BtVS Writers' Guild: Because fanfiction makes anything possibleCharacter


About the Guild
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  Essays On Writing
  Beta Readers
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The Commandments Of Writing

There are some things in fan fiction that should not be broken.

  1. Have a beta reader. No matter how experienced you are, you can't catch all your problems, and you're too close to your work to really notice anything obvious. Get someone who will spend their time going over your fic with a fine-tooth comb -- not someone who will just respond with a "Great!"
  2. Edit. Edit. Edit. This is before you send your fic to a beta reader. Go over your own story and edit out the parts that do not work. Read it aloud to see if it flows. Rewrite, and rewrite again until what you're sending out is truly your best.
  3. Choose the right words. Get a thesaurus and a dictionary and make sure that you're not settling for an adequate word, but the best possible word for what you're doing.
  4. Know the characters. Pay attention to the character's mannerisms and speech patterns. Know what they'd do or wouldn't do in normal circumstances. This doesn't mean you can't have them do something different, but if you know your characters, then you'll know what circumstances you'll need to keep it in character.
  5. Consistency. Make sure you keep track of what is happening in your story and in the show so that you don't wind up contradicting major plot points or even minor details. Inconsistencies in a fic can be extremely jarring to the readers.
  6. Read. Then read some more. You can't understand the difference between good writing and bad writing if you don't read it. Read fan fiction, read books, read poetry, read classics. The more you read, the more you will become conscious of what you're doing with your own writing.
  7. Take criticism seriously. Not every feedback that says something negative about your story is a flame. Negative feedback often has a great deal to offer in terms of support and criticism, which will make you a better writer.