Fan Fiction: How To Do It Right


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I've been writing fan fiction for little over five years now. It's always been a hobby of mine and I have written about a broad range of people, from One Direction to Magneto and Professor X from X Men. I've improved a lot over time and gained a small following who regularly leave comments and likes on my work. It's an amazing feeling when your work gets recognised, but with fan fiction on the rise, it's getting a lot harder to get your work noticed. So I've come up with a few ways to make your fan fiction get as much attraction as possible.

1. Make it as realistic as possible

No one really wants to read a fan fiction where the main character gets adopted by One Direction because it would never happen. When using real people, unless in a completely alternate universe, it's important to make sure that the story you are telling could happen, even if the chances are tiny. AU fan fiction is a different kettle of fish all together; anything can happen. Only in this situation would a fan fiction where you get adopted by One Direction be possible, but when you try and put that situation into reality, it just doesn't seem plausible.

2. Respect the characters

Especially with real life celebrities, it is important that you remember they are real people and not just characters in a book. Therefore, if you are writing a non-AU piece, you have to make sure that the people in it are similar to what they are like in real life, rather than turning them into arseholes. Of course, if you have to for your story, then go ahead but it is important to remember that some of your readers may not understand the concept of fan fiction. I've had friends being questioned on when certain events happened as the reader didn't know that it was fictitious. You're also far more likely to attract more readers if you're portraying the person in a good way rather than a bad, unless your fan fiction is some sort of seriously kinky book.

3. Choose the right site

There's a lot of fan fiction sites out there nowadays, with the big two being Wattpad and Archive Of Our Own. I have found that there is a lot of differences between the two sites. Wattpad tends to be for all fandoms but mainly just straight relationships in the main, big fandoms (especially One Direction.) Wattpad is also the most used, so you're going to get a lot of variety when it comes to quality of the stuff you read; some will be written by 10 year old who are just starting out, whereas some could be written by established authors who have been writing for 20/10 years. I started writing on Wattpad in April 2012, when I was 11. My works got around 30/40 thousand reads even though they were dreadful, but at the time they were the bees knees to a lot of people. That's another thing to bear in mind; most writers have been in the game for. like me, four of five years after climbing on board the fan fiction ship which set sail in 2011. That means there will be a lot of good content getting read and the bad stuff probably won't get as noticed. But don't let that knock you; most fan fiction pieces will get at least 1k readers on Wattpad. 

But moving onto Archive Of Our Own (AO3) which is used by, mainly, established writers who have been in the game for a long time. It is also the home for quirky ships and, from what I've found, a lot more AU stuff. You're not going to get as many readers as AO3 has a lot less users than Wattpad, but you'll still get around 2/3 thousand, unless your fan fiction gets 'famous' when it's more likely to get 200-300k reads. However, if you were to get 'famous' on Wattpad, you'd get over a million. The way of writing on AO3 is a lot trickier and there's a lot more steps to it, so I would defiantly recommend writing on Wattpad fist and then, after you've had a lot of practice, transferring over to AO3.

4. Update regularly

I tend to bulk write in my free periods and then post them over the course of a few days, I upload every other day most of the time, but on occasion I'll post every day and others twice a week; it just depends on how busy I am with school stuff. I write a lot in my free periods to pass the time and on the bus home after school. I love writing so updating regularly is never really a big problem to me. (We're going to ignore the fact I didn't write anything for like three months earlier this year, okay? And all of those abandoned fan fictions taking up room on my AO3 account.) Regularly updating means that you'll get more followers who will interact with you as they will get to know your upload pattern and therefore be ready to read, comment and like the new chapters you put up. Also, don't forget to share what you write on your other social media pages with hashtags such as #wattpad and #fanfiction to try and attract more readers from there.

5. Write what you want to write

This is probably the most important point of this post. Whatever you do, don't follow the crowds. Just write whatever it is you want to write rather than writing what's cool or stories that have been rehashed time and time again. If you write something that's original, both in your fandom and on the site, then you're more likely to get more readers as they're reading something new and different, rather than the same cliche stories they've read over and over again. This is something I found with Homebird; it was something new that I, nor my friends, had ever read before so they were more excited to see what happened as they had no other story lines to assume from. The unoriginality of Resistance was quite a problem when writing it because there was already so many stories like it that I didn't know how to mix it up a bit. It was still well received within the realms of the teeny tiny Kaiser Chiefs fandom, so I guess that's all that matters. But if you do want to write something that has been done hundreds of times before; go for it! At the end of the day, if it's a story you love and want to put your spin on then knock yourself out; you're the one writing it!

So there we have it, my five main tips to writing great fan fiction. Do you write fan fiction too? What are your main tips for new writers? Let me know in the comments below.

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