Lately I’ve been considering which ideas, out of my pool of fanfiction plot bunnies, are suitable for recycling into publishable fiction. I had decided to do this long before 50 Shades came out, though my intention always was to change whatever I recycled enough so that anyone who’d read the fanfiction wouldn’t already know the story. In other words, picking and mixing elements rather than just changing names and places. (Which in my view is a bit lazy, and sort of dishonest.)
Anyway, out of all the fics I have, I didn’t think I could actually make Settling Down into something original. The planet details, yes, but not the plot, since it’s built closely on the (Doctor Who) characters, not to mention the fact that it’s not a novel-style plot–it could potentially go on forever.
But now I’ve had an idea. If I were to create new characters and plausibly put them in a similar situation–stranded on another planet–I could actually write it, not as a novel, but as a ficblog. It could work. If I kept the principles I’ve been using for the fic (short, regular chapters), I think it could work. Thoughts?
Ooh … I’ve just had a fantastic idea for it. I can’t say what, right now. But it could feed into a novel idea I’ve been sitting on for a while …
I want to try something new, and post some writing prompts. I’ve been looking for some ideas for things to blog about that will be useful to my readers, in addition to my random rambles, and this sprang to mind. I am by no means the only blogger doing this but I hope it will add some variety to my postings. So I’ve thought up a poetry prompt, two fiction prompts, and a fan fiction prompt.
Look out of the window, wherever you are, and describe the scene using only fantasy metaphor.
Fiction Prompt #1
Write a conversation between two people on Facebook, both of whom believe the other is someone else. See how long you can keep it going until one of them has no choice but to figure it out.
Fiction Prompt #2
Take a short extract from a piece of your own fiction writing. Replace every adjective and adverb with the opposite word (or as close as you can get), and change every noun to something else on the same page of the dictionary. See if any ideas spark from the new version.
Fan Fiction Prompt
Take your favourite character and your least favourite character, and trap them somewhere, like in a cupboard or on a roof. (Strictly PG!) Add a deadline, and something that’s poisoned, shake well and write! For bonus points use two characters from different fandoms.
Do let me know how they work out!
I wrote this in an email from a reader asking for advice on starting a fan fiction, and thought I may as well share it with a wider audience.
I think the most valuable thing I’ve learned about writing fanfic is not to start posting prematurely. You may at first be filled with inspiration for a story, write the first chapter and want to expose it to the world right away.
You need to have a good few chapters written already, with plenty of ideas WRITTEN down for the rest of the story (so many times I’ve been sure I won’t forget the next plot twist, but it got lost in the ether), and safe in the knowledge that your inspiration for the story has lasted longer than a few weeks, before even contemplating beginning to post. This is where I went wrong in previous fandoms–in my profile you’ll find many one-chapter wonders that didn’t make it further because I began posting them far, far too soon.
You should usually have an idea how/when to end the story, or at the least a few ideas knocking around that you can choose from as you go. Or, if you’re doing a drabble series, have a few written already with a number of ideas for going further.
So, don’t be premature. Write all you can while the idea’s fresh, but don’t put anything online too soon. If the story’s only a few chapters long, consider writing it in full–and having beta-read, an invaluable investment–before you post. Then when it’s done, don’t post it all at once, wait until the first chapter has disappeared off the ‘recent’ list before posting the next one–you get more readers that way.
Familiarise yourself as much as possible both with canon and fanfic. Research in both areas is important. Re-watch the episodes closest to your story idea, check your facts on wiki, and try searching fanfic archives for fics that may have used the same idea. If you can’t find anything in the latter, be excited, you may be onto something! If there’s plenty of authors who’ve got there first, don’t panic, familiarise yourself with what’s gone first and make sure you do something different.
Getting the summary right is key, especially if the idea has been used before, so if it’s not your thing, ask a beta or an author who’s got good summaries on their fics to help. I think my record is twenty rewrites before I settled on one which worked, so don’t be discouraged if the first attempt isn’t great. Think of them like the blurb on the back of a book–they’ve got to have selling power. The length is a challenge, but can result in very concise and engaging summaries when embraced. FFnet allows quotes from the fic as summaries (not all archives do, I believe) so if you have a line or two in your story which expertly sums it up, by all means use it.
-From a fanficcer who wishes she’d received the same advice seven years ago!