That is a big question. It is nearly as big as "Why do you write fiction?" in my mind. The answers are slightly different for me, but I intend to give you as complete an answer as possible. Fanfiction has two major established advantages inherent in its creation.
The first major advantage is that there is an established universe. There is no struggle to explain why this clan dislikes that clan, or why these two characters are interested in each other, or how the magical MacGuffin works. All of the established canon in the story is there. Someone else has written the story, now all I need to do is to take it somewhere new.
The second inherent advantage to fanfiction is tied into the first. There is an established audience for the universe in question. Writing pure fiction means you must convince others to be interested in your topic. That can be very hard. With a large collection of people already interested in the topic, there is less need to search for an audience who might be interested.
Now, those are the two most general reasons why Fanfiction appeals to me. The more specific question comes to my favorite question when I watch any show or movie, when I read some new idea in a book: "What if?"
Fanfiction is the largest outlet possible to answer this question. I love that question and every time think of a new story, it starts with the phrase, "What if?" Currently, the only story I am writing (Based on the Powerpuff Girls) poses the question, "What if there was an entire world outside of the established home city, and what if the main characters never physically aged, with each of them trapped in the body of a five year old, while their minds continued to grow?" Both of these questions are vitally important to my story.
Building a wider world means that I have to establish why certain events occur, such as, why is the town attacked by monsters on a regular basis? How does the rest of the world deal with monster attacks? How does that play into how the main characters function?
The second question is vital to how I am developing the main characters. The concept of a mentally capable adult, or even a maturing teenager being trapped in a five year old body for the rest of their lives is a fascinating concept. Horrifying, no doubt, I would wish it on no soul. But through fiction, especially fanfiction where established characters can be seen to fold and change as new previously unfaced stimuli hits the characters forged by another, but shifted to my own needs and perception.
Now, while all of the above are part of why I write, there is an underlying reason I can't deny. There is a bit of ego that keeps me interested in Fanfiction. I read a lot of fanfiction and see what anyone would be willing to admit as poor grammar, syntax and writing over all. I am no English major and I don't claim to be. I know personally I use commas like a four year old uses glitter in art projects. But I do believe I am a good writer. I wouldn't write a fanfiction if I didn't believe I was adding something to the fandom, or even to the entirety of literature itself, in some small part.
Well, that's my take. I could bore anyone's ear off if someone asked my opinion on the idea of fanfiction as a whole. I should get to work on my next chapter. I hope that answers your question!2/18/2011 #7
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