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

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According to gentleblaze, James had a consistent pattern of dismissing the community that helped her create her fanfiction. Back in February 2010, James asked gentleblaze (GB from here on in) to help design her blog; while chatting, she also brought up her desire to publish MotU. GB fervently argued against it, pointing out that Twilight author Stephenie Meyer knew of the fic and that legally it would just be way too risky. But James ignored the sage advice and barreled ahead. She also managed to put her foot in her mouth multiple times in slamming the Twilight community. Here are several quotes from the chat logs that GB saved:

“Well don’t tell anyone – I have visions of being interviewed by Time Magazine for revolutionizing publishing…”

“I have done it as a sort of exercise.. to see if I could … and I think I have proven that I can… I now want to capitalize on it…”

“I have to say I do not feel as passionately as you do about the fandom”

“it’s like the old groucho marx joke which I cant remember about not wanting to belong to a club that you’re a member of…”

even when you publish it on amazon, theres still gonna be negativity “true… but I’m sure it’s easier to take with a big fat paycheck LOL”

show them theres a person behind the penname and not just some lady sitting on a perch — “I like my perch…”

“I’m not sure I feel part of the community…”

As Snowqueens, James literally had her own fanbase within the Twilight fandom, including a group who held a four-day convention in her honor before she went on to San Diego Comic-Con in 2010. I've been part of various fanfiction communities since 2000 (Buffy, Firefly, House, Bones, etc.), and while there were certainly several “celebrity” authors whose work was universally loved, never did I see one person revered the way that Snowqueens was. We were always generous with our compliments toward one another and in recommending each other's writing on our blogs, but even the most talented authors would chat with newbies. There was no hierarchy and therefore no arrogance or sense of superiority.

Furthermore, Snowqueens would complain about having to participate in “fandom gives back” programs, like one where an erotic fic she wrote raised $28,000 for cancer research. By telling GB that she didn't feel that passionately about the Twilight fandom, Snowqueens comes off as arrogant and dismissive of her peers who have elevated her to mythical status within their own community. She sounds more calculating than a genuine fan who writes fanfiction simply because s/he enjoys that world. And once Fifty Shades was published, Snowqueens Icedragon became E.L. James. Like I said, she deleted all copies of MotU so that no one could reveal that it's the same text as her “legitimate” novel; on every level, she's distanced herself from the Twilight fandom and refused to acknowledge its monumental influence on her success.

Fanfiction by definition will always be collaborative: Not only are you borrowing the author's world and characters, but it's likely that you've had other fans beta read (proofread) your work, and the point of posting it to sites like Ff.n and LiveJournal is to receive the feedback and support from fellow fans. On her blog Fifty Shades of Pop Culture, University of Utah professor Anne Jamison — who has included Twilight fanfic in her Theories of Popular Culture course — explains why books like Fifty Shades can't succeed on the merits of their text alone:

“But, when it's read as Twilight Fanficton, it literalizes, inverts, or makes explicit what some readers identify as erotic and BDSM undertones in Twilight: ‘Fifty' (as he was known in the fandom) likes to withhold orgasms, and withholds certain kinds of romantic and physical (non-sexual) closeness, while Edward withholds sex (and therefore orgasms) but provides romantic and non-sexual closeness.”

Not a single step of this is undertaken alone, yet James acts as if this bestselling novel came from her and only her. This is not the kind of fan behavior that should be rewarded.

Attention Twilight fans! We've already gotten several fascinating responses from members of the fandom, some of whom agree with our research and others who don't. No matter which way you lean, we invite you to share your opinion/anecdote in the comments; we're always interested in hearing multiple sides of fan-related stories.

Photo: BBC

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