Everyone who loves fan fiction has their favorite tropes (for a definition of trope see our glossary). Some people love mpreg, some (like Heidi) love a good coffeeshop!AU, others love forced bed sharing or holiday fic. The Keysmash OT5 wants to talk more about their favorite tropes, and I’m going to continue the conversation with my top three.
This is hands down my favorite trope of them all. Kid!fic is basically what it says on the tin – fic involving children. But there are many different varieties. There’s kid!fic where the character has a kid in canon or kid!fic where the character magically (literally or figuratively) has/acquires a child. Both are delightful for different reasons.
I read in fandoms where there are no canonical children (and the teenagers of Teen Wolf don’t count, in my opinion, because they’re main characters) so the kid!fic that I’ve come to love is of the second variety. There are a lot of ways characters can have or acquire a kid in kid!fic, just like in real life. (I know, shocker!) I personally enjoy stories where the child’s mother pops up out of nowhere with a surprise baby/kid and leaves it with the unsuspecting father. Because that situation leads to so many good scenes.
Cue the father freaking out about the child. This can lead to the father turning to his pal (and possible love interest, gasp!) for support. And then they raise the child together, basically, while everyone teases them for how domestic they’re being, and in the end they realize that they want to be a family. *heart eyes* It’s even better if one character is naturally good at parenting and the other one is kind of hapless because hijinx ensue.
The thing that gets me about kid!fic is reading about a character who maybe isn’t seen as nurturing get a chance to exhibit those qualities. Bonus points for babies falling asleep on dudes’ chests, because A++++ would always read.
Tell me you don’t want to read about Derek Hale getting spit up on by an adorable tiny toothless baby.
When this trope is done well it is SO GOOD.
I love fics where the two characters have to be in a relationship for whatever reason, though sometimes you have to handwave the premise a little. (Hockey players being forced to get married because the league thinks it looks more wholesome? SO ENJOYABLE BUT SO UNREALISTIC.) I don’t mind a little handwaving when I get two characters who either don’t already have feelings for each other or maybe don’t realize it having to pretend they’re in love with each other. Forced PDA! Living together to look less suspicious! MAYBE THEY EVEN AWKWARDLY KISS FOR A CAMERA AND THEN LIKE IT BUT DON’T ADMIT IT TO THE OTHER PERSON BECAUSE THE OTHER PERSON IS STILL ONLY DOING IT FOR THE GREATER GOOD OR WHATEVER.
Though I think I may enjoy the “woke up married” premise the most. Drunken night in Vegas? Random memory loss? Supernatural reason to wake up married and not know how it happened? YES AND PLEASE.
I prefer one or both characters to know about their feelings beforehand, because all the pining (god I love pining) and trying not to feel too much or let it show – UGH. Chewy, tasty angst.
Ahhhhh, the ever popular school!AU. What makes this so appealing? I have a few theories.
I think high school AUs are appealing because – like the coffeeshop!AU – they’re universal. Nearly everyone has gone through similar school experiences. Being a teenager basically sucks for everyone, and most teenagers are obnoxious, embarrassing assholes. Why wouldn’t you want to read about your favorite characters being obnoxious, embarrassing assholes? (Hell get into hockey RPF and you won’t even need a hs!AU for that.)
Plus there are so many good situations to exploit: detention, gym class, organized sports, tutoring. Making out in the stacks! Skipping school like Scott and Allison for a romantic day in the park. And you can explore things like the jock falling in love with the artist/band geek/chess club president. THEY CAN DOODLE IN THEIR NOTEBOOKS. Siiiiigh, young love.
College/uni!AUs are appealing to me because of the stereotypical college things. Drinking, fucking, partying, and manic studying. Dorm rooms! Frat parties! Lounging on the quad! Give me a good frat boy AU and I am happy as a … frat boy with a full Solo cup? Sure, we’ll go with that.
In so many ways college is like high school on steroids and without a lot of adult supervision, and in that way the college!AU is a lot like the high school!AU on steroids and without a lot of adult supervision. So many opportunities for debauchery. Bless.
Do you love these tropes? Or do you never read them? I’d love to hear from people that don’t like kid!fic or school!AUs in particular, because I think it’d be interesting to hear the counterpoint. Any good recs for these tropes? Shaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare. *grabby hands*