How to fanfiction


Fanfiction, a form of literature where fans write stories about characters from their favorite books, movies, TV shows or video games, has grown significantly over the years. From being a niche market to becoming an internet trend, fanfiction offers potential writers a chance to explore their creativity, enhance their writing skills and connect with like-minded people. Whether you're a beginner dipped into this world out of curiosity, or a seasoned writer ready to explore the realms of beloved universe, this comprehensive guide will help you understand how to write an engaging fanfiction.

The Basics: Plot, Characters and Setting

Like any other form of storytelling, fanfiction requires a solid plot, engaging characters and well-defined settings. You may want to stick to the canon plot, create an alternate universe, or maybe create your own plot within the same universe. It's important to explore different situations for your characters to live through. Well-known characters should stay true to their original personality while new characters need to be developed with depth. The setting also plays a crucial role. If your story is set in the same world as the original work, try to describe it accurately. If you are creating a new world, make sure the setting makes sense within the context of the characters and story.

How to fanfiction

It's essential that you do your research well. Try to gather as much information as possible about the original work to make your fanfiction convincing. You should be familiar with the characters' backgrounds, personalities, relationships, and even the way they speak. Don't make the mistake of neglecting the minor details because they often make a significant impact on your storytelling.

Use the Right Purpose

Before you start to write, you need to understand your purpose. Are you writing to fill a gap in the canon story? Are you exploring a 'what if' scenario? Are you simply writing because you love the characters and want to tell more about their lives? Your purpose will guide your plot and character development.

It's good to keep in mind that not every fanfiction needs to be an epic saga. Sometimes, small, episodic stories can be just as engaging. What's important is that your story needs to provide some form of resolution at the end, unless its purpose is to remain unresolved.

Adhere to the Voice and Tone

One major aspect of fanfiction writing is sticking close to the voice and tone of the original work. If the original work is dark and gritty, your fanfiction shouldn't be light and humorous, unless it's a parody. The way characters communicate should be consistent with the way they speak in the original. Remember, you're writing fanfiction, not creating a new, unrecognizable universe.

That said, fanfiction also gives you a bit of leeway to play around with the tone. If you want to explore a particular character's emotional vulnerability or a different aspect of their personality that's not prominent in the canon, you can slightly adjust the tone to accommodate that. However, it still has to be believable in the context of the character and the universe.

Familiarize Yourself with Fanfiction Terminology

When you're delving into the world of fanfiction, it's important to get the lingo down. Terms like 'canon', 'alternate universe (AU)', 'crossover', 'ship', 'OC', 'Mary Sue', 'lemon', 'fluff', are commonly used in fanfiction. These terms will not only come handy while reading other fanfics, but also while discussing your own with other writers and readers.

Take out some time to familiarize yourself with these terms. Not only it will help you understand the discussions better, it will also help you use the correct tags while publishing your work. Most platforms require authors to tag their work appropriately and using the wrong ones can lead to misunderstandings.

Use an Appropriate Platform

Two popular platforms for fanfiction writers are and Archive of Our Own (AO3). Both platforms are quite user-friendly and have large, active communities. is one of the oldest and most extensive fanfiction websites, with categories for almost every fandom you can think of. AO3 on the other hand, is relatively new but has quickly gained popularity for its easy-to-use interface and liberal policies. You can create an account on either or both websites and start publishing your work. Both websites have a rating system and allow you to tag your work appropriately.

Another useful platform to consider is Wattpad, especially for those who write teen fiction. Like AO3 and it allows users to upload or write stories online for free. However, it's worth noting that Wattpad's interface is more modern and mobile-friendly, which makes it a preferred platform for the younger audience.

Proper Use of Tags and Ratings

With fanfiction, the use of appropriate tags and ratings is of utmost importance. Your tags help potential readers find your story, so neglecting them can drastically decrease your readership. Also, it ensures that your readers have a clear idea of what to expect. Ratings are indicative of the suitability of your content; it protects young readers from adult content and allows others to find what they're in the mood for.

It’s crucial to take the time to accurately tag and rate your fanfiction. Be honest and descriptive when adding tags. If your fanfiction contains explicit content, violence, or potentially triggering themes, it's your responsibility as a writer to warn your readers upfront.

Respecting Feedback and Dealing with Criticism

Once your work is published, you should be ready to accept feedback, both positive and negative. Remember, everyone is entitled to their opinion and people have diverse tastes. Constructive feedback can help you improve your work, while unnecessary criticism should simply be ignored.

Disagreeing with feedback is natural, but it’s important to respond politely. If somebody points out a genuine mistake, expressing gratitude will make you more approachable as a writer. Avoid getting into arguments with your readers as this could negatively impact your reputation.

Respecting Other’s Works

Lastly, while fanworks are often a grey area in copyright law, it's important to respect the original creators. It's crucial not to claim ownership or sell your fanfiction for profit. Additionally, respect other fanfiction writers and their works.

Doing a take on someone else’s fanwork is a delicate process and should be done very considerately. Accusations of plagiarism can be detrimental to a writer’s reputation. Always seek permission from the creator if you wish to create derivative works. If the author agrees, then make sure to give proper credit.

Commonly Asked Questions

1. Is it OK to write fanfiction? Yes, as long as you respect the original creator's work and do not claim it as your own. Fanfiction is largely accepted and appreciated by fandoms worldwide and is a great way to improve your writing skills.

2. How do I share my fanfiction? You can share your fanfiction by publishing it on platforms like, Archive of Our Own, or Wattpad.

3. Can I write fanfiction about any show, book, or movie? Technically you can write fanfiction about anything, but it's always best to stick with something you love and know well. This allows you to keep the story and characters authentic.

Good luck on your fanfiction writing journey! Happy writing!


1. “� N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2021.

2. “Archive of Our Own.�AO3. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2021.

3. “Wattpad.�Wattpad. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Feb. 2021.

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