Do professional authors write fanfiction


Fanfiction is a popular form of art where fans write stories based on their favorite characters and universes, often expanding the existing universe or exploring alternate realities. Fanfiction can be found in numerous communities across the internet, and the practice has even spread to the realm of professional authors. This essay will explore the relationship between professional authors and fanfiction, examining the various ways professionals engage with the practice, their perspective on it, and its impact on their work.

The Fanfiction Phenomenon

The fanfiction phenomenon has been sweeping the internet for decades, with communities of fans coming together to share their ideas, build narratives, and engage in shared experiences. Websites like, Archive of Our Own (AO3), and Wattpad host millions of fan-generated stories, ranging from short one-offs to multipart epics. These platforms serve as a creative safe haven for writers, offering a platform to share their work and receive feedback.

Do professional authors write fanfiction

Professional authors also engage with these platforms, either as readers or as writers. These platforms offer a way to engage with fans, explore potential storylines, and expand their existing universes. Authors have even been known to draw on these fan-created narratives in their own works.

Professional Authors and Fanfiction Engagement

It's not uncommon for authors to have started their writing journey with fanfiction. Cassandra Clare, author of the hugely popular "Mortal Instruments" series, began her writing career penning "Harry Potter" and "The Lord of the Rings" fanfiction. Similarly, author Meghan Scott Molin attributes much of her successful writing career to her early days creating Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfiction, claiming it was the perfect practice for character development and plot structure. These authors often credit fanfiction as a valuable tool they used to hone their writing skills before branching off into their own universes.

Professional authors may also return to fanfiction after achieving success in their careers. This can be a creative outlet for them, allowing them to explore different character dynamics and narratives without the restrictions of canon. An example of this is E.L. James, who wrote the "Fifty Shades of Grey" series based on Twilight fanfiction. Jo Walton, a science fiction and fantasy writer, also occasionally writes fanfic in a variety of universes. Professional authors in this space often have the advantage of understanding the craft of writing better, bringing a higher level of quality and consistency to their works.

The Stance of Professional Authors on Fanfiction

Professional authors have varying stances on fanfiction of their own works. Some authors, such as J.K. Rowling, are famously supportive of fanfiction. She has publicly stated that fanfiction is not just a great way for readers to connect with her work, but also an excellent learning opportunity for aspiring writers. On the other hand, authors like George R.R. Martin and Anne Rice have spoken out against fanfic, citing concerns over copyright, maintaining control of their characters and worlds, and the potential quality of fan-created works.

These varied perspectives reflect the divided nature of the fanfiction community. Some view it as a brilliant exhibition of fan creativity and passion, while others worry about the potential for misrepresentation or diminished quality. As professionals, authors may feel more protective of their works, leading to differing views about fanfiction.

The Impact of Fanfiction on Professional Work

Fanfiction often serves as a creative catalyst and training ground for authors. It trains them in character development, plot structure, and immersive world-building. Neil Gaiman, a renowned fantasy author, highlighted this when he pointed out that authors have always borrowed from each other's universes and ideas - fanfic is just a modern internet-age manifestation of that pattern.

Furthermore, fanfiction can sometimes influence professional work. The writers of the TV show "Supernatural" are known to incorporate fan-created elements and storylines into their scripts. In other instances, fan feedback can shape the development of official storylines or character arcs.


In conclusion, professional authors do engage with fanfiction in various ways. For some, it's a beginning point, a training ground from which they later graduate into professional works. For others, it's a space they revisit even after gaining professional success, using it as a creative outlet to explore alternate universes, different narratives, or simply to engage with their fans more directly. Fanfiction, despite conflicting opinions, remains a powerful force in the world of literature, a testament to the power of fans and their love for the universes they cherish.


Q: Do professional writers write fanfiction? A: Yes, many professional writers have written fanfiction, either early in their careers as a way to practice and develop their skills, or even later on as a form of creative engagement with their own or others' fictional universes.

Q: Do professional writers read fanfiction? A: Yes, some do �whether out of curiosity, to engage with their fan community, or even to find inspiration for their own work.

Q: Is fanfiction legal? A: The legality of fanfiction can be a gray area, as it may depend on the specific laws of a country and whether the work can be classified as "transformative" under copyright law. However, many authors and creators are supportive of fanfiction and allow it, provided it is not used for profit.


1. Jenkins, Henry. "Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture." Routledge, 2nd ed., 2013. 2. Tushnet, R. "Legal Fictions: Copyright, Fan Fiction, and a New Common Law." Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Journal, vol. 17, no. 3, 1997, pp. 651�86.

Explore your companion in WeMate