So here's my personal opinion as to why the books are fundamentally stealing: Fifty Shades of Grey was written as a fanfiction. If you're not familiar with fanfiction, go to ComiCon and meet some lovely people who spend hours of their lives re-imagining other people's characters in interesting scenarios. I know many fanfiction writers who also write original fiction. They are fabulous and talented and fiercely loyal. I have no qualms with fanfiction/ff writers and have read and enjoyed many ff stories. The first, and biggest, objection I have to the Fifty Shades series is the fact that James wrote this series as Twilight fanfiction. Is the storyline hers? Yup. Are the characters? In my mind, no. Now this is where I (and others who share my opinion) lose most of world. Who cares if she "based" the characters on already existing fictional characters if she had them placed in entirely unique scenarios? Well, here's why:
- When writing fanfiction that is AU (alternate universe) where characters act OOC (out of character), you're still taking the essence of that character and using it. It wasn't "What would Christian Grey do here?" it was "What would Edward Cullen do if he were a naughty, naughty boy?". See the distinction? James took characters already in existence and applied them (and their previously established personality traits, decision making processes, and distinguishing smirks) to something new. Is it entirely stolen? No, of course not. But the application of someone else's work via the way the characters behave is not original.
- It is so badly done. Come on, people! Come on! Can't you see that she thesaurused her way through the whole effing thing?! And the ellipses. Oh, the ellipses. I can't even tell you how sad I am over the misuse of such beloved punctuation. I have PTSD flashbacks every time I try to use the once easily applied ...
- There was little to no editing by a person who has the title "Editor" on their business card (I'm aware any bozo can call themselves an editor. I'm talking about someone who other people call an editor). If you live in London and write using a vernacular specific to the place where you live, and not where your story is taking place, you no write good. There were so many Britishisms in the books that I thought I was back on the Tube en route to Leicester Square to catch a West End production of something starring Daniel Radcliffe. Those are the sorts of things that a professional editor would catch and have an author fix to create a more polished manuscript.