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So I originally wrote this for the Creddie Forum located: http://bit.ly/lAk35I
I have decided to copy it over here :D
So you've finally decided to write a fanfic!
"I want to upload it right now!"
Slow down there Timmy, you can't just create a fanfic.net account and start tapping away!
"No, unless you want to be ridiculed and shamed."
"Well gee Mister, I don't want that. Can you help me out?"
"Sure Timmy, but first get me another bottle of whiskey."
Step 1: Software
I personally use OpenOffice, because I'm too lazy to pirate MS Office. However recently a new program has sprung off from OpenOffice, called LibreOffice. It's pretty much the same thing with changes based on how 'open source' it is. It doesn't really matter what one you use.
If you are still using NotePad or WordPad, you really should upgrade to OpenOffice/LibreOffirce. Link to Download
One note of caution: These files are roughly 180mb, so if you are on a small download plan, or have to pay per MB, please check with whoever owns the account before downloading it.
"Thanks Mister, I'm going to start writing my idea right now! It's this cool idea where Sam has sex with Freddie but Freddie has sex with Carly as well and both girls become pregnant except that Sam doesn't want her baby but Freddie falls in love with Sam as well as Carly and can't decide but then they all get locked in a room together and then Carly and Sam kiss. And Spencer makes a sculpture! Of naked Melanie! Then Spencer has sex with her and gets her pregnant."
"Woah Timmy take a breath!"
Step 2: Story Ideas Yes, that was a joke. However, many first time writers try to write something epic, something out of their scope and attention span. They write a 200 word prologue, and 99% of the time they don't get around to updating it more than a couple of chapters.
The first few story idea should be short. It should be concise, and probably between 1,000 and 2,000 words. That is long enough to write a fleshed out piece of writing based on a single smaller idea or moment. Anything larger takes more time and starts to move into a 'multi-chapter' story, anything small is a 'drabble' and not the greatest things to start with (but still, not a bad idea if the idea is a very small moment).
DO NOT PUBLISH THE STORY UNTIL YOU HAVE FINISHED WRITING IT.
If you are going to do a long multi-chapter story, finish more than just a prologue and first chapter. I wrote about 20,000 words on my moonlight story before I even published the first chapter, and that included chapters well towards the end of the story. It allows for far more space, for ideas to be fully fleshed out and foreshadowed. You can see that 99% of long multi-chapter stories started as a person's first fic die after only a handful of chapters. They are hard work.
Since it's probably going to be romantic, you might already have an idea in mind. Simplify.
Usually, something along the lines of "Carly falls in love with Freddie when X happens at/in/around the Y." Creddie is used since it started at Creddie forum.. so substitue your own ships and ideas.
The X and Y could be:
- Carly falls in love with Freddie when Freddie saves her from a drunken idiot at the party.
- Carly falls in love with Freddie when Freddie stays up all night helping her finish a school report at the Shay Apartment.
- Carly falls in love with Freddie when Freddie pushes Carly out of the way of a taco truck outside in the street.
- Carly falls in love with Freddie when Freddie rescues Carly from a crappy date at the Groovy Smoothie.
- Carly falls in love with Freddie when Freddie declares his love for Carly at her Wedding.
- Carly falls in love with Freddie and Sam when they get naked in Carly's jacuzzi followed by drunken sex during their graduation party.
- Carly falls in love with Freddie when Sam informs Freddie that Carly has been waiting for him since the day they broke up a year ago.
- Carly falls in love with Freddie when Freddie bets a kiss on Carly not making a 3-point basketball shot in the school gym.
- Carly falls in love with Freddie when Carly realises that his wife is cheating on him, in the rain outside a movie theater 20 years after they leave Seattle.
- Carly falls in love with Freddie when Sam dies, Carly realises that life is short and that she can't keep pushing down the feelings in her heart.
- Carly falls in love with Freddie when Carly realises just how much she means to Freddie, in the aftermath of her boyfriend cheating on her.
- Carly falls in love with Freddie when Carly that she should be his girlfriend, not that skunkbag Rona Berger.
Obviously, the "falls in love" part could be different, like "Carly realises she has feelings for Freddie" or "Freddie gives up on Carly" or whatever depending on what type of story it's going to be.
Characters One big big thing that you should avoid, especially when you're only new to writing is Original Characters, or "OC's". Most people will skip past stories involving more than a few OC's, especially if they are haphazardly added to your story.
