10 Fanfiction Cliches We Secretly Love (And Where to Find Them)

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As cheesy fanfiction cliches can be, we can’t deny our love for it!

Join us on a literary journey through the fascinating realm of fanfic cliches, where writers weave imaginative tales that captivate our hearts. 

This post delves into the ten most beloved cliches that secretly enchant readers across diverse fandoms. 

From slow-burn romances to unexpected plot twists, these have become the building blocks of fan-created universes. 

Fanfiction Cliches Introduction Image (Nesta Archeron)

Discover why these familiar elements are not just tropes — they’re the beating heart of fan-driven storytelling.

What are Fanfiction Cliches?

In fanfiction, cliches refer to recurring thematic elements or plot devices that, while predictable, hold immense significance for creators and consumers. 

These familiar tropes act as building blocks for storytelling.

Hence, it provides a foundation upon which writers construct stories that resonate deeply with their audience.

What are Fanfiction Cliches H2 Image (Cassian and Rhysand)

As fans immerse themselves in these well-loved tropes, they find comfort in the expected, akin to revisiting a cherished story told in a unique voice. 

While cliches may seem like shortcuts, they are nuanced tools that enable creators to convey complex narratives efficiently. 

By tapping into established themes, writers can provide a balance between the expected and the unforeseen. 

This intersection of predictability and creativity makes fanfiction an art form where cliches act as guides rather than constraints.

What Are the Most Popular Fanfiction Cliches?

1. Love Triangles

Love triangles stand out as intricate webs of emotion and tension in fanfiction cliches. 

Common scenarios often involve a central character torn between two others, each representing different facets of desire or compatibility. 

These dynamics intensify as characters navigate the complexities of multiple relationships, creating engaging and emotionally charged storylines.

Readers are inherently drawn to love triangles in fanfiction due to the heightened emotional stakes they bring to the storytelling. 

The unpredictable nature of character interactions and the anticipation of resolution captivate audiences. 

The exploration of conflicting emotions, desires, and loyalties taps into universal themes, making love triangles a timeless and enticing fanfiction cliche that resonates with diverse audiences seeking emotional depth and complexity.

Curious? The Gloriana Set can give you a glimpse into how thrilling this cliche can be!

2. Soulmate AU

Soulmate AU, a prevalent fanfiction cliche, introduces the concept of destined love. 

This trope imagines characters connected by an otherworldly force, transcending time and circumstance. 

Soulmate AU Fanfiction Cliche (Cassian and Nesta)

The prevalence of Soulmate AUs attests to the enduring appeal of the notion that certain connections are fated, adding a layer of mystique.

Readers are captivated by Soulmate AUs in fanfiction due to their exploration of the profound concept of destiny. 

The allure lies in the idea that love is preordained, creating a powerful and often romantic narrative. 

Often, this fanfiction cliche resonates with audiences seeking stories that delve into the mystical and the eternal, allowing them to escape into worlds where love is not just a chance encounter but a cosmic inevitability.

3. Alternate Universes (AUs)

AUs in fanfiction are diverse and expansive, offering a playground for creative exploration beyond canonical storylines. 

Whether it’s a High School AU, Fantasy AU, or Sci-Fi AU, these imaginative settings redefine character relationships, motivations, and conflicts.

AU Cliche (Modern Rhysand)

Many adore AUs in fanfiction for their ability to break free from the constraints of the canon. 

They offer writers and readers a canvas to reimagine characters in entirely different contexts, pushing the boundaries of established narratives. 

Hence, this fanfiction cliche resonates with those seeking inventive and unpredictable storylines, enriching the fan experience by presenting familiar characters in new and exciting scenarios.

4. Enemies to Lovers

In fanfiction cliches, the enemies-to-lovers trope stands as a dynamic narrative journey. 

Writers often explore the transformation of characters from adversaries to romantic partners, injecting complexity and depth into their relationships.

(Check out Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger for starters!)

This evolution allows for nuanced storytelling, challenging traditional dynamics and providing a captivating exploration of character growth within fan-created tales.

