Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fan-Fiction: The New/Old Trend in Creative Ideas and Publishing.

 What Do the Books Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey Have in Common? Alot, Thanks to



There is a new game in the literary circle and it is called Fan-Fiction, aka fanfic, where characters from popular books, television shows and hit movies are rewritten into new storylines by amature writers and authors and then published into ebooks.  There is only one  tricky rule: Anything goes except  stepping over the  thin copyright line. If you win at the game, there is big money to be made—just ask E.L. James, author of the blockbuster-bestseller book, 50 Shades of Grey.


“This is like reading a very kinky adult version of  the Twilight Saga with Bella and Edward,” I said to my husband after finishing another chapter of Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James. That’s because it is a fan fiction revamp of Twilight.


Fan-fiction is the rewrite of characters from hit movies, books and computer games into new literary product.  A perfect example would be taking the Harry Potter series, resetting it in the New England state of Maine with all the young wizard’s adult friends renamed and working as teachers at a local High School,. But no they are out to save the world from author Steven King’s characters in The Stand.  Next,  mix that with  more obvious similarities to some spooky characters from other authors and you could have a new literary hit scouted out and published by a big publishing company.  


Sound unlikely? Not in the shadow world of fan-fiction, where no character is safe from a makeover and rewrite by amature authors bent on taking popular books, movies, television shows and even video games to new hights and in unlikely and sometimes disturbing directions; hence Fifty Shades of Grey—Twilight with an adult S&M twist.


Fanfic is a way for fans to continue the stories they love, and the genre is exploding with millions of free works based on:

·         The Lord of the Rings

·         Buffy the Vampire slayer

·         Glee

·         Charlott’s Web

·         Star Treck

·         Shakespere, to name just a few.


So what is fanfic, how does it work, where is it,  and who are the people behind it?

Check back tomorrow for part two of this 4-part series on Fan-fiction, the New/Old Trend in Ideas, Creative Ideas and Publishing.


Part II of  Fifty Shades of Grey vs Twilight


Fan fiction vocabulary, people and places:


  • Fanfic—fan-fiction; the rewrite of characters in hit movies, books and computer

               games to create an extensive of the old ended series or game.


  • Drabble—short story in the fan fic realm


  • The Writer’s Coffee Shop- published 32 e-books in 2011—mostly from writers

                                                       who got their start in the fan-fic world.


  • Omnific— publishes writers who have received significant numbes of

                             reviews from satisfied readers on its fan-fic site and pays them a

     percentage of of sales  as opposed to a traditional advance.



  • Elizabeth Harper, founder of the e-book publisher Omnific Publishing.



  •—created by Elizabeth Harper and devoted to the fanfic vampire genre with more than 2000,000 postings about the Twilight Series.



Recient Top Successful Works from Fan-fic


  • 50 Shades of Grey
  • Gabriel’s Inferno  



How are Twilight and Shades of Grey similar? Oh, let me count the obvious ways:


I.)                 Plot


1.      Preditor vs prey


2.      The love tringle


3.      Obsession with food


4.      “Shocking” first touch


5.      Stalker & Stalkee: Like Edward and Bella, Mr. Grey always knows where Ana is, appears unexpectedly to “save her,” then guards her throughout the night without sexually touching her, because like Edward, he doesn’t like to be touched.  This closeness in proximity but not physicality establishes a bond between them and sets the stage for their relationship.


6.      Bella/Ana is isolated from her family and friends by Edward’s/Grey’s secet dangerously demented life.


Tomorrow in Part III  I will cover Juxtapisitions and similarities between the main characters of 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight Saga.


Part III of  Fifty Shades of Grey vs Twilight


The juxtaposition and similarities between the main chracters.


1.      The comparisons below are interchangeable between Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey.


2.      Like Edward Collins, Chrstian Grey and his two siblings are adopted by a physician, his family is a pillar of society, he  lives in the lap of luxury and no one has a clue as to his true self.


3.      Like Bella, Ana comes from a working class/broken home where the mother is passive/submissive to a new husband and she is making her way through life a bit lost.


4.      Mr. Handsome-moody-control-freak vs Miss not-a-clue-until-it’s-too-late despite many verbal warnings.


5.      Grey/Edward: Mr Confident-Blond-Hair and Perfect-Body  Grey loves (in his own special/twisted way)  Ana/Bella: Miss Skinny Brunette who doubts her self worth.


