Why I write:
Simply put, it's something for me to do that's a more productive use of my free time than gaming, which I do enough of as it is. Also, when people like what I write, it makes me feel good, but that feeling is secondary to the fact that I write because I want to. It has been a long time since I've taken a serious stab at writing fanfiction, along the lines of twenty years, so why not?
It's also easier than writing something that could be published, while still being satisfying and a challenge.
To be honest, I don't know why people get so invested (or more appropriately, rabid) in the pairings of certain characters in fandoms, to the point where they distort other canon characters so badly that they might as well be named someone else. Admittedly, I am more partial to certain pairings, but I have read too many good fics where the pairings are different to dismiss a certain pairing outright. Fortunately, the more rabid shipping wars are relegated to a minority of works, and their fans, in the grand scheme of things.
That being said, I do like unconventional pairings. And if it's a crossover? They sometimes work, they sometimes don't. Either way, I read to be entertained and am writing to entertain.
When I write something, in that story, I am God. Author is not spelled A-U-T-H-O-R, it is spelled G-O-D. I am the God and prophet of the world of the stories I write. Keep that in mind. Reviewers and commenters can offer advice, and I might take it. I even respond as some reviewers know. Even then, I have the final say, outside of the original creators of what I am writing fanfiction telling me otherwise.
Chapter lengths will vary. I find a good stopping point, whether it is reached in 3k words, or 10k words, I end the chapter. I don't see a need to consistently write chapters which are 10 - 20k words, as trying to grind out that many words in a chapter is harder than it seems, and it has a tendency to delay things if I feel I need to write a specific number of words at a minimum. I don't want to try and draw something out just to meet an arbitrary word count. I have enough hassle meeting page counts in half of the papers I write for my college classes as it is, so why would I do so in something I am doing for fun? If I find that what I have written is enough, it's enough. Besides, I have beta readers for a reason and I listen to their advice.
One thing when it comes to fanfiction. Know your canon, if only so you know what bits of it you will need to ignore or change when writing your fic. Also, know the difference between canon and fanon. Considering that many fandoms have developed a library of fanon with enough volumes to fill the Library of Congress, you can be confused, as it seems to have become established fact with regards to fanfiction. Also, check the many sources of official canon to verify.
Tools I Use in Writing:
Google Docs: It's free, it's online, and it serves as a backup for those times when my system craps out on me. I haven't lost a single chapter or any progression because of it. If you have a Google account, use it. If you don't have a Google account, get one and use it.
Word/Open Office/Libre Office: More thorough spelling and grammar checking, as well as allowing me to fix errors that docs won't notice.
Oh, and it looks as if I now have a fan translation. Kudos to haruka24 for starting to translate Mystic Knight Online into French.
Lessons for Writing Fanfiction
- Know what the canon for what you're writing fanfiction is. If it is a franchise that spans several media, the canon for each media might be subtly different. For example, the canon for Harry Potter is subtly different between the books and the movies. Things which are stated in the movies aren't stated in the books and vice versa.
- Know what canon you're using. Again, using Harry Potter as an example here, the wider canon for the Harry Potter franchise actually came about after Deathly Hallows was written. Some of it was in response to fanon (as in countering it) and some of it was actually developed by fans and given Rowling's approval.
- Know the difference between canon and fanon. Even if you use the latter, be aware that what you are using is fanon, not the actual canon. This goes with the first two as many fanfics (and Harry Potter fanfics are not the only offenders here) think that the fanon is canon due to the writers of them actually getting their knowledge of the franchise solely through fanfiction. Even those of us who know better can easily find ourselves falling into this trap.
- This place is not a hugbox and your fanfiction won't please everyone. Be ready to accept criticism and be ready for it to be caustic. Look it over, they might have a point. At any rate, don't get into a fight with them about it, because that might be what they're looking for. Be polite and thank them for their time. I've received a few rather caustic reviews, many which actually had a point. I thanked the reviewers for their time and moved on. Your work isn't going to be "perfect" and acting like a spoiled little brat and whining because people are criticizing you isn't helping your case.
- Do the best you can and accept that you're probably not good enough to be a professionally published author and get paid to write stories. You can still entertain people with your writing.