Another fanfic doing well

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com, or follow me on Twitter.

Almost any story about fanfiction doing well makes me happy. Although, I wonder why the stories tend to lead to bland movies? Is that because of the young demographic?

In 2013, a 25-year-old named Anna Todd self-published her work of serialized fan fiction on Wattpad. It blew up almost instantaneously and reached over one billion reads. After became a success largely for its steamy scenes, which drew comparisons to Fifty Shades of Grey—and because its male lead, Hardin Scott, was stylized after One Direction heartthrob Harry Styles. Within a year, Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, published all three books in Todd’s series. As my colleague Kelly Faircloth wrote in her review of the first novel, even though Scott is mostly dissimilar to Styles and “behaves at best like a prick, at worst like an abusive boyfriend in the making,” After generated enough interest to be optioned for a blockbuster release. The movie, starring British actor Hero Fiennes Tiffin (you may remember him as young Voldemort, Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) and Josephine Langford as Tessa Young, the romantic protagonist who finds herself enamored with Scott’s seemingly oafish charm, came out April 12.

That afternoon, I sat in a New York City theater, surrounded by 12 teenage girls in various pairs. As assumed, After is remarkably horny and corny to the point of embarrassment. A generation of young women will definitely learn how to masturbate because of it.

Biologists agree that young mammals learn important skills by playing. Fanfic is an important form of playing, especially for young women. A naive person might think young women enjoy playing at love so that later on they will be good at love. But no, really, they enjoy playing at suriving abuse, so that later on they will be good at surviving abuse:

She asks him to leave so she can change, he tells her not to flatter herself. Before he exits, he stands close to Tessa, stares directly into her eyes and says things like, “Trying to imagine this one at a party, not seeing it,”

…At this point in the non-plot, Scott is definitely just an asshole with an unfortunately attractive habit of making prolonged eye contact and an excruciatingly unattractive habit of quoting Charlotte Brontë and Jane Austen at Tessa, but the chemistry is undeniable.

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