Sometimes fanfiction gets a lot of flack from people, or attracts trolls. Or it’s just associated with Drarry smut.
I write fanfiction. It’s mostly Captain Swan/Once Upon a Time fanfic, because (a) I will go down with this ship, (b) you guys know I’m a sucker for a (modern) fairytale retelling, and © I also love a good pirate story.
When I was little (like, seven or eight) and I was waiting for Order of the Phoenix to be published, I used to write little Harry Potter stories about what I thought would happen in the next book. Now, you’d call that fanfiction.
Fifty Shades of Grey started out as Twilight fanfiction. Anna Todd’s After series (from Wattpad, now published) started out as One Direction fanfiction. The Mortal Instruments series started out as fanfiction (Harry Potter, if I remember correctly).
And look at them now! Published! Well-known authors, earning money! From writing that started out as fanfiction.
One of the main reasons I think fanfiction is so great is that the characters are already there for you to play with.
This might be seen as a drawback – can’t you make your own characters up? You’re using someone else’s characters? You can’t be a very good writer.
Well, I think so, anyway. Fanfiction does use someone else’s characters, but when you’re still developing your writing style, still trying to practice and improve your writing, or just want to write but don’t have all the ideas for a whole book – you can start writing anyway. It offers a way to write even if you don’t have all the ideas, or if you’re maybe not confident enough.
You might like this post about how to write when your confidence is rock-bottom.
The same goes for the setting: maybe you write an OC (original character) but use Hogwarts as a setting. It lets you write fantasy without creating a whole new world.
You might like this guest Writing Wednesdays post by Alice Oseman about how she comes up with story ideas.
One of my favourite things about fanfiction is the sheer variety of genres. An angsty one-shot? An 1800s AU (alternate universe)? Dystopian? THEY’RE ALL THERE.
And as I’ve mentioned it: ONE SHOTS.
If you’re facing writers’ block, I recommend stepping back from your project, maybe even trying something different. (Seriously struggling with writers’ block? Check out this post for help.)
And while we don’t all like to get stuck into a new work when we haven’t finished the one in progress, a one-shot is the perfect solution. Whether you make it a single, 500-word piece, or a five-chapter short story, it’s easy to pick up and put back down.
Those of you who’ve been following Writing Wednesdays for a while know that I say practice makes perfect when it comes to writing.
Which is possibly the main reason I think it’s totally okay to write fanfiction: because if you’re struggling to come up with a whole novel’s worth of ideas, that doesn’t have to stop you.
If you want to be a writer, the most important thing to do to achieve that is to write. And why should fanfiction not count?
Sure, some of it is called amateur and it might not be polished like a published novel – but fanfic writers are incredibly overlooked. They’re often posting works of over 100,000 words, and receiving very little recognition for their hard work.
And hell, if someone says they don’t like reading fanfiction: either they’re lying, or they’re seriously missing out.