There was a time when the word made me cringe. There was a time when I absolutely hated reading those stories. There was a time when I used to find fanfiction writing to be beneath me. For past me, the only true writing was found in published novels and my own work. I was cocky and naive and didn’t understand one of the best (and biggest) genres found on the internet.
My attitude about fanfiction began to change when I attended BookCon in Chicago this past May. I was fortunate enough to attend the panel with Sarah J Maas, Victoria Aveyard, and Laini Taylor. Within the panel, Sarah mentioned that she was an avid fanfiction writer when she was in high school (mostly working with Lord of the Rings) and that those stories were one of the reasons why she is able to be the writer she is now.
Fanfiction is a way to practice your writing style while playing around with a subject that you love and know really well. The story line or person or world is already there for you – you just have to play around with it and shape it into whatever it is that you want. I think that’s why I find myself writing fanfiction more often than my actual stories. Between Sarah’s words and the own value that I found in the genre, I no longer find myself scoffing at the genre.
Instead, I’m embracing it.
There is just this weird thrill that comes with fanfiction writing. I don’t know what it is, but I always find myself getting excited over the prospect of working on that particular story. I believe it factors into: 1) I post the story on Wattpad and have readers, and 2) I’m really passionate about what I’m exploring within my story. I’m sincerely excited to jump into the story and to explore a world with some of my favorite characters and people in it.
So far, I have experimented with my fanfiction types. I have one story based on one of my guilty pleasure book series, and another story based one of my favorite musical groups (this is embarrassing to admit, not going to lie). My main thing with these fanfiction pieces is that I’m not doing it for the reader stats or votes or anything – rather, I’m writing these stories because they offer me a place to continue to grow my writing skill and have fun while doing so.
In the end, that’s all that really matters, right?
fiction written by a fan of, and featuring characters from, a particular TV series, movie, etc.