Ever since the release of Amazon’s Kindle Worlds was announced, I’ve begun to notice a strange shift in the way writers view other writers. Namely, how writers of original fiction see fanfiction writers “cheat,” and by that I assume they mean that they use other people’s characters and worlds rather than starting from scratch like original fiction writers do. I, personally, love fanfiction.
I started writing it in middle school when the anime Naruto first came out in the U.S. I was a huge anime nerd, mainly because I thought the characters were always so unique, interesting, and adult, though they were in a cartoon-style. Thus, I discovered fanfiction. I wrote over 135 fanfiction pieces, all of which have long since been taken down and buried somewhere – its whereabouts only known to me, and I’ll take that information to the grave.
I have had a few stints of it every once in a while, but none as obsessive as that (We can all thank Iron Man 3 for bringing me back to the fanfiction side of things). Regardless, I can say that writing fanfic has helped in ways, nearly impossible to put down on paper, but I’m stubborn. So, I will try.
- TAUGHT ME CHARACTERIZATION
Many people would probably argue with me on this point, but with writing fanfic, the writer is given set characters, with set thoughts, opinions, and feelings on things. Tony Stark is snappy, witty, and blunt. Pepper is witty, though much more sensitive compared to Stark. To write them, I had to learn how to incorporate their voice in my style of writing. I learned how to define multiple characters’ voices and how to set them apart from the others. The only time a fanfic writer might “cheat,” here is if they blatantly alter a character’s personality to fit their plot. Unless, of course, something traumatic and life-changing occurs. Then, I could see a possible voice change.
- TAUGHT ME HOW TO WRITE CREATIVELY
While all authors and writers are creative in one way or another, writing fanfic pushed me to find more creativity. The world has already been established, and there are plenty of people who write fanfic for the same characters and will play off of the same canon situations, so I had to be creative. I had to find a way to differentiate myself from the masses, which is not to say I was successful. It was always trial-and-error. Some things would work, some would fall flat, but I did learn what worked, and that made it all worth it in the end.
- TAUGHT ME HOW TO MARKET
Like I have stated previously, when writing fanfic I was writing in a pre-set world with pre-set characters, and with so many other people writing about the same characters in that same world, I was often swept away in the sea of new fanfic being published 24/7. I had to differentiate myself, then I had to let people know that, “Hey! I’m different! Look at me, look at me!” though in a much less annoying manner. I joined forums, learned how to attractively post links, share information without sounding condescending or rude, and I made friends in the process who read and helped me with my work. Yes. You have a step as far as marketing goes because everyone already knows the world and its characters, but with so many people flooding in with the same content, it takes a bit of leg work to be noticed.
- FANFIC IS PRACTICE
I started on fanfic. I know a lot of writers that started off on fanfic. Fanfic helped me learn to craft and use words in a tasteful and clear way, and with the amount of fanfic I was pushing out, I got plenty of practice with it.
Writers are writers, no matter the content they put out. I remember not too long ago there was forum up bashing erotica writers because it was, “Porn, not actual writing.” I disagreed then, too, and I’m seeing the same arguments coming up with fanfiction. Writers are worried that the fanfiction market will make it that much harder to stand out with original fiction. In my opinion, people who want to read fanfiction, are going to hunt specifically for fanfiction. People who want to read original fiction are going to hunt specifically new, original fiction, plus, there are plenty of sites where there are FREE fanfics. Why would people start paying for it, when they could just get it for free somewhere else? They each have their own separate markets and fanbases, and I doubt we’ll be seeing any shift in sales when it comes to Original Fiction versus FanFiction, but I guess we’ll have to wait in see.
In the meantime, what are your thoughts on fanfiction? Do you like it? Hate it? Do you read it? Do you write? Let me know, and comment below!
Thanks for reading.