Hey there, readers!
A lot of us have experimented with fanfiction before. And while fanfiction is super fun, it can also be fun to transition to writing your own stories, with your own unique characters are plots! Especially if you are a beginner writer and rarely/never write anything besides fanfiction, this guide will provide some tips for creating your own stories. Let’s get started!
The Importance of Exploring Original Content
Think of writing as a canvas. Fanfiction is like adding colors to an existing sketch, while original content is your chance to paint from scratch. The beauty of original writing lies not just in creating something new but in the freedom to mold, adapt, and draw inspiration from everywhere. And beyond the joy of creation, original content can pave the way for professional opportunities (such as making moneyyyy 💰😎).
While fanfiction is super fun, there can come a point when you want to advance your writing technique. You want to make something you can call your own. You may possibly want to publish it. Whatever you wish to do, here are some steps you can take to transition into writing your original stories:
Steps to Transition Away from Fanfiction
Start Small and Use Elements from Other Stories
Transitioning doesn’t mean abandoning everything you love about fanfiction. Begin with short stories. Love a particular movie or book? Instead of writing fanfiction about it, extract the elements you like and make them your own. That can be as simple as taking the entire plot of the story, keeping the parts you like, replacing the parts you don’t like, and then adding your own characters to it. It’s almost like fanfiction, except it’s something you can call your own! Just be careful with this, as you don’t want your story to be too similar to the one you’re copying.
Oftentimes, when I write a story that copies another book, I start with a plot that is very similar to the one I just read (possibly too similar), but as I write it, the plot starts to develop more in my head, and I change things as I go. Then, by the time I’m done, the story is wayyy different, and it’s something that is definitely original. Copying other people’s ideas is not a bad thing. You can make them your own by combining them with other ideas, too!
Don’t feel like you’re limited to just one story to copy from. You can take two (or three! or four!) different stories and combine elements from each of them, making your own plot. This is so fun to do.
Make a list of your favorite books or movies. Then list the reasons you like those stories. Then use those elements you like in your own original story.
(For example: I like the Green Ember by S.D. Smith. One of my favorite parts is in Book 3, when Heather is standing strong against her captors. Now I can incorporate that into my story, using my own characters. Maybe one of my characters gets sold into slavery, and he/she has to either give in or stand strong. I can make this my own by using a different character who has a slightly different personality or motivation, or maybe I make it my own by having the story end differently then it would in the Green Ember.)
Develop Your Own Characters, Worlds, and Plot Devices
Creating characters and worlds can be daunting, but just as I mentioned above, inspiration is everywhere. You can create your own story elements by combining elements from other stories.
Or use an online random character generator (like this one) to generate some characters for you. You can also check out my post on 2 Basic Character Chart Templates, which can help you fill out some details about your character. Or you can head over to Chat GPT and ask it to generate a character profile for you based on any information you give it. (There are lots of options!)
Original content is a new territory, and feedback is your compass. Engage with writing communities, such as Writer’s Vision, attend writing workshops, and be open to critiques. Allow people to critique your first original stories, even if you think they aren’t very good! Criticism can help you grow as an author, and other writers just want to help you.
Overcoming Common Challenges
Fear of Criticism
Every writer faces criticism. But it’s important to differentiate between feedback that helps you grow and comments that pull you down. If anyone is being mean about your writing, don’t listen to them! You may be a beginner, but that does not mean you’re a bad writer. Every writer has to start somewhere and don’t be afraid of what others might say if they don’t like your writing. What really matters is that you do your best and seek to please God with your writing.
Writer’s Block is a challenge every writer faces, especially writers who write original content. At some point, you are going to get stuck. It’s almost guaranteed.
There are lots of ways to overcome writer’s block. Here are some articles that expound further on this topic:
Comparing to Others
Every writer’s journey is unique. While it’s natural to look at others, remember to celebrate your own growth.
There is always something you can improve on. Just because someone else seems to be better than you doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer! You are probably better than them in some other way.
Transitioning from fanfiction to original content is a journey of growth and discovery. While it’s a step into the unknown, it’s also a chance to showcase your unique voice. So, are you ready to embark on this new adventure? I’m here, cheering you on every step of the way.
Have you written fanfiction before? What are some of your favorite plot devices and characters from movies or stories? Let me know in the comments!