Tips for Writing Fan Fiction: Finding Ideas

Tips for Writing Fan Fiction: Finding IdeasWhether you are a seasoned Fan Fic writer or a first-timer, every story starts in the same place-with an idea. Some days, you’ll have more ideas than you know what to do with, others, nothing seems to come to mind. If you’re having the latter problem, here are some tips to get you writing.

Use a Prompt – Prompts are one of the best ways to inspire a story. Lots of Fan Fiction communities offer prompts to jump start your story writing, but you can also trade prompts with a fellow writer, and set up a deadline to keep you both writing. If you are feeling ambitious, you can select a prompt table and write a series of stories based on multiple prompts. Prompt tables really engage your creativity, and build your fiction writing skills.

Finish a Scene – Pick an episode of your show, let your imagination run wild and finish an open ended scene. Post-eps are both fun and quick to write, and they have the added benefit of being fan favorites. This is an especially great option for new writers since you get a head-start on writing your story because you have a set-up, setting and characters already determined for you.

Find a Challenge – All Fandoms have Ficathons that you can participate in and they are especially great fun because you will be participating with other writers. Do a little digging around in your Fandom and see what is out there. Some ficathons have deadlines where everyone posts on the same day, others let you post within a certain window. You’ll surely be able to find something that works for you.

Write it Out – Whenever I have the urge to write a story, but no specific idea in mine, I head over to and doing a little writing. I start free writing about the two characters that I am interested in featuring in my story and in less than 10 minutes, I’ll have worked out an idea and a plan. Doing some stream of consciousness writing on your idea will really help; having your idea mapped out from start to finish means you write faster and post sooner.

Inspiration is everywhere-you just have to know where to look. Using these ideas can help you to narrow your focus down to the best ideas for your writing. You might want to consider keeping an idea file (hard copy or on the computer) or an idea journal. You can record ideas when you have an overflow–that way when you are in a writing mood, all you need to do is flip through your file and you’ll be writing a story in no time.

5 Tips for Writing Good Fan Fiction

Tips for Writing Fan FictionBefore you write your first words, it’s a good idea to know what the qualities of a good story are. Following these basic tips really is the key to boosting the number of reviews and comments you get on your stories. Readers are far more likely to comment on your story if you’ve taken the time to present the best possible product. The following 5 tips are designed to help you be the best writer possible.

Know Your Characters – There is pretty much nothing worse than an out of character Fan Fiction story. When potential readers click on your story, they are doing so with the assumption that you are writing about the characters they already love. So it’s up to you to make sure that you do your homework, watch your show, and pay attention to characterization.

Know Your Grammar & Punctuation – I’m not asking you to whip out your 8th grade grammar book, but you should know the basic rules of punctuation-especially for dialogue. There are lots of reputable grammar related sites accessible on the internet, so if you don’t know it, look it up. Don’t forget to start a new paragraph when you change speakers-this is one of the most common mistakes out there. (Need help with this? I’ve got you covered. Check out Write Better, Right Now!) And be sure to use spell check (I know you’ve heard this over and over!) because there is no excuse for mis-spelled words.

Revise Your Story – This means that you read through it after you have written it, smoothing out any rough patches and correcting any errors. I also highly recommend finding a beta; an objective set of eyes can do wonders for a story. Your beta can read your story for technical errors as well as plot and continuity issues. Most fandoms have message boards or posts that can help you find a beta reader. (More tips on working with a beta reader here.)

Use a Disclaimer – Because you are using someone else’s intellectual property to write your Fanfic, you need to include a disclaimer. This should be part of your header (where you indicate the title, author, rating, and pairing) and should include the fact that you acknowledge your characters are products of their creators and you have made no money in the writing of your story.

Rate Your Story – Readers need to know what to expect when they click on your story. Remember, kids are on the internet too, so if you have adult content, be sure to note it. Different sites use different rating systems, so check the guidelines of the site where you plan to post. Sites like LiveJournal also require adult content to be put behind a “cut” or link that the user must click to access the content.

Follow these 5 rules when you write, and you’ll pick up vital new skills that will vastly improve your writing. Set yourself apart from all the badfic that is posted in your Fandom, and earn yourself a reputation for excellent writing (and watch your reviews skyrocket) by knowing how to write Fan Fiction. The skills you develop writing today will be ones you use your entire life!