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50 Shades of Grey Questions

If you plan on reading the series or you’re still reading 50 Shades of Grey, skip this post.  I make a prediction, and I’m going to be talking specifics; namely, orgasms, orgasms, and more orgasms.

Can we start there?  The orgasms?  I am finding it very difficult to suspend my disbelief over the frequency, intensity, and physical acrobatics of the multitude of orgasms scattered across the pages of this book.  Ana is a virgin who has never masturbated when the book begins.  That I can find perfectly believable.  There are college students out there who have never masturbated — there are probably grown women who have never masturbated.  That I can accept.

But without ever stimulating her clitoris or having sex, she is able to achieve the first time being touched on her good-girl mind-blowing orgasms.  Multiple times.  In standing positions.  Wait — read that last fragment again.  She is having orgasms standing-up.  I am not saying this isn’t possible, nor am I saying that multiple orgasms isn’t possible, nor am I saying that having an orgasm your first time having sex at 21 isn’t possible.  But until someone steps forward and says, “I was a 21-year-old virgin who has never masturbated, and I just had sex for the first time yesterday and achieved multiple orgasms within the same round of sex, and then even achieved orgasm upright,” I can’t believe in Ana.  Actually, even if that person stepped forward, I can’t believe in Ana.

Here’s my analogy (come on, it’s me, you knew an analogy was coming in this post): skilled doctors are capable of performing surgery.  We even sometimes have people without training react in an emergency situation and do what amounts to haphazard surgery such as sawing off a body part.  BUT we do not have untrained first year medical students walk into the operating theater in September and perform open-heart surgery on a person.  What Ana achieves sexually is completely believable for someone who knows their body well, how to bring it to orgasm and is so skilled at reaching orgasm that they can even remain upright while experiencing one.  She is behaving like the surgeon of orgasms while she’s just a first year medical student.  Hence why I keep getting hung up on this fact.

I know this is supposed to clue us in as readers as to how mind-blowing the sex is between Edward-Without-Fangs (I like to call Christian EWF) and Ana, but it steps over a line of believability for me.  10 – 15% of women never have an orgasm under any circumstances.  And 75% of women cannot achieve an orgasm from sex alone (meaning, without something other than the penis inside of the body.  They need manual stimulation to achieve orgasm or a vibrator or… well… get yourself hot and bothered using your imagination).  So Ana fits into that quarter of women — again, totally believable — but of that 25% of women, how many of them achieved orgasm the first time they had sex and achieved that orgasm without any other stimulation except his penis going in and out and in and out…

I know someone will leave a comment on this post telling me that they have an orgasm 100% of the time, every single one the more difficult vaginal orgasm, and that they were a virgin who had never masturbated until age 21 — just like Ana.  And I say good for you.  But as a reader, in order to find a character believable, I need to have these types of silent questions answered, and so far, E L James hasn’t explained to me how Ana can experience this.  Mother Theresa was saintly, so completely giving, selfless people exist in this world.  But that doesn’t mean that I will believe a saintly, selfless character until I understand what brought that character to that point of self-actualization.  We’re given a reason for why Christian is “50 Shades of Fucked Up” from his abusive childhood.  But we’re not given a reason for why Ana is such a sexual high achiever.

Moving on.

I am currently on book two, though my assumption is that the birth control in book one is the Chekhovian gun that needs to go off by the third book.  I’m assuming that Ana is going to be pregnant at some point.  And I also believe that will be the turning point in her relationship with EWF/Christian, probably making her the dom and him the sub since the pregnancy gives her power.

You don’t need to tell me if I’m right; that’s just what I’m guessing.  The writing is such that James practically wraps neon around the obtaining of the birth control JUST SO YOU NOTICE IT.  And now, if that gun doesn’t go off, I need to wonder what the point of showing it in the first book was.

Moving on again.

Though I had heard of fan fiction prior to 50 Shades of Grey hitting the mainstream, I finally poked around and found it.  Television writing often calls for a spec script — a sample script using the characters on the television show — except in that case, you are auditioning for a job using the characters who are already in place.  With fan fiction, you are showing your deep love for the characters by continuing the work started by the author, moving them around in their world, or taking them out altogether and placing them somewhere new.  Harry Potter goes to Durmstrang!  Edward enters into a three-way with Bella and Jacob!  Or, here’s a whole new slew of students entering Hogwarts.

