Novel Gleam

Tips for writing fanfic?

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I really, really want to write some FiM fanfic, but I honestly have no idea where to start... :bloomgah:

Does anypony have some tips and tricks of the trade, or maybe links to articles that do? Any help would be massively appreciated! 

Edited by Novel Gleam
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Read some books, or if you're in my boat: listen to them at least.

 

The same tips that can go into writing a fanfic can be applied to writing in general. And the best way - apart from practice - to learn to write is to simply read or absorb other's writings. That way you pick up on common tropes, themes, and tones. Once you figure those out write and practice including them. Overtime you can work out your own voice.

 

I've RP'd for years and years from a narrative angle close to writing an actual and formal book, so in a  flush of ego I'd say I've given myself a lot of practice and me and my friends have bounced things around off ourselves for that long in our cooperative writing in RP. With picking up a night job stocking shelves at Home Depot I've picked up eight hours of dead space to fill with audio books so I got some time to really pick up on "reading" more.

 

But that's all I can say. You can read a guide on how to do X but you can't really act on the X you've learned if you don't see X in action. Or else if you try to do X you'll be fumbling about with it on a vague understanding of where you're taking it.

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Here's a link to the guide I use that's off of FiM Fiction.  I printed all 64 pages of it and have found it rather helpful.  http://eznguide.neocities.org/#tags

 

But there is nothing like reading a good book or two... or library full of them, and then actually sitting down and just writing.  Too many people are too worried it won't be good enough that they never get very far, or they give up and start over.  Don't do that.  Persevere through it.  Yes it might suck and you might hate yourself for it later down the road but at least you finished it and hopefully learned from it.  The more you write the better you'll get.  Trust me.  I am VERY ashamed of the first few stories I wrote but they definitely contributed to the level of writing I can achieve now.  Which, surprisingly, I am actually comfortable with.

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The one tip that no one ever tells aspiring writers is to just write as much as you can. Literally, just write and write and write while you pick up skills along the way. Think about an aspiring singer; someone can be told all the tips and rules of singing, but studying techniques doesn't compare to just experimenting with your voice and seeing what works. I saw an awesome idea on fimfiction.net where someone just wrote 400-500 words a day about any pony plot that came to mind, and guess what? His chapters got better and better as he did it every day. You don't need to publish the practice you do, but just write.

 

Other than that, here are three things I picked up as a writer that helped me bounds:

1.) Consult a thesaurus to vary word choice. 

2.) Learn rules of the two tenses (past and present) and the three perspectives (first, second, and third person), even if you never will write in one of them.

3.) Teach your self how to write dialogue properly.

 

It also doesn't hurt to write some non-fiction for practice, proofread and spellcheck everything, and realize that a first draft is often crap.

 

Best luck, man.

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13 minutes ago, Kyle_67 said:

The one tip that no one ever tells aspiring writers is to just write as much as you can. Literally, just write and write and write while you pick up skills along the way. T

Or as one guy put it to me*, "Learning to write is like wiping your butt. Just keep doing it until there's no crap left on the paper."
 

*Slightly cleaner version.

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My advice...

 

1. Get an idea. Figure out where you wanna go.

 

2. Plan how to get there.

 

3. Don't rely on spellcheck all the time. get an editor.

 

4. Realize that, yes, when you start out, you'll be crappy.

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On 2016-09-07 at 2:21 AM, ZeBronyCaptain said:

Here's a link to the guide I use that's off of FiM Fiction.  I printed all 64 pages of it and have found it rather helpful.  http://eznguide.neocities.org/#tags

 

But there is nothing like reading a good book or two... or library full of them, and then actually sitting down and just writing.  Too many people are too worried it won't be good enough that they never get very far, or they give up and start over.  Don't do that.  Persevere through it.  Yes it might suck and you might hate yourself for it later down the road but at least you finished it and hopefully learned from it.  The more you write the better you'll get.  Trust me.  I am VERY ashamed of the first few stories I wrote but they definitely contributed to the level of writing I can achieve now.  Which, surprisingly, I am actually comfortable with.

that guide is GREAT. I'm soooo gonna use it!

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The most concise advice on how to write a good fanfic: "Be a good writer; have a good idea."

 

...But that's not super helpful, so here's some advice:

 

1) Before you start writing, try to have a beginning, a middle, and an end in mind. A cool premise does not a good story make.

2) Starting a story is WAY harder than finishing it. Trust me: just taking the initiative to write the first page is a hundred times harder than finishing a story. So just DO IT.

3) Wordsmith. Wordsmith. Wordsmith. This is a skill which many authors don't seem to really put effort into. Read your lines out loud. Always ask yourself: is this the most fluid form of this sentence? Being overly florid will trip people up more than being brutal. The worst thing you can do is make people re-read every sentence.

4) It's been said a million times before but: show, don't tell. Ironically, part of this is remembering dialogue. It's easy to get overly engrossed in describing your story. Be wary: having your characters as mute puppets is an amateur mistake.

5) If you truly want the best polish, set the story aside for literally a month or two and come back to it once you've forgotten all your wording. Repeat as necessary.

6) The more pre-readers, the better. (I'm available for pre-reading, but-- Well, PM me) Much of what your prereaders tell you will be unhelpful, but it is still very valuable. You might think that they're morons for not understanding your art, but wouldn't your art be better if it could be understood by everyone?