6.      Mr. Worldly Wealthy Most-elegable-Batchelor Perfectionist who loves classical music and excels at the piano vs Miss Klutzy Small-town Virgin-Next-Door instrumentally challenged but loves his choices of  music.


7.      Mr. Only-the-best-in-conservative-cars-and-clothes vs Miss Jeans-and-no-make-up, who drives a hand-me-down beat-up old car that she loves.


8.      Secrets: Teenage Edward swears Bella to silence, while Businessman Grey wants a signed nondisclosure agreement/contract.


9.      And finially, rather than throwing Anastasi (Ana) on his back like Edward (never Eddie) does Bella, to fly through the local treetops, Christian, (never Chris)  throws her into his helicopter and flies through the city highrises.


And the list goes on….


How can Fanfic be done without copywrite issues? Very carefully according to the Fanfic website.  is the largest website devoted to the fanfic vampire genre with more than 2000,000 postings about the Twilight Series including—created by Elizabeth Harper, founder of the e-book publisher Omnific Publishing. Twilighted was created to give Twilight fan writers a larger audience and that brings us back to Fifty Shades of Grey and copywright issues.


            The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy grew out of a Twilight fanfic piece written by E.L. James origionlly titled Master of the Universey. It was  first published as an ebook by the Writer’s Coffee Shop. Fifty Shades was later acquired by Vintage, a Random House imprint, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, and the rest is history.


In part IV, I will address the serious issues to consider when writing fanfic for publication.


                               Part IV of  Fifty Shades of Grey vs Twilight


Here are 3 serious issues to consider when writing fanfic for publication:


·         Editing a story that origionated as a fanfic posting poses new copywright challenges that requires close attention given to the fan-fiction elements.


·         When it comes to copyrighted issues, there is very fine but defined line that must not be crossed. It is illegal to profit from copyrighted literary works. However, there is a loophole.


·         The mjoriety of unpublished fan fiction is posted free of chrge nd qualifies as fair use under copyright law, providing the creator does not try to profit from it.


How are Fanfics edited to void copyright issues?


·         Anything that could be seen as a characteristic of the work from which it originated must be removed.


·          direct quotes and obvious  physical atributes like Edward’s signature messy hair in Twilight.  Mr. Grey’s hair is almost never out of place and although his warnings concerning friendships with his victims are much like Edward’s, they are not direct quotes.  


E.L. James has not been slapped with  a copyright lawsuite despite obvious similarities to Twilight so she must have a fantastic fan-fic editor who know is aware of the copyright fine line.  


Literary Work Knock-offs: How to stay legally safe while walking the “fine” line.


FinFic e-books appear to be to literary work what knock-offs are to the fashion industry—close but within the 20% mark of being different enough to still be legal. The idea itself is as old as the hills. Pair a successful pattern with new material and fasten shinier buttons. The only thing missing is the original spark of imagination. It is a concept  used by many companies in the business industry and exemplified by a  TV comercial that states, “We don’t make your cars. We make your cars run better.” Fan-fic on wheels.


Anyone with a drop of artstic and sewing skill could sketch a designer dress from a fashion magazine, sew it and wear it. Yet, they could could not sell it without  making obvious changes such as removing trademark symbols like the double intertwined Cs for Chanel or the LV of Louis Vuitton.   


WalMart has jeans that are very similar in color, style and stitching  to expensive designer jean labels, but they don’t cross that “within 20% similarity copyright line.” However, street venders carrying  Louis Vuitton and Chanel  “hard to distinguish copies” could be closed down, their products confiscated and face a heafty fine.  They crossed the fine line. The same rules hold true in the literary world.


Fanfic may or may not be ethical,(another fine line)  but it is legal.  That may a difficult fact to swallow if your original idea is being simulated and sold by others. Perhaps it will help to remember an old saying that states; emulation is the height of being complimented.    


What are the advantages to this new twist in publishing that thumbs its nose at the traditional indestry where great but unsolicited manuscripts rarely make it through the door? It cuts out the middleman like agents and…


 Fan-fic democratizes the literary process and lets the reader decide.


Bio: Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos is an author, radio host & Patheos blogger. To learn more, follow her @ listen to her  4 radio shows from her website @