A Guide to Writing Fan Fiction
Author's Note: I copied this from the old site, originated by HanaNoHaru. Many have put in their suggestions since then. I thought it was time to repost it, since there are so many stories that could use improving. Here's the Reader's Digest version:
Hi, I just thought this would be useful for new writers, old writers, and readers alike. I've been reading the stories here for quite some time and I must say a lot of you have talent, but I just think others could use some help, like the new writers. Now, if I offend anyone I'm so sorry, and if this doesn't belong here I'm sorry again. I know I might sound a little rude since I don't have any written material here, but I do have some stories on another site. I'm going to wait a little before I start with the lessons in case this wasn't a good idea. So, if you don't mind, please tell me if I should go ahead and continue, thank you.
A good writer always excepts critisism, may it be good , bad or ugly. I know I feel emotional with the stories I write. But any improvement I'm up for it. So I say to you, BRING IT ON!!!!!
Do remember there are those who don't do it for a living but for the simple enjoyment to bring pleasure to others.
No offense to anyone, but I think Lesson 1 should be don't type your stories like this:
Example: And Then She Said "Do You Like Pikcles. And He Said No i Don't Like Pickels He Said.
That was a really random example, but I have seen people who write their stories with absolutley no proper use of C.O.P.S. (capitalization, organization, punctuation, spelling) and it drives me insane.
Again, that wasn't meant to offend anyone, or be interpreted as a personal attack upon anyone.
Be creative: try and do things differently. Your audience is important but sometimes you DON'T need a happy ending to please them.
Also remember these are three different words-
their: belonging to them
they're: they are.
Spell check doesn't get if you use them incorrectly as long as you spell them right, and grammar check is a lie. Never trust it.
Today's Lesson is: What is Criss Angel Fanfiction?
Criss Angel Fanfiction is a story about our beautiful Criss. What makes a Criss Angel Fanfiction? Well, for starters it has to be good. No one wants to read a bad fanfic.
Another thing that makes a good fanfic is being original. Readers like originality. It draws them in.
One thing that isn't good for any fanfic is OOC-ness, which means out of character. I haven't seen any real OOC here, so I'm not going to get too involved with that.
Next is OC's (original characters). They hold a fanfic together. They show your creativity as a author. But Mary Sues are not good. Or a Gary Stu. They are OC's that are basically better than any other character and rule the story. Nobody really likes them. Since I haven't seen any Mary Sues here, this is not a problem. But if you think your character is a Mary Sue ask a honest friend to tell you.
Last there is the plot. Plots are the backbone of your story. If you don't have a good plot, the overall story probably won't be good.
WARNING: If you take to long to start adding the plot to the story people will get bored and most likely stop reading.
Spell check is your friend but not your savior. Read through your work. The best way to catch grammar mistakes is to read it out loud; if something doesn't sound right to you, it won't sound right to other people as well.
A good tip for the spelling errors: get a beta. A beta is just another person who's willing to read your story before it gets posted to find grammatical & spelling errors. A lot of writers I like use them *nods*
Another tip .. is don't write your story all in one HUGE paragraph! Use multiple paragraphs AND every quote should be in it's own paragraph.
"Oh Criss, I love you so much!" Carolyn said with tears in her eyes. "Carolyn, you make my life so complete," Criss gently ran a finger down her cheek, staring into her eyes. "I don't know what I'd do if .." Carolyn refused to finish the sentence, terrified she would jinx their relationship.
^^ nooo, no, no. It's better like this:
"Oh Criss, I love you so much!" Carolyn said with tears in her eyes.
"Carolyn, you make my life so complete," Criss gently ran a finger down her cheek, staring into her eyes.
"I don't know what I'd do if .." Carolyn refused to finish the sentence, terrified she would jinx their relationship.
Remember that there are a lot of people that won't read your story if it's hard to read
don't forget other words for said
I can't begin on how overused it is and i'm probably not the only one that thinks so
A tip I just stumbled across myself but does help somewhat.
If you spell not so great (like me for example), invest in a speller's dictionary. It helps where spell check can (& has ) over looked a word or 3.
Also this helps me: invest in a Thesaurus. It'll give you ideas for other words for over used ones. I fall into that same trap of over useing a word. It gets stuck in my mind. So I have that little book handy when updateing a story or even starting a new one.
I can never say enough about the importantce of a and an. A is before a consonant, like the C I just used there, but an comes before a vowel, like an hour; since the h is silent it is indeed an.
Another thing I take note of: Please, be suspenseful. Veritas's Avenging Angel is a perfect example of that. Go read the story (plugplug) to see how to work suspense into yours.
