by: Renee P (website)
Ok, so I’ve read several of these articles for all types of genres including a general one written specifically for fan fiction, but as most of you know, Hanson fanfic is a different breed of fanfic. Period. So, here are some steps that may help you improve your Hanfic, your writing, & your readership.
1. Avoid Long Narratives: Well, at least at the beginning. Sometimes description and detail and even inner-monologues are cool, but it’s REALLY hard to get into a story that begins with 1000+ words of narrative passage. Start with some sort of action or comedic dialogue that pulls the reader in. Sprinkle details throughout your plot to help the story unfold as you’re writing it instead of blabbing everything at the beginning. If you MUST present some sort of narrative back story, AT LEAST make it a separate prologue or introduction.
2. Show, Don’t Tell: For example,Taylor was the hottest guy Renee had ever met. She was staring into his beautiful eyes for a long time. . . BORING! Don’t tell me these things, SHOW ME. Dazzle your reader by describing how something or someone makes your character feel or how something so beautiful inspires that character. Like this… Renee traced her fingertips along the curves of Taylor’s mouth as she got lost in his toxic eyes. The look he gave her made her week in the knees while the touch of his fingertips against the soft skin of her neck caused fireworks to explode in her pants. MUCH BETTER! LOL! This one is my fave tip. It’s also the most challenging, personally.
3. Avoid Repetition: Pretty self-explanatory- don’t use the same word twice close to each other, don’t describe a person as being frantic and then say that he or she said something frantically, don’t use two phrases to describe the same thing (like someone mumbled and grumbled under the breath), and don’t make all of your characters or the brothers similar in every one of your stories.
4. Avoid Cliches: UNLESS you can take that cliche & make it something unique or twist it into something sorta original. This is one that I feel our fandom is divided upon. You’ve either completely MASTERED the art of transforming cliche’s or you’ve ignored everyone’s warning about them and continued to write your “girl-lives-next-door-to-Hanson-&-one-of-them-falls-in-love-with-her” stories. Either way, there’s a following for both types even today, but regardless cliches are, more likely than not, a tiresome thing.
5. Don’t overuse he said/she said: Whenever two characters are chatting it up, you don’t have to say “he said/she said” after every single line of dialogue. I promise we’ll be able to follow the conversation without it, and you’ll find that your dialogue between characters flows much better.
6. Overwriting is NOT a good thing: For example your fic can get too crowded if you have too many words in a sentence, too many sentences in a paragraph, too many paragraphs in a chapter, AND EVEN too many chapters in a story. Wanting to provide your reader with as much detail as your mind can conjure up can be nice occasionally, but let’s face it most of us Hanfic readers are on-the-go types with jobs and families. We don’t have time to sit and read an update that is 5K for one chapter chock full of boring description and endless narratives about your OFC’s favorite TV show. Try to cut out the unnecessary. You and your readers will be quite pleased!
7. Use a spellchecker & proofread: I’m not going to hassle you about grammar and spelling because we all know that it should be immaculate. LOL! Having a few mistakes is one thing, but the majority of them can be fixed with the help of a beta and a very thorough reread. Don’t just skim over your work, reread, fix, and proofread again. Not only will you catch more errors, but you may also catch inconsistencies that you may not have found otherwise.
8. Create unique & believable characters: Unique meaning different from your other OFC’s/OMC’s. I have noticed lately that some writers will come up with such interestingly awesome names for their characters giving the reader false hope that this character will be something that they’re not. A name like Damien or Trinity, with such exotic undertones, requires a character that can live up to it. To me, it seems like writers have this picture of their characters in their heads but when they actually create them on the page they come off as one-dimensional. They lack depth and personality. After ignoring their original characters for so long, EVERY OFC/OMC in all of their stories seem like the same person- flat and boring- with really cool names. Which brings me to the opposite spectrum of not flat and so unbelievably out there that the character becomes a cliche. (Like when an OFC with the body of a model and the perfect life decides to become a pop star over night, meets Hanson, one or more of the brothers falls in love with her, and they all live happily ever after even with her many drug addictions and access to daddy’s never-ending bank account. This stuff is all so unrealistic it hurts to read about it!)
9. Be careful with some genres: While you know that I am one of the BIGGEST fans of trying out new genres in Hanfic, I also have to say that sometimes going too in depth into one particular genre and straying away from canon is NOT a good thing in this fandom. You should write about whatever you want don’t get me wrong, but honestly, making Taylor Hanson a robotic cyborg lost in the time of the dinosaurs is just way too out there for most people into Hanfic. Don’t forget- who is your audience… if you branch so far out into a scifi world or horror land and not capture the essence that is Hanson in one form or another, you’ll lose your readers. Might want to contemplate that story as an original fic instead of a fanfic. Not to say that leaving your comfort zone by experimenting with different genres is bad, it can just confuse your reader or worse bore them if not handled with care.
10. Don’t write to please others: As I have mentioned your audience, your loyal readers, and how much we love them, I must also mention why you write in the first place. Do it for you, for fun, and for the fandom because it makes you happy. Don’t worry about reviews or feedback or guestbook comments. Sure, those things help us a lot and motivate us to write more, but if you’re not writing primarily for yourself to use an entertaining and creative outlet, than why bother?