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I’ve been reading fanfiction for years, though I didn’t get into writing it until last summer. I used to be so embarrassed that I read it, which made me not want to write it.. But then a friend of mine shared a prompt with me about writing from the point of view of a character I didn’t like. After writing it, I thought it turned out well, so I uploaded it to Archive of our Own (AO3) and have been uploading ever since. I didn’t realize how much fun it would be to be able to add my own interests and storylines into things I already enjoyed, like a movie or a TV show. 

There’s dozens of websites that allow you to  upload your work to, such as Wattpad, FanFiction.net, Tumblr, or, as I do, Archive of Our Own. It’s so freeing having the ability to take already known characters and incorporate them into a story of my own. I can have them say things I thought should’ve already been said or I can create my own plot I would have liked to see explored. There is no limit to what you can do with fanfiction. So far I’ve published a one-shot (only one chapter), a collection of stories based upon a prompt, and right now I’m in the middle of a romance that my friend wanted me to write. If you don’t see the book you want to read on the shelf (or on the website), write it yourself, orr in this case, get a friend to do it for you. 

The feedback I’ve gotten has been helpful as well. Not only do the positive ones boost my confidence, but the constructive criticism helps me become a better writer. It’s a dream of mine to publish a novel one day, and I think fanfiction is preparing me for that. Writing fanfiction lets me express myself in a fun way, but still be able to do what I love, which is write. It may not be for everyone, but I think it’s something worth trying. 

And if you feel silly about it, don’t forget that Fifty Shades of Grey started out as a Twilight fanfiction and After started out as a One Direction fanfiction. Never give up on your fanfiction dreams!

Jessica Garrison is a professional writing major and women's, gender, and sexuality studies minor at Kutztown University.
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