My time for writing originals is certainly not over, but I have been working on fanfiction, toying with the plots (which involve mostly sex) and characters. I know that there are quite a few people who do not agree with fanfic, who think it’s a complete violation of the rights of the owners/creators of the originals. I agree that it might be a violation, but I am in no way seeking monetary compensation for writing fanfic.
I write in four or five fandoms. I have to say that after working on an original story and spending all that time editing, writing fanfic is a massive relief to me. I don’t have to worry about character development or location description or creating something other than the plot. The plot is all that matters when writing fanfic (AU excluded, but I tend NOT to write those, or read for that matter). The plot is where all my creativity is focused, and it’s so relaxing.
While most of my fanfic plot does involve “smut” or “lemons,” as they are called in the fandom world, it is infinitely more relaxing to write this than original fiction. Original has more reward at the end, but it’s not as instantaneous. So, perhaps when I’m feeling shitty about my writing abilities, I happen to on occasion write a fanfic one-shot, solely for the fact that I know I will get instant and supportive feedback. I think it’s my own prerogative.
I am currently writing a series for the shows The Closer and Major Crimes, which will span the entirety of both series, beginning before the series begins and perhaps even after Major Crimes ends. I am also working on, and will finish today, a one-shot for Battlestar Galactica (2003). I’ve been avoiding writing for a new fandom, but the characters called and I felt a scene was missing from the show, so I’m writing it in.
One of the biggest debates with fanfic, are those people who turn fanfic into original stories and then sell those stories for profit. *cough* 50 Shades of Grey *cough* I don’t necessarily disagree with selling it. It is an original story, the plot is all there and not in Twilight by any means. However, there are many issues with 50 Shades of Grey that happen, which occur ALL over the place in fanfic.
1) Lack of research
2) Lack of writing skill
3) Lack of editing skill
4) Not knowing that in American English “gray” is spelled with an “a” not an “e”
I beta fanfic all the time. I work with authors who write Twilight fanfic (among other fandoms: BSG, Stargate (all), Sanctuary, Supernatural, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Closer, Major Crimes, Law and Order (all), Star Treks (all)). I have plenty experience in knowing who of those writers is an actual writer and who just wants to play around (and nothing is wrong with just wanting to play around). First off, getting a beta usually means they’re pretty serious.
While I assume that E. L. James had an editor of some sort, there seemed to be a lack of learning or desire for improvement. An editor or a beta is not just supposed to read and placate the author. We are supposed to provoke and get the author to think. To look at grammar, sentence structure, spelling, over usages, story flow and structure, continuity, research, fact-checking–it’s a huge order for just one person to do.
That’s why I have at least two people go through all my novels before I even think about sending them into an editor or publisher. I want these to be the product of the best of my ability at the time that they are sent out. In about an hour, I guarantee that I could go back and rework it and make it even better. That’s the gift of being a writer–there is always, always, ALWAYS something to learn and room to improve.