The very first story I ever wrote was a Negima fanfic. I wrote it during an x-mas break many years ago, back when I still got holiday breaks, and by the time I stopped I had about 80 pages of unedited drivel, after which I scrapped the whole project and decided to write original material instead. I’ve never written another piece of fanfiction since. Here’s why.
If you’re writing fanfiction, there’s a good chance you’ll get at least a few readers from those who liked the source material. This makes the downside of fanfiction less severe.
If you’re writing original fiction, there’s a pretty good chance no one will read your work at all. The downside of original fiction is very severe.
But if you’re writing fanfiction, there’s a limit to how many readers you can get. You could consider the total number of fans of the source material to be your hard limit, though in truth your readers will only come from those fans of the source material who read fanfiction. The upside to fanfiction is much lower.
But for original fiction? The sky is the limit, and if you’re good enough, you could leave the atmosphere behind. The upside of original fiction is immense.
I have no problem with fanfiction. I’ve read it on occasion, and I hold a few especially well-written fanfics in high esteem. If I’m going to do something though, I’m going all the way. I may not reach the sky, much less become the kind of literary powerhouse who becomes a household name, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try.
To each their own. I like that there’s fanfiction, for those times when I finish the original and need more. I would just rather write stories that inspire fanfiction personally. That’s a challenge I relish.