by Clare London
I've recently been contributing articles to a new writing advice site, The SubRosa Writer, offering a "how to" path from writing fanfiction to publishing original fiction. You may say, What's fanfiction? or maybe How do I make that move?
According to Wikipedia, Fan fiction or fanfiction (also abbreviated to fan fic, fanfic or fic) is fiction about characters or settings from an original work of fiction, created by fans of that work rather than by its creator."
Many authors, particularly in romance and fantasy genres, started with re-told stories for their favourite characters, whether in movies, TV or - in my case - anime series. I wrote online, for free, for 3-4 years until I plucked up courage to submit an original novel for publication.
So what good does fanfiction do for an aspiring writer? Here's my opinion.
*Your training ground as an author. There are few rules – you can write about what you like, for how many words you like, in whatever genre you like, at whatever time and place you like. And you don’t need a degree in creative writing to do so. It’s one of the most empowering places to be! This is a perfect chance to hone your writing craft. Find out if you prefer writing short/long books; happy-ever-after/angsty; contemporary/fantasy. And then – try something different again! Try a dialogue-only piece; write from 1st person to 3rd person point of view; a soliloquy or a multi-person scene. It’s all in your band of work.
*A perfectly valid experience of publishing. It’s still a big step to publish your fiction, even on a free online forum. It’s still launching it into the world. Authors don’t call their work their “babies” without emotional reason LOL. But it’s that second step – after the big first step of writing in the first place – of sharing publicly.
*Your connection with readers, for perhaps the first time. It thrives on a community of fellow, (mostly) supportive fans. You receive feedback, you receive interaction with other authors. You may even receive praise, and a loyal following! That’s one of the most fabulous things about publishing.
*Your experience of a fiction community. That is, maybe your first experience (like mine was!) of “different strokes for different folks” i.e. the diversity of the world out there. The internet can connect you to any timezone, any country, and person. There’s no qualification to be a reader, either. You may find new friends, or people to avoid. Keep your common sense about you, remember an online persona isn’t always pitched with the whole truth, and it can be both eye-opening and life-enriching.
*Your access to a huge variety of reading material. And as we know, one of the most important things about starting to write is to READ.
So fanfiction can build both your writer’s craft, and your personal confidence. As a final word of warning, most fanfiction communities come with a certainly low level of moderation of its members – which is good! Step outside that fanfiction playground, and you may find much less in the wider publishing world. You become a small fish in a larger pond. And that pond has rules too, just like anywhere else in life.
But that’s what it’s all about, right? Your new adventure!
NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS
A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.
We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!
NOTE: the blog is currently dormant but please enjoy the posts we're keeping online.
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