Who writes fan fiction?
How many times has the Cinderella story been revisited? What about Snow White or Beauty and the Beast? Do you know how many books and movies claim to be adaptations of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice?
It’s no big secret that writers from all walks like to write fanfiction. Fanfiction gets published all the time. Online, readers gobble up stories about their favorite movies, TV shows, popular books, classics and fairy tales with insatiable appetites. People want more of the stories they love.
Sites like Fanfiction.net thrive off offering readers and writers their fill. I compare these sites to yard sales. Some bookworms won’t want to make the effort because of the junk, but they miss out on the treasures.
And, yeah, fan writing can be poor—it can—but permitting writers to post really bad writing gives them a way to create and experiment with uninhibited zest. These writers are still in the original packaging. They haven’t been chiseled by formulaic plot and prose yet, and the spontaneity bubbles up in every line. It’s exciting to find those shiny new writers with that intuitive sense of how to get their concepts across in fascinating ways. The thrill of happening on that blossoming wordcrafter keeps me scouring stories for the clues that hide between the descriptions and chuckle at me from the narrative. The stories I’ve found on Fanfiction.net have inspired me to write from the heart, to think about my characters differently, to challenge traditional methods of speaking to my readers. There’s joy in reading fanfiction.
Then there’s writing fanfiction. My first fanfic took a great deal of courage for me. It wasn’t easy, deciding to let strangers read and reflect on my first try. It had tons of mistakes, and it still garnered such a great response I knew I wanted to write more fiction for public consumption. So I started writing in other fandoms. I tried the classics and popular books, TV shows, and movies. I dabbled in anime/manga and video game-based fanfiction. I deleted many bad tries, but they developed my writing skills. My approach to the fanfiction world became a writing experiment. My stories became my case studies, and the reviews and hits became my data…and the writers and reviewers became my friends.
What I’ve learned is: All Fiction is Fan Fiction. An author’s style is really the sum of what he/she has read and experienced. Every story is, in essence, adding to something already in existence to create something new. A writer who takes this view understands that utilizing the wheel in different ways can be far more effective to wheel-users than attempting to reinvent it. Fanfiction doesn’t limit creativity, it directs creativity. It conjures a rainbow of endless possibilities.
I plan to tell you more about what I’ve learned from writing fanfiction starting next Monday and continuing through the Mondays and Fridays of March. I hope it will inspire you to think creatively about methods to use to improve your craft.
(Disclaimer: Smut-writing and advertisements are obnoxious in fanfiction, like anywhere else, but most of the offensive stuff can be avoided through customized filtering and ad-blocking software.)