As a reader, I completely understand the impulse to do this.  As an author, it makes me — to be honest — a little uncomfortable.  I guess it comes down to the idea if someone owns a character just because they brought them to life or if characters are like real children — the parents raise them to a certain point, and then others can take over and have their own relationships with that person.

So let’s start with these questions (and I used Harry Potter because I saw over 500,000 stories written about him in the fanfic base):

  1. Does JK Rowling own Harry Potter?
  2. Does JK Rowling lay claim to all boy wizards?
  3. Would it be kosher to write a story that has a boy vampire who was orphaned when his parents were staked by the evil vampire, Christodeath, and now he is in vampire boarding school and Christodeath is coming after him?  And he is the only vampire who can stake Christodeath?

I would argue that (1) JK Rowling owns Harry Potter.  (2) But she does not lay claim to all boy wizards.  There were boy wizards before Harry and there should be boy wizards after Harry, even if all boy wizards now draw a comparison to Harry Potter.  And (3) While I think it’s kosher to write that story, I don’t think it’s kosher to post it on a blog, upload it to a fan fiction site, or publish it.  I think it’s the dissemination of that story that makes me uncomfortable; not the writing it itself — though I know a lot of people would not agree with me.

I think this aspect of the book — that 50 Shades of Grey piggybacks on the work done by Stephenie Meyer since it started out as Twilight fan fiction — is what has been bothering me the mostOro (who is a book seller and knows her novels AND fanfic) even pointed out the fan fiction code in her comment: “you should not make a profit on fanfiction, that’s part of the freakin’ deal.”

But there is a fine tradition of borrowing from past plotlines to create a new one.  Twilight itself is supposed to be a modernization (and vampirezation) of Pride and Prejudice.  At what point is it okay to do this?  Any time?  When the author is dead or has made it clear that he/she is done with those characters?  Never?  Can you borrow plotline as long as you don’t borrow characters?  Or characters as long as the plotline is different?

Authors borrow; authors reformulate; authors reimagine: none of this is unique to E L James.  So why does 50 Shades of Grey feel like it oversteps a line?  Because Twilight was a massive success only a few years ago (as opposed to borrowing from long-dead Austen)?  Because it mirrors it too closely, scene for scene?  Because James wrote it as Twilight fan fiction to begin with?  I have no idea.  I would love to hear from people who write fan fiction and understand if there is a code that exists, and what the fanfic community thinks of this book moving into the main marketplace.

Those are my questions for now.  Apologies; if I’m slogging through these books, I feel the need to discuss them.  And because — really — who would pass up the opportunity to write the word orgasm that many times?

And I’m going to add that EWF/Christian and Bella/Ana are growing on me, starting to feel like old horny friends.


1 Tiara { 05.01.12 at 1:52 pm }

I wasn’t aware of the fanfic genre until this 50 Shades of Grey discussion started & it sort of irks me in that same way that the movie industry feels it’s necessary to remake classic movies…I mean the 1st Footloose was perfect & awesome, so why do they need to film it again? Aren’t there any more original ideas out there that we have to regurgitate previous ones?

2 It Is What It Is { 05.01.12 at 2:11 pm }

I have no comment on the fanfic question(s). All I can say is that I find that reading any fiction usually requires the suspension of disbelief (I did not read the Twilight series, but, find it funny that it is easier to believe in the love affairs of a band of vampires than it is to believe a virgin can achieve her first orgasm while standing up. I equally suspended much disbelief in reading The Hunger Games and had to do so in order to even crack the binding).

Even though I found the writing of Fifty Shades to be pedestrian at best, I did eventually find the sex scenes titillating and became enamored with the relationship between Ana and Christian. That, and that alone, is what propelled me to read all three books in 6 days. I just had to know what became of them.

And, given that I finished the last book a week ago, I will also admit to having Christian withdrawals. I generally do not read books twice, but might make an exception for Fifty Shades.

