Fanfiction. Is it hurting writers? – My Ity Opinion

I love fanfiction just as much as the next person but I love it because it’s not really quality writing. It’s entertaining in that it’s bad. It’s fun because it’s people taking their wants from a fandom and bringing it into the world but over all it isn’t worthy of actual publishing. Is it? I’m not so sure. This post is delving into why I don’t agree with the fanfictions being turned into ‘legit’ novels that being published.

I know that it’s probably a bit harsh and maybe some of you will disagree with me, which would be wonderful to be honest. I love to read other points of views. Thinking that this might come under fire I do want to say that there is nothing wrong with liking what you like. This is only my opinion and sometimes that doesn’t line up with other people. That’s okay. We can all like different things!

Fifty Shades of Grey. Need I say more? This is the worst book that I’ve never read. I will never read it. I know that makes my opinion on it being the worst kind of unfair but lets break down the plot of this ‘gem’ and on exactly why I think that it’s a shining example of why Fanfiction shouldn’t be turned into published work.

So basically the idea is that a girl who is a virgin, doesn’ think of herself as pretty and feels basic, meets a uber hot, rich, business dude. There is a connection as it were and in their meeting he stalks her, forces himself further into her life, convinces her to do that whole “BDSM” thing with him without really explaining what it is or means. Expects her to just come when he rings a bell and obey and shit.

Now, I’m not against BDSM. I think that there is nothing wrong with that and it’s a lifestyle that I respect. Fifty Shades is not BDSM, it is not a proper portrayal of that lifestyle and I’d probably be offended if I was a part of it myself. I don’t think that hurting women is really the whole point of a lot of it. I’m not well versed so I could be wrong but it always came off as a relationship with a foundation of trust and respect. I’m sure there are people that are like Christian Grey but they are not the norm and as I recall a lot of people in that culture were really upset by the book.

So the book ends, as far as I’m aware, with Anastasia being like NOPE and leaving. She was not wanting anything to do with that crazy dude and his pain kink. I don’t really blame the girl. For Twilight fanfiction this is pretty ridiculous of a premise. I wouldn’t have read it as fanfiction myself and I’m sure I would have rolled my eyes if I had read it.

I guess one of my issues is that the author paints stalking, possession, obsessiveness and all that in such a light. Like we are supposed to be pleased to have some rich asshole follow us around and demand we drop to our knees. Sorry. Not my thing. I don’t get the appeal at all. Honestly, it’s kind of gross.

But aside from the issues I have with the plot itself the writing is where I get really pissed off. To be frank, it sucks, and that is just an understatement. I don’t think I could fully express just how poorly written this book actually is without throwing in some bits. So Goodreads gave me some lovely quotes to share. Now just as a warning there is some found language coming up but I’m not for censorship so skip over of you don’t like f-bombs used in sexual contexts.

“- “Why don’t you like to be touched?” 

– “Because I’m fifty shades of fucked-up, Anastasia” 

E.L. James

“Does this mean you’re going to make love to me tonight, Christian?” Holy shit. Did I just say that? His mouth drops open slightly, but he recovers quickly.

“No, Anastasia it doesn’t. Firstly, I don’t make love. I fuck… hard. Secondly, there’s a lot more paperwork to do, and thirdly, you don’t yet know what you’re in for. You could still run for the hills. Come, I want to show you my playroom.”

My mouth drops open. Fuck hard! Holy shit, that sounds so… hot. But why are we looking at a playroom? I am mystified.

“You want to play on your Xbox?” I ask. He laughs, loudly. 

“No, Anastasia, no Xbox, no Playstation. Come.”… Producing a key from his pocket, he unlocks yet another door and takes a deep breath.

“You can leave anytime. The helicopter is on stand-by to take you whenever you want to go, you can stay the night and go home in the morning. It’s fine whatever you decide.”

“Just open the damn door, Christian.”

