I was contemplating fan fiction today. Should I have actually admitted that? Oops. Probably not. At any rate, I was thinking about it in relation to serious fiction writing. There are a lot of websites devoted to it and some of it, if you can stand to wade through the elementary attempts at living the lives of their favorite anime or video game characters, is pretty decent.
When I first began exploring the Internet about 12-15 years ago, fan fiction sites were atrocious. The grammar could only be classified as such at best. The only reason to even be looking at the sites was to feed the good ole yaoi sweet tooth, if that was your inclination.
Yahoo clubs (later called Groups) was a cornucopia of fan fiction writing groups and collaborative fiction groups for boldly taking your favorite Pokemon characters to story lines where no Pokemon had gone before.
Today, it seems like you can find fan fiction on nearly anything from soap opera characters to comic book superheroes. I'll admit to belonging to more than my fair share of X-Men and Harry Potter collaborative fan fiction sites in my day.
Fan fiction, however, is scoffed at when mentioned in polite, Internet savvy company. Never, outside of the fan fiction sites themselves, is fan fiction considered anything close to valid writing. It is seen as the domain of 40-year-old hentai who live in their mom's basement and peruse mailorder bride websites and have questionable hygiene.
Does fan fiction have no redeeming qualities in the eyes of "real" writers? Granted, I haven't written fan fiction in years and if I did I wouldn't admit to it.
Fan fiction is writing. And the adage that "writers write, always" implies that even if your well of ideas has run dry you should still write something. Why not fan fiction? Is that even enough of a reason for being to take fan fiction off the don't-ask-don't-tell policy of fiction authorship? Are there any fan fiction authors out there who will admit that they dabble in the occasional alternate pairing of FullMetal Alchemist characters? Or are fan fiction writers the pariahs of the writing world?
Inquiring minds want to know!