5 Authors who started with Fanfiction
The dream of most fanfiction writers is to write an original story, be lucky enough to find a house to publish it, and eventually earn money by doing what you love: writing. Well, these authors have achieved the dream, publishing sagas that, at first, had a humble origin as stories based on someone else’s stories, and eventually make it to the big time.
While sometimes fanfiction authors dream of writing an original story so interesting that the publishing houses fight to publish it, for some that dream became reality. Many people are using self-publishing tools to try and make this a reality like Reedsy or even more novel-focused tools like Squibler – check em out if you need to write a novel.
Although some of these stories are known for their infamy or low quality, others are quite famous, and have earned their fame by hand, as they differ completely from their origins.
Well, without further ado, let’s start with the list.
Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
This famous story is widely considered “porn for moms”, started being a fanfiction of a very recognized author in the Twilight fandom, called Snowqueens Icedragon. E.L. James, then 43, published a fanfiction called Masters of the Universe, which was published on fanfiction.net. It’s possible to download the original version of the fanfiction, so if you are interested, with a couple of searches in google, you may just come across the original source.
There is also a lot of online evidence of the fact that E.L. James was not able to change the story enough not to steer clear of plagiarism, something that has outraged many people. The quality of the story is not enviable anyway. What is unquestionably enviable is the amount of money a woman has earned with the book’s success.
After, by Anna Todd
Moving onward, we explore the success of Anna Todd, the 27-year-old author whose humble origins began on Wattpad, with a fanfiction story based on Harry Styles, member of One Direction, and the main character is named the author’s original character, Tessa. The fanfiction is titled exactly like her book saga: After.
The story consisted of three parts, and its genre was RPF, or real people fiction. Its reception in the fandom was very positive, with the series being read more than 400 million times and reaching 3.5 million comments. The author and her readers interacted daily, with readers reacting and commenting on each published chapter. People even made “fan trailers” of the story. Anna’s name on the online platform was Imaginator1D.
Unfortunately, she let some of her fame and popularity get to her head. She threatened to stop publishing if they didn’t reach a thousand comments. However, the threat worked, as the story reached the comments she wanted in a couple of hours.
The story became fairly controversial as she glorifies alcohol abuse, an abusive relationship and wrote poorly written sex scenes. The story is sold as a romance when the relationship between Harry -in the book, Hardin- and Tessa, is described as unhealthy and abusive.
Beautiful Bastard, by Cristina Lauren
This erotic novel also began as a Twilight fanfic, with Bella and Edward as protagonists. However, unlike its counterpart, 50 Shades, this novel has gone largely unnoticed. The original story was called The Office. Because neither the book nor the original fanfiction is as famous as the others I mention on the list, I don’t have enough information to go too in-depth. All I know is that recently, Christina admitted her origins as a fanfiction writer. No shame in that!
Throne of Crystal, by Sarah J. Maas
Eleven years ago, Sarah J. Maas began writing fanfiction of one of the most classic stories in the world: Cinderella. Instead of taking the prince to the dance, she imagined the story with Cinderella being a murderer, and so Queen of Glass was born, which would eventually become Throne of Glass.
The original fanfiction was published on fictionpress.com, and became one of the website’s most popular stories. In 2008, Sarah decided to remove it from the website and try to publish it in the traditional way. The rest, then, is history. Now, Crystal Throne is one of the most popular books in Goodreads.
Shadow Hunters, by Cassandra Clare
What would this article be without some juicy controversial scoops! In this case, I have to talk about one of the most widely recognized authors of all in the case of fanfiction writers: Cassie Clare.
The universe of Shadow Hunters is broad, complicated to explain and very well armed. However, their origins are somewhat more humble. The story was originally conceived as a Harry Potter fanfic (which is one of the most popular fandoms on commaful), and its main character was Draco Malfoy. It came to be called the Draco Trilogy.
Draco’s Trilogy was a story that lasted six years in publication. It consisted of three parts, all novel length: Draco Dormiens, Draco Sinister and Draco Veritas. Although initially, the story had only straight relationships, much of the subtext of Harry x Draco was included, one of the most famous slash couples in the history of the Harry Potter universe. The idea behind the fanfiction was to make Harry Potter characters exchange bodies, making Draco the hero and Harry the villain. Draco Dormiens began publishing on fanfiction.net in 2000 during the wait between the Goblet of Fire and the Order of the Phoenix.
The controversy begins with the allegations of plagiarism that plagued Cassandra during that time. In its third part, Draco Sinister, fans noticed that in chapter nine of the fanfiction there were fragments virtually identical to a novel called Pamela Dean’s The Hidden Land. These allegations of plagiarism were enough to get Clare (formerly known as Claire) banned from fanfiction.net.
The fanfiction saga also incorporated many dialogues and textual passages that came out of popular television series, and books. Sometimes, it was noted that there were dialogues from Buffy the Slayer, and other times, it was noted dialogue extracted from Babylon 5. Clare’s fans, however, turned a blind eye to this practice and even created a game of searching for the origin of quotations to help her create the relevant stories.
However, the plagiarism was not limited to just dialogue and shows. The copying was rampant and Clare used works ranging from novels and more. This, of course, created even more problems, and eventually, both the author and the story were removed from the database of the popular fanfiction site.
Well, to end Cassandra’s story, her fanfic was altered and edited heavily to remove the characters and settings from that of Harry Potter, and was sold as the Shadow Hunters saga. At the end of Draco Veritas, the last part of his story, she made a statement saying that the story would be removed from Fiction Alley. While the original was removed, some copies may still be floating around the internet, just as Moaning Myrtle still floats around the girl’s bathroom.
Although both Draco’s trilogy and Shadow Hunters share nothing specifically, many fans believe (and I include myself) that certain characters still have resemblances to their original counterparts. Draco is Jace, Clary is a mix between Ginny and Hermione, Simon is very much like Harry – even the fact that he wears glasses – and Valentine is obviously based on Voldemort. In addition, there are web pages where they place fragments taken from both works, and they still have similarities in the narrative, especially the first book, Bone City.
Do you know of any other authors who have had their origins in the world of fandom and fanfiction? Perhaps some Sombra fanfiction? Leave your names in the comment box, and thank you for reading this far!