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[Tutorial] Writing a Good MLP: FiM Fanfiction


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I posting this topic to (try) help future Fanfic writers. But the first thing: What is a Fanfic?


"Fan fiction, or fanfiction (often abbreviated as fan ficfanfic, or simply fic), is a broadly defined fan labor term for stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creator. Works of fan fiction are rarely commissioned or authorized by the original work's owner, creator, or publisher; also, they are almost never professionally published. Due to these works' not being published, stories often contain a disclaimer stating that the creator of the work owns none of the original characters. Fan fiction is defined by being both related to its subject's canonical fictional universe and simultaneously existing outside the canon of that universe. Most fan fiction writers assume that their work is read primarily by other fans, and therefore tend to presume that their readers have knowledge of the canon universe (created by a professional writer) in which their works are based." - Wikipedia.


A fanfic is a mere literary tale, made ??by fans for fans. Fans who share the same interests. Like a book, the fanfic tackles worlds and universes that you find interesting on your favorite show. But with a different course. If you are prepared to write a fanfic, read the tips below to orient yourself and put your hands on the dirty!


1- How to Plan Your Story:


=> Choice of Characters:


The choice of characters seems to be an easy step to creating your first story, but I say it: is not. 

It is a difficult step, but it is easier than creating your own.
The choice of characters already created from the show involves understanding their actions and their main characteristics to make a dialogue flow naturally as a beginning of a river. When choosing a character (or more), several questions have to be made ??to yourself to understand the character and what he has to offer in your story:
"What he does?"
"What are his wishes?"
"He is funny or serious?" 
"What he likes?"
"He is extremely shy or overtly extrovert?"
"What makes him different from others?"
"What are his fears?"
"What he dislikes?"
"What characteristics does he have?"

All these issues are important to your character. They make you delve into his personality, life and relationships. I will make an example from Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle:


Pinkie Pie is outgoing, and is always ready to make the others smile. Is always smiling and laughing. Her dialogues involves random and dynamic subjects as to confuse people. She loves to sing, no matter what kind of music she just wants to make other characters smile.


Twilight Sparkle is smart and when it comes to Science and Magic she always takes note 10. She is lively when it comes to a subject of her interest. She is quiet, but if somepony annoy her, Twilight can be furious.


Can we follow up with a short dialogue? An example follows below:



“We are not naming our child Custard Clove.”


“Why are you being such a grumpy face about all my suggestions?”


“Because all your suggestions are terrible!”


Pinkie Pie gasped. She narrowed her eyes and jutted out her lower lip in an angry pout that somehow was more adorable than intimidating. “Yours haven’t been any better! ‘Moonlit Night’? Really?” She blew a raspberry.


Twilight Sparkle felt her teeth grinding together. Pinkie was being incredibly adamant about her suggestions, but the unicorn wasn’t really being too receptive either. The two of them had been arguing for the better part of an hour and had gone through at least half a dozen names each. Finally, they had reached a stalemate, and neither mare was going to budge.


Twilight huffed. “Custard Clove is probably your worst suggestion thus far. At least Gumdrop Dreams had some kind of meaning behind it. Custard Clove is just alliterative nonsense!”


Pinkie rolled her eyes. “As if you never suggested anything nonsensical! Evening Eclipse? Remember that one?”


To be fair, that had been a rather silly suggestion on her part, but Twilight wasn’t about to concede the point.


“Éclair Flair.”


“Sunset Beaches.”


“Corncake Daydream.”


“Darkest Night.”


Twilight groaned and flopped down in the chair next to Pinkie’s hospital bed. “Okay. Okay. We’re both pretty bad at this naming business. Fine. Happy?”


Pinkie continued to frown for a few seconds before releasing the expression with a sigh. She reached over and patted Twilight gently on the head. “No. Are you?”


Twilight chuckled. “Absolutely not.”


Pinkie scooched herself a bit closer to the edge of the bed and grabbed Twilight’s hoof in her own. “Maybe we should take a break?”


“Maybe you’re right.” Twilight stroked Pinkie’s forearm absentmindedly. “It’s just really important that our child, our firstborn at that, is given a good, strong name. You know what I mean?”


Pinkie thought for a moment. “I think so. I just think it’s important that it’s something fun. Nothing too stuck up and snooty.”


