Warriors Fanfiction Writing for Dummies (Guide)
— An unofficial guide on how to write fanfiction for Warriors by the Grammar Nazi, donut-loving PikaBolt101 —
Warning: May contain harsh words in cat language. PikaBolt101 is known for setting things on fire. Read at your own risk.
FanFiction Slang Words
Just to have a better understanding if you aren't quite sure of the slang words on FFN yet, so you don't sound like a mouse-brain if you use the wrong text.
A/N: Author's Note. Usually before or after the actual chapter, or sometimes in the middle. They are usually bolded and sometimes italicized to not be confused from the real story. They're notes from the author that they think might be important for the reader to know or such.
AU: Alternate Universe. It means that the story is taking place in a different world than usual. For example, a common type of story where the characters of Warriors are humans in high school or something would count as an AU.
Beta: Betas are beta readers, usually just called beta for short. They are (supposed to be, at least) knowledgable in spelling, grammar, punctuation, plot lines, characters and elements of a good story (maybe of specific fandoms). They're like editors who can fix up, look over, correct and improve your stories. *cough cough* *points at self*
Canon: Something that exists in the actual series, real or genuine. For example, Graystripe and Silverstream was a canon pairing in Warriors.
Crackfic: Sometimes also known simply as "crack", crackfics are stories that are incredibly random, supposed to be hilarious, and normally downright stupid. Usually for amusement only, and maybe a few laughs.
Disclaimer: A one or two-liner, usually below or included in the A/N saying that you don't own Warriors (which, you'll find out or may know, is actually unnecessary if you keep reading.)
Flame: Flamers are people who have no life and repeatedly insult authors or their stories, and a flame is that stampede of insults. Usually people don't even mean those things, they just like seeing authors' reactions. And when they do mean those things, they're no-lifers and way over-exaggerating. Simply ignore flames and don't say things like "don't hate, I'm flammable!"
Fluff: A fic that's lighthearted, cheerful, fuzzy or cute or in some way, making you feel warm or happy inside after you read it. I have no idea why it's called fluff. Maybe 'cause fluff is warm and fuzzy too.
Lemon: M-rated fics that contain explicit adult content, sexual stuff that will steal your innocence if you're too young.
Mary-Sue: Don't ever make one of these if you're making an OC (look for definition below if you aren't sure what an OC is). Mary-Sues are characters that are perfect and flawless in every way. They normally have a tragic past, are related to a very important character or ARE the main character, are very smart and beautiful and strong but they don't admit it, have scars or some other distinctive thing that don't affect their overall awesome appearance, all toms/she-cats fall for him/her, everyone wants to be friends with him/her or are just jealous of him/her, etc., and all in all they're just plain unrealistic and hated. Usually directed towards females, as males are sometimes called Gary-Stus or other names. If you want to know more, do a search online.
OC: Original Character. A character that doesn't exist in the actual Warriors series, meaning you or somebody else made it up.
OOC: Out Of Character. Not to be confused with OC, as they are completely different things. It means that the character (usually a real character that exists in the series) suddenly has a change in personality in the story. For example, Breezepelt being a cheerful, bubbly, kind cat and Tigerstar giving flowers to little kittens. Try to avoid doing this unless on purpose.
POV: Point Of View. For example, writing a story in Firestar's POV or Ravenpaw's POV or something similar, meaning in their perspective.
R&R: Read and Review. Often put in summaries by authors who demand reviews to keep updating.
Songfic: Fanfictions that have lines of songs included as the main theme or inspiration. Many times they're banned by copyright but I do believe no lawyer cares.
Trollfic: A story that's meant to be bad, stupid, hilarious, random, OOC, etc. For example, many people thought that's what "Starkit's Prophecy" was. But sadly, it wasn't.
Part 1: Before Publishing
1.1 - Title
The title is very important and MUST be relevant to your story in some way. Do not put a title that attracts attention but has nothing to do with your actual story because people will think you're a bird brain.
Do not put your title in caps unless (as I've seen some people do) that is the style or something. But putting "FIRESTAR'S JOURNEY TO WAFFLECLAN! READ IT!" as the title is just sad. Just sad.
And do not put "A Warriors Fanfiction" as your title because any dumb head can see that it's in the Warriors category, and it gives no information about your actual story whatsoever.
1.2 - Rating
I think that's simple enough. Ratings explain what age level/group your story is for.
Don't rate it T "just to be safe". I've seen a ton of those. Don't do it. In fact, the lower your rating is, the more people will probably read it. Don't be afraid to rate it K+ or even just K if there's no T or M content.
