Why I Support Fanfiction (and you should, too)!

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The video contains captions for anyone who needs them, but I’ve also included a detailed transcript below. Feel free to watch the video, read the post, or both, it’s (almost exactly) the same information either way. Thanks for visiting! 

I’m just going to come out and say it: I like fanfiction. I love fanfiction. I support fanfiction.

As a writer, I would be overjoyed if anyone wanted to write fanfic with my characters or my world, just as much as I’d love fanart (or any form of discussion or creativity) about my work.

I LOVE THAT. I support that 100%.

I’m saying this because this doesn’t seem to be a universal opinion, which sort of baffles me. People don’t write fanfic for money or fame, they literally only do it for love of the story.

It’s not just a compliment. It’s excellent marketing.

Think about it. Your fans love your work so much they’re putting their own time and resources in creating something to show other people how great you are. Why would you be against that? As an author, you should support fanfiction.

I think it benefits authors to view fan fiction as an extension of your world, not destruction.

Some people say they don’t like fanfiction because they consider it lazy. Why write something with someone else’s characters when you could create your own? And to that I say, fanfiction helps you become a better writer.

Let’s examine a few ways how:

1. Writing FanFic helps you hone your skills in a collaborative environment.

For young and/or practicing writers, fandom is a really good place to practice. You can get almost instantaneous feedback and you can make tons of friends who share the same interests. I got my start by writing fanfiction when I was a teen and I can assure you, without the growth and support I received then, I would not be a writer today. I’m still friends with many of the girls I met then.

2. It’s not an echo chamber.

While you won’t improve as a writer if you’re honing improper technique, I’d argue it’s easier to do that alone than when writing for fellow fans. Fans won’t happily devour anything thrown at them. If you are willing to learn, people will help you improve. Beta readers will offer their time to help you with issues ranging from grammar to overarching plot. You can ask your fellow fans for help with symbolism and theme.

3. It’s very hard to get people to read your original fiction.

Its very hard to find a good connection with a beta reader or critique partner, and your friends and family will rarely have anything helpful to contribute. Writing fan fiction allows you to build your skills in a mutually beneficial environment. Everyone is working towards the same goal, celebrating story.

Now, if your detractors are still complaining, it’s time to look back at some famous fanfic.

00000000000-romeo-and-juliet-toy-theatre-cut-outsRomeo and Juliet was based on someone else’s poem. Yes, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Most Renaissance art was fan art of the bible. Hamilton, though based on actual history, is in many ways a fanfic. Every single Disney princess movie is a fanfic of it’s original fairytale.

Here is a VERY LONG list of works inspired by other works. Works are even labeled into the fan fiction labels they would fit into.

Every retelling of anything is fanfic.

Fanfiction is not illegal and it’s not out to ruin the good reputation of your story.

The thing is, fanfiction or really any kind of fan creativity, isn’t for the author. It’s for the fans. When you publish something, you have to accept that your book is no longer yours and yours alone. You can’t ignore bad reviews because you don’t like them, just as trying to correct a misinterpretation of your intentions is a futile effort. That’s something that scares me, too.

But fanfiction is different. It’s an exploration of your work.

Again, it’s main goal is to introduce others to your world. I know many, many people who have gotten into a series because of what they read in fanfic or saw in fanart. Yes, sometimes fan works are critical of the original text, but that criticism stems from love. You have to love something to put so much effort into it.

The only thing that really frustrates me about fanfic is that I probably won’t be able to read fics written for my books. It’s not advised for authors to read fanfic based on their work, at least while the series is still being written, for fear of borrowing plots or ideas. Yet another reason authors shouldn’t have a problem with it. You won’t be reading it anyway!

I’m never going to villianize fanfiction. I would have never even considered writing my own original stories, or even writing creatively at all, if I hadn’t got my start there.

Did you/Do you write fanfic? What did you write for?

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