How to Write Fan Fiction

By Kelleigh Rae.

Fan Fiction is exactly what it sounds like, fiction written by and for fans. Fandoms, the group of fans of a certain story (book, TV show, movie, cartoon, etc.). Though there is some debate as to whether there is a specific way Fan Fiction (FF) should be written. Like other genres, FF is open to interpretation, but there are certain standards and guidelines to follow if you are looking to publish.

fan-fiction-genre-thumb-e1410473652416How to Write Fan Fiction:

Choose your ‘fandom’ (the subject of your piece) and get to know others who have written FF in the same fandom.

  • One of the best places to find FF is at, a website that strictly caters to FF writers. We also have some great FF writers right here at WC!
  • Read some FF pieces by other authors. See what works for you and what doesn’t. This will be very helpful when you sit down to write your own piece because you’ll already know what you do and don’t like to read about, so you can structure your FF appropriately.

Get to know your subject well before you start to write.

  • This is especially helpful because in FF the author should follow the original piece’s ‘canon’, or plot line, and stay true to any existing character’s personalities and character traits.
  • Your readers will be looking for their favorite character and plots, so don’t stray too far from the original. (If you wish to take the characters completely out of the original plot, consider writing an AU, or Alternate Universe piece instead of FF.)

Choose your characters.

  • Pick out the characters you’d like to use in the story. You’ll want to have at least a few from the original piece to make your story believable. Remember, the original characters have a history, so their lives would not be complete without others from their world.
  • You may use all characters from the original work, or you can mix in some of your own original characters to spice things up.
  • If you choose to add your own original characters, be very careful about putting yourself in the story. There is nothing wrong with making yourself a character, but you don’t want to put yourself on a pedestal. Remember that fans read FF for the original characters first!

Choosing a storyline and setting the mood

  • There is a lot of leeway in this step. You can choose what mood you want your FF piece to be, whether that is dark and mysterious, or something more lighthearted is all up to you.
  • Keep your final destination for the piece in mind as you plan. What will your characters need to do to get to the endpoint? What challenges will they face? Who will you utilize to keep the story moving along at a steady pace?

Get started!

  • Now that you have completed the planning stage of your writing, sit down and get to it. There will be time to make changes to your original plan as you go, so don’t waste all of your time in that stage. Once you get down to the business of putting words on the page, your story will start to take shape, and you can work your original plan into the plot, or change it around completely to fit your flow.
  • The longer you make your piece, the more chance you have to develop your characters. If you chose to keep it short, be sure you allow enough time for your readers to understand and care about your characters.

Revising your story

  • Revisions are usually saved for the end of the piece. This is where you can go back, read through the story, and make any changes you see necessary. Do you overuse certain elements in the plot, or certain plotlines within the story? Do your characters veer too far from their original personalities? Have you given your readers enough information about your original characters so that they fit into the story well with the others?
  • Going back and making major changes to your story can be difficult, but they can lead to a better, more believable, plot line for your characters to follow.

 Proofreading and Editing

  • This part can be crucial to whether or not your piece is accepted as publishable quality, or just a fun write. Readers don’t want to see spelling errors and grammatical mistakes throughout the story as they read. These can be distracting, and may lead some fans to stop reading your writing. Though this stage can become quite tedious, it is a necessary evil for anyone seriously considering publication.


  • Many FF writers utilize the internet for publication of their pieces. It is widely known within the community that standard publication is not always possible unless the original writers no longer owns the copyright to their characters or world (typically ten years after original publication, but be sure to check before choosing to go this route.)
  • Feel free to post your pieces here at Writer’s Carnival for member feedback!
  • You can also find authors publishing at,,

The take away message here is this, Fan Fiction is a real writing genre, and just like most other genres, there are some basic skeleton rules to follow. The most important part is to make sure you’re having fun. FF is a great platform to begin your writing career, for practice or fun, or to continue on your path as a writer. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!


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