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Thread: 50 Shades of Grey trilogy goes from fan fiction to Random House

  1. #176
    Quote Originally Posted by JustJas View Post
    I'm not a fan of this style of writing (the parody is great!), but I also think it's no worse than many other books on the bestseller list
    Name one.

  2. #177
    Attends The School of AW Alitriona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenPanced View Post
    But would we have known it started out as Twilight fanfic without being told it was?
    No. I read it as fanfic. If I had picked it up off amazon I wouldn't have put it together at all.
    Last edited by Alitriona; 03-19-2012 at 02:16 AM. Reason: auto correct

  3. #178
    Quote Originally Posted by Libbie View Post
    And if she wouldn't have the ability to write something like this without using Meyer's work as a crutch, then what right does she have to make money from it?
    What right does any talentless person have to make money? Since when is entertainment a meritocracy?

    If I were Stephenie Meyer, I'd be firing up my team of attorneys and going after their asses like they were made of bacon.
    Why? If it doesn't offend her, it's not like she needs the money or is going to be harmed by this.

  4. #179
    practical experience, FTW JustJas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amadan View Post
    Name one.
    The original Twilight series for starters (IMHO - I know many people loved this but I found it unbearable, probably because I'm not 16 years old).

    The Celestine Prophecy is one that particularly stands out for me. It spent 165 weeks on the NY Times besteller list.
    Last edited by JustJas; 03-19-2012 at 09:25 AM.

  5. #180
    Quote Originally Posted by JustJas View Post
    The original Twilight series for starters (IMHO - I know many people loved this but I found it unbearable, probably because I'm not 16 years old).

    No.

    I read Twilight. I hated it. But the prose in Twilight is not remotely as bad as the prose in Fifty Shades of Grey. Not remotely.


    The Celestine Prophecy is one that particularly stands out for me. It spent 165 weeks on the NY Times besteller list.
    Haven't read it. Even if I take your word for it that its writing is as appallingly bad as Fifty Shades of Gray (which I doubt), that's one, not "many."

  6. #181
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. AW Moderator Torgo's Avatar
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    When you think how many books influence just about anything we write - in terms of style, plot, etc - I think it's hard to draw a line. I mean, I read a whole bunch of books by Terry Brooks growing up - the modern equivalent would probably be Christopher Paolini - that were extremely derivative of Tolkien, without actually being what you would call 'derivative works'.

    I am simply not convinced that it's somehow an unethical creative process to write a draft of a book as a derivative work, and then to redraft and modify it so that it doesn't infringe its model. It would seem that the author in that case is removing the bits that weren't original and then replacing them with their own inventions. If all that the two works end up sharing are broad story features like, say, vampires or love triangles, who gets hurt?

  7. #182
    practical experience, FTW JustJas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amadan View Post
    No.

    I read Twilight. I hated it. But the prose in Twilight is not remotely as bad as the prose in Fifty Shades of Grey. Not remotely.




    Haven't read it. Even if I take your word for it that its writing is as appallingly bad as Fifty Shades of Gray (which I doubt), that's one, not "many."
    Have a look on Goodreads at the reviews for the Celestine Prophecy if you want to get an idea about the calibre of this book.

    I could name many books which I believe are badly written and have made it to bestseller lists, which of course would only be my opinion. I don't want to denigrate the work of other writers in a forum for writers or come up with a list of 'many' badly written books just to appease you. Since when are the posters on this site required to provide hard evidence to support their opinions? It is after all a forum for OPINIONS, not an academic essay.

    Can I ask what exactly is the point you are trying to make here? If you believe this book is particularly badly written and represents a new low in publishing, why not just come out and say this instead of trying to bait me?
    Last edited by JustJas; 03-19-2012 at 04:45 PM.

  8. #183
    Whatever I did, I didn't do it. Phaeal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libbie View Post
    If I were Stephenie Meyer, I'd be firing up my team of attorneys and going after their asses like they were made of bacon.
    Do you really think Meyer's attorneys and Little, Brown's attorneys and Random House's attorneys would have allowed FSoG to go to publication without determining there were no grounds for legal action?

    Now THAT would be the shocker.
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  9. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
    Do you really think Meyer's attorneys and Little, Brown's attorneys and Random House's attorneys would have allowed FSoG to go to publication without determining there were no grounds for legal action?

