Fanfic favorite tropes meme (and a Fluffdate)

First up — I tweeted when it happened, but in case you missed it, Marshmallow Fluff got to the vet and back. He recovered from the ordeal pretty quickly, and has re-settled into most of his old routines. Most importantly, the one where he eats.

They kept him 2 nights for observation, during which they blood-tested, rehydrated, medicated, and…shaved him.

When he’s feeling well he refuses to be touched, let alone brushed…but this’ll keep his fur from getting matted again for a while!

He weighed in at 13 pounds. This time last year, when he was originally rescued from a neglect/starvation situation, he weighed 6. This is the good life, all right.

I also finally figured out a birthday present, and got him one of those kitty drinking fountains:

I hope it’s encouraging him to drink more. He seems to like it, at least. Doesn’t smack at it the way he used to do his water bowl, and he’s experimented with drinking from different bits, at various angles.

…so now that you’re up-to-date on Cat News, here’s that fic meme.

As borrowed from various DW people…

Slow burn OR love at first sight

Slow-burn means actual relationship development, where you get to fall for the idea of them as a couple while they’re falling for each other. Love-at-first-sight usually means “we, the writers, aren’t putting any effort into establishing why they’re into each other, just take our word for it.” (Especially with m/f.)

Fake dating OR secret dating

Too much potential for secondhand embarrassment with fake dating, and the excuses are too contrived. Secret dating usually has a better reason (there’s a lot of vicious prejudice out there) and lets you hit the full depths of fulfilled mutual adoration (when they’re alone) and heartfelt pining (when there’s anyone else in the room).

Enemies to lovers OR best friends to lovers

Had to think hard about this one. Some of my favorite ships start out with some form of tension, antagonism, or suspicion — see T’Pol/Archer, Jon/”Stephen”, Alucard/Integra, D/Leon — but in the process of working through it, they develop an intensely trusting ride-or-die companionship. And then they can go to lovers. But it’s not like they were ever full-on enemies.

I’ve been pulled in by “best friends to enemies to lovers”, though. (Doctor/Master, Catra/Adora…)

Oh no there’s only one bed OR long distance with correspondence

Too little experience with long-distance couples who have a healthy and thriving romance, too much with “these people have serious rifts in their relationship, and they’re using the distance as a shield so they don’t have to confront it.” Which isn’t fun.

Only-one-bed can also be no fun if it’s “one person contrives for this to happen with another person who’s genuinely disinterested and uncomfortable,” but it mostly gets written as “something they both secretly wanted but were afraid to admit,” which is delightful.

Fantasy AU OR modern AU

Pour some extra magic into my mundane canons, keep the mundanity out of my magic canons.

Smut OR fluff

If it’s really pared down to only smut/fluff, with no other elements — neither. If there’s something else filling them out — angst, humor, character study, relationship development, maybe the sex and fluff mixed with each other — both!

Mutual pining OR domestic bliss

Mutual pining as long as there’s a good reason they don’t just go for it, already. Which isn’t all the fic for that trope, but at least this version is pretty easy to find.

Domestic bliss if they get to keep facing external conflicts and ongoing plots, and you can see them using their support for each other as a solid foundation to face the world together. Which is almost none of the fic, so.

Alternate universe OR future fic

Both! I was going to say as a caveat that I don’t like all kinds of AUs, but I don’t like all the choices people make in future fic either, so it probably shakes out even.

One shot OR multi-chapter

Either…although in most cases I’ll leave it in Marked For Later until it’s complete, no matter how many installments that takes.

Exceptions for a small handful of WIPs, mostly long-runners that started back when I was reading more of them.

Kid fic OR road trip fic

Kids are cute and weird and can offer lots of interesting shakeups to the canon dynamic!

Road trips mostly feel like an excuse to keep moving the characters to different settings so it feels like you have a plot…but you don’t.

Reincarnation OR character death

Not like I mind deaths in fic, but it’s not something where I’d think “oh, this has a Character Death tag, that suggests an original and engaging plot that I might want to check out.”

Arranged marriage OR accidental marriage

The accidental version has a lot more possibility for Wacky Hijinks.

Time travel OR isolated together

I’d pick time travel no matter what the other thing was, probably.

Neighbors OR roommates

…I have no idea who any of my neighbors are, so any plot that involves interacting with them is more likely to feel kinda contrived. Roommates, now that generates a ton of genuine plot hooks.

Sci-fi au OR magic au

This was an extremely close call. The bit that finally decided it was, in sci-fi AUs I’m more likely to get thrown out of the story by thinking “the science wouldn’t work that way,” which is not a risk in magic AUs.

But I’ll happily read both. And if it’s a magical canon, by all means, gimme the sci-fi version.

Bodyswap OR genderbend

Bodyswap is another of those tropes with too much inherent embarrassment squick. Genderbends, in all flavors, give you cool fantastical opportunities to explore Interesting Gender Things.

Angst OR crack

Another extremely close call. It’s very possible to take angst to a point where it’s overwrought and ridiculous, but it’s also very possible to write something that’s random and absurd in a “this isn’t even funny, why did I waste my time reading it” way. And when they’re done well, I like both.

Finally decided it based on the feeling that my standards for “crack done well” are narrower. Writing an angsty fic that makes readers feel sad is pretty straightforward. Writing a cracky fic that engages readers through the whole thing (as opposed to just making them lol at the premise) is tough.

Apocalyptic OR mundane

Look, if there’s zombies I’m out, but if it’s about scrappy survivors working together to jerry-rig a functional society out of the detritus that was left after the Big One? I’m there.

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