Why I Love Writing Fan Fiction

Or, So I May Or May Not Have Cheated on My Novel-in-Progress with Something I Can’t Get Paid for Writing

Simple question, simple answer:  because it reminds me why I like writing stories.

My muse has dragged himself out of the gutter to actually help me on some words the last couple days, which has been great. Some of them were even on my novel. It felt less like pulling splinters from my brain with un-sterilized tweezers.

But last night when I sat down to write, and words wouldn’t come easily on the novel, I tried something else. Sometimes switching tracks is what you need to do to get in gear. So not any of my other romance novels–something completely different. Monty Python style.

I decided to start winnowing out a plot to a piece of fan-fic I had only the vaguest of ideas about.

It’s some sweet Hogwarts action, nothing to do with Harry and friends, and set…now, I guess. Basically just well after the demise of He Who, Etc., in order that it can be entirely unapologetic in its shallowness. So perhaps it’s less fan-fic and more shared-world fic. Whatever you call it, the words and ideas flowed easily. I didn’t have to think about the setting, because I knew the setting, and some of the constraints and situations the characters will face as a result of that setting.

I started writing the opening scene with only the mood of the heroine in mind. I didn’t need to know more, because I was happy to let her tell me about herself. I literally had nothing but the title (“Secret Slytherin”) in my mind when I started.

The ease of the writing reminded me how much I enjoy writing, which is a feeling that has been sadly lacking for me for a while with the current project. The flip side of having the story in place is that writing it out ceases to be an act of creativity and becomes an act of description. The creativity happened long ago; this is just describing what came out of that mental storm.

But with this piece I was writing pretty much as I had ideas. Just jotting notes and exploring facets of the characters as they came to me. It was a joyful piece of writing.

And it invigorated me on my other story, too. I am a little more inspired to keep going, because I’m reminded that there is a story I want to finish reading in there. I’ve just lost track of it under the weight of obligation and expectation. I needed a break, and I needed to be reminded why I love putting words down on paper not just into opinions but into stories.

So even if I can’t do anything with SS, it’s still serving a purpose for me.

And, hey, if it becomes a novel that no one can put down, I can always just start changing those 10% of details….



Filed under Writing

5 responses to “Why I Love Writing Fan Fiction

  1. b.h.quinn

    Fanfiction was, aside from my school assignments, my first venture into writing. Although most of my writing now is original, I still venture into the realm of HP fanfiction when I need a pick-me-up and some of my favorite stories are fanfics.

    • The first novel I ever finished was a piece of fan-fic (not HP)–a replacement ending for a series whose final book I just couldn’t stand. It taught me SOOOO much more about structuring a long-form piece of writing than either writing short stories or starting and abandoning novels ever did. Sometimes you just have to learn by doing, and I think fanfic is a really great avenue for that. It’s fun, it’s something you’re already passionate about and fascinated by, and it has a built-in audience among your friends, who will read it bc it’s something they also love and not bc it’s somehting you (their friend) wrote. WORLD of difference in their reactions (the voice of experience as none of my friends read romance so can’t judge or appreciate my origianl stuff on the same level as they could the fanfic).

      • b.h.quinn

        We’re on the same page here. It also helped me learn how to consistently portray better known characters and create original ones. It helped me make well-rounded original characters since I only had one or two to focus on instead of trying to make my own cast.

        My friends tend to read my genre of writing, but I’m always half-terrified that they say they like something because they don’t want to hurt my feelings. Putting out fanfiction is a quick way to get criticism and learn how to deal with people who love your work as well as those who hate it for no discernible reason (at least not that they’ve told you).

      • Couldn’t have said it better! The one thing I think it’s hardest for friends to appreciate is that you don’t *want* them to lie and say it’s good if they think it’s awful. Say one thing for the facelessness of the internet…it frees people from pulling punches when they offer opinions!

      • b.h.quinn

        Very true. I once got so annoyed at one of my long-time friends when I could tell that she had serious misgivings about a piece of writing that I showed her that I may or may not have demanded that she tell me why I sucked at writing. Good news: She told me. Bad news: The rest of my school knew why too.

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