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-alternately referred to as fanfiction, fanfic, FF, or fic.
-refers to creative writing derived from an existing work. It is written by fans of the existing works, rather than the original author.
-fictions written by fans of a particular TV series, movie or book.
-Most fan fiction writers assume that their work is read primarily by other fans, and therefore tend to presume that their readers have knowledge of the canon universe (created by a professional writer) in which their works are based.
-often posted serialized as a "work in progress" or WIP, with new chapters published in sequence, sometimes as soon as they are finished. Chapters may take anything from a day to several months to be updated and often remind readers of their place in the story with each new installment.


-Relationship to Canon: which are stories that exist in the same "world" as canon, but change one or more major plot points and stories that take some or all characters from the source material and put them in an entirely different situation.

-Romantic or sexual pairings: Slash (same-sex), Heterosexual (opposite sex), Femslash (same-sex female), and General (non-romantic relationship).

-Genres and tropes

-Kinks: Sexual tropes or situations are often referred to as kinks whether or not they are particularly "adventurous." Sometimes the term is even more broadly applied to describe plots or tropes that people enjoy, regardless of whether or not they are sexual in nature.

-Crossovers: characters from two or more fandoms may meet at a neutral location. These stories often include romantic or sexual pairings between characters from different canons.

-Length: drabble, ficlets, longfic, epic, or novel-length.

-Ratings: G through NC-17. Ratings are usually accompanied by a brief statement of the reason for the rating; sexual content, violence, or language, for example. "Adult" or "Mature" are also commonly used to refer to content equivalent to an R or NC-17 rating.


-roughly those of a professional editor to a commercial author—with the exception that the "beta" is most commonly a volunteer who works without pay and on a casual basis and communicates through E-mail or private message systems.
-check for grammatical, spelling, consistency and plot errors.


# A/N - Short for Author's Note. An additional note that is sometimes placed at the start or end of a chapter to explain or elaborate on the particular chapter or story.
# AU - Short for Alternative Universe. Refers to fanfic in which canonical events or situations in the existing work are purposely altered. Authors may warn readers in the summary or author's note that the following work will be AU.
# Canon - The officially accepted "facts" of a particular work.
# OC - Short for Original Character, i.e. a character created by the fan fiction author.
# R&R - Short for Read and Review. Fanfic authors may write "R&R" at the beginning or end of a chapter to encourage readers to provide feedback.
# Shipping - The development or reinforcement of romantic relationships between two characters. These relationships may or may not exist within canon. "Shippers" may denote the pairings in their fics with a forward slash between the two characters' names (e.g. Tony/Ziva in NCIS) or by blending the two names together (e.g. "Tiva").
# More here: http://web.archive.org/web/20080822041856/http://www.subreality.com/glossary/terms.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_fiction_terminology

CREDITS: wisegeek.com + loony-archivist.com + suite101.com + wikipedia
Compiled by: SOUFII

Always Keep The Faith!
View user profile http://minukkie.blogspot.com



Then write some more.
Oh, and write.
And have I mentioned, write?

Seriously, the best thing you can do to improve your craft is to write constantly. Have writer's block? Don't moan about it; write through it. Go ahead and write badly, just keep going. You can always cut out the parts that suck later. The important thing is to keep working at it.

However, before you share your work, make sure that it is the best work you are capable of.

This is done through a variety of steps, namely:

1. Editing.
2. Editing.
3. Editing.
4. Line editing (for spelling, grammar, typos)
5. Content editing (for flow, logic, story structure, and so on)
6. Re-writes.
7. Repeat steps 1-6.

And in addition to writing, try reading. Everything. Because you learn as much from reading as you do from writing. Especially if you read good stuff. And if you think people don't learn grammar, structure, content, and flow from osmosis, think again. Better yet, remember the last story you read with POV shifts every 2 paragraphs, no punctuation, and homophones up the wazoo. I guarantee that if you read for pleasure, you are less likely to make those mistakes.

Some cardinal rules:

If your characters have to act out of character for your plot to work, then your plot DOES NOT WORK.
I really don't need to explain this one, do I?

Put the quality of the work above your own ego.
Realistically, what does this mean? It means that even if your entire 12th grade class thought it was brilliant, that doesn't mean the person telling you the ending doesn't work, the pacing is off, and your spelling sucks is wrong. It means that constructive criticism, and putting the welfare of your story ahead of your own crushed feelings, will make you a better writer. And if it doesn't, then you need to examine your reasons for writing.

