More kids are writing today than in the history of the world.


Reread that sentence. It’s an astounding thought! We have the Internet to thank for this explosion in writing among young people. One of the fastest-growing online genres is called Fan Fiction.

The writing of fanfiction has become increasingly popular in recent years, and the vast majority of the writers and readers in this genre of fiction are teenagers. Given the continued popularity of this genre, it's important for Brave Writer to offer a course in fanfiction writing.

Writing fanfiction involves the creation of stories and books around already existing characters from a previously published work of literature or other art forms. Obviously, this type of story cannot be published for profit as the characters belong to the original author; however, students can learn a great deal about the fiction writing process from writing fan fiction.

The most popular works of fanfiction (according to FanFiction.net) involve the characters from book series Harry Potter, Twilight, and Percy Jackson; the movie series Star Wars and The Avengers; the anime series Naruto; and the TV series Supernatural, Glee, Doctor Who, and Sherlock. However, a great deal of fanfiction is also written from the works of classic authors such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, plus games such as Pokémon. Really, almost any book, television program, anime, game, or movie can be the basis of a fanfiction story.

Your students will have the chance to explore the following literary elements in depth by writing their own works of fiction:

  • Plot
  • Character development
  • Setting
  • Dialog
  • Upping the stakes (how to escalate the suspense in a novel)
  • Climax
  • Satisfying ending (Resolution or Denouement)

They will get to practice:

  • Freewriting and drafting
  • Planning plot
  • Developing believable characters
  • Revision strategies
  • Peer feedback
  • Sharing their work with interested readers

Fanfiction went mainstream in late 2011 with the publication of P. D. James’ Austen fan fiction entitled Death Comes to Pemberley. In this novel by one of the most well-respected mystery writers in Great Britain, the character of Wickham is accused of murder, forcing Elizabeth and Darcy into the awkward position of having to prove his innocence. Because Jane Austen’s works are no longer under copyright, Ms. James was able to publish this work of fanfiction for publication and profit; the BBC even produced a miniseries based on the fanfiction novel. Additional fanfiction novels have become New York Timesbestsellers.

The advantage of writing fanfiction is that the characters are already familiar to both the writers and most likely to the readers; therefore, young writers can concentrate on crafting the plot as they are already familiar with the characters and settings.

In this class, Susanne Barrett, author of two completed fan fiction novels and several short-stories on FanFiction.net and Wattpad.com, will lead students in the creation of two fanfiction stories.

Susanne’s works of fanfiction have garnered over four million “reads” (hits) on these websites! In addition, she remains an active member of the fanfiction community through continued reading and reviewing of fanfiction plus the editing of nearly a dozen fanfiction novels over the past few years.

In addition to her fanfiction experience, her Master of Arts in English Literature and her extensive experience at Brave Writer (since 2002) make her uniquely well-suited for teaching this course.

By the end of this class, students will have created a story worthy of publication on one of the many websites devoted to fanfiction, if desired.

What better way is there to spend the summer for kids who love to write or for kids who are reluctant to write but are devoted to a fandom?

Tentative Class Schedule

Week One: Discussion of definition of fan fiction and which authors have requested their works to not be the subject of this genre. Examination of fan fiction story examples. Free writing exercise to determine topic/work of fan fiction to be written.

Week Two: Character study exercise to aid in developing already established characters. Plot exercise/assignment to study the elements of plot in preparation for plotting the story. Discussion and writing of a plot outline for the story.

Week Three: Writing a flash fan fiction one-shot (short story of 1000 words or less) through first draft, peer and teacher feedback, final draft, and posting (in our classroom) stages.

Week Four: Writing a longer fan fiction one-shot (short story) or chapter of a longer work (2000-5000 words) through first draft, peer and teacher feedback, and final draft stages. Posting in the classroom (and possible online publication, with parental permission) of final fan fiction stories.

For more information about how the classes are run, please read about online classes.

To explore our Brave Writer classroom, click here to access a sample class.

Class Structure Description #

Brave Writer online classes are specially designed with the busy homeschooling parent in mind. Classes last anywhere from four to six weeks. We offer courses that address a specific writing need so that you can take the ones that suit your family throughout the school year. Short class sessions enable you to work around family vacations, out-of-town swim meets, recovering from wisdom teeth removal, and visits from grandparents. We operate on the quarter system, including a summer session. Our most popular classes repeat each quarter, while others are seasonal.

Our classes meet in a customized online classroom, designed specifically to meet the needs of Brave Writer. Only registered students and the instructor have access to the classroom to ensure your privacy. Assignments and reading materials are posted by Brave Writer instructors each week (no additional supply fees necessary, unless otherwise indicated). Either you (homeschooling parent) or your child (homeschooling student) will visit the classroom daily at your convenience to read helpful information about the current topic or to find the writing assignment. We operate "asynchronously" (which means that the discussion is not live, but that posted information remains available to you in your time zone at your convenience). Instructors check the classroom throughout the day to answer questions and give feedback on writing.

Writing is done at home and then typed into the classroom, and shared with both the instructor and other classmates. You're not required to be online at any specific time of the day. We have students from all over the world participating in our classes so "live" discussion is impossible. Instead, the online classroom enables the instructor to post information and assignments when it is convenient to the instructor. Then, when it is convenient for you, you come to the classroom and read the latest postings.

Instructor feedback to student writing is offered for all participants to read. Writing questions are welcomed and encouraged! That's the point of class. We aim to give you immediate support as you face writing obstacles.

Brave Writer takes seriously the need for encouragement and emotional safety in writing. No student is ever at risk of being humiliated or mistreated. All online dialog is respectful and supportive of your child's process. This is the core of Brave Writer philosophy. You can read about Brave Writer values here.

What makes our program especially unique in the world of online education is that we value a corporate experience. Rather than teaching your child in a tutorial format, we prefer students to have the opportunity to both publish their work for an audience (other students) and also to have the chance to read other student writing. In no other setting is this possible. Schools-in-buildings rarely have students read each other's work. Homeschooled children are rarely in a classroom environment to begin with, so the opportunity to read peer-writing is nil.

Our classes provide an utterly unique experience in the world of writing instruction. Since most writers grow through emulation of good writing, it is a real advantage to Brave Writer kids to get the chance to read the writing of their fellow home-educated peers. They love it! They get to examine and internalize other ways of writing, analyzing and expressing ideas similar to their own. They have the chance to validate and cheer on their peers. And of course, the best part of all is that they receive the praise and affirmation of kids just like them.

Not only that, all instructor feedback is posted to the classroom for all students to read. That means your kids get the benefit of instructor comments on many papers, not just their own. We've noted that this style of instruction is especially effective and hope you'll agree!

To explore our Brave Writer classroom, click here to access a sample class.