The enemies-to-lovers cliche uniquely appeals to readers by introducing a rich layer of tension and passion. 

Enemies to Lovers Cliche (Feyre and Rhysand)

The gradual shift from hatred to affection taps into universal themes of redemption and forgiveness, creating a magnetic pull for audiences. 

As a result, this cliche satisfies the desire for intense emotional experiences, making it a timeless and widely embraced element.

5. Hurt/Comfort

Hurt/comfort, a poignant fanfiction cliche, explores the emotional vulnerabilities of distressed characters. 

It delves into the depth of human experiences, allowing writers to showcase the resilience and strength of characters facing adversity.

The emotional depth and character development inherent in hurt/comfort stories resonate profoundly with readers seeking stories beyond surface-level interactions.

The power of hurt/comfort lies in its ability to evoke reader empathy. 

Hurt/Comfort Fanfiction Cliche (Gwyneth)

As characters navigate challenges and find solace, readers form strong connections, fostering a sense of shared emotions.

Therefore, this cliche becomes a conduit for understanding and compassion, making it a cornerstone of fan-created works that leave a lasting impact on audiences.

I highly suggest Crimson Rivers if you want a more heart-wrenching read.

6. Time Travel

Time travel, a captivating fanfiction cliche, introduces the element of temporal manipulation, allowing characters to navigate through different eras and timelines. 

This trope opens up endless possibilities, allowing writers to explore the consequences of altering the past or glimpsing into the future.

The allure of time travel in fanfiction lies in its exploration of cause and effect. 

Time Travel Fanfiction Cliche (Feyre)

Many get drawn to the complexities that arise when characters navigate the repercussions of altering timelines

It offers a thought-provoking examination of the consequences of temporal choices, creating a space for creativity and reflection.

7. Fix-It Fics

Fix-it tropes within the fanfiction landscape are a response to unsatisfactory canon events. 

Writers take the reins, offering alternative resolutions and outcomes to storylines that may have left fans wanting. 

This fanfiction cliche allows for exploring divergent paths, providing a form of literary catharsis for those seeking a more fulfilling plot.

Fix it Cliche (Rhysand)

The allure of fix-it fics lies in the cathartic experience they offer fans. 

Through these stories, readers can rectify the perceived injustices of canon, finding solace and satisfaction in outcomes that align more closely with their preferences. 

Hence, the emotional resonance of fix-it fics establishes them as a fan-favorite cliche, providing a creative outlet for writers and readers to rewrite the stories.

Interested? Check out 3 Steps Back, a prime example of this cliche!

8. Fake Dating

Fake dating, a lighthearted fanfiction cliche, often places characters in scenarios where they pretend to date for various reasons. 

Commonly employed for humor and situational irony, this trope creates entertaining dynamics that resonate with readers seeking playful and amusing stories within fan-created works.

Fake Dating Cliche (Cassian and Nesta)

The charm of fake dating cliches lies in their ability to blend humor with unexpected romantic developments. 

(I highly recommend checking out our Chenford post if you love this cliche!)

As characters navigate the complexities of their faux romance, readers can indulge in witty banter, comedic misunderstandings, and the delightful anticipation of the inevitable reveal. 

Overall, this fanfiction cliche adds a layer of joy and silliness to storytelling, making it a beloved theme within fan communities.

9. Amnesia

Amnesia, a captivating fanfiction cliche, utilizes memory loss as a plot device to weave intricate narratives.

This trope introduces an element of mystery as characters grapple with rediscovering their pasts and navigating the consequences of forgotten memories. 

As a result, amnesia stories become a canvas for exploring identity, relationships, and self-discovery within fan-created universes.

Amnesia Fanfic Cliche (Lucien)

The charm of amnesia in fanfiction lies in its potential for unraveling mysteries and rediscovering characters. 

Readers immerse themselves in the emotional journey of characters piecing together their identities and relationships, creating compelling and reflective stories. 

