Fanfiction // Do my favourite fic tropes translate well to books?

18 November 2020


I have spent my time lately doing a few things. Watching a lot of TV (love you Schitt’s Creek), reading a lot of comic books, and reading whole heaps of fanfiction. These things have all brought me joy and eaten up a lot of my freetime. In fact, a lot of the time when I say I’ve not finished any books that is true, but I have also spent hours of my day reading fanfiction instead. Archive of our Own is one my frequently visited pages because I am always on there finding new things to read. I thought it was about time I use my love of fanfiction to some how create a blog post because I love fanfiction and it turns out now I no longer have to be embarrassed about it because everyone is reading it too. Not sure when it was decided it was cool to acknowledge and speak about our love of fanfiction but it's happened and I, for one, am loving it.


I have been reading fanfiction since I was a teenager. I used to spend hours on the family computer reading it. I think half the reason I finally got my own laptop was so I wouldn’t hog the computer. In the good old days of dial up internet and having to come off the computer so people could make phone calls little old me was discovering the fabulous world of fanfiction. I think I stumbled across it as, like any good teenager, I was obsessed with a TV show and spent far too much time obsessing over it. As with most US shows, they string you along with a couple for seasons, not just a few episodes but long 24 episode seasons of excellent chemistry and nothing happens. I was extremely dissatisfied by that prospect and so turned to fan fiction and really never left. I do only tend to read fanfiction for TV shows and films, but then Vera does like to throw some rogue Magnus Archives fic at me and I don’t hate her for it because this final season has gotten dark and I think we need the lighthearted world of fanfiction to help balance it out to be honest.


Since I’ve not really been reading too much outside of fanfiction (although, that is slowly changing) I figured what better time to expose my myself and my favourite fanfiction tropes and see if the tropes I love in fanfic translate well into my bookish catnip as well. To do this I’ve looked through all of the fics I’ve bookmarked on Archive of Our Own and all of the ones I had bookmarked on as well. Turns out I’ve bookmarked a lot of fics, and a lot of them have also been deleted (why fanfic writers? I wanted to reread some of those). Let’s see if the tropes and concepts translate into the bookish world or if they’re just a weird fanfic thing.


Time Travel


Look, I don’t know why but I like to read time travel fics but I do. There is something about folks travelling trying to fix a timeline or travelling to the past of some ancestor which just has me sucked in. It’s a ridiculous concept which raises a whole bunch of questions about which time travel law they are following but I love it. I am a sucker for it just to see how things change.

When it comes to travel this seems a rather niche romance trope. We all know that Outlander will be in this list because how could it not? But actually, the first book which sprang to mind when I realised I’ve read a lot of time travel fanfiction? Beautiful Wreck by Larissa Brown. I adore that book and stumbled across it on a Smart Bitches podcast episode. A woman travels back to the time of the vikings and just read it people. There’s actually another book set in the same world out and I’m debating buying it but I kind of want to reread Beautiful Wreck first.

Do you have any good time travel romance? I am totally there for reading it if you do.


Time Loop


Not only was Groundhog Day a fantastic film it’s also a great fic premise of characters being stuck in a time loop destined to repeat some of the same mistakes until they realise something deep and profound (normally whilst falling in love with someone else). Why yes, it is a bit predictable, but what’s wrong with that? It doesn’t work in every fandom, or I guess it does but it has to be written well but I honestly love the whole premise. You know you’re going to see some funny situations emerge.

I can think of just two books which feature time loops, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and I’m told In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren also features it. Why on earth aren’t there more which immediately spring to mind. I have read Before I Fall and it was a good book which had me a little emotional and was great, check it out. In a Holidaze wasn’t even my radar to read (ew, holiday fiction is not my usual jam mostly because I’m never in the mood to read it at the appropriate holiday. I’m like those Christmas episodes of a series which air in the middle of summer).




This trope I always hunt out in a new fandom. I love soulmate fics, they just work for me and I wish I knew why. They are the best, from soulmarks, mates, soul bonds and everything in between, I have read them all. I guess I like the whole fated mates concept for characters and how that affects them when they realise. It’s especially fun when they are characters who are enemies who then discover they are soulmates and that changes how they interact with one another. I know, it’s a weird one and I actually hate insta-love so this kind of thing shouldn’t work but it does! These are my fanfic catnip, maybe even more so than a good old fake relationship which is shocking for me to say.

Despite my deep abiding love for a soulmate fanfiction I am genuinely struggling to think of any to properly fit from the books I’ve read. What immediately springs to mind are werewolf books because they’re are always mates in books like that, but I actually hoped to immediately be able to think of more. It’s definitely a concept which is seen mostly in paranormal romance and a little in urban fantasy. I’ve only read the one but it’s obvious in Kresley Cole’s Immortal After Dark series. You have mates in Nalini Singh’s Psy Changeling series and I also want to say the Guild Hunter books but it has honestly been so long since I read some of that series I would need to Google to say if that’s for sure. I vaguely remember there being mates in Patricia Briggs books, weren’t they mates in the Alpha & Omega series? I think this is a trope I am going to have to do some Googling on. Please give me your recs in the comments if you can think of any.


Fake relationship


This will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me or has followed my blog for a while. Or at least, I think it should come as no surprise but maybe I haven’t talked about my love for the fake relationship trope enough? It is my ultimate catnip trope. I continually get suckered in by it so it shouldn’t be a surprise I also enjoy a good fanfic with a fake relationship. It’s tried and true, normally a little cheesy but you know what you’re in for in the end.

I already know I’ve read plenty of books which fit this trope which shows a lot of my fanfic reading matches up to my normal reading. Act Like It by Lucy Parker is one of my favourite romances and is a perfect example of this trope done well. There’s Red, White and Royal Blue, Boyfriend Material, The Kiss Quotient. I could go on and and on. But rec me your favourites anyway because everyone has one fake relationship book they loved even if they don’t normally like the rope, there is always one which fits to someone’s tastes.


In a relationship and don’t realise it


Here is an example of a trope which isn’t so much a trope as a small concept seen in a fanfiction. They are normally short snippet scenes of times people mistake the characters as a couple, usually because they act like an old married couple until they finally realise they’ve been in a relationship the whole time and didn’t realise. It’s cute and fun and gets my little shipper heart all happy. I actually think this concept will be one of the hardest to think of in books because it’s not a trope is it?


This will partially be my book amnesia talking as I can never remember specifics in books, hell, a lot of the time I struggle to remember character names five minutes after finishing. I am certain there are books where other characters are poking at the MCs about their relationship but my mind has gone utterly blank. Can you think of any? Please tell me you can and it’s just my brain failing me. It’s such a great concept, I love small elements like this in fiction so it would make me sad if it’s not utilised more.




I think I’ll stop here because otherwise I’ll be descending into a lot of fanfiction tropes and we could be hear a while. I didn’t even get started on my love for a good coffee shop AU! But then realised that coffee shop AU’'s definitely won’t translate well into books because they won’t be AUs it will just be a book with the meet cute in a coffee shop and that will be nice but it won’t have the same adorableness as you get in fanfic because it’s an unexpected setting for the characters, it has taken them out of their normal every day and given them a new place to interact.


Do you read fanfiction? What kind of tropes do you love or are you more about the fandom than the trope? And can you rec me any books to fit my fanfiction favourites? Because what I need in life is more books I want to read and don’t have time (or money) for.

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