by Donna Huber
Alison discussed fan fiction from a reader's perspective and I have shared how fan fiction can help an author develop a fan base in the past. But did you know writing fan fiction can help you develop your writing skills? Here are 5 ways it can help you with your writing.
1. Gives you a writing group
Not everyone is lucky to find a writing group that is in close proximity to them or meets at a time that fits your schedule. As Alison mentioned a lot of people are reading and writing fan fiction. One of the major cornerstones of the fan fiction world is the leaving of comments. These comments can range from "great story, can't wait to read more" to actual critiques that are helpful to improving your writing, "too much telling and not enough showing" or in my case - "use more contractions". Obviously you will need to post your writing to one of the fan fiction sites (or more than one) to reap from this benefit.
2. Work on certain aspects of your writing
Following from the previous point, you can work on one aspect of writing at a time. For writers that are just starting out, putting together an entire story from scratch can be daunting and overwhelming. If you aren't confident in a certain aspect of writing, say writing dialogue, you can use established characters and plots so you can focus on improving your dialogue writing. If you are working on a certain aspect of writing you can put a note at the beginning of the "chapter" so that it will be more likely for people to leave useful comments.
3. Helps with writer's block
Do you ever get stuck on your story? A change of focus can be just what you need to get the creative juices flowing again. Playing in someone else's sandbox may give you inspiration, insight, or a new direction that can be applied directly to your story. While with the first two you needed to post your fan fiction in order to get feedback, with this one it can be kept all to yourself.
4. Push boundaries, test the waters
As Alison mentioned, a lot of fan fiction is heavy on the sex. I think the rise of erotica is some what tied with all the fan fiction authors writing it. Writers (those writing fan fiction and not) could see that readers were interested in these story lines. I know some of the stories I read really pushed the envelop on deviant behaviors. For some of them I think the writers were trying to see how far was too far.
5. Try different styles
The great thing about fan fiction is that you can do what you want to basically. You don't even have to write full stories. There are one shots, which range from a short story to just a scene. There are drabbles which may only be 100 words long. People write poetry and songs. It can be freeing to write fan fiction. You can skip back stories or world building if you want and dive right into the action because everyone reading is already familiar with the basics and they just want to see where you are going.
Stop by tomorrow as I will be sharing a little bit from my own ventures in fan fiction writing.