ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What NOT to Do in Fan Fiction

Updated on February 27, 2009

I've been reading fan fiction since 1999. I've stuck my nose into several different communities, including Harry Potter, Spiderman, and Moulin Rouge. It's a wonderful way to escape reality.

Recently, it's become the favorite pastime of most young teenagers to write fics about their favorite characters falling in love, discovering a long lost father, etc. With the wide selection of stories to choose from, it's getting increasingly difficult to find the good fiction among all the bad eggs. Over the years, I've made a mental list of all the bad habits of fic authors that really get on my nerves. Hopefully, this list will help you plan your next fan fic and before you know it reviews are pouring in on So without further ado:

The 10 Fan Fic Commandments!

Note: I've used Harry Potter fic as my examples because it is one of the larger fan fiction communities.

1. THOU SHALT NOT write songfics - Personally it gets annoying when a character
opens his/her mouth and lyrics to an Evanescence song comes out.

2. THOU SHALT NOT post before spell-check - It's hard to take any dramatic scene seriously when someone has to spend most of their time trying to figure out what word you really meant: quite, quiet, or quit? Get a proof-reader. Please.

3. THOU SHALT NOT write a fic that is purely dialogue - Unless you are aiming
for a minimalist approach and the dialogue is engaging, usually people don't want
to read about endless conversations where one is asking another out
or multiple "I love you"s are used.

4. THOU SHALT NOT portray a character other than what is obvious in the
established book/movie/show that you are “ficcing” - I know many of us
like to explain away canon, and that's okay if there is a decent
explanation for it, but PLEASE don't make Hermione suddenly a slut or
Snape someone who is simply the sweetest guy in the world. That's not
how they were written in the books. So please don't confuse people.

5. THOU SHALT NOT mention specific commercial products in a fic. - Most of us get
enough product placements in real life. Most of us don't want to hear about
Coca Cola, Yahoo, or anything else of that nature in the fics.

6. THOU SHALT NOT bring popular culture (mentioning current movies, music,
etc) into a fic. - I once read a fic where the Golden Trio (Harry, Hermione, and Ron) were
watching "Charlie's Angels" and they were commenting on how Cameron
Diaz was hot. Even though Cameron Diaz may be attractive, people read fan fiction because they want to read about their favorite characters in interesting situations, not a commentary full of personal opinions on the actress-du-jour. That's what People and Star magazine are for.

7. THOU SHALT NOT solely recount actions. - Have you ever read a fic where it
went something like this: "She went to the bathroom and then she took
a shower. She dried her hair and put on clothes. ‘Hi Sev’ she said."
It's always "she did" this or that. Mature readers want to hear about personal
reflection, background... details people!

8. THOU SHALT NOT bring your personal hobbies into a fic as a main role. -
Now this one can have some major exceptions. But when all of a sudden
we are reading about Hermione's favorite pastime being playing the
game of Parcheesi and of course, Snape is a aficionado of Parcheesi as
well, and THEN, in addition we have to get a brush up course from the
author about how to play Parcheesi... Well, anyways, people feel like they are reading about the hobby more than the characters.

9. THOU SHALT NOT assume the reader already knows everything about the movie/book/TV show
you are “ficcing”. - For the love of character development. It helps to
back up the actions in your plot with background references. Not all
of us can remember all the details about Harry Potter all the time.

10. THOU SHALT NOT write about emotions that you have never experienced
before, or are too young to experience (like true love) (Basic rule:
If you are too young to watch/read a specific rating, do not write
stories with that rating). - You will find there is nothing worse than
someone who is 13 trying to write a sex scene especially when they
have no idea what it's like. And then there are the 13 year olds that
write about romance problems, and once again, the characters are
acting like hormonal teenagers. It just doesn't bode well when all
the characters are acting petty and petulant.

AND I could add a number 11:

11: THOU SHALT NOT write about the endless descriptions of clothing and
makeup. - We are sure that Hermione is having the wedding that you
always wanted. And we are quite sure that all the Gryffindor girls
looked dazzling at the Yule ball, but we don't want an entire chapter
on who wore what and how it matched this and that. This is a story,
not a constant fashion commentary.

Go ahead and disagree with me or point out any errors I might have
made. Once again, I acknowledge that there are exceptions to these
fics. You should notice that I left out the ever incredible "Mary-
Sue" in these commandments. I did this because just as long as it
isn't YOU magically transported to Hogwarts, I don't have a problem
if the character is well-written.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Veroniquebee profile image


      6 years ago from Czech republic

      I started paying attention to fanfiction back in 2005 and I have to say it's curious to see the trends in fanfics. I agree that songfic, when more than half of the whole fiction is copy-pasted lyrics, is bad. But it can also be done in nice way, when the lyrics (usually one or two lines) can help to describe the atmosphere pretty nicely. Canon is nice - and although I think it's good to follow it, nice AU is also good, I think. And if someone is unsure about canon, there is so many Wikis, I think it's terrific how many things you can find there.

      Anyway, I think that another commandment should be "Summarize your stories properly." Story describtion is not only rating, characters or genre. It's also good summary, which may attract readers.

      I realize it had been ages since this was written - but hey, comments are good for soul I'm told :)

    • auroraivy profile image


      7 years ago from Port Saint Lucie, FL

      I really liked this hub. I dabbled in Fanfic a few years ago, wrote anime fanfics. Your commandments certainly apply to much of the writing you can find. :) Great hub, I enjoyed reading it.

    • GALAXY 59 profile image

      Galaxy Harvey 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very funny hub and so true. I gave up reading fan fic a while ago as I couldn't get over how many people broke all of your rules.

    • Thorn058 profile image


      8 years ago from Grand Forks, ND

      I dabble in fan fiction because it is a great way to just keep writing when you seem to hit a road block and can't get past it in your own original work. Having a ready made sandbox such as Star Wars or Harry Potter is nice because you can almost cut and paste characters, settings, objects and such but it is the compelling story that makes readers want to read it. I might add a half commandment about slash fic(i believe that is the term) where you have two main characters of the same sex have a relationship. Some people really want to see Ginny and Hermione go lipstick lesbian but really do we need to read that?

    • Real Fantasy profile image

      Real Fantasy 

      8 years ago from Cleveland

      You know, I actually really liked reading this. I hate admitting it with my own identity because fan fiction is sometimes looked down on, but I write it and read it. The 10 Commandments you have are great. I laughed quite a few times. My favorite though was number 10. I have little-to-no right to judge because I'm 15, but I'm not trying to write lemon or smut or anything like that. Seeing kids' ideas of sex is kind of freaky. Also it feels like reading a trollfic.

      Nonetheless, great hub. It made me smile and feel good that I've only broken number 2 and that was one time :)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)