How I Turned A Fanfic Into A Novel

I need to make a confession.

If there is anybody, potentially, out there who thinks Paper Flowers seems weirdly familiar to them, there is probably a reason for that. If you’re a Supernatural fan, and particularly a Destiel fan, you might have read a fanfiction by universalromance called “All Your Edges”, which featured Dean as a florist and Castiel as a lawyer and romance author.

Paper Flowers is that fic turned into an original work. My Dean and Cas in “All Your Edges” weren’t entirely in character so it wasn’t difficult to change them into different people: Jake Nicholls and Maximinus Christiansen. I wanted to write a romance series and I loved “All Your Edges” so much that I wanted that story to be a part of my romance series and so I set to work turning a fanfiction into an original novel.

It’s not as simple as merely changing characters’ names, to make a fic into an original work. If your fic isn’t set in an alternate universe, the process is more in depth. Thankfully, “All Your Edges” was an alternate universe story so I didn’t have to make too many changes. My main changes were character related: names, descriptions, dialogue, and inner-monologue for Jake.

I changed every character’s name, and I even added some characters or took others away if they didn’t serve a purpose beyond a cameo (which was now obsolete).

Changing dialogue was a little harder, I eliminated certain word uses and also changed the kind of colloquialisms that some characters use in order to alter their personalities. Changing dialogue goes a long way to change a character when you write in first person limited the way I did for Paper Flowers. Jake was more difficult as the entire story is from his perspective so I had to not only alter some of his dialogue, but some of his inner monologues to make him sufficiently different from my Dean from “All Your Edges”.

I didn’t change much of the prose, I will be very honest with you, but I feel I changed the story enough by making the characters into new people (not only by names, but by descriptions and personalities) that changing the prose wasn’t entirely necessary. If I had written a story more close to its original text, or hadn’t altered the characters enough, then massive sections of the prose would have been unusable in an original novel. I did, however, edit everything thoroughly and discovered that I overuse semi colons something fierce (I am sorry grammar, gods, I didn’t mean to!).

By changing the characters I also achieved something else: I opened an entire world of characters to write books about. I have been wanting to write a romance series where each book focuses on a different couple of characters finding their way to each other. By creating Paper Flowers and it’s rather large cast of characters, I was able to briefly outline another 8 potential stories set in the same world as Jake and Max’s story. That allows me to still use Jake and Max, while creating new stories and introducing new characters.

Three of the books feature Max’s brothers as protagonists so we will definitely be seeing more of Jake and Max in the future, which is exciting for me because I was able to fall in love with them as I transformed them from fanfiction characters into who they are now.

Now, I should go and work on Silk Sheets, Augustus’s story. I’m very excited about it. The blurb is live on the Upcoming Works page.

Leave a Reply