Compiled by Scott K. Jamison
While it's certainly not true
that every possible plot twist or character twitch has already been used up,
some have been more heavily mined than others in fanfiction. Some of them have
been done so often that the experienced reader, upon seeing someone attempting
to "reinvent the wheel", can only sigh and think "here we go again."
Thus this list, which hopes to
cover the most commonly overused themes and scenes, not to forbid their reuse,
but to let the beginning writer know what has already been done, and done
Each person contributing to
this list, therefore, was asked to provide examples of "dead horses", and more
importantly, an example of a story in which that scene, theme, or
characterization was done best. If nothing else, it should allow the reader to
look up the more interesting specimens.
Further suggestions for this
list should be sent to me by private e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org. On-topic discussions
of the stories themselves need not be sent privately, of course.
I've restricted this to Ranma 1/2 (Created by Rumiko Takahashi) and Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon (Created by Naoko Takeuchi) because those are the two series with the most fanfic traffic right now.
- Lines of Destiny by Louis-Phillipe Giroux (http://www.anime.sobhrach.com/~dragon/)
"Just the overall treatment." --Luigi Mattera
"Instead of Ranma just blindly jumping in and accepting, with only a minor complaint about skirt length, we get to see Ranma really worrying about a potential to lose his masculinity, since his female side has become so much stronger than his male one." --Christian A. Rogers
- Long, Hard Road by George Mori
"Featured scenes where Nabz gets herself in big trouble and Kunou is there to help her." --Gary Kleppe
- Reunions: Kunou/Nabiki Chapter by J. Austin Wilde
"Nabbie marries Kunou to gain access to his money." --Gary Kleppe
- Thy Inward Love by Richard Lawson
[No quote provided.]
- Saotome Squared by Eternal Lost Lurker (aka Robert Morrison) (http://www.geocities.com/~etlostlurker)
"Ranma accidentally gets cured of the curse, then his daughter comes from the future, and she does not act totally like Ranma or Akane; she has a bit of Happosai in her, and given time, she could become quite the character that neither of her parents weren't." --Andrew
- The Art by Gregg Sharp
"Made good use of the hammer by connecting it up with Akane's relationship to Thor." --David Johnston
- Hearts and Minds Prelude 3 by Gary Kleppe
"The pun on Nodoka's name, "Saotome Nobaka", is probably the best use of this cliche that I can think of." --David Johnston
- Two Sides of the Coin by Benares
"I liked [it] enough to try to write an ending for it. It was funny at points but captured the torment of being left out of Ranma's life for his female half." --David Johnston
- Ranma 1/2 Volume 36 by Rumiko Takahashi
"Just the right blend of suspense, silliness and plot twists." --Scott K. Jamison
- Variyah Cycle by Mike Loader
"Uses it in a way that's genuinely funny and not just a rehash of the same old supposedly `original flavor' stuff." --Gary Kleppe
- An American Gaijin in Nerima, Tokyo by Karl Rim
"The genre has been parodied by many, but Rim did it first and in a way that was quick and to the point." --Gary Kleppe
- Sailor Moon Expanded/Dark Kingdom Renegades by Mark Latus
"Gave a reason why he survived, and it's one of the few times that Jadeite comes up with a scheme worth the effort." --David Johnston
- Sailor Moon Expanded by Mark Latus
"Makoto's relationship with Chrysolite. It's the only time I've seen poor Makoto hooked up with anyone, and you know what Woody Allen said about bisexuality....[*1]" --David Johnston
- Curiousities by Siranime (email@example.com)
"It builds well, although the group orgy scene at the end is a bit excessive, but the moments where Usagi and Rei discuss how to handle their new-found feelings are pretty darn touching at points." --Christian A. Rogers
- Coming of Munihausen by the Great Red Serpent
"Not chosen because it's a good story (it's f***ing disgusting) but because it has not one ... not two ... but THREE people inserted to rut with their favorite Senshi ... and respectively involving a cucumber, a bloody corpse, and racial slurs." --Christian A. Rogers
- Secrets by Ken Wolfe
"While Setsuna's manipulations are horrifying in their results, she is not depicted as omnipotent or omniscient; the author manages to make her seem very human, despite everything." --Chris Davies
- Universal B by Jendra (http://members.aol.com/Jendra)
[No quote provided.]
* * *
*2: As one of my correspondents put it, "Usagi and Rei? Only a straight boy would believe that one!"
v1.0 (081398) First version.
v1.1 (081498) Added Gary Kleppe's nominations, put in a couple of pointers, minor corrections.
If you know where any of the unlinked stories on this page can be found on the WWW, please mail the URL to Tonbo. Thanks!
Editing and HTML by Tonbo