From emotional stories to exciting roller coaster rides: The world of books has a lot to offer. As a book nerd, this is certainly no longer a secret for you. You probably have your own list of favorite books that will make your fan’s heart beat faster. If you still like to write now, it would be a great idea to combine your writing talent with your inner fan and write a fanfiction.
How this works and what exactly a fanfiction is, you will learn in this post.
What is fanfiction?
Fanfiction, FanFic or FF for short is the term for stories of fans that are based on already published works. You change them by adding new characters, locations, and storylines. The original story can not only be changed and told differently, but also continued.
The original work is usually well-known books, computer games, films, television shows or series. Sometimes it is even written about a famous personality who serves as a model for the story. Anything you could be a fan of can be turned into a fanfiction. There are no limits to the creativity of a fanfiction author.
There are only certain guidelines that are usually adhered to. One of them is that your characters retain the inner core of the original characters. So Luke Skywalker should not soon mutate into a villain.
Another critical issue is the legal situation, which is quite opaque. You can read more about it in the section “The Legal Question at Fanfictions”. If you ignore this topic, fanfiction is a way to live out your inner fan and create your own story with a lot of love.
The history of fanfiction
A look into the past shows that fanfictions have always existed! However, their popularity only grew at the beginning of the 20th century, when reading and writing became more widespread among the population. Sherlock Holmes fanfictions, Star Trek fanfictions, and the Internet have been instrumental in the success of fanfictions today. You can now read them in a wide variety of forums and archives on the net. If you don’t want to print your story, such a forum might also be an option for you. In any case, it is a great place for exchanging ideas and gathering inspiration.
5 Reasons to Write a Fanficition
- Fun. Make your favorite book your story. Dream yourself into a world that already exists and determine the plot. Invent new characters or let already familiar protagonists take a new direction. Everything you wanted for the original story and didn’t happen, you can make come true in your fanfiction.
- Writing experience. You can practice writing through a fanfiction. If you follow the existing story, the world and the characters are already largely available to you. Accordingly, you can fully concentrate on the writing process and your writing style. Through these writing exercises, you can develop artistically and later apply your new skills to your own stories.
- Attention. If you write a fanfiction to a well-known story, you have a good chance of being noticed. After all, you’re not the only fan of the original story, and fans are guaranteed to enjoy additional content. The attention to the original story thus rubs off positively on your fanfiction. Your fanfiction can also help to support the original story, as it also generates attention. So the original author and you can benefit from fanfiction.
- Be a fan. Often fanfictions are about celebrities. If you write such a fanfiction, then you certainly do, because you are also a big fan of someone. It is certainly exciting to deal more with your own idol. In addition, you can share your “fan existence” with other fans and meet new people.
- Networks. Exchange ideas and become part of the fanfiction community.
Pages and portals for fanfictions
The target group of fanfictions
The target group of fanfictions are clearly other fans of the original story or regular fanfiction readers. This group is usually not very large, but all the more passionate. This will give you a very loyal audience that is extremely interested in your topic. This audience will give you a quick chance even as a beginner, which will allow you to build your own fan base.
8 Tips on How to Write a Good Fanfiction
- Finding a topic. It is best to decide on a topic that interests you. Your enthusiasm will then also be felt in your fanfiction and that will convince your fans.
- Focus. When writing, keep in mind that your readers are usually also fans of the original. For this reason, it is unnecessary to describe the facts and details of the main story again in detail. Focus on your story and explain only your innovations.
- Research. Before you start writing, a comprehensive research makes sense. If you haven’t already, be sure to read the original story and research your background. It can also help to read pre-existing fanfictions about your chosen original story. This allows you to see what has already been implemented and what the current style of fanfictions in this area is.
- Word count. Determine beforehand what length your fanfiction should have. Most fanfictions are rather short, but there are quite a few in book length. Stories with more than 100,000 words also get more attention because they are perceived as of higher quality.
By the way: Fanfictions between 50 and 1,000 words are referred to as “Drabble” by the fanfiction community.
- Brainstorming. Question the original story and think about what you would change. What would be the impact of a change in history and how could it end or continue? The question – what if – could also help to come up with a concept. Before writing, also think about how close you want to stay to the original and how much of your own ideas you want to bring in.
- Concept. Plot your story to give it the necessary structure. They could, for example, proceed according to the principle of the snowflake method or the hero’s journey. Once you have decided on a plot structure with tension curve and turning points, you can start the writing process. In the case of writer’s block or creativity gaps, a look at the original often helps here.
