When I was younger, I loved writing fan fiction. Mine usually featured Justin Timberlake or Leonardo DiCaprio — or, in some cases, both. But fan fiction isn’t limited to teen heartthrobs. People from all different fandoms are known to create fiction about their favorite things, from Batman to Game of Thrones, or even The Golden Girls!
Fan fiction is often snubbed, and its creators are not usually seen as “real writers” (though many of them never claimed to be). Here are three reasons you should try fan fiction, regardless of what you’re a fan of.
It’s a great way to practice writing: Critics say fan fiction is lazy because you’re not creating your own characters or unique world. But working from a template =/= easy. New writers can learn their craft while not getting overwhelmed with elements of world and character building that they’re not comfortable with yet. More experienced writers can learn how to work within the confines of someone else’s universe and still be creative (a skill that can be useful if, say, you want to write a screenplay adaptation of a book).
The community: When you get involved in fan fiction, you’re opening yourself up to people who love the same thing you do. I’ve made plenty of friends (and strengthened existing friendships) through fan fiction. I’ve written a few stories simply because people wanted me to — not because I wanted to show off my own talent.
It can resolve story issues you didn’t like: Say you didn’t like the ending of a show, movie, or book, or a certain storyline within. You can make up your own! Hundreds of fans (including me) grumbled about the end of MOCKINGJAY back in 2010. But very few resolved their issues with the book by creating their own ending that satisfied both them and plenty of other angry readers. Most of us just complained about it for years (and I will be eternally bitter about it. Maybe I should write some fan fiction of my own).
Do you like reading or writing fan fiction? Why or why not?