He opens the door and stands back to let me in. I gaze at him once more. I so want to know what’s in here. Taking a deep breath I walk in.

And it feels like I’ve time-traveled back to the sixteenth century and the Spanish Inquisition.

Holy fuck.

E.L. James

“He grabs me suddenly and yanks me up against him, one hand at my back holding me to him and the other fisting in my hair.

“You’re one challenging woman,” He kisses me, forcing my lips apart with his tongue, taking no prisoners. 

“It’s taking all my self-control not to fuck you on the hood of this car, just to show you that you’re mine, and if I want to buy you a fucking car, I’ll buy you a fucking car,” he growls.” 

E.L. James

Now after those tasteful, -cough- Sarcasm-, quotes how could you not love Mr. Grey. I mean he says fuck and everything! God it’s trite.

“I gasp, and I’m Eve in the Garden of Eden, and he’s the serpent, and I cannot resist.” 

E.L. James

Oh honey, no. Just no. I’m cringing so much right now.


I don’t have a problem with fanfiction but I don’t understand how this happens. And Fifty Shades isn’t the first book that was fanfiction. So it begs the question…is this harming writers? Writers who spend years crafting novels that are based on NOTHING but their imagination. Writers who can’t get a book deal, who can’t even get an agent. Not because their work isn’t good but because this is what the masses what? Garbage?!

It’s discouraging to say the least. Of course the other side of the coin is how isn’t everyone getting published if this crap can get a three book deal and more. Plus three damn movies. Make millions. AND IT’S SHIT! Okay. Now to be fair, I know that there are people that really liked it. Just like there are people that legit love Twilight. And again that’s cool, I can’t agree with you on that but you do you man.

So I decided that in this quest I was going to see what else was out there that originally was fanfiction and let me tell you that I was shocked okay. I was taken aback okay. I was…what is happening? But seriously here are some books that apparently were fanfiction and I didn’t even know some of these were fanfiction!!

The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

This is Harry Potter Fanfiction. I didn’t mind this book to be honest. Probably because it wasn’t full of unnecessary amounts of sex…and is classified as a YA. I only read the first book, I did buy two more but never got around to reading them. I bought them before I finished the first one if I remember correctly and then I finished and there was some weird like incest twist with the two main characters so I was like um..what? But overall it wasn’t a bad book and I am pretty sure that it was on my listed of YA Books that I liked. Go figure.

After by Anna Todd

This is a real life fanfiction that was based on One Direction. Yes the main guy is actually Harry Styles. Talk about weird. And that is now a movie! What is the world coming to people?

Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard

I had never heard of it so I looked it up on Amazon and it’s what you’d expect for Twilight Fanfiction. I guess. Doesn’t look like anything I’d want to read but I mean…that’s kind of my point here right?

Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

Also Twilight fanfiction. I mean these last two I’ve never heard of and only learned of them from the power of google but like…I dunno. The more I read the more I’m just like why is this even a thing?


Now other books that qualify are books that are set in the same world as the original but change aspects to make them their own. I’m not saying that I’d read them but at least they aren’t pretending to be legit original work. So I’m far less bothered by the idea of them than the idea of writing crap with other characters names and then somehow finding a publisher that is like “YES WE WANT THAT”

I’m ranting so I’m sorry. The basic problem that I have is that the bar for being published is supposed to be high. It’s supposed to be difficult right? That’s what makes getting published such a big deal. That your work was chosen. That it was good enough to get printed. But now, the bar is still high for the rest of us but SUPER low if you are writing about characters that were already created by someone else, all you did was put them in a different setting.

That’s kiiind of original, I guess? What do you think? I went hard on this and I’m sure I’ll catch some flack for it. Can’t please everyone but be honest. I have nothing against anyone that did like this book or any of the others mentioned. I’m sure I have loved books that people hated so I hope there will be no hard feelings if you’ve gotten this far!


