Why I Encourage Beginning Writers to Write Fan Fiction

harrypotterI do frequent Skype visits with classes, and often the students are working on creative writing units. As a parent and a parent volunteer in classrooms, I know creative writing isn’t easy for a large number of students. It just seems overwhelming to some to pull together characters, plot, setting and theme. That’s why I recommend new writers try their hand at fan fiction. Now, I didn’t even know what fan fiction was until about four years ago when I heard other writers discussing it. So for those of you who don’t know what it is either, here’s a brief description: Fan fiction is where you use the characters or world in an already published book or television show or movie, to write stories set in the same world or with the same characters. It’s not fiction to be published, unless the original work is out of copyright, or is something that has never been copyrighted, like fairy tales.

A writer writes fan fiction because they love the world of the story and want to see it continue. It’s also an excellent way to practice writing. Many published writers got their start writing fan fiction. The benefits of it are that a new writer doesn’t have so much to juggle. Using existing characters gives a basis. You know the character’s habits, quirks, friendships, etc., so you can focus on plot. This can take some of the pressure off. And if the world of the story is already a complicated one, like the one in Harry Potter, you can add details but don’t have to embark upon the complicated task of worldbuilding, something else that is very daunting and difficult for new writers.

So if you are a writer, child or adult, struggling with writing, why not give it a try? And keep in mind, writing only improves with practice, it doesn’t ever get worse!

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