Three Top Tropes

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.

I dare you to find a better result from a “kid!fic” Google image search.


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.

Fake/pretend relationship/marriage

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.

School!AU (high school/college/university)

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*

Liz Keysmash
Follow Liz

Liz Keysmash

Liz has a ginger kitty named Thackery Binx who chirps like a bird and plays fetch like a dog. She reads a lot of slash, and writes a bit as well. She thinks she’s a good cook, she brews beer, she's a total nerd about baseball, she reads YA fiction, she has recently rediscovered her love of pop music, she swears like a sailor.
Liz Keysmash
Follow Liz
  • Meg Keysmash

    I can’t wait to do my trope post. Just thinking about my top three makes my heart swell. <--heh I LOVE KID!FIC. So much. My favorite kid!fic involves Derek turning into a papa wolf. Fuck. Me. Running. I am here for that ALL DAY. Ugh. I love domestic fic in general and when you add kids to the mix it just becomes perfect. Fake relationships are tons of fun too. I've read a lot of that in Teen Wolf, usually when Derek has to pretend like he and Stiles are mates in order to protect Stiles. Yes please. The best part about that it that it usually involves a lot of snark and a wee bit of angst before they realize they are meant for each other and then epic and beautiful buttsex happens. Mmmmmmmm. And school!AU in the Merlin fandom is my favorite. I love it when Merlin and Arthur end up roommates at college. Cue the awkward mutual masturbation and trying to avoid looking at one another when they've just gotten back from taking a shower. The absolute best. Fantastic post. I want to go read ALL the fic now. 🙂

    • Liz Keysmash

      Your opinions are my opinions. Why does Merlin lend itself to school!AUs so well? I love all the hs!AUs in Merlin, especially.

      And Papa Wolf Derek … GUH. I might reread DILF on the bus to Chicago tonight. Looooooooooooooooooove.

      Heh heh. You said swell. 😉

  • bookjunkie1975

    I have to admit I don’t love kid!fic. I think it comes from having my own and being around kids all day long. It’s just not the escape that I’m looking for in my fic. That being said, if fandom has taught me anything it’s that there is a writer out there somewhere with the skills and talent to change my perspective, and that applies to tropes, kinks, hard limits, whatever. I’ve learned never to say never and there is definitely kid!fic out there that I’ve read and really enjoyed. This one from Inception for example: or this piece of ridiculously endearing, teeth rotting fluff from Merlin The really crazy thing is I LOVE de-aging fic. I have yet to make sense out of the way my head works and no longer question it.

    • Liz Keysmash

      Not questioning it sounds like the best plan. I’ve found myself making all sorts of exceptions where fic is concerned as well.

      Thanks for the perspective on kid!fic! I wonder if the reason people don’t love it is because they’ve had their own. I hope more people chip in with opinions!

      Thanks for the recs too. I don’t think I’ve read that Merlin fic. *bookmarks*

  • In some fandoms, tropes are the biggest comfort. I love the
    fake/pretend marriage thing. (I think it’s because of of all the
    Marriage Law fics in the HP fandom). I also adore the
    workplace/forced partnership trope. When the two people don’t like
    each other, and there’s all that UST…. gah. Kid!fics equals DILFs
    of all sorts. I end up going mushy for them. Lovely post. I’ll be
    fic-diving tonight 🙂

    • Liz Keysmash

      OOH YES WORKPLACE TROPES! Sooooooo good.

      Let me know if you find anything good!