How-tos

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 what equipment you’ll need and how to use adjustment layers to digitally color your sketches. You may wish to review //

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 //

Explicit and Dark Content in Fandom—Keeping Yourself and Others Safe

February 19, 2016 // 3 Comments

“Don’t like, don’t read!” used to be pasted into the summary or author’s note of every second fanfic on FanFiction.net. The phrase has recently fallen out of use—with good reason! In the age of dashboards, tags, and newsfeeds, the phrase seems comically out of step with reality. We all know what we don’t want to read but that doesn’t prevent us from finding such content while we’re scrolling through the latest fandom posts. Desktop and laptop //

How To Make Your Own Fanzine

December 17, 2015 // 3 Comments

Before the rise of the internet, people got their fannish content from fanzines—amateur, small magazines printed in small batches and distributed by post or in person, often at fan conventions (and sometimes, secretly!) You can check out the Fanlore entry for fanzines if you’re curious about the history of the practice, but in short, fanzines are the direct modern precursor to the forums, Tumblr accounts, and fanfic archives of today. As fans, we owe a lot to zines. However, zines are not //

Beginner’s Guide to Creating Fanart

November 22, 2015 // 6 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. Fan artists invest hours and hours of their spare time into their paintings, driven by their love of the source material. While some have always enjoyed drawing, others take to art to depict their favorite characters. U.S. TV producer Bryan Konietzko wrote in 2013: “I remember back in the Avatar days [2005–2008]… the //

How to Increase your Word Count (And Avoid Writer’s Block)

November 14, 2015 // 0 Comments

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is officially half over, and with the encroaching deadline comes the pressure to push your word count to new heights. NaNoWriMo is an annual online challenge during the month of November which challenges writers to write at least 50,000 words in exactly one month. The challenge is free to join, and it is open to writers of all levels. Check out NaNoWriMo.org for more information! Whether you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, or just working on your story, //

Transform Your Fanfic into Original Work Through Worldbuilding

October 29, 2015 // 0 Comments

Fanfic is a lot of fun and a great way to become a good writer. Some of us, though, might want to make the transition to writing professionally. This isn’t always as easy as E.L. James makes it look. One of the biggest issues with making the transition is that fanfic, by its nature, comes with a world already defined. The heavy lifting of worldbuilding has already been done by the original author or creators. And, of course, changing all of the names isn’t enough to change your //

Show, Don’t Tell: Why Action Speaks Louder Than Words in Fiction Writing

October 20, 2015 // 1 Comment

book with birds flying out
Far and away, the most common piece of writing advice given to budding authors is “show, don’t tell.” Don’t just tell the reader about the setting, the characters, or the story, show it to them. After all, in fiction writing, actions speak louder than words. It’s solid advice. Seeing something is more fun than just being told them about it, but it fails to answer the next logical question: what does “showing” even mean? This is the roadblock that most beginning writers get //