The Meaning of Fan Fiction: Part I
Ever since I was eleven years old I’ve written fiction. Before then, I hated reading and anything to do with it automatically. It was boring until one fateful day, my then best friend asked me: “do you know who Wood is?”
I raised an eyebrow, and she later explained that Wood was a character in Harry Potter. Although skeptical, I gave the book a chance. This was before I found out it was to be made into a film series. I fell in love from the first page. I couldn’t put the book down and only wanted to keep reading. By then, the latest book in the series was the Goblet of Fire. To keep myself busy, I began joining Harry Potter role plays, which, of course, led me to fan fiction.
For authors, this has always seemed like some sort of controversy. Some authors are all for it and think it’s a great help, but others think it’s blasphemy for someone to use another’s characters.
In my case I’ll say this: fan fiction gave me the opportunity to test drive myself as an author. I’ve always incorporated original characters in my fan fiction and explored things that haven’t been explored in canon, always careful to respect the original work. I also believe most fanfiction authors feel the same and that some view fan fiction as an escape, just as I did in my youth.
I loved the characters I wrote about so much I treated them as I would a good friend. Whilst my work never went viral, it was always well received, and I’d get constructive criticism that helped form me as a writer. While I only wrote for two fandoms, I know people who wrote for many and have made friends, met partners, and even, like me, continued on to write original work. Without my stories, both fan fiction and original, I wouldn’t have made it as a teenager. I had no friends–I was always locked up at home and bored out of my mind. Fan fiction saved my life and continues doing so to this day.
So, for all the authors that look down on fan fiction I hope this series of articles will help change your mind, or at least help you understand that it’s not all self-inserts and crazy fan girls.