3 Nikki P { 05.01.12 at 2:33 pm }

This isn’t the first fanfic to be capitalized and it bothers me just as much. Cassandra Clare used her Harry Potter fanfic for her current series. She was also caught severely plagiarizing other authors in her fanfic and was called out on it. There was a lot of drama and she ended up getting published anyway. I have no desired to read or write fanfic but using someone elses characters seems wrong to me. At least with these 50 shades books she is open and honest about the origins and how it started unlike Cassandra.

4 a { 05.01.12 at 3:47 pm }

You forgot to mention nipple clamps today…

5 Jonelle { 05.01.12 at 4:05 pm }

Please don’t laugh at me, but I write Harry Potter fanfiction (10 fics to be exact. If you want the link I’ll give it to you). Having a degree in Creative Writing, but focusing more on Poetry, than Short story or Novel, my short story skills are lacking. Writing fanfiction has helped to hone my skills as a creative writer. It’s also a bit of a hobby of mine, though I don’t do it as often as some other fanfic authors I know. And it’s just for fun not profit.
One thing to remember is that you will find a lot of bad fanfic out there on FF.net.
When I started out writing fan fiction, I mostly stuck to missing moments. I wrote those moments because it was something I wanted to read, but JKR didn’t put it on the page (that is the usual motivation for ff out there.) I think writing fanfic is okay as long as the fanfic author sticks with canon pairing (Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, Tonks/Lupin), and always maintains proper characterization.
I have a friend that writes a lot of AUs (Alternate Universe) HP fics. She is true to the characters, and canon pairings, she just puts them in other situations. But she realizes that it is strictly fanfic and written for fun, not for profit.
I think that is the line, knowing that as a fanfic writer, the stories that you write are for fun, and not ever for proft.
Many of my friends who write HP fanfic refuse to read 50 Shades, but mostly because they didn’t really like Twilight, and also because it breaks the code of fanfiction.
I just got a bad taste in my mouth learning that Twilight is suppose to be a modernization of Pride and Prejudice. Did Stephanie Meyer actually read P&P? I know Helen Fielding did.

6 iamvulnerable { 05.01.12 at 4:35 pm }

Add me to the “horrified to learn that Twilight has anything to do with Pride and Prejudice” camp! The whole joy of Pride and Prejudice is that Elizabeth Bennett is an interesting person – how on earth could bland Bella be based on the witty and clever Elizabeth?

7 Mina { 05.01.12 at 4:52 pm }

I tried fanfic, but what I read was so bad, it put me off it.
By the way, in 2005 I met this sweet, young 18 year old girl, who studied to go to med school and volunteered at orphanages during summer school and she wrote some HP fanfic, in which Harry is an abused boy taken in by professor Snape and they develop an amorous relationship, with too much details for anyone’s good, especially an 18 yo, if you ask me. And she had quite a following for this, not all gay looking for erotica, but HP fans of her age! Call me an old fashion bat, I find this odd and disturbing. Not to mention that I thoroughly disapprove of mistreating Harry’s character this way. HP characters do not belong to J. K. R., but to the readers, but both the writer and the characters deserve respect from the reader.
And that is how I never ventured into fanfic again on my own. I am not sure I will go for 50 shades either, now that I know more about it. Why get bothered by questions (like the ones you have) when I can skip all this altogether and read something else?

8 loribeth { 05.01.12 at 7:24 pm }

I had never heard of fan fiction until a a few years ago. And then I realized that I had actually written some when I was about 12 or 13 years old, without knowing the term. It was all about my sister, friends & I, meeting & falling in love with (prepare to laugh hysterically) the Osmonds. Conveniently, there was one brother for each one of my friends & my sister, as well as myself, lol — although, since I was the author, I (of course) always got Donny in the end. ; )

This was LONG before computers, & before I owned a typewriter or even learned how to type — so it was all written longhand (rough draft then copied for good into a school notebook). My girlfriend loved it so much, she wanted her own copy — and since this was also before easy access to photocopiers, I painstakingly copied the entire thing by hand into a notebook & gave it to her. I saw her about two years ago, after not seeing her in 15+ years, & while I haven’t looked at or even really thought about the stories in years & years (it’s in a box somewhere in the closet of my bedroom at my parents’ house), I was floored that she could still quote passages verbatim!!

