Reader Insert Fanfiction
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a superhero fighting alongside Batman or the Avengers? What about a singer on tour with your favorite band? How would you like to go on adventures with the characters from Star Wars? Whatever your favorite fandom is, Reader Insert Fanfiction is perfect for you!
When you write a Reader Insert story, you can imagine that you are a character in your own story, and the best part is, anyone who reads it can experience that same thrill of being a part of the action.
The key to a successful Reader Insert story is to make your main character as vague and general as possible so than anyone reading your story can imagine that it's actually them living out the plot of your story. Reader Insert is different from creating an Original Character because the character you're writing doesn't have a name, a specific age, or ethnicity. That being said, there are some writers who are branching off from traditional Reader Insert to create specific types of Readers such as a PlusSized!Reader, a Muslim!Reader, a POC!Reader, etc. These characters still fall under the Reader Insert umbrella, but the writer has chosen to give them a defining characteristic so that people will have an easier time identifying with the Reader in the story.
In the years that I've been reading and writing Reader Insert Fanfiction, I've paid attention to constructive criticism people have offered to both me and other writers I follow, and I have tried to be more mindful of how I describe my characters based on the suggestions of my followers and other writers. You never know who is reading your story, so beware of accidentally adding in details about yourself. When it comes to describing your Reader, general and vague is the key.
Below is a list of ways to avoid common pitfalls when describing your Reader:
To be on the safe side, never mention hair at all unless you have your Reader in a wig. There are too many different hair styles/lengths/textures to make it general. It's tempting to have your male protagonist tuck a stray strand of hair behind the Reader's ear, but not everyone has hair long enough to be tucked behind their ear.
I never mention my Reader's eye color. Instead, refer to how beautiful the Reader's eyes are. You can describe how they light up when they see the male protagonist, or that they darkened with anger when they are face to face with the villain. Eyes can also narrow in anger, grow wide in shock, roll in frustration or amusement, or glare at someone.
Stay away from describing what the Reader's lips look like - instead write about how they move. "The corner of her mouth lifted in a smirk when she caught him staring at her." Lips can smile, frown, or purse together in frustration. A person can lick their lips, bite their bottom lip, or use their lips to pout.
There are a wide variety of face shapes, so avoid mentioning the shape of your Reader's chin, nose, ears, cheeks, or forehead. Another common critique I see is when a writer describes the Reader blushing when she is embarrassed. Not everyone blushes, so I tend to use general phrases such as "She felt embarrassment wash over her." The person reading the story can imagine they are blushing if that's something they do, but others will imagine that sinking feeling they get in the pit of their stomach when they are embarrassed.
Not all women have super curvy bodies, so avoid mentioning the size of breasts, hips, or buttocks. Women also vary in height, so avoid having the Reader "look up" to the male protagonist - some women are just as tall or taller than the male protagonist in your story.
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