Filing Off Serial Numbers

“My publisher is putting out a call for M/M stories.  Do you have any fanfic that could be polished?”

This question sent both a thrill and a shiver through me.  I’ve written a lot fanfic.  Fanficition is commonly defined as “stories about characters or settings written by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creator.” Most of what I have written is still online in various places.  (No, I will not say where.)  I have a few stories that I didn’t get around to posting, and immediately thought of one that I had toyed with the idea of transforming earlier.  It was a gen story, but could easily be converted to a M/M story.  The deadline for submissions is in October, so I have some time to get it ready.  But exactly how do you convert a fanfic to an all original story?

The stage I am at now is referred to as filing off the serial numbers. I am doing a deep edit of the story and marking down wherever I find any reference to the television show it.  Those sections will have to be rewritten completely.  I will have to come up with new names, new backstories, and in some cases, new plot points.  I need to remove anything that ties back specifically to the television show it was based on. In many ways, it is easier to start writing from scratch than reworking an existing story.

Can it be done successfully?  Yes it can. The most well known recent example is the Fifty Shades of Grey series.  I am not expecting this story to be anywhere near as successful as it.   How successful will it be?  We’ll have to wait and see.