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Monday 8 August 2022

Thoughts on fanfiction

 I'm glad this topic came up on Long and Short Reviews, because it's one I've mentioned a few times in interviews. Whenever I'm asked how a person might learn to write, I tell them one of my best teaching tools was fanfiction. Specifically slash fanfiction.

It might not sound like a great tool - fanfiction is, by its nature, amateur, and so some of the stories posted online aren't great quality. However that didn't matter - I found them very useful. It was good to be able to read a story and analyse why I liked it or didn't like it, or how I enjoyed it but couldn't help noticing its flaws. 

This one is so poetically written I gave up halfway through.

This one is enjoyable, but uses the word "release" in nearly every sentence.

This one is obsessed with food and stops the action every chapter to rave about what the characters are eating.

As a result, when I started writing for publication I was aware of a lot of the pitfalls already, although I admit that some of them (like overusing one particular word) are still easy to fall into.

I haven't read any fanfiction for a while, but I may have to have a look - I'm sure there are lots of new ones out by now.

So how do you feel about fanfiction?

11 comments:

  1. That's a great point, actually! I think in a lot of ways you can learn all the things to NOT do in a story through fanfic.

    My post

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  2. I love fanfiction. As you say, I think that -- done well -- it can do amazing things to improve both writing and critical reading.

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    1. It was very useful when I was developing as a writer.

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  3. I don't read fanfiction but I do write it. It is a great tool to help improve writing skills.

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  4. I really like your take on this prompt...in the education field, we call it "unlearning." Nicely done!

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  5. For sure you can find a lot of things to learn what NOT to do.. but I think it needs to be balanced by reading a lot of really GOOD writers as well. And, I can see where it would be fun to write! My post (better late than never) is here.

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    1. Yes, it's best to read as much as you can really!

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  6. I bloody love fanfiction - I've been writing it for 25ish years, and learned so much as a writer and still am. And I've made some amazing friendships through it. I will sing fanfics praises happily and loudly :D

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