If you write because it's a fun social activity, because your friends do it, and because you love to read fanfic, and want to contribute to the sub-genre, that does not mean that you are somehow exempt from the same criteria that apply to all writers and all fiction. If you are only sharing your fiction amongst friends, that is one thing. But before you share it with the rest of the world, think about whether or not this is really something you should—or are ready to—share. If you put your name on something, first make sure it's something you want your name on, and be willing to listen to people if they tell you it can be better.

If you are serious about your writing, and want to put out the best work you are capable of, then be prepared for work-shop style critiques. If you can't take it, then either develop a thicker skin, or re-evaluate your reasons for sharing your stories (be it on a mailing list, or publishing them to a website or a fanzine) in the first place. Negative feedback is just as constructive and 100 times more useful in most cases, as positive, and is not to be confused with flames, a personal attack, etc. Just because you may not agree with something someone has said about your work does not mean her or she has flamed you. Try and use critical feedback to view your work from a new perspective. You can pick and choose what advice you take; but all feedback is useful in one way or another, and should be given due consideration and never simply rejected out of hand.

Also, if you are giving feedback, no matter how much or little you like the work, try and be courteous and unbiased in imparting your opinions. Just because you disagree with someone else does not mean they do not have any valid points. Likewise, just because you like the author as a person does not mean you have to defend their work regardless of its merits, or lack thereof. In reality, you are most likely harming them by not telling them how they can best improve their writing, and allowing them to believe they have nothing else to learn. This is, frankly, bullshit. All writers keep learning and growing, with every story or novel they write. And we all learn something new that can help us become better writers. There is always more to learn.

Yes, this is fandom. But that does not mean that the standards are any lower here than anywhere else. Just because it is motivated by love rather than money, that does not mean that we shouldn't set the bar higher and strive for the very best in our work. Those who insist the difference between fan fiction and unpublished professional fiction is quality are, frankly, full of shite. Good fiction is good fiction, no matter what the arena. And as a writer, you should always strive to tell the very best story you can.

Use critical feedback to improve your work
First and foremost, as a writer you must learn to distinguish critical feedback of your work from a personal attack. If you cannot look at your own work critically, then you will never improve as a writer. The hard part is not taking critical feedback personally, and not rejecting it out of hand simply because it hurt your feelings. You do not have to make every change suggested to you by a reader. However, you do have to examine all feedback and decide—impartially—if there is merit to it, and how to use it to improve your work. It requires you to be able to separate objective criticism from subjective.

Yes, there is such a thing as personal preference regarding style, plots, and characters. Yes, those preferences can bias a reader for or against a certain type of story, or author. This is subjective. Personal preferences aside, you can hate someone's work while still admitting and recognising that it is well-written. You can enjoy someone's plots while acknowledging that their dialogue and pacing is inferior. And you can even love a story despite typos and POV shifts. However, in terms of whether or not something is well-written, in terms of technically—the spelling, grammar, structure, plot, flow, etc.—either it is, or it is not. That has to do with facts, not perceptions. It's subjective versus objective. And all the personal preferences in the world won't help a story if it is out-and-out poorly constructed and executed. The mechanics of the work dictate whether or not it is even readable.

You can have a story or novel that is technically perfect—and dull as dust. All the perfection in the world won't make it more entertaining. Likewise, you can have a flawed story that is vastly entertaining despite its flaws. But that doesn't mean the story would not be even better if the flaws were repaired. It doesn't matter how much good feedback it got—it will always be better if the craftsmanship is better. But the writing itself—the mechanics of it, not the style, theme, or voice—is still either well-written or not. There are no grey areas when it comes to certain aspects of writing. You can't ignore the craft and the skill any more than you can ignore the innate talent and instincts. Both are required for good fiction, but at least if you are lacking the talent, you can try and offset that by honing the skills.

While personal taste is always an issue, certain things (such as the importance of editing, plotting, re-writing and re-editing) will never ever change. And in the end, it's all about how much you really care about the work. If you want to become a better writer, then you do the work. If you love to write fan fiction and don't have the time, or inclination, to research, edit, plot, re-write, and polish—unless your talent and innate skills are very great—the result is simply going to be of a lower calibre than that of a writer who does take it more seriously. In that situation everyone loses. The writer loses a chance to write a better story, and the reader loses a chance to read a better story.

