Proofreading before publishing, adding story elements to distinguish yourself from others, and creating a good tagline to hook readers in can set you apart from other writers. Let’s get more detailed about these three elements to get an understanding of the level you may need to go towards to be seen.
The Importance of Grammar
We really only pay attention to grammar when it involves a school essay or assignment, but it’s doubly important for fanfiction and other pieces of writing. More often than not, grammar can make or break a reader’s interest in your fanfiction.
Granted, some of them may be from your teenage years. It’s still a good idea to go back to fanfics that you want to continue or heavily edit, considering grammar first and foremost. You’ll want to look out for punctuation especially. I have seen many fanfictions that are lacking commas or periods, making the fanfics hard to read. This makes it hard to tell where a sentence starts and ends, disrupting the flow.
Word choice may also be a key factor. When changing the word “good” to “great” or “well,” you can make the story less generic and more entertaining.
Adding Story Elements
There are a lot of cliches in the fanfiction world. Some of the common ones are the best friends who became lovers, a character has a sister that falls in love with their siblings best friend, and many more.
I’m not saying those tropes cannot be used, they just need to be tweaked a little. You need to add some spice into the mix.
Let’s take the situation where the sister of Rey (from Star Wars) falls in love with Kylo Ren. One way to add to this concept is to add some realism. Many fanfiction writers make it so they hit it off right away. By adding time between their romance, through a brief friendship, the two characters are less generic. Small tweaks like that can make it more individualized.
It’s not completely original, originality is hard to accomplish in the fanfiction world. However, it’s something more than a quick romance between an OC (original character) and Kylo Ren.
A Catchy Tagline
Not everyone is a creative genius, that’s a given. That doesn’t mean you can’t think of a way to make your story appealing before the reader clicks on it.
Let’s use the previous example. The story idea isn’t very original, plenty of people have used Star Wars characters and created a sibling to use as their own. A tagline in the description of the story could be the thing that readers see and immediately click on your story.
This can range from a question like, “Will Hally and Kylo ever truly get along?” to a sentence or two describing the context of the fanfiction like, “Rey’s sister Hally had been hidden her entire life. She’s always had a craving for romance, and when she meets Kylo Ren against Rey’s wishes, she learns the hard truth about what it takes to be in love.”
Taglines like the ones above could be the difference between five and fifty readers, maybe even a hundred.
Keeping all of these elements in mind, it’s important to take as much or as little time as needed. If you work hard enough, you’ll get recognized whether this is for your career or for fun.