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  #1  
Old 05-10-2010, 07:37 PM
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Default How To Create a Successful Fanfiction.

This topic may not be in the correct section. Please move it as appropriate - Harmony.
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Before creating a fanfiction, you must first try to understand the original story of the film/book/game you are basing your fanfic on. A good way to know more about the original works is to view it's wikipedia page, or watch the movie/read the book/ play the game again. (I actually only watched avatar 3 times before writing my fanfic, That's why the first few chapters suck in Kxani Yawne)

Here's a couple of important rules I always follow when writing anything:

- Never write a story/chapter under 1,000 words. <- It's the baseline for anything enjoyable.

- Keep existing characters in 'character' <- there's nothing worse than taking a character from a movie (such as neytiri) and making her something she's not... Unless it's an alternate universe keep them in character.

- Create a draft <- Before anything, outline the plot in a simple draft, no more than 300 words. Keep this to yourself and stick by it.

- Make your work something unique <- a key point here, if your plot has been done before it won't get read. Think of something new, something bold and something no one else will do. This is an important key.

- Use Spell Check! <- make sure you use spell check, it's a must. My grammar is terrible without it.

- Use Paragraphs, commas, and fullstops <- punctuation, it's not nice reading a block of works without paragraphs or commas... or full stops.

- Listen To Music <- it's a simple thing, and yet it stops writers block, and helps inspiration flow.


Have I missed anything? If so, Give me a reply here and i'll add whatever you have to say! But remember, a fanfic is only as enjoyable to read, as it was for you to write.

Have Fun!

Last edited by Lyra; 05-10-2010 at 07:46 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-10-2010, 07:41 PM
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I know I always make an "Info" page. Something that shall NEVER be seen by any other eye but my own (unless I'm showing it). Fill it with background stories, character backgrounds, entire character logs, species logs, even a list of weapons, vehicles, and major events you plan to happen. Even if it is a "fan fic" then it's still good to have such a thing.

The more in depth you go, the easier it is to write. I'm not always in-depth but sometimes it's helpful, and to look back for refference (Ex: if you call a character mainly by a nickname, first, or last name, and down the road you forget any of the names you can refur back to your info page).
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Old 05-10-2010, 07:43 PM
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Good idea ^ I have that problem with Ku'yah's mate in my story... I named her, and yet I still have to look back through 19 chapters to find it
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  #4  
Old 05-10-2010, 08:39 PM
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May I add it's important to revise constantly? I usually make this: first draft, and then add material and material until I am satisfied. Then I cut off the unnecessary things, correct grammar and look for a nice flow with proper punctuation.

Once I have all the chapters done, I just review it for the last time.

It consumes some more time, but it's worth it.
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:55 PM
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What I generally do is physically visualise the scene in my head, like a key shot or a photograph and then work to link them up... It may not be the best way to work, but it leads to some interesting descriptive writing.
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  #6  
Old 05-10-2010, 09:33 PM
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similarly... When I was working on my latest fanfic (unavatar related) I pictured it as a scene from a movie and wrote out a description of it and turned it into a chapter. It was a really awesome way of working on something

Zenit, I went back to an old chapter today which was 1,200 words, and by the time i'd finished it was 1,700. It proves something which may look finished isn't ever perfect
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Old 05-17-2010, 06:26 PM
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Also, avoid creating Mary Sue Characters.

Mary Sue - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

These are authori inspired characters characters that do not appear in the original story and usually have some or all of the the following characteristics:
1) New characters not in the original show
2) Often based on the author themselves, or an ideal imagined by the author
3) Can be more powerful than the regular characters
4) Can sometimes be the love interest of one of the regular characters
5) Gets the better of everyone ans often saves the day
6) Is very irritating
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  #8  
Old 05-17-2010, 06:27 PM
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Also, put spacing between paragraphs and dialogue.
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  #9  
Old 05-29-2010, 01:37 AM
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Here's what I do..

1) I come up with an idea.

2) Make the basic plot outline.

3) Visualize it in my head. (I love imagining)

4) Ask my best reviewers.

5) Find some free time to write it.

6) Write the story.

I'm currently at stage 6 for my upcoming story, Hells Hour.
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  #10  
Old 05-30-2010, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neytirifanboy View Post
Also, avoid creating Mary Sue Characters.

Mary Sue - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

These are authori inspired characters characters that do not appear in the original story and usually have some or all of the the following characteristics:
1) New characters not in the original show
2) Often based on the author themselves, or an ideal imagined by the author
3) Can be more powerful than the regular characters
4) Can sometimes be the love interest of one of the regular characters
5) Gets the better of everyone ans often saves the day
6) Is very irritating

I failed there as every Kxani yawne character is original .
However it does go against...

