How Fan Fiction Makes You Better Writer

How Fan Fiction Makes You a Better WriterWhen I first started to write Fan Fiction several years ago, I kept it a secret from everyone that I knew, publishing online with a pen name and a lot of trepidation. These days, things are different; authors like JK Rowling actually encourage fans to write fiction based on their work. And now the field is more welcoming to new-comers than ever. If you’ve been thinking about trying your hand at writing fiction, Fan Fiction offers you a super atmosphere to learn to write. Let’s take a look at the some of the major advantages.

It’s Easy to Get Started You have a ready-to-write-in universe at your fingertips. The characters and setting have already been created, all you have to provide is an idea. And in Fan Fiction, ideas are endless. A great place to start is with the Post Episode (Post-Ep) story. All you do is pick up where the episode left off, adding your own ending. This works great for shows that leave things open ended, especially around the season finale.

You Can Start Small — If you find the idea of writing a novel daunting, Fan Fiction allows you to start on a much smaller scale. You can try your hand at several short stories (and find an audience, which is much harder to do when you first start writing original fiction) and then move onto the novella. You’ll get feedback from your readers (provided you take care to follow posting guidelines, use spellcheck, and have a general understanding of grammar) that will motivate you to keep writing.

You Have Community – One of the biggest benefits of writing a Fan Fiction story is that you are never alone. You have an entire Fandom of writers that are in the same situation as you are. When you get stuck, you’ll always be able to find someone to offer encouragement, or just to commiserate for a few minutes on the writing process. Not to mention, Fan Fiction communities are always offering prompt tables, ficathons and other writing challenges. You’ll never be at a loss for what to write!

There is a Built in Audience – Within your Fandom, there are already established archives for you to post your story. A quick Google search will give you the location of smaller archives and communities, and you can also post at FanFiction.net. Don’t forget to thank your readers for their comments so they are inspired to leave them on future stories as well.

You Can Practice, Practice, Practice – Perhaps most importantly, Fan Fiction offers you the chance to write, a lot. The only way to become a better writer is to write. With every story or chapter that you turn out, you become a better writer, so take advantage of everything Fan Fiction has to offer you, and write as much as possible.

Fan Fiction offers you the perfect way to stretch your imagination and take those first steps toward becoming a writer. If you long to write a novel, but have no idea where to start, trying writing some Fan Fic. As you write, you’ll develop valuable writing skills and have fun along the way.

Tips for Writing Fan Fiction: How to Edit Your Fanfic

Edit Your Own Fan Fiction!You’ve just spent a week bent over your keyboard typing furiously, visions of your Fan Fiction characters dancing in your head. It was all worth it, though because now you have a finished Fanfic on your computer screen.  It’s time to post…or is it?

Sharing a new story is exciting, but before you hit that post button, make sure that your fic is in tip top shape. There are several practical steps you can take to make sure that anyone who clicks on your story loves it; here’s what you need to know to edit your own story.

Take Some Time Off – The best thing you can do for your Fan Fiction is to step away from it for a day or so. If you don’t want to wait that long, grab a snack or some coffee and take a mental break. You are much more likely to catch any mistakes you’ve made if you step away from your work for at least a short period of time. If you are lucky enough to have a beta reader, send it off for another pair of eyes to look over. Remember, you don’t have to take your beta’s advice, only list to it. (More tips for working with a beta.)

Dissect Dialogue – Editing your dialogue is probably the single most important thing you can do to improve your story. Chances are you can cut it down. Less is more when it comes to dialogue, so look closely at the words you’ve written for your characters. Ask yourself if you can hear their voice in your head when you read the words you’ve written for them. Finally, make sure it is clear who is speaking in each line of dialogue, and always start a new paragraph with a new speaker.

Proof Point of View – Every scene you write should have a clear point of view. This means the reader knows from whose perspective the story is being told. If you head hop in a scene, it can make the story confusing and hard to follow. For this reason, you should make sure it is clear whose doing the thinking, especially if you are flipping between characters. (A common reason for this would be during a sex scene, where you want to account for both characters’ reactions.)

Read it Out Loud – Reading your story out loud forces you to slow down, and you’ll be able to catch any places where the text might be awkward. If you stumble over a sentence, take a minute to reword it. It’s also a good idea to read from a print out-this will help you to slow down and catch some errors you might have missed reading it from the screen. As a bonus, formatting errors will be easier to see as well.

Save the Punctuation for Last – Don’t bother with punctuation until you’re on your last read through. Chances are you’ll change more than one sentence, and you can clean up any errors you might have made on your last pass.  Need help with grammar and punctuation? I’ve got you covered with Write Better, Right Now!

Sum it Up — And here’s a bonus benefit: now that you’ve read through your story a few times, writing a summary will only take you a few minutes. Some writers choose a particular poignant quote  to use as a summary, but I recommend taking the time to write a few sentences that will hook a perspective reader into clicking your link. Writing “I suck at summaries” just doesn’t cut it. Think about how your show teases you into watch the next episode and do the same with your summary.

And that’s it, you’re done and ready to post! Easier than you thought? I hope so!