Also, since I write semi-professionally, this bothers me a lot: Plot. Please, just don't write a fanfiction to put yourself in the story as kissing Criss, although I sure as heck wouldn't mind that.
One last thing: Be clean, as clean as you possibly can, and NO CHATSPEAK! (making a point, sorry for use of caps). U, r, dat, wanna, gotta, dude, chick, etc, is very annoying.
Please take my tips in the way I give them to you: Simple tips from a semi-professional writer, only that. No offense meant. BTW I almost just did this to myself: Meant is spelled the way I spelt it, not ment.
Today's lesson is: Grammar is your friend!!
Grammar is very important in fanfiction. I personally will stop reading if there is a lot of errors and I know some others will too. Those errors are distracting and take away from the actual story. A story can be fantastic but when I spot a grammar mistake I normally stop reading.
It is boring to edit your stories, I have to do it too. Spell check is there to help but doesn't do the whole job. If you don't like editing then get a beta reader to do it for you.
The little things that writers most often miss is capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.
For capitalization: Every sentence starts with a big letter and the rest are small. Proper nouns get capitalized too. (A persons name, place name, etc.)
For punctuation: A period goes at the end of every sentence unless it's a question and for that you would put a question mark. For an enthusiastic sentence you should put an exclamation point.
When you start a new dialogue start a new paragraph. It's much easier to read.
ex: If Criss and J.D. are standing in a room with a grilled cheese.
What NOT to do: "HAH! The cheesy goodness is mine!" J.D. looked at Criss and walked away.
Now I bet you can't tell who got the sandwich, right?
What you're supposed to do: "HAH! The cheesy goodness is mine!" Criss shouted. J.D. looked at Criss and walked away.
See, that's much better. Obviously Criss got the cheesy goodness.
With spelling, it's OK to spell something wrong in dialogue like this: "Missin' yer dinner, eh Harry?" That gives a sense of what the character is like.
Now, a big problem is the confusion between:
1)there, their, and they're
2)your and you're
3)to, two, and too
4)its and it's
There is referring to a place. Their is possessive. They're is they are.
Your and its are possessive. You're and it's is you are and it is.
To is used for expressing motion or direction toward a point, person, place, or thing approached and reached, as opposed to from. Too means also or moreover. Two is the written form of 2.
Another thing is homophones. They are words sound the same but have different meanings. For example:
"The night looked down at Criss, brandishing his sword"
It's pretty hard for the sky to hold a sword...
This is the correct way: "The knight looked down at Criss, brandishing his sword."
That's much better. These little mistakes are a pain to read, so don't forget to go back and edit.
As I have learned the hard way, if you don't have a good plot, interesting characters, and no originality, then people don't read. You, as the author have to grab a reader's attention and keep them interested as your story goes on. Don't write four different stories all along the same plot; people get bored seeing the same thing. Mix it up a bit--don't be afraid to write a story that no one else has even touched the subject on. Being fresh and creative is what will keep your readers coming back!
Check out these helpful terms : A lot of people don't even know these terms exist
RATINGS: Ratings are important!
PG/PG13 - suitable for most ages. If this were a movie, it would be a movie like Walt Disney makes
R - not suitable for younger children. Due to language, violence and other issues you wouldn't want someone under the age of 16 hearing/seeing. If this were a movie it would be something like "Saving Private Ryan"
NC17 - NOT for people under 18, anything you would not want your little brother/sister or your child to see period! If this were a movie, it would be the type that Paris Hilton made in that hotel room.
AU or A/U: Alternate Universe. Although technically ALL fan fiction is AU, since it isn't canon, the term is reserved for stories that lift parts of the show out and put them in a totally different setting. IE: Criss Angel decides to be a doctor, instead of an illusionist This is an example of an alternate universe stories. Non-AU fan fiction tries to carry on within the limits of the actual life or perhaps showing scenes in between the aired events.
BETA READER/SOUNDING BOARD/EDITOR: That wonderful person that will read your rough draft and provide proofreading for punctuation/spelling and/or criticism for characterizations/plot. Even the best of writers need the help of a beta to help you out with a story from time to time. They're a great resource for not only proofreading your story, but also with offering suggestions on your storyline/plot.
CANON: Anything which appeared in the actual life and therefore can be "proven" to be a genuine aspect of the character. IE: Criss Angel has two brothers, JD and Costa
CROSSOVER: Sometimes this appears as X/O or Xover. A story which involves two or more different genres. IE: a grisly murder takes place at the Luxor and the CSI team of Grissom and Stokes comes out to investigate and is introduced to suspects such as Gerard the Hypnotist who is covered in blood and believed to have bludgeoned Johnny Thompson with a paper weight. A good crossover is difficult to produce, as first you must have a good combination and secondly a reasonable excuse for the two of them getting involved--they can't just happen to stumble across each other.