Accept the fact that not everyone who picks up a pen and starts to write—no matter how good their skills—has the talent.
The hard truth of the matter is simple: not every writer who starts writing fanfic should be publishing. You can learn the skills, and you can work all you like, and you can be enthusiastic, earnest, and a wonderful person, but in the end, some people are not good writers. And there comes a point at which people need to realise that saying so is not always a flame or personal attack; that no matter how much a fan writer loves writing, and feels great about sharing their work, and pours their heart and soul into their fiction, all the good intentions in the world cannot make a bad story a good one. Only talent and skill can do that.

The steadfast belief that good intentions and quantity of work can somehow turn every writer who fancies herself a good writer into a good writer is a fairy tale. Not everyone who writes fiction—be it fanfic, or aspirations of becoming a published author—is a good writer. But mediocre (or even out-and-out bad) writers can become better if they actually work at the craft.

Article taken from: loony-archivist.com
Shared by: SOUFII

Always Keep The Faith!
View user profile http://minukkie.blogspot.com


(this is long and I'm lazy to highlight anything. But I assure you, it's good stuff. So read!)

1. Angst does not always equal good drama. Do not kill/maim/torture a character just for effect. Writing a tearjerker just because you want to manipulate the emotions of your readers is not a sign of depth or skill. Keeping the scale and intensity of your stories closer to reality than Opera, means that the genuine emotion you provoke in the reader will be all the more powerful for being attained through subtlety and skill rather than cheap theatrics. Readers identify more with a realistic protagonist's plight than they will the Nibelungen.

2. Relative length is in no way proportional to quality. There are startlingly brilliant vignettes in this world, as well as incredibly well-written novels. Just because something is long does not mean it is automatically good. And anything under 1000 words had damn well better be 1000 incredibly well-choosen words. Quality all comes down to talent and skill. And while the skills can be taught, and honed, God hands out the talent.

3. Show, don't tell.

4. If a character has never referred to another character by a pet name in canon, then it is not always very likely that he or she would start now, even if they have entered into a romantic relationship. Keep your character's traits in mind when you decide to write this into a story—it can be a bit of a stretch for your reader, otherwise, and undermine the integrity of the story you are trying to tell.

5. Don't set out to write a series from the get-go. Write a self-contained, stand-alone story, and if, down the road, you write a sequel, so be it. If you are determined to write a trilogy, then plot accordingly, and keep each of the individual segments self-contained, with their own conflicts and plots that are identified and resolved by the end of each segment. Carrying sub-plots over from one to the next is fine, but ending in the "middle" of a story on a cliff-hanger is ill-advised. It's a cheap, manipulative device that worked great for Dickens' publishers in the 19th century and the Republic serials of the 1930s to keep those nickels coming in every week-end, but it doesn't always translate well in short stories, novellas, and novels. Likewise, don't advertise segments of a series if they have not yet been written. It can be construed as pretentious and often very, very annoying. Even if you're Robert Jordan.

6. Try to avoid including popular 20th century music in a story unless it's extremely clever and original. Yes, there are exceptions to every rule. But those exceptions are rare. Unless you've got a really solid thematic reason, or clever new way of using this old cliché, steer clear.

As with all maxims, there are exceptions. Authors such as Charles de Lint and Steve Brust use traditional folk music to great effect, but usually this is limited to quoting lyrics at key points of the story, and the beginning and end. It's a stylistic choice, and fits well with most of their urban fantasy. There are also several excellent novels and short stories out based on ballads. Tam Lin and Twa Corbies, for example. Which, you will note, are over 300 years old yet still recognised today. Always keep this in mind when choosing music in Trek fiction. Staying power makes all the difference. What will really be a classic 300 years from now?

Also, there is a difference between basing a story off a song, and using a song in a story. For example, there would have to be a phenomenally good reason for anyone in the Trek universe to be familiar with late 20th century pop music. While Tom Paris may have a great affection for the period, he is the exception in the Trek universe, and even that varies. To date, Tom has been primarily interested in the 1930s through the 1960s. I'd say it's stretching it to have him listening to anything more modern than the Beatles, perhaps. Bubblegum pop from the 80s and 90s is definitely becoming a cliché in fanfic. Gilbert and Sullivan musicals, however, seem to have become in in-joke among Trek writers, so who knows...

