Writing Fanfiction – 4 Things I’ve Learned

From Star Trek to The Hobbit to Sherlock Holmes, I have written a lot of fanfiction. I could create millions of fanfics and still not be tired of writing them. There’s something about getting to see how your favorite characters react to a situation or character that you’ve designed that is quite addicting! Since beginning to write fanfiction, I have definitely learned a few things. Here is my list of 4 tips that I’ve learned about writing fanfiction:

1. Study up on your fandom
It’s not easy to write a story about a world and characters you don’t know a lot about. It’s very important that you know what you’re talking about before you go and write it. For example, my OC (Other Character, which is a fan created, added-in character for those of you who aren’t fanfiction writers)for The Hobbit, is half-Elven. I created her before I read the books, so when I finally read the end of Return of the King, I found a list of Elf/human marriages. Of course, her parents weren’t on there. My story didn’t match the Middle-Earth lore. Oops. Of course, her status as being half-Elven was so ingrained in my writing at that point, I didn’t want to change it. If I checked before hand, I could have fixed it early on. So, in summary, do your research!

2. Use the source
If you’re adding in an OC to a scene, or simply writing the scene from another’s point of view, make sure your writing matches the canon scene. So, if you’re creating a scene from say, Sherlock Holmes, have the case you’re working from open and right at the part you’re currently writing to make sure the details match. When I write for The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, I always have the movie transcripts or the books open. This adds authenticity to your fanfiction and makes you sound like you know your fandom that much more.

3. Character Dialogue from the movie/book
This fits right in with the last point. Using character lines from the source material makes your fanfiction seem more like a real scene in the book/movie rather than fan concocted fiction. When I wrote my The Hobbit fanfiction scene, called “Of Ponies and Trolls,” I made sure that Kili and Fili’s dialogue matched the movie. For example, when Bilbo and Nerissa (my OC) walked up with dinner, Nerissa asked, “What’s wrong?” Kili answered with the dialogue from the movie, “We’re supposed to be looking out for the ponies.” When you add dialogue from the movie/book, make sure it’s in the right place. If he had said that line in camp when they weren’t “looking out for the ponies,” it wouldn’t have matched the movie and seemed as authentic.

4. OC characters
Some love them, some hate them. I personally like creating my own character and being able to feel like I have a part in the whole story. Besides, I really enjoy writing them in. Something I’ve learned about OC characters is to make sure they fit into the world they’re supposed to be living in and give them a believable backstory. When I wrote my Star Trek fanfictions, adding in my OC, Myranda, I gave her a backstory that fit into Deep Space Nine. Of course, the backstory was overly complicated and took years to explain, but it did fit. It made her seem like part of the Star Trek world, as if she belonged and was truly part of the crew.

There is my list of 4 things that I’ve learned about writing fanfiction. This is just a beginning, as I’m sure I have a ton more to learn.

~ Kayla

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