Back in the day, I was a romance novel junkie and the boring job I had at the time allowed me to read a book or two a week. Since I had not yet found my soul mate, I was intrigued by all the fantastic ways that magical day could happen. I had set the standard high, and when I met my future husband, he was more than willing to surpass it. He was energetic, funny, and most of all, romantic. He didn’t own a huge plantation in the south, nor did he own a white horse, but he drove a red CJ5 Jeep and he swept me off my feet. Now, 28 years later, we have written our own love story (not literally) and next week we will celebrate 24 years of marriage. So, before I get to the real topic of this post, Happy Anniversary Honey!
Several weeks ago, when I witnessed the cast of Good Morning America blushing at the mere mention of the book 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James, my interest was piqued. Mothers were devouring these books (trilogy) and by all accounts, marriages were being saved and sex lives were renewed. Being big into romance, I was a little curious. Was it truly a good story, or was it just about sex?
I didn’t run out and buy the book, I wasn’t that curious. So, when a fellow author and blogger wrote a post about fan fiction and 50 Shades of Grey, I was thankful I hadn’t. First of all, I didn’t know fan fic existed or even what it was. I don’t think I could explain it better than Imelda Evans did so here is an excerpt from her blog.
“Fan Fiction, or fanfic, is what happens when people fall so much in love with a fictional world and its characters that they don’t want their interaction with it to end at the end of the book, or movie, or tv show. When the original creators can’t give the fans enough of what they want, and talking with other fans is no longer enough, some of them turn to writing their own stories about those characters and that world.”
Interesting… So what books have I read that could have the characters using whips, chains, and bondage??? Imelda goes on to write:
“From what I can tell, it seems that this work is mostly James’ own. It seems to me that the connections to Twilight are, in the finished work, fairly slender. But… it started in the Twilight fanfic community as a work of fan fiction and was appreciated and supported by that community as such. And it was, apparently, very popular there and those people spread the word to others and it became popular more widely.”
Very interesting… I have to admit, I read the Twilight Saga and by the time I got to Breaking Dawn and the long overdue honeymoon, I was more than ready for a little “action.” If you have read the book, you know, it was all left to the imagination. I felt a little jilted but I was thankful it was tastefully done because my teenage daughter had read the books before I did. I can understand how fan fic might pick up where the mind left off, but nipple clamps might be a little over the top for me.
A relatively unknown author has hit the New York Times Bestseller list by writing an erotic love story, originally based off of a few of my favorite characters. Which brings me to a sore spot and I don’t want to sound like a whiner but I’m going to whine a little bit when I say, “That’s not fair.” In one last excerpt:
“But the minute the fanfic writer starts to get paid for their fan fiction, it starts getting very murky indeed. If someone writes a new story using someone else’s characters, or their world-building, I would argue that’s theft. They are stealing the work it took to build that world and those characters and the book-selling value of those story elements. I would argue that, as exploitable commodities, these things belong to the original author. If the ‘inspiration’ they draw is less obvious, it’s less clearly theft, but for me as a writer, it would still be a no-go area.”
I couldn’t agree more. (Thanks Imelda, for removing the rock I’ve been living under.) To hear more, I suggest you visit http://imeldaevans.wordpress.com/2012/03/18/fifty-shades-of-grey-and-the-fanfic-question/ It’s a good read!
So now where do I stand? How can I pass judgment on a book I haven’t even read? But as a writer who works hard to create a new world for my readers, how can I support such an author? I have come to the conclusion that I will not buy the book, but if the dirty deed has already been done by a friend or family member (you can remain anonymous), I would be willing to read your copy and give a review of my findings.
In the meantime, how do you feel about fan fic?