    Now THAT would be the shocker.
    Exactly. It will have had lawyers all over it. I would not be in the least surprised if this is going ahead with Meyer's explicit blessing; she'd probably not publicise that fact, but still.

  10. #185
    Whatever I did, I didn't do it. Phaeal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustJas View Post
    The Celestine Prophecy is one that particularly stands out for me. It spent 165 weeks on the NY Times besteller list.
    Well, at least Celestine has jeeps and helicopters. Lots of jeeps and helicopters. Wait! FSoG has helicopters! I think we're on to something here, Miss Jones. Perhaps even the legendary motherlode of bad fictive tropes. The mysterious cause of literary crib-death. Drop that shovel! It's toothbrushes and dental picks from here down...
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  11. #186
    Quote Originally Posted by JustJas View Post
    Since when are the posters on this site required to provide hard evidence to support their opinions? It is after all a forum for OPINIONS, not an academic essay.

    Can I ask what exactly is the point you are trying to make here? If you believe this book is particularly badly written and represents a new low in publishing, why not just come out and say this instead of trying to bait me?
    Opinions can be wrong.

    The reason I rolled my eyes at your comment is that it's similar to the tripe trotted out by the death-to-publishing crowd: "Who cares if this book is a badly-edited catastrophe of awful writing - look at how many best-sellers are just as bad!" And the fact is, no, with vanishingly few exceptions, they're not.

    That said, I don't think there's anything wrong, per se, with Fifty Shades of Grey being published. If it makes money, it achieves its purpose from the publisher's POV.

    But I am all for lit criticism of both the highbrow and lowbrow variety, which includes being unsparing in pointing out when horrible crap writing that is a new low in publishing is horrible crap writing that is a new low in publishing.


    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
    Do you really think Meyer's attorneys and Little, Brown's attorneys and Random House's attorneys would have allowed FSoG to go to publication without determining there were no grounds for legal action?

    Or, they decided "Yeah, we could sue, but why bother?" Maybe Stephanie Meyer shares the opinion of many here (including myself) that if someone else wants to use fan fiction as a springboard for their own work, what's the harm?

    I mean, now her writing looks good in comparison.

  12. #187
    Quote Originally Posted by Amadan View Post
    Or, they decided "Yeah, we could sue, but why bother?" Maybe Stephanie Meyer shares the opinion of many here (including myself) that if someone else wants to use fan fiction as a springboard for their own work, what's the harm?
    I strongly suspect this is the case.
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  13. #188
    practical experience, FTW JustJas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amadan View Post
    Opinions can be wrong.

    The reason I rolled my eyes at your comment is that it's similar to the tripe trotted out by the death-to-publishing crowd: "Who cares if this book is a badly-edited catastrophe of awful writing - look at how many best-sellers are just as bad!" And the fact is, no, with vanishingly few exceptions, they're not.

    That said, I don't think there's anything wrong, per se, with Fifty Shades of Grey being published. If it makes money, it achieves its purpose from the publisher's POV.

    But I am all for lit criticism of both the highbrow and lowbrow variety, which includes being unsparing in pointing out when horrible crap writing that is a new low in publishing is horrible crap writing that is a new low in publishing.





    Or, they decided "Yeah, we could sue, but why bother?" Maybe Stephanie Meyer shares the opinion of many here (including myself) that if someone else wants to use fan fiction as a springboard for their own work, what's the harm?

    I mean, now her writing looks good in comparison.
    The point I was trying to make in my post is that I don't think this book represents the end of publishing as we know it and it is not further evidence of a downward slide into mediocrity and worse. Bad books get published all the time and sometimes they even make it to the bestseller list, but good books also continue to get published and life goes on.

    Epublishing & self-publishing have given people access to books that otherwise would never have made it past the cultural gatekeepers, and although it's depressing that this book has become so big, it's not really that surprising to me.

  14. #189
    Worst song played on ugliest guitar Libbie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amadan View Post
    What right does any talentless person have to make money? Since when is entertainment a meritocracy?
    Nice strawman.

