OTW Fannews: Fanfiction’s benefits

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  • Writer Jim Hines discussed what his experience writing fan fiction taught him about writing. This included “Writing good fanfic is just as challenging as writing good anything else”, “Instant feedback is dangerously addictive”, “Fanfic can be freeing”, “I can do ‘realtime’ writing”, and “A writer is someone who writes. I’ve never understood why some people jealously protect the coveted title of ‘Author’ or ‘Writer.’…Having done both profic and fanfic, I don’t get it. Calling someone who does fanfic a writer or an author doesn’t in any way diminish or dilute me and my work. Why is this even an argument?”
  • Teen Librarian Toolbox hosted a post by author Frankie Brown discussing fanfiction and writer’s block. “I couldn’t invest in writing original fiction. I was too tired, too anxious, too stuck.” She turned to “Fanfiction. Lots and lots of Sherlock fanfiction. Reading it, writing it (Yes! Writing it!), reviewing it, chatting with bloggers and digging through archives. Sitting down to write about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson didn’t make my chest feel tight or my throat close up. There were no expectations. If it sucked, who cared? No one would know it was me. But of course it was me. Me at the keyboard, remembering why I loved writing, and — eventually, tentatively — typing out the first sentences to my next novel. When I submitted my final edits to Meredith, editor-in-awesome at Bloomsbury Spark, I was as happy and excited as I should’ve been.”
  • Writer A.L.S. Vossler told a similar tale. “I was sailing through some rather severe writing doldrums with my novel when I experienced this fan fiction epiphany. So, swallowing even more of my pride, I allowed myself to indulge in a little fan fiction writing and returned to my former habit of telling stories to myself. I was blown away by how much fun it was. My creativity levels soared. I wrote pages and pages of fan fiction in a few days. That was when the bonds of writer’s block fell away and I returned to my own novel, my own ‘real’ writing.”
  • Blogger Sara K. cited a fanfiction drawback that led her to stop reading. “I think being aromantic/asexual is a big part why I could not get into fanfiction. When I first learned about online fanfiction, I imagined being able to explore many different aspects of stories I loved. When I discovered how the vast majority of fanfiction revolves around romance and sex, so much so that identifying the ‘ship is a standard part of categorization … I felt really disappointed…Yet finding fic…is so hard that it’s not worth it … especially when you are part of a community where you’re expected to at least read each other’s fics. I simply felt more comfortable just staying out of the fanfic arena.”

What fanfiction benefits have you come across? Write about it on Fanlore! Contributions are welcome from all fans.

We want your suggestions! If you know of an essay, video, article, podcast, or link you think we should know about, comment on the most recent OTW Fannews post. Links are welcome in all languages! Submitting a link doesn’t guarantee that it will be included in a roundup post, and inclusion of a link doesn’t mean that it is endorsed by the OTW.