We all know Fan Fiction. We've been to the websites, maybe laughed and pointed at the horrible, horrible Harry/Snape slashes. Maybe we even looked into a few more serious folk with a penchant for nothing but "speeling liek their in 4th grade". Yeah, that kind of stuff is pretty widely accepted as the main face of fan fiction these days, which is a really sad misconception.
I won't lie and say the majority of fan fiction isn't admittedly terrible works of butchering characters and including themselves as the sons and daughters of major lore characters. There's plenty of that. But beneath the rest of the crap crusting over the little-used lid of fan fiction are a few jewels lost in the filth.
For example, amazing authors such as Karen Traviss, regardless of how personally detestable she might be to some after the Clone fiasco, and people who write in Salvatore's version of D&D are all "Fan Fiction". Officially liscensed, mind you, because of work with other universes, but fan fiction nonetheless.
I know what you're thinking. "Tam, that's a pretty strung out example of 'fan fiction'. It can't even be really called that, -really-." Maybe you're right, but where there are many professional writers in the professional world, there are also uncut gems of authors out there, everywhere. I'd like you to turn your attention to Jonesybites, a fellow writer, and personally I think she's just as good as Karen Traviss if she'd get rid of her pesky temporal fascination with switching from first to third person.
Here's a link to one of them, called Snowblind: gearsforums.epicgames.com/showthread.php?t=699317
That story, while taking control of a few major characters (in many heads this being a big no-no), Jonesy manages to pull off a rewarding and deeply integrated experience. It's sometimes hard for me to distinguish the way she writes Baird, for example, from how he acts in game and in KT's other Gears books, because she does such a good job at portraying him. Honestly, it amazes me she's not had as many readers as professional writers or why she's not been picked up by Epic.
Sure, my focus is purely on Gears of War here, and you might not think the universe is a place to put a deep story in with all the steroid filled, gun slinging action, but Sera is actually an amazing battleground for writing.
I'll leave a link here of my own stories, about Bernadette Mataki, a character Traviss created in Aspho Fields: forums.epicgames.com/showthread.php?t=794266
I don't want to toot my own horn here (yes I do), but I did quite an amazing job with this short story. It'll take about ten minutes of your time, give or take based on how fast you read, and it's a wonderful gateway into the rest of the fan fiction out here on the Gears forums, especially.
So, yeah, Fan Fiction may seem bad to you, but Red Vs Blue is fan fiction, too. Is that bad for being what it is? I don't think so, and you other million out there probably don't either. Burnie is an amazing author and I hope to be even a quarter as good as he is. I'll try, admire his works here, and keep writing.
Fan Fiction ain't that bad a place to start.