Nearly two years I've been away from this journal. I can't imagine my writing's improved much since, but it's a fun thing to return to Where You Were Once Upon A Time. It's been a terribly long dry spell. I haven't read anything to come out of fandom in as long. I'm not a good networker in this way. Sometimes I'm afraid I'll let myself be swayed by another person's opinion of how "X should have ended up with Y, not A OR B." I'm a bit selfish when you get down to it.
I use fanfiction as a way of easing myself back into a writing schedule. It's creative problem solving: these are the characters and this is the canon. Now solve for X.
I stretch my brain muscles and re-train my fingers to the rhythms of the keyboard, and fill in the blanks. Good fanfiction for me is just that: supplemental to existing canon. Not a complete re-imagining of the source material you fell in love with in the first place, but complementary to the original. I'm interested in the cut scenes, the gaps in time and spaces between major events that didn't make it into the books.
Fanfiction for me, then, is a way of exploring issues I have with characters and relationships, a way of reconciling personal grievances with issues presented. Of course I'll never be able to say without any hint of doubt that anything I write in any 'verse will be entirely, unquestionably canon, but that's the point: being able to challenge myself to understand these characters as best I possibly can, in hopes that it will translate into my own original fiction in the long run.