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The Haven Herald

How to Write Good Fanfiction



The So You Wanna Be… series for this month is getting replaced by an actual (and seriously serious) how-to guide on how to write good fanfiction. Take heed and take notes as FanGathering’s carino gives you an easy step-by-step guide on how to write good fanfiction! 😛

Sooner or later, the most avid fans of any book start to fantasize about what could or should have happened the characters, or often where the story should go next. There are also those who would prefer the story to be told from a different character’s point of view. Finally, some people prefer to write crossovers—stories in which a canon character—Artemis, for example—becomes part of a world from a totally different book and finds himself at Hogwarts. No matter which category they fall into, fanfictions are fun to write and can be even more fun to read if they’re well written. Here’s a guide for the creative part in all of us, so grab your pens, pencils, notebooks, or word processors and let’s get to work!

Step 1: The Idea

The plot is quite obviously the most important part of any story. No matter how good your conventions, spelling, and word choice are, a fiction without a plot is not likely to be popular. Especially the more selective readers out there are not going to waste their time reading Artemis Fowl: The Two-Hundred Pages of Doing Nothing, so make sure you have a good, strong plot in mind before you begin.

Step 2: Getting Started

Now that you know what you’re going to write about, you have to figure out just how you’re going to say it. In order to not lose your readers, you may want your story to have a catchy start. Probably the most common way to start is with an action or some dialogue. Many authors prefer to jump right into the story and explain the whole situation later. Others prefer a prologue. Whatever you do, be sure to explain the situation sometime so your readers don’t get confused.

Step 3: Style

As the author, you get to set the tone for your piece. Maybe you prefer a high-action adventure; you could excel at deep angst stories; perhaps your skills lay in short and sweet romances. Either way, try to keep your style consistent throughout the story. If your story starts as a light romance, them becomes slightly gory and action-packed, turns into a parody, and finishes as angst, your style may be classified only as “confused.”

Another thing to consider is how you write the characters. While some out-of-character activity is accepted and even expected, it’s usually easiest to keep your characters acting like they usually would in the books. An Artemis who acts like more of a cross between Harry Potter and Edward Cullen may seem a bit odd and uninteresting to anyone who is used the semi-snobby, closed-off, brilliant Artemis of Eoin’s creation. Though sometimes techniques like these are used to create humor, they more often flop. This leads me into my next pointer on style: how to put humor in your story.

A few people out there are born with what I like to call the “funny gene.” They have a great sense of humor and can crack people up with apparently no effort. Then there are the rest of us who have learned that well, humor may not be our forte. If you are in the latter group, I suggest that you don’t attempt many jokes. If you do, a rigorous testing course is advised to make sure that they are not indeed a bit lamer than you intended. In other words, if you write humorously then cool. If not, then cool as well. Don’t try to change your style.

Step 4: edit, Edit, EDIT!

If you feel ready to let the rest of the world (or at least the rest of us here at Fangathering) see your story, you first need to consider what it is we will be seeing. I’m not talking content, I’m thinking spelling, grammar, conventions, etc. In order to get people to read your story, you first have to make it readable. The first thing you should do is read over it yourself. Maybe you got so lost in your writing that you used the wrong word and didn’t realize it. It is entirely possible that you changed what you were writing halfway through your sentence, and said sentence is not really even deserIt could possibly be that your thoughts didn’t translate to paper smoothly enough and you’ve accidentally substituted a “they’re” for a “there.” No one is a perfect writer, but you don’t have to let the whole world know that you made an oopsie. Read your story before you show it to anyone else. In the midst of changing your ink-and-pen scribbles to a nice beautiful Word document, be mindful of what you’re typing. Edit as you go along so you won’t have to come back and do it later. Now that you’ve both proofread your story and transcribed it into Word, you can use the writer’s secret weapon: spell check. Spell check will find most misspellings you might have and give you suggestions of what you really might have meant. (But be careful and look at what you’re changing…your spell check may not have some of the names you’re typing up. Cudgeon, for instance, “should be” gudgeon or dudgeon by spell check’s rules.) Also, keep in mind that the spelling/grammar check does not catch everything. You may still have mistakes.

You should also take time to read over what you have to check for good sentence fluency, word choice, and organization. Sometimes reading what you have written aloud will help you to find mistakes you didn’t catch beforehand, as well as to pinpoint the problem areas in your work.

