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"Five Things" Fic

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Commonly referred to as "Five Things" and sometimes "Five Times", this is a fanfiction or other fanwork structured in six small "scenes" with an event happening in the first five scenes and then either not happening or happening differently in the last. There are also some works that use different numbers, like three things or ten things.

The title usually follows the pattern of "Five times (event happens) and one time (event either doesn't happen or variation on event happens)" in an example of Exactly What It Says on the Tin. This trope occurs most often in romantic fics, where common titles include "Five times [x] kissed [x] and one time [x] kissed back" or "Five times [x] said 'I love you' and one time he didn't need to."

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The earliest predecessor to this is a 1981 Star Wars fanfic called Four Preludes, and One Short Epilogue on Han Solo or After the Empire Struck Back by Marcia Brin. The format as its currently known began in the Smallville fandom circa 2001. A writer called "Basingstoke" wrote Five Things That Aren't True, which caused other similar stories to be created.

This type of fic is most popular on Tumblr and Archive of Our Own, but also appears throughout fandoms on various websites.

Fanlore discusses this fic style here.


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Examples:

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     Anime & Manga 

    Films — Animation 

     Live Action TV 
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    Newspaper Comics 
  • Peanuts: 5 Times is a Peanuts fic about five times that Lucy said "I love you" to Charlie Brown. The fifth time, Charlie said it before her.

     Video Games 
  • Kingdom Hearts: Kiss is a Aerith/Tifa fanfic of this sort. It involves six kisses between them, with the sixth being when Aerith kisses back.
  • Dishonored:
    • (Don't) Blink by puppyblue is a set of snippets about Corvo accidentally Blinking somewhere he didn’t intend to. Five times he finds himself in unwanted situations, and one time he gets a lucky peaceful moment in a pleasant company.
    • oh quiet down, I’ve had enough by taywen is about five times various people tried to hit on an asexual Daud, and one time someone asked instead of making assumptions. The fic changes the format a little: the "+1" bit is placed between fourth and fifth regular bits.

     Webcomics 
  • Axis Powers Hetalia: Five Times America Forgot His Own Strength by Dear Inconspicuous details five times America accidentally used his superstrength along with one time he remembered he had it (and used it intentionally). Unlike some of these fics, this one has an interwoven plotline where Germany witnesses each accident and attempts to learn why and how America is superhumanly strong.

     Western Animation 

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