I'm a Serious Writer Who Still Writes Fanfiction, and Why You Should Too!

in #writing5 months ago

The pinnacle of the millennial internet experience was, quite possibly, having a multitude of platforms that gave us the power to never shut up about the things we unabashedly loved, and to be unaware of how ridiculous we might have sounded as we did so. The good news is, we don't have to stop!

Don't get me wrong, there are buried aspects of unaware teenager-hood that would embarrass me to no ends now. But there are two traits that I most miss about being a teenager, though I am truly only a few years older. The glory about existence before adulthood is, for a while, lacking the voice in your head that stops you from creating anything. As a teenager, I was never worried about what someone would think of my writing, what I could be doing instead of writing (ex: making money), or any of the other boring aspects that adults like to drag into creativity. Returning to writing fanfiction is somewhat of a delve back into this welcome teenager mindset towards creating. Knowing that your end goal is simply to get something out into the world, to a group of people excited by whatever you might throw at them, without these people really expecting anything, is unbelievably freeing. "Just write", especially for a perfectionist, is far easier said than done, and I find this a much better alternative.

The other very valid point I'd like to make is that any writing is still writing. Fanfiction might very well one of the best ways to practice writing, and to zero in on exactly what you need to improve, whether that's character studies, dialogue, plot development, etc. Someone has already provided all of the (high-quality) tools, and is giving you free reign of a non-judgmental practice space. Fans love to lift up fanfiction authors, so there's also a very good chance that you'll be given some pretty positive feedback right when you find yourself needing it most. The general understanding that everyone on any given social media site hosting fan creations is also only doing this for fun, because they genuinely enjoy it, is also and incredibly freeing feeling. Remember what it was like to do things and actually enjoy them?

Sometimes, writing will feel like a chore. We all know this. Sometimes, however, the writer just needs a little dip into a source of genuine happiness, an exploration of something they truly love to do, in order to re-inspire them. One of the (other) best tips for writing that I've been given is to remember why you write, and for some of us, that began back in the early digital age, exploring our favorite media with all of the reckless delight that only teenagers can possess, though we all attempt to harness it afterwards.

Remember kids, the real treasure is the friends we made along the way. Happy writing!

Sort:  

As a fellow writer of fanfic, I can (of course) only agree with your essay. It provided me with a nice template and several sandboxes from which to test my creativity without having to be responsible for building up every single aspect of the world(s) in which I was playing. That's useful on so many levels. :)

The "what if"-factor is one of the most inspiring things for fanfiction. How often do we think "what if" after reading a book or watching a movie or an episode of a tv series? And it's one of the things that brings people to table-top roleplaying - in a campaign of Game of Thrones or Star Wars, you can explore the world and the people in it.

But fanfiction is still far from being mainstream. Tell people you write short stories or poetry - totally accepted by most people. But tell them about fanfiction and the muggles look at you like an exhibit at the cabinet of curiosities ;)

And reading fanfiction improved my English. Reading stories and wondering "is that correct?", finding all the "their" and "there" and "they're" in a wild mix, all that helped me in simply writing: even if I don't find the best term for things, people get what I want to say.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with fanfic. A lot of authors got their start that way. Don't forget as well that the 50 Shades series started out as a Twilight fic(yes, I know).

You wrote the two bad words: The "T" one and the even worse one starting with the number!

ducksandhides

Successful and good are two different things in that particular case. ☺