Anyway here are some reasons why I think reading and writing fanfiction is not always helpful for writers:
- 90% of it is written horribly
Sure, we may have discussed that the slush pile effect can be beneficial, but it's also crazy annoying. Sometimes, you just want to read something good. But it takes forever to find a worthwhile fanfic, especially if your fandom of choice is old. Fanfics can be beneficial, but for someone with little patience, it's it difficult to get that far.
- It's the ultimate ego boost
In a bad way. No matter how horrible your writing is, there's a very good chance that someone is going to tell you that you're awesome. This is bad because when legions of unknown people talk about how amazing you are, your ego explodes. Fanfic writers have been known to be pompous--they fail to learn and they fail to take criticism gracefully.
- It encourages so many bad writing habits
Like I said above, no matter what you write, someone will tell you it's awesome. Someone will encourage a trait that should be smothered. Be it a cliche plot, purple prose, Mary Sues, or a story that's starting to reach 200,000 words, someone will think you're the next best thing. Yes, everyone goes through these phases, but we also need to learn that our writing can be bad.
- It will never be your own
One of the greatest things about writing is creating your own worlds and characters, but when you write fanfiction, you're missing out on that. Yes, there are other delicate things to test your writing (ie: keeping the players in character and representing the world correctly), but you still miss out. Playing with someone's story elements is cool, but creating something on your own is amazing and wonderful and indescribable. And missing out is kind of depressing.
- You're never going to make money off of it
Seriously, if you're make money off of your fanfiction you are 1) in Japan, land of doujinshi, or 2) about to get yourself into big trouble. If you're the kind of person who always needs to be making some tangible progress towards publication, you're going to find fanfiction a waste of time. Because really, nothing comes of it but subtle improvement and wish fulfillment.
So what do you think? Agree or disagree? Could I have made some better points? A lot of the reasons that fanfiction are good coincide with why fanfiction is bad, which I find interesting. Tell me what you think in the comments.