For the Love of Fanfiction

We all love fanfiction (why else would you be reading this forum, right?), but we love it for various reasons. There are a lot of tropes, story elements, recurring methods of writing that are too rarely if ever seen outside the medium of fanfic. So I thought it would be fun to share our favourite things about/in fanfics.

I’ll start with a few of mine.

Scenes from a different POV. Something I’ve never seen outside of fanfics is taking the same scene and showing it from different POVs. It can be so interesting to see how various characters react to the same events or conversation. Often with all the delicious emotional torture as a result. I just love getting in character’s heads and this is just like catnip to me.

The way a lot of fanfiction is far more character focussed. A good plot is fine, but get me into that character’s head and I can and will read pages upon pages of the quiet moments in-between.

Some of my favourite fanfic tropes:

  • The this character is almost going to die and their friends, family, and/or significant other is very much nooo don’t die. And then they don’t. Extra fun if the almost dying was because of protecting said important person.
  • The fake married trope. Added points of being forced to share a bed. Double added points if they are mutually pining while sharing said bed.
  • Annoyance/rivalry to lovers, preferably with much bickering.
  • Combining those two. Arranged marriage with one or more unwilling participants who grow to love each other. Preferably with much mutual pining first.
  • Mutual pining in general really. So much mutual pining.
  • Angst with a happy ending. For me the happy ending payoff is important, but until that happens: ALL the angst.
  • Hurt/comfort. Same deal.
  • The “that’s my significant other. Aren’t they great?” kind of partner/spouse.
  • OCs. Yes, I like a good original character. I especially like stories taken from “the sidelines”, characters. Or examinations of what would change in the plot if there was just one difference in there and original characters work great for that. Heck I even enjoy a good Reader fic now and again. They are like popcorn for the brain, especially on bad days.

That’s all I can think off right now. I know there is more, but it’s late. I’m sure I’ll be back at some point. But I’d love to hear what other people’s favourites are.

1 Like

Yes! This is a favorite of mine as well. I don’t usually write any fanfictions, but I do enjoy reading/watching them sometimes. There is an audio drama on Youtube by the name of Remembrance by AshleyH that is really, really good, imo. It’s based on the TV show, MLP: Friendship is Magic.

I did try to write a Monster Hunter fanfiction - it’s a game series, btw - that delved deeper into an Ancient Civilization, how it ended up in ruins, and other such details regarding it. The project ended pretty horribly, and I abandoned it once the month was over.

Regardless of that, I’d say that I like reading/writing fanfics that dig deeper into certain details of the world and how they all work together.

1 Like

Some things I like to read/write in fanfics:

  • How they met
  • Other elements of backstory not explored/only mentioned in canon
  • Non-canon ships – just because their relationship isn’t canon doesn’t mean they can’t be together!
  • Minor characters getting actual, thought-out characterization
  • I’m a slut for angst. Just saying.
  • Angst with a tragic ending? Even better.
  • Fluff. Just show me my OTP being happy and cuddly and catching a break from their crazy lives to just enjoy their time with one another.
  • Obviously, I like hurt/comfort, too.
  • Alternate timelines that explore if things happened differently
  • Crackfics are my guilty pleasure. The more absurd, the better.

Hm… is it any surprise my current WIP is:

  • exploring backstory that’s briefly mentioned…
  • …by a minor character in the story I wrote last November…
  • …and is full of angst…
  • …and has a tragic ending?

And the two Hitchhiker’s Guide fics I’ve written focus respectively on a) how Ford and Arthur met, and b) that fancy-dress party Arthur went to in Islington. /shameless self-promotion

Dang, I started writing another at one point (and oh should I mention SHIPPING and ALTERNATE TIMELINE). Maybe I should pick it up and finish it sometime if I can remember where I was going with it. If I had any idea in the first place. Who knows?

1 Like

There’s a perfect example of this from Seanan McGuire (makes sense, she’s a fanfic writer). I believe it was the most recent October Daye’s extra novella. From the POV of [REDACTED BECAUSE SO MANY SPOILERS]. Literally, a couple word for word conversations with Toby that appeared in the preceding novel. But a lot of other awesome stuff.

1 Like

I love AUs. They’re basically my bread and butter as a fic writer. I take immense delight in thinking about all the different ways canon could have happened differently. The series I’m working on is an example - the band I write most of my fic about were screwed over by their last label, which delayed the release of their third album. I started wondering about what else could have happened to cause the delay, and I hit on the idea that one of them ended up seriously ill. Horrible of me, but it worked out in the end.

1 Like

I love fanfiction for:

  • the “what if something had gone differently”
  • exploring the characters (fanfic was what taught me how to write three-dimensional characters, and boy, did I ever need that!)
  • fixing problems with the canon plot
  • exploring outside POVs (what does someone non-canon from Daniel Jackson’s past think of him now, and what do they think he’s doing, as a Stargate SG-1 example whose Plot Bunnies came and then hid in my Plot Bunny Corral)
  • crossovers! (done properly, with Equal Opportunity Awesome)
  • playing with bits and pieces that aren’t explicitly stated in canon (ex. what are youkai social structures like in Saiyuki?)
  • AUs are fun too…

I don’t tend to care for OCs being the focus of the story - my fascination with canon characters of whatever media tends to be what draws me in to the fanfic for that media - but I have no objections to them as side characters or as POV (non-protagonist) characters.

1 Like

Agreed. I have read good fanfic with OC protagonists, but, 9 times out of 10, no thanks. Partly because I’m looking to read about characters I’m already attached to, and partly because it isn’t uncommon for OC protagonists in fanfiction to be wish-fulfillment author inserts.

