Writing Good Fanfiction
a blog written by ᙢᗴᖇᙓᑕᗩ☂
There's no reason why fanfiction should have the bad press it currently gets… no reason other than the fact that many fanfiction writers and their writing is too often an opportunity to write about themselves as an idealized self to live living an idealized life with their idealized idol/favorite character…
What I’m saying is that most fanfiction gains its support not because it is well written but because people are attracted to what they are reading – this means that fanfiction has accumulated negative notoriety for being poor in quality.
Why should it?
There is no written law that says all fanfiction must be clichéd and sexualized; it is just the way that it tends to be written.
So let’s talk about fanfiction plots - for each fandom I know stuff about I’m going to give you a few examples of oh-my-god-if-I-see-another-one-of-these-I’ll-be-sick plots and few suggestions for more original or interesting plots …
1) The protagonist is Harry Potter’s twin/sister/cousin/daughter and they show up at Hogwarts as the exceptionally beautiful addition to the Golden Trio. She tends to be as smart as/smarter than Hermione, exceptionally witty, and have all the guts of Harry himself. She finds her way into each of Harry’s adventures as the key to his success and the prophecy somehow extends to include her. She often ends up madly in love with Draco Malfoy who she ‘turns good’.
2) The opposite of number 1, this plot involves the twin/sister of Draco Malfoy who is impossibly charming given that she has grown up in such a climate of arrogance and who puts Harry through a load of angst as he falls in love with her (but still hates Draco).
3) The protagonist is Voldemort’s daughter but doesn’t know it. She discovers this and has to make a difficult decision between her safety and her morality…
With Harry Potter these are practically infinite; Rowling has created such an enormous world that you could do practically ANYTHING! Write about Dumbledore and Gindlewald, write about the investigation into the Riddles’ murder, write about the feud between the founders of Hogwarts, write about the Helena Ravenclaw and the Bloody Barron, write about Astoria Greengrass and how Draco ended up married to someone us readers never met, write about Ginny/Luna/Neville at school while Harry, Ron, and Hermione went gallivanting off looking for horcruxes…
One fail-safe way to create an interesting fanfiction is to return to a crucial decision or event and change its outcome; ask “what if?” For example; “What if Voldemort had decided that the Prophecy referred not to Harry but to Neville Longbottom (it could have been either of them after all) and what would their lives have been like in that case?”
Alternatively, you could go for something really wacky and unrelated to any canon characters and write about Mongolia’s first Quidditch team or a wizarding school in Peru.
Lord of the Rings
1) The protagonist is an elf who basically is a female version of Legolas, she ends up being an eleventh member of the fellowship and plays some crucial part in Frodo’s success and Sauron’s defeat. She is beautiful and incredibly talented and falls in love with Aragon, thoughtlessly disrupting the Aragon/Arwyn, Luthien/Beren link…
2) The protagonist is an outcast of unknown origin who has been surviving as a ranger since the age of two. She becomes the eleventh member of the fellowship and sparks an awkward and predictable love triangle between herself, Legolas, and Aragon. She turns out to be some descendant of Sauron and completely steals Frodo’s thunder…
See Harry Potter, only more so. Tolkein has essentially offered you an entire history of Middle Earth (The Silmarillion) from which you could choose any character at any point in time and write about it. yeah, I know, I know, the Silmarillion is l…o…n…g but still you only need to read about a page to get ideas. Creativity people! Write about what Bilbo Baggins did between events of The Hobbit and his eleventy-first birthday party, write about how Saruman became corrupted, write about Eowyn and Faramir (because they don’t get much of the limelight in the end), write about what happened to the Nazgul before they were Nazgul…
I don’t really know why I’ve listed this as something to give advice on as I have only read a few of these and they’ve all been very good but anyway… Sherlock fanfiction must be kind of fun to write because you can sort of just sit there and come up with excessively elaborate crimes and create an enormous mess and then set Sherlock and John down in the middle of it and watch them explore their newest playground… bless them.
One Direction/Five Seconds of Summer/Other celebrities (Yes, I have read a few of these, some on request, some out of curiosity. Yes, I am now somewhat questioning my sanity.)
1) We’re moving to Australia/England bye-bye old life… *time skip* oh, now we’re in Australia/England, guess who lives next door to me? Yep, you guessed it Harry/Niall/Louis/Zayne/Liam/Luke/Callum/Ashton/Michael/someonewhosnameI’veforgotten! They’re so nice. I got invited around. Now they’re kissing me…
2) I am really weird and unpopular and then these new kids come and they happen to be Harry/Niall/Louis/Zayne/Liam/Luke/Callum/Ashton/Michael/someonewhosnameI’veforgotten and they fall in love with me even though I have gone unnoticed for years and years and everyone thinks I’m a freak…
3) Harry/Niall/Louis/Zayne/Liam/Luke/Callum/Ashton/Michael/someonewhosnameI’veforgotten bullies me all the time at school but I love them.
4) I got kidnapped by Harry/Niall/Louis/Zayne/Liam/Luke/Callum/Ashton/Michael/someonewhosnameI’veforgotten, now I'll just go have a kid called Darcy with him.
5) Harry/Niall/Louis/Zayne/Liam/Luke/Callum/Ashton/Michael/someonewhosnameI’veforgotten and I are both in a mental institution and he is the only person who gets through to me.
OK, rant over. I understand; you like these celebrities, you want nothing more than for them to love you/like you/know of your existence so these disturbing or ridiculous stories are your way of day-dreaming about them. I personally don’t know much about the fandoms because I’m not a part of them but I’m going to go back through the list above and say how I think they could be made original.
1) It would maybe be OK if it hadn’t happened 6,000,000 times already… I mean, these people must own a new house for every day of the year if there are that many girls that can move in next door to them. What if the parents of the desired celebrity are something to do with the protagonists’ parent(s) work (presumably work is the reason behind crossing continents) and they meet at some business affair which they both feel very left out of and head awkwardly towards the edges of…?
2) It would maybe be OK if there was some legitimate reason for the ‘loner’ and the ‘badboy’ to get together.
3) Make the guy be a witness to the bullying or a bystander (not the perpetrator) and have the girl refuse their help out of her own pride and defiance. Please? Maybe?
4) This is never OK, just no. None of these obscene stories about One Direction trying to get teenage girls pregnant are OK. Are you aware that your stories are just polluting the image of your so-called idols and that you are actually giving them a terrible press rather than appreciating them?
5) I highly dislike this one. Mostly because it is another attempt to romanticize mental illness – it is part of the wash of fault-in-our-stars-inspired love stories that somehow end up glorifying anorexia or self-harm and handling them completely insensitively. Now what would be interesting is if you had them meet at a support group for the families of young people with eating disorders or depression or other mental health issues… Two healthy people devastated by the effect of mental illness on their families… I think it would make a good story, anyway. I’ve made a very good friend in the same way: we are nothing alike – she is rebellious, I am book-ish – but the experiences we have had are so similar that I would be able to talk to her for hours.
Hope this helps to rejuvenate the genre of fanfiction. If there’s anything you think I’ve missed or any questions or requests, please do not hesitate to ask!