EDIT: HANG ON GUYS, THIS IS GETTING A MAJOR EDIT, SO HOLD ON.
Fanfiction has a terrible reputation due to the amount of inexperienced authors that don't care for criticism. Since the majority decide that their writing is as good as it gets, they keep going with the same annoying clichés that we've seen every day. They never seem improve, thus writing "BAD" all over them. Unfortunately, due to the amount of immature fangirls and fanboys that pollute the internet, the vast majority of fanfiction is covered by these authors.
What they need to realize is that criticism isn't there to make them feel terrible. Taking criticism can be pretty difficult (I know that from experience). However, once you learn that critics are there to help and not to 'flame', writing becomes so much easier. I understand that not everyone likes being critiqued, which is perfectly fine. On the other hand, you cannot simply post your fanfiction without slowly going through it, nit-picking at the small stuff, and seeing how you as the author can make it better.
This is why I made this list of sorts. This is dedicated to help those authors who'd rather be independent than to deal with beta-readers and critics like me. Please take every point in here into consideration.
Starting with the description, I'll split this into two parts; assuming that you use either Fanfiction (.) Net or DeviantArt to upload your fanfics.
Fanfiction users, when you write a description, you want it to catch the readers' attention. This can be done easily in a simple format; just describe the plot and add a hook to make them want to know what happens. Think about the audience you're aiming for when you write this. You'll obviously aim for the fans of a certain series if you're writing a fanfiction of said series, but which portion of the fans? The fans who love romance between Character A and Character B? Those who love the action-filled parts? Or those who just love the good-natured comedy addition to a story? Make sure you're clear on where you're heading.
On a side note, creating a hook can be incredibly difficult or incredibly fun. Make sure you've decided the entire plot of your fic before posting it. NEVER, and I mean NEVER, leave a fic unfinished and write as you go. Planning is your best friend.
As for DeviantArt users, since the description is below the fic itself when you upload, make sure you summarize the events without giving spoilers without a warning (For both your fic AND the series you're writing for.) Like Fanfiction users, add a hook, but with an exception. Since they'll be reading this AFTER said chapter, add a hook for the next chapter. If they read the description (Which they SHOULD, I hate it when readers don't read description.) then they'll be hooked! Nothing is better than a hooked reader; it makes for a happy reader-author relationship. You want another chapter? You got it!
(Suggested by Same-side) In addition to making a description on DeviantArt, you are required to categorize your fanfiction. Don't make the same mistake I do by putting it under Scripts & Screenplay, because news flash, your fanfiction shouldn't be a script. Please just put it under Fan Art > Fan Fiction > [Whatever genre you're writing for].
So all in all, Fanfiction users should aim to describe the story in general while DeviantArt users should summarize and describe what happened in the chapter the reader just read.
The Rating System
(This goes for mainly Fanfiction users, but DeviantArt users should still be aware. The website DOES have a maturity filter).
I'm sure we're familiar with the kids on here that fake their ages on nearly every website so they can get access at the age of 10 (and whether or not you'd like to admit it, you probably did it at some point in your life). Unfortunately, this means they can run across some very explicit content online. Although it might might not be your problem when the kids sees it, it'll be a problem when the parent jumps in to play the role of "Soccer Mom".
To ensure an easy time for all ages, please make sure the rating is appropriate. To be fair, children under the age of 13 shouldn't even be on Fanfiction OR DeviantArt, but they are anyways. The point in the rating system isn't there for kids who got past the security lock on their parent's computer; it's there to draw the line between 'fluff' and 'lemon', or 'play-fighting' and 'gore'. It's the line of decency I should say; if you're reading a fic that has Character A and Character B sexing it out, yet you only wanted to see a fic of them saying cheesy one-liners to each other and whatnot, that's what the rating systems are for.
To put it bluntly: Read the Guidelines; and yes, this is for both websites. The FAQ center on DeviantArt should explain what is appropriate and what isn't; the Fanfiction guidelines appear every time you upload a new story, so do yourself a favor and read them.
As for "lemons", forget about it. They're against the rules on both websites, quite frankly the most disgusting thing to come out of fanfiction, and are lacking in depth more often than not. Sex in fanfiction is OK, but please don't take the time to describe it.
The Author's Note
I'm sure you've seen something along the lines of this in the beginning or ending of a story:
Character A: Omg can i put disclaimer up authoress-sama
Authoress-chan: *being emo* sure, why not
Character B: BUT I WANTEDD 2! BETRAYER!
