I’ve heard some terrible things about fanfiction writers in the writer/author communities and I wanted to say my piece. Repeat after me: fanfiction writers aren’t bad. I feel like with the somewhat recent success of fanfiction authors becoming authors, there’s become this stigma of fanfiction writers not being good at what they do. It just isn’t true. Of course, there’s quite a few that I particularly don’t enjoy or couldn’t get into but perhaps it isn’t the writer being a “fanfiction” writer and more of the style of which the story itself is written.
Plenty of my closest friends have written or are writing fanfictions. Most of them do it for enjoyment with no aspirations to become an author. They enjoy the fandom that they are writing in and are writing for fun. Some of these fanfictions are better than some published works that I’ve read. There are others that do want to write a traditionally published book but uses fanfictions to build an audience, get to know people better, or even practice their writing. I honed a lot of my skills writing fanfictions for Bioware’s Mass Effect. That was the first time I’ve ever gotten people to read my works. They taught me how to accept criticism and get better. Whether it’s for hobby or practice for becoming an author one day, it’s both acceptable.
I can agree, there are some horrible people in the community. Alas, that can be said for anything really. In any creative work, you’re going to find a group of people shaming you. I’m not talking about criticism. I’m talking about straight up toxicity. That’s not exclusive to fanfiction. You’re gonna find people that don’t like your genre, you as a person, or you as a writer. If anything, fanfiction writers tend to have to deal with this more and on a frequent level due to the passion of the readers they are trying to captivate. Don’t assume that all fanfiction writers can’t handle or never had any criticism because I can say that there’s plenty that has gone through worse. I’ll take a rejection letter from an agent over an angry fanfiction reviewer any day. Even the best fanfiction writer gotta deal with that almost daily. That’s saying something.
On another note, I’ve heard from various authors that fanfictions don’t cultivate talent. That, again, is obviously not true. It’s like saying that fan artists (the ones that you treasure and put on your website) aren’t actually artist because they don’t do their own original characters. There are plenty of fanfiction writers that has created complex storylines, characters, and even worlds within your world that are exceedingly talented. Of course, you’re gonna get some people that copy the work or use other people’s worlds or words to get what they want. Again, that’s not all fanfiction writers. You see that all the time in published works. Talent comes from practice and more than likely, the fanfiction writer is writing consistently and learning (or at least attempting to). Don’t rag on them.
At the end of the day, whether its fanfiction or original works, you’re gonna get people who aren’t working hard for what they get. Just because they didn’t create their own world doesn’t mean that fanfiction writers are lazy. Some do it for a hobby, some just like the world the author or artist made, and some are just trying to get better for their own world one day. Let them have that. If they aren’t selling your work as their own, leave ‘em alone. For fanfiction writers, don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t a writer. You are, and I really like you guys.
See ya next Thursday,
Deston “D.J.” Munden
Progress Report! September 6th, 2018.