How to write a good fanfiction


Fanfiction, a unique form of narrative in which fans write stories based on their favourite characters, worlds and plotlines from books, movies, TV shows, manga and more, has gained immense popularity in recent years. The process of creating good fanfiction is not as easy as it seems and requires great care, diligence and creativity. Here are some tips on how to write a good fanfiction:

Understand the Characters

Understanding the characters is crucial in fanfiction. You should not only pay attention to their appearances, personality traits, and history but also their ways of talking, thinking, and behaving. If you want to write about Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, for example, highlight her intellect, bravery and loyalty.

How to write a good fanfiction

In addition, it's crucial to keep your characters in character. This means that you should not make them behave in a way that is inconsistent with their original characterisation unless you're writing an Alternate Universe (AU), where the original plot and rules do not necessarily apply. For example, making Severus Snape suddenly cheerful and friendly without adequate explanation or character development would seem incongruous and out of character.

Respect the Original Material

As a fanfiction writer, it's vital to respect and honour the original source material. You can surely add fresh elements and perspectives but be careful not to distort or ruin the essence of the original story.

Let's say you're penning a fanfiction based on Game of Thrones �while you have the leeway to play around with the existing plotline, making a twist like "the White Walkers are actually the good guys" would not be very acceptable unless you provide a very compelling explanation.

Choose Your Words Carefully

Just as in any form of writing, your choice of words matters in fanfiction. Stay away from purple prose �overly descriptive and elaborate language �that distract from the story.

For example, while "Her eyes danced like two emeralds under the moonlight, radiating a celestial aura that entrancingly mirrored the lustre of the cosmos" might sound poetic, it can serve as an overkill. Instead, opt for a more straightforward description such as "Her eyes shone brightly under the moonlight".

Find a Good Writing Platform

Finding a good writing platform can define your fanfiction writing experience. Websites like and Archive of Our Own (Ao3) are some of the largest platforms available for fanfiction writers. While has a more organized layout and strict content policing, Ao3 offers a greater range of tags and lenient content control, allowing you to customize your search and filters. Choose a platform that best suits your preferences and needs.

Create a Good Plot

Crafting a good plot will enhance the readability of your fanfiction. Even though you're working within an existing world, you need to create a compelling narrative that develops the characters and pushes forward the story.

You could develop subplots, introduce new characters or situations, or explore ‘what if�scenarios. For instance, what if Harry Potter had been sorted into Slytherin? How would this change his relationships, challenges, and overall experiences at Hogwarts?

Balance Dialogue and Narration

Good fanfiction has a balance of dialogue and narration. While dialogue can convey personality and dynamic relationship, too much of it might make your story seem like a script rather than a narrative.

On the other hand, an excess of narration can make your story dry and tedious. Include enough dialogue to keep the storyline engaging and lively. For instance, instead of describing Harry’s frustration at Dobby, you could write a lively conversation between them where Harry expresses his emotions.

Feedback and Editing

Getting feedback is extremely important to better your fanfiction. It helps you identify the strengths and weakness in your writing. Consider asking a friend or a fellow fanfiction writer to proofread your work and provide honest reviews.

Besides this, it's recommended to read your fanfiction aloud; this can help you identify awkward sentences, grammar mistakes and other errors. Remember to divide your fanfiction into paragraphs to make it easily readable. Keep refining your writing until you're satisfied.

Legal Considerations

Fanfiction is generally considered a respectful homage to the original work. However, you must be aware of potential legal issues while writing fanfiction. Respect copyright laws while ensuring that you state that your story is a fan creation and not intended to infringe upon the original copyright.

In summary, don't charge for your fanfiction, don't claim the original content as your own and always give credit to the original creators. It’s worth remembering that laws around copyright can differ between countries, so familiarize yourself with these nuances.

Common Q&A

Q1: How should I start my fanfiction?
A: Start your fanfiction by introducing characters and setting up the context. You can jump right into action, or start with a more subtle approach to build the background �both can work based on what story you're trying to tell.

Q2: How can I make my fanfiction stand out?
A: One way to make your fanfiction stand out is by exploring unique plotlines and character development. Remember, it's not about changing the original story, but adding fresh perspectives to it.

Q3: How many words should my fanfiction have?
A: The length of your fanfiction depends on the plot. It can be a short piece of 500 words, a mid-range piece of around 5,000 words, or even an epic multi-chapter story of over 50,000 words.


Writing fanfiction allows you to explore and further delve into the worlds that you love. It can be an enjoyable process if you respect the original content, understand the characters, come up with interesting plots and receive feedback from readers. Happy Writing!


1. "Drafting and Characterisation". Writing Excuses.

2. "Fanfiction: Legal? Yes, Beneficial? Yes". Huffington Post.

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