Original Fic Killed My Fanfic Muse

I know fan fiction can sometimes be a hot-button topic among writers, but I’m firmly on the pro-fanfic side of the debate. I love fanfic for a variety of reasons; I read my share of fanfic.

Hell, up until several months ago, I wrote fanfic.Beckett gun

Nothing special, really. I mean, there was a way-out-there Castle/Buffy the Vampire Slayer fic that I was having a ball writing — because somehow, the idea of Detective Kate Beckett as a Slayer had far more legs than I thought it would — but again, nothing special.

If you’re curious, check out my fanfics here. Fair warning: there’s a lot of incomplete stuff there.

If nothing else, fanfic was great practice. It allowed me to continue plying my writing craft — sharpening my sentence structure, my plot pacing, all sorts of technical stuff, while telling stories about characters I loved. There was no pressure to fanfic; it was just writing well-known characters for an audience who loved them as much as I did.

No sales charts. No release dates. No promotional headaches. Just writing.

But the deeper I got into my novel writing — not just the three Jill Andersen novels, but all the other works — I noticed that my fanfic muse was nowhere near as active as it once had been. Maybe it was a case of being overworked, but the longer this whole novel-writing thing went, the more my fanfic faded into the background until the muse just… disappeared.

I keep telling myself that one day, I’ll go back to my fics and finish them. But then I have to be honest with myself and realize that’s probably never going to happen. Not because I don’t love fanfic — I do, and I would probably faint from happiness if I ever discovered fanfic based on my characters — but because I’ve committed myself so fully to novel-writing that I don’t know if fanfic still has a seat at the table.

I just don’t understand authors who are anti-fanfic. I mean, that’s their right. Their properties are important to them, and if they don’t want fanfic based on those properties, then they’re within their rights to say so. I just don’t understand the animosity; it’s not like the vast majority of fanfic writers are looking to make money off of it. Legally, they can’t.

I mean, unless they change names and other identifiers and try selling their fanfic and something original (which is, I believe, how 50 Shades of Grey came to be).

I consider fanfic (and fanart) a form of flattery; someone enjoyed these characters, this universe, enough to create something based on it. AU fics, insertion fics… hell, even fix-it fics… fanfic is a labor of love, and if anyone ever created fanfic or fanart based on my work, it would probably warm my heart more than the world’s greatest sales chart.

Though I’m greedy; I want both.

So consider me pro-fanfic. Vehemently so. I just… can’t seem to write it anymore.

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