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30 Days of Fanfiction Writing

1. How did you first get into writing fanfic, and what was the first fandom you wrote for? What do you think it was about fandom that pulled you in?

Basically from the time I discovered fanfic - aged about 10, almost as soon as we got home internet - I wanted to write my own. I really liked the idea of exploring a setting / ship / character I already loved, and it quickly became clear that the genre conventions suited me down to the ground.

2. Name the fandoms you've written in, how much you've written in them, and if you still write in them.

Oh, man, we'd be here all day! My main fandom at the moment is Gotham - I've written almost 700,000 words of fic for it so far! - but in the past I've written for Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, The Hobbit, Life on Mars, Young Dracula, etc, etc. Check out my answers to the shipping ask challenge for more on the fandoms I've been involved in.

3. Have you ever deleted one of your published fics?

Yes. I've taken fics down from one site to move to another, while others I've just deleted completely. Sometimes it's a knee jerk to a bad review, sometimes it's because nobody ever reviewed and I was already uncertain about it, so I figured nobody was going to miss that subpar writing.

4. What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever come across? And the worst?

The best advice I ever read was to pare your story right back to the bare minimum. If you can learn to tell it in as few words as possible and still get across the key plot points and emotional keynotes, you're better placed to decide what you want to include and exclude in your regular writing. I think the worst is anything which claims 'always do this' or 'never do that'. Fic writing is about creativity, not following a prescriptive style guide!

5. Do you write your story from start to finish, or do you write scenes out of order?

It really depends, to be honest. Sometimes I'll have a couple of scenes laid out vividly in my head and want to get them down on paper (word doc...), but often I'll just write it through from start to finish.

6. Do you use any writing tools, like worksheets or outlines?

Nope. I collect these things, and idly think about using them for worldbuilding or fleshing out minor characters, but I never actually get around to filling them out.

7. Do you write OCs? If so, what do you do to make certain they're not Mary Sues? If not, explain your thoughts on OCs.

Yes. If you write regularly I think you will soon find you need to create an original character or two, even if it's just a woman at the shop counter, or a bloke who pushes past your character to get somewhere. If you're writing an OC as a main character you just need to remember that nobody's perfect, and everybody does things for a reason. It might not be a good reason, but so long as it's believable you're golden.

8. Share one of your writing strengths.

People tell me it's characterisation which is awfully nice of them!

9. Share one of your writing weaknesses.

Writing longer pieces. I like things to be done and dusted, and I rarely if ever post WIPs (works in progress). It's a real achievement for me to write something longer than c. 15k.

10. Have you ever gone outside your comfort zone and tried writing a pairing you liked but found you couldn't write, or a pairing you didn't like but found you could?

Yep, usually for a fic exchanges. Something which you think will be easy because you like the pairing ends up being like getting blood from a stone, while a pairing you hate just flows onto the page.

11. Do you prefer certain genres of fic when you're writing? Which kind do you tend to write most?

Romance, romance, romance. Seriously, I'm not really interested in any other genre when it comes to fanfiction. I wrote more about the kind of fic I like to write in the Fanfiction Author Meme.

12. Have you ever attempted an 'adaptation' fic of a favourite book or movie, but set in a different fandom?

Possibly... I did a Red Dwarf Dirty Dancing AU once. That was fun!

13. Do you prefer canon or fanon when you write? Has writing fanfic for a fandom changed the way you see some or even all of the source material?

I generally like to stick close to canon, although that doesn't mean I'm not willing to play with the interpretation of canon material. E.g. a character's backstory might be vague which gives you free reign to extrapolate where their motivation is coming from, or you can speculate about what was happening off page - it's never stated that X wasn't happening, so it can still be canon compliant.

Sometimes this approach really does change the source material. It can give me new appreciation for how the story was initially told, and which blanks were left for the audience to fill in, or a new angle on what was happening at such and such point in canon can change my opinion on it, etc.

14. Ratings - how high are you comfortable with going? Have you ever written higher? If you're comfortable with E, have you ever been shocked that the story you're writing is G rated instead?

I'm fine with any rating, whatever feels right to tell that particular story. Sometimes it can be surprising to realise a fic is actually very tame when it's dealing with elements associated with higher ratings - sex, violence, etc - but you don't always need to go into explicit detail for a fic to work well.

