Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fanfic Week: What makes fanfiction rock

So, we're onto the second day of Fanfic Week. Yay! This is the day of positive thoughts, because to put it simply, I think fanfiction can be a great learning tool if you look at it right. Not only can fanfiction allow for fun experimentation, it helps writers understand different plot structures and elements.

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:
  1. 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 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 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.

  5. 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?


Yemi Hikari said...

Oh, my!

Yemi Hikari said...

Oops! I appologize for the little snafu in commenting on your blog. I am actually impressed with your entry. I think my favorite was the very first point you made, about how an editors slush pile can look pretty bad simply from the first page of things. I've critiqued plenty of fanfic writers over the years I've been on

I also am going to say I don't disagree with point number three, but I think it needs to be taken with a grain of salt with number four. We expect fanfic writers to still, honestly... be growing writers. Just because there is no pressure to prefect your work, doesn't mean you shouldn't and doesn't mean that people won't call you out on your falts. Best way to put it is, any form of writing shouldn't be treated as a game.

I'll see if I remeber to come back on Friday. :)

Erin F. said...

I have much love for FanFic. Not only is it fun (both the reading and the writing), but it's where I learned my most important lessons on writing.

When I look back at my very first story that was posted on, I literally cringe. I wrote in past tense one sentence and present the next. I wrote in first person and third person POVs within the same paragraph. I "told" all the time and never "showed."

Luckily, I learned that I'm decent with writing plot, so I gained readers who loved my stories (even with their errors) and encouraged me to write more. (I totally agree with #4 on your list!)

Then I was lucky enough to find a beta reader who took me under her wing and pointed out all those lovely errors! She taught me as much about writing as any writing class could.

Fun, community, and learning...gotta love FanFic! Not that I'll ever link my penname with my real name. EVER. =)

Sarah Robertson said...

Haha, it's no problem! :)

I totally get your point about number three. I was kind of trying to connect points two and three without repeating the same thing, but I can see how that didn't come across too well. ^_^ I guess what I mean is that because there's no pressure to be perfect, you have an opportunity to experiment and get better. You should definitely take things seriously and try to put your best out there though!

I'll look forward to hearing from you on Friday! :D

Sarah Robertson said...

Oh goodness, my first fanfiction is so beyond terrible. I wielded the swords of purple prose and cliches like a bona fide master. :) It's great how encouraging the fanfiction community is though--even when you're bad they encourage you to do better. And it works! The more you write, the better you get!

And yeah, I totally will never share my fanfiction penname! I can't bring myself to remove my horrendous work from the net (who knows, it might make someone happy), but no one ever need to connect it to me.

Brenna Braaten said...

I never thought of comparing it to an editor/agent - but I love that. But, you know my opinions on the fanfiction slush pile.

What I really liked was point three. I forget that I used to write not to get published but just for fun. Have you ever seen my quizzilla site with my random stories? 'Cause if you haven't, you'd giggle at the horrible, awful, no-good writing. I laugh hard at it.

Sarah Robertson said...

Glad you like my points! I've never seen your Quizilla site, but I'm sure it's as high quality as all my fanfiction was. :)

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