In an age where teachers and parents collectively moan “it’s impossible to get teens to read anymore”, storytelling has been top of mind for many educators. And it’s hard to blame teens for not reading. How many of you can actually resist the urge of watching Netflix, scrolling through Instagram, and catching up on the latest celeb gossip? There have been more options and distractions tugging at human attention than ever before.

In this new age, the only way for reading or writing to win in a competition for the attention and free time of a teen is for it to be entertaining. Fanfiction is one way to do capture attention by using the characters and storyline users love most. Any time you try to force teens or kids to do anything, they’ll resist. The only way to get them into it is to make it fun and being able to work with amazing characters and storylines is one of the best ways to do that.

Bringing together stories and fandoms

Imagine your favorite characters from movies, books, or TV shows that is no longer airing. Now imagine that show with hundreds more takes and continuations. Some about those characters. Some branching off an earlier episode. Some fixing issues you had with the show. Others that might talk about family members of the characters you like. Now there’s so much new content around characters you love. You don’t consider it “reading.” You’re just having fun. That’s the appeal of fanfiction. I’d recommend trying a wide variety of sites to see what sucks you in. I’m really into RWBY fanfiction for example and I find a lot of that on Commaful. For In the After fanfiction, I turn to FanFicDotNet. Still others I’ll even turn to Wattpad. Everybody has their own tastes so I recommend trying a bunch.

Easing into Writing

Writing is a lot of work and extremely difficult. You have to create a world, design characters, create a storyline, and more. Fanfiction provides an easy shortcut. With writing fanfiction, worlds, characters, and even storylines are pre-made. You can use whatever elements you like to make it easier or more difficult. Let’s use Harry Potter as an example. If you want just the setting, you can use your own characters and plot but have them live in Hogwarts or the general Harry Potter universe. You could use a time period you’re most familiar with or even change the date to make it more challenging. If you want to use just the characters, you can take the characters and put them in a different setting, going on a different adventure. For example, Harry Potter in modern day high school. You can also use both the characters and the setting but change the plot. Perhaps Dumbledore turns evil and the plot falls into that.

This crutch makes it a lot more fun to write stories. As writers develop their creative and writing muscle, they can then expand into original works of fiction. It is a fairly simple switch and a powerful one at that.

Try simple novel writing software

There are a lot of things you can use to improving your writing out there that make it easy to get started. Try out a few that you like and see which ones spark your inspiration. Good software can really simplify the process and make it easy for you to get into reading and writing. You can even use lists to get story ideas.

In the end, the key is to make it fun. Nobody likes doing things that aren’t fun. Make it fun and the habit comes. In fact, you’ll find it impossible to quit!