If you are a part of the book community on Twitter then I’m sure you saw the drama surrounding fanfiction last month. Now I’m not one to involve myself in the drama so I won’t be naming anyone, mostly because I can’t even remember the name of the author who started the drama (oops).
If you don’t know about this there was an author who was slating fanfiction and the authors who started out writing this way. They claim that fanfiction is beneath published writing and encourages people to write badly. Well, you know what that’s some top-level BS and I’ll tell you why.
Popular authors started out by writing fanfic
A lot of your favourite authors started out writing fanfic; Cassandra Clare, Victoria Aveyard and Neil Gaiman to name a few. Now I know that writers like Clare and Aveyard are not everyone’s cup of tea however you can’t really argue with their success, they’re obviously doing something right.
I haven’t read the series myself, however, 50 Shades of Grey started out as a Twilight fanfiction. I don’t see anyone complaining that E.L James ripped off Stephanie Meyer? Well, they may have however I now next to nothing about the series or its author so do correct me if I’m wrong.
I’m sure by now that everyone is aware of the fanfic phenomenon that is After. Now, this is one that I’ve actually read myself and yes I did read it on Wattpad way before it was published. When I heard that it was being published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, I was gobsmacked. Nothing like this had ever happened before and at the time I wanted to be an author myself, I was never actually good enough to write anything myself.
Seeing something like this happen to a fanfic writer was totally awe-inspiring and I’d like to believe that it pushed a lot of fanfic writers to keep doing what they’re doing. Some of these people may now be published authors and honestly that is incredible.
For the longest time fanfiction has been the easiest and most accessible way of reading, especially money-wise (IMO). Not everyone has the privilege to be able to buy every book they want, especially not new releases. Fanfiction allows people to continue doing what they love for free, whether this be reading or writing it.
Sites such as Wattpad have always had free content and I’ve only just recently found out that they now offer a subscription service (pictured below). I’m not entirely sure how this works as it is very unlikely that people are making money from writing about other author’s worlds and characters. From what I can gather the paid-for content on the site is purely for original works.
This brings me to my next point. Although not technically fanfiction, people are now able to publish their works through sites such as Wattpad. These are giving aspiring authors the chance to get their work out there without the need for a publishing deal. Again I’m not completely clued up on how this works, I may do a follow-up post to this with some proper research.
A love for pre-existing worlds and characters
Why do people write fanfiction? The most apparent reason for me is that they have such a strong love for certain authors work that they want to put their own spin on it. Surely there’s no chance that someone is writing a fanfic about a book, movie or tv show that they’ve never read or watched.
Often we don’t like how these books, movies or tv shows end and a way that a lot of people deal with this is by reading or writing a fanfic with an alternative ending. Why not allow people to get creative with the things they love?
Why do you care what other people do?
This is my favourite point. Why the hell should you care what other people do? As long as no is getting hurt why does it matter?
I’ve seen a lot of people raising the question of whether or not fanfiction should be included in their monthly goal or just books read in general. Honestly, I have no issue with this. It has nothing to do with me and who am I to tell someone that what they are reading isn’t valid.
I still have a lot more to say about this so please let me know if you are interested in a part two!
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Like this post? Why not read this one too? To Be Read: My NetGalley Shelf