long since ended and keeps the story alive in the minds of readers. It can also make readers out of people who probably wouldn’t read traditional novel length books but would easily and happily read a 100k+ word fan fiction. But there’s a code to all of this, respect the authors and their rights. No money is ever made off a fan fiction, it’s purely for the love of story and creation.
Fifty Shades and it’s compatriots has created a dangerous precedent for copyright issues however because knowing that it started as a Twilight fan fiction (however Alternate Universe), the similarities between Bella Swan and Anastasia Steele are unmistakable. They are both self loathing, clumsy, and obnoxious yet loved by ridiculously good looking men with controlling attitudes, a bizarre and often disturbing affinity for blood and vast amounts of money completely inappropriate for their ages. In fact the only discernible difference I can find between Ana and Bella is their names, though both are monosyllabic in nature.
So where is the line and how does this not present some issues of it’s own? I understand that almost no idea is entirely original, but this idea has characters from one novel and a plot from a film called The Secretary (as best I can tell) and perhaps the only original thing about it is the terrible writing and even worse dialogue… and maybe that’s enough for publishers. I know that from a lot of authors of fan fiction I’ve heard, they don’t believe it’s right making money off a fan fiction rather than creating their own original characters, but apparently for Ms. James and the most recent in an ever expanding list of fan fiction authors sprinting to get their name into traditional print with these stories, the moral code of fan fiction authors is irrelevant.