Have You Ever Written Fan Fiction?

Fan fiction. The mere mention of it can send people into paroxysms of rage or ecstasy. People either Love it or Hate it, with capital letters. Usually fanfic is the bailiwick of the dedicated fanatic who believes that a story MUST be told, whether it fits into the canon of the world someone else created or not. According to Wikipedia, the first fanfic might have involved Don Quixote. 

The ultimate fan fiction is probably doing work for hire on a company-owned character. Ask anyone who’s written a Star Wars novel or one of the major superheroes for DC or Marvel and you’ll likely find they were a fan of the characters before they started typing things up. For us, here in the Cafe, every week we get asked a question that may further enlighten or illuminate the week’s topic here. Below you’ll find our confessions as to whether or not we’ve written it and even what we think about it. Pull up a chair and see what you think.

Kevin Wohler

Back in the late ’90s, I was reading the Quantum Leap series of television tie-in novels. I loved the stories, and after reading several I discovered the “formula” to how they were written. I decided to give it a go and wrote an outline and the first few chapters. Then — in a flurry of “can do” spirit — I mailed off the whole shebang to the publisher. In my cover letter, I told them it was a work in progress (I didn’t tell them I had written only 3 chapters).

For several months, I heard nothing. When I did, it was both good and bad news. The bad news was that they were discontinuing the Quantum Leap series because of poor sales. The good news: They had held onto my submission for so long because they had an interest in it until the series got cancelled.

With no market for the novel, I never finished it. Even so, I still get a smile when I read those first few chapters and think what might have been. Oh boy!


Jack Campbell, Jr.:

I’ve never been a big enough fan of anything to successfully write fan fiction.  Someone recently said I am not very nostalgic.  I’ve never loved characters created by someone else enough to care what they would do in a different situation.  I’ve rarely written about my own characters outside of their own first appearances.  If you read enough of my writing, you will catch occasional tonal tributes, especially to The Twilight Zone monologues.  I’ll sometimes throw allusions to popular culture into my writing.  I try to capture rhythms and feelings from books and movies I’ve particularly liked, but utilizing another writer’s entire story world has no appeal to me.


Christie Holland:

I’ve never written fan fiction before.  But I have a confession:  I love to read it.  I mostly read Harry Potter, but I’ve been known to branch out to other series.  I love reading about how other people see the stories and characters from books that I’ve read dozens of times.  Other people’s creativity will never cease to amaze me.


Jason Arnett:

I developed a story for the spinoff comic book series The Dreaming based on a banquet scene in The Sandman. The butler for the Dreaming, Taramis, fascinated me and I wondered who the chef would be. I created a character that could have been Morpheus’ chef and wrote a script around it but never sent the submission in to Vertigo. Instead I developed Jimmy into stories of his own. Is that fan fiction?


Sara Lundberg:

I have always had mixed feelings about fanfiction, but because I try to challenge myself by writing in different genres, I recently made an attempt. I wrote an 8,000 word Doctor Who fanfiction story in which the 10th Doctor picks up a new companion. It was actually a lot of fun to write, and I have a better appreciation for those who write fanfiction now. Sometimes you have to write because you are compelled to tell a particular story, even if that story is with another writer’s concept and characters.


Ted Boone:

Never tried fanfic. I understand the appeal for others, but it just doesn’t work for me. I want my universe and my characters to be wholly my own.


R.L. Naquin:

Never. Just reading it tends to make me feel icky. This is partly because the material isn’t canon, so I can’t get too far into it – the creator of the original world didn’t write it, so it never happened. Still, I think the greater part of the ickiness comes from the fact that most fan fiction people have given me to read has been porn

I’ve seen things, man. Things I can’t un-see. The Olsen Twins as teenagers doing unspeakable things with Bob Sagat in a nightmare Fullhouse episode. Harry and Draco in a heartbreaking love story of betrayal and lust. Buffy sleeping with, of all people, Spike. Oh, wait. That was real. It’s cool.

No. I don’t write fan fic. And I doubt I ever will.


Larry Jenkins:

I’ve never liked the idea of fan fiction.  I can see the usefulness of it as an exercise to cut your writing teeth, but as a reader, I have no desire to spend my time on someone else’s interpretation of a character or series that I already love.

On the flipside, I don’t have the same prejudices when it comes to television writing.  Maybe it comes from the understanding that writing a sit-com or dramatic series is already a collaborative effort.  I also know that as a television series progresses from season to season, the writer’s room changes.  Sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

I’ve already admitted my desire to be part of a television writer’s room.  Now I just need to work up the courage to write a spec scrip for Modern Family or New Girl.


Amanda Jaquays:

Write fanfiction? Who? Me? Absolutely not. Oh okay, stop twisting my arm. You caught me.

Yes, I wrote fanfiction. Rabidly. I could say that it was a way to trick my teachers into thinking I was taking notes, but really, I enjoyed it. It was quite possibly one of the best writing tools I could have had at the time. It was the perfect playground for my writing, I didn’t have to worry about pesky things like creating likable characters or believable locations. I could concentrate on my plot-development skills and ensuring that my OTP ended up together. I’ve started quite a few more stories than I’ve finished, at at this point in my life, my fanficcing days are over. It’s like an itch you can’t scratch, though, so maybe one day I’ll go back and finish the stories I started years ago or start something new. Right now. I just don’t have the time.


Aspen Junge:

Heck, yeah! Fan fiction is my favorite fiction “genre” to write. (Most of my writing is non-fiction.) I can get right into character studies without having to do all of that tedious world-building first. Sure, it’s not publishable, but being published doesn’t interest me.

When someone explained to me what fan fiction was around the year 2002, I knew immediately that I would have to try my hand at it. I wrote a love story about Professor Snape and Tonks from the Harry Potter books. Don’t worry, it was rated PG.

Cafe Management is run by the administration of The Confabulator Cafe. We keep things running smoothly, post stories by guest authors, and manage other boring back-end tasks.

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