50 Shades of Grey: The FanFic Phenom!

25 Mar

What’s up with that?

My other half called me at work a couple days ago to tell me about how erotic fiction is making national headlines and that Hollywood paid just 7 figures for the movie rights to an erotic romance novel.

I said, “Really? Which book?”

“I don’t know,” was his reply.

“Who was the author?”

“I don’t know that either, but it’s all over the news. You must have seen it.”

“Babe, when was the last time you saw me watch the news?”

“Uh— I dunno…but it’s online, too.”

“Honey, if I’m on the computer, I’m working, not surfing for news…”

Well needless to say, by the time the conversation ended, I still had no idea what he was talking about, but I did make an effort to ask another author friend what the scoop was. She’d heard of it and confirmed that “everyone” was talking about it.

 Everyone but me, apparently. Ahhh— the bliss of living in my own little bubble. LOL

(Oh! Maybe Michael Fassbender will be cast as Christian Grey and get naked yet again for the sake of his art!!!?)

Seriously, I really hadn’t heard a bit about it until a couple days ago, so when I sat down to write this blog, I decided to check into it and try to get up to speed.

I found out:

  • He was correct – the book had made national headlines, it was erotic romance and it was the target of a bidding war that just netted the author a huge deal for the movie rights.
  • I also learned that it was a self pub, based on Twilight fanfic.

I was serious when I said that if I’m on the computer, I’m working, so I don’t have much spare time for things like fan fic. (Okay, honestly, the one and only time I read fan fic was several years ago when I came across a facfic site for “Gene Rodenberry’s Earth: Final Conflict.” OMG! What I read then was pretty x-plicit, and apparently, it was NOTHING compared to 50 Shades!)

Anyway— There are all kinds of issues surrounding the book, and a millions and one opinions regarding plagiarism, ethics and using a HUGE established fanfic fan base  of another author’s work to create, market and “spin off”  a novel and label it as “original work” after the fact by doing little more than changing the characters.

E!Online more or less summed the situation up  and if you want to read it, you can check it out at this link:


But here’s MY biggest question— now that they HAVE the movie rights, how the hell are they going to make a move that is true to the book and still show it to mainstream audiences with an “R” rating?

They tried it with Anne Rice’s (Anne Rampling’s) “Exit To Eden”, and they ended up turning it almost into a “Spoof” with Rosie O’Donnell as a Cop undercover as a wannabe Dom guest at “Eden”. The erotic elements had for the most part been eliminated or toned down to a point that it was about as “vanilla” as it gets!

The media is using phrases like “Mommy porn” and commenting that mothers are the biggest “Twilight “ fans of the X-Rated fanfic versions of Edward and Bella, but what happens when you try to bring that to theaters?

The kids can’t go. If kids can’t go you lose the biggest fan base/audience and if you lose that audience, how do the studios recover their investment at the ticket booth?

As writers of erotic fiction, we see the explicit sex scenes in our heads as we right them and we translate that vision to the page for our readers to experience as well. That is WHY erotic fiction is so popular.

Snaps to EL James for profiting from her work and congrats on the movie deal, but I gotta wonder how the fans could be anything but disappointed with the finished product. How can the studios possibly mass market the movie version without eliminating the explicit elements that made them so popular to begin with?

Does anyone else think this is going to be a challenge but more importantly, who would YOU like to see cast a Christian Grey?


I LOVE my job!


9 Responses to “50 Shades of Grey: The FanFic Phenom!”

  1. Tibby Armstrong March 25, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Though this book does not resemble anything like Twilight to me, so I am not on the fan fiction naysayer side of the fence, after reading 50 Shades I am deeply disappointed in the author and the book.

    50 Shades reads as a novice’s attempt to understand BDSM. E.L. James basically ends up trashing her hero at the end of the book, and gives us a heroine unworthy of the name.

    There are so many amazing erotic romance authors out there, including yourself. I’m confounded as to how this book and this author managed to be the one who made the leap into mainstream.

    I agree. I love my job. It’s a wonderful way to pass my time–connecting with people around characters and stories I adore. Still, I’m mystified by the reading public. Perhaps because I am aware of the realities of the psychology and practice of the BDSM community I am unable to enjoy 50 Shades for what it is?

