When I first began to write fiction, I started with fan fiction. The video game series Dragon Age inspired me to write stories more than any other fandom had before. To date, I have written fifty-six fan fiction works, ranging in size from 100 words to 87,000 words, for a cumulative of over 700,000 words.

What is Fan Fiction?

Fan fiction stems from the desire of various fans of a particular movie, television series, book, or video game to see certain storylines play out. If you have ever been a fan of something and asked yourself “what if that didn’t happen that way?” then you have the potential idea of a fan fiction story. Most fan fiction stories are borne out of what-if scenarios fans would love to see, but know will never happen. So, some of us write about it instead.

Many fan fiction stories involve pairing up characters romantically that aren’t paired in the original canon. Fans often have other ideas of who should be paired with whom. Other stories involve putting the characters into an alternate universe (AU), where many, or perhaps all things are different.

For example, I have taken characters from the Dragon Age game series and put them into a “modern AU” just to see how the characters would be the same and different based on the new surroundings.

Benefits of Writing Fan Fiction

Writing fan fiction has really helped me improve my writing skills. By writing fan fiction stories and posting them online for others to enjoy, I’ve received a lot of excellent feedback. I know it’s helped me improve some of my flaws as a writer. I’ve improved my overall pacing in my stories, learned how to show, instead of telling my readers what’s going on, and even improved my ability to write action sequences. So when it came time for me to sit down and write my novels, I had a better skill set as a writer that I would have had otherwise.

Another benefit I’ve found in writing fan fiction is having the immediate response from my readers after I post a new chapter of a story. When I’m working on a story, I post each chapter after I’ve completed it, rather than writing it from beginning to end and then posting it. The immediate feedback in terms of hits, likes, and comments on each chapter is very motivating. This has also built up my confidence as a writer, so when it came time to write my novel, I didn’t have nearly as many doubts about my ability to write it as I previously had.

Bottom line, I feel that writing fan fiction can be a great exercise for anyone who wants to become a writer. It’s a great creative outlet, as well as a way to practice your writing skills and play around with different styles without focusing too much on world-building or character-building. The world and characters already exist, you just have to come up with interesting scenarios to put them in.

Have you ever read or written any fan fiction, or have you wanted to? How do you view fan fiction writers?