While I was participating in NaNoWriMo, I received several “pep talk” e-mails (as did all NaNo participants) from both the Office of Letters and Light staff and notable best-selling authors.

None has stuck so vividly in my mind as Mercedes Lackey’s, who advises aspiring authors to “try writing fanfiction.”

Fanfiction was the first semi-serious writing that I did. Yes, I took Creative Writing classes as early as high school, but I barely cared what my teacher and the few classmates I had thought of my writing because I was busy with fanfic. There were ready-made characters and worlds for me to play with. I had a communities of readers available through sites like fanfiction.net and livejournal.com, along with other more specialized sites based upon the specific fandoms. I still do, when the urge strikes.

It’s good practice for the real thing… just writing without worrying quite yet about world-building, adhering to canon (granted it’s canon that you didn’t establish), and character development. The characters and worlds are already built. You just have to figure out on how things go from there.

And is it impossible for it to turn into its own story when you add  necessary world-building and character development of your own? Or to transition from writing fanfiction to writing your own original works? Nope. I can think of at least 4 writers just off the top of my head who have done or are doing just that.

And who knows? Maybe someday, I’ll be be one of them

To read Lackey’s pep talk in its entirety, click here.