What you do now depends on you. If you are completely confident in your writing abilities and feel ready to post your work, by all means go for it. However, if you feel uncertain about what you have written or would just feel better having someone else check your work, it might behoove you to find a beta reader. A beta reader is anyone who reads your story to check for all the things mentioned above. Beta readers can be anyone—people on FG, your parents, your siblings, your friends, or your Granny Marge. However, if you are surrounded by people who frown on your Artemis Fowl obsession, it’s usually best to give them a miss. Often the best kind of beta reader is someone who doesn’t know who Artemis is. You can usually trust them to give you a pure and unbiased opinion without the dose of scorn. Once your story has been beta read and you are happy with it, congratulations! It’s time to publish.

Step 5: Publishing

If you’ve made it this far, good job; the end is in sight. Publishing is one of the easiest parts of the whole process! First, you have to decide where you want to publish. It may be in the Fanfiction forum, in FG’s Fanfiction gallery, or at Wherever you go, the first thing you should probably do is make an account. It’s easy—you need to choose a username and a password and enter your e-mail for verification purposes. Then just copy your story and paste it into the proper place! You may want to go over it one last time and make sure everything looks like you want it to. Some of the things you have in Word—italics, bolded text, underlining, and alignment—may not translate smoothly to online. If your story is long, consider putting in chapter breaks so it’s easier to view. Once you’ve published it, good job! Now you just have to wait for the comments to start pouring in to help you improve and to encourage you to continue writing.

Let the creative juices flow!

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Comments on This Post

37 responses to “The Haven Herald.” Join in!

  1. Mentos_not_mental March 17th, 2008 at 1:29 pm 1

    Oh yay! Another Haven Herald! Wow, the major changes in this one really make it better. I liked the is your character a mary sue test thingy. Hmm… the comics won’t show, but I think thats my computer’s problem. Anyhoo, Congrats to everyone who won. 🙂
    Great job everyone who worked on this edition of the Haven Herald! It was once again, totally awesome!

  2. Hmm… the comics won’t show, but I think thats my computer’s problem.

    No, it’s not your computer… The server where I uploaded that comic
    collapsed early today… That comic was working last night! I’ll fix it
    as soon as possible [which is a few hours since I am in school right

    And thanks for pointing it out. Otherwise, I may not have noticed! XD

  3. Awesome issue! But I can’t see the comic… Congratulations to HollyShort9 for being member of the month! Congratulations to holly_s for being newbie of the Month! Congratulations to PhoenixRSA for winning the contest! And congratulations to everyone who won an award!

  4. Brilliant job guys!!!!!Congratulations to all the winners!You guys deserve it!Brilliant articles,great pics!!!Loved it!

  5. This issue rocks.
    It looks so good!
    But nobody has filled out the survey! (Hint hint)

    Awesome job to people who aren’t me!
    And congrats Elseworld winners. 😀 Your stories rock!

  6. I loved the intro to the HH! Keep it up!

  7. I can’t see the comics! TT

  8. Hey guys! Great issue. Love the changes! Sorry I haven’t been on in forever. Very busy. Too busy to write full sentences.
    EXTREME CONGRATS EVERYONE WHO WON THE FANFICTION CONTEST! I ran out of time to write mine. I wouldn’t have won anything anyway. Those are way better than mine ever would be!
    Shoot, Opal, you made my Trance character sound like a total Mary Sue! 44 points, at least. Made me completely abandon my Life of Lies story, too. *rushes to the Word Processor and makes major changes to character.* Damn you! Joking, joking. Thanks for pointing out the flaws.


  9. WOW! I relly liked this month’s issue! It was brilliant! And congratulations to all the winners! 😀

  10. Congrat to all who won!!!!!! *claps*
    i love this issue, and the idea of having comic is brillant! i’ll go to fill the servey after this.
    Oh, i want to see SPIDERWICK (movie),i like Freedie Highmore’s movie, he acts so good. My Dad is going to bring me to cinima this Sunday!
    And…. can’t want for The Time Paradox!!!!!

  11. Great Issue guys! Keep working at it!!! Amazing job!!!

    And lol!!! I LOVED the intro exceedingly creativa and original!!!

    And the grapics are amazing!!!

