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Fanfic is rife with tropes and Memetic Mutation. Some plots are so embedded in the collective consciousness of netizens everywhere that no fandom is complete without them, despite general disdain for them—Mister Seahorse, for example, or Gender Bender—or even their relevance to the source material, such as Aliens Made Them Do It.

This trope comes in two general flavors:

  • One: Universal plots that are unusually popular within a particular fandom or pairing, for whatever reason.
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  • Two: Plots which only work within a particular fandom or pairing and are incredibly common there.

As with everything to do with fanfiction, Sturgeon's Law applies.

Sailor Earth, Obvious Crossover Method, Fuku Fic and The Ship's Motor are subtropes. Compare Common Crossover, The Stations of the Canon. See also Fanfic Fuel.


Fandoms with their own pages:


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Examples:

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    Comics 
  • Watchmen has Rorschach being sent to the future or an Alternate Universe. On some of those occasions, he (reluctantly) teams up with Deadpool.
  • Spider-Man:
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • There are a lot of stories concerning what Calvin is like as a teenager or adult. Either he has to deal with not having Hobbes around, or Hobbes is still around but his relationship with Calvin has changed due to Calvin's growing up. Occasionally Hobbes ends up being passed down to one of Calvin's own eventual children.
    • Calvin often ends up marrying Susie.
    • There are stories in which Calvin is on his deathbed and gives Hobbes to his grandson.
  • Teen Titans has a lot of Generation Xerox stories and fanart, with the Titans' own children growing up to be Titans themselves. The characters typically included are Damian Wayne, Lian Harper, Iris West, Milagro Reyes (Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes's little sister; a Running Gag is that her life's ambition is to become a Green Lantern), and sometimes Mar'i Grayson/Nightstar, Nightwing and Starfire's daughter in the Kingdom Come reality who is not (yet?) born in the main one.
  • For Shazam, you can find a million stories/comics where an adult hero discovers that Billy Batson is a prepubescent Homeless Hero and takes him in. The most popular seems to be Batman, due to a combination of a.) contrasting personalities, b.) Billy fitting the black-hair/blue-eyes pattern of the other Robins, and c.) his last name literally being Bat-Son.
  • Batman:
    • The Batman fandom has Catlad: in which Tim Drake is taken in by Catwoman and becomes her apprentice under the name Catlad or, more often, Stray. As a rule, Catlad!Tim is always written as bisexual or gay and much flirtier than his possibly asexual canon counterpart. It's obvious Fanservice, of course.
    • You can find a lot of age reversal fics, where Damian is the eldest and Dick is the youngest.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Labyrinth:
    • Sarah will get wished away by Toby/her parents/her roommate/etc. putting her in Jareth's clutches or running the Labyrinth again. Romance Ensues (a 99% chance).
    • Jareth will get all possessive and try to whisk Sarah away as his 'bride'. Romance Ensues (a 99% chance).
    • Either Jareth or Sarah is in Big Trouble and the other has to help him/her out. Chance of romance? 99%.
    • Jareth is in trouble with the Fae Courts because he let someone succeed at running the Labyrinth.
    • Original female character wishes her child/sibling/self away and winds up being romanced by Jareth.
    • Adaptation of Ashe Ryder's Roommates comics.
  • Post-film Live Free or Die Hard fanfic often has hacker Matt moving in with John McClane, since Matt's apartment was destroyed by terrorists. John lives alone and kinda lonely without his ex-wife and kids; Matt was shot point-blank in the knee, an injury that would require weeks to months of recovery with assistance. What better setup for fanfic roommates?
  • The Hangover fics have a very high tendency to have a previously unmentioned sister or female cousin of one of the four guys (usually Doug) join up with them and get involved with Alan, or more rarely Stu or Phil.
  • Star Trek XI:
    • There's the idea that Kirk received some of Spock Prime's memories of his friendship (or "friendship") with Kirk Prime during the mindmeld on Delta Vega is particularly common — especially among Kirk/Spock shippers.
