Exploring Fanfiction Tropes: Part 1


Thumbnail image for GP"Trope [the word] refers to a conventional literary device or figure of speech in which elements within a story plot, setting, characterization, or 'behind the scenes' of a fanwork (or canon source material) are a common concept that audiences are already familiar with and can easily recognize. Tropes are related to the concept of clichés but are not actually the same thing, especially in that they are not necessarily overused to the point of being distracting. Rather tropes are significant or recurrent themes whose universality makes them a convenient conduit for familiar concepts." - Fanfiction Terminology

No matter how small a fandom might be, one can always count on finding at least one trope fic, if not dozens, hundreds, or even thousands more. The fact of the matter is, that trope writing is an inescapable aspect of fanfiction. One would be hard pressed to find a seasoned, or even moderate, fanfiction author that hasn't at the very least written one trope fic. Which is why, when exploring the world of fanfiction, one ought to become familiar with the most basic of tropes. The following review will not only list five of the most popular fanfiction tropes - but five of the oldest as well.

However, before moving on to the review itself, the reader should be made aware of the following terms prior to proceeding with the article.

Cannon: "refers to elements established by the original source material (TV show, book, movie, etc...) itself for either plot, setting, or character developments." - Fanfiction Terminology

Fandom: "refers to the fan-based community dedicated to a particular TV show or other cult-inducing medium, including movies, books, music, comics, and any other canon source material. The term "fandom" can be used to represent either the fans and the multitude of ways in which they follow and enjoy the original source material, or as a generic way of referring to the original source material that supports a fan-based community itself. Fandom includes both the internet presence and real-life existence, and is expressed in many ways including websites, mailing lists, archives, fanart, fanfic, Cons, etc..." - Fanfiction Terminology

images0XZLI4CK.jpgFive of the Most Popular Fanfiction Tropes:

The following is a list of some of the most popular tropes in fanfiction nowadays. No matter how small a fandom, it's likely you will find an example of at least one of these tropes - if not more. With them, I've included examples of fanfictions that fall into that particular trope category.

1. What If Fics examine the different possible outcomes of one action, one thought, or even one particular scene. For example, what if character B had stuck around after having an argument with character A, as opposed to running off? Or what if character C had walked in on the aftermath of the argument and set about consoling the distraut A character? Often times, the fics will go on to examine the domino effect caused by that one change. Examples include:

Hook"WASN'T LOVE, LOVE By Ravenessa: Captain Hook decides not to wait until the curse is broken to reach the land without magic, his early arrival to our world will change everything, because the handsome pirate will appear in Emma's life earlier than expected, long before Emma gets to Storybrook. Captainswan. AU.

"525,600 minutes" By 80sUnLoveChild: Rachel left, she was gone for one whole year but now she is back. Some are happy to see her but boy is she not happy to see them. What has happened to our fabulous friends in the space of year? And who is going to play Mr or Mrs Fix-it?

2. The Fake Relationship/Marriage trope forces two characters to pretend to be either in a relationship, or even married. This can be the result of scheming on the part of one of the characters, or for the greater good of both characters. This trope is most often used as a device to force a pairing into romantic situations, which will eventually lead to the fake relationship/marriage becoming real. It's rather cliched, even where tropes are conscerned, and can be rather unrealistic if not set up properly. However, this particular trope does make for an interesting read if the author takes the time to think it through properly. Examples include:

Thumbnail image for Sh"Between Friends" by What good is a partnership without a fake marriage along the way?

"All in a Day's Work" By SandraDeee: By 9:00 a.m., she had broken a heel, lost her cell phone, and been the victim of a coffee catastrophe. By 9:30 a.m. she had "borrowed" the NSA mainframe. By 10:00 a.m., she was engaged to Oliver Queen. Really, it was all in a day's work. Plotty, fluffy fun with a side dish of heart. Part 7: The Making of a Queen