7) Don't anchor your self-worth to EqD's fanfiction judges. Those guys are overworked and their taste is far from perfect.

 

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On 12/23/2016 at 1:22 AM, Princess Rainbow Magic Pants said:

2) Starting a story is WAY harder than finishing it. Trust me: just taking the initiative to write the first page is a hundred times harder than finishing a story. So just DO IT.

 

On 12/23/2016 at 1:22 AM, Princess Rainbow Magic Pants said:

4) It's been said a million times before but: show, don't tell. Ironically, part of this is remembering dialogue. It's easy to get overly engrossed in describing your story. Be wary: having your characters as mute puppets is an amateur mistake.

Solid advice all around, but you and I have very different weaknesses when it comes to writing! The road behind me is littered with the corpses of stories that never got past the first chapter; I can start 'em easily enough, but maintaining interest and morale long enough to reach "The End" is a horse of a different color. And I tend to skimp on description in favor of dialogue, to the point where I could really stand to paint more of a picture of the world that my characters are speaking in.

As far as writing advice goes, I can only echo what everyone else has been saying: write a lot, read a lot. Finish what you start. Try not to hate yourself when you fail. Oh, and creating an interesting story is more important than how well you execute it spelling-and-grammar-wise. It's better to tell a good story clumsily than to write a boring one eloquently. So before you even start on the first page, make sure you've got an idea in your head that you're super excited to get out there. Then try to make every scene compelling. That's why the Harry Potter books are so good -- there's no down time. Even when something not actively exciting is going on, it moves along briskly and there's something to hold your interest. First and foremost, try to make sure your readers never feel like they're waiting to get to "the good part".

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Another thought I might as well toss out there as I was reading through the comments...

I have found that books and stories that jump from one action scene to the next, while they might be fast paced, tend to get rather repetitive and often lack in the character building department.  If you want a lot of action, make sure you balance it out with good world and character building.  And if you want to focus on a lot of world/character building then make sure you add some action to help it move along. 

Getting the proper balance can be a challenge in and of itself.  And only you can ultimately decide where that balance lies.  All the pre-readers and editors in the world have no power to make you change anything about your story, or how you tell it.  Yes they might offer tips and tricks and occasional good advice, but over all they are just opinions and nothing more (except grammar corrections).

On a side note... please make sure you aren't making a "Mary-sue" archetype of character.  Not only is this easy to do, but it well generate a lot of unwarranted negativity.  Do some research, and start with something that people can easily grasp and then build up from there. For example, the lead protagonist in one of my stories is a pegasus who lost most of his ability to fly through a combat injury.  In comparison, another story has it's main character effectively killed(blown up/shot) and waking up as a filly robot two hundred years later.  Which story would you tend to find easier to get into?  The proof is in the pudding.  I could walk you through all the world building where you could see all this as being normal for each character, but how many of you would want to sit through that much dry text?  And what if I told you that both stories are in the same story universe, and are set only 20-30 years apart?

I would encourage those of you that are still considering writing a story to continue reading other stories.  And as you do to take note of plot points, settings, character traits and the interactions between the characters and the environments.  And for those of you who are still writing.  I urge you to keep at it.  You will improve in time, as long as you don't give up.  Because after all, Practice Makes Progress.

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Hey! I just wanted to put in my two cents here

-First: http://www.openoffice.org/

This is a Safe, Free to download Writing thing. Spellcheck, Formatting it has everything you need. I use this as it was recommended to me by others here, you can use whatever just wanted to spread the good word.

-Second: MLP Fanfiction Writing Guide

This is a life saver for me, its long read though.

-Third: Write whatever you want, just do it!

-Forth: Take Criticism as a gran of salt, just know that Criticism isn't bad but there is bad Criticism.   

-Fifth: Take Notes, Really open up notepad and jot down notes, ideas, future lines whatever just write them down.

-Sixth: If you need someone to read your Fanfiction, I will, I draw the line at Gore but anything else ill read and give you feed back, just send me a Message.:approve:

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3 hours ago, Lee Roy said:

Hey! I just wanted to put in my two cents here...

That's a lot of cents ^_^

Personally I have used Open Office, but I prefer Google Docs since I'm often switching between PC, tablets and Mac.  That way I can access them from virtually anywhere and It is easy to share with editors/pre-readers.  Also I like the grammar checking that MS Office does (which is where I do final edits).  That feature seems to be way behind par in Open Office (At least in the versions I've used).

And do you differentiate between gore and extreme depictions of violence (or even just violence in general)???

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47 minutes ago, ZeBronyCaptain said:

 do you differentiate between gore and extreme depictions of violence (or even just violence in general)???

Violence I do fine, but Gore makes me feel sick and have been known to toss my lunch time to time, a little blood here and there I'm good, but very descriptive guts'n stuff don't sit well with me, it's wierd I know.

54 minutes ago, ZeBronyCaptain said:

editors/pre-readers.

Wait I can have people Edit for me! AND pre-read it. where can I sign up, how can I get one of these magic people that you speak of?

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18 hours ago, Lee Roy said:

Wait I can have people Edit for me! AND pre-read it. where can I sign up, how can I get one of these magic people that you speak of?

Ask. There's groups for it on fimfic, too.

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