I just love how stigamitized fan fiction is! It’s so cute! People dedicate hundreds of hours of their lives writing for the love of it and people mock and shame them, regardless of the content, because it’s “a waste of time.”
Bite me. Fan fiction makes people smile. It gives them something to look forward to. It helps them process things that everyone else refuses to acknowledge. Fan fiction saves lives. And why do the authors do it? For the love of a show and a love of the craft. With society mocking their every step, they spin their own story and add joy for free to other people’s lives. I have gotten plenty of comments of people having shitty days and finding joy in fan fiction, and I have left even more. And at the end of the day, what’s the huge difference between a fan fiction author and an original author?
As someone who has done both, I can say that the difference is only so big and often depends on what you’re writing. “Oh, well, they just take other people’s worlds!” First off, does realistic fiction mean nothing to you? Is it inferior because they didn’t come up with this world but just stole our own? No. Because the story is what matters. Also, plenty of them do make up their own worlds and put the characters in.
“They just steal other people’s characters, it’s not as hard!” Yes and no. Yes, not having to create a character is easier. But no, because they often give them far more depth than canon, and an even harder no because where do you think authors come up with their characters? Out of thin air? No. They see them in real life, they are inspired by other shows or books, and sometimes they directly pull characters from other stories and use them with their own characterization. Sound familiar? There is nothing truly original, they are only original ways of saying something.
“Authors are paid!” Someone’s craft is worth less because people aren’t willing to pay for it? Well guess what? I watched a professional author friend come up with a fantastic children’s picture book about a gay love story that was refused for a literal decade because “we can’t publish something like that.” There were no craft problems, the industry just refused to publish it because it was upfront and had human gay children instead of bunnies. And she refused to change it or back down until, recently, the social tides changed enough for her to publish it. What gets published isn’t always the best work; it’s often the most socially acceptable work.
Fan fiction is not something to just mock and laugh at and trample, it is hours of effort and dedication, and it can make just as much of an impact in people’s lives as original work if not more. I know it has made a bigger impact in mine than any original work. I’m not interested in discourse, I’m saying to leave a community alone and stay in your lane. We don’t make you read it, you don’t get to make us stop writing it. You don’t get to dictate and shame people for living their lives and helping themselves and other people. Do what you enjoy over in your corner of the internet and let us do what we want in ours.