If you are doing Spam/Seddie/Creddie, it probably won't matter, but avoid at all costs the "Mary Sue" or "Author Avatar" style OC's, where you create a "transfer student" that just happens to have your name and styles and likes the things that you like. Pairing characters with this OC or Avatar is likely to get your story unread. Stick to the actual show's characters.
People don't really want to read about the character that 'transfers' into the iCarly school, happens to share your name, features and likes/dislikes, and then either helps Seddie/Creddie fall in love or ends up with Sam/Carly/Freddie falling in love with the OC. If you really want to write it, it's your story. Just keep in mind why people read stories. Because of the existing characters.
OC's can work, but they are generally limited to a few types of character, the romantic rival, a new romantic person for another character (like Spencer), a new teacher.
Take the time to look up these characters, and see where they can get used. Try and see if any existing character can fit what you need. It also helps if you use existing characters to add 'flavour', perhaps with a little reference to their original episode appearance. If you can use an existing character instead of a random invented character, you make your fic that much more part of the iCarly 'scene'.
There are at least 18 named characters who are all around the same age as the trio+gibby and could be part of their school classes and involved in their lives. Just because they only showed up on the show itself once, doesn't mean you can't include them.
Point Of View
This is important.
There are many, many stories written in first person POV, that shift and chop and change between multiple characters. Often in the same chapter.
If you want to write your story like this, don't.
If you can't write a single chapter without wanting to shift POV's, and you do shift them regularly, it's better to just use 3rd person instead.
It might be harder to get used to, because 1st person is often the first way people are taught to write, but when you have shifting narrators, the reader will get confused, and the story will not be as readable.
I would personally only ever write a 1st person story with a maximum of 2 characters. Anything more, that's 3rd person territory imo.
Step 3: Layout
then Carly kised freddy and then she said "i love you." and then freddy said 'i loe you too' the end
"You suck Timmy."
This is about basic writing and layout.
- Use capital letters at the start of each line and for names.
- Use a full stop/exclamation/question mark at the end.
- Leave a one-line gap after each paragraph/sentence.
- Never include more than one speaker per paragraph/sentence, and always start a new line when someone else speaks.
- Always use left justification. The only exception is musical lyrics such as in a songfic which can be centred, or announcements/signs also.
- Try not to use bold, underline or italics in the normal story.
- Use italics for flashbacks. You might also want to include "Flashback" just to be clear.
- Make clear your POV changes if you choose to use multiple POV differences.
- Always write "The End" if your story is complete.
Run-On Sentence Something to watch out for is the run-on sentence, where you don't stop with a full stop, but instead keep adding to the line with commas. Try to make sure once an idea is finished, you put in a full stop and start a new sentence. I had a big problem with this.
Then Carly kissed Freddie, and she said, "I love you."
Freddie said, "I love you too."
Step 4: Writing the story. This is something intangible almost, although you can very much learn and help yourself to acquire the skills needed to write a great story. Here are some resources I use:
10 Quick Steps to improve your Fan Fic writing This is like it says, 10 (plus 2) quick steps.
- Avoid starting with narrative passage.
- Show, Don't Tell. (describe what makes up something's characterisation, as opposed to telling the reader that something just 'is' that way). To use example from the show. "Griffin is a bad boy" is telling. Griffin rides stolen motorbikes, gets into fights and was arrested by the police once shows us he's a bad boy.
- Avoid repetition.
- Avoid cliches in writing.
- Avoid qualifiers.
- Keep modifiers close.
- Don't use "--" said, if not needed.
- Use contractions in dialogue.
- Cut out un-neccessary words.
- Clear up "-ly" confusion.
- Use a spellchecker.
I personally had problems with 5 and 8, so this did help me. It's very general stuff, which is why the next resource is: How To Write Better Fan Fiction
184 tips, ranging from formatting, general hints, punctuation, characterisation, specific writing hints, comic relief, rewriting, common beats, emotions, activity levels, actions, and sounds. Yes, this is generally about long stories, but it does apply very well, even more so when your story is shorter.
This helped me very much. Anyone who writes should give this a read. Not just first-timers. I re-read it occasionally myself.
I wrote a joke in my moonlight story, which was the direct result of reading #163 in the comic relief section.
In that 184 tips page, there is a list of various different words, for actions, sounds, movement. This is another way to improve and increase the tightness of your story and what you are trying to put to the reader. Say you've written:
Freddie ran away.
