Writing Tool: EditMinion

EditMinionEditing is a tough job, especially when you simply want to bask in the glory of a finished story. EditMinion is a new tool you can use to catch basic errors in grammar, excessive adverbs, repeated words and other style-related errors.

To use it, paste your text into the wizard and click the edit button. EditMinion will analyze your text and highlight a range of errors. Generally these are quick-fixes, so your return on the time invested is pretty high.

While it’s no substitute for a beta reader, Editminion does a great job cleaning up a manuscript.

Give it a try here: EditMinion

 

 

Get Inspired with the Fan Fiction Prompt-O-Matic

Fanfiction Prompts to Inspire You

How to Write Fan Fiction is your one-stop-shop for inspiration.

I’ve just set up a new feature at How to Write Fan Fiction–the Fan Fiction Prompt-O-Matic. (Check it out, just to the top left of this post.)

Every time you visit, you’ll get a brand new prompt. Sometimes, all it takes is a single word to set your imagination on overdrive, so if you are looking for inspiration for your next Fanfic, How to Write Fan Fiction is your one stop shop for prompts. (If you want some help working with prompts, head over to  How to Write with Prompts.) And don’t forget, we’ve got prompt tables for those of you who really want a challenge.

Once you have your Prompt, you can use the Mind Map Worksheet to really work out your idea. Spend between 5 and 10 minutes writing down everything you can think of that relates to your prompt. More than once, I’ve had a story outline itself with this process. Prompts are a great way to brush up on your writing skills–just writing a drabble (100 word fic) a day, keeps your creativity flowing. Drabbles often provide the seeds for longer stories–after you’ve had a while to let things simmer in the back of your brain.

If you have any prompts that you’d like me to add to the list, please submit them via the Contact page on this site. And when you write your story, please come back and share a link in the comments of this post so that we call all read it.

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!

7 Tips for Writing Sex in Fan Fiction

7 Tips for Writing Sex in Fan FictionLet’s face it, there is a ton of poorly written, cringe-worthy smut in the Fan Fiction Universe. Sex is an extraordinarily intimate act, whether in life or on the page, so you must be comfortable with your subject matter before you start writing. Take some time before you start to figure out what you’d like to write. The following tips will help to guide you through that process.

Do Your Homework — The first step to writing good sex, is to read it. You can read it any way you like-Fan Fiction, main stream Erotica, whatever floats your boat. This will help you get a feel for the language of sex-it’s not all dirty words. It will also help you to figure out what you like, what turns you on, and what you don’t like.

Plan Ahead — Determining the content of your scene before you write it will make an immeasurable difference in the success of your story. Some writers depend on spontaneity when they are writing intimate scenes, but it is important to remember this is fiction, and not real life. So take a moment, decide who is going to be in your scene, what is going to happen and who is going to be doing what to whom. It will make things a heck of a lot easier if you know what kind of sex your characters are going to have. Missionary? Oral? On the bed or against the wall? Making these kinds of choices up front will make filling in the details a lot easier. (You can find a worksheet to help you here.)

Characterization — Characterization is critical when you are writing an intimate scene. As Fan Fiction writers, we don’t always get to see our characters in vulnerable situations, especially if you are writing for a procedural type drama. This is when it is important to watch your show closely. Study how your chosen characters interact, and figure out what they aren’t saying to each other. Capitalizing on that subtext is the key to a great story, especially when you are planning on taking things to the bedroom.

Evolve — Unless you are writing porn, you’ll need to figure out what kind of a scene you are writing. Sex is the most intimate act that can occur between two people (or more if that is your cup of tea.) Sex changes people, and you’ll need to figure out how your characters are going to be affected (or not) by this interaction. Will this be a healing scene? Animal attraction? A mistake?

Progression & Layer in Detail — A sex scene has a natural progression -foreplay, the act, climax, closure-so you already have a map for how your scene should play out. Also, you don’t have to get it right the first time; you can start writing with simple sentences describing what you want to have happen, and follow that up by layering in the detail. Since you have an underlying structure, you can feel free to write without worry-the groundwork is already in place. Usually I just close my eyes, imagine the scene, and write what I see in my mind’s eye.

Because it’s usually easier to see things in action, I have included a snippet of a scene I wrote in first draft form and later draft form:

First Draft:

She followed him, unsurprised that they were heading for the bedroom; she’d seen the look in his eyes.
Later Draft:

She looked up at him before sucking lightly on the sensitive skin just below his ear, murmuring her assent as she allowed him to guide her into the bedroom, her limbs still tangled with his. She could see his desire for her so clearly etched on his face that it made her wonder where he’d hid it for so long.
You can see that the bones of the scene are there in the first draft, I’ve just elaborated on it in the later one. This is why I advocate writing in drafts. There is nothing wrong with the first sentence I wrote, but there is much more depth and feeling in the later draft.

Choose Your Words — “Dirty” words do not make a sex scene. As with all writing, the intimacy and eroticism of the scene you are writing hinges on how you arrange the words you use, so if there are words you are not comfortable saying or writing, don’t use them. Consistently is also important-choose one word for a body part, and stick with it. Avoid phrases like ‘garden of desire’ or ‘throbbing member of love.’ It’s also wise to avoid using ‘unghhhh’ or ‘cooooooooooming’ to indicate an orgasm. Saying she or he moaned gets the job done.

Endings — A good ending builds on the beginning of a story; it demonstrates how the characters have changed since the beginning. One way to accomplish this is to look at the reason your characters are having this intimate encounter, and then what has changed for them after the fact. Are they unsettled? Were they insecure, and now feel reassured? Answering the question that you set up at the beginning of your story is the key to a good ending. When you do this your reader feels connected to your characters and your story, and feels fulfilled by their reading experience.

If you find that you need some extra help with writing your story, you can use my Sex Scene Worksheet. Remember, readers want to be emotionally involved in your story, so take some time and consider the tips discussed in this article and you will surely write a story that will leave them begging for more.