Much has been made over the past few years of Fifty Shades Of Grey’s origins as a web-based Twilight fan fiction. Christian Grey was once a fictionalized non-vampire version of Edward Cullen, and wan, gamine Anastasia Steele was once a wan, gamine Bella Swan. That Twilight fan-fic has long since disappeared from the Internet, but PDFs of it remain, floating around the fan communities that first made the story successful.
Another thing that’s been floating around those fan communities is a fascinating side-by-side comparison of the original story, Master Of The Universe, with what eventually became Fifty Shades Of Grey. Clearly E.L. James has made some changes to her prose for Fifty Shades, but what she wrote for the web as Snowqueens Icedragon remains almost completely unfettered—save a few name changes, naturally.
For instance, while Master Of The Universe began:
I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror. Damn my hair, it just won‘t behave, and damn Rose for being ill and subjecting me to this ordeal. I have tried to brush my hair into submission but it‘s not toeing the line. I must learn not to sleep with it wet. I recite this five times as a mantra whilst I try, once more, with the brush. I give up. The only thing I can do is restrain it, tightly, in a pony tail and hope that I look reasonably presentable
Fifty Shades Of Grey begins:
I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror. Damn my hair – it just won’t behave, and damn Katherine Kavanagh for being ill and subjecting me to this ordeal. I should be studying for my final exams, which are next week, yet here I am trying to brush my hair into submission. I must not sleep with it wet. I must not sleep with it wet. Reciting this mantra several times, I attempt, once more, to bring it under control with the brush. I roll my eyes in exasperation and gaze at the pale, brown-haired girl with blue eyes too big for her face staring back at me, and give up. My only option is to restrain my way
See the differences? Rosalie Cullen is now Katherine Kavanaugh, thus becoming a completely different character or something.
Try again. Master Of The Universe:
The doors open and I hurry in… desperate to escape… I really need to get out of here. I turn to look at him and he‘s leaning against the doorway beside the lift, one hand on the wall… he really is very, very good looking… it‘s distracting. His burning green eyes gaze at me… “Isabella…” he says as a farewell. “Edward…” I reply and mercifully the doors close.
Fifty Shades Of Grey:
The doors open, and I hurry in desperate to escape. I really need to get out of here. When I turn to look at him, he’s leaning against the doorway beside the elevator with one hand on the wall. He really is very, very good-looking. It’s distracting. His burning gray eyes gaze at me. “Anastasia,” he says as a farewell. “Christian,” I reply. And mercifully, the doors close
Totally different story, right? Edward Cullen’s eyes are green, whereas Christian Grey’s eyes are gray. Big difference.
The entire thing is well worth a read, if only to note that Fifty Shades’ much maligned “holy crap” was once Master Of The Universe’s “holy crow,” a phrase that’s much, much worse.