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Fifty Shades Of Grey Author E.L. James Hates The Twilight Fans That Made Her Famous

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EL James Snowqueens Icedragon burn bridges Twilight fandom wank Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey writer E.L. James has become a huge star in the last few months, with an inevitable movie deal in the works for her erotic book series. The book's runaway fame is surprising, since Fifty Shades started out as a BDSM piece of Twilight fanfiction that made James (then known as Snowqueens Icedragon) a bonafide celebrity in her own right. But as she does the talk show circuit and plays modestly surprised at her own success, Twilight fans have come forward to reveal that James was actually incredibly self-serving and greedy in her time as a fan, and she now disregards the Twilight fandom despite their part in her success.

A few weeks ago, James did an interview with The Today Show and demurred about her success, saying that she was “stunned” by the book's popularity and even conceding, “I'm not a great writer.” This aw-shucks modesty was puzzling considering the nature of James' sudden fame, and became even more suspicious when several Jezebel commenters alluded to the fact that James is not well loved within the Twilight fandom.

Commenter Annathaema wrote:

“I'm all for fanfiction authors finding success writing original works, but I really wish this could have happened to someone a little more talented and a lot less disdainful of where she comes from. She has a horrible attitude toward the people who read this story when it was still free fanfiction, but now that people are paying money for it she's sunshine and unicorn farts? That's not okay by me.”

bjr70 added:

“E.L. James is not a nice person. At all… She exploited the Twilight fandom to make boatloads of cash and screwed pretty much everyone who helped her along the way. Nasty piece of work. Not only is what she did unethical (google for ‘Master of the Universe' AND Twilight and you'll find it for download almost unchanged except for character names), but she also trampled the entire fandom in her greed. She is definitely not well liked in fic circles.”

A quick recap: E.L. James used to write Twilight fanfiction under the screen name Snowqueens Icedragon, first on FanFiction.net — one of the largest online archives for fic — and later on her own blog. She wrote a few short pieces before coming out with an epic, erotic AU (alternate universe) story called Master of the Universe where college student Bella meets wealthy businessman Edward and embarks on a BDSM relationship with him. MotU earned Snowqueens Icedragon thousands of adoring reviews on Ff.n and a massive fan following, with some fans even organizing events in her honor at conventions. (More on that later.)

According to James' agent Valerie Hoskins, the author (real name Erika Leonard) was forced to take the story down from fansites because of its mature content, and then decided to rewrite it:

“Originally it was written as fan fiction, then Erika decided to take it down after there were some comments about the racy nature of the material. She took it down and thought, I’d always wanted to write. I’ve got a couple unpublished novels here. I will rewrite this thing, and create these iconic characters, Christian and Anna.”

It's true that Ff.n had Snowqueens remove MotU because of the NC-17 content. But what's bizarre is that Snowqueens then deleted all of her stories—her Ff.n page now reflects only her favorite stories/authors. She moved MotU to her blog 50Shades.com, but once the publishing deal went through, it disappeared from there, too.

Of course, the beauty of the internet is that nothing ever gets completely deleted. After Vintage (the Random House imprint publishing the book) claimed in more than one interview that MotU and Fifty Shades of Grey were two substantially different pieces of writing, Dear Author pulled up a cached copy of the fic and ran it alongside Fifty Shades through multiple programs. It's not just that the two pieces are thematically similar: Only a few words are changed here and there, and otherwise the texts are identical.

Is this a case of Twilight fans just being jealous over the fact that one of their own managed to legimitize her fanfic when there are thousands of fans wishing to do the same? It doesn't appear so. Snowqueens/James has been revealed to be a greedy, egotistical person who doesn't even like the Twilight fandom. In researching this article, I came across the a detailed takedown from LiveJournal user gentleblaze written in March 2011, outlining the year or more in which she worked with fellow fan James in a semi-professional capacity, and directly quoting James' disdain and disregard for the fandom.

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