Instead of ran, you could use:
- Absconded (maybe he broke into a shop with Sam and had to run from a guard)
- Bolted (maybe the guards caught them, he was frozen to the spot until he decided to flee)
- Scrambled (makes it seem like he's having trouble staying up, or he's going so fast through a crowd he's getting in people's way)
- Sprinted (he's going as fast as he can)
And so forth.
Grammar Check http://www.spellchecker.net/grammar/
I use this site. It's a bit slow, but it is very thorough.
Carly laid a barrage of kisses on Freddie. "I love you," she blubbered out, with tears streaming down her face.
Freddie cooed and stroked her hair, before he whispered, "I love you too."
Step 5: Rewriting and Beta, Summary, AN's and story information Always read through your story multiple times before uploading it. If you have a printer, print it out. This can help double as a spell-checking.
Don't be afraid to leave something unpublished if it doesn't 'work' for you. Don't be afraid to cut huge tracts of your story if you don't like them and re-writing doesn't solve.
Use a beta, if you have one. If you don't, look for one. If you already have good layout, that's going to give you a good shot at getting a helpful beta. It's hard enough checking a story itself to try and improve it, without having to fix bad layouts.
Use the re-write to check up and expand on your writing, especially in dialogue scenes. Once you have re-written and had it beta'ed, then upload it.
Just remember that you might not get much feedback, so you always need to be writing for yourself. If you find additional motivation in the feedback and desire to keep active, then great.
Long Stories Most writers will eventually try to write a long, multi-chapter story. One big hint I can give, is keep a separate file which notes down important information about the characters, events and what characters have been doing in the story. This is a major help with continuity and simply remembering stuff that's happened before.
Try to have fun with it
Title Always Capitalise Every Word In Your Title.
Summary: Your summary should always include:
- A concise explanation of the plot. The "Carly falls in love with Freddie when X happens at Y" is perfect. That's all you need. If it's more complicated, just take a little time to think about it.
- Any pairings.
- Warnings for rape/sexual assault, violence, consensual sexual activity and strong language. The only one I wouldn't always include is a "warning for character death" if that would spoil the story itself. Note: Certain places like LiveJournal can take warnings far more seriously than FFN. This doesn't apply to the iCarly community, but if you move on to a larger or more active one, you can get caught up in drama by not warning for things like this.
- Genre and/or length if it's a short story/drabble/one-shot.
Try to avoid:
- Using rhetorical questions such as "Will Carly fall for Freddie?"
- Using a quote from your story.
These 2 things are a real bug-bear for some people, to the point where they won't read any story summarised in this way.
Note on "I suck at summaries": Never ever write "I suck at summaries" or "Story better than summary" or anything that is a 'downer' on your own writing ability, or the quality of your story.
Not only will people NOT believe you, they will often not click into that story. If you write "I suck at summaries", I think to myself, "Well, if you suck at a simple one-sentence summary, you probably suck at writing the actual story."
I always include the story's title in Bold, With Every Word Capitalised at the start of the story itself. It makes it look better.
You might also want to repeat the summary, with: Summary: The summary text.
Always include, "The End" at the end.
If you have any Author's Notes, put them at the end, separated by dashes.
Never ever ever ever in a million years put an Author's Note in the middle of the story. Never.
A Long Time To Wait For Love
Summary: Carly waits for Freddie to return to her after a 5 year absence. Creddie. Drabble.
Freddie looked across the deserted parking lot until her saw her. Carly Shay, standing under a light pole, shivering from the cold and pouring rain. His heart raced, and he stumbled across the slick surface until he reached her. They came together in a hug as the rain continued to bucket down.
Carly laid a barrage of kisses on him, "I love you Freddie," she blubbered out with tears streaming down her face.
He cooed and stroked her hair. Looking into her eyes, he whispered, "I love you too Carly."
5 long, solitary years Carly had waited for him to come back. Now he was finally with her once more.
Freddie knew that he'd never leave her again.
A Long Time To Wait For Love (posted on FFN).
The story as published. It's actually longer than what is on this page, so you can see how re-writes and re-reading can help to extend a story beyond the first few versions.
Step 6: Keep reading
You can only improve by reading more. Read fanfic. Read newspapers. Read published books. Read and play video games. Read outside your normal genres. Read your favourite genre. This will improve your writing, and help maintain the desire to both read and write.