Pros & Cons: Original vs Fanfiction

Original and Fan-fiction have always had a clash for many reasons. However as time went on, both mediums are now starting to live together in the entertainment industry. Perhaps not in full harmony but whether each party likes it or not, both mediums now have an interest and use in todays’ market.

This week I wanted to talk about some of the pros and cons of each of these mediums (including the community around them) and how they contribute to entertainment audiences:

Fanfiction Pros

Familiarity

When searching up fanfiction, readers look for characters they are already attached to. Whether it’s an existing fictional character or a fictional depiction of a celebrity. This familiarity allows the reader to seep their focus into the story with minimal effort due to the existing connection they have with the character.

In another life

Fanfictions allow readers to create or experience a world in which events were different than the original. For example, Harry Potter becoming a Slytherin or Game of Thrones actually having a satisfying ending. Fanfictions help both writers and readers to gain some kind of control with their imagination that original fiction might not let them do.

Writing Platform

This is more of an advantage to writers of course. Beginner or even experienced writers can use fanfiction as a form of writing training or even writing ‘warm-ups’ because it requires less development thinking due to the characters already formulated for you.

Fanfiction Cons

Excessive criticism

The negativity encased around fanfiction is exhausting to say the least. To have even professional authors take part in the negativity is even more disheartening. It’s understandable that people don’t feel comfortable having their stories tweaked or twisted around especially if you’re still a rising author. Sometimes people don’t place credit where its due. These are all valid concerns and problems but eliminating an entire community is never the right answer. This behavior is definitely something to look out for if you’re thinking of joining the fanfiction community.

Needle in a Haystack

Fanfiction can get…strange and just plain bad. I’m not going to ignore this fact at all because I have seen some horrors scrolling through Wattpad. You need to be careful with what story you choose. This can also be said for original fiction but at least for original fiction, you can get some serious book reviews that provide you with some information on how your book is doing. Fanfiction doesn’t always work like that. Sometimes the reviews are just one sentence or non-existent and you have to dive into the story without really knowing what to expect. This can either be really exciting or just plain nightmare-ish.

Lack of reviews

If you have a good publishing house behind your back, there’s a high chance you will have sales which will follow with reviews. Fanfiction, on the other hand, doesn’t have that level of trust. You could post an entire story and have no response whatsoever no matter how good it is which is disheartening.

Original Pros

Opportunities

Needless to say that writing and publishing an original fiction book will provide writers more opportunities to grow as a professional author. On the other hand, fanfiction is good way to increase an online presence of some sort and see how your writing is received by people. But if you want to get a little serious about your writing career than original fiction is obviously the way to go.

World of Imagination

While fanfictions can be really imaginative and out of this world, there will almost always be this sense of keeping to a vibe that fits the fandom. Original fiction allows for a world of imagination that could be completely out of the box. While original fiction also has an unspoken list of requirements of its own, it can be loosely followed and you can still gain a reading community.

Proper reviews

I’m not saying you’ll be famous in seconds if you’re in a publishing house but there is definitely a higher chance to get recognition compared to fanfictions. You’ll get recognized by other professional authors and avid readers of the genre you’re writing in. And the best part some people make blogs with full-fledged reviews on original fiction books which is a rare luxury in fanfictions to even get a sentence.

Original Cons

‘One in a million’

Criticism is a friend of every author. ‘One in a million’ people succeed to have their original fiction book turn into a generation or timeless favourite. Then again there are nine billion people in the world so being one in one million really doesn’t sound as impossible as people make it out to be. Also original fiction selling has become more accessible in recent days than ever before. Plus side here is that once you start making money off it, the same ones who flung the saying happily will mysteriously be silent.

Unspoken requirements

I know the pro is that original fiction provides a world of imagination but unfortunately mainstream media still showcases a type of theme they require for a book to become popular. Things like romance or erotica are a big boost in popularity. Modern social construction is very important as well. So you might have to take those things into account.

Character sympathy

This is a big reason why fanfiction culture is still alive and well to this day. The familiarity of characters really allows the reader to be pulled into a fan-fiction. Original fiction takes a little longer. You need to quickly find reasons as to why one should care about this character and I think we can all agree, people don’t have the same patience for lackluster content anymore. Everything’s been done. So if you don’t do something new or exciting, consider your book placed back in the shelf.


That’s all for today! I’m a big fan of both mediums truly and I think my reading experience would be very monotonous if I only chose to read one type. They both exist to expand our imagination and help us enjoy the magic of stories.

Please stay safe and healthy, I will see you again next week!

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