I think that fanfiction gets a bad rap. This is mostly due to the fact that anybody can write it, and not all of it is very well written. Given that 90% of anything is usually crap, a great deal of it can be truly appalling.
However, there are some truly talented people out there who are utilizing their potential to ‘fill in the gaps’ of storylines that haven’t been told, or to let things play out from a different perspective – or sometimes in a different way completely, than the initial material itself. Most series – whether books, comics, movies or TV shows have multiple writers involved in a project at any given time. Sometimes characters change, sometimes scenarios change. Although these changes might not be what the fans want, the series continues to lumber on going where it will. It’s the nature of the beast.
For frustrated fans, this is where the beginning of fanfic starts. It’s all about the unchosen possibilities and reshaping the limits of the story to fit a non-generic non-PC audience. There are no censors in fanfic – and this can be both a boon and a blessing, but because of this the limits are boundless. Anything – and I do mean anything, goes. Because of the internet, with its growing pangs and rebelliousness, there are now many voices and visions that are being shared that would never before have gotten actual airtime.
I’ve noticed that there are many people out there who are fairly nasty and smug about not reading or writing fanfic, deriding those who do – but in the end it all comes down to just wanting to hear or tell a different story with pre-existing characters that we know and love.
There is no story cow so sacred that it can’t be dissected and told another way.
There are those who say that you can’t be a successful published author if people know that you write fanfic. I think that’s idiocy. Good stories are good stories – no matter where they spring forth from.