Fan Fiction as a Writing Tool: Part Deux

keep-calm

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.

Kirsten

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Fan Fiction: A Writer’s Perspective (Part 1)

Big Fan Fic 1 Big Fan Fic 2

 

There are mixed feelings on fan fiction in the writing world. Some view it as an invasion into another person’s creative brainchild, others view it as a crass manipulation of the work. There are so many different types of fan fiction out there ranging from TV shows and books to fiction about an actor or character displaced from their own reality and interjected into one of the author’s creation. I confess, I enjoy fan fiction if it’s written well. But where the good abides, so do the dark, daring, and sometimes strange. Such is life, and the same can be said about original fiction.

Here are some photos I found you may find humorous. Some fan fics are an acquired taste and what has been seen can never be unseen.

  fanfiction

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spock

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I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with your writing skills. Let me continue my list of confessions. I write fan fiction as do several other authors I know including Jen Bradlee. (If you haven’t seen the short Firefly/Serenity fan fic on her blog, then go take a peek HERE, especially if you’re a fan of that show. Trust me.)

But why write fan fiction? It’s not like I can publish it, right? Well, no you cannot take someone else’s idea and make money off of it. That would be copyright infringement and is frowned upon in all artistic circles almost to the point that cannibalism is in modern society. What you can do with fan fiction is post it on FanFiction.net, Archive Of Our Own (AO3), or DeviantArt. But why would I do that?

To get your name out there.

To show people around the world your unique writer’s voice.

To share your work with the world.

Even though you’re not making money off of the work, it is working for you. It allows you to spread your wings as a writer and put your name out in artistic circles. There are some fan fic authors who have huge followings. Imagine if they wrote their own fiction and published it. They would already have a base of readers who love their style. How many of us will buy a book just on the authors name without even reading the blurb or excerpt because we love what they’ve done in the past and crave more?

I challenge you this week to venture into the world of fan fiction. Choose a book, TV show, movie, video game, etc, look up a fic, and find one that speaks to you. You’ll be amazed what you can find. I will warn you, fan fiction is like the ocean. It can be beautiful and inviting from the beach, but the deeper you go, the darker the waters can become. Make sure you keep a steady eye on the shore as you wade into her warm embrace. Her siren song is tempting and dangerous.

Do you read fan fiction? If so, what are your thoughts?

Next week, I will be continuing this discussion by talking about the ways in which a writer can use fan fiction to improve their own work and their skills as a writer. Stick around. It’ll be fun, I promise.