Is 'After' Your New '50 Shades of Grey'? Paramount Hopes So

After book deal

If you aren’t familiar with After, that’s probably about to change in a pretty major way. After is a novel by first-time author Anna Todd that has been a runaway hit on Wattpad, an online community of readers and writers where books are published a chapter at a time. It originated as a serialized three-part series, which racked up more than one billion reads, and starting October 21, it will be published through the Simon & Schuster imprint Gallery Books. After is also going to be made into a movie, now that Paramount Pictures has acquired the screen rights. Oh, and apparently it’s a hot-and-heavy fan fiction romance inspired by One Direction singer Harry Styles.

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Is this the One Direction fanfic version of Fifty Shades of Gray? Well, I can’t say for certain because I haven’t read it, but it definitely sounds like the elevator pitch. Wattpad describes After thusly:

This ongoing trilogy tells the story of Tessa Young, an optimistic freshman at Washington State University, and the dark, troubled guy who has stolen her heart. After is reading that you can’t get enough of: a story as addictive as TV with new chapters added every few days. It is mobile: you read it on your phone and receive notifications for every new chapter. It is also social, with fans commenting on the story and messaging the writer directly as the story is being written.

Todd has been adding to the After story world using Instagram and Twitter to share photos, videos, songs, and art created by readers. Wattpad sounds like an innovative service and it’s awesome that modern authors like Todd are making the most of their mediums, but is there really enough in After for a whole MOVIE? Wattpad’s general manager thinks so:

After has a massive built-in audience that was cultivated on Wattpad. This deal means millions of fans are one step closer to realizing their dream of seeing After brought to life on the big screen.

We can expect to see steamy romance on the big screen with After, presumably, along with the now-familiar stormy relationship element. Jezebel posted an excerpt from the story along with some snarky commentary:

For instance, at one point Harry get drunk and starts breaking shit. Liam calls Tessa to come sort him out, even though they're not even dating—she's just the only one who gets him, you see. This noxious exchange follows:

After he half-assedly apologizes, she gives him a hand job. This happens over and over and over again—Harry behaves at best like a prick, at worst like an abusive boyfriend in the making. Presumably this continues for the rest of the trilogy (though I only made it three-quarters of the way through the first book). How anyone even gets that from Harry Styles, boy band hunk, is anyone's guess.

Ha. Apparently One Direction fans got so worked up about the publishing deal they tried to stop Todd from signing the contract, complaining that she wasn’t even a true fan and portrayed Harry Styles in a negative manner.

As for Todd, well, she has tons of readers, she has a publishing and movie deal, and she’s all of 25 years old. I’m guessing she’s dealing with the negative backlash by laughing all the way to the bank.

Had you heard of this book? Are you at all surprised another fan fiction piece may turn into the next big romance trend?


Image via Simon & Schuster

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