Fanfic to Fiction Writer
I think that writing fanfic fiction has always been a natural way for a writer to begin, even before the term itself existed. Imitation is the easiest way to start to do anything: here’s how to throw a ball, trace this letter then try it yourself.
The surge in popularity of fan fiction seems as much a tribute to the easy of sharing stories as it is proof that we love to put ourselves, or at least our own imaginations, into the worlds others create to entertain us (or, you know, themselves!)
So I can’t stigmatize the urge or the action of writing fan fiction as something that ISN’T writing, as the more snobbish might. Writers don’t start off performing like finely-tuned racing cars, or running like prized thoroughbreds in a prestigious race. We start off small (with that six page “novel” we wrote in elementary school) and move on up from there.
Fanfic: What’s your goal?
There are however different kinds of writing and different goals for it, and there are certainly different levels of competence. You have to “learn the craft,” as they say, to take your work beyond fanfic if you want it to reach a consumer market as well as the folks who are going to love what you do because you’re giving them what they want: a new or expanded way into stories and characters they already love.
I know that I forgive a lot of spelling and grammar errors in fanfic that I wouldn’t in a published mass market paperback, or even in a manuscript that crosses my own desk. If you want to reach an audience that will see you as a creator and craftsperson, you need to do two things—and yes, they will both take a long time! You need to learn how to write technically, and you need to learn to tell your own stories.
Spec Script 101
If you don’t know what a spec script is, you might want to read up! If you’ve ever dreamed of having a show you created on television, one of the ways to get there is to write a spec, which is basically a piece of fan fiction that can take you to the next level with your writing career. A spec is an episode of a current television show (live or animated) that YOU write. Here’s a place where you can bring all your fanfic chops to bear. I mean, you probably already know what you want to see happen to your favourite characters! And here’s a way you can do it.
Now, something else you should know going in is that you rarely send a spec script to the show you wrote it about. That’s mostly a legal thing, because the last thing a show wants to do is air a story close to yours and have you sue them! But you can send a “Supernatural” spec script to “Grimm,” or a “CSI” script to “NCIS.”
From there, you might end up getting hired to write a script for the show you submitted to, from which you might move into the writers’ room where new ideas are honed, and eventually on to create a show yourself.
Fan fiction can take you places, if you learn the craft, and watch out for opportunities. And yes, spelling DEFINITELY counts!
READ a great article by Joanna Smith on the different types of fanfic, and where to try publishing your fanfic online!