Embrace the Cliché Project
What’s it all about?
Fanfic clichés are beautiful, they really are. Especially when they are about the various improbable and wacky ways you can get your two (or more!) favourite characters together in the sexual and/or romantic sense of the word.
Most fic writers and readers are familiar with some of them: sex pollen, pretending to be a couple, sharing body heat… But wouldn’t it be fantastic if there was a Big List of Fanfic Clichés? And wouldn’t it be even more brilliant if this list was then worked into Big Damn Tables of Fanfic Clichés that you could use to write fics about your favourite couple (or threesome or foursome or…). And imagine if there was a dedicated community where you could claim a couple (or threesome or foursome or…) and different Big Damn Tables of Fanfic Clichés. Wouldn’t it be positively wonderful?
The first step is to compile a list of all possible fanfic clichés and to do that we need your help. Yes, you. Our imagination and knowledge of the wide world fandom/fanfic goes (hard as it is to believe) only so far. Therefore we would like you to comment below with suggestions of the well-used and well-loved fanfic clichés and contrived plot devices that you’ve read and/or written.
We’re concentrating on “pairing clichés” i.e. various ways of getting your chosen people together. You can be as vague or as specific you want, from general prompts to fairly detailed plots. We’re aiming to be panfandom and het/femmeslash/slash friendly. There are of course various clichés that don’t fit all possible fandoms (e.g. those relying on alien influence) or pairings (e.g. those geared more toward the slash end of the spectrum), but don’t worry about being all inclusive in your suggestions. Organising the final list into workable tables will be our problem, not yours.
You can find clichés already submitted on a list under the cut. The list will be regularly updated with your suggestions.
Big List of Fanfic Clichés
1. Magical Healing Cock (and really, what a better way to start the list?)
2. High School AU
4. My body is your body is my body is
a) characters switching bodies
b) both characters end up in one body and know each other's thoughts
a) Pretty Woman storyline - hustler ends up with the client
b) hustling out of desperation (e.g. money for a sick relative) without the other person's knowledge
c) hustler rescued/raped by friend/colleague
7. We're Going To Die Tomorrow; Let's Not Die Virgins
8. [Insert Series Name Here]: The Next Generation
10. Love Potion
11. Aliens Made Them Do It
a) alien sex pheromones
b) alien sex/mind drug
c) alien religious ceremony
d) alien possession (aliens controlling their bodies and having sex and the characters remembering the experience)
12. Deus ex machina = Fuck Or Die = Must Have Sex Right Now Or...
a) aliens will kill us otherwise
b) human baddies will kill us otherwise (e.g. 'prove it' scenario in undercover plots)
13. Slave!fic - slavery leads to true love.
14. Sex pollen
15. Odd transformations into a strange animal/plant/object/something leads to a new relationship
16. Sharing body heat (aka "the blanket scenario" - We must huddle for warmth otherwise we will die!)
17. Having to share a bed (e.g. the hotel only had one double room left with one bed)
18. Getting snowed/stormed in (cabin in the woods, a cave etc.)
19. Having to pretend to be a couple
a) going undercover as a couple (cops, agents etc.)
b) pretending to be gay
20. Hurt/comfort cliché
a) illness/injury leads to feelings being realised and revealed (the other realising what they stand to lose)
b) suicide prevention (finding someone trying to kill themselves and stopping them) leads to feelings being realised and revealed
c) near death experience leads to revelation of true love
d) character loses someone important to them, comfort leads to true love
21. Drunken sex (Let's get really drunk and then sleep with each other, we'll regret it tomorrow but then we'll understand that we really love each other)
22. Play fighting (paint, food etc.)
23. Enforced proximity
a) stuck in an elevator
c) working late
24. Truth or Dare
25. Unexpected jealousy leads to revelation of true love
26. Road Trip
27. Unexpected sensitivity (to bereavement, unemployment etc)
28. Amnesia- fic
29. Time-travel- fic
a) future kids coming into the past to make parents admit they love each other
30. Substitution-fic (one of the two/three or however many goes out and keeps finding sexual partners that look like the other one, but doesn't realise it)
31. Real fighting turns into sex
32. Enforced separation/reunion
33. Woke Up Gay
35. Historical AU (eg. costume drama)
37. Mid-life crisis porn
38. Star Wars AU
39. Arranged marriage
40. Let's experiment aka "How do you know you don't like it if you've never tried it?"
41. Woke up married
42. Super powers - SUGGESTIONS PEOPLE! What are the sexy super powers?
a) Telepathy - "OMG you can hear my porny thoughts!" or "tverybody already thinks we're together so let's give it a shot"
b) Telekinesis - Copping a feel with your mind
a)rumor/speculation about them sleeping together putting the idea in the characters' heads
b) one overhears a conversation between the other and a third party and misunderstands (or not) it to mean that the other has feelings for them
c) one overhears/sees the other in a romantic situation, can't get it out of their head, and ends up with the other
d) a third party overhears the two, misunderstands a conversation, and believes they're together, leading to rumours as in a)
44. Stranded or lost somewhere together and have to rely on each other to get back
a) AU where they only meet because one or both have a kid
b) one of them somehow ends up responsible for a kid, the other helps out as a second adult in the kid's life, leading to them falling in love and forming a perfect family unit.
a) simply for the kink
b) for undercover/espionage purposes
48. Post-apocalypse ("everyone else is dead/zombies/diseased/insane/whatever, so let's get it on!")
50. Cursed! The only way to break a curse is to have sex with each other.
(n. Due to public demand: tree!porn)
Variation is a spice of life, so even if you see something on the list vaguely similar to what you were planning on suggesting, go ahead and let us know your version of the cliché in question.
Finally, please pimp this post! We want a large representation of clichés and plot devices from different fandoms so go and get your friends involved!