I practice my writing skills by writing fan fiction. It's a great medium: no deadlines or word goals, and you get free feedback. The only problem is that as fan fiction, there are certain things you need to include which are the design of someone else.

I've found that my writing is at its best when I'm writing about something purely I designed, be that a world, characters, or plot. But when the necessary things I didn't design come into play, my writing seems to wane. I've seen this happen several times, and I believe it's because I'm more interested in what I've built than in what someone else has built. I'm more interested in exploring my own characters, places, and stories, rather than someone else's.

Question: Assuming there's no way around it though: that is, I have to include those creations of others, how can I can bring my writing up par? How can I write the parts I don't create with the same interest and excitement as the parts which I do create?

Example: The fan fiction I write is based off of the lore of an RPG-style board game. The board game revolves around a great ongoing war. My most recent fan fiction centers on someone who (unwillingly) joins the war. The first part is about his backstory, and introduces scenes crucial to his character and overarching goals throughout the rest of the plot. The second part is about him joining the war. Before he can actually go on his first mission, he must first learn about the war, be trained for combat, and come to terms with serving in the army.

The first part is great, as it's all my creation. The second part is less so. The war and everything about it is a creation of the lore of the game. Once the character enters the war, the ensuing story feels... you might call it 'scripted'. The story, characters, and even places are all my own creation (or at least the development of them is my own), but they're built within and on a framework which isn't my own, and which I feel probably doesn't fit the story as well as if I had completely ignored the lore of the game.

I know the obvious question is: can't you just write your own story? If it has to be tied to the lore, can't you do so in such a small way that it isn't intrusive and leaves you to create your own tale? Yes, I can, and I have. This particular story has to be tied to the lore the way it is. Disconnecting it from the lore is not an option in this case.

So that's my question: since it has to include the lore the way it does, how can I write both parts of the story with equal interest/excitement?

  • 5
    The obvious answer, since you enjoy writing your own stuff and don't enjoy the fanfic elements, appears to be: write your own stuff. Forget the scripted parts, take the story where you want it. Nov 14, 2018 at 22:47
  • @Galastel As I said in the OP however, I can't do that in this instance. I have to include the 'scripted' parts in this particular fan fiction. Nov 15, 2018 at 0:40
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    Go write your own stuff. But keep this project too. The joy you'll get from making originals may be enough to carry you through the work with established parts you didn't create.
    – Cyn
    Nov 15, 2018 at 6:03
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    Maybe your creative instincts are sending you a message that you've "graduated" from fan fiction. Nov 15, 2018 at 18:36

2 Answers 2


I agree with Galastel, but if you must incorporate creations not your own, ask yourself this: what excited you about this game? What characters and situations are your favourites and let those rekindle your enthusiasm.

What is it about the lore that you like? Just ponder the positives and why it was this world that you decided to toss your hapless fellow into and not another.

  • It's not that I'm not interested in the lore, it's just that I'm more interested in my own creations. Nov 14, 2018 at 23:31

I don't enjoy fan fiction, so I may be off-base here, but isn't part of the point that you AND your readers are already familiar with the background material? It must be as boring for your readers as for you to belabor things everyone knows. Why don't you just treat the non-original portions of your storyline as shared knowledge and just gloss over them? In other words, if you're writing Walking Dead fanfiction (just an example), you don't have to tell your audience what zombies are.

I'm also reminded of the old joke about the man who goes to the doctor and says "Doc, it hurts when I do this" (striking an unnatural pose). The doctor replies "Don't do that!" As I understand your question, you're creating original characters, and then running them through a pre-existing plotline, and it's boring you to tears. But you can't drop that plotline, because it's part of the game. I'm sorry to make this whole answer a Frame Challenge, but I don't know of any way to make you love creating a pointless rehash of someone else's creative efforts.

This is purely a box of your own making. If you want to write Twilight fan fiction minus the vampires, plus bondage, you can do that. If you want to write your fan-fic with lore that completely departs from the game, what's stopping you? Is the fan community going to rise up and smite you? Maybe, but probably not, especially if it's written well enough. There's someone very close to me, who I won't name, who devours "Richonne" fiction, and she doesn't seem to care even if it's set in outer space, as long as it's well written, and the main characters are named "Rick" and "Michonne."

  • Glossing over the shared knowledge also glosses over important character development and plot development going on at that time. I guess the question would be to somehow focus almost none on the shared knowledge and focus everything on the original story going on at the same time... I'm just not sure how to do that. Nov 16, 2018 at 21:00

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