How-tos

How to Win NaNoWriMo

October 25, 2017 // 0 Comments

pink letters fall from the fridge to the floor
So you’ve decided to do it. Every November, during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, for short), hundreds of thousands of writers across the globe pledge their fealty to the writer gods and commit to writing a novel in one month. 50,000 words in 30 days. 1667 per day. And I’m not going to lie to you. It’s hard. Really hard. But you can do it. I know this because I’ve done it. In the past two years, I’ve gone from writing as an occasional hobby to punching out over half a //

How to Talk to a Beta Reader About Your Fanfiction (Before, During, and After)

August 11, 2017 // 1 Comment

Writers, by nature, keep a tight hold on their work. They obsessively craft and edit and rework until it’s just right (or, at least, just right now). So the thought of handing over your fanfiction to a beta reader for feedback can be, well, terrifying. There is plenty of advice to follow for how to be an effective beta reader, but what about some guidelines for writers? That’s where we come in. Here are some tips on how to talk to a beta reader about your fanfiction… without //

How to Be a Fanfiction Beta Reader

June 30, 2017 // 0 Comments

So you want to be a fanfiction beta reader? It’s a tough job, but if you take the right approach, beta reading can be immensely rewarding. Positive aspects include getting editing experience, discovering new authors (before they are famous), and giving back to your fandom community. But most betas will report it’s the relationships they build with their writers that makes beta reading worthwhile. Cultivating these relationships, like any other, takes open and honest communication //

Plot? What Plot? How to Write an Outline for Your Fanfiction

April 21, 2017 // 2 Comments

There’s a great debate in fic writing circles about whether being a plotter or a pantser is a more effective approach when writing fanfiction. Whether or not you have a penchant for research, however, it is undeniable that every story requires at least some design. Personally, I enjoy the freedom of sitting down in front of blank page and seeing where my imagination takes me… writing by the seat of my pants. However, I am also painfully aware that starting a fanfic without a plan can //

How to Finish Your Novel

January 25, 2017 // 0 Comments

So you’ve started writing a novel. Maybe you took the plunge after years of dreaming about getting your brilliant idea down in book form. Maybe you participated in November’s NaNoWriMo competition. Maybe you’ve unearthed an incomplete manuscript on your laptop. Whatever the case may be, perhaps the most important (and difficult) part of writing a novel is… finishing it. At this year’s Hal-Con, I attended a panel with the modern master of urban fantasy, author Charles de //

How to Cosplay on a Budget

November 16, 2016 // 0 Comments

So you want to cosplay but don’t have the budget for high-end Stormtrooper armour? Time to find a way to strut your stuff on a budget. At this year’s Hal-Con, I attended a panel presented by Canadian fan Polar Cosplay (aka Rebecca Graves) about how to make, care for, and improve upon costumes while staying within your budget. Get Organized Sketch out your costume design before you start shopping. It doesn’t have to look good. Making a diagram of your costume can help you visualize which //

Get Your Geek On: How to Survive Your First Fan Convention

August 22, 2016 // 1 Comment

Every year, thousands of people sporting their favorite geeky apparel or dressed as their favorite character descend on hotels and convention centers in most major cities. Fan conventions are a time for fans to gather together and share their unbridled, unashamed enthusiasm for all things geeky. But if you’ve never attended a fan convention before, how do you know where to start? I have been attending and staffing fan conventions for over a decade. I’ve got it tuned to a fine art, //

How to Use Original Characters to the Best Effect

April 30, 2016 // 0 Comments

The presence of original characters in a fanfiction can alarm some readers, often those who have had bad experiences with poorly written ones before. It’s understandable to be wary, but OCs shouldn’t be immediately written off. With a writer who knows what they’re doing, a well-written OC can add new dimensions to an already fantastic story. Start with Something (or Someone) Familiar A lot of people are put off by the unfamiliar, especially in fanfiction. So, the last thing to do is to //

Fanart Tutorial: How to Add Color Depth to Images

April 28, 2016 // 0 Comments

Beginner’s Guide to Creating Fanart is a column by contributor Jae Bailey. In this column, Jae offers digital fanart tutorials and advice for aspiring artists. Welcome back for another fanart tutorial for beginners! If you haven’t read Part 1 and Part 2 yet, go back and do that before you dive in to Part 3. In both of those articles, you can find advice on how to use adjustment layers to touch up your images. You may wish to review these now, since adjustment layers are a great //

Fanart Tutorial: How to Digitally Color a Scanned Pencil Sketch

February 24, 2016 // 0 Comments

Beginner’s Guide to Creating Fanart is a column by contributor Jae Bailey. In this column, Jae offers digital fanart tutorials and advice for aspiring artists. Welcome back for another fanart tutorial for beginners! If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, do that first and then come back. In it you can find advice on which software and hardware to use, as well as general tips and links to YouTube tutorials, including a YouTube video that explains how to use adjustment layers to touch up //