I’ve been an avid reader of fanfiction ever since my family got our first computer when I was in middle school. I even tried my hand at writing and posting one way back in the day but after the first few “chapters” I hated my story and rushed to finish it so I’d never have to think about it again. Needless to say my very few readers did not like that I stopped posting.
But my ideas never stopped flowing and just a few years back I decided to try again. I’m pleased to say that now I have nearly a dozen stories and a fairly decent following.
Now it’s true that writing fanfiction isn’t as challenge as writing a novel since the characters and setting are already set up for as long as you aren’t taking on an alternate universe approach. But, at least for me, that’s a good thing. It gives me the chance to focus on plot development and character consistency.
Plus, with fanfiction, there’s the added benefit of reviews. I’ve had comments from dozens of countries. Yes many of them won’t really help my writing. Glowing reviews are fantastic to get and make me smile but it’s the critiques that will help me in the long run. I imagine writing fanfiction as a sort of writing exercise, answer the what ifs a dozen times over in different ways. It gives the writer a way to play with ideas.
Plus I’ve always struggled with keeping things short and sweet. Between fanfiction and blog posts I’m learning how to do that and it’s definitely improving my writing.
And yes there are some really low quality fics out there but I’ve also found some genuinely fantastic writers. And it’s really fun to play with characters I know and love and to keep them alive if they’ve passed on in their original stories. If I ever do, finally, get a novel published I hope there will be readers who love the characters enough to want to write about them. Because, after all, the writer starts the story but the reader finishes it.