Character A: u didnt have to b so mean *cries kawaii tears*
Character B: NO A U SO SUGOI GOMENASAI
Authoress-chan: *still being emo* Sign, i dont own this. but i wish i did so A and B would be a yaoi nao
Kind of annoying isn't it? Makes you want to skip it and get on with the story, right? WELL, so would I, if only some of these authors didn't shove it in your face and blatantly says, "Guess what loser? I hoped you payed attention to my Notes, because they are now part of the story!"
Sorry guys, but this isn't cute, and this isn't clever. Author Notes are supposed to clarify any misunderstandings the readers may have, to disclaim, and to follow off where you last left the story.
As for authors who adore putting themselves into the story via Author's Note, then that really doesn't do you much good seeing as that kind of, sort of, really makes you a self-insert. Hate to break it to you guys, but if you're the author, you are not a character; you're probably the narrator. Breaking the fourth wall doesn't add humor if you do it all the time. I've seen tons of fanfiction where the fourth wall plays a role inside the story, but I've seen very few where it actually works. If you're beginning to write fanfictions or you're unsure of yourself, don't do it.
Also, nothing is more annoying than reading a story when you reference a movie you like and then, "A.N.: omg I luv tht movie lol". To be frank, I really couldn't give a damn about what you like or hate. If I like a certain movie and had the bright idea to reference it, then fine. The point of the reference is for those who can catch it; if the reader doesn't catch it, then just move on.
I know I've been going on and on about how to NOT make an author note, so in a nutshell: If it is really necessary to have an Author's Note, then put your point down and LEAVE. If I want to know how your puppies are doing or why your school is SO TERRIBLE TO GIVE HOMEWORK, I'd go to your profile, leave a message and say, "'Sup, how's life?"
One last thing I'd like to add: don't make entire chapters based on A.N. If a dedicated reader reads it, expecting a resolution to the last chapter, they will be pissed (This includes stories solely based on updates where you just throw characters from the series into it.)
The "First Story" Excuse
Contrary to what you may believe, this excuse is an issue so big on its own that really does deserve an entire section dedicated to itself.
If you weren't aware already, the "First Story" excuse is commonly used by new author who are sensitive to criticism. The author usually shoves into the reader's face that this is their first time writing on whichever website and begs that there be, "NO FLAMIES PLZ!"
I understand not being able to take criticism, hence the purpose of this 'list', but this excuse will only hurt you more than anyone else.
That being said, never say "This is my first fanfiction" . Saying so will make people leave for a more experienced fanfiction. People of the internet hate 'noobs', and while assuming that someone's a 'noob' just because they're beginning is wrong, it's what people on the internet do. Why? We're human; we assume a lot of stupid crap, and if you're beginning at fanfiction writing, no one will think of you as a good fanfiction writer. People won't take you seriously if you pull the newb card. So what shall the victim do? Don't tell the audience, act mature, and speak no word of the first fanfiction.
If you use the "First Story" excuse as an excuse get out of criticism, then kindly get out while you still can. This is the internet; you'll get criticism from posting a video of you and your friends DRUNK, having people complain left and right that the camera angle is always tipsy. Simple solution: don't mention the accursed first fanfiction. No one will pick on you for having a first fanfiction in the first place. Besides, if it's really your first fanfiction, it probably won't be the best to begin with.
Research and Experience
If you think you're a pro as far as a certain series goes, think again. There is always room for improvement, and research is just the beginning of it all. You might know a lot, but you DON'T know it all, no matter how big you think your ego is.
When it comes to researching online, you must be alert. Not all information will be correct, so make sure you double check said information and sources before adding it into your story. If a friend tells you that your high school fanfiction could use vampires and you KNOW it isn't right, don't add it in. If you are extremely self-conscious about it, then read about vampires and how they associate with humans. After you look into it for some time, take you what you know about them and begin adding them to your story; make sure you make the proper adjustments so they won't seem too out of place.
Better yet, if you really are writing about vampires in high school, just look at Twilight and see why vampires don't work in Meyer's story. Most people learn from mistakes other people make, so looking at terrible literature might actually help you. Just remember not to follow any of their examples and keep an open-mind when working with stories like these.
After you write your fanfiction, double check to see if every small detail is correct. If you leave one inaccurate detail out there, there will be nit-picking. It really isn't difficult; if you know the series like the back of your hand, this shouldn't be an issue. Just do additional research just to be safe, and if a reader is kind enough to say that one part is out of place, then fix it and thank them; don't backlash just because they were right and you weren't.
