Posted in Of Writingly

Of Writing Fan Fiction


A few days back, I was under some sort of a spell. I was certainly possessed by something I hadn’t experienced before. I wrote for 12 hours, with very few breaks for food, answering social (and nature) calls and even sleep. I wrote fan fiction, all 10765 words of it, a complete story. Not only was my regime alien to me, but the very fact(s) that I a) even endeavoured to write it, considering I’ve never really read fan fiction and b) dropped everything including work, pleasure (like food) and conversation because I had a burning, desperate urge to get this story out. I found myself very moved by the experience, and I’ve since understood the multiple benefits of writing fan fiction for all writers, even those who aren’t interested in writing fiction, fanatical or otherwise.

First of all, I’ve decided against uploading it on the internet, even though the fandom of this particular ‘piece of filmed something’ may have appreciated it (I’ve gone through many of the fan fiction pieces online since, so I know what they like). It is not because I am a snob, ashamed to let my precious work out into a platform that isn’t as respected as regular fiction. It is because I wrote it for myself. I am not interested in exposing it to commentary, or seeing how many views it notches up. I’ve written much for my eyes alone throughout my life – my diaries, more creative efforts like poetry, stories etc, that I’d been too embarrassed to ever show to anyone, no matter how flattering I’d be assured their responses would be. A long time ago I attempted a daydream challenge here, where my lovely blogging friend Hollie commented (and I paraphrase) that daydreams are more personal, because they are a reflection of our aspirations, our conscious inner life. It’s too delicate, and my fan fiction story, now that I’ve also read other stories concerning the same characters, is too personal. I’ve put quite a lot of myself in it, freely, uninhibitedly, and I don’t want to expose that.

Unless, I actually get to write for that specific filmed something. I’ve an entire 13 episode arc for Doctor Who jotted down a while ago (this recent story is not of that show), and I’ve been too lazy/uninterested/whatever,-writers-don’t-make-excuses,-they-are-the-excuse to follow it through. But, it might actually help, and not for the obvious reason that someday, someday, I’d get to do it for real (I’m guessing Doctor Who writers are real human beings). The point it, one of the best reasons for writing fan fiction is it makes good, easy writing practice. You have your characters and your settings more or less worked out. Now, it’s up to you to do whatever you want with them. I admitted earlier that until recently, I didn’t read fan fiction. I do enjoy some fan art, but whatever fan fiction I’ve come by before, hasn’t been written well enough for me to put up with. But, even if you don’t enjoy reading it, it won’t hinder your preparation in writing it.

There are obvious copyright issues of putting it up on the internet. They can sue you if they wish to do so, and as I’ve heard it on the grapevine, there have been cases when professional writers have been inspired from reading fan fiction, which is a lawsuit you can’t even afford, let alone hope to win. I’ve looked at my document a few times since, and apart for the editing it requires, I can see how I can recycle quite a lot of it in other 100% original writing of mine. That brings me to point number 2: even if you don’t write it to be read in its original form, you have work you can still use.

Writing is passion, they keep telling me. And I am a passionate person, but even I have my ‘off’ days. Too many, actually. But, this kind of writing ensures I’ll still keep at it, at some kind of writing at least, rather than wait for whatever removes the block sitting between me and my work. Which brings me to point number 3: This is impassioned writing, which means you will a) try to put your best foot forward because your brain will be bubbling with ideas and b) you will find your writing mojo again, and it might indirectly inspire your real writing.

The only downside I can think of is that you will be left with a sizeable amount of material you can’t ever use. Even if it is not something as practical as Doctor Who (for which I, err, I mean, the indefinite you might well become a writer), it can be an episode of Friends (who say they “are never, ever, ever, getting back together”). If this is a deal-breaker, consider this: you probably have a lot of rejected material sitting on your computer from your other work, anyway.

All I’ve really done is put my daydreams into concrete form. Something that was light and easy became something relatively laboured, without being visibly usable. But, at least I had a good time doing it, and that is better than being miserable while staring at a blank screen, isn’t it?

Do you read/write fan fiction?


Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

14 thoughts on “Of Writing Fan Fiction

  1. Enjoyed this post, in part because I have never read or written any fan fiction. I like little bits of things (sci-fi like Star Trek included) but I’m not particularly devoted to one movie or show the same way I am with music. Truth be told, I never really understood the point of it, but your post has helped explain it to me better. I also think it is useful information you provide, particularly if one had the desire to get it out on the web in fan forums and such. Very quickly that could wind up either being utilized by an actual writer of a show and as you said, be a flat out lawsuit aimed at someone who really only wished it to be for fun. So I think it is wise of you to hold on to it. I’m impressed you were so devoted to it, so I hope somehow in the right situations you can share it with people somehow. The only time I have written like that was for a 4 part biographical series I did a year ago. Once I started I kept going, and going and the entire thing was something like 15,000 words with lots of photos as well. It was daunting, but oddly fun at the same time!

