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Fanfiction Writing Tips - How to Get More Constructive Reviews

Fanfiction Writing Tips: How To Get More Constructive Reviews

Wow, never did I think my previous post about reviews would get the response it did. Apparently anything to do with reviews – getting them, receiving them, good ones, bad ones, too many, not enough, etc – is a big subject.

I’m very happy that so many people came by to give their opinions. I’m just a fanfiction writer and reader who comments on the fanfiction world as she sees it. It’s great to hear from my fellow readers and writers to know how they feel about things and all of this info will help me to write better (and more helpful) posts for you guys. So keep it up people!

After getting the first couple responses, I decided to write one focusing more on getting more constructive reviews.

So here’s a new slant on the subject…

Write a great story.

Duh, everyone knows that right? Well sometimes I’m not so sure. I’ve seen half-written stories strapped together with the literary equivalent of chewing gum and paperclips thrown up onto fanfic forums in the hopes that someone will read them. As much as I want to encourage writers, no matter what their experience, to go ahead and write because they love it – sloppy work (especially when you, the writer, know it’s sloppy) will not do when you’re trying to get quality, constructive reviews. When a work is haphazardly done, a reader is likely to see the first few sentences and move right on to the next one.

Finish your story.

We’ve all had it happen – that horrible moment when you’re stuck in a story and, even worse than not knowing where to go next, you have no desire to continue it. Somewhere along the line, you lost the spark – that thing that was keeping it going and now the idea of writing more makes you want to run to the hills. So you give up and move on to something else. Now one of the great things I love about fanfiction is the fact that it lets you post stories before you are done, allowing you to get feedback while still in the work-in-progress mode. As a writer, it’s awesome. As a reader? Not so much. So if you want more constructive reviews and comments that help you to become a better and better writer….finish something! Use it as a test of your resilience. If you want to make it as a writer (or even if you don’t, but just want to prove to yourself that you can finish something you’ve started) then suck it up and finish that story that you have no desire to see ever again. Figure out what went wrong and start writing. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get a review that will point you in a whole new direction and give you the enthusiasm for it again.

Be specific if you do ask for feedback.

Yes, I’ll agree with the readers of my last post who said that an author who constantly asks for reviews can get annoying. In my defense, when I wrote that I wasn’t picturing that type of person. I was picturing my friend who was so terrified to post her stories she didn’t know what to do with herself. The idea of her asking once was a stretch, I didn’t think of her doing it more than that. So if you want to avoid annoying your readers but still would like some feedback on a specific part of your story that you’re not sure worked, then be specific about what you’d like the readers to look at and comment about.

Reply to your comments.

First off, I know there are probably two camps on this one. There are the people who say “Yeah! C’mon, I comment all the time and I never hear back!” and the ones that say “What are you nuts?? Have you seen how many comments I get? I can’t possibly reply to them all!”. I’ve been on both sides so I understand. My answer to that is reply to as many as you can and, especially when you’re just starting out, I highly suggest you reply to all. First off because in the beginning you’re bound to have fewer reviews, making that task much easier, and also because I have met so many new friends that way. Speaking personally to your readers is an awesome thing, not only as an author but just as a person who loves fanfic and loves discussing it with others who do too. Once you get to the point where replying to each review will take away from writing your next chapter, then I suggest that you at least reply to those who take the time to write a long review or have a particular question, issue, etc. Then you can include the rest in your A/N’s (author’s notes) with a general “thanks for the reviews!”. When I see that a writer is getting hundreds of reviews, I am more than happy with that type of acknowledgement.

Write a good summary.

There is nothing that will turn off a potential reader faster than a bad summary. Things like “I suck at summaries” and “I promise, the story is better than this summary” aren’t how you make up for it. Read other summaries to get an idea of what makes a good one and try and emulate it. Ideally your summary should give an idea of what your story is about without giving everything away – it’s kind of like a movie trailer. The good ones leave you excited about what’s to come and wanting more.

So there you go, some more tips that I hope help all my fellow fanfic writers out there. Got any others you’d like to share? Feel free to comment and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you guys!  :)

Got a fanfiction issue, question or problem? I can help! I am now offering fanfiction consultating/coaching services to anyone, in any fandom, writing any type of story. If you’re interested in a consultation, just email me at to get a free evaluation and find out what I can do for you.

Want to know every time I add a new post? Be sure to subscribe to Moki’s Fanfiction Blog!

More on Moki’s Fanfiction Blog…
Hurt/Comfort Fanfiction, Why Do We Hurt The Ones We Love?
Moki’s Latest NCIS fanfic “The Cavalry Rides Again” – chapter 7

More Fanfiction Writing Tips…
How Writing Fanfiction Prepared me to be a Freelance Writer
Fanfiction Tips: Writing a Good Action Scene
Fanfiction Tips: Keeping Your Characters In Character

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Dean Winchester Bloody

Hurt/Comfort Fanfiction: Why Do We Hurt the Ones We Love?

Before I ever knew what fanfiction was, I was already interested in the hurt/comfort (aka “H/C” – see my Fanfiction Glossary for more definitions) genre. Whenever I watched a tv show, read a book, or watched a movie, I always found myself a bit more interested if the hero basically got his ass kicked. The stronger they were, the more I liked to see them fall – emotionally as well as physically.

Once I discovered the wonderful world of fanfiction, I was surprised by how many people apparently shared my feelings. While searching through stories, I found many featured a favorite character getting hurt, dealing with tragedies, etc. Not only that, they also featured another character helping them through it all, someone who cared for them and comforted them while they were hurt.