    E.L. James’ ability to write and market a book people obviously want to read is remarkable. I admire her for her success. Am I jealous? Yes. Do I begrudge her the money? No. It wouldn’t have been mine in the first place. What I am saddened by is that this book will be many people’s first exposure to erotic romance and kink. I think we and they could have done better by the genre than 50 Shades.

    Ultimately, I’m glad there are all kinds of books and all kinds of people to read them. I realize my opinion is in the minority, and that people will likely be talking about this book for a long time to come.

    • shannonemmel March 25, 2012 at 10:55 am #

      Hi Tibby– Thanks for your very insightful comments. I agree.

      While I haven’t read the book yet, I have heard and read multiple comments also relecting that the writing could have used a professional editor.

      The BDSM lifestyle is extrememly complex and intense and so many authors have done a beautiful job of capturing it. Unfortunately, 50 Shades may not be one of them. One of my personal favorites was “Beyond Eden” by Kele Moon. Unlike 50 Shades, Beyond Eden is extremely character driven and strong enough to make the transistion from print to R-rated film, exen without the explicit sex scenes.

      It will be interesting to see how the project progresses…or if it dies in production and never finds it’s way into theaters…

      • Tibby Armstrong March 25, 2012 at 11:38 am #

        Kele Moon’s books are spectacular examples of the genre. Incidentally, Kele also began her writing career as a very successful writer of fan fiction. So, it’s definitely possible to make the leap quite nicely.

        I agree with Marilyn, the pictures you found are extraordinarily delish!

        Perhaps 50 Shades, the series, ends happily? I have not yet read the entire thing. I don’t know if I will. Certainly curiosity has led me to do more contrary things. Which leads me to an interesting question. If someone I don’t enjoy reading can compel me to read their books, perhaps there is more to them than I am consciously willing or able to admit? After all, if I’m reading just to *see* if there’s a happy ending, I must care enough about the characters to discover if they have one.

        So, this leads me to state that I think E.L. James did one thing right. She made me care about Christian Grey. I want him to be treated better than he was in both his childhood and in his so-called relationship with Anastasia. I want him to NOT have to change in order to be loved. It’s Ana who needs to grow up. I hope that the story ends that way, but I have a sneaking suspicion it does not.

  2. Marilyn Campbell March 25, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    Tibby’s comments took me back to the days when Bridges of Madison County and Message in a Bottle were being touted as great romances when they were missing the primary element – a happy ending. There’s no understanding literary critics or movie producers.
    But I thoroughly enjoyed all the great pics YOU found Shannon!

    • Nara Malone March 25, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

      I haven’t read this either. I was warned that it would be disappointing to those familiar with the BDSM world. I’m curious but like to save up the little reading time I have for writers I know to deliver what I love to read. All present company is on that list as well as Kele Moon. Kelly Jamieson’s BDSM is well done too.

  3. Jaid Black March 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    I hadn’t heard about this, but thx for showing me. I haven’t read the book so I cannot comment on the quality of it. As to why this book in particular was picked before so many other ERs… maybe it’s a great storyline or, just as likely, maybe Hollywood is as cookie cutter as NY pubs. I have a friend who writes for a major show and he is always disgruntled with his work. The networks say they want originality, but what they really want is a semi-new take on something they know sells. (Sound familiar? lol)

    • shannonemmel March 25, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

      Hi Jaid!

      Thanks for stopping in!

      Hmmm…yes, it does sound a little familiar 🙂

      It seems like a bit of a crap shoot at times. We’ve all read books and thought, “WOW this would be a GREAT movie or TV series!”

      Then out of no where one comes along like this.

      All of us at EC know how vastly popular erotic fiction is, but by its very nature, it’s difficult to transfer to mainstream cinema.

      Eventually, our day will cum. Err…come!


      Thanks again for your comment…it’s an honor!


  4. ak handyman March 25, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    Well what do you know? I did not know.

  5. Ellen wulf October 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    I am happy for E. L’s success, but… And this is a big BUT, I couldn’t get past the first couple of pages. Nuff said.

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