Skip to main content

Fan Fiction ... or Fan Nonfiction?

All my recent reading about fan fiction (bigger post forthcoming) brings up a thought about nonfiction. When I present at conferences, I often talk about magazine freelancing - and remember, freelancing is important because magazine writing is a great stepping stone toward building credentials and a platform, then writing a nonfiction book. During these presentations, I help writers identify markets, realize their strengths and compose query letters. But no matter how much instruction I give, people still want to know one thing: Where do you come up with ideas for magazine articles?

Well ... hopefully, these ideas will come to you here and there as you walk through life. But if you continue to hit a dead end concerning ideas, you can always take what others have done and piggyback.

Of course I'm referring to the all-important follow-up article. It's one of the first things they taught me at the newspaper: "Every story deserves a follow-up." It's true. Whether it's one year later or five years later or 25 years later, you can write an article focusing on what has happened since the "event" (or whatever) first transpired.

Examples:
One year after the state school board (etc.) passed a controversial funding change, how has that impacted schools?
Five years after that buffoon fan reached over the seats at a Chicago Cubs fan and (likely) cost the Cubs a playoff series, where is this guy now? Is he dead? Does he still get death threats? How does he make ends meet?
30 years after a nearby oil spill, how are animals and environment still affected, if at all?

In a way, I consider such work almost to be "fan nonfiction." With fan fiction, you're taking what others have done and piggybacking on it with your own story. With a follow-up, you're taking someone's idea and just providing an update on the story. Anyway ... food for thought.

A Conversation With Jaden Terrell on Writer Expectations, Part 1 (Killer Writers)

A Conversation With Jaden Terrell on Writer Expectations, Part 1 (Killer Writers)

Killer Nashville founder Clay Stafford continues his series of interviews with mystery, thriller, and suspense authors. Here he has a conversation with novelist Jaden Terrell about writer expectations and success.

Connecting the Dots vs. Drawing the Whole Damn Picture: A Veteran Ghostwriter Takes Back His Pen and Finds Something To Say

Connecting the Dots vs. Drawing the Whole Damn Picture: A Veteran Ghostwriter Takes Back His Pen and Finds Something To Say

Writing for oneself after a decades-long career as a ghostwriter is a challenge unto itself. Here, author Daniel Paisner discusses his career as a ghostwriter, how the process differs from writing his own work, and if the two ever intersect.

Who Are Sensitivity Editors? And How Much Does Sensitivity Reading Pay?

Who Are Sensitivity Editors? And How Much Does Sensitivity Reading Pay?

Sensitivity readers offer a very specific and focused edit to manuscripts. Here, C. Hope Clark shares what a sensitivity editor is, how much it pays, and where you can start.

Kate White: On Building In Brainstorming Time

Kate White: On Building In Brainstorming Time

New York Times bestselling author Kate White discusses the process of writing her new psychological thriller, The Second Husband.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 615

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a desire poem.

Writer's Digest Best Writing Advice Websites for Writers 2022

Writer's Digest Best Writing Advice Websites for Writers 2022

Here are the top writing advice websites as identified in the 24th Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

Love the Art. Work the Business. | Nikesha Elise Williams

Nikesha Elise Williams: On the Power of Self-Publishing

In this indie author profile, novelist Nikesha Elise Williams shares her path to self publishing and the creative marketing strategy that's led to her success.

Change of Plans

Change of Plans

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, there's been a sudden and unforeseen change of plans.

5 Things to Know When Writing About the Music Industry

5 Things to Know When Writing About the Music Industry

Author Ashley M. Coleman gives you her top five tricks for writing about the music industry—even if you're not an industry expert.