Now that I am a writer myself, I have delved into this genre and continue to be fascinated by it. The first time I posted a hurt/comfort story, I wondered if anyone else would be interested in it or if I was part of a minority. Turns out I’m not, as the traffic and reviews to my stories have proven.

So what is it about the h/c genre that we like to write and read? Why do we like to hurt the ones we love?

We are not monstrous, cruel beasts.

You know, I used to wonder about myself. Back before I knew there were others who liked h/c as much as I did. I wondered if there was something “wrong” with me for liking to torture my characters. But now after writing a few of these stories, and talking to other authors who do as well, I know that it’s not out of cruelty. We are not horrible, terrible people, angry at the world and taking it out on our characters. We are simply people writing stories that we enjoy.

Let’s face it, anguish and pain are interesting.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for stories where everything is lollipops and rainbows. I’ve even been known to write the odd bit of fluff here and there myself. But there’s nothing quite like a story where you have to wonder if your character is going to survive. Where you feel their pain because you’ve been there yourself and you want them to fight back. Where you watch them go through an emotional trauma that makes them stronger. These are the kinds of stories that truly get my dander up, making me look forward to each chapter with so much anticipation that I practically stab at my keyboard as I click on each subsequent chapter. These are the kinds of stories that I like to write as well, for the same reasons.

Giving our favorite characters the limelight.

One of the things I love most about reading and writing hurt/comfort, is that it gives my favorite characters a chance to be the center of attention. Other characters worry over them, have long discussions (often emotional ones) about them and go out of their way to help. It’s awesome. If your character is part of a large ensemble cast, sometimes it can be the only way they get a lot of attention.

Taking supporting characters in new directions.

When I write fanfic, one of my main goals is to keep my characters in character. But writing hurt/comfort also allows me to stretch characters to the very edge of their personalities. My favorite type of h/c story features strong men – one of which is hurt and the other then has to help. I enjoy writing this because it gives me a chance to take these usually strong, macho-type men and weaken them to the point where they can show their soft little underbellies. I get to write scenes that, if written during a ‘normal’ point in their lives, may come off as out of character. They get to say and do things they may not normally, all because of the situation they are thrust into.

Wearing them down and then building them up.  

Taking a character down to the lowest depths, whether by physically hurting them or putting them through emotional hell, let’s us observe their journey back. As an author, I not only like writing the scenes where my characters are going through the tough stuff, I also like writing them coming back from it. By tearing them apart, we get to put them back together as well.

So what about you? If you’re a fan of the hurt/comfort genre, what is it about it that compels you to read or write it?

Want to know every time I add a new post? Be sure to subscribe to Moki’s Fanfiction Blog!

More on Moki’s Fanfiction Blog…

Moki’s Latest NCIS fic “The Cavalry Rides Again” – chapters 5 & 6

How Writing Fanfiction Prepared me to be a Freelance Writer

Fanfiction Tips: Writing a Good Action Scene

Fanfiction Tips: Keeping Your Characters In Character

Fanfiction: Your Dirty Little Secret?

The Friendly Writer: Using Fanfiction to Improve Your Writing

Fanfiction: What is it?

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Dress Up as a Freelance Writer

I just looked at the calendar and realized that I hit an important milestone a couple of days ago. It has now been one year since I got laid off from a corporate job. I remember the shock I felt as I walked out of the office, got into my car and drove home with no idea what I was going to do next. 

I got over the shock about 24 hours later and that’s when I started planning. As I started getting ready to update my resume (which I hadn’t had to do in six years, I had been at that company that long) and buy new clothes for interviews, I suddenly realized that I had no desire to go back to the corporate world. So I chose a whole new path – freelance writer. 

A year later I have realized my dream and am now getting paid to put words to paper (or computer screen). 

Here’s how writing fanfiction helped me to achieve my goal. 


When you think of writing fanfiction, I’m sure you don’t think of deadlines. After all we fanfic authors are our own bosses, deciding when to post and when not to post. But early on I discovered that I produced a lot more if I set myself targets. Sometimes I didn’t meet them, but many times I did and in doing so, I learned how to write under the dreaded “deadline”.

Handling criticism. 

For the most part, my experience with reviewers has been positive when it comes to my fanfiction. But every once in a while there have been people who have given a negative comment or criticized the way I wrote a particular scene or portrayed a character. The first time it happened I’ll admit that it deflated me a little bit and I began to second-guess myself as a writer. Then I realized that I needed to just get over it. I learned to take the criticism that was helpful, using it to become a better writer, and ignore the rest.

Getting over writer’s block.  

One of the biggest lessons I learned while writing fanfiction was getting over ‘writer’s block’. When I was still fairly new at writing fanfic, I had a wonderful writing coach who taught me a valuable lesson. His theory was that ‘writer’s block’ stemmed from a person actually stopping themselves from writing. We go to write the next paragraph and our hands freeze over the keyboard, not because we have nothing to say, but because we are saying to ourselves “no, I don’t like that idea”. So we keep trying and keep stopping, never letting anything out of our heads. He taught me a great technique where I write anything and everything that pops into my head when doing a first draft, no matter how ludicrous it sounds. Then later I go back and clean it up. Sometimes I delete whole paragraphs when I’m editing, but often those ‘crazy ideas’ actually turn into something pretty cool. I have put that theory into practice many times while writing my fanfiction and it has also been extremely helpful when I find myself ‘stuck’ in a freelance project.

Want to know every time I add a new post? Be sure to subscribe to Moki’s Fanfiction Blog!

More Fanfiction Writing Tips…

Fanfiction Tips: Writing a Good Action Scene

Fanfiction Tips: Keeping Your Characters In Character

More on Moki’s Fanfiction Blog…

Moki’s Latest NCIS fic “The Cavalry Rides Again” – chapter 4

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