Now don’t get me wrong, writing fan-fiction is pretty much where every modern author starts out. Well even the legendary Ray Bradbury wrote a sequel to his favorite story when he was a child. Apparently, he had loved a book so much that he couldn’t wait for the sequel. I hope this story is true because it amazed me the first time I heard it.
For those who don’t know, fan-fiction is when an author, young or old, takes a world created by another and writes a story of their own. Be it Star Wars or Twilight, countless stories are written by aspiring authors who want their work seen. I, like most authors, started this way. Now in these next paragraphs I will cover what I believe to be pros and cons with writing fan-fictions.
Fan-fictions are beneficial to a young author because it provides them with already established characters and a world where they can expand on. They don’t have to describe Harry’s scar in detail because JK Rowling already helped to put that image in our minds. (All I needed to say was Harry’s scar for you to know what I’m talking about. Right?) Also, like I said earlier, is it gives author’s an easy way to get their work seen. There are countless websites that are for fan-fictions and only fan-fictions. These websites allow the author to get worthy criticism and a minimal fan base.
Lastly, and probably the most important, is that it puts an author one step closer to finding and developing their own unique style. This is something that isn’t really mastered from writing fan-fictions, but it helps an author find what they don’t like and change accordingly. A unique style is what makes an author. It’s what sets you apart from Patterson or King or Bradbury.
OK, you know how I mentioned getting worthy criticism? Well there is also a lot of bad tips out there. I’ve heard some readers tell authors that they need to tell more than show. I’ve also seen authors be told by others that their mistake riddled work was ‘flawless’. I’m not sure if they just didn’t have an eye for spotting mistakes or that they just didn’t want to hurt the author’s feelings. This leads to a huge supply of terrible fan-fictions, which means that you have too many terrible authors who are only terrible because they think they’re great.
On a personal note, for quite a bit of time, I used to think my writing was amazing. That every word was gold. Now, I know that I’m not the greatest wordsmith in the world, but I do know that I am good. What’s more important than that is that I know my skill and that I try to improve every day.
Fan-fictions also seem to be released after the first draft, which is not good. The first draft of a story can be the worst thing in the world. It is what the author later adds or deletes that makes the story great. Now probably the worst part about writing fan-fictions is that it can trap an author. I feel that no author should write fan-fictions for too long of a time. You might find yourself stuck, too comfortable with taking others worlds and not making your own. Some authors think that writing their own stories will ruin them as they can’t post it on fan-fic websites and that no magazine or publisher will publish it.
Fan-fictions are a great way to enter the world of fiction. That being said, they should be treated as a step, or series of steps, that eventually lead to becoming a published author of your own fiction. Also, if you’re an aspiring author writing fan-fics, remember to only write and release something you’re proud of. No one wants to be embarrassed by a work they wrote ten or twenty years earlier. I’m not sure why I wrote this, but I hope someone finds it useful. Thanks for reading. 🙂