Whatever you do, don't panic or feel ashamed if you were wrong. Everyone mistakes; it's how we learn and grow.
The Alternate Universe
Now, I understand that there are fanfictions out there that love mixing up the series's plot. For example, what would happen if Character A took over the world instead of being destroyed by Character B and his successors? Plots like this can be really interesting and open a lot of opportunities for the author. Honestly, I can't blame you for making an alternate universe, but if you're going to twist the canon plot in such ways, make sure to let the audience know in the Author's Note.
I remember looking at numerous amounts of fanfiction where a character I knew was dead for good came back. This left me confused the entire fic until I came to end where I smacked myself in the head thinking, "Oh man, how did I not know that this was an alternate universe ALL ALONG?"
I'm not exactly sure what expects you to think when they don't tell you something so essential. Either an author does this so you can assume the plot so they won't spend the effort explaining in the A.N; or the author's a troll. Either way, don't do any of them.
On another note, if you're reading the fanfiction and the author does tell you, then you are entirely for blame.
High School Fanfictions
(I'm currently a freshman, so please and try to bear me if I don't know much about high school)
I don't know about you, but I'd rather be at home sleeping than to go to school at seven in the morning. School is full of nothing but drama, except it isn't. I really loathe high school stereotypes, and unfortunately, there are way too many of them in popular teen literature. Obviously fanfiction is no exception, but there is one, teeny, tiny difference between teen literature and high school fanfiction:
The majority of high school fanfiction is usually based off of a series that doesn't take place in school to begin with. In fact, they probably don't take place in a modern surrounding to begin with.
I guess that leaves one question that bothers me to no end: What's the point? There's nothing new and fresh about this type of fanfiction, and it's something that nearly all of us have experienced. There is seriously nothing interesting that I'd be able to gather out of a high school fanfiction; it just seems like a pathetic excuse to relate to characters that were probably already relatable to begin with.
Over half of this fanfiction seems to be an excuse for a romantic plot as well. While there's nothing wrong with a romantic plot, why would you honestly want it to be in high school? It's the same thing every time: Character A and B love each other, but Character C wants to interfere by being a snobby teenage girl who's probably the cheerleader captain.
I'm not saying every HS fanfiction is like this, but it's a virus that is easy to catch. If you really want to do a HS fanfiction, give it some nice twists, add some humor, and avoid as many cliches as possible.
I'm hoping the majority of you have more common sense than this, but please! Whatever you may believe, teen shows like Degrassi, Glee, and pretty much everything on Disney Channel are NOT good types of media to model your story after! And for the love of all that's holy, please act like Jersey Shore doesn't exist, IF ONLY FOR THIS ONE OCCASION.
Grammar, Spelling, & Punctuation
I'm sure we are all familiar with grammatical errors seeing as how common they are across the internet. I'm not going to teach you how to do any of this because you should honestly already know this. If you don't know how to write a sentence, you can't write a paragraph. If you can't write a paragraph, that means you can't write a story, and that means that you shouldn't be writing fanfiction. This is really simple, and if spelling and grammar is really an issue, then by all means get a beta reader.
I know this is supposed a list of how to write fanfiction on your own without screwing up, but if you have THAT much trouble, go get a tutor in writing, and then come back.
For those who don't have difficulty in spelling but are too lazy to spell properly, then GET OUT. Why are you writing what is probably going to be at least one thousand words of misspelled crap? Are you trying to make reading your story more difficult than it should be?
Typos are excusable, but please check behind yourself when you write. I can forgive bad grammar if your native language is different, but can you at least TRY? If you don't try, no one will take you or your story seriously.
The Original Character(s)
(When I last put up this rule, I said blatantly that, "OCs aren't welcome". Over the time, I have come to get a better understanding of OCs. Thank you to all the people who pointed out the flaws that this rule bared in the past.)
OCs are a rather controversial issue when it comes to putting them in fanfiction. Knowing how to write characters in a story is easily one of the most important aspects a writer can know how to do. Bland characters can make a story boring, over-the-top characters can be flat-out annoying, but balanced characters can really spice up a story.
On the other hand, the reason why many people don't like OCs is because of their reputation. Let's be honest here; how many OCs do you know that are genuinely interesting? Probably not a lot. I'm not trying to say that if you put an OC into a fanfiction that it will automatically be terrible, it's just VERY risky.