DISCLAIMER: Also known as HEADER INFO. Traditionally put at the top of the story, a disclaimer may include a legal disclaimer announcing that you don't make money at this and don't want to infringe on any real life person. SPOILERS and warnings such as "character death"; a brief plot summary; a dedication or thank you to beta readers; something about story length; which chapter this is (with the format 1/5 meaning part one of five parts); and so on. Everyone does this different.
DRABBLE: Writing drabble is similar to saying, "I've written some really cool dialogue, or conceived a neat scene that has no plot or point, and rather than come up with a story to put it in, I'm just going to post it and wait for praise." Similar to PWP, except limited to one hundred words.
FANON: "Fanon" is a detail about a character that was created by a fan but has now been generally borrowed/copied/accepted as canon by many other writers. IE: in a story about John Farrell, he was caught raiding a refrigerator every time he entered someone's house. Now, other writers borrow that same habit in their stories, making it fanon. See also: CANON.
FEN: A plural form of "fan."
FLAME: When you viciously attack a writer for bad writing or for daring to write a story with a pairing or subject that repulses you, you are "flaming." There is a huge difference between thoughtful balanced criticism and outright flames, yet many fen confuse the two. A flame is never invited, and is never excusable. If you cannot stomach that subject matter or that romantic pairing, don't read the story--end of discussion.
GEN: A story fit for general audiences, in the original usage, and therefore lacking in explicit nature of any kind.
H/C: "Hurt/comfort." One or more characters will be hurt (physically or emotionally or mentally), and one or more characters will suffer angst over this and try to comfort the victim.
FEEDBACK: Supremely important to fan fic authors, yet often neglected by readers. Feedback can be as simple as "Loved it. More, please?" or as detailed as pages of critique. Writers generally crave feedback and request that readers do so. The board encourages it.
MARY SUE: A character who is clearly the author's alter ego and therefore incredibly perfect; incredibly beautiful--often with unusually colored eyes/hair; incredibly talented--often gifted musically and magically; has a tragic past; and is either related to or beloved by one or more of the shows main characters. Mary Sue may die in the arms of a main character, having given her all.
PAIRING: A romantic linking of characters. Usually the reader is warned with these acronyms or combined names in the header or disclaimer so she can skip romantic relationships she doesn't like.
POV: Point Of View. First person point of view stories. As seen through the eyes of one main character. Some writers can pull this off, other's can't.
PWP: Plot What Plot; "I've written something that has no plot whatsoever and I think you want to waste some time and therefore will read it." Consider it fair warning that what you will read exists only for some obsessive focus such as hurt/comfort. This may run for dozens of page, if the author wants to linger on scenes. See also: DRABBLE.
RPF or Real People fiction: Fan fiction about a real-life person. IE: Criss Angel - he's a real life person you are writing about
SHIPPER: Short for "relationshipper." The story is semi-romantic and revolves around a romantic pairing; Generally that pairing involves two characters, not an original character paired with a character.
SONGFIC: Fanfiction inspired by/heavily laden with song lyrics.
SQUICK: Anything in fanfic which might make a reader queasy. What that might be varies between fandoms. Character death is a major squick issue; sexual orientation, excessive violence or gore may do it for some.
WIP: Work In Progress. In other words, a warning that it may never be finished, and that the author may not have edited it thoroughly or thought out the plot/characterization/point of the story. That's pretty much the case for most stories started. Often situations/storyline changes as the writer sits down and begins to write it.
1. Type it first in a Word Processor (like Microsoft Word). If you make any errors, itll give you VERY helpful guides in the form of pretty colors underlining where you made your mistake. (Trust me; the green and red lines are my friends. Although sometimes, I HATE them, they are good to have.) You can then copy and paste it into the forum.
2. Try to make it exciting, but believable. Simply put, if you don't think it would happen to you (i.e. dramatics) in real life, dont put it in. For example, I was at the Luxor. Our eyes met. He came over and immediately asked for my phone number.
3. If you don't like your chapter, PM or email it to someone and see what they think. Usually, were open to sneak peeks, especially if we've been leaving you feedback.
4. Have spaces between every paragraph, or somehow distinguish that its a new character talking.
5. Names: make sure to spell names correctly, especially if it's a real life person you are dealing with in the fic.
6. Dont use internet slang in your stories. Meaning: Ur should be spelled out as your or you're, 2 should be to or too. It's great for email and IMs, but it's not proper English.
