I am older than compost. I have been writing fiction, derivative and original, for about 20 years and in real life am a fast and furious technical writer of very dull non-fiction material. I am currently writing mostly in the Narnia fandom as this is one place my children and their friends (and parents) are not frequenting.
Lev Grossman recently wrote for Time magazine that fan fiction is "an intensely social, communal activity. Like punk rock, fan fiction is inherently inclusive, and people spend as much time hanging out talking to one another about it as they do reading and writing it."
This passage encapsulates beautifully my belief in fan fiction as an ongoing conversation among writers, readers, and betas. I hugely value the interaction and the relationships. Some of my dearest real life friends today I met while writing fan fic in the early 1990s. I'm glad to discuss these stories or anything else in PMs, email or here.