Review Part 2

Exploring Fanfiction Tropes: Part 2


. The Pregnancy/Baby trope is rather self explanatory. One of the characters is either pregnant, becomes pregnant or has a baby/child. The circumstances surrounding this particular situation depends entirely upon the time of sub-trope the author has chosen - of which there are too many to name. The pitfalls of this particular trope is once again dependent upon the particular sub-trope the author utilises, although an overall conscern with these fics is finding a delicate balance between over-exposing and under-exposing the subject. Examples include:


"I Took A Wrong Turn Somewhere (Somehow I Ended Up Right)" By LadyChi: Felicity Smoak made one mistake in her whole life, and his name was Oliver Queen. They had one night together, and then the Queen's Gambit went down. Then she found herself crying in a dormitory bathroom, hoping what she knew down to her bones to be the truth was a lie...Felicity Smoak has Oliver Queen's children.

"Obligations" By A True Dreamer: Choices are made. Secrets are kept. Sides are taken. Nothing is the way its supposed to be, and the person with the power to make it all alright again refuses. Kessi Story.

4. Tropes that make use of supernatural beings, whether they be vampires, or cupids explore the inherent plotline pitfalls that comes from transforming a particular character in to a supernatural being. The biggest conscern with this trope, is when an author attempts to insert a supernatural being in a fandom/universe that has none. The problem then becomes to find a way to keep the storyline realistic.

Thumbnail image for ST

"Infection" By Wedjatqi: Following their return from the crashed Hive ship, it appears that the infection has not been stopped after all. Within a day, Teyla begins to grow sick and she's getting worse. Inspired by the S5 episode 'Infection' JT. COMPLETE!

"Cupid's Angel" By Sandys18:AU (Olicity Fic): Felicity is one of Cupid's angels. Her job is to bring Oliver Queen and Laurel Lance together. But she's not good at her job as she would like to be.

5. The Genderbend trope changes the sex of one or more characters. Male characters become female, and female characters become male. This can be the result of a sex change, or the characters might have simply been born with a different gender. When executed thoughtfully, this particular trope examines the male/female gender roles and the tentions between the two. An example of the genderbend trope would be:

Thumbnail image for GE

"The Golden Effect" By Khaleesistormborn: The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be." - Ralph Waldo Emerson. Merlynn is sent to Camelot and things get a bit tricky from there. Fem!Merlin/Arthur. Darker themes later on. SLOWLY BEING EDITED (currently editing chapter 14). Sequel is up!

"Less Than One Blow" By lady_ragnell: From the kinkme_merlin prompt: 16 year old Merlin is captured by bandits on the road to Camelot for the first time. 22 year old Arthur, more arrogant than ever, saves her. After getting yelled at for his efforts, he falls hard and begins to "court" her, while she mostly just thinks he's an idiot. Normally I'm not a big fan of genderswitch things but the prompt sort of attacked me and wouldn't let go, and I'm very glad of that.

Review Part 3

Exploring Fanfiction Tropes: Part 3


Five Fanfiction Tropes that Have Seemingly Been Around Since the Dawn of Time:

The following is a list of some of the oldest fanfiction tropes around. These tropes have not only been responsible for some of the most popular fanfics around, they've also spawned their own tropes.

1. The Time Travel trope is rather broad to say the least. There seems to be no specific formula, other than the fact that a character travels through time by some means or another. Sometimes, the character taking the time jump isn't even a canon character, but an original character created by the author.

Thumbnail image for Dramione

"Second Time Around" By Neko-Tenchi: Draco fell in love with Hermione, but it was already too late. When a contraption of Dumbledoor sets Draco back in time to hisfirst year of Hogwarts with no memeories of the future but all the feelings and love felt towards Hermione from his future self, how will he do things the second time around. Much better than the summery. A time travel story with a twist, Draco Edition.

"Aurelian" By BittyBlueEyes: Two years after the war, a young stranger pays a visit to the burrow. His arrival alone is baffling, but the news he brings of an upcoming war turns the world upside down. Hermione's quiet, post-war life will never be the same.

