The film adaptation of a third part of a series not to be named has come out, and with that people are once again blasting fanfiction, as it is a series based upon such.
I, personally, despise said nameless series, but am here to defend fanfiction with my honour. So sit back and let’s have a little lesson in writing, shall we?
Everyone knows fanfiction can be the worst; My Immortal being the best of examples when it comes to how fanfiction can be the worst. It’s several different host sites giving a platform to some of the worst smut you’ve ever seen in your life. Grammar errors, typos, and mis-characterization galore, fanfiction is the home of many people learning how to right.
At one point in my life I had dozens of notebooks full of bad fanfic. I used to write nasty self-inserts for Yu-Gi-Oh, Naruto, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, and – best of all – Harry Potter. I had binders of bad smut I wrote or other people wrote that I just wanted to read over and over again (yes, children, this was a time before I could just read fanfic on my iPod Touch or my phone). Before I moved to Toronto, I found several of these cringe worthy notebooks and I laughed as I read over the pages of smudged pencil. They were all so bad!
But you know what?
Everyone starts somewhere.
Artists always talk about the need for practice and how practice is the only true key to improvement. Well, the same goes for writing. Whether you write fanfiction or not, I can just about guarantee that at some point in your life, you’ve written some garbage stories.
I found my voice through fanfiction and a ton of my friends who help edit my work and let me edit theirs are from Archive Of Our Own (aka. AO3). I still get the random email or two from FanFiction.Net about people liking the shitty anime fanfiction I wrote back in 7th grade. I’ve been writing for years and I am not ashamed to say that the majority of it is fanfiction.
But honestly, so much of the media is fanfiction anyway. A TV show adaptation you like has gone off book? Fanfiction. A movie differs from the source material? Fanfiction. Literally any Sherlock Holmes or James Bond stories published or filmed after the authors’ retirement/deaths? Fanfiction.
With so many young writers starting their writing in fanfic, we need to stop saying that it’s terrible. It’s a practice ground. It’s a challenge of learning out to think how characters act and get it right. It’s a fight to write something new that people want to read. And it helps us become better writers the more we do it.
So don’t rip on people who have fun writing what they want. It’s not all as bad as My Immortal (which is basically the War & Peace of fanfiction in terms of how classic it is).