hannibal fic resources

Hannibal is not an easy show to write fanfiction for. The dialogue is bizarrely (and often unnecessarily) metaphorical or poetic. The characters are deeply troubled and complex with uncertain backstories and questionable motives. And there are morbidly shocking effects used throughout the entire show thanks to showrunner, Bryan Fuller.

Basically, the show is an orgy for the sense. Visually it’s quite aggressive. As Hugh Dancy said, it’s “a fever dream blood opera,” complete with visceral hallucinations, a morphing discord of sounds and imagery, cannibalistic food porn, and a very bloody lover’s quarrel.

Below is the (incomplete) compilation of tools I use for writing in general, but more specifically, Hannibal fanfiction.

Before I start, I highly recommend Writers Helping Writers. It’s a great resource for everything from creating character sheets to intensifying emotions in a scene. Check out their Writing Tools. If you are interested in learning how to “show” rather than “tell,” check out their Descriptive Thesauruses (in PDF form for easy searching) and use them all the time. But keep in mind that showing is not always better than telling and vise versa. It all depends on the author and the story you want to share. Saying “he was angry” is just as valid as divulging all the huffing, puffing, blow the house down details. But like with everything, understanding and mastering the rules is the easiest (and fastest) way to figure out how to break them effectively.

The Technicalities

  • How to Punctuate Dialog in Fiction – “It’s imperative to know!” I said.
  • A Character’s Inner Dialog – I write first-person Will POV a lot, and it takes a lot of practice to get that inner voice just right.
  • Active vs Passive voice (with the help of the Doctor)
  • Hyphens, Dashes, and Elipses – this is basically a style thing, but consistency is key. I break a lot of these supposed rules, but I am consistent in my flagrant disobedence.
  • Education First’s Grammar Guide – Complete English grammar guide filled with the rules of English usage. Each grammatical rule is explained in plain English with several examples, and when needed, counter-examples.
  • Comma Queen – Video series explaining common issues with English grammar.
  • Grammarly Browser Extension – Simple browser extension that auto-checks for bad grammar. As with all grammar apps, take with a grain of salt. They are far from infallible.
  • Hemingway – online editor for making your work bold and clear. Highlights confusing sentences, too many adverbs, passive voices, overly complex phrases.

General Character & Story Resources


  • Adjective1.com – search for appropriate adjectives for nouns. Can search for adjectives alphabetically (for alliteration) or by the word you need to describe.
  • 200 Alternatives to Said and 550 Alternatives to Said – wide variety of alternatives to using said if you find yourself redundant. Personally, I use said, but depending on your style, you might need something more specific.
  • Alt to Said chart
  • Descriptionari – Quotes and descriptions of everything to inspire creative writing.
  • phraseup* – assists you with writing by finding and filling in the words you can’t remember. Just enter your half-baked sentence with an asterisk (*) to indicate the missing part.
  • OneLook’s Reverse Dictionary – search with phrases and definitions to find appropriate words. Useful when you can think of related words, but not the actual word.
  • Another way to Say That – reword a sentence, phrases, expressions, or to paraphrase a statement.
  • Tip of my Tongue – find those words that are escaping you.

Lexicon Resources

Writing Emotions

  • Emotion Thesaurus – a writer’s guide to character expression. Well worth the $5 PDF download.
  • 400 High Emotion Words – This is a site to teach you the language of persuasion (for businesses, or character dialogue of you like), but this list is actually really awesome to set the emotion of a specific situation. There are lists of emotions you want to spark (curiosity, urgency, confusion, anger, safety, happy/alive, inspired, relaxed/peaceful) and a corresponding list of words that you can sprinkle through a scene to convey that feeling.
  • Ultimate Resource for Describing Emotions

Writing Senses

Writing Pain, Suffering, and Crime

  • Emotional Wound Thesaurus – a writer’s guide to understanding how to show emotional trauma in a character. Very comprehensive. The link has sample. Again, well worth the $5 PDF download.
  • Describing Pain – Pain index and descriptive words.
  • Resources for writing sketchy topics – From describing burns to learning about sex trafficking. It has a lot of resources for us darker writers.
  • Serial Killer Statistics – This report is based on information from the Radford University/FGCU Serial Killer Database. The purpose of the database is to gather data so that researchers and teachers will have accurate information about serial killers. The database is continually updated and that summary reports will be made available on an annual basis.
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – published by the American Psychiatric Association, this manual offers a common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. For historical AU accuracy, I have all the versions to download: DSM I (1952), DSM II (1968), DSM III (1980), DSM IV (1994), DSM V (2013)
  • Writing panic attacks – Will’s bound to have one and if you’ve never had the pleasure, this will help you write it, as might this Huffpo article.
  • Violent Vocab
  • 20 People Describe the Smell of a Dead Body – it’s kinda sweet … and putrid.
  • Cause of Death Generator – “Jack, we have no idea what happened. Cause of death seems to have been due to a peculiar incident involving a shopping bag and a pair of underwear.”
  • Drug Name Generator



Action & Body Language

Sex & Intimacy

  • The Sexy Thesaurus – A blog post covering a variety of synonyms including alts to lady/manly bits & action words. Personally, I stay away from these, but I am also an anti-fun writer.
  • Sensual Word Menu – a comprehensive list of more sensual or intimate words. Really a trash compilation (its alist, ffs) but it might get your proverbial juices flowing.
  • The Song of Songs – The Song of Songs, for those of you who have never read the Bible (or haven’t in a while), is a long erotic poem that somehow got smuggled into the Old Testament. It is the single most instructive document you can read if you want to learn how to write effectively about the nature of physical love.
  • (Male) Gay Sex Positions Guide – NSFW. Nudity and graphic depictions of sex. This is exactly what it says: photos, gifs and funny names included. Very useful if you’re wondering whether or not a certain body part can go where you need it to or when you want your boys to be a tad more creative.
  • Sex Slang History – all the names you never knew you needed for sex throughout the ages. I write in strange decades. Links to the three interactive charts showing the first appearance of English-language slang terms for sexual intercourse generally, oral sex and anal intercourse, and orgasms, bodily fluids, and contraception


  • Sad songs – 50 songs to get you on an angsty mood.
  • Hannibal playlists on Spotify – There are hundreds. A more specific, comprehensive list will follow when I have time to listen to a few.

Hannibal Show Specific Resources

Hannibal Lecter Specific Resources

Will Graham Specific Resources

Hannibal Fan Artists for Inspiration

There are hundreds of incredible artists in the Hannibal fandom. These are just a few that I personally follow or find inspiration from.

Other Useful Tools

  • Diff Checker – this analyzes the differences between two very similar documents to show changes in text, in case something happens and you need to see the potential edits you’ve made to a story.
  • Pixlr – free online photo editing software. Works very similarly to Photoshop.
  • RoomSketcher – a great resource for sketching rooms or house to help visualize settings.

— joanielspeak

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