These characters tend to suffer from the distinct disadvantage that they are made from a completely different author prior to their canon companions. It takes a lot of time and effort to fit these characters naturally into the world they are being perceived in.
That being said, instead me telling you what you should do, allow me to tell you what you SHOULDN'T do:
1) "She was a normal girl until she got sucked into the [insert fanfiction setting here] world."
2) Making your OC CLEARLY more powerful than the canon characters
3) Disregarding canon logic by inserting your own headcanon so a certain pairing with your OC.
4) Giving them no flaws
There are obviously more things that could be said, but this is just the gist of the subject. All in all, try not to treat your character like a special snowflake, and try to fit them into the story naturally
Truth or Dares
Remember that fun game you would play at a sleepover where your unfortunate guests would spin a bottle? Whoever it pointed to, they either have to do something daring or they would have to tell a truth? Well some genius had the bright idea to convert it into fanfiction.
Now if you put Truth or Dares in the actual story, as in, the characters themselves play it themselves without help from the fourth wall, it would have made for a semi-interesting one-shot. But because the twits of Fanfiction royally murdered the concept, it is nothing but a trashy "Choose Your Own Adventure" story.
Simply put, don't do them. Speaking statistically, I remember going on the Super Smash Bros fanfiction forum and seeing that 8 out of 10 of the fanfiction on the main page were Truth or Dares. These types of fanfiction are practically the pollution of fanfiction today; they're everywhere and the people that notice them want them GONE.
Truth or Dares never last long, at all. They always end abruptly and serve no plot or purpose. Not to mention the 'humor' put into these fanfictions is incredibly immature ramblings that you might as well find on MemeBase.
I don't think there has ever been a serious T&D made, since the ones I've seen only consist of fangirls inserting their Sue-ish OCs while they make their favorite characters do what they wish they would actually do in canon. This only sets up what could possibly be one of the worst train wrecks Fanfiction has ever had to witness. Thankfully, the moderators made a rule against these, so now the only stories plaguing the place are bad lemons and one-shots, which compared to their recent standards is good.
That aside, I really despise these fanfictions with burning passion, so in a nutshell, DON'T DO THEM. I don't care if your last name is Norris or if you were some off-spring of Shakespeare's, they never turn out right, TRUST ME. And I'll admit that I did one of these fanfics too; when I was 11. And yes, I learned the hard way about these fanfics. If you do one of these, it's a hard knockback to reality once you 'finish'.
Allow me to begin this segment by clarifying that this "rule" is based mostly on a genre commonly named as "Angst". The genre itself isn't bad; it can successfully portray the best of an author's writing as long as they know what they are doing. The problem here is that the majority of authors are rather incompetent in their skills and don't know how to properly write a good angst without it becoming a Final Fantasy whine-fest.
That being said, there is a right way in which a character can angst . *gasp* "There is no such thing as good angst! What in the holy name of Fabio are you talking about?" When I say angst, I don't mean "I think I'll mourn over my dead parents just because I can *sob*" If you think that is what angst is, allow me to direct you to a situation I like to call Other M Syndrome. Just so you know what I'm talking about, here is a brief description along with some symptoms:
Other M Syndrome is when a character that has proven that they can defend themselves OR has proven that they have a strong will suddenly breaks down to a threat that they could have easily overcome if it weren't for bad writing. Other M Syndrome includes whining over their past out of the blue, becoming frightened of an old nemesis (bonus points if they killed someone close to them), and having a boring monologue as a narrative.
Yeah, doesn't sound like a character I'D like to relate with, now does it? Angsting is something different from Other M Syndrome. I guess you guys don't like using the word "angst " since it's so commonly used for Other M Syndrome, so I'll just say mourn. There is nothing wrong with someone mourning over a lost loved one, whether at the moment, at a funeral, or a sudden PUSHED reminder. I say 'pushed' because if a character is thinking to themselves about their dead girlfriend, they shouldn't break down out of nowhere. Now if they, for whatever reason get deep in thought about it, then yeah, they'll probably break down and cry. If they suddenly think, "Oh yeah, my best friend's dead," and cry on the spot, it isn't realistic.
Sadness is a human emotion, but character shouldn't mourn because they can. That makes them emo, and prior to a fangirl's perspective on emos, they aren't cool. They suck, 'cause they're always depressed (Which is probably also my opinion). If you're too sad to be cheered up by Pinkie Pie's song "Smile", then something's wrong.
