A/N: Spoiler alert on Gone With the Wind and How I Met Your Mother.
Maybe it starts out with nothing more than a thought.
You find a book, a movie, or a television show you love but the ending was… disappointing. So, inside your own head, you change it. Rhett doesn´t leave Scarlett. Barney and Robin doesn´t get a divorce.
You find that the idea inside your own head isn´t concrete enough, so you write it down.
And maybe the ending of the story wasn´t the problem. Maybe there was a character you didn´t like, a choice you didn´t agree with. Or maybe nothing was wrong. Maybe you just wonder… what if?
Hell, maybe you aren´t even that interested in the story. Maybe it´s the universe you love. Maybe you´re writing a story of the first muggle-born who´s elected Minister of Magic.
You finish your story.
Maybe it´s close to the original. Maybe it´s not. But it´s there, and you wonder what other people would think of it.
So, you post it online.
At least if you´re allowed to do so.
Some authors have forbidden fanfictions of their work. I´ve always considered it petty but that´s how it is.
Most, however, don´t mind. You´re not making money from it, so have as much fun as you please.
You start getting reviews.
They´re not good.
Maybe you´re a bad writer. Maybe the sentences aren´t well-crafted, maybe your characters are flat. You slink away from the computer, vowing that you won´t post anything ever again. You´re hurt and embarrassed. Maybe you even delete the story.
A while goes by.
Weeks. Maybe months. Hopefully not years.
You decide you want to try again. Another story. Maybe another universe.
You read through your reviews again but this time it isn´t about feeling bad about your lack of talent. It´s about learning how to fix it.
Some comments aren´t much help, and you ignore them. Others teach you what you did wrong. You read them. You learn from them. You write, you edit, and you post.
It´s better this time. It isn´t good but it´s… better.
So, you go through the same process again. And again.
Maybe it´s a new, short story every time. Maybe it´s just a new chapter on a long one. You keep getting better. You go back and edit. You start getting more reviews, more followers, more favourites.
You´re no longer just better. You´re good.
Maybe this is just what you want to do. Write fanfiction. You aren´t interested in money. It´s just a hobby.
Or maybe you want to write something original now. Your own story. Your own characters. Your own universe. At least, this way you´ll be allowed to make money from it.
Sure, you could have made your mistakes on original stories as well. You could have posted them, gotten reviews, improved.
In the end, it doesn´t matter much. You wrote. You were criticised. You got better.
You send your story in. It´s good. It gets published. It gets fans.
And then, one day, you log on your computer and you see a fanfiction. Of your story.
Your feel your heart swells with pride.
This was how you grew, and maybe this fan is going to grow as well. You´ll try to help, so you sit down to write a review.
Fanfiction was, after all, how you learned.
And what´s wrong with that?
A/N: There are snobs in literature as there are everywhere else.
Some thinks that one genre is better than another. Others snub their noses at fanfiction.
(To my great disappointment, I found that George R. R. Martin was one of them.)
But I think fanfiction is great.
It´s the biggest praise you can give an author, and it´s the perfect opportunity for you to grow as an author.
What do you guys think?