Home » Creativity » Fan Fiction as a Writing Tool: Part Deux

Fan Fiction as a Writing Tool: Part Deux


I was supposed to post this last week, but I was detoxing from the awesome weekend I had in Charlotte, NC at the Authors After Dark Convention. That trip sparked a whole flurry of blog post ideas, but those are for later. This week I’d like to get back to discussing fan fiction as a medium for training your inner writer.

How can fan fiction be used as a tool?

The world, the characters, and all the intricacies of the story are already developed for you. Your only job is to use what is already there and run with it. No brainstorming, no world building, no character shaping. Just writing. This presents the perfect opportunity to test your writing skills, to expand them without having to do all the prep work we normally do as writers (well, most of us who aren’t true “pantsers”.)

All of us have read a book or watched a movie/TV show where we found ourselves unsatisfied with the direction of the story, the conclusion for example, or had an idea sparked by a specific scene or character pairing. Run with it. Use that spark of creativity to write a piece of fan fiction. It may just quiet the frustration you had about the show/book, or it could spark an idea that takes on a life of its own.

Once you’ve written it, what do you do next? Well, you could bury it deep in your hard drive or burn it as a symbol of acceptance. You can’t publish it…but you can. As I mentioned in my last post, there are sites dedicated to fan fiction. Fanfiction.net  and Archiveofourown.org are great places to post your fan fiction. Why would you do that?

Feedback. One of the greatest fears every author has is acquiring any kind of critique on their work. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. Posting it for the public on either of these sites will prepare you for an author’s worst nightmare and most sincere delight. Reviews.

I’ve had two novels, a novella, and a short story published in the last year. I need reviews to market my books, but at the same time, I know I cannot please everyone and there will be those who leave me bad/negative reviews. This comes with the territory of being a writer. You take the suggestions, consider them, use the ones you know can improve your work, and then move on to the next project.

Posting your fan fiction for others to critique can be a daunting prospect, but it will help you hone your writing skills by taking the constructive criticism and suggestions left by readers. It will help you become a better writer, trust me.

Also, putting your fan fiction out into cyberspace will attract fans. These fans will then follow as you dive into publishing your own fiction…well, I know I would. There are some talented writers who only write fan fics. I would buy their book if the decided to take the plunge into writing/publishing their own creative fiction.

Fan fiction allows the readers to see and feel your style of writing, kind of like blog posts. Fan fiction is more fun and less clinical.

If you haven’t taken the challenge, then I ask you this time to write your own fan fiction. Pick a show, a book, or a movie that sparked an idea in your mind and write. Use their characters, their setting, and their world to write a scene as YOU would have written it.

Have a little fun and see where the wonderful, but dangerous, world of fan fiction can lead you.

Let me know how you do. Comments welcome.

Thanks for reading.


5 thoughts on “Fan Fiction as a Writing Tool: Part Deux

  1. Warehouse 13, Eureka, and Haven have been my three favorite shows on an otherwise desolate SyFy channel. I was disappointed to see W-13 and Eureka end. I won’t repeat the passionate missive that I wrote in my response to Part One of this topic, but I am happy to see fan fic being discussed on writing blogs. Had I continued writing fan fiction, I would definitely have penned tales in the aforementioned three universes plus Stargate SG-1, Castle, Psych, and Monk. My wife picked up The Greatest American Hero DVD set earlier this year and I was reminded of why I loved that show so much in my youth. While campy, it’s still tons of fun and replete with fan fic potential. Thanks for giving fan fiction its due, Kirsten!

  2. Hi, just read your post and loved it. I actually came across as I wrote a blog also about fan fiction, you can check it out at: https://carladoria.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/writing-fan-fiction-cheer-up/
    I love the idea that fan fiction writing can be used to develop your skills as a writer. Although, when you write your original work you struggle with brainstorming, the development of new characters and plot, you also struggle with the writing technique, and maybe as you say fan fiction could be a good idea por developing it. I find it easier whenever I write fan fiction 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment, Carla. Fan fiction does tend to be easier to write because you don’t have to do as much world/character building. Plus the characters are already established in the reader’s mind. I love reading and writing fan fic. ❤

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