So fan-fiction. For those that haven't heard of fan-fiction, it is broadly a piece of writing involving characters or settings written by fans of the original work rather than the original author. You name it, if it has been on television, appeared as a movie or as another book there will have been fan-fiction written about it.
For new writers I think fan-fiction is a brilliant vehicle to get yourself going! I am a big fan of fan-fiction. The lure of taking already established characters that you know and, most likely, love is not to be sneezed at. You can make them do anything and people quite frankly do!
It probably comes as no surprise when I admit I write fan-fiction. I think fan-fiction has a bad press really, it is assumed that it is geeky or even nerdy. Well they may be right, I never promised to not be a geek or a nerd! I actually use fan-fiction as a writing exercise. I decide on situations e.g. a romance, a death, an illness, an accident and use established characters to write about them.
One of the problems I have encountered as a new writer is developing believable characters. I have plenty of ideas of situations, of plots, of story lines but sometimes I can't find the character to be involved. Or I have what I think is going to be the character and he/she doesn't develop as I want or they do something unexpected (and believe me they do, which I think is rather rude of them given I created them!). For me, fan-fiction is a great way to get your ideas down on paper, any idea, with characters you already understand and know. They can be predictable so the writing can be totally about the plot you want, without input from an errant character that you suddenly realise doesn't feel the right way about the hero, or turns out to be eminently unlikable.
Another great benefit of writing fan-fiction is that for me it really helps ease writer's block. I am trying to write in amongst the rest of my life - motherhood, being a wife, running a home and working - and sometimes I just cannot find the words to begin writing my stuff. So if I'm really struggling I write a little fan-fiction. Not much, just a single incident even but that seems to get my creative juices flowing and means I can then happily crack on with my own original work.
I probably don't write fan-fiction in the same way as the majority of other people. I certainly don't write it to be read by anyone other than me and would never dream of posting it on the net to be read at random. More for me it is written then filed away amongst other bits and bats I have written. Sometimes I re-visit and either think "good lord this is dire" or "I quite like this one, what did I do here that was good" which again is a useful too so see how I'm progressing.
So there we are. Why not have a go!