Lessons from Fanfiction: Reading Fanfiction Has Made Me a Better Writer

Stars in my Sugar Bowl

Fanfiction gets a bad rap from literary circles, undeservedly so, in my opinion. While there is a great quantity of unreadable dreck posted online, there is also a wealth of good writing out there, some of which could be polished into something great. If you view sites like Archive of Our Own and Fanfiction.net as giant discount shopping malls of stories, you might enjoy the thrill – as I do – of finding a designer gem amid the clutter.

As someone who both writes and reads a lot of fanfiction, I can say that I’ve learned a great deal about writing from both sides of the process. These are the top three ways that reading fanfiction has improved my writing:

I’ve expanded my vocabulary. And no, not merely in a graphic sense or with creative use of expletives! Somewhere along the line, I decided to stop kidding myself and began…

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