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Writing Tip: Working with Fan Fiction

Welcome to an all-new feature of this blog! On the first Wednesday of every week (or, you know, that’s the plan), I’ll share a writing tip that I’ve found helpful in my own writing. If you’re a writer, hopefully you’ll find these helpful! And if you’re not a writer, then just enjoy this glimpse into the crazy way my mind can work at times.

Let’s kick things off with a fun one: fan fiction!

This might not seem like a writing tip at first. But hear me out. You like your favorite stories for a reason. Is it the characters that draw you into their stories and make you sad to leave them? Is it the plot that sucks you into an adventure from the safety of your couch? Is it the writing that pulls you out of reality into its fictional world?

Whatever it is, there’s something about that story that makes it stick with you. When you think of a good story, that’s what comes to mind. It’s something you’d love to imitate. And what better way to imitate it than to… literally imitate it?

Say you really like the characters in Star Wars. You enjoy the way they interact with each other, but whenever you try to write something like it, your dialogue seems flat, or the actions feel a bit stilted. If that’s the case, try a little exercise. Write a story featuring your favorite Star Wars characters. As you’re writing, think about how the characters have interacted in the movie. Pick one or two of their characteristics to focus on in your story. Don’t worry about how you want them to act; focus on how you’ve watched them act. As you write, notice how natural the dialogue feels. By working with pre-established characters, you’re learning how to work realistic words and actions into your own stories, creating a smoother work.

This is one of my favorite ways to sharpen my writing. Not only is it a fun break from more rigorous writing, it’s also a great way to learn new tricks and make your writing all the better.

What are your thoughts on fan fiction? Do you think it might help your writing, or do you prefer other methods? Let me know in the comments!

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