As for the sex in 50 Shades — I can remember my more experienced first-year college roomie telling me not to expect fireworks the first time, that for her, it had actually been kind of awkward, even though she really loved the guy — but that it gets better with time. She was right, on both counts. ; )

9 Mic { 05.01.12 at 7:54 pm }

You know my thoughts on this, but I’ll relay it again here. I think the books are horribly written and I am sorry I wasted my time.

That said, since I’ve read all three of these books, I’ll agree with you that the numerous!mutliple!orgasams! made me feel inadequate in the sex department. I mean, WTF does Christian have that my DH is missing? Geez louise? Am I just that big of a sexual dolt that I can’t relate?

Anyway, I never read Twilight or Harry Potter so I can make no comparisons there.

10 Mali { 05.02.12 at 1:22 am }

Um, I haven’t read the book, but isn’t the whole point of it that it is supposed to be fantasy? So are all the orgasms any different from the “living happily ever after” stuff of fairy tales?

Loribeth – I nodded knowingly at your fanfiction topic!! (Women of a certain age stick together …)

The only reason I know about fanfiction is that I have a niece who reads and writes a lot of fan fiction and won’t hear anything against it.

11 jen { 05.02.12 at 2:23 am }

So I’ve never heard of fanfic before this post. I have this surreal feeling that this moment is like discovering the world of blogging. 🙂 BTW, OMG on the P&P reference with Twilight. Say it isn’t so!!!

12 Chickenpig { 05.02.12 at 9:16 am }

You hit the nail on the head. I bought 50 shads of BAD for my Kindle out of boredom and I have read most of it. I have found myself rolling my eyes (Ana does way too much of that, too) at the sex scenes and skipping them at this point. I’m a pretty orgasmic chick, and my husband is pretty good in the sack (way more than you needed to know for this comment, I’m sure) but still…you need to get to know each other before you get to the mind blowing orgasms. I find it very hard to believe that two strangers to each other, and one of them a virgin, and both of them quite young could have this kind of quality sex…especially considering the rest of their ‘relationship’ is so messed up.

I think fanfic has it’s place, but it isn’t in a published work. Changing the names of a couple of characters doesn’t count as original writing, so you shouldn’t be able to profit from it. As for boy wizards, Ged or Sparrowhawk will ALWAYS be the best boy wizard as far as I’m concerned. Ursula K Leguin is hands down one of the best writers out there, of any genre.

13 KeAnne { 05.02.12 at 10:01 am }

OMG I am appalled to find out that Twilight is based on P&P. That cannot be true. Please no. Ew.

In junior high, some friends wrote stories about dating members of New Kids on the Block, and my cousin and I collaborated on a sequel to The Outsiders. I’ve also read and enjoyed fan fiction about Law & Order (Miss Kincaid never dies!) and Trixie Belden.

I think writing fan fiction is ok and I think publishing it might even be ok if the story takes the characters in new directions, but in that case, I think the author needs to be dead or give permission. I don’t think it was ok for James to publish and profit 50 Shades since as you said, it’s pretty much Twilight scene by scene with BDSM in place of fangs. That’s too close to plagiarism.

14 Lollipopgoldstein { 05.02.12 at 10:20 am }

SEQUEL TO THE OUTSIDERS! That needs to see the light of day. Pooooooooooooooooooonybooooooooooooooooooooooy.

15 Katie { 05.02.12 at 10:51 am }

This is the first piece of fan fiction I’ve ever read, and I’m horrified by how awful the writing is. (Yet, I keep readings. I have no idea why I’m so infatuated with this series.) Was/is it okay for James to profit off of this? Probably not. But I feel like I can’t do too much complaining about it, since I did buy the books.

As for the orgasm issue, it’s soooooo unrealistic and annoying. And – for whatever reason – I want to punch Ana every time she refers to her womanly parts as “my sex.” Drives me crazy.

16 Amy { 05.02.12 at 11:25 am }

Haven’t read all the comments but I will say — when I read fiction, I am very prepared for there to be a lot of unrealistic aspects of the book. Ana’s orgasms are just that: fiction. The series is just an adult fairy tale as far as I’m concerned. An NC-17-rated Beauty and the Beast. Nothing more.

