Since I started hanging out with actual published authors, I was at first ashamed that I wrote fan fiction. As if I would be seen as wasting my time and talent. It had never bothered me before then and it took a few years to wonder why it did now. So, to test the water, at a meeting of my local writers group, I casually mentioned that I wished I had time to finish my current original manuscript but was swamped with deadlines for my fan fiction events. It got me a blink, a skeptical look, and a polite but near-snide “Why are you wasting your time doing that?” And I gave an honest answer that seemed to satisfy the skepticism. 

“Because I like it, it’s cathartic, it’s good practice on techniques, and I get feedback without having to wonder if a bunch of scathing reviews will tank my career.” 

And that was that. Nothing else was said. I became more open after that. I admitted to my critique group once that I was behind on my chapters because I had two fan fiction stories that had to be finished and posted by the end of the month. No one batted an eye. In fact, I get “well, get moving, girl!” more often than not. One even asked for my username on Archive of Our Own as she had written something fan-based and wanted to see what it would look like to post it where others could read it. 


I don’t care if you know I read and write fan fiction. Writing a horrible Beatles self-insert right after Louis L’Amour Sackett stories, Riker/Troi fan fiction and then DC, Marvel, Harry Potter, and Star Wars not only gave me a community to belong to but an outlet to my creativity. It gave me the gumption to write original works. I may have gotten to that point eventually, but I guarantee you I wouldn’t be doing it well. 

 I’m a geek. It’s part of my geek identity. But if you’re just absolutely curious why fan fiction is such a big deal for wanna-be authors, or fandom in general, check out the links below. Also, there are a LOT of books to be found on Amazon and other book retailers on the subject, from scholarly academic looks to us fans explaining why we do what we do. 

From Star Trek to Fifty Shades: How Fan Fiction Went Mainstream

By Mikaella Clements 
Published in The Guardian, August 8, 2018

What Fan Fiction Teaches that the Classroom Doesn’t
 By Julie Beck
 Published in The Atlantic October 1, 2019  

Six Ways that Fan Fiction Makes Your Writing Stronger
 By Vivian Shaw on  April 8, 2019  

An Open Letter to the Published Author Who Told Me to Stop Writing Fan Fiction
By Emma Lord on  July 24, 2018  

13 Things Fan Fiction Writers are Very Tired of Explaining
By Emma Lord on March 23, 2015

The Promise and Potential of Fan Fiction
By Stephanie Burt 
Published in The New Yorker, August 23, 2017  

How much more legitimate can you get?
I am long-standing voting member of the Organization of Transformative Works, who hosts the website Archive of Our Own, or AO3.