A New Author's Guide to Writing Good Fan Fiction

What is Love: Writing Romance

Who is Mary Sue?
How to Write a Well-Written Songfic
What is Love: Writing Romance

It's the most difficult thing to write in every genre. A fight scene? No. Turning a good character evil? Nope. The hardest thing to write (I'm saying this from personal experience) is romance. If you're ready to get those "aaawwws" going from your audience, here's the way to do it.

*KISS: Keep it simple, stupid. You don't need to use words that would stump a dictionary to describe the utter shininess of Picard's head. Think about it: would you want to go out with a guy/girl who said your eyes were "pulchritudinous pools of amethyst"? If the characters wouldn't use those words to describe each other, don't use them.

*Remember the characters! A time-tested trick is to replace all names with "John" and "Mary"; if it's slash, you could use "Bob" and "John" or "Mary" and "Ann". If it sounds like John and Mary would do it on any Sunday night, put a little more life into it.

*Be realistic. A homosexual character will not suddenly become heterosexual or vice versa. Two characters that hate each other would most likely not be together. Also, keep age difference in mind for canon and legal reasons.

*Remember the story that the author originally wrote? Yeah, that still exists. Voldemort won't graciously stop trying to kill Harry so Harry can have monkey sex with Ginny.

*Love does not equal sex! Yes, underneath the sheets and the KY there's a loving relationship. Concentrate on that a bit, will ya please?

Those tips will get you through the roughest parts of writing an effective romantic story. Now, get off the Internet and start writing!

Note: If your story does involve sex, think about the dispositions of the characters. If there is sexual content in your fandom, implied or otherwise, you can use that as a guideline. If you absolutely don't have anything to go on, ask yourself: would I do it with my partner? If the answer is no, tone it down a notch.


Try to keep non-canon pairings strictly non-sexual. A lot of people are really passionate about one pairing and go postal on anyone who puts one half with a different person. It's also good to put a little warning up top so they don't totally freak out on you.

"You're talking a lot, but you're not saying anything"--Talking Heads