Are you a passionate writer whose dream of being a famous fanfiction author is crumbling to dust? Do you want the satisfaction and validation that comes with getting numerous reads and votes on your online stories about celebrities and existing fictional worlds? Well, when I was a fourteen-year-old with a questionable worldview and music taste, I learned the secret to success in the world of fanfiction. This hard-earned knowledge will definitely help desperate teen authors reach their goals.
Step One: Pick your characters
The popularity of a piece of fanfiction depends heavily on which fandom it is a part of. Since your goal is to get maximum reads, you only have two real options: One Direction in case of celebrities and Harry Potter in case of existing fiction.
Step Two: Choose an appropriate setting
You can pick any place—the USA, the UK, Somalia—as long as you include a scene where your protagonist visits a Starbucks outlet and literally runs into Harry Styles/Voldemort.
Step Three: Set up the plotline
Young fanfic writers out there might think this is the most complicated part, but honestly, it's the easiest. Let's start with a 1D fanfic.
Your typical, popular, One Direction fanfiction stars a teen female protagonist. Despite hating or being indifferent about One Direction's music, she somehow ends up on tour with the band. Either by a) spilling a Starbucks latte on Harry Styles, b) Winning a contest to meet Harry Styles, or c) Being adopted by Harry Styles, the main character gets close to the band members before being asked to accompany them on tour. At this point, get ready to write about all kinds of drama taking place, drama that inevitably leads to all the members of the band falling violently in love with your protagonist. Build up the tension until the band decides to split due to their disagreements. Then, you must continue the procession of sorrowful events until you kill off one of the characters. Break your readers' hearts. After that, proceed to write the epilogue, where your main character wakes up after a long and refreshing nap. She realises she fell asleep on the tour bus and had a terrible premonition of what the future might be like if she remained indecisive about her life partner. In the end, she just somehow knows that Harry Styles was the one for her all along. This helps her avoid causing the breakup of the band and the death of one or more of its members. Make sure to set your story in 2013, when the band was still together. Your story needs to have some credibility, after all.
Unfortunately, there is no generic plotline in case of Harry Potter. This particular fandom is too vast to have such shortcuts. However, you can never go wrong with an emotionally wrenching story about Severus Snape and Lily Evans, set in an alternate universe where Lily picks him and not James. Write about how happy they would be together and how pure their love would seem. Readers tend to lap it all up, since most Potterheads tend to forget that Snape was emotionally abusive to the Boy Who Lived and picked the Dark Arts over Lily. Also, with Snape and Lily together, The Boy Who Lived wouldn't exist. You could also consider a story about the romance between Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger, where Hermione suddenly gives up all the ideals that make her such a great character and falls in love with the confused coward that is Malfoy.Whatever you do, though, make sure your story features Gryffindors as an elite group of perfect students while Slytherins are the ultimate bad guys.
The steps above are guaranteed to get you lots of votes, followers, and validation. Although, they may cause acute cringe attacks in later life. If online fame is beneath you, or if you want to make your time and effort worthwhile and make actual money from your fanfic, though, you don't need to follow this exhaustive guideline. I only have four words of advice for you: Fifty Shades of Grey.
Despite being a hopeless fangirl, Marisha Aziz lives under delusions of awesomeness. Contact her at email@example.com to give her another excuse to ignore her teetering pile of life problems.