Now. About the fan fiction. I must come to EL James’ defense on this one. I’ve read/seen a couple interviews with her. She’s lovely. She’s so modest & humble. She did not write this with any intention of it ever being published for money. She wrote it for fun. For her own fantasy (perhaps she wishes she were multi-orgasmic like that — our own wishes do tend to come out in our writing, you know). She even said it’s her “midlife crisis.” It went viral on the internet — it was FREE to read — and that was beyond what she expected. She doesn’t even consider herself a writer. I would be so embarrassed and sad if one of my photos accidentally went viral for whatever reason, people offered me money for it (of course I would accept! Hello! Who doesn’t want a few extra bucks?), then people came back and criticized what a horrible photo it was and how the post-processing was lousy and doesn’t have any quality photographic elements or whatever. When it all started as just a photo I did for myself. The poor woman can’t win.

Personally, I loved the books. I loved the story. I loved all of Ana’s orgasms because dammit, I wish I could come like that!!! I don’t care if the writing isn’t good. To me, it’s just an adult-oriented fairy tale that touches on a world I will never see.

17 Kimberly { 05.02.12 at 9:05 pm }

I’ve never written fan fiction but I have read my fair share of it. And I think the main reason that this series bugs me, other than the poor writing (even amongst all the Twilight fan fiction out there) is that she simply changed the names and is making a profit off of it. When this story first appeared on the boards, it was a fairly popular story. But fan fiction writing can be broken down into 3 main types: 1. an alternate ending to the story (she ended up with Jacob instead of Edward), 2. To continue the story in areas that you wished the author had expanded on (you want to know what really happened on the honeymoon or what happened after the story ended) or 3. You want you put them in an alternate setting but still stay true to the characters (for Twilight- an all human story, but still innocent Bella and self hating Edward with the telltale rises and falls in plot from the original story, just a different setting). This particular fan fiction-turned-book falls under #3. While the surroundings and the little details are changed, they are still Edward and Bella with the same personalities that they had in the original books. To write and share with others may be weird for some but no one is hurting anyone or trying to make a profit off of the original work. If anything I see it as a way to show that you enjoy their work so much that you wish to day dream about them in alternate settings and share those day dreams with others.

But what this author did was share her day dream of Edward and Bella and realized when it was popular that she would try to make a profit off of it. There is a big difference between making reference to another story or authors writing style and taking fan fiction and slapping two new names on it just to make a profit. And my biggest beef is that shes making a profit off of this.

My mom always told me that someone copying you was the greatest form of flattery, so I see fan fiction like that. Fan fiction writers are not out to hurt the author, but rather to flatter the author (in maybe some roundabout ways). They love those characters so much that they write about them in an online setting and share comments and thoughts on it with others who are looking for more. They are not looking to make a profit off of the authors success. But this author did. There is a place for fan fiction, but I think that place is best served online on fan fiction sites and not published work trying to make a profit.

18 Kimberly { 05.02.12 at 10:27 pm }

On a side note, I think that most authors, or at least authors that have so much popularity like JK or Meyers, know that their stories are embraced by the fan fiction community. They are probably aware of what fans are doing to their characters. A quick google search for either book series will bring you to fan fiction sites. I think that they are probably annoyed at some ways that the characters are portrayed and also flattered by the attention in some respects but overall indifferent to it. I believe that if the author truly had a problem with it, there would be requests for these websites and stories to come down or some sort of announcement from the author.

But one story in regards to fan fiction fandoms that may catch your interest is with the show Supernatural. Its about 2 brothers traveling around the US as demon hunters. The show is one of my favorites but I have a hard time getting into the fan fiction side of the fandom (which is huge). My main issue with the fan fiction fandom is that the stories are all slash stories about the the brothers together…intimately. This was such a huge thing in the fandom that the shows creator embraced the concept and made it part of the story line where the brothers find out in one episode that there are books about them and a cult following online. They have a line where one brother tells the other: “There’s Sam girls and Dean girls and what’s a slash fan?” “They mean the both of us, together.” “They know were brothers, right?”. So instead of being disgusted with the fandom for going that way, the creator embraced it and even gave the fans a nod for their odd pairing. Clearly not all authors or creators will go this way, but its interesting to see when they actually react publicly.

