Top 10 Fandom Tropes That Need To Die

Hello, and welcome to another week of top 10 in fandom. I hoped that you enjoyed the last week’s list, even if you didn’t agree with the topic at hand.

This week’s topic is the top 10 tropes in fan fiction that we really need to stop using, as it’s too overused to begin with. I will admit to using some of these tropes during my years as a Harry Potter fan fiction writer, and because of that, my original writing suffered terribly. (I promise to never again mix fan fiction and original writing)

And the top 10 tropes in fan fiction that really need to die are as follows:

10. Alternate Universe Fic: I’m sure that Count Omer doesn’t approve of this, as stated in his controversial fan fiction essay.

9. Better Than Canon: Just because you don’t like the canon doesn’t give you much right to change it up to suit your own selfish purposes, you know. (This also leads to Canon Defilement, Fan-Preferred Couple, Fix Fic, and even the dreaded Slash Fic.)

8. Crossover: Ah, the wonderful thing known as the crossover (which is one of my favorite tropes to date). But too many people have overused this trope to suit their strange fantasies, which is why it has to go. (See Rule 50)

7. Don’t Like, Don’t Read: If you don’t want people to read your works because they might not like it, then don’t write it. It’s as simple as that.

6. Fix-(It) Fic: Well, you might not like a certain part of the story and you want to fix it. Don’t, OK. Just don’t.

5. High School AU: High school was a nightmare for many people, so why would you want to put your own characters through that?

4. Original Character: (yeah, I’m mega-guilty of this one!) I have nothing to say about this one, save for put them in their own story!

3. Out of Character: Don’t even get me started on this one!

2. Rule 63: This has lead to too many messed-up fics. If you want to do this one, I suggest that you reconsider immediately. (Also goes along the lines of Gender Flip and Gender Bender)

1. Self-Insert Fic: (I’ve also done this one) Please, for the love of God, please don’t put yourself into the story! Just don’t do it at all! It makes you look weird, like you have no life at all. Come on now, people!

Well, that’s all for this list. If you find yourself disagreeing with any of the above items for any reason, then let me know in the comments. See you next week for more Top 10 in Fandom!

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One Response to “Top 10 Fandom Tropes That Need To Die”

  1. Gandalfs Beard Says:

    10) You DO realise that all fanfic is more or less “AU” by definition don’t you??? …i.e. not part of canon! It’s all a matter of degree though.

    Canon Compliant fanfics are totally possible, but they still ain’t canon (unless the original author or writers messed up badly and AU’ed their own work to begin with–it happens, in which case fanfic “fixes” are fair play).

    9) Erm… yes. Fanfic Authors DO have the right to upend canon. Doesn’t mean we have to like it, by they have the right to do it. See my response to #10.

    And by the way, Slash fanfic started out more or less in 1970’s Star Trek fanzines–it is a defining feature of fanficdom. Again, you don’t have to like it, but people have the right to do it.

    8) Why??? Why do crossovers have to go? Because you don’t like other people’s “strange fantasies”? That’s just a cheap shot with no real thought behind it!

    I think some crossovers are ridiculous because the authors are terrible writers who don’t know how to combine different franchises in a logical manner. But there are plenty of franchises that fit together quite well regardless of the quality of authorship, and there are some creative authors who can make seemingly disparate franchises work quite well together.

    7) No, it’s NOT “as simple as that.”

    “Don’t Like, Don’t Read” is a secondary warning to Prudish Trolls that there is either explicit content of “controversial” nature which said Prudish Trolls might want to avoid, or a secondary warning about other possibly upsetting things like Bashing of certain characters or character deaths.

    Nobody likes to be heckled or trolled after they’ve explicitly stated upfront that their fic might contain elements which might be upsetting to some people. Yet some people troll anyway, hence the secondary warning.

    6) Again… Why? Just because you say so? Do you actually have a thought out reason for this?

    5) Because High School stories have a lot of drama that young people and old people alike relate to, and many, many fanfic writers and readers are still in high school.

    4) Personally, I can’t stand OC’s as protagonists–though I don’t see any issues with having them as secondary characters or villains.

    3) I’m not fond of OoC characters either. But it’s really a matter of degree. I’m fine with near-canon representations, but wildly variant personality changes require some really hard work and damn good explanations.

    There are two ways to go OoC: A good character developer can gradually and logically change a character’s personality from Canon to a new one, while bad writers just write OoC characters with no explanation just because they don’t know how to write very well–but either way the end result is OoC.

    2) Again, just sounds like a rant without any actual reasoning behind it. Why not??? Just because you don’t like gender-bending doesn’t mean other people can’t do it.

    1) I find other people’s self-inserts boring as hell too.

    I’m very lucky though, because Harry Potter’s persona is so remarkably similar to myself, that I don’t have to self-insert to identify with the main character in a Potterfic. It’s also lucky for me, because it makes it really easy for me to spot horribly OoC versions of Harry Potter and avoid those stories.

    I don’t know if you were really expecting any responses, but you DID ask! 😉


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