2. Alternate Universe (AU) Fics "refer[s] to a story of which there is a (often major) plot, setting, or character deviation away from established canon. AUs may be anything, but there are some themes that are quite common in a variety of fandoms such as All Human AUs, Animal AUs, Highschool AUs, and/or Modern AUs, for example. Authors may also create and develop their own unique worlds in which to place familiar characters. Sometimes referred to as Alternate Realities, Alternate Timelines or Parallel Realities, but such precise distinctions are not usually necessary." - Fanfiction Terminology. Examples of Alternate Universe (AU) Fics include:


"we keep all our promises (be us against the world)" By Tarafina: [au - no island] Oliver Queen has no idea what he's doing with his life, but when his father gives him an ultimatum, he has to figure it out. After meeting Felicity Smoak, he finds himself on a new path and his eyes are opened to what happiness really means and how finding it takes more courage than he ever thought he had.

"I Wish The Shadow Would Take Me Away" By pieanddeductions: Wendy Darling didn't think she would ever go back to Neverland. She didn't think she would ever want to. But when things change, and the real world begins to sting, The Shadow returns and takes her hand. This is the story of the deal she makes with Peter Pan, and the consequences it brings to them both.

Review Part 4

Exploring Fanfiction Tropes: Part 4


3. Backstories explore the background of a particular character. We not only learn about that character's life before they've been introduced in the storyline cannon, but we learn more about them in the canon timeline. For example, character C is more of secondary character, despite her popularity with the audiences. As such, we don't know much about her save a few random facts. The backstory trope allows the fanfiction author to write an in-depth examination of the character. Examples include:

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Delena

"You Should Have Met Me in 1864" By Shnook35: Set after season 3, What if, after a spell gone wrong, Elena is sent back to 1864 in the middle of the Stefan/Katherine/Damon love triangle? Will she fall in love with Stefan all over again or choose the other brother. Full summary in first chapter.

"The Reunion" By Sandys18: Felicity can't find a date to her high school reunion and Felicity doesn't want Oliver's help. One thing leads to another and they both run into a bit of a problem, thanks to one of Felicity's enemies that she meets at the reunion.

4. The Marriage of Convenience trope is probably one of the oldest tropes of all. The trope itself is rather self-explanatory - for whatever reasons, two characters enter into a marriage of convenience. The pitfall of this trope? The premise itself tends to require the reader temporarily suspends his/her notions of a realistic plotline. The upside? This particular trope not only examens the various tensions between Thumbnail image for Blairthese two characters, but also gives the reader a good laugh along the way. Examples include:

"Promises, Promises" By Aj81writing: AU/AH. At the risk of being deported, Damon Salvatore forces his young assistant to pretend to be his fiancée. How far will they have to go to keep the charade up?

"Mr and Mrs Bass" By Catheryne: She promised him she would stand by him through anything. Now that he needs to change his reputation for the board, he's coming to collect. Chuck and Blair get married to establish Chuck's place at the helm of Bass Industries.

5. Crossovers merge two different fandoms into one. The problems of one set of characters (show A) thus bleed into the lives of another set of characters (show B), ect. The possible variations where this trope is conscerned are too numerous to count, and as a result, crossover fics all seem to have their own different messages or end games. In other words, the pitfall of this trope would be that the reader is never quite certain what to Thumbnail image for 083dd6577d42dc96227487f830604334.jpgexpect with this trope. An example of a crossover fic would be:

"Revel in Life" By InitialLook: Post Heir to the Demon. Felicity decides to make some changes after finding out about Oliver & Sara. She doesn't want to be weak anymore and when she meets a mysterious stranger who offers her a way to be stronger and faster - she takes it, without thinking of the consequences.

Trope writing is popular amongst fanfiction authors for two reasons. Firstly, tropes allow fanfiction authors to reach a very specific type of audience. Secondly, it forces the author to get creative with their writing - forces them to figure out hows to take a general storytelling device, and apply it to a very specific set of characters. Whether or not these characters remain believable despite being placed into stereotypical situations thus becomes an accurate test at gaging the quality of a fanfiction author's work.

What about you, dear reader? Any trope fics you are fond of? Any specific tropes?

Works Cited, Sources, & Images

Exploring Fanfiction Tropes: Works Cited


"Once Upon A Time"... There Was Fanfiction.


