10 Tips For Writing A Fanfiction

demotThe idea to do this literally popped into my head around midnight while I was writing one of my fanfictions, now I guess I’m using it to procrastinate. What a person I am. Basically, fanfiction is the reader/watcher/viewer’s way of saying, nope, this story isn’t over until I say it is. We get to continue it on, but add our own twists ‘n turns. Or in some cases, change a death that we simply couldn’t deal with or some other event that we thought should have been different. Honestly, it’s a beautiful way to express our feelings and get it all out, one true good way to try to move on from a series…or at least cope with them. Take your pick. So, shall we begin?


1. Plot

plotPlots are really something that depict the character’s life, or story, into different events. Some say it’s insignificant, others say it can make or break a story. What I believe is neither, a bad plot probably won’t destroy your story if the writer has good writing, characters, ideas, etc. But having a plot that is original and that leaves the reader guessing will make it even better. Some key parts to a plot are definitely the originality. Don’t have an overused plot, it can be boring to some readers. The plot is supposed to lead into the climax. Start the story with a bang, then reveal the story gradually, draw on the readers emotions and so much more. When it has those things, a plot is important because it’s doing more than controlling the story line. So, before writing, make sure to establish your plot; changes along the way are great, but having a basic story line to go on is going to benefit the writer and the level of the story.

2. Character Development

Something every reader loves, including myself, is seeing a character grow as the story goes along. A static main character is never good, they need to have personal, physical and emotional growth as the story goes along. It makes it so much better to look back on, and as an added bonus for the author; one of my favourite parts with OCs is being able to look at my character from the very beginning and seeing how much they’ve changed later on. Trust me, it’s a feeling of accomplishment that I love. Remember, growth happens with people in real life, characters should have the development too.

3. Take Your Time

Keep-calm-and-take-your-time-9This is especially for those writers like me who post what they write online and are trying to keep up regular posts. Don’t. It doesn’t matter how soon it was posted if the story was still great. But more than anything, for all writers, simply don’t rush a story, I’ve done it before when I rushed an ending and reading it again, trust me, you can tell. It takes away from the whole of it. I’ve been working on my current fanfiction for almost a year now (I’m nearly at the one year mark woohoo) and there is nothing wrong with that. It has given me the chance to clearly see where I want the story to go and find the changes I want made.

4. Character Originality {NO Mary Sues!}

Just for those who don’t know what a Mary Sue is I’ll explain it quickly around. A Mary Sue is a female character in fanfiction (known as Marty Stu if male) and they are perfect. Sometimes they are self-inserts done by the author with a few improvements. All in all they tend to be completely perfect, without weakness and in the end fairly unoriginal. So avoid this at all costs and remember a key rule: every character needs to have a weakness. Also there are sites online to check for a Mary Sue character The Universal Mary Sue Test. Other than that this is another time to keep the creativity flowing. Characters need to be as original as anything and their own person. A certain amount of detail is always good when creating characters.

5. Avoid OOC-ness

OOCOOC = Out Of Character. Yes, it’s okay to take your own liberties with a fanfiction, it’s your perspective on the characters after all and not everyone will always agree with it. Still, try to keep the pre-made charactrtd to the essentials of who they are, say what makes sense for them to say, things like speech style and attitudes are important to take note of when keeping fanfic characters IN character.

6. Be Creative, But Know The Limits

Just_Be_Creative_by_MarionIt is amazing to write your own version of a story you no doubt love. Let the creativity flow and find the most amazing ideas possible. Especially when trying to make a new twist on a story, creativity is key. But remember to always go over these new ideas and stand by a reminder I learned awhile ago. Don’t always go with the first idea that comes to mind.

7. Understand The Canon Storyline

Yes, the second you begin writing a fanfic, it’s no longer canon. That doesn’t mean you can’t stick to some basic parts of the original, except if you’re doing a one-shot. Some things in a story are there for a reason, understand the reason and then decide if it needs to be kept canon or not. The best example I can come up with at the moment is from Naruto because that’s where my current fanfic is based off of. The original main character, Naruto is a tailed-beast host of course, to his story that is necessary and it’s a very base part of his character. Changing that would need a very significant reason.

8. Find A Balance Between Too Short and Too Long

I could find a lot of different examples for this one, but there are two examples that explain it easily. First, I’ll use character descriptions, there’s the too short with a few quick jotted down things that have absolutely no presence to them what-so-ever. They don’t bring the character to life or give them any meaning. I.E. “He had big green eyes. Tall with lots of muscle. Brown hair to his eyes.” Yawn. I see those and they make me want to cry, leaving imagination to the reader is important, but things like that are absolutely lifeless. Then there’s the too long where someone goes on about the way a character looks for an entire page, a paragraph devoted to hair. I.E. “Her long locks sparkled in the evening light. The colour matching the sun shining on it and went far down to her waist. It was in long lucious waves down past her waist with perfect little ringlets hiding underneath. The glow nearly blinded my eyes as it brightened her face. It would feel like silk I was sure…” And so on and so on, I’m just too lazy to write up an entire paragraph, but you get the idea. A nice in between is much better.

Another example is more for people who plan to be posting their fanfics online at sites like fanfiction.net and AO3. Watch the length of your chapters. Chapters that are a paragraph or three long are always a disappointment even with good writing. It makes the story far too choppy. There isn’t anything too terrible about super long chapters, just that it can be a lot in one go for some people. I tend to go for 3 pages at my very minimum and 8-10 for my maximum. Five pages tends to be my goal most of the time.

9. Point Of View 

POVIt’s important to decide on that because out of the options available, first person, second person and third person (with their extra details). Everyone will find a preferred perspective that fits them, their story and their writing style in general the best. It may take a few hit and misses before you find which you’re most comfortable with, but you’ll find it. Personally I’ve always preferred Third Person Omnipresent, it’s always most comfortable and with the most flow. Here are some sites with more details on the point of view options: Basic Writing Perspectives and Point Of Views and Their Benefits.

10. Edit. Enough Said.

eatwriteeditYet I’ll say some stuff about it anyways. I really do want to put emphasis because this is another one that is essential in any and every writing. Just because it’s a fanfiction doesn’t mean editing isn’t important. As a reader of fanfics myself I know how frustrating it is to be going through one that has a decent or enjoyable plot, but the joy is taken out by mistakes that I can’t help but notice. Everyone makes those mistakes, hell I do, A LOT, but editing is time taken to make it better for the reader. For that I will say, I personally despise editing, that’s why I put it as a rule. I know it’s important and I’m still working on doing it more {we’ll see how much editing I put into this and maybe I’ll get called out on it}. One technique is to finish what you wrote and whatever you do don’t look at it for a good while. Then once you have a fresh mind, go for a re-read that way mistakes and needed changes will be a lot easier to find. Along those lines though, there is one other option that can help out a lot. Finding a beta. Someone else to take a look at the work because they don’t need the time away to look at it with a fresh mind, they’re already fresh.


Well there’s the end of my rant and tips for writing a fanfiction. Some of it applies to writing normal stories as well I suppose. Hope these manage to help some people and I swear I will probably roll on the floor laughing if someone calls me out on mistakes I missed in here because of my tenth tip. Good luck writing peoples!

Until next time,

ShaylaSig

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6 thoughts on “10 Tips For Writing A Fanfiction

  1. Pingback: My Week in the Blogosphere! « Marcey's Table

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