Writing Hack: Write Your Own Fanfiction

  1. Fantastic advice (and part of Chuck Pahlaniuk's method he lays out in "Consider This" ). I just changed over to this approach a few months ago and it makes a HUGE difference, especially if, like me, you're having to write in between a dayjob and other responsibilities

  2. I love doing this with my stories. Like I'm my own #1 fan it's kinda funny. I'll be like "it'd be cool if the characters did this" like I'm not the one who writes it.

  3. I think Tolkien did something like this. He built his world and just started writing various small stories within it to fill out the edges.

  4. Oh that's cool I didn't know that! Honestly it takes a lot of the pressure off of trying to write a really entertaining and perfectly plotted epic story, and it helps bring your characters to life.

  5. Tolkien created the Elf languages, then decided he need a world for the language, then started on writing small stories. Which eventually became history.

  6. John Steinbeck was similar. A lot of people don't know this, but in the first draft of Of Mice and Men, George and Lennie worked in a coffee shop instead of on a farm, and they had dog genitalia.

  7. I had been thinking about doing something similar by writing the backstories of my characters in much more detail than is needed for the final product just to get to know them better.

  8. This is what I did for my first ever full length manuscript and it was a huge help. These days I need to remember that because I'm working on a much bigger project.

  9. It's like Hemingway says: If you don't write about something because you know it, that's fine. Otherwise, you have a hole in your plot, and it shows.

  10. Fun fact: Andrzej Sapkowski actually wrote a Witcher fanfic as a wedding gift for an editor in chief of the Polish magazine that published some of his early short stories.

  11. I did do something like this for my current WIP. Just random little short stories set in the world that can't be thrown into my story cuz they don't fit. It helps reset my mind when it comes to the story because it causes me to think about something else while still having a focus on the world in general.

  12. Imagine there's going to be a collection of "Arwen x Aragorn"-, "Arwen x Bilbo, Sam, Merry and Pippin"-, "Legolas x Gimli"- and " Sauron x Galadriel"-stories by JRR Tolkien to be released 💀

  13. You know, I did just this a while back because I adored the idea of two particular characters falling in love but they are from two very separate books.

  14. I have a love triangle in the story I’m writing, and I truly feel like the three of them should be together. It wouldn’t work for the actual plot, but I have a lot of fun imagining it anyway.

  15. I'm so glad I read this. I've got two characters who absolutely MUST fall in love but one of them didn't help the other in any way

  16. About to heavily restart writing and this is the perfect advice to flesh out my "universe" without sending out stuff for editing/critique right away thank you.

  17. I've always done this as a way to try to get a better feel for my characters, what they would do in certain situations, or reacting to certain things. Or even to help make their past seem more set in stone, or written down, not in terms of canon but in my own head.

  18. Fan fiction is a great place to start as it solves so many issues for you. The problem with writing is it encompasses descriptions, dialogue, pacing, character development, character arcs, world building, perspective, more pacing, etc. It’s like learning how to ride a bike except you’re in the dark, have never seen anyone ride a bike before, and the bike is in pieces.

  19. I believe this is called “fluffing”. Adding a bunch of smaller stories to help contextualize and flesh out the world.

  20. and when your story starts to gather enough readers you can publish them under a pseudonym and see your fandom fight over the accuracy of your characterization

  21. That’s actually awesome advice, I’m doing something similar a book of short stories based in the world but I think your idea is better and more unwinding on the nerves.

  22. This is good advice! And in the broader sense, ANY personal writing that isn't intended for publication is a great idea imo.

  23. This was the absolute best tip for me! I was really struggling with my side characters, like i know they have key moments in the plot so they need to be there and I’ve always imagined my story with them in it but my writing felt disjointed around them. So i started writing fanfic for it and it’s really helped me develop backstories and ships i’d have never gone for before! I also recommend making playlists for characters, i think that helps too!

  24. I noticed this is getting a lot of attention; I'm still looking for a writer's group, so if anyone would be interested in starting one or has one to join then let me know!

  25. If you create or find a group that has room for another writer, I’d be down. I have 1 solid writing pal I talk to almost daily. I’ve joined a couple writing groups in the past but I’ve found some people like the idea of writing more than actually writing. Either that or life gets in the way and the group fizzles because others stop writing. I write daily and would love to connect with others who write regularly!

  26. I could definitely use a writing pal or two (or more) if you're still looking, although I do write pretty much exclusively within fantasy if that matters.

  27. I honestly want to print this out and hang this at my local library. My writing improved EXPONENTIALLY when i let myself make silly self indulgent stuff made just for me and my pals. I have a 125 page vampire au for some of my and my friends characters and the experience genuinely helped me get comfortable with writing longer form work.

  28. Yep, have written a bunch of one-shots of my characters adjacent to WIP and it is the single best way to build backstory and deep character. Endorsed.

  29. I really needed to hear that. I'm currently writing a tragic story (most characters will either die or wish they did), and I need to write a fanfic where they get their happy ending, for my own peace of mind

  30. This sounds really fun but I dont have time for this. I barely have enough time to write. But if I had time I would write romantic story about my MC and villan. Im wondering am I the only one who wanted to write something like that.

  31. Far from it. Enemies-to-lovers is fairly popular in romance. I know of one series where the bad guy of book 1/2 is the (anti) hero in book 5. I can't remember the name of the series right now, but I know it exists. (I'm going to have to look it up.)

  32. Yes!!! I love doing this, it actually makes writing so much more fun for me! Sometimes I'll even use new characters from the little one shots and incorporate them into the main story if I like them a lot.

