Fanfic not so bad if used for growing as a writer

With the immense popularity of television shows, motion pictures, book series, and video games, among the most popular type of stories that beginning writers pen is fanfic, or fan fiction. These are stories that use another author’s universe. They are quite popular in the science fiction and fantasy genres.

Generally, fanfic is held in low regard among serious writers and publishers. Fan fiction lacks originality, and much of it tends to be amateurish. Even if the writing is of high quality (and some of it is), trying to profit from it violates intellectual property and copyright laws (And if you publish for profit, you’re certain to be sent a cease and desist letters from the fiction universe’s owners.).

Still, fanfic is a good way to cut one’s teeth. For someone learning to master the craft of writing, rather than be overwhelmed by the vast number of intricate variables needed for a story, the characters, setting, and even basic plot structure already is there. This allows the writer to focus on style matters (such as active voice, writing tightly, description, etc.). And if the author conducts some analysis while writing, he can learn how quality stories and characters are constructed.

The real benefit of a fanfic, though, might be as a brainstorming session for a short story or novel that is original. Consider the analogy of screenwriters who submit a story outline to a television show. If the television producer’s reject it, some screenwriters will restructure the story into their own tale. The writing then become an exercise in creating new characters and settings so the story bears no resemblance to the show the outline was written for. In much the same way, fanfic can be rewritten for a new universe.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.