Written by Blooming Psycho, posted on our now defunct Wordpress blog.
The topic of anti-fan fiction snobbery is actually covered far better than I can do in these posts: http://themidhavens.net/heretic_loremaster/2009/01/on-the-term-fan-fiction/ http://themidhavens.net/heretic_loremaster/2010/05/fan-fiction-is-fiction/ This is an excellent blog, and I highly recommend it, although the author of the blog makes me super duper uber jealous with their big brain and sleek, sensible writing style!
We of Team Netherworld have run onto anti-fan fiction snobbery on more than one occasion. What we write both is and isn't fan fiction. We do use borrowed characters and borrowed universes. We create our own characters which belong with those characters. We use characters like Dr. Who and Harry Potter, who can pretty much dance in and out of any multiverse.
Why do we do this? The reason is simple. BECAUSE WE LIKE IT!
We don't think that anything we write is going to sell and be turned into a book or movie. Anyone who saw said book or movie would be saying "what nut wrote this?"
The answer is a resounding TEAM NETHERWORLD! But you won't ever see that happening. Why? Because that's not what we're about.
We're about having fun, but we find ourselves constantly having to defend our right to do so. It's like we've got to fight for our right to party. This is ridiculous, given the fact that everyone involved in this blog graduated high school an average of 25 plus years ago.
Prior to creating the (now mostly defunct) Undead in the Netherworld blog, The Cheesy One was advised that if she would stop writing "shell characters," her writing would be more interesting. The person delivering this criticism went on to say that psychologically wounded people often choose to write "shell characters" in an attempt to fill in the missing parts of their personality.
In other words, if one is ever to become a "real" writer, one must not write fan fiction. This person did not take into account the fact that our sometimes not so fearless leader was having a psychological breakdown, and that anything she could do to keep herself from landing firmly in the pit was a positive.
Another place where one encounters anti fanfic snobbery is from self-proclaimed academics. I will say right now that this is not true of everyone with an advanced degree. However, I have found that on many occasions people who have a degree, particularly in the literary arts, tend to act like they're "too good for the likes of fan fiction."
I'm not going to try to separate the sort of things that we write from the sort of stuff sometimes written by people who are just starting out. These are often teenage girls, and they tend to place themselves in the position of the heroine. They are often just starting to find their voice, and the quality of their writing tends, overall, to be less than stellar.
As the author of the Fandoms and Feminism Tumblr has pointed out, many of these young writers are exploring their sexuality. While we, from our jaded adult vantage points, may find some of what they write to be cringe-worthy, we should be praising their efforts, not ridiculing them into silencing their developing voices. Their work may not be as polished as that of an adult. It may not be something that could ever earn them a living. But it does have a right to exist, and it plays an important role.
When it comes to adult fanfic geeks such as we here at Team Netherworld, our reasons for choosing fan fiction tend to be different. In the case of this erstwhile group, we are individuals who live with and sometimes suffer from various mental illnesses.
To put it bluntly, this shit is catharsis. It will never sell. It will never gain a vast audience. And, as we have discovered, most people stare at it agog and say "Huh? I don't geddit."
I personally swear to never again let anyone's belief that my tales are the crotch rot of the writing world get me down. Maybe fan fiction is the dive bar of the writing world. Dive bars have their place. Some of us don't feel at home in a high-fallutin' Martini and Sushi night spot.