5 Fanfic Plot Lines That We’re So Bored Of
We're calling out the most overdone and overrated plots in the fanfiction world in hopes that maybe—finally!—they'll go away.
Is it really a fanfic if it doesn't contain at least one kidnapping? This trope is so common, it's practically required to insert this damsel-in-distress scene somewhere in every story. The protagonist usually ends up in a dingy underground dungeon, which every bad guy seems to have access to. They're usually tortured until they can be rescued by their love interest, because every damsel needs a knight in shining armor, don't they?
The sexist undertones to this one are obvious, but even when the gender roles are reversed, it's still overused and rarely done well. It's just not shocking to have a character kidnapped nowadays; it would be far more shocking if no one were kidnapped at all.
When one of the main characters falls into a deep coma and people come to visit their bedside, it's usually an attempt to spice up the plot, but readers are usually just waiting for things to get interesting again when the person wakes up.
Not only is this an overdone plot line, but it's a really dull one. (Especially when we get a chapter from the perspective of the person in a coma.) Comatose states are relatively rare in real life, and we'd like to see that rarity translate to fanfiction too.
Arranged Marriages for Company Mergers
The main character's parents are rich people involved in some ultra-crucial merger agreement with another company, and for inexplicable reasons, this merger requires their children to get married.
We've seen this one a lot—and heck, we've even seen it done well—but even at its best it's totally unrealistic. Business mergers are done through contracts and complex legal negotiations, but marriages? Not so much. The terms of these fictional forced marriage agreements rarely make sense and they always feel contrived. The marriage just ends up being a device to add drama to the plot and morally excuse the main character for falling in love with someone else.
We all know how this happens: two characters have sex, and whether they use contraception or not—boom! There's a bun in the oven.
Most fiction does not do pregnancy justice and it often feels like what authors fall back on when they've run out of actual plot. It is rarely written realistically, and often will happen right away. Birth control seems to absolutely never work in fanfiction, despite how often it works in the real world.
Somehow, these characters manage to overlook the fact that they've missed periods, but will immediately start getting unexplained morning sickness and will eat more food than usual (neither of these typically happen until around or after the second missed period). But the pregnant character won't catch on to any of these major clues and will instead end up getting an unrelated blood test, which confirms the obvious: you made a baby!
Honestly, the most egregious part of this one is just how crazy unrealistic it all is. If we're going to keep seeing pregnancy as a plot line, we want to see the whole gamut of the complex realities that pregnant women go through: family planning, adoption, surrogacy, infertility, and miscarriage.
"First Dates" When Characters Are Already Dating
The primary characters may have been friends already or even lovers, and slowly but surely they fall in love and build a relationship. What's next? They go on a date, of course.
It's easy to see why this trope is popular—the writer is trying to emphasize that they didn't follow the traditional route when they got together and now they're doing a cute thing by going on a date. But for the reader, this date scene is usually a disruption of the flow of the story and rarely serves to forward the plot. If authors insist on writing these, we'd prefer to see them as bonus chapters at the end of the book.
The protagonist is suddenly stricken with a disturbingly realistic dream or vision (which they tend to tell no one about). Sometimes they have a vision of the future or something happening elsewhere, other times they receive a message from God or a god-like figure. It's convenient and it helps close plot holes, which is maybe why it feels so forced.
Writers seem to rely on prophecies to get information to the characters, reveal backstory, or forward the plot, but they're often more of an info dump than anything else. We're all for magic, but we'd prefer to see fresh takes on the same old premonition trope like fortune-telling tattoos or fake psychics.
What are your least favorite fanfic plot lines? Let us know in the comments...