Fanfiction: What Is Its Place For Writers?

Fanfiction: What Is Its Place For Writers?

Does it have to be one or the other?

What is fanfiction, exactly?

Put simply, fanfiction is a when a writer creates a story that takes place in an already-established publication using the characters, setting and concepts from the original author. In the last several years, fanfiction has boomed into a massive movement, sparking publications of its own and exploding the internet with the ever-popular (which should be navigated only with discretion).

Now the big question: is fanfiction a valid method of storytelling or not?

As a writer, I have had a divided opinion of fanfiction, despite the fact that I owe it a major portion of my growth. I had a recent discussion with a fellow writer about whether or not we could consider fanfiction “real” writing, as in, if we should or shouldn’t consider fanfictions to be our own work.

It’s a fine line. On one hand, fanfiction is empowering. When I started writing in 2010, I had little experience crafting a story, let alone an entire world with rules and magic systems, etc. After finishing my first novella, I wanted to do something bigger before my first National Novel Writing Month challenge in November. So I decided to try a little fanfiction. I chose my favorite anime at the time, Bleach by Kubo Tite, and went off on a plot idea I had.

In writing a sixty thousand-plus word fanfiction, I discovered much about writing. For one, chapter-by-chapter feedback is amazing. For two, it’s a good idea to write ahead of schedule and then edit before posting. (I did not realize this until a couple years after the fact, and am still ashamed of my practices). Finally, I learned that such a massive amount of writing was not only possible, but fun, and the very next month I wrote fifty-nine thousand words of my first original NaNo novel.

In essence, fanfiction was my gateway. It taught me how to write in quantity while keeping a decent story pacing, and also taught me the elements of accountability—since I posted my fic regularly and needed to keep a schedule. Without my project, I may never have had the proper confidence to attempt an entire NaNoWriMo.

Of course, there is a flip side. Not long after I started writing my own novels, I could no longer see the use in fanfiction. Using other authors’ story ideas, characters and settings seemed more like cheating than creativity. The dedication and effort to create an original piece far outweighed that of fanfiction. I also found a much deeper joy in finishing my own work. It was mine. Only I had a claim to it. When I compared my massive fanfiction to my equally massive novels, I had an infinitely deeper connection to the latter.

I began to wonder. Why do fanfiction at all?

After much internal debate (and several years), I have finally come to a somewhat surprising conclusion. It is this: any form of writing can be beneficial, and therefore well-done fanfiction deserves respect.

Here’s why—fanfiction does take conscious effort. Embodying another person’s characters in full, with all their traits and quirks, is not easy. Keeping true to the original ideas whilst creating one’s own storyline involves speculation and in-depth knowledge of the content. Fanfiction also gives writers the opportunity to showcase their skills while accessing an active fanbase, thus giving them a taste of what it feels like to interact with real readers and write accordingly. It also gives authors space to improve their writing techniques and play with style and structure. Finally, it offers writers a place to funnel their excessive love for anothers’ fiction in a positive and constructive manner.

This shift in my thinking is fairly recent. Let’s blame my fandoms. Last week I wrote the first fanfiction I’ve attempted in six years, and while I’m a bit rusty, it was liberating. I finally had a way to express my adoration for a fictional universe without squealing at someone in a high-pitched string of unintelligible words.

In addition, as I wrote, I realized my biases were not as concrete as I’d assumed. I was not just ‘stealing’ someone else’s ideas in order to gain recognition and or attract readers. This was a genuine effort to produce a meaningful work mutual fans would connect with. Like fan art, it offered a way to demonstrate my appreciation for a story in a way that I personally love and can do at least decently. If I enjoy writing it, and other people enjoy reading it, then we have accomplished something. If that isn’t a spectacular outcome, I don’t know what is.

Therefore, I would encourage interested writers to try their hand at fanfiction—if that’s what they want. If someone tries to tell you that fanfiction is lazy or plagiaristic writing, don’t let them stop you. Fanfiction is a great tool for sharpening your skills and getting you motivated/in practice to write your own works. If it makes you happy and you’re being productive, there’s no reason you shouldn’t write it. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t sweat it—that’s what original stories are for. If you wind do up loving it, however, then take advantage of your passion. Someone out there in the fandom will thank you.

Plus, maybe you’ll save someone from your high-pitched squealing. Verbal communication really breaks down when you can’t actually talk. So write, and show that love in a cohesive and captivating way.
Cover Image Credit:

Popular Right Now

14 Inspirational 'Winnie The Pooh' Quotes For College Kids Feeling Like Eeyore

Of course he with the help of his friends.


Winnie the Pooh and his friends were my best buds as a child. Now, as a college student, I've realized they knew more about life than I thought.

These 14 quotes from the 'Winnie the Pooh' movies, TV shows, and books, is getting me through this difficult semester, and maybe it will help you, too.

"You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." -Christopher Robin

"The nicest thing about rain is that it always stops. Eventually." -Eeyore

"The things that make me different are the things that make me." -Piglet

"It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine." -Eeyore

"Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day." -Winnie the Pooh

"Don't underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering." -Piglet

"Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could be." -Eeyore

"Spelling isn't everything. There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn't count." -Rabbit

"There's no difference between falling a thousand feet to the jagged rocks below and tumbling out of bed." -Tigger

"People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day." -Winnie the Pooh

"I always get to where I'm going by walking away from where I have been." -Winnie the Pooh

"To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks." -Eeyore 

"You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for other to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." -Piglet

"When you are a bear of very little brain, and you think of things, you find sometimes that a thing which seemed very thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it." -Winnie the Pooh

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

12 Celebrities From Every '90s Baby's Childhood And Where They Are Now

What did ever happen to The Cheetah Girls?