However, do be careful about the rating, because if you're writing a story with explicit content (sexual or very violent) then rating it T, K+ or K is NOT right. You can emotionally scar some kid and get your story reported and taken down.
1.3 - Summary
Everyone knows what a summary is. But these are some things that I see a lot, but you should NOT do this:
- "Full summary inside" is a big no-no. Most people are too lazy to click on your story, find the supposed full summary and read it over, THEN decide whether they wanna read your story or not. People browse the Warriors section and if they come across a summary they think is interesting, they'll click it. Not after you tell them that the full summary is actually inside and not where the summary is supposed to be. Summaries take practice, actually. Practice writing summaries because believe it or not, they mean a lot.
- "Please read and review!" …No. Many authors put that at the end of their summaries, and believe it or believe it, 99% of readers don't even care at all. They see it so often that it means nothing, and why should it? We can decide if we want to read, review, or even "and". Focus on making a good story/summary and not attracting people by doing that.
- "I suck at summaries." "Story is better than summary." Sincerely, WTF? That just reeks of unprofessionalism and makes people think you're a bad author at first impression. If you don't even have confidence in your own summary, how can other people have confidence in your writing?
- No summary at all. Some people don't even put a summary. Seriously, how can people know what your story's gonna be about? Most won't click on your story to read a few paragraphs and then decide. The summary is very important.
Part 2: Story
2.1 - Extras
A character or some characters that appear at the beginning, usually in the A/N before the actual story that say a few lines. It is advised that you do NOT do it:
Bolt: Hallo everykitty! I've got this totally awesome new story! Please R&R and tell me what you think! :D It's about… (rambles on about totes awesome story)
Lionblaze: *smirks* It sounds so cool! So who's gonna do da disclaimer?
Dovewing: Not me!
Briarlight: Jaykins, you do it! :3
Jayfeather: *groans so loudly that there's a massive earthquake that destroys all of a North America and some parts of Peru*
(Characters argue on.)
Jayfeather: Fine, fine! Boltie does not own Warriors or it's characters!
No one wants to read that. They came here for your story, not for pages of characters arguing about disclaimers.
2.2 - Disclaimer Needed?
Actually, it's alright if you don't even do a disclaimer. Trust me, no author is fish-brained enough to go to a site that's directed towards fanfiction in the first place and sue every single story that violates copyright. But if you are stubborn and really wanna do one just for the chiz of it, make it short.
2.3 - Spelling/Grammar/Punctuation
OH MY FLIPPIN' STARCLAN!
I understand that not everyone can be absolutely perfect in S/G/P (and only 0.0001% of writers can be 100% perfect 100% of the time) but please do proofread, get a beta if you need one, and try your best. Search it up if you are not sure how to spell something or how to use something. Keep practicing and improve.
Very common errors:
- Mixing up the words "your" and "you're". This is really common. "You're" stands for "you are" while "your" is a possessive word. For example, your watch or your cat or your lettuce, not "you're lettuce", which means "you are lettuce", which makes zero sense unless you're a lettuce or something.
- "They're", "there", "their". "They're" stands for "they are", such as they're hunting mice or they're on a hunting patrol. "There" is a place, such as over there, up there, down there, right there. "Their" is a possessive word. Their son, their den, their prey, etc.
- "It's" and "its". The one with the apostrophe stands for "it is". If you're saying "the cat flicked its tail", then using "it's" is INCORRECT. That would stand for "the cat flicked it is tail". But if you're saying "the cat's tail flicked", then putting an apostrophe behind the main noun is fine.
- After a character says something, it's a comma, NOT a period and not nothing at all in front of the second pair of quotation marks. For example, it's:
"Let's go hunting," Lionblaze said.
"Let's go hunting." Lionblaze said.
"Let's go hunting" Lionblaze said.
- Every word of the title is capitalized unless it is a small word like "of" or "as" or "and" or such. And the first word is ALWAYS capitalized no matter what.
And I could seriously go on and on about errors, but these are some of the most common. Get a beta, proofread, learn and improve if you wanna be a better writer. After all, isn't that the reason your here?
…Ha, did you catch that mistake?
2.4 - Plot
This is the actual plot of the story, and though the characters are incredibly important, the plot itself is also a main factor, meaning you need to make it exciting or dramatic or unique or something. Just make it different from others and interesting to read! Don't make it cliché, meaning it's very predictable and over-done. You can vaguely use an idea another person has done, but make a twist, make it different, make it have something that the others don't. At first game shows were okay, but recently there've been a lot more. So please no more game shows unless yours is absolutely amazing and unique.