“I can understand that.” Twilight smirked. “But I think it’s imperative that the name is not too silly that it’s hard for them to be taken seriously.”


Pinkie tapped her chin. “Hmm. So fun, but serious?”


Twilight laughed. “Like me? Hmm?”


“More fun than you.”


“More serious than you.”


The two mares exchanged sharp glances for long moments before breaking down into laughter.


Twilight took a deep breath to still her giggles. “I suppose that’s a valid point.”


Pinkie smiled, just a little smile that turned up the corners of her mouth and crinkled the corners of her eyes. “Well, the new pony is a mix of me and you isn’t it? So maybe the name should be a mix of me and you too.”


Twilight leaned over to nuzzle Pinkie’s cheek. “You’re right. I think we’ve been approaching this a bit too selfishly.”


Pinkie rubbed a hoof over her now substantial stomach. “Maybe I kinda thought that I had dibs on the name because the foal’s in my tummy.”


“Womb. It’s not actually your…” Twilight shook her head. “Never mind. I-”

Pinkie cut her off with a hoof to the mouth. “But you know what? We did this together! So we should name them together too!”


Twilight planted a kiss on Pinkie’s nose. “Are you sure? I mean, I guess it’d make sense if you got to name them because you were carrying. I could just name the next one after I carried them?”


Pinkie laughed. “But we’re both terrible at names remember? We’d have a bunch of foals with silly names!”


“I guess you’re right.”


“So maybe when we put our heads together,” Pinkie said with a wink, “we can come up with something amazing! We always do.”


Twilight chewed her lower lip in thought. “I would like to have a nighttime or starry motif. My family has been naming foals like that for generations.”


“What about Shining Armor? That’s not nighty or starry.”


Twilight waved a dismissive hoof. “The shining part counts because stars shine. It’s a lot of semantics and justifications…” She trailed off.


Pinkie decided not to pursue it. “I want food.”


“Oh. Are you hungry?” Twilight reached for the nurse’s call button.


Pinkie shook her head. “No! I want the name to have something to do with food!”


“I see.” Twilight tilted her head. “Is that something your family does?”


“Nah.” Pinkie giggled. “I just like it. Plus, you’re “Twilight” and I’m “Pie” and we’re a nighttime food couple!”


“Nighttime food…” Twilight tapped her hoof on the siding of the bed. “You mean… kind of like a midnight snack?”


Pinkie squealed in delight. “That’s it! That’s so super cute, Twilight!”


Twilight cocked an eyebrow. “Really? You like it?”


Pinkie reached out and gestured for Twilight to hug her. The unicorn obliged happily.


“Like it? I love it! Midnight Snack is the perfect name for our little mixed up pony!”


Twilight snuggled her face into Pinkie’s mane and breathed a happy sigh. “Yeah. It’s not bad. Not bad at all.”


- Example used from Sweet Twinkie Snapshots written by Burritos on FiMFiction and used with permission from the author.


In this short we see how Pinkie Pie likes to be totally random and Twilight is her opposite, taking things seriously. Pinkie can be random and Twilight serious, but not make them bad characters. Demonstrate defects in them will make look more real, more alive. Everyone has defects, nobody is perfect. Is in these defects, and those qualities that make us unique. Just as the characters that you choose or that you create.


=> Character Creation:

The first step in the creation of characters is something that we have played quite up there: people (or ponies with human personalities, and vice versa) has advantages, flaws and foibles; these three items are essential.

If you feel more comfortable creating someone like you, go ahead! It's easier and saves a huge amount of time to create. But then comes the problem: If you put all your characteristics, will be left a very little to add in other characters.

Ironically, it is much easier to create a good amount of characters if you take your characteristics and divide them equally. You are known for being stubborn, lack of innocence, be good with people, be outgoing, be adventurous, have a hothead and talking too much? Good! Means you can create seven different characters by using only those characteristics!

If any of your friends have traits, for example, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and your story is a comedy, you have one of the things that will make readers laugh, just use without exaggeration.

If your character does not have advantages, defects and fears, he/she will be considered a Mary Sue/Gary Stu. But what is a Mary Sue or a Gary Stu?


A Mary Sue/Gary Stu Character is a character without any defects, fears, and in one word: Perfect. And that's bad, because anypony is perfect and YOU know that. So don't make your OC a perfect Pony.


