Have your own idea for a story based on the characters / world you love? Enjoy the world created by someone else and you want to add to it? Fan fiction may be something you want to write.
Some authors / creators / owners do not want others to write about their worlds and characters. Before writing and publishing anything, research the author and fan fiction sites. If you don’t see any fan fiction for your choice, the creator may take action against those who want to create fan fiction based on their work. Some allow you to use it, but you are required to follow their guidelines.
2. Story rules.
Watch the show, read the books, be sure to completely immerse yourself in the world. If you know the world, you’ll be able to write better. You want to be able to describe the setting, characters, etc. as if they were your very own. You need to know the rules of this world before you break it. Forums are a great way to see what others find acceptable. You can also read fan fiction about your world to see how others have viewed it.
Keep notes for the characters and settings you want to use. If your character has a catch phrase or certain mannerisms, you might want to include that in your story. Guns have pink smoke? Your story should too. Make sure you know the names of people you might meet, places you’ll see, etc. Never assume something is the way you think it is. Research or ask others if what you’re planning to write is canon.
NOTE: You don’t need to go into as much description on established characters and settings. Most readers of your fan fiction will be familiar with the world. This makes it easier on you and on them.
If you want to deviate, make sure you keep notes of that as well so you are consistent in your changes. Put these deviations in your disclaimer.
4. Free ecourse.
Subscribe and complete the free Fan Fiction 101 ecourse.
Outline your story. This will allow you to weave your own ideas into the world you are borrowing. If something doesn’t work, you can adjust more easily here than when you write it.
Write your story. If you’ve not written a story before, you’ll need to learn the basics of writing. You need to balance action, conversation and description. Shorter sentences normally work better when you’re working with action and longer sentences with description.
Don’t assume writing is the same as typing. Explore other ways to write. This might include speaking into a recorder and transcribe your story later or creating a comic strip.
Edit your story. Look for the holes yourself. Be consistent with the facts. Don’t change someone’s hair color randomly or have them doing something away from the story and suddenly they appear. Ask yourself if the characters really do what you have written or if things actually *can* happen the way you describe. If not, fix it.
You’ll also need to check for grammatical and spelling errors. If there are certain words you misspell, be sure to check for those. Even if your word processor has a spell check, be sure to do it yourself as well.
NOTE: I like to wait at least two weeks from when I finish a story until I edit it. I also prefer to write the entire story first so if something doesn’t work, I can fix it before anyone sees it.
Find a beta reader to check your story before posting. A beta needs to know what is canon for your story and be able to edit your work. They are volunteers and will often communicate through email. Check the site you plan to post your work to for a listing of people willing to beta for you.
NOTE: Choose a beta that works the best for you. Ask for other pieces they’ve worked on and check with the author to see if they’re good to work with. If you aren’t strong grammatically, be sure your beta reader is. If you’re worried about the consistent use of your chosen work, you can look for someone who is good at that as well.
ALSO NOTE: There are bad beta readers out there. I have been told by a beta reader that “the story would be better if you had the characters do “this” instead.” It had nothing to do with the story, but their preference of what they wanted the story to be.
9. The facts.
Fan fiction is a derivative work. Always include a disclaimer stating who owns the original characters and setting. You are only borrowing it, so you do not want to offend anyone.
With your disclaimer, be sure to add information about the story you are sending. This might be age-appropriateness, pairings of characters, spoiler alerts or summary of your story. Be sure to use the standard wording to make it easier to understand — like “crossover” and “fluff.” This gives readers a glimpse of what they are about to read. It also gives them the opportunity not to read it if they choose.
Pick the site you want to publish your work to and do so. I use fanfiction.net.
Be prepared to interact with your audience. Some people will love what you write. Some will hate it. The haters tend to be most vocal. You may want to go back and make adjustments to your story if you receive constructive feedback.
12. Share your story.
If you publish more than one work, explore ways to connect with your readers. You want to let them know when you’re releasing new stories. For example, create a site for your work. Include a listing of the fan fiction you’ve created and summaries of each piece to help your readers connect with you. You might also start a mailing list so you can let your readers know when you’re putting out a new piece.
SUPP_Fan Fiction Writer_2in_12up_larajla
- Avery 2” round label printable, 12 up
SUPP_ Fan Fiction Writer_Checklist_larajla
- Badge checklist
SUPP_Fan Fiction Writer_My Fan Fiction_larajla
- Fan fiction I’ve written, mainly based on anime (blame my kids)
Sites to Explore
Get the infographic here > larajla blog post
Get the PDFs of the badge program / supplements here > Full badge PDFs