I have a strange benchmark for success.
I'm going to feel like I really made it as a writer when someone decides to write fan fiction about my work.
Say what you will about fan fiction, but I love it. It is so creative and fun. I think it is probably one of the purest forms of flattery a writer can receive. Unfortunately, I feel like I have to take the "I love it, but I just can't read it stance," due to complications that could arise if I ever did read it, but I'd love to know it was out there and people were having fun with it.
I used to write fan fiction. I honestly felt I couldn't have learned the things I learned about writing without stretching my wings in front of a live audience. I probably wouldn't have continued to write without other fan fic writers cheering me on. I feel I owe a lot to fan fiction.
I've heard other writers get a little squicky about the idea of fan fic, but I think for the most part it is harmless so long as everyone in the community behaves. There are rules, and just like writing, breaking the rules loses you readers.
I don't know if I really want to know some of the things other people would do to my characters, but that's part of the fun, so I can't really complain. I've got my own ideas for torturing, *ahem* excuse me, plotting out stories for my characters, so I don't mind if others want to get creative.
I've seen some wonderful, and frightening, but mostly wonderful stuff in fan fic land.
If anyone chooses to write it, my only advice is to be good to one another. You're throwing writing, (and someone else's ideas) out for free in cyberspace. That's a scary thing. Be true to the spirit of the original author. Respect boundaries of other people's work. Don't copy anything and call it your own. And enjoy the community of fellow writers by being kind.
So long as everyone plays nice, fan fiction can be a lot of fun.
So here's my question for you guys.
What do you think of fan fiction?
Is it good, bad, ugly, fun? And how does one woo fan fiction authors of television shows or movies of a similar style to your novel over to your books? Is there more authors can do to reach out to fan ficdom?