    • It is commonly assumed that Gaila survived.
  • TRON fanficcers have all got their own guesses about what happens to the title character after his involuntary dunk in the Sea of Simulation. Other very common plotlines involve getting Flynn back to analog after being trapped in the digital world for 20 years, and scenarios where Alan is brought to The Grid to repair his damaged software, if not full-blown Legacy AU fics where Alan ends up investigating the arcade himself and shot into the system. Some fic goes into Sam's other "pranks" on Encom. Others try to figure out how Quorra's going to adjust to analog. Plenty of fanfic guesses about what happened to Yori (if you ship Tron/Yori, she's alive. If you write slash, she's de-rezzed), or the cast of TRON: Uprising (which had a Bolivian Army Ending). Patchwork Fic with the "other sequel" isn't uncommon, either.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe fics:
    • You get lots of Loki redemption fics. Usually forced as his punishment for the events of The Avengers — a vast majority involve Loki being forced to live with the Avengers (who mistrust and/or are hateful towards with him) in order to learn humility.
    • It is almost guaranteed that unless some sort of AU/bashing is involved, all of the Avengers will be living together full-time in Stark Tower.
    • Loki getting pregnant is so common, fics are often labeled "Lokipreg" or "Lpreg" instead of just mpreg. He may be a contender for most knocked-up male character in fandom. It helps that Loki getting pregnant is actually canon in Norse Mythology (not that Myth!Loki ever gets pregnant as a male, though); he's the mother of Sleipnir the eight-legged horse.
    • Budapest fics. If you ship Clint×Natasha, you've probably written something about Budapest. Any fic revolving around the members of Strike Team Delta (Clint, Natasha, and Coulson) is likely to have some references to Budapest. It's also common for Budapest to be the place where Clint initially recruited and/or encountered Natasha.
    • After Captain America: The Winter Soldier, many stories have been focused on Steve trying to rehabilitate a broken Winter Soldier/Bucky, who is sometimes seen suffering from PTSD, guilt or other type of mental issue due to his brainwashed, mistreatment, and assassination orders by HYDRA.
    • Fics where a teenage girl who is either a S.H.I.E.L.D. recruit from a young age or has super powers and a mysterious past ends up joining the team and living in the Tower are common. You can probably see where most of these end up going.
    • Given that he was a popular character whose death in Avengers: Age of Ultron came off as a huge shock to the fanbase, it's pretty obvious that there's a helicarrier and a half's worth of "Quicksilver Survives" Fix Fic.
    • Fics where Peter Parker visits the Avengers tower on a field trip with his school. Bonus points if Flash is suprised Peter knows Tony.
    • After Infinity War, many time travel fix-its have a member of the Avengers or other group travel back to stop Thanos.
  • Fix Fics that change the ending of X-Men: First Class so that Xavier and Magneto never become estranged and/or Xavier is never paralyzed are ubiquitous in the fandom.
  • Star Wars:
    • Star Wars fanfiction is particularly notable for its time travel fics, where characters from the original trilogy era (usually Luke, but sometimes Leia; never Han) inexplicably travel in time to the prequel era and warn their parents/Yoda/everyone about what Palps is and what he's up to. Time travel, Sith alchemy, or other means can also be used to cross eras, like bringing Knights of the Old Republic characters into the film eras.
    • A stock plot of Star Wars fanfics is Dark Luke/Dark Leia/both Dark. In this case, either or both of the children was not hidden particularly well from daddy, or not at all, and is educated as a darksider.
    • "What If" scenarios are very common. What if Qui-Gon Jinn lived to train Anakin? What if Ahsoka Tano accepted Jedi knighthood? What if Anakin was stuck in traffic and came too late to intervene in Palpatine's arrest? What if Padme lived?
  • Stand by Me fics tend to have about four plots that get recycled over and over again. Chris gets laid = 99% of Stand By Me fanfiction right there:
    • A) A girl moves to Castle Rock, meets the boys and the Cobras, and falls in love with Chris/Teddy/Ace/Eyeball.
