How To Convert Fanfiction Into Original Fiction

So you've written a fanfiction you think is pretty great, and for one reason or another you want to turn it into original fiction. This is a worthy endeavor and a great way to step further into developing your own original content. However, it's a lot more complicated than simply changing names and locations - if that's all you do, what you'll end up with is something that's obviously derived from someone else's work. So here's what else you can do to make your fanfiction into truly original fiction.

Identify the core elements of your fanfiction's plot. What is the main conflict all about? For example, is it ultimately a story about a girl finding her way in a strange and unfamiliar place? Is it about someone falling in love despite the odds? And what sorts of things stand between the protagonist and a happy ending? Does it come down to a rivalry? Does it come down to the challenge of trying to overcome a difficult obstacle? Once you've identified the core elements of your plot, you can more easily place them into an original universe.

Identify which elements of the work your fanfiction is based on are generic, and which ones are unique. For example, superheroes are a generic concept, but the X-Men are specific to the Marvel universe. Casting magic spells with wands is a generic concept, but the spells used in Harry Potter are unique. Anything that is universe-specific will have to be removed or changed out for something you created; anything that's generic, you can keep.

Identify what you don't actually like that much in the original work. If there's anything you never really liked that much for one reason or another (maybe you thought it was pointless, or maybe you thought it could have done better), now's your chance to remove it or change it.

Change something fundamental about the universe and/or story premise. The thing about a fanfiction is that it exists within a certain context or framework - IE, the world that another author created. If you try to recreate that context/framework in entirety, what you're going to end up with is a pretty flat imitation. Plus, you can't really keep something true to the thing you based it on and truly call it yours. For example, if the original work is set during the Medieval period, you might set it during another time. If the original work features characters working for a spooky government organization, you might have them work someplace else.

Remove the original work's icons and trademarks. Unless it's absolutely crucial to your story, remove anything that's considered iconic to the original story, setting, or one of its characters. For example, if your original source material is Arthurian legend, don't just rename Excalibur - get rid of the sword altogether. If the protagonist is based on King Arthur, try making the villain someone other than his son. This will reduce the odds that your story will be seen as a ripoff.

Identify what kinds of people the main characters are. Figure out what your characters' core drives are, and identify what kinds of situations gave them those drives. For example, does your character strongly believe in justice? If so, what happened to make that character believe thus? Now, what could happen in an original universe to give this character the same sorts of beliefs? Likewise, identify your characters' main personality traits and interests, and identify why they have them. Now, figure out why they might have them in an original universe, and what sorts of things they might do in this universe because of them.

Change and remix the canon characters around. You don't want your whole character cast to be "these other guys, but with the names changed." So take the canon characters and change around their personalities, histories, motives, etc. Now is a great time to toss in any headcanons, interpretations, or hypotheses you've always liked but have never really explored. You might also drop certain canon characters altogether or combine their general roles and personalities.

Identify any other elements in the original work you that don't actually need in yours. Something that might have been important in the original work might serve no real purpose in your story. If it serves no purpose, trim it out. Only keep what you actually need; aim to make the rest your own creation.

You might also be interested in:

Tips For Writing Fanfiction With An OC Protagonist
Plot & Story Development Questions
Borrowing & Sharing Ideas In Fiction - When It's Okay, & When It Isn't

AU Idea Generator
Character Detail Generators
Backstory & Origin Generators

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