Fanfiction: An Awesome Incubator for Writers

Some of you may know I started my writing career in fanfiction. It was an excellent place to start writing and hone my skills.

Some may not be familiar with fanfiction, so I’ll start this with a brief introduction. Fanfiction is taking characters from a movie, book, television show,etc. and sending them on new adventures, or giving the story a new plotline. Fanfiction has a very long history. It can be argued that the tales of Enkidu from The Epic of Gilgamesh were the world’s first fanfiction stories.

There are those who scorn the fanfiction world, but there are some really great stories out there, written by very talented people.

I recommend fanfiction as a great place for new writers for several reasons:

1) The genre is incredibly flexible. You can use the original author’s characters as they are, or re-create them entirely. For writers unsure of their ability to build a character, using another author’s characters can be liberating, and allow them to concentrate on the plot. The writer can practice by changing a few of the character’s traits and gradually work up to creating a new character when they’re ready.

2) Immediate feedback. Reviewers can provide valuable constructive criticism to improving your writing skills. However, a new writer likely won’t get a large audience; my first story had about a dozen regular readers. Just like any author, it usually takes time to build a following.

4) An incredibly supportive community. For the most part, fanfiction readers and writers are very kind and enthusiastic. Just like any online community, you’ll find the occasional jerk, but the vast majority of the fanfiction community is encouraging and supportive.

5) An introduction to editing teams and “cover” design. The fanfiction community has members known as “betas,”  who function as copy editors, or substantive editors. Writers can have as many or few as they wish. A writer can also get experience in design with banner makers who create images to accompany the stories.

I’m very glad I finally summoned up enough courage to start writing in the fanfiction world. The friends I’ve made from it have been the best part.


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