    1. Always a bliss to write under a spell, isn’t it? It’s like you aren’t even doing anything, because you feel no tiredness in spite of the “work”. It is rare, and out of your control, but when it happens you should let it be!

      I hope you are well. I hope to be more regular here soon. I’m looking forward to making a few changes, but I certainly hope to get back to being more active!

      1. It is indeed a great feeling when it just flows and you know you are ‘on to something’. Has not happened to me often but I hope it will again someday. I’m trying to maintain my blogging and am pleased I have written one blog a week so far this year, but I fear I may have to curtail that schedule soon due to some other issues happening. I am well, but I think life may soon be causing an interruption :-/ Looking forward to seeing more from you though as you are one of my favorites!

      2. Thank you! And I look forward to dropping by your ‘Soundtrack’ soon. As I’ve told you before, I do like to take my time with reading your posts than going through them more quickly and casually like I do with a few others. I’m only catching up with some blogger friends, as I haven’t even read anything on WordPress for over a week, if not two!

      3. Thank you, that’s very nice of you to say! I like to take time with yours too. As I always say to everyone, don’t feel pressured reading them the instant I publish, they will be there for you when you are ready, which is why I sincerely thank and appreciate that comment. 🙂

  2. Great Post. I literally just recently experienced a sudden urge to try fan fiction myself although I have never really been into it. Now that I have been trying my hand at fan fiction I have come to enjoy that of others and I think of it as great practice for my reading.

    1. Wow, I am so glad to know I am not alone in this! I thought I’d either come across pro’s or novices. Thank you for sharing your experience. I certainly look forward to writing more, and I hope you do too!

  3. Don’t laugh, but I used to read “Roswell” fan fiction back in the day….. And now I feel so incredibly old! Ha ha!
    Of course back then the fan fiction forums weren’t the beast they are these days. There were maybe a handful of movies/shows that people wrote their own fan fiction stories about unlike these days where a person can find a fan fiction story on pretty much any book, movie, tv show, real person (which is freaky), that real person’s cat, etc.
    I guess I don’t see the harm in fan fiction, but I can also see how a person would be hesitant to ever want to read any.

    1. I used to watch Roswell! I can see how it would inspire fan fiction, given both the setting and characters, and having a teenage fan base obviously means there will be a lot of enthusiastic fan fic writers and readers who’d be interested, as I believe they still make a considerable demographic of fan fic today.

      I do find it “freaky” as well when they use real people, i.e. celebs, and write their own personal fantasies with them. But, I guess if imagination and passion meet in this way, it might also make a compelling story. At least, the fans are happy!

      I actually read a novel-length on-going one of the thing I wrote the fan fic for, and it was very sweet and well-developed. It has little to do with the actual story, but the fan fic writer seems to have lost interest in finishing it, and now I feel like writing a fan fic on her fan fic!

  4. Your comments about your fan fiction writing being something you could use, reworked, another time, have inspired me to have a go at just sitting and writing something…that may or may not be reworked, but it may just get me writing without the pressure of wondering if it is publishable. Thanks.

    1. You’re welcome, Shazza! Other than fan fiction, I always recommend writing a ‘thought’ diary of some sort. Just write it in your own comfort, privacy and time, without worrying about editing, structure, handwriting (if you aren’t typing) etc and let your thoughts roam freely. You’re bound to come up with something when you look back on it, maybe a phrase or just an idea. And that might, in turn, inspire some ‘proper’ writing. Writing fan fiction ensures ‘inspiration’ is already in place, along with characters, but writing ANYTHING at all can also be a good thing!

  5. Though I haven’t in a while, I used to write a lot of fanfiction, and I still read some once in a while. Fanfiction is great. It greatly improved my writing and it allowed me to leave my mark on fandoms. It was a hobby like any other. I liked sharing my works, as the positive feedback I got encouraged me to write more.
    I think a lot of actual authors know that fanfics exist and if they don’t, I’m sure a little research will reveal that not only has it been going on for decades, but that it’s overall really harmless.

    1. Yes, I did read about actual authors not only reading fan fic, but writing as well. I think Meg Cabot said she not only likes reading the ones on her books, she also encourages the writers.
      I recently wrote a blog post on a “Mary Sue” character, which is a writer writing a fictional version of themselves into their story, which is a term that originated from Star Trek fan fiction from the 1970s! Even if it wasn’t called “fan fiction”, I am sure it has existed in some form in history for a long time.

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