Greetings, viewers. Thank you for taking a long deserved break from trolling any singer looking like Justin Bieber(I got sick of the comments after my cover of that Limp Biskit song--I swear I like death metal) and sitting down to learn how to write a good fanfiction.
But of course, you came in here because either you discovered the brony fandom and want to fit in, or you're already here and want to contribute to it more than learning from example and trying to recreate another Katy Perry song into the brony sense, but chose to do the song "Peacock" and found you made a song so dirty the FBI is now monitoring what you're doing right now.
In either case, this self-help article will help you learn how to write an MLP story that will gain attention, and will finally get you a feature on Equestria Daily. Depending on how long winded I am right now, this could be either one part, or several. You'll find out when I do.
LESSON 1: LEARN THE SHOW
No matter what you're doing, the first rule of writing fanfiction worthy of views is knowing the show at heart. It doesn't matter if you're writing a story that's formatted after an episode or that video your otaku friend likes with the tentacles and the school girls, you got to know exactly what the rules are of what it is you're writing.
The reason for this is that you need to learn the characters, get their personalities down, and learn about the different creatures and towns of Equestria. For example, do you know what a griffon is in the show? How about Canterlot? Celestia? Pinkie Pie and what would happen if you gave her an energy drink?
If you don't know, you're probably a troll that's already scrolled down to the comments section to start a flame war, in that case go ahead. I need the comments in the first place, and you're giving my article more attention and probably more hits. In fact, in trolling bronies you're really helping me. It's like bamboo, the more you cut it down the faster it grows back just to tick you off. In that case bamboo is best plant.
Comment aside, you might want to write an epic war story involving griffons and dragons. This is not a bad idea even though it would never happen in the show, but it would help so you know what role they play, like how dragons grow with their greed and you know you can experiment with griffon culture a little because the show hasn't gotten too much into detail about it.
Another thing is that if you plan on using the characters from FIM in your story, the best thing you can do is watch an episode or two that they're featured in, so you get a better idea of their personalities and traits. If your story has Pinkie Pie as a punk with radical speech patterns and tear drops for a cutie mark, I look forward to reading it just to see where you went wrong, but in the long run most bronies would be furious that you switched personalites with Pinkie and Gilda. Hey, I just gave you your first fanfiction idea by complete accident!
It can be critical to know about the different species of pony along with everything else. Like what is an Earth Pony good at? Answer: If it's not strength, really noth--oh, I'm sorry. My editor just told me Pinkie Pie is best pony, and if I say Earth Ponies are good at nothing, I'll go back to covering BrokenCYDE on YouTube again. And I already got death threats.
Regardless of how wrong he is, a pegasus would be cool to write about. She can fly around, sit on clouds, and generally is pretty awesome. Same goes for a unicorn. Because you have a character that uses magic, it gives you an excuse to make up crap as you go, using your unicorn's horn as a MacGuffin all the time, and you can totally get away with it.
LESSON 2: THINK ABOUT YOUR STORY
Now, here comes your first step in getting your story down: The story. You can't just go ahead and start working without some idea of what you're doing. Granted, it's entertaining when seeing someone not knowing what they're doing(AKA your Saturday nights with friends) but this is writing.
First, don't be afraid to look outside for inspiration. There are plenty of sources of ideas you can use, like music to movies, clothing to nature. You can use all of them to get some idea, and if you're talented enough you can use any of them and craft it into a good story. Otherwise, you'll just insert yourself as a character and have her do sexy things, though you'll still make money from it(AKA 50 Shades of Grey).
Second, is to start making the blueprint of your story. How you do this step is up to you, and can be unique in every case. I'll stop making wisecracks and speak honestly for a moment when it comes to this issue.
Often I select character I would like to write about, and look into their personalites and see what I can come up with that they would do. Like one time, I wanted to write about Princess Luna, and thought about her history with Nightmare Moon. Now, we all know by now that Celestia has forgiven her for a while now. But I started a story based on this idea: Would Luna be willing to forgive herself so easily, if she had to live with the knowledge that she attacked her sister like that, a member of her own family?
Again, you can do it differently than I did. Perhaps you do want to do a griffon and dragon war as listed before. Why would there be a war in the first place? It doesn't matter what, but it helps if you can come up with a reason. Or else you might end up with a story that sounds like it came from an 8 bit game, and saying that most of them had stories is stretching it a bit.
In either case, think about what you're doing before you take a leap.
LESSON 3: MAKE IT INTERESTING
Let's face it, most stories are boring or crap. In some cases it can be wildly entertaining(read: the WTFFanfiction Tumblr blog, My Immortal) but most of the time it doesn't work out on that level. So what you gotta do to make the fireworks start on your story, give it that extra jazz?
In the case that you didn't Google that Tumblr blog or gag when you saw My Immortal haunt the Internet again, the key is to do something that nobody else really does. For example, you know Cupcakes. Yes, THAT fanfic. I am lucky enough to not have read it and therefore am unscarred, but there's no doubt that you know about it. Because it did something that nobody ever did, turn MLP in a Saw movie.
Excuse me while I figure out why I shouldn't kick a puppy now.
Regardless, it did SOMETHING different. I am a little unique because I'm willing to insult myself now and again(just wait until you see my new emo story coming this fall. It's got 20 death scenes, more blood than Kill Bill and Ichi The Killer combined, and it features myself as the newest singer for Evansence even though I can't sing) and in the case of MLP, it's got a sense of optimism most things don't have much these days. Well, expect when you're convinced this is the day you quit your job, until you realize it's going to be the day you get a raise. Sometimes, throwing money at things can fix issues.
My message here is this: Find out what makes you different from everyone else, and use it to your ability. If you're writing, you got some strengths that set you apart, and don't be afraid to use them. Who knows, you could be paid for this stuff one day if you're really good at it.
Now, I have regained enough sanity to realize I'm splitting this up into different parts, but since I hate ending a series on a to-be-continued note(hey Lost, we need to talk) I'll add in one more lesson for you today...
LESSON 4: DON'T BE AFRAID TO FAIL
As I'm writing this, I'm writing it with the ideal that you're starting out. If you're already writing, hopefully the endless satire of myself is keeping you entertained. Anyways, you're going to write your first story. You got butterflies in your stomach and not your flank, unlike best pony. You hope the feedback you get is positive and/or honest. But if you think you failed, you wonder if you should keep going.
Here's my main message: You really should keep going.
Again, I'll drop the satire for a bit to say that the chances of you putting out a not-so-good story at least once in your life are pretty high. We all do that, even the best of us. But the reason why the best are the best is because they kept going. They didn't care in the end if they failed, because they learned something in that failure.
I think the main reason why people fear failure is because they don't think they will get a second chance. It does happen in some fields, where a movie named Heaven's Gate flopped fiancially so hard that it shut down the studios who built it...
...but in the end, you have nothing to lose. You're trying out writing, probably with a day job on the side. The point is, you're just starting out. You're not going to be as good as you would like when you start. But you get better with every story.
Again, from personal experience, I wasn't always good(maybe I'm still not). My first actual story, and it's still on my profile if you want to read it, was a 12-chapter poem story called Nefas Latruseries. It was ambitious for me and I had never done something like that before. And around the midway point, I wanted to give up. I really did, I thought the story was crap. But I finished it, and I was glad I did. I could learn from what I did, and eventually my stories got better, I think.
In the end, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from trying out fanfiction writing.
OK, with Part One out of the way, be prepared for what's coming ahead. Part Two will likely skewer away from advice and dive headlong into straight satire, so this should not be representative of the whole work.