Illustration by: Bill McConkey
This post is dedicated to all those who think fanfiction is a waste of time, lazy work, or the sign of a bad writer. This is dedicated to their elitist view on what is valuable writing while ignoring the true greatness that comes from fanfiction. This is dedicated to their close minded ways and their ignorance when it comes to understanding how fanfiction has changed the lives of many, including my own.
Because you’re wrong.
First up, the complaint that fanfiction is a waste of time. Fanfiction, like books, TV shows, or movies are ways for people to step into the shoes of another. It’s a way of understanding the circumstances of those you’ve never met, that half way across the world, or right around the corner. This is how empathy is born for many who might not have access to books, TV shows, or movies that expand on experiences different than their own.
Also, you have to take into consideration that there are plenty of lonely and secluded people who find a home and comfort in fanfiction. Personally, I have used fanfiction as an escape from the abusive home that I still reside in. It’s a way of whisking me away to brighter and happier things that inevitably give the strength to keep going throughout my day. That is invaluable to me and a reason why fanfiction holds a special place in my heart.
That doesn’t even take into account the accessibility that fanfiction gives to those that might not have the money to buy “proper books” or live in an ultra conservative community. Fanfiction gives them a window where they can explore their sexuality, the perspective of differently abled persons, or ways of thinking they never even knew were possible. And it’s all because of fanfiction and its accessibility.
Next up, the complaint that fanfiction is lazy work. Excuse me, have you never read a 400k word fic? Because I sure have. And if you read the comments left by the authors you’ll know that they slave away to give us a concise storyline that engages readers and keeps them coming back for more. They have beta readers sometimes, multiples of them, to read over their work to make it better. That is time, that is dedication, that is proof that writing fanfiction isn’t lazy work.
That isn’t even accounting into the time that some fanfiction writers go to create an immersive experience. Some fanfiction writers spend hours illustrating scenes from their fanfictions because they want their readers to see what they envision in their minds for the story as a whole. Some fanfiction writers record audio versions of their story, create vision boards, or playlists that accompany their work. And plenty of them spend plenty of time reading reviews and replying back to readers.
That isn’t laziness.
That is dedication.
And finally, the complaint that writing fanfiction is a sign of a bad writer. We don’t know about you, but we don’t have the money to have an Ivy League degree to improve our writing. Most people don’t. So fanfiction, like it or not, is a sort of school for those trying to improve on their writing, grammar, or when they’re trying to learn a new language. Plenty of readers are shaped and molded into better writers because readers give them an opportunity to create something unique, yet family, while giving feedback.
Plenty of said fanfiction writers have gone off and taken their works, inspired by fanfiction, to another level by transforming them into novels. And just because they started as fanfiction, doesn’t make them any less than any other book out there. They have their value and are loved in equal measure. And trying to shit on fanfiction writers is a bad take because it forms an elitist divide where you’re “not a real writer” if you write or wrote fanfiction.
Sorry, not sorry, but fanfiction writers are real writers.
Fanfiction writers are real creators.
And like it or not, they’re not going anywhere.