These days, I think that too many people just don’t know how to write a good story anymore, let alone fan fiction.
It’s not that all fan fiction is bad, but I honestly believe that stories based on another person’s works don’t seem to look right, unless the story is well-written. Also, a well-written story is so hard to find because of all the junk that is so easily seen on the Internet these days.
So why the revolution?
I say that there is a huge lack of well-written fan fiction, and most of the fan fiction already written is simply a wish fulfillment for the writer. I tend to disagree with people who think that two characters should get together in a story when it is clearly evident that they don’t hook up.
So, how do we go about dealing with this growing problem? I have 10 ways that will help you write fan fiction and make it better:
- Come up with a completely original idea. This means you must have an original idea for your fan fiction. You can read other people’s fan fiction, but don’t let anything they do influence your story. Use the idea for your story and plan it out. (The best website to get ideas is SeventhSanctum.com, where you can get a plethora of ideas for your fan fiction)
- Don’t pick and choose your characters just because you love/hate them. There is no worse story than one that is centered on your favorite characters all the time. This is boring and immature on your part and it will bore the reader.
- Don’t put yourself in the story. Self-inserts have long been given a bad rap as the writer’s wish fulfillment and for the fact that they encourage Mary-Sues and Gary-Stus to run around the story unchecked and unchallenged, putting pure evil in them. Self-inserts and original characters in any fan fiction story are a huge no-no. use what the author of the story has provided you with and don’t put in characters that don’t exist in the story. (Not unless you happen o be Claire Violet Thorpe, who has an unusual way of doing just that. But you’re not her, so don’t do it!) Also, no inserting real-life people into the story, for the same reason.
- Do your homework. Research your favorite fandom and get to know all of the characters personally. Also, know the plot of the story, as you’ll be using it in your stories.
- Alternative storylines (or alternative universes): The main purpose of fan fiction is to follow the original story to the letter, not a wish fulfillment for you. You do not own the story; therefore you do not have the right to change it around to suit your personal fantasies. (And if you don’t like the storyline of your favorite story, then why are you writing for that fandom? If you do want to change the story around and make it better, then go make up your own.)
- Make sure your writing is perfect before you publish it. This means no spelling or grammar mistakes are allowed. Also, none of the characters should be speaking in street English at all. Proper English is a must. The reader will quit reading your story if there are any imperfections in the story. There are too many series with poor spelling and grammar in them; don’t let your story be one of them.
- Love that unloved fandom! There are already too many Harry Potter fan fiction stories out there (over 500,000 on fanfiction.net alone) and most of them are poorly written. So if you’re solely a Harry Potter fan, you really need to expand your horizons, so to speak. Find other books that run along the same subject as Harry Potter, and then write fan fiction for them. The tiny fandom with the fewest stories will win out in the end, not the biggest fandom. My advice: try to write for a fandom that is NOT Harry Potter.
- The “what if” scenario is your friend. Many times, I have read Claire’s stories and I always wonder IF something different were to happen in the story. If you change one thing in the story, you have to create the circumstance of what happened after the BIG EVENT happened. Alternative universes are just a poor excuse to change the story to suit your own desires. (I’ll cover that in another post)
- Watch the character behavior! There is to be no out-of-character behavior (unless you’re writing a parody, of course!). All characters must remain in the story with their personalities intact. No exceptions!
- Don’t forget the disclaimers! The disclaimer is your friend, and will protect you from any lawsuit that the original author wants to slap on you. When in doubt, try this out: “I don’t own anything but the story.” That will save you hours of headaches and such.
Now that we have the rules covered, please look forward to the articles that I am writing on this issue in the coming weeks on Claire Violet Thorpe’s Stories.
- Thanks to fan fiction, we get Harriet Potter and erotic ‘Twilight’ (kansascity.com)
- Books: For fans of fan fiction (blogs.abc.net.au)
- Fan Fiction: What Authors Can Learn From Its Marketability (addictivestory.wordpress.com)
- The Value of Fan-Fiction (philosophybychristy.wordpress.com)
- Once Upon a Time I was a Harry Potter Fan Fiction Writer (clairecatacouzinos.wordpress.com)
- New Adventures of a Fan Fiction Writer (margysmusings.wordpress.com)
- Coming out of my fan fictional closet… (storywrtr.wordpress.com)