So you want to write your first fanfiction? Confused about what to do and where to begin? Here are six quick pointers for you to think about:
The minute you begin thinking about writing, there’s a kind of switch in your brain that turns on: the inspiration switch. Writers frequently get bursts of inspiration that can make a story great! Unfortunately, some of us (*cough* me) have the memory capacity of a goldfish. That’s why it’s a good idea for writers to carry around something to scribble with. Make sure you always carry around a notebook or keep your iPod, phone or computer near you at all times. By far the most important thing you need is a pen or pencil. It’s pretty easy to find something to write on (napkin, map, you name it!) but not everyone has a pen and it’s pretty awkward to ask your friend/co-worker/mother if she can lend you a pen so you can write down a really hot KC scene. The great thing with note-taking is that at some point you’ll reread your notes and you’ll remember what you felt at that moment: that’s a piece of magic right there. Noting down all your ideas is one essential part of starting a multi – chapter story, especially for first timers.
Think about your plot carefully before you start writing. My advice is to plan out the major plot points in your story. If your fic is on the longer side, you don’t necessarily have to know how the story ends but you should know how the ending feels (Is it a happy ending? A sad one? A hopeful one?) I understand the temptation to just go with the flow but when to end your fic is a very difficult thing to decide for many. One of the most frustrating things for me as a fanfic reader is have a story I love go on until it loses its point or central conflict, and just seems to drone on and on without any direction of sorts. So it’s helpful to have a set of events or incidents you want in your story, with of course the leverage to add if inspiration strikes, but a compact, well executed plot is central part of any story.
3.Characters & Dialogue
It is very important to get your characters right in TVD fanfiction. In television, the characters and their words are the main focus as there is usually no exterior narration. So when your characters are OOC, people will notice and it will most likely be the first thing they bring up in a review. My trick for writing The Vampire Diaries fanfiction is re-watching a clip of the character right before I begin writing. That way, their voice is still in my head and I’m able to write dialogue that’s closer to what they would say. This is especially useful when writing something where you’re not totally sure how they’d act. For example, if I were writing Caroline when she’s pissed at Klaus, I would watch a clip of 4×17 or 4×18.
4. Writing Caroline and Klaus
I think the trick with these two is to remember that they’re insanely complicated people who are full of paradoxes. Just like their relationship itself, writing Klaus and Caroline is about balancing. You need make sure you blend mature strong Caroline with positive Caroline and judge-y Caroline. You need to blend Caroline’s puppy Klaus with psychotic Klaus and ruled-by-his-demons Klaus. Ultimately, the interpretation of these characters is up to you but the archetypal rule is to give these characters plenty of layers.
Note: It’s important to flavour Caroline’s dialogue with “Seriously?!” and Klaus’ with “love” and “sweetheart”, but not in every 3rd sentence that it seems implausible.
5. Check your work
Make sure to reread your work carefully or if you aren’t fantastic at spelling & grammar have someone else do it for you. The Klaroline community is very open and helpful so it isn’t terribly difficult to find a beta. This is a really important step because publishing a chapter with a bunch of errors can be really distracting to a reader.
BTW: If you’re working with Fanfiction.net, make sure you check it after having saved your document on it as FF.net has a tendency to delete words it doesn’t like.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff
This is actually a piece of advice given to me by a camp counsellor years ago but for some reason it stuck. What it means is to keep things in perspective. It’s fanfiction; it’s not life-or-death. The great thing about this medium is that you can express yourself without fear of judgement. With the exception of some flamers (i.e.: people who are being just plain mean instead of giving constructive criticism- some people get confused.), everyone in the Klaroline sector of fanfiction is really nice and friendly. Also, we honestly don’t have the highest standards- people don’t read fanfiction to be enlightened; we read it because our emotional needs aren’t being fulfilled. It’s quite simple; when you read a fanfiction you want emotions, you want what you didn’t get in your show, you want entertainment, you don’t want an education. So don’t worry about what other people will think of you and most of all: Have fun! If you’re having fun writing your story, it doesn’t matter what other’s think.
In conclusion; write for yourself, because you want to, and no other reason matters.
What did you think of our tips for a first time writer? Are there are tips you’d like to share with us? Leave a comment below!
Written by Brianne. Find her on Tumblr