I see absolutely nothing wrong with would-be-authors who start out in fanfiction. I did, and I turned out (mostly) okay ;). Fifty Shades of Grey started out as a Twilight fanfic. (I had no idea when I first read it, but then once I was told it was originally fanfic, I can see the parallels.) There will always be people who fight that Fifty Shades of Grey is not the best example of literature, but it was a New York Times bestseller and in my opinion, it broke down barriers in the genre.
Anywho, it is my opinion that anything that gets you writing can’t be a bad thing. Writing fanfic in particular can be a great thing for aspiring authors, and here’s why:
Fanfic readers are great about giving feedback, and they’ll point out if your characters are not true to the “real” characters. Also, it’s easy to find online communities dying to read your fanfic. Less likely to find a group of people anxious to read an unknown story by an unknown author, unless you’re part of a writing community.
2. Premade Characters.
A lot of authors struggle to create characters and stay true to them throughout their book. They create a character, but don’t really get to know them, and then readers see right through them. Or, they create a character but the dialogue they write doesn’t match. If you’re writing a story about a character fully created and fleshed out by another author, or of a well known celebrity, a lot of that work is done for you. Chances are that if you’re a huge fan of Sir Ian McKellan, you can write dialogue that sounds natural for him.
3. It Keeps You Writing.
Like I said, anything that gets you writing is a good thing. A lot of fanfiction authors don’t just write one or two stories – they keep writing because they’re getting responses from their readers. The only way to develop your writing skills and unique voice is to write. JK Rowling doesn’t go around handing out copies of her first draft of Harry Potter – she’d probably be mortified if she did. So who cares if you learn how to write by writing fanfictions, instead of by writing first drafts of novels?
So get out there and write, gosh darnit! And I’ll take my own advice and go write too 😉