Using Fan Fiction
I listened to a NPR segment today on the fan fiction website Archive Of Our Own which is up for a Hugo Sci/Fi Award this year.
"Fan Fiction" if you are not familiar with it, is a type of story which uses established fictional characters or real life celebrities. They can be the main subjects or a minor supporting character (or villain).
It struck me that fan fiction can be very helpful for beginning writers, to help develop their skill at story telling because the writer doesn't have to worry about that much character development and can instead focus on plot and action. Both the writer and the reader already knows established characters, what attitudes and opinions they have and a general feel for what kind of responses and boundaries they would have.
Fan fiction can also be helpful because of the many sizable communities devoted to reading them there are. A beginning writer, unsure if their stories are good can often get valuable feedback from members of those communities when they post their work.