Why Fan Fiction?
Different people like to use their Flist in different ways.stmargarets likes holding writing challenges; moonette1 likes having virtual parties. And I get a lot of pleasure from hosting debates and discussions of issues related to writing, art, etc.
So here's my latest provocation:
A number of my RL friends, when they hear that I write fan fiction, are enthusiastic and congratulatory, but also want to know whether I'm planning to write anything "original" soon. Indeed, I've had reviews that ask the same thing, and even people on my Flist have nudged me about it. I find all of these inquiries very flattering. Many of my RL friends ask, "Why is it you're writing fan fiction instead of original fiction?"
Typically I have three answers:
Every attempt of mine to write original fiction, from the end of college until 2006, was fraught with fantasy and ambition, and I never finished any of those attempts. When I discovered fan fiction, it was different.
I started reading FF, as I know I've said before, about a month after HBP came out, because of the strange emotional conversion I had when Harry got together with Ginny. Before HBP my attitude was, "I don't care who Harry ends up with, so long as he ends up with someone, because the poor guy deserves to be happy." When Harry & Ginny finally found each other I experienced a rush of relief, and when they appeared to "break up" (or whatever it was) I became distressed. I spent August fretting (about fictional characters! I was worried about my mental health). So I was restlessly doing various Google searches on the names "Harry" and "Ginny" and came across the first chapter of antosha_c's Monster on SIYE. Emotionally it was just what I needed. Then a year later, also SIYE (which was, at the time, the only HP FF site I knew about), I ran across Intromit's Fate's Debt and Viridian's Nightmares of Futures Past, and found them (especially the latter) very moving. Then I started writing reviews, and debating with the authors, and somewhere along the line (don't ask me how) the idea for The 312th Edition popped into my head, fully formed.
But when I started writing that story, it was just for a lark. And the same thing was true of the next one, and the next one. Indeed, for me the most troubling thing about multi-chapter WIPs like A Slow Boat to Shippers' Hell is that once I write the first chapter or two, there's an audience that's actually expecting / hoping for something more from me (the next chapter) -- and it changes the context of what I'm doing. It's somehow not as fun. (This is what now scares me about writing Returing Were As Tedious; I'm afraid I'll start to resent the story about halfway through.) So maybe there's a fourth reason I write fan fiction: The stakes are low, and I don't have to worry about whether it's any good (although I do worry about that, and I do pretty intensive second and third drafts).
So okay, there's my rambling meditation on the pros and cons of writing fan fiction.
Care to jump in? From any perspective at all?