Fanfiction, the Pros and Cons

Pieces like this and this give fanfiction a bad name.

I don’t know if the authors of the two pieces above were serious or just having some good old-fashioned trollin’ time. Either way, their writing is a disgrace to the English language and to fanfiction.

I know I sound pretentious here (I’m a serious grammar Nazi), but grammatical errors drive me up the wall. I nearly cry when I see “very unique” or something similar.

I don’t care much for fanfiction, even though some of it is awesome and probably better written than a lot of original fiction pieces out there. I know that fanfiction has its good points:

1. It’s a great compliment to the author of the original works.

2. It’s an excellent practice ground for writing.

3. It’s a good way to meet up with others who share your passion for the same books, manga, TV shows, etc.

4. Writers who give others good critiques and try to improve their own work so that they can eventually move on to their own original pieces.

5. Writers who stay within canon and don’t do too many crazy crossovers.

One of the best fanfiction websites is here. As with all writing, there’s some horrible stuff and some great stuff. What bothers me the most about fanfiction is…

1. Writers who use fanfiction primarily to write about sex between two characters. (There are lots of Harry Potter fanfics where the whole purpose of the piece is to show that Draco and Harry are lovers.)

2. The flame wars that sometimes erupt when someone writes “out of canon.” Give a thoughtful critique instead!

3. Badly written stories laden with grammatical errors and factual inaccuracies.

4. (Similar to number 2) Writers who don’t know how to give constructive criticism (this goes for all writing, as a matter of fact).

5. Trolls. Everyone knows that the more grammatical errors and the more ludicrousness in the writing, the more people will flock to it. It’s a cheap, attention-grabbing scheme. (This can also go for all writing.)

I personally believe that if you’re creative enough, you should try to branch out and create your own characters, worlds, and scenarios instead of ripping off an established author. I know that lots of writers use fanfiction as a starting point, then go off and create their own works. To me, this should be the purpose of fanfiction, but if your opinion differs, I’d love to hear it.

Let me know how you feel about fanfiction. Do you write it? Do you read it? Does it irritate you? Inspire you?

4 thoughts on “Fanfiction, the Pros and Cons

  1. Fanfiction may not be “real writing” to a lot of people and in a sense, that’s true because you are using someone else’s universe as the basis for your story. However, the ideas are still your own and the same basic rules of writing apply to Fanfiction as to Original Fiction. Plus, it’s a great way to get the creative juices flowing.

    As to your questions, yes, I do read and write fanfiction. I have a FF.net account. I find bad fanfiction to be both irritating and hilarious at the same time. Reading other fanfics have inspired me to write a couple pieces of my own fanfiction, so in a way, yes, it is inspiring (or rather, can be).

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  2. I find your observations true. I especially dislike numbers 3 and 5 on your dislikes list.

    I read and write fanfiction both, and I agree with you …

    BTW I’m not a native speaker of English, so apologies for any mistakes.

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