    • B) Retelling the Ray Brower trip with a girl accompanying the boys (Usually the fifth member of the gang the author adds and pretends was always there), and said girl eventually falls in love with Chris.
    • C) A girl in the boys' gang, that Chris has known his whole life, and they're best friends and they fall in love with each other.
    • D) Gordie and Chris realize their feelings for each other are now starting to go beyond friendship.
  • The Matrix:
    • Some post-Revolutions fics involve Neo and/or Trinity being brought back to life.
    • Fics including character backstories.
    • Sailor Earth type of character joining the Neb.
  • Easily a good portion of Kingsman: The Secret Service fanfic have this plot point: Valentine is a lousy shot and Harry, aka Galahad, is still alive. Often this goes hand in hand with another plot point: Harry becomes the new Arthur. This becomes Hilarious in Hindsight since a poster for the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle hinted and the trailer flat out confirms that Harry's alive after all.
  • Jurassic World:
    • Before the film even came out, fans started writing fanfics about Owen's relationship with his Velociraptors. Adorableness typically ensued.
    • After the film's release, stories about Claire and Owen dealing with the aftermath of the titular park's possible closure became very common.
    • Stories about Zach and Gray comforting each other over the incident.
    • The odd "Gray gets hurt on the island" AU, usually in stories that basically ask "What If? the Indominus rex clawed Gray's leg instead of his bag?"
    • Because of the epic climax, it's common to see continuation stories wherein Blue (the only surviving raptor) befriends the Tyrannosaurus rex and sometimes the Mosasaurus]].
    • There are quite a few stories where Owen (or someone else) gets turned into a dinosaur (usually a Velociraptor) due to magic or super science.
  • Nearly of the few fanfics for The Children's Hour are of the Fix Fic variety, interrupting Martha's suicide and pairing up Karen and Martha.
  • Due to the Spin-Offspring nature of the series, many Descendants fanfics revolve around children of random Disney characters interacting with the existing cast. This can come in one of two flavors:
    • A) retellings the first film, with the addition of a girl who is usually close friends with Ben (close enough that she becomes one of the first who learns about his proclamation regarding the Isle), not prejudiced against the villain kids, and who falls for either Jay or Carlos;
    • B) Post-movie fics where more villain kids are brought over from the Isle.
  • Ghostbusters (2016) fans who ship Erin/Holtzmann are very fond of writing stories in which Erin is a previously straight-identifying woman who gradually realises she's a lesbian / bi when faced with Holtzmann. They're also fond of Everyone Can See It (with Except Them being an optional extra) and "five times they did something shippy without realising" style fics.
  • Much like the Glee fics about Sugar being Brittany and Santana's Kid from the Future, following the release of Pitch Perfect 2, many stories emerged applying a similar concept to the character of Emily Junk, whom the shippers of Beca/Chloe have decided to portray as their future daughter.
  • The 2003 Peter Pan film inspired a lot of fics where Wendy goes back to Neverland as an adult and finds herself attracted to Captain Hook.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One of the more popular subjects for WMGs in Warhammer 40,000 is "What happens when the God-Emperor dies?". Theories range from hopeful (now no longer tied to the physical realm, He can finally confront, and defeat, the Ruinous Powers on their own turf) to even worse than 40K already is (the Emperor provides the sole means of semi-reliable FTL transit; without Him, planets are completely cut off from each other, even in the same system) to completely changing the setting (the Emperor was very much an atheist in life, and likely will not appreciate the "God" part of God-Emperor). The latter partially came true when Primarch Roboute Guilliman was revived and had a massive Heroic BSoD at what had happened to the Imperium, and has taken (admittedly small) steps to rectify that.
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    Toys 
  • In the My Little Pony fandom more than a few pre-G4 fanworks (usually G1 material) revolve around winged unicorns. Until G4 introduced alicorn, there weren't any canon ones outside of My Little Pony Tales. Thus many OCs were secretly winged unicorns hiding as non-unipeg.

