How to Write a High School AU (Alternative Universe)

So, high school is my favorite setting to write books in. I love that you can manipulate it and make it yours. Now it’s not you being controlled, but you controlling everything. It just heals my inner child and feels great. I know many people feel like that too because high school setting is super popular, and writing a high school AU seems just as fun.

How to Write a High School AU: What is that?

A high school alternative universe is a setting where the writers choose a set of characters, make them school-age, and place them in a high school. They will behave as if they were at that age and place, still keeping their original personalities. The set of characters could be as diverse as Avengers, who are way out of high school (except for little Peter) – or Harry Potter, who are actually in high school. If someone chooses Harry Potter, they could change the setting to a regular high school, with no magic. However, the opposite could be true. They could get high school characters, like Gossip Girl, and put them in a high school with magic. The alternative universe is going to be defined how the writer wants.

Some examples of images I found on Google on High School AUs:

You can use your imagination. It could be an AU made of real people too, like BTS, or something like that. However, this works best for fanfiction, as you’re getting set characters and placing them in a different universe.

How to Write a High School AU: Best Tips

  • Choose the set of characters you want
  • Picture how they would behave in high school
  • Define how your school will work
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment

How to Write a High School AU: Choose the set of characters you want

The first step seems logical: choose the characters you want to write about. I’d advise you to choose some characters that you really love and adore, so you’d be able to finish it. I talk about how to finish a story here, and choosing something you really love is the #1 tip.

How to Write a High School AU: Picture how they would behave in high school

So, now you have to do some development of your own. How would they behave in high school? If you chose characters that are too far from high school, like, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, then it could be a little hard to imagine how they would behave in high school. Get a character development sheet and start writing. Now, these characters are yours to change how you want. So, be creative, and don’t be afraid to be free.

How to Write a High School AU: Define how your school will work

Usually, a high school au is based on real life, but this could change if you want to explore the possibilities of real-life kids going to a magical universe. So, now, world-building time: you have to develop your school. If it’s magical, how will that work? If it is based on real life: will it follow a traditional American setting, will it be more like Japan or Korea? You have to decide now.

How to Write a High School AU: Don’t be afraid to experiment

When writing fanfiction, we get really scared to “hurt” those characters, as they “aren’t ours”. By that I mean, to change their personalities, or even offend the original author or the fanbase. However, when you’re writing, even if it’s somebody’s else character, now you’re the boss. You can do whatever you want with them. When an author writes a book, that book doesn’t belong anymore to the writer, but to the world. So, do whatever you want, and don’t be afraid of experimenting. As long as you’re not making money off fanfiction, you’re not breaking any copyright rule, so that’s fine.

How to Write a High School AU: Final Thoughts

  1. choose who you want to move to an au and imagine how they would be as high school students
  2. decide how your school will work
  3. go for it!

Have fun and don’t be scared to write your story. Good luck!

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