Being Out of Character (OOC)
For those who are fortunate enough to not know, OOC is short for "Out of Character". If Truth or Dare fanfictions are the pollution of fanfiction, then this is the plague attached to it that happens to spread to others. I don't care if you think that this new personality you're giving the character is better than their previous attitude, it isn't canon.
Now, of course, there are exceptions. I've seen many authors make a serious and heroic character into a comic-relief bane of my existence. The best part about these authors who write intentional OOC characters is that they're entertaining. You know, one the primary goals of an author to begin with.
If you feel like going OOC with your characters, it really depends on whether you're willing to take the risk. The character that you image in your head may be completely different to another person, so make sure to remember that.
With OOC characters, they're usually in comedy or parody, so unless you're trying to add more to a character's personality, you may want to stick to canon if your story is on the serious side.
Point is, if the character wouldn't do it, and you KNOW it (You should, since you're supposed to be researching before writing.) then don't write it unless you know what your doing.
You know what I'm talking about. When an author hates writing specific details, they just slap the characters' name and add their speech. It takes next to no effort to type these, and it is also against Fanfiction's rules (Not DeviantArt's though, but that doesn't mean you're allowed to write these there instead.) Let's take this part of a fanfiction that I've never published to show you how stupid this is:
Story Format: "Ridley, what exactly are we going to do about the Hunter?" Sprite had asked. He had been working on a Metroid containment system that the Hunter wouldn't be able to penetrate. Our vast attempts towards this have failed; hopefully Sprite may find a solution to bypass the Chozo technology the Hunter bares this time.
"Infuse some Space Pirates with Phazon and let them mature. They'll take care of her in no time," the dragon had responded.
"You're telling us to corrupt anyone of us?" Vertigo had asked. Vertigo is stupid, and no one likes him, so Ridley ignored this.
"While you're at it, attach some plasma artillery cannons, wrist bayonets, energy siphons, and a wave quake projector to each one that successfully matures," Ridley replied.
"Will you listen?! How do you think it makes us feel when you take random Space Pirates and make them vicious enough to attack us in one sight?" Vertigo cried.
"You're Space Pirates, deal with it."
"Hey, we have feelings too!"
"Vertigo, stop being stupid," Ridley commanded, glaring at him.
Vertigo gulped and responded, "Yes sir."
"Good, now I'm going to the ice cream parlor in the Phendrana region. Helix, you're in charge," Ridley said turning his back as he was about to fly out.
Since I didn't know what to do at the time, I yelled out to him, "What are your orders?"
"Kill all you want! Have fun!" Ridley said as he turned his tail for the search for ice cream; probably chocolate if I know my facts correctly.
Sprite: Ridley, what exactly are we going to do about the Hunter?
Helix: *inside head* hopefully Sprite may find a solution to bypass the Chozo technology that the Hunter bears this time.
Ridley: Infuse some Space Pirates with Phazon and let them mature. They'll take care of her in no time.
Vertigo: You're telling us to corrupt anyone of us?
Helix: *inside head* Vertigo is stupid anyway, Ridley wouldn't listen to him.
Ridley: *to Sprite* While you're at it, attach some plasma artillery cannons, wrist bayonets, energy siphons, and a wave quake projector to each one that successfully matures.
Vertigo: *overreacting* Will you listen?! How do you think it makes us feel when you take random Space Pirates and make them vicious enough to attack us in one sight?
Ridley: You're Space Pirates; deal with it.
Vertigo: Hey, we have feelings too!
Ridley: Vertigo, stop being so stupid
Vertigo: Yes sir.
Ridley: Good, now I'm going to the ice cream parlor in the Phendrana region. Helix, you're in charge. *about to fly out*
Helix: *confused* what are your orders?
Ridley: Kill all you want, have fun! *flies out*
Helix: *inside head* He's probably going out for chocolate if I know my facts correctly.
As you can see, not only is it harder to picture the events going on in your head, but the plot is very vague. The characters can't be related with since you barely know what to think (especially Helix since it was originally first-person). Not only does this make the story unclear, but it makes it look much unfinished. Scripts are only Ok if you're writing out the basics of your story, not as a finished product. If scripts are considered 'the finished product', then wouldn't that mean that movie and plays would only have to hand over their script to achieve the profit they've been begging for? Of course not! It isn't any different with books, and it shouldn't be any different with fanfiction. That's about all I have to say on scripts; it should be self-explanatory.
