I learned to write stories by using fan fiction as a practice template. The AUs (alternet universe) were already set up, the background stories were in place, and the characters had their own personalities and canons (the rules written by the AU creator). All I had to do was use the AU and the characters, writing them into my own story for them.
Once the story was done and uploaded onto various websites devoted to fan fiction, I would get emails from readers. Usually they would say how much they liked the story. Once in a very great while I'd get a flame email. Someone didn't like it. I honestly didn't care about those, unless the person added constructive criticism. Telling me what exactly they found wrong with it was much more appreciative than just "this is a piece of shit".
Also, I'd find stories that I really liked from more experienced writers, and I'd email them and start a dialog, asking for help with certain scenes. Most writers were happy to help me learn and grow, and the best I can do to repay them is to help others. So ask me for help, if you'd like.
I started with X-Files fan fiction around Season 5. I discovered fan fiction about that time, and spent a summer reading through everything I could find. By the end of summer, I'd run across enough crap writing that I decided I could do better. So I began writing. My first story was all of three pages. By the time I was done with those three pagess, I felt as though I had birth a full grown cow!
But writing became easier the more I practiced. When I was writing about 25 page stories, and chapters to publish them in, I had my own website and a list of followes. My last X-Files story, or should I say 'series', was White Picket Fences, about 27 chapters, I think it was, and around 25 pages per chapter. I was getting nominations for fan fic awards! WPF won 3 Wire Rim awards!
Around the time X-Files ended, Stargate began and I had a new love affair! Jack, Sam, and Daniel! My Stargate fan fic stories began! By the time my Stargate stories were done, I had become more interested in writing for my original characters that I had created for SG-1, so I dug out story notes I had been keeping for years, a story whose main character I had begun 'talking' with while I was in junior high school. Discovering how important it was to have the story told through a certain character's point of view (POV), became my new challenge. It finally came together in "In Plain Sight", which has now turned into "The Gatekeepers".
Although I wrote odds and ends stories for other AUs, I'm leaving the three main fan fiction stories here for your entertainment. You can find The Gatekeepers under their own URL on the main site.