    I find riding the coattails of people who do original work deplorable in all contexts, not just in entertainment. The sale of knockoff designer handbags is just as ethically disturbing to me. Just because designers are still making handbags, that doesn't mean it's all right for people to make replicas of their designs and profit from it. If a person wants to make handbags, he should learn how to design his own original creations, not take the intellectual property of other designers.


    Why? If it doesn't offend her, it's not like she needs the money or is going to be harmed by this.
    Just because she hasn't yet spoken up about it doesn't mean she is not offended by it. And "it's not like she needs the money" is a b.s. argument. What if she was planning to write an adult-audience-geared Twilight story? Now this other writer beat her to the punch with characters everybody knows started as Edward and Bella. As she creator of those characters, doesn't she have the right to continue to profit from them, no matter how much money she already has? I think her books suck, and I have no idea WHY she has as much money as she does, but I can say one thing for sure: She earned her money honestly.

  15. #190
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. AW Moderator Torgo's Avatar
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    How do we know Twilight didn't start as fanfic?

  16. #191
    Quote Originally Posted by Libbie View Post
    Nice strawman.

    It's not a strawman. You're indignant that someone turned fan fiction into a published work. Why? Look at all the entertainers who can barely lip sync their way through an autotuned pop ballad. Talentless, derivative hacks become popular and make tons of money all the time. There is a certain cosmic injustice in this, but it's the way things work, and I'm not sure why this particular instance is worthy of special outrage.

    Just because she hasn't yet spoken up about it doesn't mean she is not offended by it. And "it's not like she needs the money" is a b.s. argument. What if she was planning to write an adult-audience-geared Twilight story? Now this other writer beat her to the punch with characters everybody knows started as Edward and Bella.
    And do you think her fans will not buy her adult-themed Twilight story because they've already read Fifty Shades of Grey?

  17. #192
    Super Moderator SuperModerator Stew21's Avatar
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    Regarding knowing it is based on Twilight. I have a friend who read this on recommendation without ever knowing it's origins. She said she didn't know it was based on twilight characters while reading it but it gave her "the exact same feeling". I know that's not specific; it's just what she said. Likewise someone else who read them said that the characters are nothing like Edward and Bella. I completely disagree and think that she just didn't make the association.

    Regarding what the fuss is about this: many people believe it never would have survived slush. If it hadn't had Edward and Bella as the character names and hadn't been posted to a fanfic website for Twilight it never would have gotten out of obscurity as a viable work of BDSM erotica. It is the exploitation of that fandom that led to her success - bad writing and all. That simple.

    Random House capitalized on it; as did the author. They are a business and they saw $$. It says something about quality taking the back seat to the business side of publishing.

    Right, wrong or indifferent, without having been attached to Twilight and Twilight Fandom, this would be rejected slush.
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  18. #193
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. AW Moderator Torgo's Avatar
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    There's an awful lot of stuff published that would be rejected slush were it evaluated purely as a text. But then choosing what to publish has never been the same thing as practical criticism.

  19. #194
    practical experience, FTW heza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torgo View Post
    Exactly. It will have had lawyers all over it. I would not be in the least surprised if this is going ahead with Meyer's explicit blessing; she'd probably not publicise that fact, but still.
    I've been trying to look at this from Meyer's veiwpoint, and I think if I were her, I'd be miffed that this happened; however...

    I think authors have to be careful about alienating their fanbase. There are a lot of Twilight fans who are outraged, but there also seem to be a lot who are supportive of the scrubbing and subsequent move to big-time publishing (possibly because now they can dream big, too). When authors have huge, legal responses to things that a good portion of fans think is harmless, they sometimes get a reputation in certain circles for being unreasonable.

    So I could see a certain hesitancy in getting imbroiled in a legal battle over this. What's more, would a legal battle even do anything but make Meyer look like a whiner?

    Whether it's moral or immoral, I don't think it's actionable. Unless I misunderstand the cases we've talked about before, here, the published books are compared, right? If FSoG was AU to begin with and then scrubbed, I don't think there's going to be sufficiently similar content to warrant a favorable ruling. I mean, does the law consider how a work was created? Or does it just look at the end result?

    I think Meyer would just end up looking foolish if she took this to court. You have to pick your battles.
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  20. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amadan View Post
    No.