Did you read Fifty Shades and think it was great literature? Did you read it and think that it was the best thing you’ve read since…I dunno, Twilight? Or are you like me? I’d love to know! Comment below!

Chasity

Hi! I’m Chasity and I love reading books. I decided to start this blog as a way to read more books and share it with the internet. I’m a wife, a mother, a full-time job keeper, an artist, a writer and a reader of things.

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  1. justthegameoflife says:

    Im the same as you. I really dont understand how fanfiction is getting published. Like who is doing this lol now I never wanted to read the book, I did try the movie and it is just horrible. I couldn’t do it. So I cant even imagine the book. Just reading the quotes you had from it made me cringe.
    I get fanfiction, I really do. And I’ve read some before, but I kinda dont like it either. It just feels weird to me lol maybe I’m just weird but I dont know

    • ityreads says:

      Thank you for the comment. Fanfiction isn’t for everyone! But it shouldn’t be a book book.

    • Lost says:

      Hmm see, I’m not so sure on this – lots of books start out inspired from others, and as long as they don’t plagiarise actual text I don’t see an issue as such. Fifty shades is a book I’ve never read, and I agree it’s probably not great from the excerpts you’ve shown but arguing that it stands for all fanfiction-turned-novels and that they’re devoid of originality is something I’d disagree with.

      Also stuff like Paradise Lost is, in essence, fanfic of the Bible but taken waaaay differently? Not sure on where I’m going with that part 😂😂

      That all being said, I really like this post! I’d never thought about it all that deeply before and you put forward some rlly interesting points 😁💚

      • ityreads says:

        I definitely wasn’t trying to say that. Honestly I think that there are probably really amazing fanfics that should be made into books that just aren’t. While we have books liked 50 shades that aren’t amazing but is being published and makes millions for the author. I don’t think that good books that are well written with great stories that may have been fanfics or inspired by other works is a bad thing. I’m saying that bad books that aren’t well written and don’t have all together great stories that were fanfics are getting published while good work isn’t. I suppose that was my bigger points. Thanks for the comment though!!

  2. Alys says:

    I really don’t know that there are published fanfiction! Well, for Fifty Shades Trilogy, I’ve read it during high school days, and I don’t know if I liked it or what? But, maybe not, because I don’t know the details on the story anymore. If I liked it, I would still remember most of the scenes.

  3. While I understand your point of view, you’re asking the wrong question. The question should be why such low-quality writing is being published and gaining the level of success 50 Shades did. Whether it started out as fan fiction is completely irrelevant. But then the answer to that is simple… It caters to a target audience.

    If you really look, a lot of fan fiction just takes characters and throws them into an AU and a lot of the time those characters are heavily altered to fit said AU. In there lies the question: if a piece of fan fiction is so detached from the source material already that simple name changes could fix any possible copyright issue, then how is it not an original story already? As a writer, if you spent hours, days, weeks, months, so on, working on a piece of fiction then you look back on it and think “Wait, this is an actual story that I created.” and some minor changes would allow you to actually put that creation out there, it shouldn’t matter where it originated. And no, it doesn’t hurt the author of the source material, or any other writer, if you succeed.

    And if you’re gonna talk 50 Shades, you can’t disregard the fact that the source material… A completely original work… Was just as terrible. Twilight is NO masterpiece even if it didn’t start out as fan fiction. A lot of original works in the same genre as 50 Shades suffer from the same problems it does. It honestly has nothing to do with it having originally been fan fiction. It’s just that it’s crap. But it’s the pandering type of crap, and it sells.

    • ityreads says:

      Thank you for your comment. I have to say that I appreciate such a detailed comment. I can agree with you that in the end it’s more about the fact that low quality work is published and successful on the level of 50 shades but I think this post was more about the fact that there are books out there that came from fanfiction, whether it was good or bad, and then became novels. Even in some cases where it wasn’t known to me that they were once fanfiction. Yes I think I can see that that may not matter to some people, and really it’s not like it will stop happening. I just found it worth discussing overall. Either way thank you again for the comment!

