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'Fifty Shades' Books Now Have Own Fan Fiction

NEW YORK - Not all that long ago, E L James was Snowqueens Icedragon, cranking out her sexed-up "Twilight" fan fiction online.

Well, faster than you can shriek your safe word, her kinky "Fifty Shades of Grey" bondage erotica trilogy has fan fiction of its own, in the same place where she first serialized her story under a different title.

"I'm immensely flattered, and it's humbling to know my work is inspiring others to write," the London mother and TV producer said in a statement less than three months after "Fifty Shades" was published by Vintage Books and climbed to the top of best-seller lists.

The writings range from parody to otherworldy to crossovers into other book worlds like "Harry Potter."

Fan fiction for "Twilight" remains among the most popular at FanFiction.net, James's former home, with nearly 200,000 contributions there, behind only Potter for books. The number for James's books is growing but still well under 50.

The irony hasn't been lost on some writers and reviewers on FanFiction.net, the largest gathering place for largely anonymous fan fiction writers. Asked one on the site: "How absurd is it to write fanfics OF fanfics?"

No more or less absurd than fan fiction, which stretches back at least to the early 1900s and the stories of Sherlock Holmes, said Anne Jamison, an English professor at the University of Utah who taught a unit on the "Twilight" fandom.

"There was fan fiction before you called it fan fiction," she said, "and before there was copyright, it was called writing."

In more recent years but before the rise of the Internet, the early "Star Trek" series helped boost the popularity of fan fiction. It exists today online for numerous TV shows, movies, comic books, plays and games, done in many genres and much of it with big disclaimers declaring it's all just for fun.

When James was still back in "Twilight" fandom toiling on her "Master of the Universe," beginning in mid-2009, she received up to nearly 60,000 comments on FanFiction.net. That's an immense number then and now, propelling her stardom.

James eventually moved the story to its own website, reworked it with non-"Twilight" names and signed on with a small Australian company known for plucking and publishing fan fiction for e-book and print-on-demand hard copy.

Vintage, a literary imprint of Random House, snatched up the rights after the buzz began building, paying seven figures and leading James to a movie deal with Universal Pictures and Focus Features.

Sales for the trilogy are at 10 million and counting across formats, Vintage said Tuesday.

The "Fifty Shades" books chronicle the hyperactive sex life and love story of the damaged Grey and the innocent Steele from her perspective, soon after they meet when she interviews him for her college newspaper.

"I'm learning how to write naughty. It's not so easy. You have to break down your own shield. You have to open yourself up to write naughty," said 60-something aspiring fiction writer Nancy Hartmann, whose "50 plus 15" story has Grey seducing one of his teen daughter's teachers.

The rapid publication of all three "Fifty Shades" books has other fans in withdrawal and seeking more - even if it's not the real deal.

Sara Eberhart, a 22-year-old college student, considers herself a "Fifty Shades" fan and is following a few of the stories on FanFiction.net.

"James's writing style is weak and pedestrian and there can be much improvement, and I think that's what all of the fanfic writers are sensing and consequently writing their own version of," said Eberhart, who hopes to be a published author someday.

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