Fan fic’s not cheating

Yes, there are differences between fan fiction and writing from your own worlds. But you know what? No matter what you’re writing from scratch, you’re still building from what’s come before. Even if you’ve never picked up a Tolkien book, your idea of what constitutes a fantasy novel is colored by him. Your idea of a romance novel is colored by Jane Austen and Danielle Steele.

Sure in fan fiction you’re working from someone else’s framework, but just because you’ve got the bare bones of a world doesn’t mean you aren’t putting in the hard work. People act like anyone can write and I suppose, on a basic level, that’s true. Anyone can put words on a page.

But to tell a story, to paint a world, that takes time and practice and skill. There’s nothing wrong with taking the pieces of something you love and starting from there. God knows there are plenty of fantasy writers who started off with ‘I like Tolkien, so I’m gonna write a thing’. Yeah, they may use other names or imagine another world, but if you scratch at the paint you’ll find bones underneath.

Nobody writes in a vacuum. There are no 100% original stories.

If you enjoy telling stories about John and Sherlock, or Tony and Steve or anything else, it’s still you writing it, it’s still your imagination. It’s you figuring out how Hannibal would react to this time, this situation. Yes, even if it’s a 600 word PWP fic, it’s still your imagination at work.

All stories are built on the bones of what’s come before. Just because fan fiction has a more visible skeleton doesn’t make it invalid or cheating.

Storytelling is a skill, and a valuable one at that, no matter where you’re starting from.

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