Tip: You can also surround yourself with merch or the original film music to dream your way into your fan world while writing.
- Overwork. Read your text several times and revise it. You should avoid spelling and grammar mistakes to give a professional impression. In addition, errors extremely disturb the reading flow and could make your readers angry. Beta readers could help you with that.
- Optics. Stand out visually by incorporating paragraphs and thus ensure good legibility.
The characters – what you should consider
The characters of a story are extremely important because without them there would be nothing to tell. So if you’re a fan of something, it’s certainly because the characters are great. Therefore, when writing a fanfiction, you need to be careful to preserve the spirit of the characters. You can change properties, but the basic identity should remain the same. Here, the aspect of language should not be neglected. A character like Yoda should not suddenly speak with Bavarian dialect or even fluently. Also be careful not to make the old characters completely superfluous with new ones. The following questions could help you with character development:
- What does the figure look like?
- What does the figure wear for clothes?
- What are your people’s preferences and hobbies?
- Who are friends and enemies?
- What is your character’s backstory?
- What goals does the character pursue?
- What genres are there in fanfictions?
In addition to the well-known book genres such as thrillers, romance and fantasy, fanfiction also has some special fanfiction categorizations. These include AUs, ATs and crossovers.
OUCH: Alternative universe. In this genre, the well-known characters are built into a different context. So the world is changed, that’s especially done in fantasy stories.
AT: Alternate timeline. By changing the origin of a story, it can develop in a completely different direction.
Crossover: In this case, cross two fandoms with each other. For example, you could send the Lord of the Rings characters into the world of Hunger Games and thereby invent an interesting new story.
No direct approach
By “no direct address” is meant that you should not address your readers when writing. An example of this would be to invent a new character for the Harry Potter world and then explain in parentheses why you did that. However, there is no need for explanation for any changes in your history. This only disturbs the flow of reading and destroys the story. In addition, it is questionable whether a scene that needs to be explained on the side is a good scene.
Beta readers are readers who put your story through its paces. In part, they take on the task of proofreading and editing. With their support, you can avoid unnecessary mistakes in the text and improve your story. You will receive criticism in this way, which will help you to develop further.
The Legal Question at Fanfictions
Anyone who writes a fanfiction is operating in a legal grey area in Germany. After all, you’re using someone else’s ideas. Of course, this can be mutually beneficial, because more content increases attention to the story. Authors such as Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling tolerate fanfiction and are happy about the support of the fans. But there are also authors who feel threatened in their livelihood and take legal action against people who write a fanfiction. However, this is only possible in Germany if copyright has been infringed. This is the case when the story has either been copied one-to-one or just edited a bit. You should also observe trademark law, which is associated with names, among other things. So before writing, research how the authors feel about fanfictions. However, you can only be on the legally safe side if you:
- Write the fanfiction for yourself privately and do not publish it
- Acquire the rights or licenses for the story
- Publish the story on a fanfiction platform and not sell it
At point 3, however, it can also happen that the authors complain. This can then mean for you that you have to remove the story
from the platform. The biggest role is how far your story deviates from the original! Large deviations also mean more legal certainty.
Tip: Once you have clarified the legal situation, please publish your fanfiction on epubli! Then you can not only admire your story in book form, but also make profits with it.
One of the most famous fanfictions is Fifty Shades of Grey, which is a fanfiction of Twilight. The story is an AU (Alternative Universe) because the characters from Twilight have been implemented into another world. Edward and Bella no longer find themselves in a world full of vampires, but in Seattle. Actually, almost nothing is the same as in the original story. The names Edward and Bella were also changed to Christian and Anna. Nevertheless, the main characters are supposed to represent the Twilight characters and have remained the same at their core.
Almost as well known is the fanfiction After Passion by Anna Todd. However, she has taken the band One Direction and in particular Harry Styles as a model. He appears in the love story of Todd as the protagonist and bad boy Hardin Scott.
Another example of fanfiction, this time inspired by a computer game, is Würfelwelt by Karl Olsberg. The book is based on the game Minecraft and was even able to secure 2nd place on the print bestseller list on Amazon a few years ago. We are particularly pleased about this work because Karl Olsberg has published it on epubli.
By the way: There are many more examples of fanfiction, many of which are set in the Harry Potter universe. Other popular topics for fanfictions are: Star Trek, X-Men, The Vampire Diaries, Naruto (generally anime series) etc.
We hope the blog post has helped you understand what fanfiction is and the potential of writing it. Feel free to use our tips and realize your own personal fanficition. We hope you enjoy trying it out!