Now, I obviously didn't create Harry Potter or Mass Effect or KOTOR (*sigh* If only I had...), but, boy, how I love those worlds. I've been writing for as long as I can remember, and I've never had a problem creating my own stories, but playing around with characters I loved in other people's worlds was such a pleasure for me. It got my creative juices going in a whole different way from creating my own worlds and characters, and it was excellent writing practice during times when I went through long stretches of not writing original material.
I'm not ashamed of having written fanfic, nor am I ashamed of having once been an enthusiastic member of the fanfic community, not only writing my own but also reading and commenting on others' work. It was a great community full of supportive people who genuinely enjoyed reading one another's work and sharing a dialog about it. Think about it. For someone like me, who aspired to be a writer but wasn't yet in a place where I felt ready to share my own creations, it was invaluable. I was WAAAAAY too shy and insecure to let people read my original stuff, but I was fine with sharing fanfic. That willingness helped me receive and process critiques, which in turn helped me improve my writing skills, a process that continues to this day.
Given this, I cheered my way through The Bodies of the Girls Who Made Me: Fanfic and the Modern World on the Tor blog. I was already familiar with Seanan McGuire because I fanatically love her Wayward Children series, and knowing her writing origins are much like mine is pretty awesome. Her critique of how fanfic writers are treated is spot-on, and she has some very important stuff to say about how female writers are treated versus how male writers are treated.
It's a great article and I highly recommend it because the continuing conversation about the lack of diversity in publishing is necessary and good for the industry as a whole--as is the discussion of the lack of diversity in movies, TV, video games, etc. Loving stories as much as I do, I am so eager for the inclusion of more diverse voices because I'm excited about how they'll enrich the literary/film/television/video game worlds.