  33. This is underrated advice. I used to struggle periodically with writer's block, and this is honestly the cure. I'm a big daydreamer, and so I'm always thinking about different scenes and moments in the lives of my characters and wondering how they play out. When I find I can't jump back into my current manuscript, I choose one of the scenes I daydream about and write it out. It's easy to write, and I usually end up exploring my characters is new ways and learning a lot about them in the process.

  34. Thank you, this is actually very nice advice. :D I already got couple of ideas what I might want to write for my characters fanfic-wise.

  35. This is a great idea. I've always had an idea for a story but I need to find the journey it takes. I can picture the scene, how it came to be, the opening chapter, but I don't know where I want it to go or even end. I could write some little stories that maybe my lead character could meet along the way, and even if the story isn't in this story, it could form a 'backstory' fan fiction type thing. Clever. Thanks!

  36. I always do this when I don’t feel inspired. I would start writing something super randomly, creating characters and the worlds and the situations purely just for my own amusement, and it‘s very fun. It always gets me inspired again. I’d say, it’s like a coping mechanism, like daydreaming, but you actually write it down.

  37. I'm not even sure if this would count as "short stories", but I do something that's both similar and a little bit different...

  38. I did this and it was the best thing ever. I’m currently pursuing a creative writing major and in my intro and intermediate classes I used those classes to write “origin” stories for some of the characters in the book I’m working on. Holy hell did it help me really solidify my characters and helped me understand them better. These projects will likely never see the light of day, but they did a lot to help me.

  39. I did this a couple to times, because I had a couple of characters that I'd created on the fly (back during my pantsing days) who I just wanted to flesh more and explore their dynamic. Good know it helps.

  40. Sound a bit silly at first, but as you yourself put it, it helps you to lower the expectations of a big story and makes you think "smaller". If with a smaller project cannot convey the charm of the main story, then there's something you aren't doing right XD

  41. Really good advice. It doesn’t just help with motivation, but also characterisation. Picturing your characters in different scenarios and defining how they react to certain things will absolutely help you do the same when it comes to your main work in progress.

  42. This is my favorite thing to do. I also call it "Fanfic." I wrote 2 entire novels worth of backstory, and it helped flesh out my world-building, side characters, and magic system for my actual book!

  43. This is actually helpful. All the comics I wanna make would take many years and I haven't even made one. But I can't think of anything I want to make that would be short.

  44. So are you saying I could try and write some short stories, dialogue and stuff with small context? I think I tried doing something similar by writing a dialogue between two characters. I just gave them some simple and short descriptions in my mind. A little bit of appearance, but mostly their personality and traits. One of the things I struggle most with is creating backstories and building up characters, but I feel like I get to know them better when I write some specific scenes. I'll continue and see if it works, I have a lot of spare time.

  45. I wouldn't say I wrote fanfic of my own stuff (maybe I should, I have a problem where I need to lighten it up in some places and maube that would help me) but I do write scenes that aren't part of the story: flashbacks/the past, from other characters' POVs, that kind of stuff. And that helps a lot. I'd imagine this would too

  46. This has been the only way I've been able to write my stories. Just picking a scenario and throwing the characters in it. It helps establish things that may happen during the story, but by themselves are just silly events with only a little plot relevance, if any

  47. I've started doing something similar. Essentially creating a Character-verse. I have a general idea of what the full book will be about, but I'm writing short stories that predate it as a way of fleshing out the backstory of different characters that I can pull from when I sit down and write the real thing. One from the antagonists perspective, one from the perspective of an important side character, several of key points in the MCs life. Has helped me a lot.

  48. Much in the same vein as this advice, I think bloopers are a great way to write something rather than nothing at all. For bigger projects that are easy to get over invested in, it's hard to sometimes just break off and write something different. Letting yourself put strange or funny twists onto pre-existing scenes while not having to worry about everything making perfect sense or even feeling as 'top tier' as you'd normally like can be a nice break.

  49. This. I am one of those fools trying to write something way too big, but I`ve been writing those little personal moments along the way and culling them out of the main story as I go. They are great for distilling the characters motivations. Because if you only have two sentences to explain why your character is behaving a certain way, its always better to have a fanfiction or well thought otu background to help make that concrete in your own mind. Also, don`t let people discourage you. I`ve just finished my second book (of maybe 4) and the personal satisfaction and skills gained are hard to discribe. Even if I never publish, I cannot understate the satisfaction. Feels soo good. :)

  50. Wow thats a great idea so basically write your own spin off for a series you haven't written yet. Once you do get to writing it you will probably have a better understanding of your characters to.

  51. This is genuinely such a good tool - the amount of small drabbles and short-scenes I've written have worked wonders in helping me figure out my characters/the world they live in so very well!

  52. I've actually been doing this with a long fanfiction. Ao3 has a nice series feature when you can group hundreds of stories together so people know they all have the same theme/are in the same timeline. I got the idea to write 250,000 behemoth of a cringe feel-good time travel fic and I love it but I knew it would take forever to write.

  53. This is great advice! I do this and I’ve never seen it in words. Phenomenal advice. I love writing from perspectives of eye witness’, historians, and scientist who live in the world.

  54. My very first novel-length project was a Daria fanfiction. If youre passionate about something, even if it's fanfiction, ride that passion until you have something you love to read.

  55. I mean, Anna Todd wrote a One Direction fanfic and it got picked up for a book AND film series 🤷🏻‍♀️I say go for it

  56. I’ve always had this idea in my head that it would be really funny to find out an author was writing smutty fan fiction about their own work and posting it under a different name on a website for fanfiction. Like the actual book is restrained but then the author writes fanfiction where the MCs are banging each other’s brains out. I wonder if this has ever happened.

  57. I love this idea. Almost makes me want to spent the next 10 years writing an epic work to debase all the characters myself with smutty fanfiction. Classic!

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