  4. Angela says:

    OMG I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS!!! Also I am absolutely shocked, i didn’t know those novels you mentioned were fanfiction! I’ve managed to read all of those except After and tbh, FSoG was the fanfic closest to Twilight. I don’t even really recall anything remotely Twilight-ish with Gabriel’s Inferno & Beautiful Bastard (but it’s been a while since I’ve read them!). Also with TMI, not a lot in common with HP though they got the Chosen One trope SPOT ON 😂

    On FSoG, I actually liked the book although the prose WAS PRETTY FUCKIN HORRIBLE. I mean, English isn’t my native language but I’m sure I can write better than whatever that was. I have some tea though! Before FSoG, like waaaay before, I’ve read a Twilight fanfic that sounds EXACTLY like FSoG and I actually thought they were the same! But they’re completely different authors (the prose says it all) and I dunno.. it just smells fishy to me. 😂

    But anyway, this has been too long and as someone who loves fanfic, I LOVE THIS POST TOO! So many good points! In my opinion though, I think fanfic doesn’t really take away from the authors because it caters to a different kind of audience, those that are content with the quality of fanfic stories. Although, there are some of us who enjoy both fanfic and the original!

    • ityreads says:

      FEELINGS ARE GOOD! Yeah I was pretty shocked when I did my searches just how many came up. I think that’s the hardest part for me. Maybe overall you can look past that and enjoy it for the naughtiness and whatnot but I had a hard time looking past. I can’t knock anyone for liking it though because there was a time I loved Twilight. Like A LOT. I do agree ultimately that it doesn’t so much since a lot of books were in fact fanfiction are pretty good to a lot of people. I think more to the point that BAD writing being published is where I find the difficulty in accepting the idea. But that’s just me! Thanks for the comment!!

  5. Wow, I wonder what other fanfic is out there in the form of published novels. As far as I know I haven’t read fanfic in any form, and I don’t really know the world of fanfic. That said, when I read those excerpts you shared from 50 Shades I couldn’t stop myself from laughing out loud. Cringe so hard! 🙈

  6. Myself, I’m generally fine with fanfiction. I see nothing wrong with it, and plenty of modern writers got their start writing fanfiction, figuring out what works and what doesn’t when they try out certain ideas. That there are some terrible books that have started out as fanfiction shouldn’t tarnish that kind of writing as a whole, since there are also some terrible books that didn’t start out as fanfiction. And I suspect many authors took inspiration from TV shows or movies and went, “What if this happened instead?” and wrote it down, and then fleshed it out into something more original, but just didn’t talk about the fanfic origins of the idea, so we’ll never know.

    But I have read some utterly amazing fanfiction over the years that I have wished writers would turn into original works so they could be published and shared with the world. It’s a shame that things like Fifty Shades and Cassandra Clare’s old controversies did damage to the medium. It was never well regarded by the general populace, but those issues made it all worse, and I think fanfic is still feeling the fallout of those events.

    • ityreads says:

      I really enjoy fanfiction myself, even writing some, so I totally get that idea however I’ve never written anything that I felt could be turned into something original. I do agree that it is sad that those books gave fanfiction on a whole a bad rap. Thank you so much for the comment!

  7. aidan666 says:

    Saw this featured as blog of today on twitter and just thought I’d comment to say great post. I never actually realized that so many books were fan fictions of others or at least kinds of fanfictions of others! I had heard about fifty shades being inspired by Twilight but not the rest. I think fan fiction can be super entertaining but at the same time some of it can also be sooooo cringy!!

    • ityreads says:

      Thank you for coming over to comment! Totally agree. I’ve read some terrible fanfics and then some epically awesome ones. It can go either way.

