Fan fiction can be a term used as a derogatory tag for shaming some writers. But it needn’t be. There are dozens of media tie-ins published annually Media tie-ins are like fan fiction stories for which the author is paid by the rights holders; i.e., Star Trek novels, Star Wars novels, etc.
I’m finding fan fiction a useful tool to get back into writing. My most recent published story is set in Julie Czerneda’s excellent Trade Pact universe, and I’ve been writing words in several other universes close to my heart.
It takes some of the pressure off. The characters are there, the setting is set, and there’s a plentitude of stories to use as jumping-off points. I can sit down and start writing. And that feels good.
They’ll just never get published unless someone wants to pay me to do so, which would be fantastic if any tie-in publishers happen to read this.