19 S.I.F. { 05.03.12 at 1:06 pm }

When I first heard about this book and te fact that it had started out as fan fic of Twilight, I was so confused. Mostly, I just couldn’t figure out how that was right to profit off of at all, and also… I couldn’t figure out how the plotline (as it was summarized to me) had evolved from Twilight. I still have no interest in reading the books (and I’m typically all about reading anything people are talking about for myself) and it actually really irks me that something apparently written so poorly (and based on someone else’s story) is getting so much attention. I don’t get it…

20 magpie { 05.03.12 at 1:40 pm }

I really want to read “Bring Up the Bodies”. It’s the new Hilary Mantel book. I don’t think there are any orgasms in it.

21 Kristin { 05.03.12 at 5:20 pm }

Oh, 50 Shades of Grey. I read it while ovulating. That was a good choice.

With that said, I am amazed at how popular these books are. I’ve read my fair share of cheap romance novels – especially during my virginal early teens. This one uses all the same cliches: the young innocent virgin; the obscenely rich older man that is domineering, controlling and possessive; the threats to life and limb; the shady sexual history; blah, blah, blah…In fact, as far as plots go, this one, across all three books, sucked.

Yet, it has been amazingly popular. Perhaps because it was dubbed fan fiction and linked to Twilight. I kept on waiting for Christian to come out as a vampire, but when I realized that the only thing it had in common with Twilight was bad writing, three books, and sexual tension, I was surprised about the debate. It is possible that I haven’t taken a close enough look at the characters to really get an idea of how they resemble each other…

One thing that the author does improve upon as compared to her peers is the description of sex, albeit gratuitous descriptions. She doesn’t use terrible, cheesy euphemisms to describe things. There aren’t any throbbing flowers or swollen mushroom caps. This was an improvement. Yet, I’m still shocked at the success.

22 Jo { 05.03.12 at 6:50 pm }

I first heard about this series here. Out of kinky curiosity, I bought the first book despite the bad reviews. It was terrible, and I skimmed most of it waiting for the sex. Which turned out to be kind of disappointing, and highly unrealistic. So don’t ask me why I bought book 2. Or how I found myself entranced by the end of it. At some point, Ana and Christian grew on me. By book 3, the sex became boring (not that again!) but I still wanted to know what became of those two. I won’t give it away, but book 3 was kind of annoying from an IFers point of view.

As I was reading all of the comments, I thought about one of my favorite books of all time: Scarlett. You know, the sequel to Gone With the Wind. Different author, but I think it would classify as fanfic? And definitely written for profit. I liked it even better than Margaret Mitchell’s classic. Just interesting that fanfic is getting all this attention now, when it has been done forever and for profit long before this.

23 Laney Masen { 05.03.12 at 7:51 pm }

It seems that the main theme of the books may have been overlooked. It’s not just about the sexy parts. It is about a man that was taught how to have control in his life at a young age when he knew no control. The control coming in the form of sex, and the female body. It was something he could finally have a say in. He looked at himself as an unlovable monster. He didn’t even believe that his adoptive family really loved him. He had such a low self esteem about himself and the only way to rectify that was to be in control with his female partners and his business and his home. When she came along, he found something he wanted to control but she fought him just enough. She taught him how to open up and let himself be loved. He found that the world did not end if he was not in total control.

She was in total control of her body. Not willing to give herself just to anyone. Never having the experience of a man before, she did not know what he was doing. when, in fact, he was playing her body like a perfectly tuned piano. He taught her how to let go and trust her body to just feel and experience him.

They grew as individuals together. They learned to live life without control over every aspect of themselves.

That being said, I read fanfiction. I started reading Fifty Shades when she was 25 chapters into the first book. Yes, she wrote about Edward and Bella and all the main characters. But the trials and conversations and predicaments were all her ideas. It is hard for me to read the printed books because of the changes to the characters. I wish she had included the outtake where he was spending his first Christmas with his new family. I cried for days for that little boy. Read the books for the characters.

24 sky girl { 05.18.12 at 11:38 am }

I saved this post to read until I was done the 50 Shades Trilogy. I’m going to leave the fanfic alone since I don’t know anything about it. But just want to tell you how I felt about the series.

