More Tips for Fanfic Authors

There are some fantastic tips for fanfic authors available here in Aisheeya’s guide to common grammatical errors and fanfic etiquette, but a few more problems have popped up since then and I thought it might be worth bringing them to your attention. My apologies for the mundane examples!

~*~*~

Basic Grammatical and Punctuation Rules

  • Full stops come at the end of every sentence and should be followed by one space and then a capital letter.
  • Commas should come directly after a letter and be followed by one space.
  • Ellipses, e.g. , i.e. three dots used to indicate a lapse of time, a pause, an unfinished speech or trailing into silence, should come directly after a letter and be followed by one space.
  • Sentences should not be overly long, and should be broken up with commas where appropriate.
  • Sentences should not usually contain more than one clause connected with the word and, i.e. the word and should only be used in this sense once per sentence.

~*~*~

Writing Dialogue

One of the great things about the English language is the huge variety of ways in which we can describe someone’s speech with just one word. Rather than writing that a person has said something we can put that she stuttered or he yelped. A person can shout or whisper, murmur or grunt. Use that to your advantage. If a story simply reads “he said, she said” then the reader can easily get bored.

The dullest aspect of writing any story is getting all the grammar, spelling and punctuation right, but, dull though it is, it’s important. Here’s a few examples of common mistakes and how to fix them.

There’s no cheese left, said Joe.

You must always make it clear that someone is speaking, not just with the word said or whichever alternative you’ve chosen, but also with speech marks. So to make the above example correct, you just need to add those: “There’s no cheese left,” said Joe.

“The printer isn’t working.” Said Michael.

In this example the problems are the full stop at the end of the speech and the capital letter which follows it. When using the said formation you must always end the speech with a comma, and follow the speech with a lower case letter, as follows: “The printer isn’t working,” said Michael.

“I have to go,” the girl turned away.

When the said formation is not used, and the following phrase is not directly related to the speech, a full stop should be used at the end of the speech and a capital letter should follow: “I have to go.” The girl turned away.

~*~*~

Finally, you should always check through your story repeatedly before submitting it to the fanfic section, and whenever possible you should ask someone else to beta-read it for

you.