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I’m going to borrow the talking points for this entry from this article by Nicole L’autore.
How can writing fan fiction improve your writing?
1. Flex your muscles stress-free.
When writing a fan fiction, there really are no constraints. Really. Have you read any? Half of it is really, really, insanely, Pulitzer Prize-winning good. And some of it is complete and total horseshit. But the point is, no matter where the story you’ve written stands in this spectrum, you’ve written it. You’ve put a lot of thought into the characters, the plot, and everything else you would do for a “regular” story that you would write. Only this time, you haven’t really devoted energy to something you plan on publishing. It’s stress-free writing, simply because this is more often than not — unless you have a Koala on your own — writing for yourself.
2. Get comfortable with your own personal style and genre.
The best part about writing fan fiction is that the characters are, more or less, developed for you. Yes, there are nuances to every character in every story and yes, more often than not those who write fan fiction tend to put the already created characters into situations that they have never been in, nor will they ever face. This is where you can carefully hone your own style, the flow to your writing that is uniquely yours. This is how I’ve been able to craft my own voice, and apply it to the stories “that count”.
3. Memorize the equation.
This is the one that I don’t fully comprehend. Memorize the equation. What equation? You mean the nifty if not mental math that most authors have going on in order to get their story from point A to point B? I feel like this is only valid if you write fan fiction that takes place inside a novel or a TV show/movie’s universe. If you write RPF (real people fiction), it’s a little more difficult because their life could be anything.
4. Dodge writer’s block.
This is HUGE, okay? Like, legit huge. This is how I break out of writer’s block. I’ve always been told that, so long as you’re writing you’re a writer. So, when I lose momentum in one of my “real” stories, I find myself jumping to an idea I’ve had about characters in one of my roleplaying threads, of something that Koala has bounced off of me days/weeks/months before. I find myself cogitating on it and finally writing up a paragraph or two. Usually this turns into something more epic, but it always results in me returning to the “real” story.
5. Bring the fun back to writing.
This goes back to the first point made. There are no stressors in writing a fan fiction. You’re writing for yourself, and if your circle of friends are really nice to you they’ll be lucky enough to read it. Perhaps. Maybe. This is where you’re allowed to flex your muscles and no one is going to judge you. In fact, nine times out of ten this particular writing community is going to encourage you no matter what. So you write. You write and a few weeks later you read it over and you write some more, and a few weeks later you write again and you continue to write and continue to read and it puts your mind and your writing at ease. It makes all the sense in the world to me, really.