With the growing amount of fictional series fan bases, fan fiction is a unique genre of writing that was born through love, admiration and creativity among fans.
Unfortunately ridiculed by many, fan fiction is a genre that has inspired and brought people from all around the world together and should be taken seriously.
Historically, fan fiction gets a bad reputation from the plethora of stories that are poorly written or over-romanticized and sexualized. Among the works in the genre are stories that are truly compelling and evocative.
Writers of fan fiction oftentimes take profound perspectives on stories by exploring and further developing characters, or creating settings and histories that the original author never conveyed. There are many fan fiction pieces that force readers to contemplate the series in a totally different light, driving innovation within the writing community.
The act of writing fan fiction is something that goes beyond basic “fangirling”—it requires imagination, aptitude for writing and a deep understanding of a plot necessary to develop characters and situations well, even from a preexisting series.
Fan fiction has been criticized for being easier to write due to the fact that characters, relationships and storylines are already set up. This type or writing, however, allows younger inexperienced writers to practice developing complex narratives that parallel the original story through experimenting with fan fiction.
In the past, there have been many occasions where fan fiction provided a path for writers to produce their original work and jumpstart their careers. Author Meg Cabot of The Princess Diaries admitted to writing Star Wars fan fiction as a teenager, while E.L. James of Fifty Shades of Grey started out her career by writing Twilight fan fiction about the famous couple Bella and Edward.
Rainbow Rowell, author of Eleanor & Park, even introduced a paradox when she wrote Fangirl, a book about a girl who writes fan fiction. She then subsequently wrote an actual fan fiction book called Carry On, which was inspired by the Harry Potter series. Both works were written after she became famous.
Combining a love for a series with writing has the potential to spark a career in the field, or develop literary skills that can be used for the rest of one’s life. Writing is writing, whether or not the works are created from an entirely original idea. More practice will lead to better, stronger writers—something that could only have a positive impact on society.
Aside from the creation of the stories, the Internet provides the advantage of free, available platforms for fan fiction where fans and aspiring writers alike share their stories and provide constructive feedback.
Through these platforms, people are able to bond over their love for a series, connect with one another and exchange ideas. A community that brings people together to support each other over a common interest has undoubtedly impacted and inspired many fans and writers, regardless of the subject matter.
Senior former managing editor Alexandra Ciarcia was a part of this community that wrote fan fiction. She wrote Harry Potter fan fiction and won first place in a contest when she was 15 years old—something that sparked her interest in writing early on and made her realize she wanted to pursue a career in it.
Ciarcia was an immensely talented and creative writer and these traits can be traced back to her original roots in fan fiction. Writing fan fiction was something she was proud of, and would one day have made her very successful regardless of what she chose to do.
Ciarcia is proof that fan fiction is important in making impressions on young writers, inspiring them to pursue their passions, just as Ciarcia was inspired.u