Overused phrases and tropes and why fanfiction sometimes sucks

Due to ongoing illness I spent most of the last four days safely tucked up in my sofa nest with a bottle of wine, excessive amounts of junk food and a truly staggering amount of fanfiction to keep me company.

Today I am a little pissed off.

The reason?

Well, after my massive fanfic glut this weekend I started to become hyper aware of some particular phrases, situations, lines and just….things that keep coming up over and over and over and really started to annoy me by teatime on Saturday, and had me wanting to kill dead things by four am this morning.

Some choice examples:

Green Eyes/ Violet Eyes

Most common in OCs (original characters – bleh. NO ONE likes OCs!). They all have green eyes. Almost every. Fucking. One. Of. Them! Now, I have green eyes. Honest to god real green eyes, so perhaps this is part of why it annoys me. I am the only person I know with green eyes. The only one. See, there are very few of us. In fact only around 1% of the entire population of the world have green eyes, and the majority of us are female. So when EVERYONE in fanfictionland (and yes, in other fiction land too, but I’ve noticed it most in fanfic) is sporting a pair of ‘bright emerald eyes’ it makes me teeth squeak.

ETA: Someone pointed out the violet eyes thing in a lot of fic, so I’ve edited this to address that too. Violet eyes do exist, but not in the way we think they do. A lot of people say ‘violet’ when they mean ‘blue’ – the colour effect of the ‘violet’ usually showing in photographs due to the interaction of light with the low levels of melanin in blue eyes. True violet eyes are caused by an incomplete form of albinism and are extremely rare, not that you would know that due to the scary amount of them present in fanfiction.

‘Coming undone’

The first time I ever heard this phrase used in relation to sex I actually thought it was a pretty good term to describe that wonderful moment when you literally lose control and fall apart. Clearly, everyone else thought it was a good term too and I have read it in pretty much every fic I read this weekend (yes, I was reading a lot of explicit fic, but that’s sort of beside the point.) We really need to find some new phrases.

Chapped lips

Mostly used in m/m, and I really don’t understand how chapped lips are supposed to be sexy. They are sore to have and uncomfortable to kiss. But I swear that I have read it in all my fandoms. It’s not pleasant. It’s a bit gross.

Skinny people with huge appetites

Okay, this one is usually a girl, she will be tiny and thin and eat more than three men without gaining a pound or developing IBS or at the very least severe constipation. Now, well ALL know someone who seems to stay the same size no matter what they eat, but they are the vast exception to the rule and bear in mind that we are not privy to all their eating habits. So just stop this one. It’s annoying.

Everyone climaxes at the same time. Every time.

Yeah. Enough said really.

Sex written by people with blatantly ,little sexual experience

Now, sometimes this doesn’t annoy me as much, after all, we all sometimes write about things we don’t have a lot of experience of, but I’ve noticed this most commonly in m/m slash regarding anal and it’s usually written by women. And after reading somewhere close to 200 different sex scenes this weekend, it seems that everyone writes it the same way – spit, one finger, 2 finger, stretch, three finger, prostrate, pull out, cock, burn, wait, push, repeat, come, cuddle. Can we change it up a bit because, and I never thought I’d be saying this, but fanfiction sex is getting pretty boring lately folks.

Tasting of musk

Honestly, this is not something I really paid much attention to until this weekend, but having read this phrase over and over and over it’s actually turning my stomach a little. It really just makes me think that the guy has a smelly ball sack, and that’s just not sexy.

Passing out after climax

Seriously. They need to see a doctor.


In my experience this is usually the precursor to an asthma attack. See above point.

People ‘humming’ during sex / arousal

What are they humming? ‘I’m a Little Teapot?’ Now, I do get what the writer is saying, but honestly, with all this hitching and humming and damn purring going on, my mental image is one of a petting zoo and not a sexy bedroom.

Overquoting the source material

This is most often a problem when a particular phrase or word is lifted and used over and over again in fics. For instance, in Veronica Mars fics you see a massive use of ‘Marshmallow’ despite it only being said once on the show. Likewise, in TWD fics there was an annoyingly huge amount of ‘claimed’ fics to the point where kinkmemes were asking for ‘no claimers.’ (Thank god because it almost put a lot of us off that particular ship)

It’s called a penis

Seriously, I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually seen the word ‘penis’ in a fic. No one ever wants to use the word. There is a huge abundance of ‘members’ and ‘cocks’ and ‘heats’ and assorted others, but for some reason people seem afraid of using the word penis – even in a non-sexual way. It’s just weird.

I’m not gay, it’s just him

Okay, so while I will be the first one to come out and say that we don’t have power over who we are attracted to, I’m getting a little tired of hearing one character repeatedly stating that they aren’t gay, that ‘it’s just him.’ Okay, so I can accept that, but having it in every single fic is pretty tiring. Strangely one fandom it does seem to work quite well in Sherlock, perhaps due to John’s repeated declaration of ‘I’m not actually gay’ throughout the series. But on the whole it’s just pretty annoying.

Smelling / scenting your partner

Okay, I know some people get really turned on by that after sex smell – you know where you smell like your partner. But in reality it just means you are covered in their sweat and it’s actually pretty gross when you think about it. Some people like to be clean after sex and not just lie in their partners filth for the rest of the night. Soap can be sexy too.


I could go on, but I really need to break this up into several posts so I don’t get myself annoyed. Coming soon – people who can’t or won’t label their fics with the correct tags so you accidently end up with a lot of OCs or they don’t warn you it’s AU.

So my lovely fic writers, especially those in my fandoms, please have a think about the things you overuse and see what you can come up with a replacement.

Love, etc



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