But let's cut to the chase. So let me explain in more detail with five reasons why I think fanfiction can be beneficial towards you as a writer:
- It is a living, breathing slush pile
If you've ever wondered how agents can turn a manuscript down based on one page of writing, you have never read fanfiction. If nothing else, this is one of the best things you can learn about. Seriously. Go to FanFiction.net right now, find your favorite book or movie, and peruse the selection. You'll start to understand how a first page can show the different between a good story and a great one.
- It lets writers experiment
The fact that fanfiction is based off of an existing world and its characters lets writers focus on what they want to focus on. Maybe you want an awesome plot, maybe you want a character sketch, maybe you want to see how certain characters would react in a completely different setting. The choice is yours, and when you don't have to focus on an entire story, you can hone your skills on something specific.
- There's no pressure to be perfect
Really. There isn't. So many of us are trying to write a manuscript that we'll eventually publish that we start freaking out about all sorts of little things. Fanfiction will never be published. If you want, you can write under a penname and no one will ever be able to connect your writer-life with your fanfic-life. Hey, you can even leave a story unfinished without too much hoopla.
- It's good for instant feedback
Many people share their fanfiction and if your premise sounds interesting enough, a lot of people will read your fanfiction. If you post somewhere like FanFiction.net or in a livejournal community, you'll definitely get feedback. Not all of it will be great, and the internet is always home to trolls, but it's still an opportunity to learn.
- It encourages people to write
So many people who write fanfiction would never sit down to write a book. And then there are others who would never think that they'd want to write a book until after they wrote fanfiction. Fanfiction gets people to practice writing, and as we all know, practice makes perfect. Supposedly every writer has a million bad words before the good ones start coming out, so why not use them on fanfiction?
On Friday we'll talk about the cons to fanfiction, but until then, what are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with anything I've said? Has fanfiction helped you at all, or hav you been mostly in the dark?