To some, it’s a dirty word. To others, an all-consuming passion. And to others still, it’s a closet project or guilty pleasure.
I’m talking, of course, about fanfiction. When I started writing, it was all fanfiction. Oh, I didn’t know the word yet, but my little stories and bigger works were based in other writers’ worlds. When I was twelve, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (and the movie The Secret of NIMH) along with the sequel book Racso and the Rats of NIMH consumed my imagination, my thoughts, and my writing. From there, I moved on to a more thinly-veiled version of a fanfiction that was as much my own ideas as it was ideas pulled especially from the Redwall books, but also whatever I was reading and watching. It took me a long time to let that story go. I wanted to make it my own, to change it from talking animals to humans with problems and adventures. I couldn’t make it work, though, so I moved on.
As I wrote these fanfictions, and played with a Redwall-based RPG called “Corsairs of the Black Flag”, I was also pecking away at bits and pieces of original work. Much of those pieces stitched themselves into the novels I’m writing today. Like it or not, Fanfiction was indispensable in my growth as a writer. It’s a good way to keep words flowing, even today, and to keep myself thinking and playing and engaging with other people who love what I love.
The next few journal entries may or may not be some of my little experiments. Should make for some interesting conversation on Twitter, at least.