With Nick Jonas' recent marriage making all the Jonas Brothers officially off the market and Justin Bieber tying the knot with Hailey Baldwin, it inspired me to dig a little deeper to see where other childhood celebrities are now and how their lives turned out. From early-2000s Disney Channel to Brittney Spears and everyone in between, here's where they are now.

The Jonas Brothers

nickjonas / Instagram

One of the most influential boy bands in any young girl's life from 2005 to about 2009. Joe Jonas is engaged to Sophie Turner, Nick just got married to Priyanka Chopra and well, Kevin has been married since 2009. Joe is still part of the band DNCE and also a coach on "The Voice" in Austrailia.

Nick Jonas is still singing, and Kevin has done a little of everything. In 2013, he founded the real-estate development construction company called Jonas Werner and is the co-CEO of The Blu Market company, which deals with communications and plans for social media influencers. In 2015, he created a food app Yood, and as of 2016, he is also in partnership with the video-sharing app We Heart It.

Dylan Sprouse

We all know Cole is on "Riverdale" as Jughead Jones, but what about Dylan? We see his tweets from time to time on our timelines but what has he really been up to? Well, Dylan has apparently opened a Meadery in Brooklyn called All-Wise Meadery after graduating from NYU with a degree in game design. Side note: did you know the Sprouse twins were born in Italy? Me neither.

Corbin Bleu

corbinbleu / Instagram

The other half to our favorite High School Musical bromance who "doesn't dance" is now spending most of his time on Broadway. Since 2010 he has been cast in a number of different musicals and plays. He married Sarah Clements in 2016 who he met at a grocery store in 2011. He proposed in front of Cinderella's castle in Disney World.

Jake T. Austin

Wikimedia Commons

Jake T. Austin is still only 24 years old. You probably remember him as Max Russo from "Wizards of Waverly Place." After the show ended, he continued acting for some time with "The Fosters" until 2015 and since then he has done some voiceovers and competed on "Dancing With The Stars" in 2016 (where he was the first one eliminated... yikes). Apparently, he is going to star in a thriller movie that is set to be released in 2019. Stay tuned!

Britney Spears

britneyspears / Instagram

Our girl Britney is doing much better than she was in 2007 at the peak of her fame. Today, she has announced her 24th perfume, is on tour in North America and Europe and apparently has a new single coming out soon with Pitbull and Marc Anthony. Britney has 2 sons that are now 12 and 13. It is rumored she is dating model Sam Asghar. Love you always, Brit.

​​Macaulay Culkin

Wikimedia Commons

Remember "Home Alone"? Remember Kevin? He gained a lot of attention and praise for his role in the films, but after that, he stopped acting in 1994. He made a brief return to the world of acting in 2003, but in 2013, Culkin co-founded the New York-based, pizza-themed comedy rock band the Pizza Underground, of which he was the vocalist. The band split up in 2016.

The Cheetah Girls

Raven can now be found on Disney Channel starring in "Raven's Home." In 2015 she joined the ABC talk show "The View." She referred to herself as a lesbian openly for the first time in 2013.

Adrienne Bailon has been focusing on her singing career, releasing her debut solo album "New Tradiciones," a Christmas album with both English and Spanish songs. It reached number one on the US Latino chart on iTunes. She dated Rob Kardashian for a bit but is now married to musician Israel Houghton.

Sabrina Bryan (AKA Dorinda) has had some small roles in various TV shows and movies. She is married to strategic accounts manager Jordan Lundberg. She has not had any huge roles since "The Cheetah Girls."

Kiely Williams (AKA Aqua) married Brandon "BJ" Cox in December 2016 and Sabrina Bryan was a bridesmaid at the wedding (Kiely was also a bridesmaid for Sabrina). Kiely released a few solo songs after "The Cheetah Girls" but has not been seen much on TV other than "Celebrity Family Feud."

Candace Cameron-Bure

candacecbure / Instagram

You can turn on the Hallmark channel at any time of day during the Christmas season and pretty much find DJ from "Full House" as the main actress. In fact, many Hallmark Christmas movie drinking games say to "take a shot" or "finish your drink" any time Candace is the main star. She is married to Russian NHL hockey player Valeri Blue and they have a daughter and two sons. Her daughter competed on season 11 of "The Voice."

Raviv Ullman (AKA Phil from the future)

djgramps / Instagram

Do you guys remember this guy? Well, this is him now. After "Phil of the Future," he played some small roles on short films and TV. His last professional acting credit was in 2015. Now he is into filmmaking, shooting music videos, and photography. He currently lives in Brooklyn and is an active environmentalist.

Kyle Massey

kylemassey / Instagram

Kyle Massey has starred in several movies including "Gotham" and "Being Mary Jane" since his departure with "Cory in the House" and "Fish Hooks." A fun fact, in case you didn't know, is that Kyle Massey is the younger brother of the actor that played Michael Barret in "Zoey 101." Who knew?

Mitchell Musso

mitchelmusso / Instagram

Our favorite friend-zoned BFF of the double-life superstar Hannah Montanna. Mitchell stopped acting on Disney in 2011. Mitchell received a DUI in 2011 at the age of 20 which caused his character to be written out of "Pair of Kings" and the show "PrankStars" on Disney to be canceled. Since then he has had several roles in a few films including "The Sand" and "Characterz."

Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan's current residence is in London and Dubai. She has dipped her toes in many ventures including apps, fashion, club openings, music, and acting. In July 2018, Tyra Banks confirmed that Lohan would appear in "Life Size 2" "in some kind of way." Lindsay has said in interviews before that she considers herself bisexual. She has had her fair share of trips to rehab and legal controversies, but she seems to be doing OK for herself in recent years.

Related Content

Facebook Comments