In the choice of Pony Breeds, we have these: Pegasus, Unicorn, Earth Ponies, and Alicorns. Remember these names, you will probably use these names on the story. Now with their characteristics:


Pegasus: Many pegasus has the personality and the main characteristic of being impatient. With him, everything has to be fast, nothing to be slow! If something is not of his interest, he simply ignores it and runs away in search of something interesting to do.


Unicorn: By using magic to any kind of personal affairs, are more known for being graceful and elegant creatures. Are not much of use brute force and prefer to stay with the "feet on the floor." Has a strong personality and express deliberately when tension appears or something goes wrong than planned.


Earth Pony: Are more diligent in get what they want by being more "hand-in-mass" and not rely on wings or spells to do simple or complicated things for them. Are easily seen as ponies patients and very polite. But it varies from character to character.


Alicorn: Their characteristics and personalities are somewhat mixed as it can have the patience of a Earth Pony and the impatience of a Pegasus. Define their characteristics and personalities; advantages and disadvantages; qualities and defects; are completely at your discretion.


Created a character? Great, now do not take the essence of that for no reason! This error is stupidly common and condemns various stories. Has a timid and weak character? Don't do she/he extroverted and strong without any convincing explanation, or your readers will NOT accept so easily.

=> Setting:
The location of the environment is not necessary to be that obvious; it can serve as a sort of mystery and sometimes, it is necessary that the reader does not even know where the character is. For example, a character was shot and woke while it was carried. It is obvious that you will describe everything he sees and every place wherever he goes, but it's not always good to talk about where he is, or the essence will be destroyed. 
The setting can be discovered along with the character, describing the few items or props that he sees in the present scenario. The style varies from author to author.
=> Time and Place in History:
Not only is ideal to know the time when the story takes place, but also you should not commit slips towards it. If the story is passed only in Equestria, it becomes much easier, because of the past is very much like this in My Little Pony, except a few things like that 1000 years ago there was not Ponyville. The rest is completely free until they turn Canon (official) and it also depends on the willingness of the writer to actually be based on other thoughts of other writers. The rest is pure freedom.
2- Textual Organization:
=> Narration:
Everything on the Fanfic depends of the narrator, the voice that tells your story. The narrator-character in 1st person account of the history of which he participates, as well as the narrator, as well as character.
He has an intimate relationship with the other elements of the narrative. This proximity to the narrated world reveals facts and situations which a narrator outside could not know. At the same time, this same proximity makes the narrative is partially impregnated by the point of view of the narrator and the character.
Example of character narrating:


To my left, I had Twilight, AJ and Rarity walking alongside me.  To my right, I had Rainbow, Pinkie and Spike doing the same.  Holding my hand was Fluttershy, who was hovering next to me, leading the way.


The sounds of carnage echoed in from outside causing all of us to wear expressions of fear and grief.  I was surprised to see Fluttershy keeping her demeanour and not hiding away at the loud noises but I knew she had something else on her mind, something troubling.


We turned a corner to end back up in the main foyer of the castle.  The Royal Guard were frantically rushing back and forth, ushering ponies left, right and centre and barking orders at each other.


“Um...excuse me…” Fluttershy meekly called.  The guards paid her no heed as they continued to go about their frantic business.  “I was wondering if you could…”


“General Cog!  Get the Third Battalion to the outskirts of the city!” a familiar guard ordered.


“Yes Sir!” the General saluted before rushing off out of the main doors.


The familiar pony noticed me and immediately lowered his head.  His horn glowed which lit up his throat.  “ATTENTION ALL GUARDS!” he bellowed.  “NIGHTMARE MOON IS INSIDE THE CASTLE!  REPEAT!  NIGHTMARE MOON IS--”


“STOP!” came the almighty Canterlot Voice.  This time, it was Celestia who used it.  Shining Armor ceased his spell and immediately threw his hooves over his ears.   “NIGHTMARE MOON IS NOT IN THE CASTLE!”


Shining took his hooves down and shook his head.  “Your Highness, she’s right there!” he shouted, pointing a hoof at me.  “I heard that Nightmare Moon took over--”


“Owen’s body, yes she did.” Luna finished for him.  “But he is free of her now.  Unfortunately, Nightmare Moon is still out there and she must be stopped.”  Luna briefly caught view of Canterlot as it smoldered in flames.  “Do what you need to do, Captain.”


