Is Fifty Shades of Grey a New Frontier in Fan Fiction?

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News Media Commentary
Title: Is Fifty Shades of Grey a New Frontier in Fan Fiction?
Commentator: Alma Katsu
Date(s): 04 April 2012
Venue: Huffington Post
Fandom: Fifty Shades of Grey, Twilight
External Links: Is Fifty Shades of Grey a New Frontier in Fan Fiction?
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Is Fifty Shades of Grey a New Frontier in Fan Fiction? is a 2012 article about Fifty Shades of Grey and the consequences the success of the story might have for fanfiction.

There seems to be no debate as to whether Fifty Shades can legitimately be called fan fiction or not, since the author workshopped the original manuscript, Master of the Universe, explicitly as Twilight fan fiction on fan fiction sites. A comparative analysis done by Jane Litte of Dear pretty much makes a clear case for Fifty Shades being a version of Master of the Universe with few changes aside from the names of the main characters. Readers of Fifty Shades have come out on both sides of the argument: some say that they can't read from the books without Bella and Edward coming to mind, while others argue that Fifty Shades as a story stands wholly apart from Twilight.

The article wonders about the legal and ethical issues surrounding this story and says that just because "Stephenie Meyer didn't take legal action over James' books before we got to this point in the imbroglio should not be considered any reflection on the legal merits of such a case."

On the advantages of starting out as fanfiction:

And, since James changed the main characters of her story from Bella and Edward to Ana and Christian, you might wonder what benefit she is actually getting from Twilight. There is the little matter of her fan base, which was built in Twilight fan fiction enclaves. That is the primary benefit for writers of fan fiction, I would argue: they're leapfrogging over the incredibly hard business of actually building an audience by piggybacking on the work done by someone else.

To give the issue context, the article asks: "What are television's Merlin and Sherlock Holmes series if not elaborate forms of fan fiction? Disney might be the bigger purveyor of fan fiction there is, their mega-hit movies blatant retellings of fairy and folk tales. Doesn't this foster an atmosphere that encourages individuals to appropriate a story and make it their own?"