The Rules and Commandments of the Fanfiction Writer
1: Thou shalt use correct punctuation, grammar, spelling, and pay heed to the rules of the English language; thou shalt never use shorthand.
That’s right, folks. The things that bug people, although they may seem minor to you (or because some people are just too lazy to put their effort into the grammar, spelling, etc) are huge to other people. For example, would you want to read this…
“U SHOULD USE CORREAFCT, PUNTUATOIN GRAMMAR SPELLIN N, ENGLSIH’
It is the same, basic format as the first commandment, but does it impact you the same way? Do you prefer it to the cleaner version? I didn’t think so. For texting, format and spelling like this are fine. But what’s important, even on dA, is that you put pride and effort into what you write. We don’t ask for perfection. But we do ask for you to try to improve yourself. Isn’t that what dA is for? To show off your art and then improve? Remind yourself that many people will be reading your work. The point is, if you use correct grammar, people are more likely to be able to read your pieces.
2: Thou shalt not be cruel in your commenting to the author—otherwise known as flaming.
When you write to someone, don’t try to discourage them. Don’t try to make them miserable. Remember that people on dA are, as stated above, here to improve. It’s practically impossible to improve when you’re actually trying to flame them and to bring them down. Instead, use constructive criticism. Imagine yourself in that person’s spot, and try to think to yourself: “Would I like to be spoken to this way? What kind of feedback works for me?” and there you go.
People have also posted my work and degraded it in forums, dissecting every bit apart and saying that my work is just plain bad. Don’t do this to other deviants, fellow friends! People should not be discouraging to others who are struggling to improve!
3: Thou shalt not lash out at the person committing the flaming.
If you lash back at the deviant, then they will surely be getting the reaction they want. That will only reinforce the flaming. If you reply brashly, then you’ll also pass off as immature, which certainly won’t be good for your situation. So instead, ignore the person doing the flaming. You could block them or delete the comment. Just don’t give them a reaction they’re aiming for.
4: Thou shalt credit the work of others.
Whether it is copyrighted or not, if it is a song by Taylor Swift, or a picture found on Google Images, always credit it or, even better, cite it. If Himaruya drew a picture of America and England you’d like to use as a preview image, then cite it! If Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote a song you’d like to use for a song fanfiction, then cite that as well! It’s better to take the time to credit the creators than to be banned or suspended from dA because you were reported for stealing copyrighted material. If it is the work of another deviant, link to their page or directly to the material. If you can, provide the link to the song or the website from which the item was acquired. Don’t take risks!
5: Thou shalt use only the languages thou art familiar with.
In other words, don’t go to Google Translate to copy and paste whole sentences and paragraphs. I’ve tried it before, and often it doesn’t get the wanted results. If you’re writing a fanfiction using the language you learnt fluently, you might particularly want to focus on the dialect of a certain area or the usage of words. If you’re using Google Translate, you definitely won’t get those results. Plus, it’s as good as a machine. It doesn’t interpret things that humans do, and will confuse the meaning of a word for another—which, in another language, will make a great difference. So if you speak French, use French. If you don’t, then don’t use it. This goes especially for Hetalia fans; I’ve seen whole paragraphs pasted off of Google Translate, and trust me, it doesn’t get the right effect if you speak the language they’ve used inaccurately.
6: Thou shalt thoroughly research your work, minding the time period, usage of material, certain trends, etc.
I particularly like to write for the Victorian era, being the Black Butler fanatic I am. So what do I do? I go online or into books to research what I write. I look into the clothes at the time, the popular things, the industry, and transportation. So I know that girls of that era aren’t going to inherit tons of land and money from their parents. Instead, what I would do is find a more realistic way with supporting reasons to incorporate that prospect in instead of just sticking it in there. And if you’re writing for a certain anime, manga, movie, or book, then go read/watch it! Takes notes! Be thorough! You can’t be too careful in this field!
7: Thou shalt be mindful of the audience the work is being displayed to, following the rules of deviantART.
If you’re going for plain, hardcore material, slap a warning on it. You’re not going to submit it with a “No Mature Content” rating and present it to five-year-old children. It’s just not done. And be sure to put it into the correct categories, as dA’s rules state to do. That way, people will be able to find your work more easily and won’t chide you for not submitting correctly either.
8: Thou shalt not come up with completely unrealistic ideas and present them with no supporting facts, reasons, or storyline.
Now. What I’m talking about here is the fanfictions that have no ideas or at least made-up facts to them, no background, and absolutely no storyline. These fanfictions are just rants and drabbles. When writing a fanfiction, one must at least create a believable or supportable storyline, as short as it may be. A one-shot or a drabble should have a theme, at the very least.
9: Thou shalt not plagiarise.
Never, ever steal someone else’s work! You could be banned or suspended from any site you take part in if you happen to do so. If you borrow someone’s work or include it in your own, then you must credit it to them.
The tenth and most important commandment: thou shalt love writing fanfiction and have fun!
Writing fanfiction is a pastime, a hobby, and a passion. Writers should always love doing their work! Hey, that’s why we write!