2.5 - Characters (Canon)
Characters are everything. Literally EVERYTHING. They are so incredibly important because they are the main thing in your story, even more important than the plot, actually. Because characters drive the whole story.
OOCness (look at the slang word guide again if you forgot or don't know) is usually a bad thing for authors. You should try to keep canon characters' personalities as realistic as possible. Briarlight isn't a mean bully and Jayfeather doesn't smile 24/7 and Lionblaze isn't a frail coward and just keep it real.
However, if you're MEANING to write a trollfic or crackfic, then OOCness is almost necessary. *cough* The Egg's Tale *cough cough*
2.6 - Original Characters (OCs)
Warriors is a fandom that's very easy to make an OC for, and I think almost every Warriors fan has their own OC(s). You just make a name, make an appearance, personality and past. There you go. Your very own character that you can now RP with, write about, make them go die in a lava pit, whatever you want. I think we're all pretty familiar with Warriors OCs.
BUT, let's talk about Mary-Sues. Look how special they are, they get to be underlined AND bolded. Mwahaha…
I explained what Mary-Sues are up there somewhere already, but most people already know and despise them. Mary-Sues are absolutely HATED unless you're purposefully making a Mary-Sue for a trollfic that's supposed to be funny.
Starkit from the story Starkit's Prophecy is a Mary-Sue. xdarkrosesx made possibly the biggest Mary-Sue in Warriors history. And I'm not trying to be mean. Seriously, you've gotten so famous in the Warriors fandom that I doubt no one doesn't know that purple, rainbow-eyed kitteh! So… congrats. In a bad way, though.
MAKE YOUR CHARACTER HAVE FLAWS. If you have to make your character very strong or beautiful, you can make them have a cold and mean personality or something. Something that actually affects their life and is realistic. No character is perfect. It's not possible. Everyone has strengths, everyone has weaknesses. Make that happen in your OC if you haven't.
Not all Clan cats will have a tragic past. Lalalala, their family was killed and now they're an orphan. Lalala, they were loners or rogues before they joined. You CAN do that, but most Clan cats are (guess what?) Clan-born.
Some flaws are just… bad. If your character's flaw is that "she is so beautiful other cats hate her" or "he is so strong and skilled that everyone is jealous of him and doesn't like him", then reread this whole thing, study nonstop about Mary-Sues, then close your computer and destroy all evidence of that ever happening.
Part 3: Rules and Guidelines (Rule-breakers)
As you all probably know, FFN has it's own rules and guidelines, and they're quite reasonable. If you haven't read them yet, you should. It's under "Rules and Guidelines" but if you're a member with stories already, that means you've already (well, at least, you're supposed to) read and agreed to those rules.
Common rule-breaker stories I've seen are…
- "Warriors Name Generator" — It is, in fact, against the rules. It's only a list of one-word… er, words usually. And the number of those generators is atrocious.
- "OCs Wanted/Needed" — Again, against the rules. Go to a site specially devoted for coming up with Warriors names rather than listings those things among decent stories and stealing reviews. Or go a forum for coming up with OC names. There are a few of those and they're pretty active. I've checked.
- "Starkit's Prophecy Commentary" — This is actually against the rules too. I know it's in story format and isn't just one line or a few words at a time, which is fine, but FFN specifically states this under "Entries Not Allowed": "MST: comments inserted in between the flow of a copied story." However, rewrites do qualify. Commentaries don't.
- Chat/script format. Things like this is NOT allowed but still commonly seen:
Jayfeather: I don't like waffles.
Tigerstar: You're such a dung heart!
Scourge: Every cat likes waffles, Jay-Jay!
Firestar: I've consulted the waffle fairy before.
If you wanna do that and argue about waffles, make it into a story format. Simply adding a few words like "Jayfeather said" or "Scourge answered" makes everything okay.
- "Ask (insert character here)" — And before you complain that I've done an "Ask Jayfeather" story, realize that mine does not violate the rules. Interactive stories are not allowed, meaning if you receive questions by review and you then answer them in your story is violating the guidelines. But if you accept them by PM and make your show into story format and not a chat/script/normal Q&A format, then you're good to go.
Please try to follow as many of these (or even all) as you can. Your readers will thank you greatly, trust me, and I will too.
Thank you for your cooperation.