How this fandom-oriented entertainment benefits us all!
Fanfiction gets thrown a lot of shade from those outside of the core of each fandom. Dismissed as amateur writers, too smutty, and unoriginal, it can be hard for those who enjoy writing or reading them to talk about this hobby without some ridicule. But frankly, this isn’t true at all. There is a lot to be learned and gained from fanfiction. And in fact, many don’t notice it is all around us in our daily lives.
This article comes from the perspective of someone who read a great deal of fanfics for many years (and certainly wish I had the time to read more right now!). I was also a dedicated fanfiction writer for The Legend of Zelda, Xiaolin Showdown, the Bartimaeus Trilogy, and many more. As a young writer I received a lot of attention for my works. My Moulin Rouge! oneshot got featured in a digital magazine, I was nominated for multiple awards, and I won many including “Story of the Year”.
Fanfics really shaped me as a young writer and reader. And I wanted to write them a love letter in the form of this post.
Fanfictions Are All Throughout Your Entertainment
Those that dismiss fanfics typically don’t see how they are weaved throughout daily entertainment from well-known sources.
- Sherlock Holmes is known as the one of the most portrayed characters throughout history. Every iteration of Arthur Conan Doyle’s books is, in fact, a form of fanfiction.
- All these modern or unique takes on the Cinderella story? Fanfiction.
- Once Upon a Time? Fanfiction of Disney stores and folklore.
- The Percy Jackson books? Fanfiction of the original Greek mythology stories.
- Every new movie remake? A fanfiction of the original.
Reading Fanfics Keeps the Story Going
Let’s be straightforward here. No, not all fanfics are well-written. Yes, some are just for the smut. But I can easily say the same about books. I’ve read some books that forever change the way I think of stories. And others I simply cannot finish because, well, I don’t like them. But that can also be a purely stylist choice. What I dislike in a story someone else may love.
For diehard fans of a story, fanfics allow a way for it to continue. In their wait for the rest of the books, Game of Thrones fans can read other authors’ versions. Debating Stars Wars fans can read stories that tell the story the way they would prefer. If Supernatural fans don’t already think there’s enough to watch, there is plenty more to read!
It is a way to keep these stories and characters fresh, ever-present, and ever-alive. It also becomes interesting to read ones that explore if things happened a very different way (not dissimilar to Marvel’s What If . . . ? comic series). Often referred to as an AU (alternate universe) you can really explore characters in vastly different situations. It keeps the world continuously growing.
Why Writing Fanfics is Beneficial
Is you are an aspiring writer, there is no better way to learn and grow than through fanfics! It provides immediate feedback through the community, and you are able to adjust accordingly. You also publish one chapter at a time, allowing the feedback to help guide the story and your writing going forward. For those struggling with creating characters or a world, you can lean heavily on the one already created. Or if you are feeling brave, you can test your own original characters and AU settings within the story.
But you don’t have to do something solely for the reason of turning it into a career or monetizing it. It is healthy to do things for fun. To express yourself and try something new. If all you ever do is write fanfics because you like them, then that is all that matters!
“You will never be criticized by someone who is doing more than you. You will only be criticized by someone doing less. “
This is one of my favorite quotes. If someone doesn’t like that you write or read fanfics, who cares? Constructive feedback is not the same as criticism. And for those aspiring writers out there: only take “constructive feedback” from someone whose opinion you value.