  8. Alex Page says:

    If something starts as fanfic but ends up with totally different everything is it fanfic anymore? Adaptation can be great: Paradise Lost/Genesis, Wide Sargasso Sea/Jane Eyre, On Beauty/Howard’s End. Sure, rubbish or plagiaristic writing’s bad, but it’s not just a fanfic thing.

    • ityreads says:

      Very true. I don’t think my post really was saying that these are still fanfics because they are their own things, just that they are based off of fanfics that were based off of other books. That is what I found interesting. Thank you for your comment!

  9. Adrianna says:

    Here’s my issue with this. All of the examples you picked aren’t great. However there is a world of great fanficition out there. Whether or not a book was fanficition does not dictate how good the book is. And let me just say that some fanficition authors are absolutely amazing.

    • ityreads says:

      I completely agree with you. I wasn’t really saying fanfics are bad on a whole, and I did pick FSoG because it is the worst book that happened to be based off of Twilight fanfiction. I have read amazingly awesome fanfics myself. Thank you so much for the comment!

  10. This was really great topic! I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I didn’t realize that some of those had been fan fiction. As for Fifty Shades, I read a lot of romance and a lot of those character traits are in line with what some people like to read. I tend to enjoy a good Alpha every now and then and that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s so subjective because either you like that or you don’t and that’s okay. It’s beautiful that we can all have such differing opinions. I think sometimes the writing may not be the best in certain books, but I still enjoy the story and characters. As for how it becomes mainstream and popular, those are great questions. Would make some great social study.

    • ityreads says:

      I think that the plot could have been used and written far better and I wouldn’t have as much of an issue. It’s certainly not the story itself or what the plot of the book is about that I have any issue with but more that the writing is awful and yet someone wanted to publish it. Thank you so much for the comment. I have to agree I love that everyone has differing opinions!

    • ERK says:

      I haven’t read either Fifty shades or Twilight. I don’t know if I ever will…

      I did read City of Bones without knowing that it was HP fanfic. I didn’t really get the connection untill I read some posts pointing out what should have been obvious similarities 😂 I wasn’t impressed with this one. And the twist had me shocked too! I read that this incest twist actually goes on in the second book and I am not really sure if I want to continue reading that.

  11. Hated Twilight and loathed Fifty Shades of Shit. For all the reasons you list. As for the others you listed, I’ve only read the 1st Mortal Instruments book and hated it. So there it is. Fanfic should never be published. Actually, true fanfic, where people use the actual characters for their nefarious and kinky pleasure, can never be published and sold because that’s copyright infringement. Which is the way it should be. So writers change a bit here and there and call it “new.” Uh, no. Go back to the drawing board, you copycat hack.

    • ityreads says:

      I loved Twilight once but I”m sure that I’d hate it now. I have to agree on some level when the writing is as bad as FSoG was. I think that it’s possible to have a fanfic that is well written and bad into a book. I just read a book that was a story about Arthur Conan Doyle and James Bell trying to find Jack the Ripper. That right there is fanfiction if you think about it but it was sooooo good so I can’t hate all fanfic books that ever get made. Just the garbage ones that really shouldn’t be made in the first place! Thank you for the comment!

      • Totally agree about 50 shades. Gave the BDSM scene a really bad name and warped the true key elements of it. I also found Grey to be controlling and obsessive which doesn’t do it for me at all.
        I never realised it was fan fiction though.
        I haven’t really read any I was aware of but I have read Miss Marley and Heathcliff. Both published novels by beryl accomplished writers but are linked with classics.

  1. August 1, 2019

    […] So far I’ve been featured twice and both were think pieces for posts. This most recent one, Fanfiction. is it harming writers?, had a bigger response over my Trigger Warnings post. I’ve linked them both here so if you […]

  2. August 2, 2019

    […] Fanfiction. Is it Hurting Writers? – Another post that got me thinking! Ity looks at 50 Shades being published, in lieu of other (probably better written) books and writes a great post about whether or not it hurts writers! […]

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