Finish Your Fanfiction

Finish Your Fanfiction

By Jessie Desmond


As one who offers the services of an editor for fanfiction, I often find a major complaint among fanfiction writers is not being able to finish their stories. This doesn’t just apply to fanfiction, but to any other writing projects. Many times writers simply blame “writer’s block” and move on to the next story.

“No. Bad. Writing.”
- Johnny Depp in
The Secret Window

Writer’s block often inflicts a writer seemingly unexpectedly and without remorse until it’s suddenly gone. Luckily, fanfiction readers understand this and don’t expect everyone to finish their stories, relieving a lot of pressure on the writer. Fanfiction is great place for writers to play with characters and try out various styles of writing. The following can apply to all writing projects, but this article is geared towards the Labyrinth fanfiction writer, so everything will be for them.

Music Playlist
Creating a music playlist for your current story can help you focus. Be open to finding new music or adding a mish-mash of musical types to add variety and spice to your playlist. Some will continually add to their playlist throughout their story, perhaps adding heavier music for war scenes or romantic music for love scenes.

Music helps because music tends to make us think and feel. Writers can take these thoughts and feelings, translating them into their writing. Since music is often there to help with writing, writers will often have a wide range of music taste. If you are seeking something that might provide inspiration, or just something different to try out, I suggest: “Waiting For The Miracle” by Leonard Cohen, “Cat People” by David Bowie, “What’s He Building In There?” by Tom Waits, “Dominion - Mother Russia” by Sisters of Mercy, “Stand and Deliver” by Adam Ant, “The Rite of Spring” by Igor Stravinsky, “Jeepers Creepers” by Louis Armstrong, “St.James Infirmary” by Cab Calloway, “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath, and “Age of Aquarius” by The 5th Dimension.

An Outline

With fanfiction, writers often just write chapter by chapter and disregard the use of a proper outline. There is no improper way to create an outline since it’s subjective to the writer. An outline is simply a map of your story. You can divide it into three parts: beginning, middle, and end. You can then divide it up even more. It’s common for the middle to have three major conflicts, but that is up to the author. I have three examples of types of map outlines: a basic plot structure, a horizontal map with arcs, and a bubble map.
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Your outline should reflect whatever makes sense to you. I personally tend to use the plot structure map and horizontal maps, often on a dry erase board. I am also a list-maker, so beside any outline map I make, I always have a slew of sticky notes and notebooks with tidbits that I’ve dreamed up.

Sometimes having an idea of what is going on in each major section of your story will be enough to encourage you to finish it.

Put A Face To The Name
Create a visual of your main characters. Obviously, you can draw them. If you feel as if you have no art skills, try using Hero Machine (http://www.heromachine.com) to create your characters. They have a few fun character designing generators on their website. You may also find that working with an artist can help as well.

You may also want to have a pinterest board for your characters. You may find the perfect outfit or a particular piece of armor for your main characters.

Enlist A Beta Reader or An Editor
It can be very beneficial to have an extra set of eyes on your work. I suggest a beta reader or an editor. A beta reader tends to be an extra set of eyes on your work and provide feedback on the story. An editor will not only give you feedback on your story, but will help edit your story (grammar, spelling, asking those troubling questions, etc). To find a beta reader or an editor, you simply have to ask other fans. I would suggest joining a Labyrinth fanfiction group on facebook or something equivalent to that. Keep your beta reader or editor on throughout your whole story. You will find that they will double as your own cheerleader. Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with your help, especially if you feel as though you’re getting stuck.

No Bad Writing

Finding yourself completely stuck at a particular spot? Trash it. It’s hard to do, but go back to an earlier point and re-write. Perhaps change the point of view or increase the stakes or introduce a new character or kill a character.

It can be difficult to spot bad writing. One of the best ways to determine this is to read it. Is it boring? Is it gripping? Could you make it more exciting or dramatic? Admitting that there is a spot of bad writing is probably harder to deal with for a writer because it means that you let yourself slip a little. Don’t feel bad. Even the most professional of writers scrawl out some bad writing.

Deadlines
Set some achievable deadlines for yourself. Post a chapter each week. You find people setting deadlines for themselves with blog posts, youtube channels, etc. Most people who set deadlines for themselves tend to try to meet those goals. Ask your readers for feedback. Tell your beta or editor about your deadline goals.

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