If you can make it work, more power to you. Just keep in mind that it has become a cliché, and writing one that works is often more difficult than people realise sometimes when they start out. Top: if you really feel a particular song relates to the characters, then try quoting the song lyrics at the end of the story, rather than referencing it at any time in the story itself. If the story can stand on its own without prior knowledge of the song upon which it is based, then you may not need the song itself.

7. Stories should have a plot, even if it's something as simple in structure as "Tom Paris mulls over his situation, and comes to a decision." or "Chakotay kidnaps Janeway for three hours in the holodeck to explain to her that endangering her life and her crew is not good leadership tactics. Then, they sleep together. A lot." That plot should having rising action, a climax, and then falling action. Even if you are writing a character-driven vignette, you still need some kind of structure. Otherwise, what you have written is a story fragment, or scene, but not a story. Even so-called "Plot? What Plot" vignettes have a structure of some kind.

8. Spelling counts.

9. Grammar counts even more.

10. If you research your topic (be it researching the Trek universe socio-political climates during a specific period of UPF history, or Iowa in the 1950s) your story will be the better for it. Treat SF like a period piece—the same as any historical fiction. Whether it's a western, or a Trek story, your job as an author is to create a solid landscape for your reader.

11. Once you set up your universe's rules, stick to them.

12. If you're going to write time travel, make sure you understand time travel. Otherwise, your readers will never understand time travel. For example, know the difference between a causality loop and a working paradox. Examine your favourite time travel stories, and study how they work (or don't work, as the case may be).

13. Don't rush to finish a story just to have it out by a certain date, or to be the "first" to have a particular type of story out. Give your story the time and attention it needs.

14. Don't start publishing a story serially unless it is finished. Not only do you rob yourself of the opportunity to revise and edit earlier sections based on later ones, you rob your readers of a potentially tighter and better story. Also, if you don't know where you're going, it shows. While having a deadline can keep you writing continually—which is a good thing—no one wins in a situation where the author is simply holding court, posting a story piecemeal simply for the purpose of collecting "we want more!" feedback along the way.

15. Just because a story gets good feedback does not mean you are obligated to write a sequel. Although it is very tempting to continue a story because you enjoyed the attention and want more of it, stories should be written because the idea demands you write. Stories that matter have a beginning and an ending, and prolonging a story simply for the sake of satisfying your audience's need for "more" can result in a rambling, poorly plotted story that loses its impact the longer it drags on. As stated above, and many times throughout this FAQ: put the quality of the work above your own ego. The work itself is paramount.

16. Read a story aloud for flow, and to polish dialogue that may be awkward and unwieldy. Reading aloud is also a great way to spot typos and errors that you may unconsciously skip over when reading.

17. Don't be afraid to step away from a piece for a while, and then come back to attack it with a fresh perspective. This is especially important if you have been working on a piece for a very long time, and are feeling like you can no longer tell up from down in terms of pacing and quality, because you're too close to the work to be objective. In the same vein, go back and re-edit and rewrite sections of past work after six months or a year—just because a story is archived somewhere, that does not mean that you can't improve it over time.

18. Dialogue is crucial, and being able to capture the "voice" of a character can be very difficult. Each character has specific speech patterns, sensibilities, and behaviours. Spend time watching your favourite episodes and pay close attention to what the characters say, how and when. While having an ear for dialogue is a talent that can't always be learned, mimicry is a skill that can be attained through hard work, observation, and at the very least, stealing bits of dialogue from the episodes themselves. Read through your dialogue, and ask yourself, "Is this really something [so and so] would say?" Pay particular attention to word choice and colloquialisms.

19. If a story gets stalled, and is simply not working, it's okay to shelve it. Not every idea yields a readable story, and sometimes, no matter how much hard work you've put into it, it simply won't pan out. Don't be discouraged—just try a different idea, or step back for a while. And keep all your story fragments. You never know when you might find a way to work them into a new piece.

20. Keep a notebook handy to write down snippets of dialogue or ideas as they come to you. Whether you're in class, on the bus, at work, or home in bed, you never know when inspiration will strike.

Article taken from: loony-archivist.com
Shared by: SOUFII

Always Keep The Faith!
View user profile http://minukkie.blogspot.com

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