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Soapbox Moment: Fact or Fanfiction

This blog was created with the aim of providing other writers with some of the tips, tricks, and lessons I have learned along my journey to be a better writer. It is a path I am still walking and there is wisdom and experience I am still gaining. That said, this blog is to share those hard-won tidbits of knowledge.

However, today’s blog entry will not follow the above formula. This blog will be a bit of a rant, so bear with me a moment while I drag out my soapbox.

I have heard or read on more than one occasion other writers deriding those who write fanfiction. The exercise has been called pointless, easy, and amateurish. The major criticism being that, in fanfiction, the world the author works in has already been created, the characters made, the hard work done.

I agree… with most of that.

The world has been created. The major characters have been created. That doesn’t mean there isn’t hard work to still be done. Writing fanfiction is an exercise, a laboratory space, if you will, where authors can experiment with techniques, styles, structures, and a host of other writing tools. Also, many of the sites that host fanfiction posts are heavily populated with other writers --- writers that are free with both their compliments and their criticisms.

In short, the realm of fanfiction gives writers a chance to grow without the risk of losing a book deal or an audience because they wanted to try something new. It should not supplant original works authorships, but it can and should support it.

When used intentionally and with passion, fanfiction is a way to flex budding ideas and hone specific skills. Not to mention, it can be awesome for pushing past writer’s block.

If it hasn’t become painfully clear yet, I am (among other things) a fanfiction author, and I am grateful for the things I’ve learned through participating in that community. I encourage others to do the same, but please, at the very least, I ask that no one discourage others from giving it a try.

There. I’m done. I’m stepping off my soapbox now and dragging it back over to the corner. Next blog will return to writing tips. Promise.

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