A friend and fellow writer of shared world fiction recently got upset by a online slanging match, where his novels, and the work of all shared fiction writers, were called potboilers. The intimation in the original criticism was that shared world novels would never reach the level of great fantasy novels, like Lord of the Rings or Song of Fire and Ice. Which is mildly amusing, because many authors outside of the science fiction and fantasy consider these books "potboilers" and lesser fiction. Personally, I love writing a good potboiler -- for me, that's a plot that keeps bubbling until it reaches a tasy end -- and there's a freedom in shared worlds that encourages me to write fiction that I truly love to read. I've played with all styles, all genres, and still finding new venues to unleash the wackier ideas. I enjoy even more discovering fellow writers doing the same thing in the worlds that we share.
Any writer can and should write the best story that they can tell. That's what my friend does: writes the best story possible in the worlds, both original and shared, that he explores. I'm proud to have his books on my shelf and I'm proud to share a few worlds with him.