7. Learn context: they're (i.e. They're married), their (Their wedding day.) and there (There's the place!); your (Your friend) and you're (You're a great friend).
8. Spell check doesn't catch everything. Think about what youre saying in your mind. Does it sound funny when you re-read it? If it does, then you have to change something.
9. Treat your stories as writing assignments. Would you half-ass an English paper? If you don't feel like writing, don't.
10. When you have multiple Points of View in a story, make sure you let the reader know whose point of view it is from.
11. Spacing!! Make sure to space at the proper times. People won't read if the text is bunched together. It makes it hard to read and not very enjoyable.
And here's a GREAT writing resource for all kinds of writing...Online Writing Tips. These can also help if you're doing papers for school
What I like to do is put my story on paper first, then post it. That way, I can correct anything that doesn't work out. I know it's old school, but it works for me. And it saves wear and tear on the old carpal muscles.
If you want a convincing story, do the research. Get an idea of how people talked, dressed, and acted, and get the "lay of the land", so to speak. If you want to put your readers in a particular place, then you need to have an accurate knowledge of where everything is. Even J.R.R. Tolken had a map of Middle Earth printed in his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
Pace your writing. Don't be in such a hurry to get to the end.
Use the italics and the bold typeface to full effect. CAPITOL LETTERS suggest shouting.
I'd like to also point out that length isn't always that important. It's better to have your writing be creative, grammatically correct and interesting, rather than long, with a lot of typos, and no general direction to which it's heading.
Also, write with what you know. If you're really good at something, make a character really good at it because when you describe that talent, it'll be more believable. If you're fluent in another language, make one of your characters be as well at some point, it'll make the story interesting.
When you have writer's block, don't force yourself ahead. Rather, go for a walk or watch a movie you haven't watched in a long time, listen to music you really used to love or love right now. Inspiration has no road map; you find it where it wants to be found.
I just wanted to say that editing is an important part of writing, and I think that there are probably some of you guys that would make really good editors. However, what I try to do is focus more on the creative side of the art. You can always do clean up at the end (kind of like icing on the cake) but to create a really good read, I think it has to come from the heart - from within. You can have a really well planned and grammatically correct paper and it can still be crap. Its just well organized and nicely shaped crap.
There are a lot of great tips for writing fanfiction, mostly grammar and spelling. But last Sunday, Julie Hinds, the Pop Culture Writer for the Detroit Free Press, created a list of guidelines for creating the perfect villian (How to ensure every comic book hero gets a memorable villian. July 13, 2008, www.freep.com). It may help in creating your villians in your stories as well. Let's take everyone's favorite, Luke Blade:
1.Take the job seriously. If you saw CSI: NY, Sleight Out of Hand, you know how Criss threw himself into the role of Luke Blade, adding a touch of himself into it.
2. Add a dash of sympathy. We know how Luke had been abandoned as a child, and suffered from FAS. He could not control his actions or his behavior because of it.
3. Be faithful to the source material. When I wrote LUKE BLADE: A biography, I took notes when watching the episode for source material. It was OnDemand at the time, so I could watch it again and find parts that I skipped. Fans don't like it when you change the storyline.
4. Find a great costume. Well, great for superheros and villians, but Luke was just as menacing in his torn jeans and t-shirt. Clothes don't always make the villian.
5. Don't be afraid to go over the top. "Villians have a mix of arogance and intelligence that requires big gestures, but that's okay. There's nothing more fun to watch than an A-list actor unleashing his inner egomaniac," says Hinds. Remember, Luke tried to drown his adoptive mother in a Houdini-style water tank.
6. Don't overshadow the good guy. CSI: NY was about Mac and Stella chasing the murderer of Vienna Hyatt and Austin Cannon and capturing him. Luke was destined to be captured, though he evaded it very cleverly.
7. Keep the camp under control. Again, this goes for comic books. Don't treat your villians like a joke.
8. Explore the love/hate nature of the characters. Luke had an affair with Vienna Hyatt, and Austin was so jealous he wanted to quit. Danny had something for Lindsey, who was back home testifying in a murder trial. This fleshes out your characters.
9. Look for the right director. YOU are the "director" in your stories. Writing a story is like shooting a movie inside your head--you come up with scenes, dialogue, plotline, and characters. Don't be afraid to yell "cut!" when a scene doesn't work.
10. Insist on a good script. Good characters can't hide lousy writing, says Hines. Same for fanfiction. That's why this section is here.
Also a few sentences does not a chapter make, try to write a good size chapter and tell all little more of the background of what is going on at the time that the chapte is happening, it will save you from cramming too much in one place and too little the next.
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