Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Why you should write fanfiction

Fanfiction used to be a guilty pleasure for me. On the one hand, I was so engrossed I couldn't stop doing it; on the other hand, hadn't I better work on my original projects (of which there were usually several lined up)? Weren't my beloved fanfics a waste of time?

Well, looking back, I think the answer is no.

Writing fanfiction is beneficial for a budding author for several reason. The first is that anything that whets your appetite for creative writing is by necessity a good thing. I remember the fervor with which I delved into Severus Snape's character in my Harry Potter fanfiction, and the utter absorption in Unwilling Protector, which is based on my all-time favorite cartoon, The Gargoyles.

I do believe I emerged a better writer out of those fanfics, readier to tackle a novel of my own.

It's easier to write fanfiction because the setting and characters are already there, laid out for you - and all you need to add is plot and dialogues, which are both very enjoyable and very important to practice when you're just starting out, a lot easier than creating a world of your own, especially in fantasy.

Then there's the ready-made fan base awaiting you if you produce anything of better quality than tacky smut written by 13-year-old girls: I was astonished at the response that followed the tentative publishing of my very first Sansa/Tyrion fic, Make Me a Lion. There was a whole crowd of shippers looking for good fanfics and clamoring for just what I had unwittingly written. The people's positive feedback and varied comments really helped me to grow as a writer. Also, people who get to know you and follow you as a fanfic writer are a lot more likely to give your original work a chance.

Though the characters and setting of the original work belongs to the original author, the plots, dialogues, relationships, etc, belong to you - and nobody stops you from being inspired by them or even re-cycling them in your original work.

The important thing, of course, is to graduate to writing your own thing in time. Fanfiction is great as a playground and workshop for developing your writing skills, but it's only your original work that turns you into a real author. 

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