Hot from the Stereotypewriter Dept: So You Want to Write Trek-fic?

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Title: Hot from the Stereotypewriter Dept: So You Want to Write Trek-fic?
Creator: Helena Roberts (later Helena Binns)
Date(s): 1980
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek: TOS
External Links:
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Hot from the Stereotypewriter Dept: So You Want to Write Trek-fic? is a 1980 essay by Helena Roberts (later Helena Binns).

from the essay, the illo is by Elizabeth Czepiel
from the essay
from the essay

It was printed in Spock #20.

The topic of this tongue-in-cheek essay is how to write Trek fanfic with sexual content. While the essay's title specifically mentions K/S fiction, the advice can be for any pairing.

The last part of the essay, the "THE DO-IT-YOURSELF TREK-PORN KIT" is in the form of a plot generator in the fashion of "Mad Libs."

Some Topics Discussed

  • the predictability of episodic television
  • "So you want to write Trek-fic? But you haven't got the: time ... talent ... ideas ... initiative. DO NOT DESPAIR!"
  • Basic TrekTale Type 1 (general)
  • Basic TrekTale Type 2 (sexual)
  • how writing a sex scene doesn't need explicit words
  • that "Spock" is a "family zine" and that this article is a first

From the Essay

All modern drama is composed by computer, (if you don't believe me, just watch any episode of any current prime-time TV series!) And if a dumb computer can do it, why can't a refined, intelligent, sensitive human being? (e.i. Trek-Fan, in case you didn't recognize the description!)


The fundamental elements of any drama are plot and character. In the case of Treklit, you have a head-start. You've already got the characters. That only leaves the plot. And you don't really need to worry about that, because in Standard Trekfic there's only one basic plot. It's the variations that make it interesting. (As the Actress said to the Bishop!)

(phase 1) Two or three Regulars (preferably induing one or two of the accident-prone Big Three: Kirk, Spock and McCoy) and two or three Expendables, beam down to planet surface and are immediately menaced by...


(phase 2) One or two Expendables succumb (usually fatally) and one or more Regulars are affected. (Not usually fatally, but dramatically), The important thing is that they must suffer. (Thus giving them reasons to comfort and care for each other, and to be terribly noble and self-sacrificing).


(phase 4) Rescue must be accomplished in the very nick of time, at the eleventh hour. The last possible moment before the Ultimate Disaster. This should be effected by a combination of the dedication of those back on board the Big E, and the wisdom, judgement and brilliant strategy of those who carelessly got themselves into such a predicament in the first place.

(phase 5) Everyone must finish up getting sentimental in Sick-Bay and/or cracking silly jokes on the Bridge.

Actually, there la another type of Basic TrekTale, although some may consider it a bit too basic for a respectable family 'zine like this.

However, if you are blessed with an overheated imagination and a compulsion to commit your imagination to paper, don't be deterred by a lack of guidelines, or the limitations of language.

Contrary to popular belief (and the practice of many modern writers) you do not need an extensive vocabulary of words of Anglo-Saxon origin, spelt with four letters or less. It is quite possible to write a thoroughly unseemly story using words of pristine respectability. If you don't think you know enough respectable words, don't give up; there's always Roget's Thesaurus.

Supplied are the elements of a very simple story, together with lists of words so that you may make your own choice of who does what with whom, and how. (Wherever you see the row of dots, select a word from the accompanying list to fill the gap.) The perceptive reader may note that these word-lists may be used to construct a story involving either sex or violence or, if you're very clever (or very twisted) both. If you choose more than one word from each list you may, of course, add your own conjunctions.

And, according to the mathematical formulae of permutation and combination, no two people will come up with identical wordings. So there you are - INSTANT CREATIVITY!