I have been reading some material about E.L. James and her Fifty Shades of Grey series. It seems she originally wrote this novel as fan-fiction, and how she decided later in life to make it an original piece of work. Does anyone know what she changed from her fan-fiction to original work? Did she just change the character names and remove direct references from the Twilight Saga for which that fan-fiction was based? I have a couple of fan-fiction screenplays that I would love to re-create to make them original. How can I achieve this that won't be a red-flag with respect to copyright infringement? I'm actually working on a project now and I changed all the character names to something more original, and changed the entire world/background to something that I made up. I also created original scenes for that fan-fiction and am now bringing it over to the original work. Is this okay? Am I going far enough in making sure I'm writing something wholly original?

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    Fifty Shades abandoned THE defining concept of Twilight – a vampire in a high school. I personally would never have associated the two unless there had been an advertising campaign to inform me over and over that one is fanfic of the other in a shallow attempt to parasite off the former's name-recognition. What did carry over is a "nice girl dates bad boy" plot – stock characters from any Romance novel of any century; see Byronic Hero. If you scratch beneath the surface of your source material, I'm sure you'll find the stock elements that appealed to you in the first place. Good luck!
    – wetcircuit
    Mar 8, 2020 at 13:35
  • I actually think I read (the first few chapters) of the fanfic that later became Fifty Shades. It was fanfic only in the sense that it used existing characters and their relationships, taking place in an Alternate Universe, in which all characters were human, and instead of high school students the main characters were a CEO and his assistant (?).
    – Llewellyn
    Mar 8, 2020 at 16:50

1 Answer 1


It's certainly been done before, but without knowing the details, it's hard to say whether your changes are big enough.

Find some beta readers who don't know your connection to the fandom and ask them to read your stories. If you get feedback that the story/characters etc. remind them of the original story, you might need to make further changes.

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