Fanfiction Writing Resources


Card, Orson Scott. (1992). How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. Writers' Digest Books: Cincinnati.

Orson Scott Card is one of the premier Western writers of fantasy and science fiction today, and one of my personal favorites. I don't like everything he's written, but I can definitely acknowledge him as one of the best writers I've ever seen. In this book, he shows that not only does he know how to write well, he knows how to teach others to write well. He spells out plot, milieu, character and world development, etc., in clear, easy-to-understand description, and he offers a helpful formula (the MICE quotient) to get beginning writers started. Advanced writers might want to take a look at this one, too. (Hey, I didn't know what a "milieu" was before I read it, either.)

Cheney, Theodore A. R. (1983). Getting the Words Right: How to Revise, Edit, and Rewrite. Writers' Digest Books: Cincinnati.

They say that 90% of good writing is rewriting. This book is excellent for helping writers with that all-time hardest of chores---editing. Lots of great info on avoiding redundancy, using language correctly, and making your style more efficient, clean, and pleasurable for your audience to read. It also teaches you how to be absolutely ruthless about chopping your beloved story to bits---all in the name of making it a better story.

Strunk, William, and White, E. B. (1997). The Elements of Style. Macmillan: New York.

This is the definitive style guide for writers; almost any college-level English course in North America will make reference to this book for anyone considering writing fiction (or even nonfiction). It's revised every year or so, so look for the latest version.

Writers' Digest Books. Writer's Marketplace

This book is updated every year. If you've ever considered writing "original" fiction and getting published, you may have to buy a copy of this for your library; it's almost a necessity. There's even a separate version of this book for each genre (i.e., the Romance Writer's Marketplace, the Science Fiction Writer's Marketplace, etc.). It contains address listings and descriptions of publishers in each genre, step-by-step guidelines on how to prepare a manuscript for submission to a publisher, and informative articles about the industry.

Writer's Digest Magazine

Good articles about writing technique, and a spotlight of a major publisher in every issue. Write to them at 1507 Dana Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45207, for subscription info, or visit their website.

Online Resources

The Fanfiction Writer's Mailing List

One of the only sources I've yet found where lots of good writers get together to discuss the unique challenges of writing fanfiction, as opposed to "regular" fiction. Sometimes very busy and sometimes very quiet, but it has a digest version for those who worry about traffic. It's not just anime/manga focused; lots of fanfiction writers from lots of different media (including American TV series, British TV series, Star Trek, fanzines, etc.) are present on the list---including lots of Western slash writers. The chat level's pretty intellectual, so I'd suggest that beginning writers should lurk a while to get a feel for the atmosphere of the list before posting. The list is for the discussion of writing, not the discussion of fanfiction itself---so if you're looking for somewhere to post your latest epic, this is not the place. It's a friendly list, but netiquette is enforced here!

FanFiction on the Web

Graphics free. There's no need for frills here; this may be the biggest single resource for links to websites devoted to fanfiction for every fandom one can think of, from North American and British series to Japanese (including a subsection for yaoi). Also contains a very comprehensive listing of resources for writers.

Dr. Merlin's Guide to Fanfiction

Another no-frills site, this one with excellent commentaries about various aspects of fanfiction writing and common fanfiction writers' mistakes---everything from the basics of plot and style to "Who is Mary Sue and Why Must She Die?" My personal favorite.

Writer's Corner

Little in the way of information or resources, but interesting in that it contains personal anecdotes about the experiences and frustrations of being a fanfic writer, which the page author has been open enough to disclose. Fanfic writers, you are not alone!

The Crimson Ink Mailing List

This is a relatively new mailing list, devoted specifically to the discussion of yaoi/shounen ai fanfiction and yaoi fanfic writing. There's an application process to join, and participation (i.e., posting fanfic, or critiquing others' fanfic) is mandatory!

Guide to Electronic Publishing

This is a helpful, moderately long FAQ with basic info on how to format and prepare your fanfiction for posting to any mailing list, newsgroup, or story archive. Stuff any fanfic writer who wants to post on the internet should know.

That's it for now. If anyone has any new resources to suggest, please drop us a line!