5 Ways Writing Fanfiction Can Make You a Better Writer
Here’s how writing fanfiction can make you a better writer, in spite of its undeserved bad rep…
I have been reading and writing fanfiction since forever and have never looked back. Not only is it a pleasure to read, but Ive found that it’s really helped my writing. Here’s how writing fanfiction has helped me to be a better writer…
Writing fanfiction is a great cure for Writer’s Block
With fanfiction you have characters and a world already laid out for you, which makes thinking of something to write about much easier. You can make an easy start by looking at what ifs in the story (speculative fiction is always fun), or just take your two favourite characters and chuck them in a room together. Whatever. It’s a great way to cure writer’s block.
Writing fanfiction means you can practice in a sandbox
When writing original fiction, you need to do some heavy worldbuilding. As a result, it’s far too easy to get bogged down in lofty themes and navel-gazing on the grand meaning of your epic trilogy. Or worse: wandering into writerly quagmires as you research horsemanship, or indeed how one actually uses the rifle you have assigned your character. And, of course, facing the inevitable soul-drain brought on by your having to question why you made your hero a petroleum engineer when you have no idea what petroleum engineers even DO.
When writing fanfiction you can still compose a plot, but the pre-existing world makes it much easier to focus on other aspects of your writing, like plot, sentence craft and characterisation. It can help you prepare for creating imaginary worlds later on.
If you write fanfic, people will read it
As you’ll know if you’ve ever self-published or written an e-book, it is very difficult to persuade strangers to read your original work. Actually, while friends will generally accept any manuscript you thrust at them, it is often equally difficult to persuade them to read the damn thing, no matter how much they love you.
However, with massive sites like fanfiction.net and the joy of fanfic having a pre-existing readership, it is much easier to get people to read your fanfic work. And with that comes what every writer needs like air: the ego boost that comes from having your work acknowledged and appreciated.
Your writing will improve because fanfiction writers and readers critique each other’s work
As hard as it is to persuade strangers to read your original fiction, it’s even harder to get them to accurately or honestly critique it. And I needn’t start on the perils of asking a friend to give an honest critique. However, large fandoms often have online reserves of very affable beta readers who are more than willing to tell you you’re crap, but in a loving way. A good fanfic beta reader is worth their weight in gold, and hey, they may even be willing to take a peek at your original work.
Writing fanfiction is fun!
If you’re going to write fanfic, you will of course write in a fandom that you love, perhaps even are dedicated to, and about your very favourite characters. Not only do you have the fandom joy of messing with your favourite characters and describing any, ahem , fantasies you may have, but the sheer joy of creative writing itself.