Five Tropes Fanfic Readers Love (And One They Hate)

More than 7,500 fanfiction readers filled out the Fansplaining Fic Preferences Survey. What can we learn from the results?

Flourish Klink
Oct 27, 2016 · 1 min read

People say a lot of things about fanfiction readers. Three common ideas: they’re just interested in happily ever afters; they’re just interested in gay porn; they’re just interested in radical queer reinterpretation of the Western canon and won’t take no for an answer. All of these things probably have some kernel of truth to them. And naturally, we can see what individual stories people like most: which ones have the most views, the most comments, and the most kudos. But that doesn’t tell us what elements of those stories they like. Not every story engages with fandom’s popular tropes, but many do: tropes can serve as shorthands for themes and plot points across fandom at large. So what do fanfic readers get excited about? Conversely, what makes them click the back button?

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