The work that goes into writing fanfiction is not often different from the work that goes into making original short stories and longer novels. The main difference is that fanfiction has material and a world it is already based on. Professional fanfiction is an actual thing. The hundreds of Jane Austen continuations and adaptations alone could prove that. As mentioned in an earlier section, the Aeneid is basically fanfiction of Homer. But I don’t anyone would tell Virgil that he hadn’t put his share of work into that story.
There are different things people do before writing a story. Some people have a scene or story so clear in their minds that they sit down and write the whole thing in one go. Others need planning, and some need research to develop its unique elements. The ‘pre-production’ stage of writing may include some of the following:
The Plot Bunny
The Plot bunny is not exclusive to fanfiction, though that is where I hear it most. Its that spark of a story that is stuck in your head that you want to develop or get written down. The what if voice.
I was once part of a college writing club and one of the members decided to draw a plot bunny once. It was a drunk plot bunny because sometimes it seems like that idea is a little drunk at first, especially when its only pieces and you aren’t sure how to figure it out quite yet.
I actually have a file on my computer just for the random ideas, both fanfiction and original fiction, that pass through my brain. Some will never be written. Others will be picked up down the road. Its sometimes useful just to get the general idea written out to clear out your mind and let you focus on the stories you are actively working on.
Sometimes carrying a notebook with you to jot inspiration or notes down helps too.
Sometimes an outline is useful. There are many different kinds of outlines out there, and maybe one day I’ll write a whole post just on the different kinds. Some just do bullet points, others do outlines in such detail they could hand those notes over to someone else and let them do the actual writing.
For me it depends on the story. Some stories, particularly short one-shots and 500 words or less drabbles (we will get into that next post) don’t really need an outline. It is helpful if you have a long fic planned and need to meet certain elements along the way to the conclusion.
Outlines can also be helpful if you need to do research
Find out what is best for you.
Finding a writing nook
Well, that is a little misleading. What I mean by this is finding a spot (or spots) where you can write comfortably. Everyone needs different things. I like to write with music, so I go find places to settle down where I can play my music.
Some people need fresh pencils, others need their laptop. Find out what works for you. If you are uncomfortable its not going to be a good writing session.
Once you find a spot, and know what you are writing, then its time to get writing.
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