I like fanfiction. Kind of. I so very rarely read it anymore that I’m hesitant to call myself a fan, but I do write it occassionally whenever the urge strikes, and I’m definitely a supporter of fanfiction.
I’ve always thought fanfiction was a good thing, really. It’s a different experience, compared to writing so-called original fiction. There’s room to explore and challenge yourself in ways that just don’t exist so readily in original fiction.
I’ve been thinking more about it recently because, well, I got an idea for a fanfic and I have been writing it instead of working on my novels. And I think I write better fanfiction than original fiction.
There are a few reasons I suspect here… The first is that I often go in without trying to describe the characters or the setting. When I do describe them, it’s much more basic than in original fiction, because, of course, any readers are going to know what the characters/setting look like already, so why waste time? Second, my fanfics are always short–no longer than 10k or so, and I just get to the point and wrap it up and am done with it. This has been a relief after rewriting a story 45k+ long, a welcome break, and I think it’s reflected in my writing quality.
Third, I only write fanfics when the urge strikes–that is, when I get an idea that won’t leave me alone until I write it down. That’s so different from sitting down and going, “Okay, gotta smash on this keyboard until I figure out what I’m writing…” and I’ve missed that feeling. My novels all started with that rush, that excitement, but I’ve lost it at this point.
There are other reasons, I’m sure (the potential for quick feedback being one of them), but those are the biggest I have come up with. Now the question is, how can I take what I’ve learned and use it to better my original fiction?