Call me unoriginal or immature, but I’m an absolute sucker for writing fanfiction and proud of it.
Unfortunately, fanfiction has been put down as a type of writing that doesn’t require any effort. It’s labeled as an embarrassing writing style where kids copy characters and plot from a big-time company without formal permission. Which has led to its being viewed as immature and irresponsible.
I can’t count how many times I’ve seen people criticize and make fun of fanfiction. Can you imagine the impact this has on younger kids who are only getting started writing and focus on fanfiction? They’re being told that their writing isn’t worth anything. It’s just a waste of time.
This makes me so. darn. sad. What if we’re robbing the world of a future bestseller or blogger or speaker? WE COULD BE DESTROYING THE HOPES AND DREAMS OF A FUTURE PRESIDENT.
That’s why, today, we’ll be discussing 5 reasons why fanfiction IS NOT a waste of time. In fact, it can improve your writing life!
I’ve also included a few fanfiction snippets that I thought would be entertaining to read! It was fun looking back at my archives and picking a few sections to share with you all. Obviously, they’re all Ninjago themed.* Who do you think I am?
* *clears throat* DISCLAIMER: i do not own any part of LEGO or Wilfilm companies. all characters shown here belong to those groups. the only things i’ve contributed are the ideas and words themselves.
1. you’ll write more often & improve
Writing every day — even just a small fanfiction project — does wonders to your writing life! It helps you rack up those words, grow your vocabulary, and be more comfortable with writing.
I know that being consistent with your writing is hard sometimes. Some days, you receive giant explosions of creativity and wOHOO LETS DO THIS YEAAAH!!
And then, there are the days when you just want to throw your WIP into a pit.
There’s nothing unusual about that, yall. Let’s just visualize — a novel-in-progress is like a baby.* You feed it. You nurture it. You give it all your attention. But, after a little while, you need to step away. OF COURSE you still love your baby, and OF COURSE you’ll come back. You just need a break.
A simple fanfiction story is a great way to keep taking writing time when you need a break from your regular work!
*yeah yeah i know that was a weird analogy.
Cole jumped. Standing above him was a boy with reddish-brown hair, pale, freckly skin, and a big goofy grin. Dark blue eyes reminded him of the old lake he used to go to with his mother. He wasn’t sure if he liked the resemblance.
Surprised and confused, Cole showed him the whiteboard. He’d been drawing a sunflower in the middle of a grassy field.
“Woah!” The kid leaned over his shoulder. Cole felt uncomfortable. “Nice flower!”
“Thanks,” Cole murmured, wishing the boy would leave him alone to his art. Maybe he would draw a lake next.
“My name’s Jay Walker. You can leave out that last part if you want, though. You’re Cole, right?”
Cole nodded. Before he knew it, he was being pulled across the playground by the hyperactive kid who couldn’t seem to take a hint. “My friends and I need another player for our game. Co’mon, it’ll be fun! I’ll let you pick teams!”
2. you’ll get to explore new styles & try new things
My favorite genre is contemporary. Good ol’, painless, character-focused contemporary. I also really like dystopian worlds. Usually the writing process goes like this:
- create lovely characters
- create drama
- shove both into dystopian world
- congrats, you now have a novel!!! have some potatoes!!!
When I started writing Skybound for NaNoWriMo in 2017, I was somewhat wary to begin. Skybound wouldn’t be the Dark & Brooding™ contemporary-type novel like I was so used to writing. It was a bright and sunny action and adventure story with magic, humor, and of course, NINJA.
Since fanfiction stories are usually a lot shorter than an actual novel (and you can keep your writing to yourself if you’d like) you’ve got a lot of freedom. You can do literally anything!
I often try new POVs, tenses, genres, styles, and more in fanfiction for the simple reasoning that fanfiction is almost like a trial run!
other awesome tips on writing:
- How To Find Blogging & Writing Inspiration – Turning Real Life Into Brilliant Ideas!
- Fears Of A Writer (And Why They Should Not Be Feared!)
- How To Create An Author Bio To Blow Your Readers Away
3. you’ll see through the eyes of a new author
Have you ever written a story in your main character’s point of view?
As a theatre kid, I love to jump into characters’ minds and imagine what goes through their heads. If you’ve been reading the fanfiction snippets (or maybe you haven’t, that’s okay too), you may have noticed that I enjoy exploring the mind of my man Cole.
After ‘playing the character’ for a while, there’s this really awesome thing that happens. I’ve found that I’ve begun to see what the writers saw as they were writing Cole originally. Yes, after you start writing fanfiction, you begin to dive into the deep and complicated rivers of psychology!!!* *unenthusiastic cheer*
Sometimes — often — the author’s decisions for their character begin to make sense. And, if they don’t, you can change them in fanfiction! Hey, there are no limits.
*yes i did almost write phycology. phycology: the branch of botany concerned with seaweeds and other algae.
I am running.
I tear through the forest, breaking every tree branch in my path. The dead leaves on the ground crunch as I race upon them. Thorns pick my skin, tear at my clothes. I am weeping.
‘I hate you, I hate you.’
My heart hammers faster than my feet do on this hard dirt beneath me.
I need to find it. Maybe I’ll feel better. More in control.
‘Didn’t you love her? Don’t you love me?’
I hear a sharp rip, and suddenly I feel the wind against my chest, along with a sharp sting on my side. There’s a long gash in my shirt. Hissing through my teeth, I remove the shirt and stuff it into the side of my shorts. I can’t afford to lose it, now that I’m living on my own.
4. you already have an audience
Ever heard of Wattpad or Fanfiction.com? Those are two very popular sites for fanfiction writers, and they could just be your tickets to publication. That’s because you have an audience waiting on your writing.
And I don’t mean they check up once in a blue moon to look. They are there. Every day. Waiting.
Not only do these fans read, but they also tend to give critiques and suggestions, as well as kind and helpful comments. More than a handful of writers on those sites have been published. It’s been done, so if you’re ready to write for an audience, I say GO FOR IT!
I scoop about a pound of ice cream into a bowl bigger than my head. After adding a few extra ingredients- marshmallows, chocolate and caramel sauce, cashews, and half a jumbo-sized can of whipped cream- I’ve completed my Cole Bucket specialty ice cream sundae.
“Aaaand, the piece of résistance,” I announce to the others in a horrible French accent as I place a cherry on the very top of the mountain of whipped cream.
Lloyd looks at the bowl, then at me, grinning. “I swear, Cole, one day, you’re gonna eat us out of house and home.”
I smile back mischievously, scooping up a heaping spoonful of ice cream. My mouth waters at the sight, the smell, and the thought of digging in. I can’t help a wide grin.
“Here he goes,” I hear someone mutter.
5. ITS PANCAKE FLIPPIN’ FUN
There’s something about being the voice of your favorite character that makes your writing twice as magical.
One of the main pulls I experienced early on was the thrill of taking my favorite characters on new adventures that no one else could ever imagine. It’s 100% unique to me! It’s like a world of my own to play and experiment in with no limits.
In the end, fanfic is just really, really fun! There’s no stress about it. You just get to have fun and enjoy writing.
There you have it: fanfiction is not a waste of time, with five proofs behind it! Hopefully I’ve inspired you to dig out your journals and get to writing in a different style — or, if you’re already a proud fanfic author, it’ll encourage you to keep going! I’m right beside you, ready to cheer you on 🙂
Anyway, let’s talk fanfic! Why do you write (or not write!) fanfiction? What is the biggest thing that holds you back from writing or sharing it with the world? I’d love to hear about your fanfiction. Gimme a comment below!