Switching the Point of View (POV)
So you're reading through yet another fanfiction, and it happens to be told in 1st person (because everyone knows that talking in first is way easier than any other point of view), then suddenly WOAH HOLY SHIT, WHERE DID THIS NARRATOR COME FROM? Whenever I see someone change a Pov, I cringe. The point in being in 1st person is so that you can tell what said character is thinking, and their outlook on the world around them. In 3rd person, the narrator (which is technically the author) is telling the story. There are two points to remember for this rule: The narrator shouldn't be breaking the 4th wall to express their own opinions, and: Choose one Pov, and STICK WITH IT. This rule shouldn't be hard to follow. At ALL. If your story is told in 1st person, they shouldn't even mention that they're in a story, and they shouldn't mention what 'Universe' they were from (Very common trap in Super Smash Bros fanfiction, since the characters always tend to say, "Hi, I'm Marth from Fire Emblem , nice to meet you"). In 3rd person, then ACT LIKE A NARRATOR. I've never seen a novel where the author broke the 4th Wall. Tapped the 4th Wall, yes, but straight-forward breaking it? No.
Let's face it; if you write fanfiction, listening to the boring sound of silence probably won't suit you. In that case, let's pump up some music! As someone who adores music, I love listening to fanfiction while reading or writing it. But you can only go so far with music. Now, I don't have a problem with Song-Fics (Fanfiction based off of a song), but if you're going to write one, don't post the lyrics in between each paragraph. If I want to listen to the song, I'll go on Youtube later. Thankfully, for classical lovers (Or fans of movie and video game soundtracks and such) such as I, if we base our fanfiction off of, say, Liberty by Hans Zimmer, we won't have to deal with this rule. All we have to do is mention the song by saying, "This fanfiction is based off of the song Liberty by Hans Zimmer," and then we can move on. For those who have songs that have lyrics should do the same exact thing. Besides, 90% of the songs on fanfiction are Vocaloid shit anyways; posting Vocaloid lyrics is incredibly redundant and confusing since half of the time THEY AREN'T IN ENGLISH. On that note, Rule #16: (Before we begin Rule #16, let me add that it has come to my attention that song-fics are actually illegal due to copyright infringement. You might be Ok if you put a disclaimer for your fanfiction, but for Song-Fics, be EXTRA CAREFUL. The music industry isn't very kind to those who use their music.)
A Consistent Language
Japanese (or any foreign language) mixed with English is a huge no-no. The reason I say Japanese out of all possible languages is because of the amount of abuse this language gets by weeaboos (Yes, the English language is abused, but as people of the internet, we should be used to this). People who haven't properly learned how to speak Japanese shouldn't speak Japanese in the first place. If you have, then only speak Japanese when it's necessary; no inserting it into an English fanfiction. I don't have any experience with speaking Japanese (with the exception of a couple words and terms that I've learned from weeaboos), so I can't tell you how to write a Japanese fanfiction properly with proper grammar, punctuation and spelling that every language deserves (This goes for every language until further notice). In a nutshell, I'm useless as far as foreign languages go, but I can tell you that unless it is in the author's note that there is foreign language along with a translation, two languages should never mix inside fanfiction. I am staring dead towards YOU Rin; Engrish is not a real language and you know it.
We live on the internet, so I'm sure everyone here is familiar with the word, "copyright." There is debate over such word, but we're not going too deep into that topic. None of us like being caught for copyright infringement, whether intentional or not. So, to save fanfiction writers the time and money of being sued for something that doesn't belong to them, authors have processed something of convenience: disclaimers. Now if you're posting on fanfiction.net, disclaimers are unnecessary since the website itself already disclaims you of any copyright infringement. Yeah, I bet most of you reading this are skipping this rule just because it doesn't apply to you. NEWS FLASH: This rule applies to everyone. I'll say this right now: DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT send your fanfiction to the creator of the series. You might think that it'll flatter them; it won't. Well, the majority of creators won't be flattered anyways, just be careful about flaunting your fanfiction to the world (In fact, Watsuki wrote in the second volume of Rurouni Kenshin that he loves getting doujinshis, and the Erin Hunters of Warriors love getting fanfiction from their fans). Most creators don't mind fanfiction, yet they ignore them since, well, they probably don't like their characters and stories being tossed around like a 3-year old's chewed up toy. There are so many examples of some dumb-ass author who decided to show the creator of a series their fanfiction that ends up with their ass SUED. Disclaimers are important, and so is an audience, just keep your fanfiction away from the creator themselves. As irrelevant this rule is, it can save you financially.
