it’s not that big of a deal, or at least not any more
Especially with amateur writers like yourself.
I draw this from personal experience both reviewing and being reviewed. Reviewers feel threatened when confronted with decent, competent, or even really good work. When someone asks you to give your opinion on their writing, and you go into their story intending to have a lot to say, and suddenly find yourself really enjoying the read or at a lack of things to critique—you become extra-determined to find something.
thanks, babe. :)
I might change my theme to something a little more simple. This one drains me, and it’s getting quite old.
I know NaNo is not for a while, but I’m starting to think up some of my plots. Names come to me easily, characters as well, but as for all the little details—they take forever!
Sometimes I avoid coming on tumblr because I have this crippling anxiety that everyone hates me and would rather do without.
It’s similar to writing anything else, except you already have the characters, the world, and some plot points already in place.
The Characters: Don’t take the name of canon characters and make them completely different people. The people who read fan fiction most likely want to read the characters they love, so you have to write these characters well and you have to know them well.
The World: Don’t break any of the rules set in this world, especially if the genre is fantasy or sci-fi or any of its sub genres. If you’re writing it in a different time period, research that time period just as you would if you were writing original historical fiction. You have to know the world well to write it accurately.
Original Characters: Original fan fiction characters tend to be Mary Sues or Gary Stus or they’re super special snowflakes. This is a huge turnoff in readers and hurts experience with character creation and development.
Edit: Edit your work. Get a beta reader. Make it as best as you possibly can before posting online because well written work = more fans. If you have countless spelling and grammar errors or errors with characterization, world building, plot, etc., it’ll turn off the reader and they may not come back for more.
Important: It’s generally a bad idea to change names and small details of your fan fiction to pass it off as original fiction for publication. Many consider it plagiarism and lazy writing because it far surpasses being inspired by a piece of work.
1. Handwrite the first copy
What? Who writes anything anymore? I know this seems antiquated, but there’s a reason. When you write by hand, silly typos are less likely to occur. Most people also type faster than they write, so by writing you are forcing your brain to slow down and form more accurate sentences.
2. Know what you are looking for
Different documents have different things you need to keep in mind. A formal essay should avoid first person, contractions and slang whereas a memo could include all of those (depending on your company). Be sure you know the style rules you should be following and keep these in mind for the next steps.
3. Type it up and use a spelling and grammar check
Most computers come with a grammar check. Make sure yours is set up in the right language and use it! Do NOT just click, “OK” to everything. Read the options and the explanation. Then, ONLY if you agree, change it per the software’s recommendation. Sometimes you may agree that it is wrong, but not in the corrections. That’s OK; rephrase it however you like. If you aren’t sure consider re-writing the sentence a different way regardless.
4. Get some distance
Re-reading something five minutes after you wrote it will rarely yield amazing results. Coming back to it the next day (or longer) is better, but if you absolutely must send it off that same day take a break before you re-read it. Stand up and leave your computer / desk. Get a cup of coffee. Talk to a friend. Get your mind off the document.
5. Print it out in sections
I love trees as much as the next person but most people will find more mistakes on paper than on a screen. Use recycled paper if it makes you feel better.
If you are proofreading a longer document try to check it in chunks. If you aren’t used to proofreading and you attempt to do it all at once you will likely get tired halfway through and stop noticing as much. It is better if you can divide it into smaller parts.
Another option is to read it all at once but only focus on one thing each time. For example: This time I am only looking for run on sentences. Note: This is harder to do!
6. Read it out loud like you did when you were a child
Do you remember when you were little and you read with your finger on the words? This is called tracking. It is helpful to track when you grade your own work because your brain has to register every word. You can’t skip a word or phrase. This is especially useful with unneeded words you will hear as wrong (but only if you manage to say them!).
We often hear mistakes before we see them. Did you run out of breath before the sentence ended? It’s probably a run on sentence. Does something just sound awkward? It probably is!
7. Make it bleed
a. Did you know that many teachers nowadays are being told not to use red pens. Some studies suggest that teachers are too negative when they use a red pen compared to other colors. Embrace this! You want to spot all the mistakes you can so use a red pen and get that edge.
8. Read your document backwards
Backwards document read? No, not like that. When you read from the top to the bottom, your brain starts auto-correcting what it knows you meant to say. By reading the last sentence, then the second to last, then the third to last etc. your brain won’t anticipate the next step so you’re likely to find more mistakes. This is hard the first few times, but it does get easier.
9. Embrace technology!
If you notice that you are frequently using the wrong word (e.g. there instead of their), jump on your computer. Find (Ctrl+F) all uses of your incorrect word and check them all at once.
10. Rest and Repeat
A good job is never done. As stated before, it is really best if you let your text rest in between readings. Even if you think you are done, take the longest break you can and then check it one more time. After that, you can press save and send.
"Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that - but you are the only you.
Tarantino - you can criticize everything that Quentin does - but nobody writes Tarantino stuff like Tarantino. He is the best Tarantino writer there is, and that was actually the thing that people responded to - they’re going ‘this is an individual writing with his own point of view’.
There are better writers than me out there, there are smarter writers, there are people who can plot better - there are all those kinds of things, but there’s nobody who can write a Neil Gaiman story like I can.”
- Neil Gaiman
You are your very first audience. Write what you want to read.
Be sure to read this one to discover one of my favorite characters in all of popular culture…and why!
Neil Gaiman’s Advice To Aspiring Writers
- "If you’re only going to write when you’re inspired, you may be a fairly decent poet, but you will never be a novelist — because you’re going to have to make your word count today, and those words aren’t going to wait for you, whether you’re inspired or not. So you have to write when you’re not “inspired.” … And the weird thing is that six months later, or a year later, you’re going to look back and you’re not going to remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you wrote because they had to be written."
- “The process of writing can be magical — there times when you step out of an upper-floor window and you just walk across thin air, and it’s absolute and utter happiness. Mostly, it’s a process of putting one word after another.”
- “You have to finish things — that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things.”
- “If you like fantasy and you want to be the next Tolkien, don’t read big Tolkienesque fantasies — Tolkien didn’t read big Tolkienesque fantasies, he read books on Finnish philology. Go and read outside of your comfort zone, go and learn stuff.”
- “Tell your story. Don’t try and tell the stories that other people can tell. Because [as a] starting writer, you always start out with other people’s voices — you’ve been reading other people for years… But, as quickly as you can, start telling the stories that only you can tell — because there will always be better writers than you, there will always be smarter writers than you … but you are the only you.”