10. Found Family

Found Family, a heartwarming fanfiction cliche, explores the theme of building deep familial bonds outside the established canon dynamics. 

Characters forge connections based on shared experiences, support, and loyalty, creating an alternative family structure that transcends traditional relationships within the source material.

Found Family Fanfiction Cliche (Feyre and Rhysand)

The emotional satisfaction found in this fanfiction cliche arises from witnessing characters form meaningful connections in unexpected ways.

Found family tropes provide warmth, belonging, and emotional fulfillment, resonating with readers who crave stories emphasizing the importance of chosen relationships. 

This theme has become a staple within fanfiction for its ability to evoke powerful emotions and offer a fresh perspective on character dynamics.

Intrigued? I recommend checking out the Bat Family, one of the most popular subjects of found family fanfics!

What is the Impact of Fanfiction Cliches on Fandoms?

The influence of fanfiction cliches extends beyond mere storytelling — it permeates fan-created content across various mediums. 

From fan art to online forums, these familiar tropes are catalysts, inspiring creators to explore, reinterpret, and celebrate beloved cliches within their chosen fandoms. 

What is the Impact of Fanfiction Cliches on Fandoms (Feyre H2 Image)

In other words, fanfiction cliches, like cultural architects, play a pivotal role in shaping the intricate tapestry of fan culture. 

These recurring tropes serve as common ground, creating a shared language that unites diverse fandoms. 

As enthusiasts delve into these narrative patterns, they contribute to developing a collective identity, fostering a sense of belonging and shared experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are cliches necessarily a bad thing in fanfiction?

A: While many often criticize fanfiction cliches for lacking originality, they aren’t inherently harmful. When used judiciously, cliches can provide a sense of familiarity and comfort to readers, contributing to the overall enjoyment of a story. However, striking a balance and incorporating fresh elements is crucial to avoid the pitfalls of predictability and monotony.

Q: Are there fanfiction cliches specific to certain fandoms?

A: Fanfiction cliches can vary significantly between fandoms. Different communities develop tropes and preferences influenced by the source material, fan dynamics, and cultural factors. Understanding the unique cliches within a specific fandom allows writers to tailor their stories to the expectations and preferences of that particular fanbase.

Q: How do cliches impact the originality of a fanfiction piece?

A: Cliches can challenge originality, as they often rely on familiar plot devices or character dynamics. However, skilled writers can use cliches as a foundation to build upon, injecting creativity and unique twists to subvert expectations. Balancing cliches with original storytelling is critical to crafting familiar and fresh fanfiction.

Q: Are there cliches that are considered harmful or offensive in fanfiction?

A: Certain fanfiction cliches can be perceived as harmful or offensive, particularly when they perpetuate stereotypes or engage in insensitive portrayals of sensitive topics. Writers should exercise caution and cultural sensitivity when dealing with potentially offensive cliches, ensuring their stories contribute positively to the fan community rather than perpetuating negative stereotypes.

Q: How do cliches evolve within a fandom?

A: Cliches within fanfiction evolve as fandoms grow and change. New interpretations, subversions, and creative twists on existing cliches emerge over time, reflecting the dynamic nature of fan communities. This evolution often results from a collective desire for fresh narratives while maintaining the core elements that make fanfiction enjoyable for its audience.

Fanfiction Cliches: Conclusion

Feyre Fanfiction Cliches Conclusion Image

Certain cliches have become integral to our fandom experiences in the vast landscape of fanfiction, from the heart-throbbing tension of enemies to lovers to the whimsical allure of alternate universes. 

The enduring appeal of these cliches lies not just in predictability but in the emotional resonance they evoke. 

Fanfiction writers and readers find comfort and an unspoken connection that transcends boundaries. 

Rather than limitations, cliches are gateways to endless creative possibilities. 

Whether you’re a seasoned fan or a newcomer, explore fan-created works, share your thoughts, and let your unique voice contribute to the rich tapestry of fandom creativity.

Fanfiction cliches aren’t just themes — they are the heartbeat of fandoms, waiting to be explored, celebrated, and reimagined.

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