Reader-Insert

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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: Canon X Reader, Y/N
Related: Imagine (genre), Choose Your Own Adventure, Quiz Fic, Personal
See Also: Self Insertion
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Not to be confused with Self-Insertion.

Usage and Notation

Reader-Insert is a type of fanfiction, almost always written in 2nd person Point of View; the protagonist is always the reader, and is usually paired with one of the sexy canon characters. (Definition of "sexy" is left to the author.) It may or may not have a hyphen (although it usually does), and it's also known as Canon X Reader (sometimes, CanonXReader).

These fics have a strong presence on DeviantArt, but they are moving to other archives as DeviantArt is culling the smut/NSFW ones[1]--if either the author or the characters are underage, they are assumed to violate the TOS. The Lemontalia group, a community for Lemon-rated Hetalia Reader-Insert fics, had many of them, but was shut down.[2]

They can be hard to find on many archives, which do not have "Reader" listed as a character in their search options.

AO3 has a Reader-Insert tag, as well as both Reader and You character tags (though these also include canonical characters called "Reader" or "You"). Relationship tags involving the reader are formatted [canon character]/Reader or [canon character]/You.

Reader-Inserts have been banned on FanFiction.Net since 2005. See 2005 Ban on Choose Your Own Adventure Fic/Self-Insertion Fic/2nd Person Point of View Fic.

History and Fandoms

It probably started in Hetalia fandom, which has a large number of reader-insert fics and still gets many new ones. Other fandoms with notable amount of reader insert fics are:

Literary Conventions

Reader-Insert fic is usually F/M, with the reader assumed to be female. However, they exist across a broad range of genders and personal identities. Details about the reader-protagonist are often either kept vague, or filled in with placeholders. These are often single-letter abbreviations for words with a slash between the letters. They can include:

  • Y/N for "your name,"[3] or _______ or [Name] for the reader's name
  • (l/n) for "last name": more common in Japanese fandoms [4]
  • (h/c) and (e/c) for "hair color" and "eye color"

There are no standard conventions for abbreviations; each author either makes up their own or imitates the ones used in fics they enjoyed.

They also appear as quiz results on sites like Quizilla and Quotev, in categories like Seven Minutes in Heaven (or twenty, or an hour, or seven minutes in Hell, etc.), where the "results" of the fic are a short reader-insert fic. They also appear in "what (fandom) characters think of you" quizzes, and "which character is your boyfriend" or "your (fandom) life" quizzes.

Controversies

Like Mary Sue fic, Reader-Insert is often considered immature and poorly-written. Many readers do not like second person POV, and the blatant authorial insert aspects also gather disdain. Many follow the plot of "you meet (sexy hero) and he falls in love with you." [5] They are often accused of being Out of Character, and when the "reader" character does something that the actual reader would never do, that can throw the actual reader out of the story.

Fuck No Reader Inserts - a critique blog


References

  1. Armin X Reader - I'd never do that part 5 by ExtraStatus at AO3
  2. Both Lemontalia groups are GONE? by BTT-DA-ACCT, Dec 27, 2012 at DeviantArt
  3. Two by timeladyofletters: Sam Winchester/Reader at AO3
  4. Reader x Yuki: Achluophobia by xReaderBuddyz at FF.net
  5. Hetalia Heaven (Red) (Reader Insert) by UraharaSteph, DeviantArt