Cheryl W

Tips for writing great fanfiction

Don’t Cancel Your Own Story

Finish your posted works if at all possible. I know, real life can put the whammy on all good intentions, but you will lose the faith of your readers if story after story of yours is never finished. You know how you hate when that shocking tv show season finale comes…and then they get CANCELLED!! Grrrr …END OF THE WORLD AGNST. People who are loving your story feel the same torment when you don’t finish the tale you’ve drawn them into. 

Here’s some ways to avoid ending up with unfinished stories:

1 Wait to post your story until it’s totally finished and a complete work. I totally admit that this one is a hard ask for me unless I’m doing a one shot…hehehe. I always need positive feedback from readers to have the drive to finish a longer story.  But we all don’t need the same incentive to finish stories.

2. Only begin posting when the story is almost fully written and you have a plan for how to finish it.  This is my option for most of my stories. For me that means that I have written up to what I consider the halfway point of the story.  For what’s not written, I have an outline (sometimes only in my head) of how the rest of the story will play out but not totally fleshed out and written.

3. When your muse goes AWOL, write a short chapter and post it. I know what it’s like to be in the middle of writing a story and then you just can’t get the next chapter to fully come together. If this situation drags out a good long while, my advice is to figure out how to make what you wrote, no matter how little that amounts to, into a chapter that you can post. Even the shortest chapter shows your readers that you’re still out there and are committed to finishing a story.  I usually feel like I’m cheating my readers if I only give them a super short chapter but sometimes that’s all they need from you. Like when some of those tv shows only give you 5 minutes of show then they throw another commercial at you. It doesn’t make you any less glad you saw those scant minutes of the show! That’s how your voracious readers feel, any tidbits are devoured. And guess what?! Positive reviews get your creative juices sparking again and soon the next chapter will come together for you.

4. Get reinvigorated aka re-obesessed with your subject matter. Rewatch the show, movie, reread the books, comics to remember why you fell in love with it in the first place.  And an added bonus to this assignment, you can study the characters, make sure you get them down just right in your story. You heard me right; I’m giving you permission to go binge your heart out. Oh, the torture you go through for your arts!!

5.  Bring your story to a close in a shorter time than you planned.  I don’t like this option mostly because I feel like a quitter or I’m not giving my readers what I had envisioned, but sometimes that has to be the road you take. Instead of an epic tale needing five, ten, twenty more chapters, find a way to wrap up the story and all the loose ends in a chapter or two. It’s a tough job sometimes but it’s the best for everyone when your heart isn’t in the story anymore. And nothing says that down the road you can’t write a sequel and write the epic you planned in the first place.

6. Update it. No matter how long it’s been since you last posted a chapter.  I freely confess, a time or two it’s been a year later when I updated a WIP story. OOPS! Yup, true statement. I did that because Real Life and my muse parted ways and it was a good long while until they were back on speaking terms. I gave myself guilt trips and tried writing more and none of it worked…until a year later. I wasn’t sure if anywhere cared about the story but I posted the chapter and guess what?! My readers were there, waiting so very patiently and loyally for that update. So in the end, it mattered that I didn’t abandon the story..or my readers. (And I did finish those stories, whew!)

Accordingly pick a plan and make a dedicated effort to not cancel your own story. Only you can write it the way you envision it and somewhere out there, someone’s day will be made all the better when your story’s “the end” rolls across their screen.

7) Don’t let your cat fall asleep on your keyboard when you’re on a hot writing streak.

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2 responses to “Don’t Cancel Your Own Story”

  1. This is great advice for any kind of serialised fiction, or even blog posts, really! I know I’ve been guilty of stopping in the middle of a serialised story, usually because I lose motivation or people just aren’t reading it. I wish I would’ve had these points to read sooner! 😊 Would you mind if I reblogged this post on my writing blog?


    1. I would be honored it you reblogged it! I’m so glad that it was helpful advice.

      Liked by 1 person

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Enjoy writing fanfiction or want to learn how? Join me as I write about my experience. Learn what worked and what didn’t. Hopefully you’ll have a little fun along the way! Isn’t that what it is all about?

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