Commandments of Fanfiction
- Thou shalt not say put in the summary, “Summary sucks, I suck at summaries/etc…”
- Please stop. If your summary sucks, then what do you think I already think of your story? I am not saying this to be mean, but if you can’t write a summary, I’ve doubts right off the bat.
Do this: I hate writing summaries because I never know what I what to conceal or reveal, so rather I like to take a quote from the story that I think really amplifies what the story is about or stick to the basics “Somebody Wanted But So Then” (This is the summary technique I’ve taught 4th graders, it works well). Talk about who the main character is and an overview of the main conflict.
- Thou shalt format thy story.
- I was a graphic and web designer. One of the number one ways to make someone not read your story (or any piece of information) is to have a super large block of text. It’s overwhelming, and it takes a lot of work for the eye to follow.
Do this: Skip lines between paragraphs, at the very least. Also, make sure when you upload your story it stays in the intended format. Make sure the reader can follow what is going on, which brings me to the next….
- Thou shalt check thy work.
- I AM GUILTY AS FUCK. I AM THE FIRST TO ADMIT IT. I will straight up finish a chapter and post it without looking at it ever again. I despise editing and revising! I know the feeling of working on something for hours or days and just wanting to be done with it. Also, it’s exciting to post a new chapter or story especially if you’ve been struggling with it. I get it, but horrific continuous errors can ruin the readability of a story. I have seen errors that include main characters names being misspelled (repeatedly), not starting sentences with uppercase letters, not ending sentences with punctuation, not formatting dialogue correctly. Yes, I have stopped reading in the middle of a story (or of a first chapter) because it was so hard to understand. I am not saying this has to be a perfect endeavor, hell there are probably errors in this, but it should be reasonable.
Do this: Read over your work. Put it away for the night or for an hour and read over it before you post. You could also have a beta reader look over it and help you make edits.
- Thou shalt not hold thy story hostage for reviews.
- You know, once you finish a chapter someone says “I’ll continue if I receive 5 reviews”. I’ll admit, I did this when I first started writing fan fiction. (And it’s not as common as it was years ago.)Yea, it worked sometimes, but when it didn’t it made me mad because I didn’t receive reviews, and I put myself in this uncomfortable situation of continuing the story of abandoning it.
Do this: Continue or discontinue a story because YOU want to. It’s wonderful to have people support and praise your work, but it shouldn’t be the only reason you write. Yes, people should support the arts, in a perfect world, but ultimately in the world of fanfiction, you are using a lot of time and energy to write novels for free. Love. What. You. Do.
- Thou shalt not annoy writers to write your favorite otp.
- The keyword here is annoy! Of course it doesn’t hurt to ask, but don’t overdo it. I understand there are some authors that take requests. Some don’t. I take requests. If you see that an author does not take requests, don’t annoy them. And, consider what you are asking that author to write. I consider myself a multi shipper in some fandoms, in some fandoms I have one tried and true otp. Some authors have preferred pairings and types of stories (adventure, romance, smut, humor, etc…) they write. So, know who you are asking and know they might not be inspired to write it!
Do this: Respectfully ask the writer if they would write it. Know who you are asking and don’t be offended if they decline the idea. And writers, nicely decline if you aren’t into the idea or pairing. If the author decides not to take a request, you could always write it yourself, so don’t be afraid to do that. If you really believe in the idea and/or the ship then contribute!!
So… What else would you guys add to the Commandments of Fanfiction?