Why You Shouldn’t Be Ashamed Of Writing Fanfiction
It’s uncreative. It’s stealing. It’s not like real writing at all.
Bullshit. I’m sick of fanfiction being cast off as some type of second-rate writing – it’s writing, plain and simple, so who cares if the characters are being borrowed? No one who writes fanfiction has ever claimed to own the characters or the settings, they’re doing it for fun. And what’s more fun than taking a world and a story that you absolutely love and turning it on its head?
I cut my teeth writing fanfiction when I was a teenager, and I’m not ashamed of that. It was fuelled by My Chemical Romance and Taking Back Sunday CDs, and was the absolute best kind of cringe-worthy, angsty, hyperbole-filled writing you could imagine. But how I loved it. For the first time ever, fellow obsessed Harry Potter fans were reading my stories. They were commenting and sharing and telling me how my little words had made them smile and how they couldn’t wait to read what happened next. Yes, there was critique but thankfully that was the whole point.
Not only did writing in various fanfiction forums and sites give me access to an avid fanbase, it allowed me to explore new ideas and get the bad ones out of my system, all whilst nerding out with fellow fans. It gave me a starting point and much-needed inspiration at a time when a blank page terrified me. (Who am I kidding? A blank page is still the devil.)
Even now when I’m creating my own worlds and writing my own novels, the idea of getting my hands on some of my favourite established characters still inspires me. Trust me, there’s no easier way out of a writer’s block than typing out that Luna/Neville story you’ve definitely got in you.
Perhaps this is my own way of banishing my own secret shame for my fangirly fanfiction writing past? But who cares. I don’t think you should be ashamed of anything that gets you writing. So write about how the hero should really fall for the villain, re-write your favourite TV character back into the plot, let your favourite song inspire its own short story – write whatever you want, just do it with pride. Oh and don’t try and sell it for money, I’m looking at you E.L James.