I don’t mind bad writing if the story grabs me and this story didn’t grab me. It was predictable and repetitive and just all around bad. I still read all 3 mainly to see if at some point it would become as fantastic as people swear it is. But the sheer amount of sex left me perplexed. I would be raw if I had sex half as much as they did. And the orgasms were ridiculous. As if! “Come for me, baby” and she does? Every time? Gah!

The constant referring to her inner goddess etc? Annoying. The constant “Holy Cow!” and “Oh.” and “Ah.” drove me damn near nuts.

And her character? I wanted to slap her spineless face. Put up with that shit because you love him? Weak. I don’t know a woman who would not be creeped out and suffocated by his controlling, overbearing stunts. Let’s make it a little believable!

The most interesting part of the book for me was the in the bonus materials that told of the first part of the series from Christian’s point of view.

Rant over. 🙂

25 Ella { 06.20.12 at 1:36 am }

I’m returning the books. I told myself not to buy them after a little research taught me that Ana is a virgin at 21 (almost 22). I have a weird thing about that. But I went to target and saw the series on the shelf. Oh well. Read 130+ pages of the first then the last few pages of the 3rd just for kicks. The love story, the sex, the orgasms are terribly unrealistic and left me feeling like I am missing out. I was supposed to be entertained, aroused. I felt ugly and very unsexual. Yes, I’m being dramatic. It’s a book. Just a story. Just a stupid, unrealistic story that will likely mess up our sex lives more than they already are.

26 Angela { 07.05.12 at 9:18 pm }

As a fanfic writer, I feel like I have a duty to let our side of the story be heard.

First of all, I do have to apologize on behalf of the fanfiction community for the number of immature ‘writers’ out there who have little to no skills in writing (not a capital offense, as everyone was there at some point) and the utter disregard of respect for themselves, the author and the other readers of the original work.

Sadly, the first thing most people think of when seeing the word ‘fanfiction’ is fanfiction.net, which is a wonderfully easy site for beginning writers to share their enthusiasm and love of a work. Unfortunately, the ease and lack of restriction also means all sorts of crap show up there.

To answer some of your questions:

1) I strongly believe, as many of my other fellow fanfic writers will agree, that James committed a no-no when writing–no, publishing–‘Fifty Shades of Grey’.

The understood rule of fanfiction is that when you write and upload a fic, you always include a proper disclaimer, meaning you disclaim any legal rights you have to a fic. There is no way you can earn money off of this work.

The fact that she came out and outright said it was based off of Twilight fanfiction should have made it a big no.

I think it’s fine if you start writing a fanfic and then an idea for an original work is born. But because it started out as a fanfic, it must firstly, have circumstances and characters so different from the original work that once published, a good majority will have no qualms accepting it as a work entirely separate from the original.

Because let’s face it, nothing is ‘original’ anymore. Hunger Games is a wonderful series but has so many similarities to many past books–not through any fault of the author herself.

2) Is fanfiction objectionable?

People have. Authors have. Anne Rice did, and thus you will find no Anne Rice fanfiction out there (at least, not blatant ones. I’m sure there are some out there). For the most part, readers will respect the author’s wishes.

J.K Rowling herself said she thought fanfiction was a wonderful thing that helped encourage young writers to take up a pen and create. I personally am sure that she is, on some level, mortified and uncomfortable that her own characters are being played around with like that, and I must confess that I do occasionally feel bad doing so.

But if we don’t rub it in their faces or the public’s face and the authors don’t object to it, who does it harm?

I will say, I write HarryxDraco. Some might find it disgusting and utterly unrealistic, but that’s why it’s fanfiction (although there’s a whole list of reasons supporting this pairing).

I will also say, though, that some of the most amazing writing talents I have seen in fanfiction writing. Just because people write fanfiction doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad writers. There are plenty out there, yes, but that doesn’t mean we’re all bad. There really are some beautiful writing styles out there that come through in fanfiction. Why do we ‘waste’ it on another person’s work then? Because these characters and their stories have captured our hearts, and we want to explore them even more.

And likewise, just because someone writes original work, doesn’t mean they are good writers. Like ’50 Shades of Grey’. Oh dear Lord, this is the epitome of bad Twilight fanfiction. And note, I said ‘bad’ fanfiction. I’ve seen fanfiction written much better. But considering it is the Twilight community, the average writing ability must be dropped a notch or two (simply because of the target audience).