2 Likes

Yes, exactly! Down with the Mary Sues and Marty Stus! :wink:

1 Like

And then there are other people who do really enjoy OCs and wish fulfilment. Which is why it’s a good thing there is such a wide variety of fics out there. Everyone can find something that (possibly) matches their preferences. And writers from every skill level get to practice their writing muscles. :slight_smile:

Except maybe us fans of rarepairs. We get to cry into the tiny pile of fics and then have to result to writing our own. :wink:

3 Likes

Yes, this. If I recall correctly, that is the reason that I started writing fanfiction in the first place, haha. I can’t remember what the fandom or pairing was right now, but I remember searching through every fic site I knew of and rereading the few fics that existed until I decided to just go ahead and write my own. :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway, I might as well share what my other personal favorite things in fanfiction are…

  • Hurt/Comfort. I have an odd passion for whump and angst but I need my happy endings.
  • Fluff. Especially one-shots that focus on familial and platonic relationships.
  • Mutual pining. My favorite to read in this category is slow burn. Gotta love that slow burn.
  • Crackfics. I quite honestly click on the weirdest fics whenever I see them, just for fun.
  • Elaboration. This one is more specific, but it’s like when a comment is made in the media, but the plot thread is then completely dropped. Could be a character trait, relationship, backstory, etc.
  • Slight AUs. I love reading stories that could almost fit with canon, but have just a small change.

I think those are all my favorite tropes, though I’ll read almost anything that looks interesting, haha. I’m always willing to try something new, even if it’s totally ridiculous, because that’s half the fun of fanfiction in my opinion.

4 Likes

Very true. :grinning:

Hear, hear! :wink: I’ve done that too…

1 Like

Oh, yes. Definitely slow burns. How else will you get all the angst in if you don’t? :stuck_out_tongue:
I always find it funny when fic writers apologize for the romance being slow to build, meanwhile I’m sitting there going: Slow? It’s only been 10 chapters, give me more!

AUs and crossovers. Preferably AUs in which things actually happen differently because of the different starting parameters or different choices made early on. I’m not too interested in “And Harry Potter is a girl but otherwise everything happens exactly the same way.”

Corruption/redemption arcs.

Time travel “fix it” stories in which a character, after having gone through canon, decides to go (or accidentally goes) back in time to around the start of the story and tries to make things go better this time, but winds up running into unexpected problems and changes due to their attempts. (This is really a fanfic “genre” that’s nigh-impossible to do with original fiction.)

2 Likes

I have been writing YU-GI-OH! fic several years now. Guite regular adventure/romance stuff. The whole thing about writing fanfiction is quite new for me but at the same time it’s fun to try^^

Except maybe us fans of rarepairs. We get to cry into the tiny pile of fics and then have to result to writing our own. :wink:

As someone who has a few crossover ships, I feel this so hard

I’m tempted to try this as an original. I think it’d have to be a duology?

1 Like

Personally I’m into AU stories and well written OC’s. I’ve already seen canon characters more than enough so I find it interesting to see what kind of OC’s people come up with and how they interact with canon characters.

When it comes to my fics I’ve managed to combine the two with my Naruto AU project. My main characters are all from this finnish forum rpg I’ve played with friends and some things have happened really differently from the original series while some things have remained the same.

Big fan of this too. Both deliberate going back or accidentally going back/landing in there. I love the exploration of the ripple effect of changes. What can you change, what can’t you. What should be left alone and how do you make that distinction. Can you really let bad things happen to people you care about, but if you don’t what will that mean for the original canon timeline. And of course, all the angst associated with it. :wink:

I can imagine. That must be doubly hard to find stuff for I’m sure. At least mine tend to usually stick to in the same fandom. I just often find smaller side characters really interesting. Or certain combinations of characters that most people don’t seem to think off or have no interest in.

The process of reading rarepare fic:

  • Sort on pairing.
  • Read handful interesting looking stories.
  • Sigh and go back to the sorting.
  • Read everything and anything you can find. Even that one without a summary and the weird tags, or that other one that’s little more than a bullet point list of ideas.
  • Cry.
  • Write your own, if possible.
  • Rinse and repeat.

I don’t have a clear preference for OCs over canon characters. It really depends on what I’m in the mood for and the canon itself. But I fully agree that it can be really interesting to see what people come up with.There are a lot of truly creative OCs out there that make wonderful additions to canon.

2 Likes

My friends and I created these crossover pairings last year and all but one are from extremely small fandoms (and even the one that isn’t doesn’t have any fics), so we’re the ones who have to write all the fics.
I’m starting to find other people who enjoy them as well though.

1 Like

And also other time travel. I’m working on a Miraculous Ladybug / Beauty and the Beast (1991) crossover that departs the ML timeline during “Timetagger” (largely because that’s the episode that inspired the Tumblr post that inspired the fic), and there is apparently some debate over when Disney set it (I’m going with pre-French Revolution, but there’s a solid argument for post-Napoleon) but none of the possible answers are particularly close to when ML itself is set. (Especially if, as I’m increasingly convinced of, ML is set a decade from now.)

Which means, if Our Heroes want to go home to a time they recognize, they can’t say very much about world history in the interim, most likely. Improving their own personal histories isn’t even on the table, really (though writing down everything they wish they’d known on day one and trying to figure out a way to get those journals to themselves no later than day negative one is definitely a plan). That said, while his parents might well meet and have him if world history goes way different from how they remember, hers might well not!

But if they don’t try to sound the alarm about various slaughters, catastrophes, and other impending tragic events they learned about in books, can they live with themselves?

1 Like