Okaaaay, admission time, folks. I write fan fiction. Occasionally. Less now, since I have a lot of original fiction to occupy my time.
But fan fiction was a good time-out for me a decade or so ago, when I was burnt out on writing my own work. I learned a lot from critiques and feedback. I got over my snobbish distaste for fan fiction, born out of too many media-based Out Of Character hatchet jobs seen in media convention fanzines in the mid-eighties.
My work is archived all over the internet, but the bulk of it can be found here, on Archive of Our Own, a massive fan fiction site administered by the good folks at The Organization For Transformative Works. AO3* was just honored by Time Magazine as one of the ’50 Best Websites of 2013′, so I’m not alone in my esteem.
Fair warning: the works listed under ‘Filigree’ on AO3 are primarily M/M erotic fan fiction, often including graphic depictions of sex and violence. Most are old pieces, largely unedited, and may have odd formats. Because I like them as mile markers of where I came from, I’ve left them alone.
Edited To Add: some very sneaky and capable authors have dragged me back into fan fiction as of 2013. The rest of you will just have to suffer along with me.
Edited Once More: here is a link to a post about some of my current favorite fan fiction from other authors, and why I love those particular stories.
Enjoy, if that’s your cuppa.
* Perhaps this should be an aside, but I’m adding a rant here. Part of AO3’s charm for me has been its relatively high barricades to entry. For the longest time, writers had to be invited onto AO3 through member recommendations and/or mod approval. That led, organically, to having a higher concentration of better writers (talented amateurs and moonlighting professionals). With AO3’s current growth, some of that is slipping.
Good god, I’m sounding like an old Country Club member here. I don’t mean to be. Everyone starts somewhere in writing, and fan fiction can be a great place to begin. It’s a lot more responsible than self-publishing seventeen versions of a One Direction Real-Person fic and forcing paying readers to become editors and beta readers.
I’m seeing more and more Mary Sue and author-insertion fan fiction stories on AO3, along with awkward grammar, word choice errors, out-of-character depictions, unrepentant typos, and themes/tropes that tell me ‘psst, this is a raw newbie!’ I don’t generally review work when it’s really awful, nor do I comment on specific bad stories. I remember being that new and scared. AO3 doesn’t need to become a hotbed of contention like other fan sites.
I just wish fan authors could train themselves a little more before wading into the deep part of the resort pool, and pissing in it.