For many in the writing community, fan fiction can be a dividing topic. Some believe fan fiction is just another way for writers to express their creativity, without making any money, while using beloved characters from other works to do so. Other people believe that fan fiction infringes on copyrights and ruins good stories and characters. My belief is that fan fiction, when done with respect to the original creator, can build upon the stories that we love, while also providing an interesting framework to grow as writers ourselves. Here are five ways I believe fan fiction can make you a better writer:
1. Fan Fiction has a built in live community. There are many fan fiction websites where writers can share their works instantly online and to a large audience. Many sites provide a comments/reviews section, providing an avenue to get instant feedback on either your whole story or chapter by chapter. This can be both great and bad (watch out for those trolls/haters), but overall it helps to build a community that often takes writers a long time to establish. When I have written fan fiction, the comments can be a lot of fun to read. I have had loyal readers who would leave fantastic (and helpful) feedback on my stories, sometimes within minutes of a story being published. In this setting, you get to interact with your readers and even form friendships/writing buddies through it, without the additional pressure that comes from being an original creator of a story. You get to enjoy being fans together.
2. Fan Fiction stretches your imagination. When you already have the characters, the setting and even the basic storyline to start with, then it opens up your mind to think about all the other details. What happens next? What will the characters, with already built in personalities, say? How will this idea affect the original story? It expands the scope of your imagination, getting rid of all the little details and just allowing you to write a fantastic story.
3. Fan Fiction provides an fun way to write fiction. The very basic premise of fan fiction is that the characters, setting, goals, and background stories are already established. You just build your story from there. You can keep it simple, writing a short story about what the characters may have been thinking during a specific scene. You can create a sequel or prequel to a story. Or you can go all out, taking the characters and putting them into a completely new setting and writing their stories from there. Fan fiction gives you a creative base to jump from. That is why there are so many amazing fan fiction stories, that take the original story to new heights, depths and areas never thought possible, which makes for a whole new fun way to write fiction.
Fan Fiction Gives You A Creative Base To Jump From
4. Fan Fiction helps you see your own writing differently. When you are writing a story based on someone else’s idea, you have an outsider’s perspective. While the original creator had so many details they had to think of and make up, you as a fan get are free to dive into certain elements and see how things can be twisted around, adjusted and even made new. This perspective of other people’s works can help give you a new perspective on your own writing. Have you ever thought of writing fan fiction based on YOUR writing? Perhaps it’s time to just have some fun, grab a character and dive deep into a whole new realm. It might spark something new in the rest of your original story.
5. Fan Fiction makes you appreciate your favorite books/tv shows/movies even more. When I work on writing fan fiction, I’m often rereading parts of books, watching specific scenes in tv shows or rewatching an entire movie, just to get a fresh view of how the original characters acted and how the scenes played out. That whole process brings my focus on a particular book, etc. and I find myself noticing details that I had glossed over before, seeing scenes from a new light and even catching glimpses of things that could add a whole new element to the story, if built upon. All of these make me appreciate my favorite books, tv shows and movies even more. I can see the depths that the original creators went and I learn to love even more the characters that I get to play around with in my writing. It adds a whole new view to things and I find myself becoming even more attached to the original story and characters once I’m done with a fan fiction story.
If you have never dived into the writing realm of fan fiction, it can be quite the adventure. But the creative sphere it provides writers of all genres, to create a fictional arena ‘borrowing’ from others, can provide the freedom to let our minds run wild.
Do you read or write fan fiction? If not, have you ever thought about checking it out?