No, no one’s created a national fanfic award yet (Ha! If only…). But everywhere you turn, it keeps showing up. Instead of just living quietly on Fanfiction.net, Archive of Our Own, LiveJournal, Tumblr and other online platforms, it’s been creeping into mainstream press coverage and even stormed the box office (sort of).
Who knows how far this could go? Is fanfic threatening to become, gasp, the next Big Thing?
Don’t think it can’t happen.
Way back in the day, before Mark Zuckerberg ruled the world and we all worshipped at the altar of Google, society was sprinkled with nearly friendless bespectacled nerds fiddling with motherboards and binary code.
They huddled after school in their computer clubs and parents’ garages, alternating between rounds of soldering wires and playing Dungeons & Dragons. Unless one of the popular kids needed help with their science homework, they were invisible, ignored by the rest of the world.
Today, however, Silicon Valley is the Mt. Olympus of the digital world, and those socially awkward geeks are the gods who built it and now rule from it as our tech overlords. It’s funny how times change, isn’t it?
So, don’t miss out on a good thing! Take steps now to avoid being left behind.
If you’re already a dedicated fanfic reader and writer, congratulations! You’re (probably) on the right side of history.
For those of you who still don’t get it and don’t have a fanfic lover in your life to explain it all for you, here are a few reasons
There are no content restrictions when it comes to fanfic, you can write about it or find a story about it. There is no shame here.
If you’re into romances where Draco Malfoy is part Veela, Harry is his one true mate, and both of them sprout wings, step right up! If you like your characters to have tentacles at certain passionate moments, have no fear.
Even if Omegaverse is your thing, stand up and be counted. You’re welcome here.
You won’t be alone in your weirdness. Whatever you’re into, you’re guaranteed to find someone else out there who is into the exact same thing.
They might live in East Kazakhstan but they’re out there. And, thanks to the Internet, they’re just a search or two away – and they’ll probably have a list of fanfic recommendations that match your tastes.
Let’s face it, you don’t make enough money to book a cruise or even a trip to Disneyworld. So why not opt for a FREE fantasyland?
Dive into a juicy fanfic that recreates everything you loved about your favorite original work without paying the price of a plane ticket or cable connection fee. Barring a good nap, it’s one of the cheapest forms of relaxation out there.
Come on, you know you’d love to have the bragging rights! Can you imagine how E.L. James’ readers felt when the woman they knew as Snowqueens Icedragon hit the best sellers list?
Practice makes perfect and writing fanfiction offers plenty of opportunities to practice. You can make your rookie mistakes without the whole world watching.
You can also develop and write at your own pace. You can follow your own instincts instead of racing for the deadlines set by agents and publishers – or impatient fans.
Anybody can write fanfiction. You don’t need to relocate to New York to earn an MFA or have an agent or a publisher.
You don’t need to buy overpriced editing software or hang out at overpriced bars or bookstores trying to catch the eye of someone important while pretending like you couldn’t care less.
Do you have a passion for a book, movie, TV show, etc.? Do you want to write about it? Then Just. Write. Someone will read it.
If you are planning to become a published author, you might find it easier to build an audience by writing fanfiction first. Fanfic audiences are more forgiving and less demanding.
Since many of them are probably also fanfic writers, they understand that you’re still learning. They are too.
The fanfic community is an excellent resource for gaining feedback for your work even before it’s finished. You’ll also get a gauge of how well your work is received and thus how big of an audience you can draw.
No one can tell you no. If you want to write about Sherlock Holmes running away to join the circus and forming a trapeze act with John Watson, who’s going to stop you?
Got an urge to write Loki and Thor as rival ninja teddy bears? Have at it! Do you, boo!
There are few things more fun than spending an afternoon going down the rabbit hole of fanfiction. Without fail, you will stumble across the full range of writing – the good, the bad, and the fugly!
Once you get traumatized by enough bad fiction, you’ll know what to avoid when you’re ready to write your own. And if you somehow still don’t know, don’t worry.
Your readers will tell you. Whether you do it willingly or kicking and screaming, you’ll emerge with an improved sense of what makes a story work.
When it comes to creative writing, the fear factor is real. Writing your emotions and ideas down for strangers to read can feel like standing in the middle of your home room naked.
Using someone else’s characters can give you just enough of a fig leaf to keep you writing through the fear until you finish. And having a finished work under your belt – even if it’s only fanfic – can give you enough courage to try writing original fiction.
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