Note: I don't know how many usable examples there are of this trope, although it's everywhere. The description could use some work, too.
Some fics are structured as lists. Instead of following a straightforward narrative, they lay out a series of not necessarily related events. The most common type is the "five things" fic: "Five things Harry Potter
brought to Hogwarts," or "Five Things Sokka and Katara
left at the South Pole."
Often, a five things fic is also an Alternate Universe Fic
, or even several
alternate universes, positing several ways that an event could have, but didn't, occur: "Five ways Alice and Bob didn't get together," or "Five things that never happened to Carol."
Another common variation is to put a twist on the last item of the list:"Five ways Alice and Bob didn't get together, and one way they did," or, "Five things that never happened to Carol, and one thing that did."
Finally, a Five Things Fic
does not have to have five things. It can have four, or ten, or thirty-eight items; five is just the most common number.
- The Harry Potter Five Things fic exchange includes such examples as "Four Letters that Got Delivered (and One that Didn't)" and "Charlie Weasley Smokes Four Cigarettes and Crushes One."
- The Criminal Minds fic Marksman is a "five things that never happened" fic presented in a slightly atypical structure.