  12. Target Aquired March 19th, 2008 at 4:15 am 12

    Nice! I really liked the “Mary-Sue” character guide; man I catch myself doing that. -hand/forehead- Also, the comic… well that was just hilarious. Poor Arty…

  13. Hey there,Thank you for mentioning Rosy and me on your brilliant blog. Fanfiction is a great way to start writing. I’m guessing some of your readers are younger than me (my daughter is 20) and for writers of all ages, fanfiction is an excellent way to learn writing skills and to share your work with a (hopefully) willing audience.I used to write stories when I was at junior school but stopped until I was 42 – when North & South came on TV and inspired me and a lot of other people.  My one piece of writing advice? DON’T wait until you are that old to start writing! Forget about what other people might say and just do it. You never know where it might lead and if you enjoy writing, don’t let anyone stop you.By the way, my first book, Decent Exposure, has been optioned for a TV movie by Fox. I don’t know if it will be made – but it all stems fom writing fanfic. I’m sure Rosy will come here and tell you her view on fanfic too.Phillipa Ashley

  14. […] is so cool. I got mentioned (with Rosy Thornton) on the Fowl Fanfiction. I am so proud to have begun my novel career as a fanfiction author. Fanfiction mus be the biggest […]

  15. Rosy Thornton March 19th, 2008 at 10:33 am 15

    Great article! Like Phillipa, I’m another oldie, who didn’t discover fanfic – and through it, fiction writing generally – until I was a mum. But fanfic is certainly a great training ground for writers – limbering up using someone else’s characters and settings is such an easy way to begin, and the support, friendship and feedback available on sites like this are brilliant. Then you can go on from there to develop your own original stories if you want – or just carry on sharing the characters you love with others who love them, too. Neither Phillipa nor I had written any fiction before we tried out hand at fanfic in 2005 – and now we each have our third novel ready for publication later in the year and are working on our fourth…

  16. Absolutely LOVE the Cartoon Artemis!AS an artist I can really say Well Done.Keep it up!

  17. Ah, cool.
    I can’t believe you guys came on to our lil’ newsletter. 😀
    Thanks for the advice. Your stories are pretty amazing.

  18. ArtemisFowl III March 20th, 2008 at 7:56 pm 18

    That comic was HILARIOUS!!!!!!

  19. OH NOOO!!! I entered the wrong story! Editors! Just so you know, that contest entry was the wrong one! Untimely meeting was the one that should have been entered! I REALLY should have deleted a fatal mistake! That was my worst story ever! Please remove my entry! I forfeit my title! Just PLEASE don’t let people see that one! Untimely meeting should have gotten credit!

  20. Oh…well, I guess it wasn’t TOO bad…OMG! That Haven Herald banner is just beautiful! The comic was hilarious! I hope to see more in the future!

  21. Yeah! NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF FANFICTION, ARTEMIS!!! Y’all should do more of these themed newsletters!

  22. O.O
    I got best fanfic…

    And I haven’t even been visiting this site for the past two months…

    I love you guys.

  23. I was a smidge disappointed my story wasn’t qualified, and my brother agrees non-cannon sequals should have been accepted, but I’m glad Pheonix won. She is an acceptional writer.

  24. Another great issue, guys! 🙂

    The link to the fan art of the month is incorrect, I think. Or at least, I’m not being directed to the picture described.

  25. No, it’s correct. That’s the picture I described.

  26. Oh- it’s right for me now too. Either it got fixed, or my computer was just being weird that day (it does that).

  27. It’s not your computer; I fixed it. XD Sorry for not letting you know by commenting.

  28. ArTeMiS FoWl FaN April 3rd, 2008 at 11:35 pm 28

    dude i love the have hearld. if u read fowl fan fiction read artemis fowl the last lockdown. it my first fan fic

  29. DANG! 2 of my characters are Mary-Sue! gosh that test seemed impossible I mean add nine points add five points add 3 points no wonder I came up with 47! oh well… It can’t all be true! can it?

  30. 5ywjk5wsy7k

  31. Wow, You know I didnt like the alternative ending, whole war thing. I thought It was Overdone. Tell why I’m so blind but why was that good. And what is wrong with the weirdo, hjzsryj ?

  32. great issue!!!
    i like reading some fanfics but i can’t write any…i just never know how to end a story XD
    the comic was really funny!!!! poor artemis… his being controlled 😛

  33. I love the intro and the comic

  34. *first comment dance that’s not on fanfiction* I ♥ the comic! My fav part! I also liked the Mary Sue and Gary Stu test thingamigig. That helps a lot! Comic rocks. ‘ with fanfiction, we basicly own your soul, Artemis.’ Hee-Hee! PS: How do you become one of the Haven Herald team? It sounds like a great job! Excellent everybody who helped make this! It’s awesome.

  35. ah. wha?

  36. It was dark when I woke. This is a ray of susnhine.

  37. That saves me. Thanks for being so snsebile!

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