It’s no secret that 50 Shades of Grey started as a fanfiction about Bella and Edward from Twilight, but there are many more iconic pieces of literature that started as fanfiction and the list might surprise you.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
It’s funny that there are so many fanfictions about Harry Potter considering one of the Harry Potter books itself began as fanfiction. Before she started the series, J.K. Rowling’s plan was for the books to be a trilogy. After she finished the third, she decided to write a Glee fanfiction where a rival school challenges the students of William McKinley High School to an acapella tournament. The story is one of music, valor, and unnecessary sexual tension. Oh, and they also do magic. Then, J.K. was like OMG this has to be the next Harry Potter book and reluctantly removed every song battle in the story. After that, she decided to write three more books, but the whole time she was still picturing Glee.
The Martian by Andy Weir
Many have forgotten that The Martian also started as Twilight fanfiction where Bella, Edward, Jacob and the rest of the gang were astronauts and Bella was accidentally left on Mars. When it was adapted into the book, the publishers kept everything, but changed Bella into a man. The world wasn’t ready for a female botanist.
Paper Towns by John Green
In a 2009 interview, John Green revealed that Paper Towns started as fanfiction he wrote about California Senator Dianne Feinstein, saying “I was so smitten with her, all I could think about was what it would be like if she left a little trail of tasks for me to complete.”
Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
Before it was a sociological investigation into human success, Outliers was a “slash-fic” about the CW show Supernatural following brothers Sam and Dean as they try to become The Beatles. His publisher told him to focus on the whole “10,000 hours” thing and delete the rest. When asked about his proudest accomplishment, Gladwell often cites his Supernatural fanfiction as his best work.
1917 by Sam Mendes
We know this isn’t a book, but the story behind it is too fascinating not to include on this list!. Based on a One Direction imagine about the boys fighting in World War I, 1917 started as a five hundred word instagram caption under a post depicting “Warcore Aesthetic.”
Oedipus Rex by Sophocles
People love to talk about the Oedipus complex, but many folks aren’t familiar with the source material that Oedipus Rex is based on. The source material in question is of course Harry Potter. In the original story, Harry’s parents aren’t really dead (yet), and he kills his father and then has sex with a woman that ends up being his mom. Sound familiar? That’s because the author Sophocles turned it into a critically acclaimed play. Literature teachers around the world lead their classes in discussions about the tragic metaphors for power and corruption, when actually all Oedipus Rex is exploring is what it would be like if Harry accidentally fucked his dead mom. RIP Lily Potter.