    I read Twilight. I hated it. But the prose in Twilight is not remotely as bad as the prose in Fifty Shades of Grey. Not remotely.
    I haven't read Fifty Shades of Grey; I knew it was bad, but I didn't think it was that bad.

  21. #196
    That's how I roll iRock's Avatar
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    I had to Google this E.L. James to see if she was a real person. Because, yanno, I'd have died laughing if her identity was all super-secret, and, in time, she turned out to really be Meyer.

  22. #197
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heza View Post

    I think Meyer would just end up looking foolish if she took this to court. You have to pick your battles.

    It depends on her contract. With this being acknowledged fanfic, she may not have a choice; there are plenty of author contracts which contain clauses requiring authors to "defend their copyright" if fanfiction becomes public knowledge.

    The best example I can think of, because she's one of the most vocal, is Tanya Huff. She's pro-fanfic and fan-art, etc, but has to maintain a strict "don't tell me about it" policy - not so much because she'd be in danger of a lawsuit if a novel ended up with a similar storyline, but because her contract requires her to take measures against anyone she knows of who is using her characters, universe, etc. without permission.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanya Huff
    As the fanfic discussion is making the rounds again let me just reiterate where I, personally, stand. 1. Don't tell me about it. Knowledge implies consent and implied consent can potentially result in some legal nastiness. We'll both be happier if I don't know, trust me. 2. Have fun. I, personally, am thrilled you like what I've created enough that you want to see how it looks dressed in green and wearing thigh high boots. 3. I have no actual evidence, but I doubt fanfic has ever lost me readers and I strongly suspect it may be responsible for my gaining a couple. 4. But, seriously, don't tell me about it.
    Her work, and the short-lived Lifetime series it spawned actually had/has a dedicated fan community, complete with fan created pieces, but no one makes a big deal out of them. If one of those pieces went mainstream, it would not only require her to undertake a potentially costly legal stance (if she does, her publisher can sue her), but it would destroy the fan community by necessitating a lock-down on all fan creations posted in public. And THAT's what bugs me about the 50 Shades of Grey thing.

    The author is putting the whole fandom at risk. "Inspired by" is one thing, even using chunks of MotU (the way Cass1e Clare uses chunks of her Draco trilogy for Mortal Instruments). But advertising "published fanfiction" is disrespectful to the original author of the fandom and its members.
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  23. #198
    Quote Originally Posted by Stew21 View Post
    Regarding what the fuss is about this: many people believe it never would have survived slush. If it hadn't had Edward and Bella as the character names and hadn't been posted to a fanfic website for Twilight it never would have gotten out of obscurity as a viable work of BDSM erotica. It is the exploitation of that fandom that led to her success - bad writing and all. That simple.
    Probably true, but again, so what?

    Random House capitalized on it; as did the author. They are a business and they saw $$. It says something about quality taking the back seat to the business side of publishing.
    Are you equally outraged by Tyra and Snooki and Amanda Knox getting book deals?

    Look, I'd like a world in which only talented, hard-working writers who deserve their success got book deals too, but since we live in the real world, I just... don't get the sturm und drang.

  24. #199
    practical experience, FTW heza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyia View Post
    It depends on her contract. With this being acknowledged fanfic, she may not have a choice; there are plenty of author contracts which contain clauses requiring authors to "defend their copyright" if fanfiction becomes public knowledge.
    Ah. I retract my earlier assumptions then. I wasn't aware that publishers can force you to take legal action if you're not otherwise inclined to.
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  25. #200
    Super Moderator SuperModerator Stew21's Avatar
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    Amadan, I get it; you disagree with me.
    So what? Ok. so what?

    Just for clarification. I'm not outraged by anything; I just find it interesting, which is why I started the thread. Fanfic going big six and NYT BSL is unusual. It's an interesting topic for writers about the industry we are in. It's more interesting that it is fanfic of something which was a huge commercial success, but many people consider poorly written. Compounded with it being BDSM, and yes, all those elements do make it more interesting than a celeb getting a book deal. It would be an obscure book, at best if it wasn't for where/how it started. I don't feel like I need to defend that either. It's just how I feel.

    It's a discussion, but we seem to be going in circles, so I'm done. I don't feel like defending my opinion any more.

    Be nice to each other and carry on.
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