What Aspiring Writers Can Learn From Fanfiction

I’m what I like to call an aspiring writer. Plucking away at my goal to one day be trade published. But when I first entered the more serious writing community, I was a bit shocked to discover that people really dismiss fan-fiction and think it’s a place for hacks. Not that this is surprising now, other writers also take metaphorical dumps all over various other genres like Romance after all.

It seemed silly to me then and still does now. And if I’m completely honest, it also makes me a bit sad. Fan-fiction and the sites it has thrived on since the 90’s, is very much like the slushpile any publisher deals with, there’s no doubt about that and no denying it. But for all the dreck there polished diamonds, rubies, and other valuable rocks and minerals to be found by anyone who is persistent enough.

Innovation, characterization and even worldbuilding seem to thrive in fan-fiction regardless of quality. Which brings me to the point of this entire post after quite a bit of rambling: anyone who writes original work can learn a couple of very valuable lessons from fan-fiction.

Those lessons are…

  •  know your characters and your world.
  • don’t be afraid to innovate.

Take tropes and scenarios from others genres and use them in your story to create something new. Write that take on old source material like Romeo and Juliet that you haven’t seen anyone else write. Maybe they weren’t the right people to write the story and you were or hadn’t thought of the idea.

Take your characters and get to know them and the world they come from because knowing your characters more than other writers know theirs will make for a more interesting and seamless story that expands beyond the borders of the page.The more like a living person the world and characters are the less you have to struggle to make them interesting in the context of the story and can focus on the why. Why this person in this setting and at this point in time?

Join me tomorrow where I’ll be talking about one of my favorite genres, Horror, and how to to make horrific and even evil characters relatable to readers. In the meantime, please feel free to follow the blog, check out my Instagram and Twitter, and follow me over on Facebook.


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