“As you wish.”  He saluted the Princesses before looking over to my left.  “Good to see you Twiley.” he said with a small smile before galloping off.


Twilight looked heartbroken as she watched her older brother go off to risk his life.  “He’ll be fine.  I know it.”


“Come on Owen, he’s this way.” Fluttershy calmly said, leading me towards a small room at the back of the Foyer.  “OK, what you will need to do is--”

- Example take from Good Things Come by Greatodyer with permission from the author.


In this example, the character describes what is around he and who is with him.


The observer-narrator tells the story from the outside, in 3rd person, without participating in the character's actions. He knows all the facts and narrates with certain neutrality, presents the facts and characters without many emotions. Do not have intimate knowledge of the characters or the experienced actions. 
The verb tense (past or present) in the narration varies from author to author.
Example of observer-narrator:


Fluttershy walked down the path to Ponyville with a spring in her step. Tea. Tea with her friends. And this time it wasn’t going to get weird at all! It wasn’t that she didn’t appreciate the effort Pinkie and Rarity had been making. Trying to include her on their dates was very nice of them, but this was what she wanted: for things to be normal again.


She stopped, a rogue worry running through her mind. What if it happened again? What if she showed up, and the door was locked, and—She couldn’t even let herself complete the thought without her wings painfully twitching at her sides. What would she do if that happened?


Don’t be silly. Of course it isn’t going to be like last time. There’s no way they would do something like that if they knew you’d be there. They obviously just forgot you were coming, she thought, relaxing slightly.


That’s right. They didn’t know you were there, and it should stay that way. She caught herself walking on three hooves and forcefully put the fourth back down on the ground. Yes. It definitely needs to stay that way. Your friends don’t need to know that you’re strange. It’s bad enough that you made things so difficult for them.


She put the smile back on her face where it belonged. Pinkie would be happy to see it. She always wanted to know where it was. Everything was going to be okay. They were going to have a nice normal afternoon tea, and perhaps they could finally talk about resolving this whole mess.


- Example take from You Make My Whole Life Worthwhile by Steel Resolve. Take with permission from author.


In this scene we see the description of events that took place in the past weeks between Pinkie, Fluttershy and Rarity.


The narrator-God varies using the 3rd person to 1st person, there are narrative moments that describes the 3rd, as other 1st. This narrator knows all thoughts of all the characters, he knows where everything is happening as it is happening and why it is happening, and can show things that the characters do not have access, such as a trap later on. There is also the narrator who is there in the third person and is more like an "invisible" character. In this case what you do will be a description of what the characters are seeing and, depending on the occasion, you should do mystery and not say what they see.


Example of narrator-God:

Sunset pulled her sweater tighter around herself, yet it did little to stop her from shivering in the November wind. Though the sun shone brightly, the air was cold and brought warning of the snows preparing to mount an assault in a few weeks time. She grimaced at the idea of spending yet another winter in her uninsulated factory home.


All Around her, the streets of Canterlot were abuzz with early morning shoppers and joggers. Sunset navigated her way through them, occasionally checking the business card tucked in her pocket. Although her legs were burning from the distance she had walked, Sunset was glad she had left her motorcycle at home. Finding parking in the city was always a hassle, even for small vehicles. And that savage wind would have only made her feel more numb than she currently was.


She finally found her destination: a blue building with a large snow globe on top, with another blue building topped a similar globe inside of it, with the theme repeating itself several more times. Sunset rolled her eyes.Hilarious.


The Lulamoon Magical Item Emporium was scrawled in elegant, loopy cursive over the door, and blue wands were painted onto the surrounding windows.


Much like when she had arrived at Pinkie’s house, Sunset braced herself for the worst. Fireworks, doves, obnoxiousness of the highest caliber; Sunset was sure something unpleasant was waiting for her inside. With a deep breath, she pushed the door open and marched inside.

The jingling bell echoed through the store, but Sunset still felt the need to call out, “Hello?” The lights had not yet been turned on, drowning everything shadows. As Sunset’s eyes adjusted, she could make out rows of shelves lined with various knickknacks. To her far left was a wooden staircase that lead to a second floor.