Once again, James should not have published this. I can’t believe there would come a day where a book worse than Twilight was written. My first reaction upon hearing about this book was, ‘Wow, this book sounds like a bad Twilight fanfiction for the mothers of the Twilight fan base.’ Lo and behold, I was right. And this was before I realized James DID start this out as Twilight fanfiction.

3) When do works become open to public?

I think this actually has a numeric answer. I believe I heard somewhere that 50 years after the last member of a creative work dies, the works become public property. That’s why the Beetles music never went on iTunes until a year or two ago. And I think that would make sense. Classics inspire everyone. It’s unfair to call plagiarism on every little drop of inspiration.

4) In case I haven’t made it clear already, there most definitely is a code. You do not even think about publishing your fanfic work as an original work. The whole concept is paradoxical. And completely dishonorable. I am ashamed that such a thing even happened. I can’t imagine how it did in the first place.

5) Overall, I’d just like for everyone else to know that fanfiction isn’t some depraved form of creepy hobby. I’ve seen fanfic writers take an author’s 2D character and shape him/her into such a real life-like human being with a story and emotions. It really is a wonderful thing for most people.

For example, the period right after the war in ‘Harry Potter’. Rowling sort of skimmed it and gave us a pretty much happily-ever-after ending, but fanfiction writers always wondered, what really did happen during the trials?

In a war-torn nation that had been broken and hurt, vengeance in the form of justice must have been on their minds. Who’s to say the ‘good’ didn’t begin to employ some of the same methods used against them on their captives? How difficult was it for Draco and Narcissa to get off with what they did even with Harry Potter testifying for them? Weighing the words of a celebrity against the hatred of a name, which one wins out? No doubt the Death Eaters would have difficult time finding jobs. What about the people who took it upon themselves to punish the ‘evil’?

These are some of the questions we delve into. So it’s not just about ‘what if’ scenarios, alternate universes and romance. There’s a lot of introspection in fanfiction as well, and the characters are oftentimes given a second chance to live through fanfic. I’d just like for everyone else to keep that in mind.

27 Susan { 07.12.12 at 6:57 am }

I am almost done with the audio version of 50 shades and that’s all I do is listen to audiobooks because I drive a lot and it allows me to read a book a week and still live my other life as a working mom, wife etc…. I bought the entire series after my sister raved on about how wonderful the book was and couldn’t believe that I wasn’t reading it! I thought I must be missing out so paid $100 for the 3 pack 🙁 all I can say is I wish it was in paper so that I could just skip through it and I did not know anything about fanfic until now but the entire time I listened to the book I envisioned Bella and Edward as the characters! I thought it was just me and then learned it was suppose to be them, but it has irritated me the entire time! Both the characters are so weak and undeveloped and dark, I felt like I was reading “mommy porno” or something like the first Judy Bloom book I read as a teen with sex it it. I find the whole thing annoying, NOBODY has that many orgasms, eye rolling, inner goddess, oh ,ah , my sex, moments!!! I too keep listening hoping it will get better or wanting to know “why” he is like this? Also pissed that he could have learned this as a teen from an adult. Seems wrong to me now that I know it came from the Twighlight series! Shouldn’t be able to publish it if I could figure it out and I’m just a middle age soccer mom who doesn’t even know what fanfic is!

28 Maridee { 08.07.12 at 3:17 pm }

I can see how you find this unbelievable about Ana, but let me tell you, having meet my first husband at 16 he was 4 years older and very experienced and I also was a virgin. It is not always the skill of the woman who makes orgasms happen. My now ex-husband was very skilled at giving multiple orgasms and yes the first time. It actually wasn’t until after I divorced that I found that sex like that was not the same for everyone and that it did depend on the skills of your partner as to whether or not orgasm is even achievable. I believe that the scenarios in this book are plausible under the right circumstances, but not for everybody.
As far as fanfiction goes, I am all for it, I have authored a handful of published short stories, but I still write fanfiction for fun.

29 Gertrude { 08.17.12 at 2:18 am }

This book bores me. It’s just another Dom/sub fantasy world brought out from an A.N. Roquelaure Sleeping Beauty Trilogy. Plus the fact that orgasm can be achieved first time without any reference.

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