Monday, August 31, 2015

9 Reasons I Love Writing Fan Fiction

Allow me to begin with a simple fact: I love writing fan fiction.

Admittedly, my participation within the fan fiction sphere is usually limited to whatever my best friend or I have written, but that’s okay. Fan fiction can be a solitary activity if I want.

I was ecstatic when I found out I could write fan fiction. Ecstatic, I tell you! Finally, I could participate in my favorite characters’ worlds on paper. It was awesome—and is awesome. Though I write original works, fan fiction is among my favorite things to write. Here’s why:

Note Taking (79/365)
Flickr Credit: Chung Ho Leung

1. It’s Fun!

My original writing can end up becoming a chore after a while. Of course it’s good to work on and satisfying in the (very) long run—but formal writing can be strict. Fan fiction is freeing, in its own way. I can be a completely random individual, crazy and remarkable, and that makes it fun.

2. I Already Love the Characters

Some people don’t like fan fiction and that’s fine, but I positively HATE (hate hate hate) this argument against it:

“If you like writing so much, why not use your own characters?”

Yeah, right. 9.9 The only explanation I can come up with to explain this is that some people don’t realize that some writers are not innately connected to their own characters. This seems obvious to me, but I guess some people feel about their own characters the way they feel about other people’s characters? It’s enjoyable to be passionate about other people’s stuff in a way I can’t be for my own.

Writing Other People’s Characters: SDKFSDJLFKSDJ *runs through fields of daisies*I LOVE THEM SO MUCH *eats tater tots*THEY ARE SO CUTE *swings sword liberally* LET US DO THIS *rolls on the floor like a happy dog* LOVE *screams for joy* DEATH *bursts into tears* NO WAIT *intermittently tells best friend*
Writing My Characters: And then the anthropomorphic concept I created had no significance in life and was lame. The end.

3. It’s a Pre-Built World

Writing your own stuff is like funding the construction of a huge swimming complex and the accompanying outlet mall. Writing fan fiction is liking getting to jump in the pool and swim.

4. I Never Have to Edit It!

It is crap and it stays crap and I love that crap. *hugs all her crap*

5. Alternatively—Editing is an Option.

Admittedly, editing can also be entertaining. My sense of humor works better with multiple rounds, my thoughts can make more sense, and it can become more fun. Which would explain why a 21,000 word fic ended up becoming 50,000 words…

6. It’s Good Practice

Writing is writing. Of course, there’s value in writing for an audience and rigorous and consistent editing. Those things make you a better writer, but they don’t necessarily make you more creative. You can cultivate your creativity, and going crazy is good practice for that.

7. I Throw Realism Away

Speaking of creativity, fan fiction is like a rubber band, and can stretch in a number of directions from one central point. It doesn’t have to make sense. I have a document consisting of 222 words, in which two characters decide to drop a bucket of fish on another character’s head. Why? *shrugs* Because I could.

8. My Fan Fiction, My Experience

I can and have uploaded works to FanFiction.Net, but I didn’t have to. Currently I find it more satisfying to read sentimental plot threads on Friday evenings and let my heart brim with sorrow. I am the overlord of my experience, and that is enough for me.

9. I’m Coping

The last book in my favorite series was published in 2013 and the next one isn’t scheduled to come out until 2017. So you can imagine why my fan fiction folder looks like this:

No, my heart is not crying.

Ta-da! Now, go forth and be merry! Write ridiculous plotlines! Fight for your ships! Win! And all other good things.

Do you write fan fiction? What is your favorite part about it?


  1. "I am the overlord of my experience, and that is enough for me." << I can't decide whether this is super insightful or super hilarious but probably this means it's both because that's how you write stuff at SiaS and generally everywhere.

    But seriously, like, fanfiction is the best. When I can't find the creative juices to write my own work, I read fanfiction more often than original fiction. And such a diverse range of options! (It's just sad you can't log ff reading progress on Goodreads. I'd break all my GR reading challenges.)

