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Being an avid fanfiction writer myself, I read a lot of other writer's works myself. And I've seen a thousand complaints about the issue of over-used topics and cliche ideas. Heck, doesn't this site warn against it too?
So how come?
I've run through enough theories on this to make Fox Mulder look conservative by comparison, and I'm still not certain. My two latest are based along the lines of:
Far-fetched? Hear me out.
For the first point, I'm surmising that the writing of a great deal of fanfiction stems from a dissatisfaction with how the game turned out. Any fanfiction reader can probably attest to the great number of "Aeris/Sephiroth comes back to live (somehow)" fanfics out there. Or how about the "Magus searches for Schala" plot?
Is it so hard to believe that these writers are somewhat disgruntled that Square had the gall to kill off their favorite character in FF7? Or that they would DARE to finish up Chrono Trigger without resolving Magus' problem? Again, is it so hard to believe perhaps writers aren't happy with how the story played out?
For my second point, I'll grant beforehand that it's more cynical in nature. It probably stems from a lethal combination of reading too many "Evil Guy Resurrection" fanfics, coupled with a lot of out-of-character behavior thrown in.
Basically, I begin to experience misgivings when Frog's Ye Old Englishe accent disappears, Rudy becomes the life of the party, and Sephiroth shows up, wanting to reform and be a good guy. And it's all justified with the passing of a little time (For outside applications, relate this to the theory of evolution ^_^). What's wrong with this? Try replacing the character's names with other names (I'm dead serious. Use a find-and-replace to make it easy).
Holy OOC, Bat-man!!! It's almost as if the story had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the game that it's supposed to be based off of. I've seen this any number of times, and the only explanation I can come up with is that the writer was too lazy to make up their own characters and create their own background history to their story.
This isn't all absolute, I'll grant. A topic isn't cliche when the writer is the first person to write about it. As for the fiftieth person to write about... did the other forty-nine somehow fail to do an adequate job on it?
So anyway, those are a few of my thoughts on the existance of overused topics in fanfiction. They aren't all-inclusive, and they by no means explain absolutely every occurance of the problem. But they seem to apply in a lot of instances.
Other theories and rebuttals welcome.
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