1) New characters not in the original show - Yup

2) Often based on the author themselves, or an ideal imagined by the author - Untrue actually,

3) Can be more powerful than the regular characters - Nope, again.

4) Can sometimes be the love interest of one of the regular characters - Definately No.

5) Gets the better of everyone ans often saves the day - Nope again

6) Is very irritating - Uh...
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  #11  
Old 05-31-2010, 11:28 PM
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Yeah, fan fiction doesn't HAVE to use all (or even mostly) canon characters, I've read other stories set in a fictional setting before that works. Indeed, I think the main problem is when canon and original characters interact. If the author sticks to one or the other (background characters excluded), it generally works out.
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  #12  
Old 09-01-2010, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Never write a story/chapter under 1,000 words. <- It's the baseline for anything enjoyable.
*wry* I cannot disagree more, and am feeling a bit 'well, thanks' - I have a lot of trouble writing things over 1,000 words, but you know, I would like to think that the majority of my work is still enjoyable and worthwhile. I have also read ficlets that have suckerpunched me with awesome, while longer things leave me feeling bored and impatient.

Writing stories like this...we aren't writing a paper for school. There shouldn't be a word limit for fanfic. We are writing STORIES, and honestly, I feel the pressure to write long things can ruin otherwise quite lovely fics.

Not to mention, there is a lovely freedom to be had in just going 'I am writing for as long as the scene carries me', and not having any pressure is wonderful.

I also tend to agree with the rest of your points, although I'd also point out that a) there are no hard and fast rules (beyond being in character, but there is still a freedom for different VIEWS of characters) and b) practice, practice, practice. God knows I'm a much better writer now at 22 than I was at 13.
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  #13  
Old 10-29-2010, 05:39 AM
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I agree with Ashen Key's comments above.

I've written two fanfics that are less than 1000 words. The shortest one, "Sleepyhead," is only 517 words, yet it is the best-liked one-shot on my profile, judging by the number of times it has been "favorited" on ffn. On the other hand, the second-most-favorited one-shot happens to be the longest one, clocking in at 4,302 words. My point is that successful fanfiction comes in all sizes; your fanfic should be exactly as long as you need to tell your story, and not a word longer.

In fact, I would argue that if it's possible to achieve a given effect with fewer words, you should do so. If I had to choose a single piece of writing advice that has had the biggest impact on me, it would be this passage from E.B. White's "Elements of Style:"
Quote:
Omit needless words.

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
The rest of "Elements of Style" is worth reading, as well:
Strunk, William, Jr. 1918. The Elements of Style

It's a bit dry, but it's a classic on how to be a good writer in general, whether you're writing fiction, non-fiction, essays, whatever. I'm not saying that you must adhere strictly to every "rule" at all times, but I've read a LOT of fanfiction that would've been greatly improved by some of the principles in there. "One must first know the rules to break them."

Last edited by Sothis; 10-29-2010 at 06:06 AM.
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  #14  
Old 10-29-2010, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashen Key View Post
I also tend to agree with the rest of your points, although I'd also point out that a) there are no hard and fast rules (beyond being in character, but there is still a freedom for different VIEWS of characters) and b) practice, practice, practice. God knows I'm a much better writer now at 22 than I was at 13.
I want to second Ashen's advice to "practice, practice, practice" and add a related piece of advice: seek out criticism and listen to it. This is hard to do, especially for new writers, because your story is your baby. Just like with real babies, nobody likes to hear anything other than glowing praise. If your only reason for writing is to stroke your own ego, that's fine, but if you sincerely want to improve, you need to let go of your pride and realize that a thoughtful critique is the best gift a reviewer can give you.

It's much easier to leave a bland "nice work" review, so if someone has actually taken the effort to point out the flaws in your writing, that person deserves your gratitude. A lot of people are afraid of giving critical reviews, so if they don't adore your work, they'll often just not review at all. As a result, you get very skewed feedback in which you're mostly reading praise -- not only do you not learn anything, this can actually reinforce bad habits.

I recommend inserting some kind of author's note in which you explicitly ask for criticism. If you instead write something like "first-time author, BE NICE!!" you will never get honest feedback.

Last edited by Sothis; 11-15-2010 at 06:15 AM.
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  #15  
Old 01-16-2011, 03:41 AM
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One of the most important rules of writing any literature: Don't plagiarize.
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