    I admit I don't write fanfic a lot, because normally I try to direct all writing energies to original fiction, but then my thinking energies are 80% fanfiction and 20% original fiction. And in that 80% like maybe 20% is actually fanfiction of my original fiction, because I am my number one fan and therefore my spinoffs are all fanfiction. My logic is perfect and fanfiction is good. Yes. *nodnod*

    1. *nods* I think I meant it to be insightful but I am glad it is also hilarious because I enjoy having a sense of humor immensely.

      And yes! Fan fiction is very fun to read, but indeed, not exactly Goodreads-worthy. But I don't put short stories into my reading log anyway, so that doesn't bug me so much.

      And I have written fan fiction for my original fiction, too! I think it's fun to put characters in weird situations that you could never do in your novel, just because you have to maintain a sense of realism in your novel. No way can you send your medieval characters to get hot dogs at the water park—BOOM fan fiction solves that problem. :)

  2. *gapes* Someone is a little bit obsessed with H.I.V.E. *hides in shame because I haven't read it*

    I used to look down on, not fan fiction writers, but fan fiction itself. I spent so much time trying to be "original" that anything that wasn't completely original in my eyes wasn't worth my time. It took me a while to realize where that drive came from. When I was younger, I fell head-over-heels in love with Star Wars. Like, I watched Return of the Jedi three times in one day. So I started writing a story about people with swords that were sort of like light sabers--I basically tried to make my story as similar as possible without copying. And I really thought I'd come up with something different enough, but when I read it to a friend of mine, she made fun of it and told me it was just like Star Wars. I was so crushed, and I stopped working on the piece even though I'd already planned out a whole trilogy and invested a bunch of time and two thick notebooks and created characters I really loved. All that to say, I think that's why I used to be almost paranoid (if that word really fits this context) about what in my work was original and what might look less so.

    Of course, now I have a greater appreciation for fan fiction (and those who write it). I enjoyed doing the rewrite of The Courtship of Miles Standish, which you read on my blog. I found it fun to pull apart another author's work. I still don't spend a huge amount of time on fan fiction, mainly because I don't have a lot of time for writing, and I prefer to spend most of that on writing I could possibly sell someday. I also don't frequent any fan fiction sites--mainly because, while I don't mind reimagining the world myself, I don't like to see some of the things other people will do with the characters I love. (Especially when they ship the heroine and the creepy villain--like, ew.) That being said, I do think it is a great brain exercise, and it's definitely a way to write just for fun.

    Also, side note: I tried an experiment with one of my novels. I wrote and edited the novel, and then I wrote "fan fiction" for it to see if any of my other ideas were something I wanted to incorporate into the work itself. I don't know--I guess it made brain storming into a game.

    Anyway, great post and thanks for sharing!

    1. *awkward face* Not /that/ obsessed... *cough cough* JUST A LOT OKAY?

      Aw, that story is kind of sad! I mean, you were still new and so that would have had a big impact on you! I'm sorry you had that criticism turn you off. And I can understand why you would become concerned with originality—nobody wants to be teased!

      I agree that pulling apart other authors' work is definitely fun. It's a good way to get another look at a writer—and ah yes, Miles Standish. That was fun. And that's fine that you aren't big into fan fiction. Writers have to make money somehow! (Also, that is also a reason why I don't read too much of other people's fan fiction, either. There are some ships that are sunk and people just can't tell the difference.)

      And I've done that, too! I think it's fun to put your characters into weird situations that would never fit in your book to characterize them and keep preparing yourself for the rest of the writing cycle.

      Thanks for reading, Liz!

  3. When we were younger, my sisters and I would tell each other incredibly elaborate Lord of the Rings fanfiction (we didn't call it that at the time, but that's what it most definitely was). It was this shared world that we put a TON of time and effort into and I still have such wonderful memories of it. So yeah, I have no problem at all with fanfiction and think that it's great practice--and besides that, it's fun. And I totally get the thing about characters--you don't have to work to love them, or make other people love them. It's an entirely different experience from writing (or reading) "normal" fiction, and I think that's why I love it.

