I think this might be true of most writers–that moment when you are reading or watching a TV show or a movie and go: “What happened to that character? Why did it end that way? I can do better than that!”
For me, I was 12 and it was Titanic. I rewrote Jack not dying numerous times–surely Rose could have shared that door she laid on with him? Fanfiction remained a hefty portion of my adolescence. I wrote some (some of them endless), but I was mostly a reader. I never posted my fics (mostly because I never finished them) and they were usually more about my actor crush of the month rather than any character he played.
I no longer write fanfiction, though I still read it a lot. Writing fanfiction, like writing anything fictional, can either be a starting point for aspiring writers or a break from more technical and serious writing or a creative outlet.
I asked my cousin, ilovetoread09, a fanfiction author, a few questions. How is the writing process different when using existing characters? What kind of writing basics does a writer learn while writing for a fandom? And what about those immediate reviews? (The thought of those reviews terrifies me.)
How long have you been writing fanfiction?
I would say since about 2009. Like a lot of authors on Fanfiction.net, I mainly read stories first before summoning up the courage to post my own story. It’s pretty nerve-wracking putting your writing out there for others to read and review. You can get actual critique, depending on what fandom you are writing for.
I know you write Castle fanfic. What about the show inspired you to write about those characters?
What inspired me to write Castle fanfic was the season two finale. Like a lot of people, I was disappointed with the ending of the episode and wanted to re-write it. Unfortunately, I took it a little too far and completely destroyed the personality of some of the characters. (Let’s just say I really did not like the current love interest of Kate Beckett, the main female lead).
Besides that, there a lot of what-if scenarios for the characters that pop into my head, and then I just write them. Admittedly, there are some ideas that I have that are too outlandish to write and post on fanfiction.
Have you written fanfic for other fandoms? Do you read fanfic in other fandoms?
Yes, Castle was not the first fandom I delved into when I created an account. Here’s the kicker, I wrote for, wait for it…the Twilight fandom! Yes, I wrote for that! I was about thirteen or fourteen at the time and was into the whole vampire fad that most of the girls were into at that time. I wrote a few stories for it, but have since deleted them from my account out of pure embarrassment. The fandom did help me get my foot in the door with writing fanfiction and I learned basic writing structure such as starting a new paragraph each time a new peson speaks. If I didn’t know that, I would have been in big trouble in the Castle fandom.
I do read other fandoms, such as: Titanic, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and The Good Wife to name a few. I’ll occasionally drift to other fandoms out of curiosity. My latest kick has been Beauty and the Beast which actually has some pretty decent stories in it.
What would you say are important elements for a good fanfiction?
Keeping characters in character: Besides basic grammar and spelling, keeping the characters in character is an important element, especially with television shows it seems. When writing a fic, the writer should consider whether or not the character they are writing would behave as they are being written. Readers can be critical about this, depending on the fandom. The Castle fandom is fairly critical about this when reviewing a story. However, if the characters are in an alternate universe (AU), readers are a little more lax about it, as long as there is a good reason for a character behaving differently. Other than that, try to keep the characters the way they are portrayed.
Thank you, cousin dear, for your very insightful answers. I feel like she’s picking up writing elements faster than I did; she’s certainly growing that thick writer skin necessarily when dealing with others’ opinions.
I don’t find myself attached to other peoples’ characters as much anymore–even with Downton Abbey, which I remain obsessed with–I’m not terribly up in arms about what happens to the characters because they’re not mine.
Having said that, one of the best stories, never mind fics, I’ve ever read was a Downton Abbey modern alternate universe story called Both Alike In Dignity. I finished it and went, “God, I wish I could write like that!”
So, dear readers, have you or were you a fanfiction writer? Have you ever read any? If yes, what did it teach you about writing?