Once Upon A Time (2).jpgOver the course of the past year, Montrealites has explored the world of fanfiction. We have discussed such topics as Fanfiction Ethics and Fanfiction Reviewing Etiquette in two blog entries. We have interviewed no less than three fanfiction authors: Col3725, Lenora Colledge and threesquares. In addition we've been working on a review of the top five fanfiction tropes, which will be posted on Montrealites in weeks to come. We also plan to close off our segment with an interactive assignment on the various fanfiction downloading methods available. However, prior to posting our review and final assignment, we will, in the present feature article, examine the historical origins of fanfiction and its evolution.

First, the reader should be made to understand that the term fanfiction, is in and of itself, relatively new. The term fanfiction has only emerged in the past few decades, and its widespread use and definition, can be somewhat attributed to the advent of the internet. Nonetheless, the concept of fanfiction - the concept of "using existing characters and situations to develop new plots" has been around for centuries.

Thumbnail image for Lwowska_Galeria_Sztuki_-_Paul_Merwart_-_The_Flood.jpgNow, we might go on and on about the subject - and retrace the origins of fanfiction all the way back to ancient times. We could go into extensive detail about how ancient cultures were overly fond of merging various folktales, or how they would often incorporate the mythologies of other cultures, specifically those cultures which they had conquered, into their own mythologies - all in a bid to avoid alienating the newly incorporated populace, and homogenise their society and cultural history. This, of course, is the one of the reasons why there exists so many different versions of the same myth - for example, that of the flood myths. As a result of their different origins, the characters themselves often differ. But the end result is almost always the same - the human populace is reborn. Now, whether humanity is reconstructed through traditional means, or by throwing rocks over one's head, is once again dictated by the myth's origin.

Again, we can go on...

But really, we'd rather not - if only for the sake of expediency and a set word count.


Interview With "Bones" Fanfiction Author threesquares


Bones Fanfiction Thread BannerThe following interview with Bones fanfiction author threesquares is the third - and final interview in a series of three. These interviews explore the world of fanfiction, as well as the opinions and experiences of these fanfiction authors. Fanfiction author threesquares has been writing fanfiction since 2011. Click on threesquares pename to view her fanfiction.net author profile.


Interview with Bones Fanfiction Author threesquares:


JV: Are you familiar with Kathy Reichs?

Threesquares: I am.  I am a reader, not a tv watcher primarily.  I had read all the books she had written at the time I first started watching bones, right around season 5, so 4 or so years ago.

JV: In that case, would you say that your interest in Reichs' Temperance Brennan murder mystery series is what initially attracted you to Bones?

Threesquares: Hmmm.  On the one hand, I don't think so.  I get very attached to characters so I was already attached to Tempe and Ryan and Katie and the whole world of Montreal vs. North Carolina.  So I was kind of passively uninterested in watching Bones.  But then I turned 40.  And I had migraines, for the first time in my life.  Took a few months to sort it all out and get medication that worked, so for a while, I would be up all night long trying to wrestle the things into submission before going to teach school.  And Bones marathons were on.  Then I was hooked on those characters.  I know KR is involved in Bones the TV show to some extent but they really might as well be two different things.

The Top Five Canadian Books to Read Right Now


book dog.jpg

The long lull of Montreal winter can leave many craving the summertime sun, but as long as we're all stuck inside for a few weeks longer, why not read a good book or two? Below, I've compiled a list of Canadian books that people have been talking about as well as a few I think people should be talking about. Choose a title or two from the list to pass the time with a good literary adventure before all the slow melts and we can go off to have some adventures of our own.

What's in an Autograph? James Franco's Visit to Montreal



When I first heard about the James Franco event in Montreal I was excited to learn more about his book, Actors Anonymous, but was soon disappointed to find out that it would be a signing event without a reading or question period. Though initially discouraged, I began to think about what the event might be like. What kind of people would wait in line just to get a signature? Would the people attending be interested in Franco as an author or as an actor in films like This is the End and Pineapple Express? What kind of relationship with these fans have with the work? What value does the signature have both in terms of emotional significance and monetary value?

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