Moonlit Muses: What I Learned from Writing Fanfiction

I am, and will always be, a staunch defender of fanfiction – but rightly or wrongly, it has its share of detractors. Why play in somebody else’s world, with somebody else’s characters? Why potentially butcher an author’s vision, just to satisfy your own headcanons? Why not just write your own work?

I don’t pretend to have the answers to these questions – although, in my previous column (The Intertextuality Primer, 2015) I countered the most obvious with this.

“[P]eople have always written fanfiction. Dante’s Inferno and Paradise Lost are Bible fanfiction. Virgil’s Aeneid is fanfiction. The great Greek plays of Sophocles and Aeschylus and Euripides were all based on pre-existing myths and works (Homer and Hesiod especially), and Shakespeare did exactly the same thing. The reason why ‘fanfiction’ has only become its own thing recently is because, ultimately, the concept of someone ‘owning’ an idea and copyrighting it, is fairly new.”

I still stand by that, but there’s a much more important discussion to be had than the rights or wrongs of writing fanfiction – and that’s the potential to learn from it. Why write fanfiction as opposed to solely your own work, and how can a background in fanwork enrich and contribute to your own writing, whether you write it later or at the same time?

That’s what I’m interested in today. I believe, from the bottom of my heart, that there are things to be learned from fanfiction that are incredibly hard or impossible to learn any other way. To start…

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moonlit-mindfulness replied to your post “A lot of people like the idea of harry and badgirl riri than mm that…”

What really grabs my shit about all of this is that there are people out there, very sad people who seem to forget the fact that Harry besides being member of the RF is also a human being, a person in his own right. His relationships with whoever are not about whether or not we like the idea of it they are about Harry doing what’s right for Harry and being with someone who makes him happy.

death of a dream

you loop your arm around my nearest arm
dare cursive where our crooked elbows cross
our breath before our eyes like lucky charms
and ships for strides to sail the sea of frost

with cola bubble stars to spritz the night
and sip our brighter eyes through moonlit straws
that call our vision back toward the light
as side by side we pass between their jaws

absent map that leads us to the treasure
though every step beside you is my throne
and deeper than we have a way to measure
i feel this truth enclosed within my bones

finally the fantasy has ended
the dream to have reality amended


A sharp gasp cut through the ambient sound of crickets and frogs that lingered near the moonlit forest. Khoden’s chest heaved as he struggled to catch his breath, rolling onto his hands and knees. His body was weak–buckling under the strain as he landed on the ground on his stomach. He dragged himself through the dirt and grass towards the soft sound of running water. He soon found a small stream, clawing his way towards the waters to take a drink.

The taste of blood was the first thing he noticed–gagging and coughing as he backed away from the water. He stared at the reflection the water afforded him as best he could. He was bleeding? Why did he have on glasses? He had never even owned a pair of glasses. What time was it? Where had he been?

Why couldn’t he remember anything?