The inspiration for writing your first (or your hundredth) fic can come from anywhere. You might hear a song on the radio as you drive into work one morning that sticks with you all day.
You’ll find yourself making up scenes in your head that fit or expand on the story the song lyrics tell. Or you might see or hear something on the news involving your favorite band. You could start making up a backstory for it in your head involving the band members. Or you might write a fic about why the band wrote that particular song. You may use an online list of ideas even.
Fanfiction can be character-based, plot-based, or in between, just like any good book or television show. Soap operas and space operas tend more toward the characters and how they react to or interact with each other. Those reactions lead the characters to the next logical step in the story. Police procedurals and mysteries generally seem to revolve more around the plot than individual characters.
This will vary, of course, from fandom to fandom. It will depend on your chosen fandom which vein you will want to write in or how far in which direction you want to take your fic. But what do you do if you want to write a fic and don’t already have any ideas? That is where brainstorming comes in. You keep throwing out ideas until something sticks. Brainstorming is a process, and when you brainstorm, no idea is a bad idea.
When you brainstorm, too, you should consider writing down the ideas you come up with. It doesn’t matter how silly or unworkable they may seem. I like to keep a list of ideas and even sometimes outlines of good ideas in my notebook. In my experience, an idea you reject today might turn out to be an awesome idea for a story later. You can adapt any previously rejected idea to different characters or a completely different fandom.
Character-based fics are all about how a character would react in a particular situation. They can be tiny pieces just a couple of paragraphs long. They can be multi-chapter epics. It just depends on how much of a story you want to tell.
No matter how long your story may be, if it is character-based then that character’s reactions, observations, history, and beliefs are what drive the story forward. One of the more prevalent types of character-based fics is the “AU,” or “alternate universe.” I’ll talk about that in more depth in a later section. For example, if you’re writing a character based fic, you might dig into the canon to learn more about the character or even look at fanfiction for that. If I wanted to write about Percy Jackson, I might go to Commaful and look through their Percy Jackson Fanfiction section.
Plot-based fic In a plot-based story, it is all about the plot. You will choose your characters for the story based on what is going to happen and who you want those things to happen to. As with a character-based fic, a plot-based fic can be very short or very long.
The nature of a story that is heavy on plot can lend itself to a longer fic. If you write a plot-based story, you still must be careful to not to let your characters to react to things in a way your readers will find “out of character.” For inspiration, you can look here.
Writing from a prompt can be challenging. It’s a wonderful feeling to write something that you have never thought about before and make someone else happy in the process. Prompts can push you to think about your characters and your fandom in new and exciting ways.
Prompts are a fun way to write a fic when you want to write something, but you just do not know what. If that’s the case, ask your friends to provide you with ideas of the things they might want to read. One popular way of requesting prompts is to put up a post on your social media of choice. Ask for a character or two from your favorite fandom and one word for the theme of the story, such as “revenge” or “flirtation.”
Or you can post a list of story ideas such as a pre-written first sentence of a fic. Ask your friends to choose from the sentences and give you the fandom or fandoms to write in and the characters to use.
There are also several websites that offer random plot generators. These can be fun because they truly are random. You might find yourself writing situations that would never happen to your chosen characters in canon. Fics in this vein can be anywhere from angst-filled tear-jerkers to hilarious impossibilities.