What is Fanfiction? It is, quite simply as the name suggests; fiction written by fans. When you are involved in fandom, may that be "Harry Potter" or "Doctor Who," or even "Supernatural," chances are you will have come across fanfiction written about those characters? Perhaps it's a missing scene; where a fan has written about Harry Potter's marriage to Ginny Weasley - a moment not penned by JK Rowling.

Or maybe it's an alternative storyline; where the Yellow-Eyed demon never killed Sam and Dean Winchester's mother, and so the brothers got to live a normal life in "Supernatural." It can essentially be about anything the fan desires.

That is precise, why some people are wary of fanfiction.

Is fanfiction a blessing or a curse?

According to an article published by the CNN, parents are concerned about their young children, in particular, their teenagers, reading fanfiction that depicts adult themes. These can include violence, adult relations, same-gender pairings (which are not present in the original material) amongst other concerns. Not all stories have age restriction warnings, and even if they do, what is stopping curious underage fans from ignoring the warnings and reading the story anyway?

On the other hand, you have those who argue that fanfiction is encouraging youngsters to read. It's engaging work written by their peers, and it may even inspire youngsters to write.

The read-write-think website states that 'writing fanfiction helps children sharpen literacy skills in many ways...writing fanfiction can be a highly motivating experience, even for the most reluctant writers, because children are able to model their work after a piece they admire and enjoy'.

Writing about a fandom that you are passionate about and characters who you admire is immensely enjoyable, so it's no wonder many turns to fanfiction as a starting point in writing.

Famous authors have been fanfiction writers.

Lev Grossman, S.E. Hinton, Meg Cabot, Cassandra Clare and many other famous authors have been fanfiction writers themselves, according to various publications. Another author, perhaps not so famous, is SF Mazhar (author of this article).

Writing fanfiction and, more importantly, reading fanfiction gives an immeasurable benefit to any aspiring writer.

You learn what to do, and even what not to do, as you go through fanfiction writing. It's invariably easier to take already fully fleshed out characters, like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson, and make them play out your own storyline than to create a full cast of characters from scratch on your own.

Fanfiction has its drawbacks as most things do, but it's a great tool for learning how to write. It may even give you the confidence and the push to venture out and write an original book series - like I did.