15. What do you feel it is most important to warn for, and what's the strangest thing you've ever warned for in a fic?

I'm not really one for comprehensive trigger warnings. I mark the vast majority of my fics CNTW (Choose Not To Warn) and rely on readers to make their own minds up about proceeding. I do generally warn in the story heading for character death, [attempted] suicide, and rape, but it depends how the story is treating the issue. (E.g. If the big reveal is 'they were dead all along', I'm not going to be slapping 'TW: Major Character Death' in the summary.)

16. Summaries - do you love them or hate them? If you use them, how do you come up with them?

I don't feel that strongly about them, to be honest. If a fic contained my OTP, I'd probably read it no matter what it was about. My own summaries only tend to be a sentence or two; if I wrote the fic as a request, I'll probably just use the original prompt as the summary.

17. Titles - are they the bane of your existence or the easiest part of the fic? Also, if you write chaptered fic, do you give each chapter a title?

The bane of my existence! I like to post fics in oneshot collections as much as possible to completely bypass the titling process.

18. Where do you get most of your inspiration (aka 'fic bunnies') from?

Anywhere and everywhere. There are plot ideas all around us.

19. When you have an idea do you start writing straight away, or do you jot it down for later use?

It depends if I have time to write. As I usually don't I file it away in my head for later reference.

20. Do you ever get inspiration from other fanworks in your fandom? Or maybe somebody's created something based on your work?

Of course! If I'm writing in a fandom I'm almost certainly reading in it, and in that scenario you're bound to pick up ideas on everything from plot to characterisation. Occasionally I've straight up written a fic based on somebody else's, usually a fandom friend's where the offer was open, but typically it's a more subtle situation where pieces of fanon get exchanged.

On the opposite side of things, I love reading / seeing fanworks based on my stuff. It's so wild to think that somebody was moved enough by something I created to go ahead and create their own work. I have a really wide-reaching transformative works policy (aka 'blanket statement') because I'm not particularly precious about my fic, which I think acts as extra encouragement too.

21. Have you ever written a sequel to a fic you wrote?

All the time. Occasionally it's just because I really want to revisit that story, but usually it's because somebody requested a follow-up and I had no objections to writing more.

22. Have your ever participated in a fest or big bang? If so, write about your favourite (or least favourite!) experiences.

Frequently. I've realised over the years though that I'm unlikely to actually finish a fic to a deadline unless it's for an exchange. The knowledge that the fic is a gift for someone else is motivating enough to actually get it done and posted.

23. Where do you post your fic? Do you cross-post?

Exclusively to AO3 these days. I used to post primarily at my LiveJournal and cross-post stuff to FFN ( but it really feels like most of the readership for Western media fandom is already at AO3 these days. I do have a Wattpad account which has one story I cross-posted as an experiment - it's been read about 4 times.

24. Do you get your fic beta read? Why / why not?

No. I don't really see the point - I'm capable of SPAG checking my own work, and I'm not interested in having somebody else's input on the actual way I choose to tell my story. Some people enjoy that sense of collaboration with an editor, I know, and find it beneficial. I just... don't.

25. Do you listen to music while you write? Do you make playlists to get into a certain mood to write your fic? Do you need noise in general, or do you prefer complete silence?

I like to write to music, it makes it so much easier to set the tone of the story. I've made a couple of fanmixes in the past, but it's not something I make a habit of.

26. What is the oddest (or most entertaining) thing you've had to research for a fic?

I've researched all kinds of weird stuff over the years. My primary fandom at the moment is American so I'm constantly googling really mundane stuff to check that my story is going to make sense. For instance, I wanted to write that a character had toothache so took some paracetamol... but it turned out that the USA doesn't call it that. The character had to take acetaminophen instead.

27. Where is your favourite place to write? Do you prefer to type or write by hand?

In my office, with the door closed and my headphones on. These circumstances almost never occur so I make do with what I can get. I definitely prefer to type too, it's much easier to chop and change lines around.

28. Have you ever collaborated with someone else on a fic?

No. I've talked over the development of a fic - mine and theirs - with fandom friends before, but I've never actually collaborated. I'm kind of a lone wolf when it comes to writing, it's why I never really got into RP or anything like that.

29. How many fic ideas are you nurturing right now? Care to share one of them?

Too many, as usual. I'm mostly writing to requests at the moment, so it all depends on what kind of asks people leave me over on Tumblr.

30. Do you have a favourite fic you've written? What makes it your favourite?

I talked about my favourite fics in detail during the Fic Writer's Week challenge.

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This post first appeared on Babi A Fi - Baby And Me, please read the originial post: here

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30 Days of Fanfiction Writing


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