She moved down the aisle, eying what had been put out for sale. There was the run-of-the-mill amateur magic items, ranging from decks of cards, to wands, to entire coffins for sawing people in half. Then, as Sunset neared the back of the store, there were more interesting looking antiques. A dusty mirror that looked like it was glowing on its own, a book with odd designs that Sunset swore subtly changed every time she looked at it. An odd looking horn that seemed to be crafted from crystal, a golden ring, a locket with a snake on it, a white conductors baton, an ornamental box with six keyholes.


Sunset stopped at the back counter and tapped her fingers impatiently. Where is everyone? Pretty stupid of them to leave the door open and not have anyone looking after the register. She glanced at it, thinking how easy it would be to take whatever was inside and walk away unnoticed.


No. Stealing is bad. That’s the old me. New Sunset doesn’t stoop to petty theft. She walked around the counter to examine it better. Still… it would be so easy… She shook her head. Bah, it’s not like there’s much money even in there. Not even worth it.


“What do you think you’re doing here?”

- Example take from Long Road To Friendship by The Albinocorn on FiMFiction with permission from the author.


Then would come one of the possible questions: What is the right narration?

Simple: None of then.

There is no "right narration" but there is an appropriate for each Fanfic you write.


I, for example, used the "narrator-God" for my story "The End of Immortality". This narrator is the easiest of all, and for me, when it comes to new writers is the most recommended. As you know, it tells almost everything on the Fanfic and is easy. Even for me who is writing for two years still uses it!


Why it is important narration and description in a Fanfic?

One day, Fluttershy (member of the Sonic Rainboom Forum) commented on a topic of Rari3 something very simple, but very important: "Dialogues are good, thoughts are amazing and descriptions are what makes your Story. You have to remember that."


You have to remember that, is what Fluttershy was talking about. You can't only have one of these in your Fanfic, you need to put all of these in your Fanfic. And then you have a good Fanfic. But now we going to final satge:


3- How to Start Writing:


Now, without further ado, let's start planning your first story:


=> Visualization: Many say it is unnecessary to plan a Fanfic, but the lack of planning causes problems as:

  • Unnecessary elongation of chapters: Because of not knowing how the chapters end, the writers get lost not knowing when you are finished creating chapters sometimes tiny, sometimes huge.
  • Abandon of the story: there are writers who cannot write in an improvised way for a long time and there comes a time that they can't improvise, thus giving up and calling erroneously "Writer's Block".
Planning is important to know precisely when and how the story will begin and end. No need to plan EVERYTHING that happens, but at least learn the basics of beginning, middle and end. 
Knowing the end, on the other hand, is REALLY necessary, or else the story will stretch and stretch... and stretch... until only a few readers keep reading, and most of these only come with the hope that the writer knows the end of it.
=> Originality
Do not try to be SO original, even if it is REALLY original, is not enough to classify as a good story. The ideal is: you have a good idea, but you know how to develop it. 
I'm not saying to appeal to the cliche or anything, but should not find that a bad idea just because it has been used at other times. Whoever seeks perfectionism in writing, hardly goes anywhere.
My Fanfic is Good?: Honestly? Who should say this is the writer himself to himself. If you not feel well with your story, give up because you will hardly get through what you really wanted it.

Of course, do not need to find that his story is "The Best Stories Of All Time", but you have to like what you writting. You need to love it and use it as inspiration to continue working with it, without it you will not continue (you don't want to waste your time, right?).


=> Updates: Put in your mind that you should never set a date for an update, but not abandon Fanfic for a long time! Readers can go away and you do not want that! Always remember to write a little every day. 100 words or 200 is enough and at the end of the week you have 1400 words (if is 200)! See? It is not so bad! And never put it in front of your work, dating, and studies, the internet can wait, but not your life. Life first, then Ponies (though they are almost the same thing...).

If the story is large and / or you take too long to write, it is good to let the reader warned. Update every two months, but if the reader does not have such information, will end up giving up for the slowness of the story, so do not forget: be honest and say that the interval between chapters is/can be great.



Read these tips and have an idea in mind? Is confident of yourself and of the Fanfic? You with your hand itching to write? Put into practice and start! That's all folks! Hope it helped you! And I'm sorry for any mistakes, I'm brazilian (and the translator is garbage...). I hope you share your Stories here, I'll be very happy to read them!

Edited by Tesdey
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