Knowing the Critic and the Troll
One point that's been tossed and turned is the audience, you know, YOUR READERS. Let's face it; the internet is well-known for some of the stupidest people known to man. The fanfiction section online is victim to some of these people, some of them not having lives of their own, and only desperate for attention. We call these people "trolls" and as some authors call them, "flamers". If someone is trying to critique your work, don't automatically think they are flaming, yet don't think they are trying to help either. While it is better to think on a critical point of view, don't think that everyone is an actual reviewer. Despite the amount of trolls on the internet, the dumb-asses that get away with truth or dares happen to attract what I like to call the "Praise Audience". This audience doesn't actually review; AT ALL. They praise the fanfiction in front of them like a Messiah, no matter how shitty it is. If you are looking to improve, this is a terrible audience to have. Sure, at least they're nice, but one can only be TOO nice before you start slowly backing away. Then you have the flamers, who no one gives a shit about since they're incredibly pitiful. But here's the problem: Critics are often confused as flamers. Authors hear me out: Just because someone says something bad about your writing doesn't mean that they are downright insulting you. We critics want nothing more than to rid of terrible media, and fanfiction is no exception. A real critic should never bash, and attack you with personal insults; that's a flamer. Critics should point out the bad AND good and tell you how you as an author can improve. Keep in mind that they don't always mention the good, and if you're really good, they don't mention the bad. And one more note: If you can't handle criticism, then do one of the two things: Learn to accept critiques as time passes on, as you improve your writing skills OR quit fanfiction. Accepting critiques can be hard at first, but if you're really dedicated to writing, you should grow onto it. Otherwise, GTFO, I don't want you to send your "fans" to attack an innocent critic because they said something wrong about your fanfiction.
On the brighter side of reviews, people love compliments. Having critics come to your page and telling how much they loved your fanfiction is incredibly satisfying to the majority. The point of fanfiction is for you to write stories (of existing stories) for people to read, so you obviously want to have an audience. But what's the point of an audience if you can't tell that they're there? Sure, they might watch you, but what do they think? You may be begging for people to share their opinions in reviews, but you must stop yourself. People who ask for reviews are what we call attention whores. When an author asks for a review, people do the complete opposite. This usually applies to the author's note, since that is where the beg most of the time. If your fanfiction has potential, it'll grab the attention of critics to help you through. If your fanfiction is so bad that it can't possibly be real, it'll draw in flamers. And if your fanfiction is so clever that EVERYONE loves it (not just the praise audience), it'll get praise and loyal followers (and maybe a few critics. There will always be critics no matter how godly your fanfic is). Finally, don't threaten your readers with, "You'd better review or Sebby will rape Ceil!" It's a great way to drive readers away.
You know, coming up with original plots have become very difficult as time grows hasn't it? It seems that everything has been done, so what can you do? First off: Not everything has been done; it just takes a lot of thinking and creativity to come up with something completely different. No one can blame you for not thinking of something that hasn't been done before. On that note however, are two things: First off, don't stick with the clichés. Plots that have been nearly a hundred times get boring quickly, and if they're boring people will get drawn away, no matter how great it is. Second off, if you're going to borrow a similar plot that has been done by another author, ask for permission first. Now when I say author, I mean fanfiction author, not the actual creator. This also applies if you're going to borrow any
OCs. Yes, you may borrow OCs with permission
something that isn't bad, but something I despise. That's all I have to say on this, just
know your limits.
The Genre and Theme
Something that I always tend to laugh at is when people put the weirdest crap in a fanfiction that tends to be mostly serious. I also tend to get an awkward feeling when a comedy has dramatic turn in it. These can either be clever plot-twists that keep the reader wanting more, or they can be completely unnecessary and can leave the reader confused. Like the rating, you might want to stick with the genre as well. If you're on DeviantArt, count yourself lucky since there aren't genre labels for your work (As far as I know). On Fanfiction.net however, you only have two genres to work with. If you must, go ahead and put a warning in the Author's Note if there is a sudden change in genre.
If you have a point that you would like to share, comment and I'll discuss said point. It'll probably end up on here anyway. On the other hand, if you have an issue with a point, I'll talk about it with you as well. I hope this helped! (If you made an addition to the list or just helped change this list, you will be credited in the description).