When I was eleven, I wrote this fanfic based on The Silver Brumby series by Elyne Mitchell. I copied Mitchell’s style, settings, plot lines, and just about anything else to do with Thowra (who I visualized as a snow-white gray and not a palomino). It was my very first attempt at writing a novel, because up until that point I had been writing short stories. I was so into the Silver Brumby series that I overlooked the purple prose; to be truthful, I was rather taken with the lyrical overwriting and copied that too.
My next attempt at a novel was in the Science Fiction genre, as Fantasy and Science Fiction was my favourite genre for any form of entertainment. I was a huge fan of Doctor Who – and still am. This second narrative was much less derivative on any one author’s work. It was written in snatches between studying and caring for my horse in Grade Twelve, and in the end of year break before I went to university for my first round of tertiary studies. It was quite dreadful, but it was an enormous improvement over my brumby book, as I had made attempted to have an original plot, setting and characters.
When I started my second round of tertiary studies, I wrote a little more fanfic, usually to experiment with the characters in these universes. It helped me to find the confidence to use my own voice.
Writing fanfic gave me practice in all the skills I needed as a writer. It taught me the discipline to sit down and write thousands of words. It taught me about the interwoven relationships between characterization, setting and plot. It taught about how to give a character a voice of their own. It wasn’t a waste of time.
So, I applaud all those individuals brave enough to put their fanfics online for others to read. You need passion to write such fiction, and it is a good way to discover your own talents as a writer.