Writing good fan fiction is harder than it seems. Here are some tips that should help you create compelling stories your readers will enjoy.

  • Know the canon, which is the the original work on which your story is based. That means lots of research and may include reading (or watching) the original work again to ensure you don’t mess up the original story’s history and meaning.

  • Keep your characters “in character” with the original work. Otherwise, you’ll lose the original frame of reference, and begin to distance your readers.

  • Read other fan fiction in the fandom you’re writing about. You can learn a lot from other authors, including where the stories can go and what liberties you can take.

  • Create an interesting story around one primary character. Be open-minded about the potential future of this character and let your imagination run wild.

  • Follow the standard three-act writing structure: the Setup, the Confrontation, and the Resolution. The Setup does just that - it introduces your characters and their situation. Later, in the Confrontation, a wrench is thrown into that otherwise perfect situation, and now your character(s) must scurry to resolve the issues. Tension builds until you reach the climax of the story. At the end, the Resolution resolves the issues and closes any loose ends.

  • Be very cautious with your spelling and grammar. Remember, you’re creating works of art now.

  • Keep a journal close by at all times so that you can jot down notes as they come into your head.

  • Allow some time for your writing skills to develop. You’re not going to be a top-notch author immediately. On the other hand, you’re skills will develop quickly the more you immerse yourself in the process.

  • Immerse yourself in the process. Read, write, read, edit, read, write… You get the picture.

  • Enjoy the process. You’re becoming an author. Remember that every time you write you become a better author.

  • Don’t be intimidated about telling an adult-oriented story. As much as you want to write a racy scene, readers want to read them. (That is, of course, assuming you’re over 18 years old.)

  • Feel free to jump right into the story without explaining the canon’s history. Your readers will already know the basics from the original plot.

  • When your story is complete, it’s still going to be in draft form. Read it and edit it. Then read it again and edit it again. Then get someone else to read it and edit it one last time.

  • Don’t rush your story and don’t finish it until you feel it’s done.

  • Find a reviewer who can review your story before you publish it to the world. Your reviewer can be a friend or family member or one of the many eager reviewers on this site. Take their suggestions seriously.

  • When your story is published and reviewed, embrace the constructive criticism to make your authoring skills even stronger. Try to ignore the nasty comments and reviews.

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