I have a confession to make.
While I was writing my thesis, I wrote piles of fanfic. Some of them were decent (if macabre- it seems to be my speciality these days). Most of them were very bad by any literary standards.
This is a strange output coming from someone with a formal literary background, someone whose internship centered about writing and who is known for writing formal fiction before this.
Part of it might have been laziness on my part- I was too tired to create characters, plan a world then write about it. It was far easier to just grab a preexisting world, put myself in a character’s shoes and then write. But this served a very important purpose for me: it helped me maintain my creative skills while not having to expend as much energy doing the prerequisite work.
But I rarely write to merely indulge myself**. And this is when I started combining certain concerns that I have had over the years and then merging it with fanfic. And something jumped out at me. By using the genre of fanfiction, I could highlight those absurdities better than I could with an original world. See, the worlds in fanfiction are ones that everyone (in the fandom) is familiar with. So by playing around by that which is assumed, the absurdities of the world/reality is highlighted easily, perhaps even more so than creating characters.
So sure, part of it is indulgence (not to say that indulgence is inherently bad- who is to say pleasure isn’t an end in itself?), but sometimes fanfic can also be used for more than indulgence. After all, many great works are fanfic themselves. And I think some (well, a few pieces) of the fanfic I write can stand alone. At least in creative writing class.
(Also if you’re trying to find my fanfic, don’t. They only exist on Google Docs and in the minds of a select few friends. See, I don’t try to make people suffer through my fic. In general. Also, you’re interrupting my being sick- just saying.)
**-this isn’t me hating on indulgent fic, this is just my own aim in writing/ reason for writing.