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The Theorem of Narrow Interests

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The more constrained the thing you're looking for, the fewer good examples exist.

A corollary of Sturgeon's Law; as you add in requirements, the expected number of good examples of whatever it is you're looking for goes down.

Why this happens: If you want Legolas fanfic, there's tons of it out there, and even though Sturgeon's Law says that 90% of it is going to be crap, the 10% that's good is still a lot (and consequently easier to find). If you want a Legolas/X slash fic, there are still tons, but there are fewer tons, because it's a subset of Legolas fic, and the 10% that's any good is correspondingly smaller. If you want Legolas/Draco slash fic, you've moved into a still smaller subset, by adding in a crossover requirement, with a still smaller "10% good". And so on...

A second factor that also contributes is that writers tend to stay in the same general area for most of their work. In other words, a fanfic writer who has done one Legolas/Draco-is-a-crossdresser BDSM fic is more likely to do it again. This means that one writer may be responsible for a sizable chunk of all the stories with a certain narrow set of parameters, and if they're a bad writer, they're going to skew the crap-to-not-crap ratio (and groups like the Protectors of the Plot Continuum are going to have a field day.)

The porn version is closely related: Vampire/fetish-latex porn is rarer and thus has fewer good examples, than either just vampire porn or fetish-latex porn.

On the subject of porn, this trope intersects with Rule 34 in an interesting way: The narrower your search terms, the less likely you are to find something good, but the more likely you are to find something pornographic. Make of that what you will.

It doesn't simply apply to porn and fanfic —and Queer Romances—, though. Any narrow interest niche is going to have a smaller overall selection than a wider niche (it's just that those are the areas where people have the most particular tastes). Thus, if you want to see a movie about World War 2, you're spoiled for choice, but if you want an Alternate History World War II film where Those Wacky Nazis won the race for the atomic bomb by making a literal Deal with the Devil, you've cut your options significantly. Note that this is also a mathematical property. Under set theory, set (A&B) is usually smaller than either set (A) or set (B), the only exception is if A=B.

Also known as Beggars Can't Be Choosers. The necessity to scratch the need for content within the narrow interest is sometimes the cause of Author Appeal.


Films — Live-Action

  • Monty Python's Life of Brian: The Ex-Leper complains that not many people are interested in his life's story; therefore, he doesn't receive much money when he tells it to entertain a group of strangers. Lepers are more successful in that venture.

Alternative Title(s): Beggars Cant Be Choosers