Do you enjoy reading fan-fiction or do you find it boring or overdone?
Some fan fiction is fun, but I like many aspiring authors think it's kind of lazy. Why not think of your own characters or be inspired to make up your own? It's not copying or plagiarism if you take elements of your favorite characters when creating new ones, as long as you don't give them the same names. Take E.L James, writer of the 50 Shades trilogy. Fifty Shades of Grey / Darker / Freed are actually Twilight fan fiction that she made millions off of for penning what a lot of people (including myself) see as some of the worst writing ever next to Twilight, but she took established characters, put a little more effort into the character development and made them her own.
For years my little sister wrote Jonny Quest fan fiction. It's an okay form of writing exercise if you need something to help you jump start some inspiration, but when you're taking someone else s characters, you can't take all of the credit.
I agree with JMWillis that fan fiction is a good writing exercise. It provides an existing universe and characters for the writer to use, thus allowing them significant forward momentum. One of the hardest parts about building a narrative from scratch is back story, so fan fiction is a way to write without having to worry about it.
Having said that, I've written very few fan fictions in my life and read even fewer than that (we're talking 2 or 3 here). Since my goal was to become an author, I just saw fan fiction as a distraction from what I should actually be doing.
It's hard to say, it all depends, I sometimes enjoying it, but sometimes i am not.
I think fanfiction gives life back to characters when the series is dead. I mean sometimes you just look at a movie and think I wonder what was going on his head during this part and you find a amazing fanfiction with a author's opinion on his emotions and it can just complete it.
I do not think it is lazy, I think there comes a point where authors feel trapped because they made a awesome story that could have possibly be published but can't because it is a fanfiction although 50 Shades of Grey started as a fanfiction...
I think it can gain confidence in writers and it can get them to learn how to develop characters and get the foundation of writing and finding what people are interested in and not.
I don't think there is any right way to become a professional author. Some dive right into original fiction and some start with fanfiction, and some authors do both. It is just another pathway to take and see if you are even interested in writing. Some have written fanfiction and realized they love writing and some started and decided they hated it.
For me, I started with fanfiction and I still write fanfiction even through I am also writing my first novel and original short stories. I find that sometimes it is refreshing to work on a fanfiction instead of your original work. It gives you a break from it and gives you something else to focus on. I read a lot of fanfiction, mostly to find the diamonds in the rough and I don't think it is wasting my time or the writer's time but that is just me.
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