I Used to Write Fan Fiction

By: Aryanne Ferguson

I discovered fan fiction in high school. Specifically Dragon Ball Z (DBZ) and Rurouni Kenshin fan fiction. In my defense, that was over 10 years ago, before everyone knew about fan fiction, and both those shows are timeless television programs over which I shed actual and sincere tears. Yes I wrote stories before I discovered fan fiction, but with nowhere near the fervor involved in publishing new chapters and reading instant responses from readers as crazy about Kenshin as I was. To this day, I still get reader reviews in my email inbox. One of those stories turned into a novel, scenes from which I edited and used as a writing sample in my MFA application (and I got in!).

I liked writing fan fiction because it takes some of the pressure off. It was easy – I knew the characters. I enjoyed wrenching them from the late 1800s and shoving them into modern times, watching them meet again and interact. While I was earning my MFA, sometimes I took breaks from my original stories to revisit familiar characters and stick them into situations they’d never encounter in their own worlds. Spending time with characters I loved kept me excited and interested in writing. It took many struggles to know my own characters before I thought to apply a fan fiction attitude to them. In an effort to get to know them better, I push them into alternate universes – the first Jurassic Park movie is one of my favorites. Or I introduce them to Heathcliff from “Wuthering Heights,” and I see what happens.

Have you ever written any fan fiction, Reader? Did it inspire you to write original stories?

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