In Defense of Fanfic

In the world of fiction writing, fanfiction seems to be the red-headed stepchild. Despite the fact that there are published books of authorized fanfic (like every Star Trek or Star Wars novel ever published) as well as fanfic that has been published with names and places changed to separate it from the original work, (Twilight/ 50 Shades of Grey) fanfic retains a reputation of being useless, bad, and a waste of time.

Waste of time? Not for me. It’s how I learned how to write.

Not everyone can afford to take classes or get a degree in order to improve their writing. Certainly practice improves one’s work and much can be learned through personal study. However, at some point one needs feedback and critique in order to grow as a writer. You can’t fix issues if you don’t realize what the issues are. Writing on your own can only take you so far.


I could write a 100k word saga about the picnic of the geese, but without feedback, I’ll never know if it’s any good.

So why fanfic?

Fanfiction gives untried writers a unique opportunity to work on the basics. The world of the stories has already been defined, as have the main characters. Playing in that existing world gives writers who are starting out a chance to focus on the basics. Plot and Subplot, grammar and style, can be focused on without becoming mired in world building and character building.

It also has another huge advantage. The world of fanfic is peppered with brave souls who actively wish to be beta readers. In working with a knowledgeable beta, all those issues in your writing that you did not know you had can come to light and be dealt with.

Many years ago, I started writing a book. I got about five chapters in and I was pleased with it. Then I got some feedback and realized that while I liked the story, my writing needed work. I shelved that project, and thought about what the best way for me to improve my writing would be. At that time in my life, I had little money for books and classes. I needed an easier answer.


I couldn’t see the forest for the trees! 😀

A friend of mine had turned me onto fanfic, and I read some very well-written stories. Why not try to write one of my own? I ended up with a goddess of beta readers, one who had a degree in literature and experience in editing. Editing fanfic was something she did for fun. With her gentle advice, my writing improved by leaps and bounds. When she gave up beta reading fanfic because she was starting a family, I worked with three other beta readers during my fanfic writing journey. Each had different strengths and each taught me new lessons.

If you read my fanfic in chronological order (which I am not suggesting you do) you can watch my writing improve amazingly. You can see my style and voice develop. My time in fanfic was an incredible journey and one that I remember very fondly. I wrote three novel length fics, several novellas, and a herd of short stories.

Eventually, I felt ready to write without a net, and began writing original fiction. I never turned back. Until yesterday.

Last night and this morning, I wrote my first fanfiction tale in about ten years. I think that after my grueling schedule during NaNoWriMo, I just wanted to have a little fun. I did have fun. I had 11k words of fun. I don’t think I’ve ever written so much in less than 24 hours in my life. It was fun, and easy, and it practically wrote itself. While I live in original fiction world now, I missed fanfiction land. It was nice to have a visit, and fun to post a new story on my old archives. I might even do it again sometime.

In this digital world where aspiring writers write their very first book and publish it immediately, I wish they would consider taking some time to write fanfic and work with a few beta readers. Not only is it fun, their writing would benefit from the experience.


It’s time to vote!  I submitted my book, Descending, to Kindle Scout.  Descending has to get nominated to be noticed by the Kindle editors.

What to do:  If you have an Amazon account and you want to help, go to this link   and nominate Descending.  Each Amazon account holder gets 3 votes for books they’d like to see published.

What’s in it for you: If Descending is chosen for publication, every person who votes for it gets a FREE advance copy of the e-book, and an opportunity to review, if you wish, before anyone else.

How you can help: Vote, if you can.  Share this post with friends if you are willing.  Vote now!  Get a free e-book!

About JulianneQJohnson

I am a writer in Indiana who lives with two cats, two ferrets, and one fiance. I enjoy cheap coffee and expensive chocolate.
This entry was posted in Fanfiction, Fiction, writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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