    1. *nods* I definitely had some younger self fan fiction moments but never knew that was the name, either. I'm glad that you have such fond memories of storytelling as a child! Fan fiction is totally fun, and I like the practice, too. :) I agree! Thanks so much for your thoughts, Alex!

  4. I've actually never written fan fiction because I do prefer writing original fiction, but good for you for enjoying it. You're right in that writing is writing and all writing is practice. One of the reasons I want to write more short stories and other shorter pieces is because it gives me a chance to focus on my craft and not have to worry about perfecting tens of thousands of words all at once like I have to do in a novel. With fan fiction, you don't have to focus on creating characters and a world which helps you focus on other parts of writing. Basically, I need to try fan fiction out someday.

    1. *nods* Shorter things are definitely an improvement because you can focus before you grow to the bigger things. And, yes, fan fiction allows you to focus mostly on the story, the writing, and the plot, and it's a nice way to focus. I hope you enjoy writing fan fic if you decide to give it a try!

  5. Ah, good ol' fanfics. I've written a few, but I keep them mostly to myself. Fanfictions are just super fun!. ;D

    1. I keep most to myself, too, and that's totally okay! Yay for fun writing!

  6. I don't necessarily write fan-fiction, but I love writing from thoughts or themes from certain books. I love that you can take what's already there and what you already love and make it your own :)

    1. Absolutely! It's fun to see where you can take a story in your own way—for example, the stories that Alyssa Carlier and Brett Michael Orr recently posted, one inspired by the other but still entirely separate. It's so cool to see the correlations. :)

  7. Admittedly, I've never really been a fan of fan fiction mainly because I have this quirk where I don't like to explore what happens next in the story world, but I can certainly respect that you love it (especially since it does seem like a great outlet for creativity).

    1. That's an interesting quirk, but I can respect it. Sometimes you just have to satisfy yourself on the books. But, thanks for giving me my leeway—I do have a lot of fun and get to be creative!

  8. I have written some fanfiction whilst waiting for the infamous Sherlock BBC season 3 premier... It was a fun experience! Most of my fanfic exists only in my head, and grows with time. (One day I will write it down!! Because some of it is genius!! Lol!) I think it is just like you said, they are pre-made characters in a pre-made world & you only have to provide the action! It's a fantastic way to focus on your plotting skills & dialog too...
    I'm going to go hug some of my unedited crap now. Haha! :)

    1. Oh, yes. So much waiting for that season, much less SEASON FOUR. *growls* Anyway, I know what it is to have a lot of fan fic milling around in your head, and the action is that much more fun.

      You hug that crap, girl!

  9. YES I LOVE FANFICTION!!!! I've been writing fanfiction since before I even knew it was a thing, lol. It's how I really got started writing, too, so it definitely has a special place in my heart. :D

    And I totally agree with all of your reasons, especially the characters one. It's basically why I write fanfiction: to further explore the charries I already adore. <3


    1. *high fives* GO FAN FICTION! And I agree; if I hadn't started out writing fan fiction I wouldn't be writing original fiction now. :)

      And yes. I love exploring characters. They're just our precious babies. *huggles*

  10. I AM ALWAYS AN ADVOCATE FOR FANFICTION. I don't write great amounts (though I spent vast amounts of time dreaming up detailed plots that never got written) but reading fanfic has taught me so many things about writing that books haven't! I don't know, I feel like I learn better from analysing what people have done with pre-existing characters than with original ones? Fanfiction also can equal crazy ridiculous settings, which is always a lot of fun. I can allow myself to steal from other books far more than usual, hehe. :P Lovely post!

    1. YEAH. And believe me, sometimes I do a lot of dreaming without actually writing anything, either. And yes, it IS a good idea to see how other people do what they do with their stuff before we do things with what we do. Thanks for reading, Appletaile!


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