    Web Original 
  • Red vs. Blue fics all seem to be about a hitherto unknown Freelancer, someone new joining the Blood Gulch crew, or a hitherto unknown AI. Sometimes all three at once.
  • Welcome to Night Vale:
    • One of the most common fanfics is "Carlos takes Cecil to meet his family". Expect varying levels of culture shock, homophobia and fluff.
    • A popular fic concept is that Cecil isn't human in some way, and is terrified of how Carlos will react. Carlos, for his part, is totally fine with it. The smut is optional; the fluff is not.
  • Vocaloid:
    • The inexplicably popular 'Len is the school playboy and Rin is either: A: bullied, B: nerdy, often in a way that seems suspiciously similar to the author or C: Tsundere. Len takes a bet to date her.
    • Ever since the Crypton Vocaloids as a big family started cropping up in officially licenced works, other studios' voicebanks being grouped into family units has grown into a popular topic.
    • Vocaloids being presented as living programs or actual singing androids on the market, and their new lives with their master.
    • Gumi trying and failing to get into a loving relationship.
  • Nyan~ Neko Sugar Girls fanworks dealing with Koneko-chan secretly being in love with Raku-chan became ever present after the final episode.
  • Camp Camp:
    • First and foremost, there's "Dadvid", a section of fanfic where David (often with Gwen at least somewhat involved) adopts one or more of the campers. Max is by far the most popular one, but pretty much every camper is a candidate. The circumstances that result in David gaining custody of one of the campers varies depending both on the story in question and which camper is being discussed; for example, Dadvid with Max generally involves the latter having been thrown into foster care or running away from an abusive home. Dadvid can and has been combined with all the A Us below.
    • "Dadvid" has a popular variant where teen David and Gwen come in contact with and takes in an abandoned baby or toddler Max; these typically feature a mix of tooth-rotting adorableness and heartbreak and like the main version, can be mixed with most A Us.
    • Less popular but still liked are "The Millers adopt X", with Max continuing to be the most popular option (especially if he was adopted pre-canon).
    • Max's parents are total Fanfic Fuel since we don't know anything except that he doesn't think they care about him. They can range from wanting to care but not knowing how, being distant and not around much but not uncaring, merely emotionally and verbally abusive or actively causing him physical harm with all kinds of variance to why they're whatever they are. It's also become popular that Max's neglectful parents are not his biological parents because of the Unfortunate Implications of POC parents being neglectful/abusive enough to require their child's removal and adoption by a white man (David) or white couple (the Millers).
    • "Jasper lived!", which is common with Jasper/David shipping (and sometimes Gwen thrown into the mix).
    • "Daniel returns for revenge on Max, David or both!" This usually ends up with the target/s of Daniel's rage being put through the wringer emotionally and frequently physically; they can also end awful or bittersweet.
    • Daniel is granted a chance to redeem himself. Frequently features Daniel/David.
    • "Evil!Daniel tries to break [Character] into a loyal cultist." Max or David are the most popular, but anyone is fair game.
    • "Werewolf David" is a popular AU, and is almost always tied in with David/Gwen shipping due to the latter's fetish for monster men. May or may not involve the campers and Gwen herself being supernatural creatures as well.
    • "Nonhuman David" is a pretty popular AU concept, with "Monster Under The Bed" and "Dragon" being other ideas the fans love.
    • Medieval AUs are popular and feature a variety of central characters.
    • Reverse AUs are popular and come in the following types.
      • Gender Swap: Characters are the opposite gender. Can be as desired but most A Us have the entire cast flipped around.
      • Age Swap: Max, Neil and Nikki are the counselors while David and Gwen are the campers. Other characters can be placed in roles as needed or desired.
      • Personality Swap: Characters' personalities get swapped around and/or flipped. This can be as desired though the general consensus is that David's personality would go to both Gwen and Max.
      • Morality Swap: Characters' moralities are reversed. Interestingly this doesn't necessarily mean that their better traits go away completely as "Serial Killer David", a popular version of this, is still David; just as a serial killer.
    • The campers frequently end up in high school together and Max and Neil will go to the same school if nothing else. Antics vary but shipping is frequent.
    • Harrison gets kicked out by his parents over the vanishing of his brother, whether he's unable to undo it (the more common version) or because they don't want anything to do with him once he manages to fix it. His True Companions find out and are none too pleased.
    • One of the campers ends up in an abusive dating relationship and the others try to save them. Believe it or not, despite being popular as a root for shipping, the story doesn't always go that route.
    • Someone is revealed to be trans and the characters react to this. David is by far the most popular option, with Max as a close second (and in most stories where Max is trans, David is as well) but other characters such as Harrison, Nerris and even Gwen are fair game too. Stories where Max is trans frequently feature his parents being transphobes (he's not the only one who gets transphobic family, just the most popular).
    • Camper Gwen, as in "Gwen was at Camp Campbell with David and/or Jasper" stories, are well-liked.
    • "Wood Scout Max" stories, where he ends up at the Wood Scouts somehow (often being kidnapped again or by having the canon "loss" of Jermy be thwarted so Pikeman takes Max), are popular and frequently end up with lots of Cold-Blooded Torture and pain for Max; the final rescue usually ends up being heartwarming though.
    • Max is the victim of a violent crime (which may or may not have also left him orphaned) and the other characters help him recover.
    • Crossovers with X-Ray & Vav are very popular. Mogar and David are frequently shipped together with the rest of the casts of both series being quirky honorary family. The Mad King and Daniel frequently team up, though it doesn't go well for them.
  • Wattpad is known across the internet as a website full of specific plots that appear in hundreds of users' fanfictions, whether it be getting kidnapped by your crush, being sold to a handsome gang leader by your poor parents, or a retelling of the author's favourite movie with themselves and their celebrity crush. Strangely, they all seem to star bad boys and/or boy bands. Also, they all begin with the main character (always a girl) getting out of bed to look at herself in the mirror and think that she isn't pretty enough to have friends/a boyfriend.


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