The Big List of K/S Cliches
|Title:||The Big List of K/S Cliches|
|Date(s):||first posted July 2001; last updated December 23, 2004|
|Fandom:||Star Trek: TOS|
|Topic:||common K/S story elements|
|External Links:||The Big List of K/S Cliches, Archived version|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
The Big List of K/S Cliches was compiled by Jungle Kitty.
First posted in July 2001 on her Invisible Planets website, it was expanded many times over the following few years.
A light-hearted look at the tropes and cliches of the K/S fandom, the list allotted points to each one allowing a total score to be calculated and in addition provided a list of plot points which could be used to reduce the overall score of a story.
If you've ever read anything about how to write well, you've probably run across this advice.
- Hunt down every cliche in your writing and strip it out.
Well, forget that!
Fanfic couldn't exist without cliches. Since K/S is the oldest pairing, it's got the most cliches and the longest history of using them. Some of these things are so cliche that they weren't even original the first time they were used. I believe I'm safe in stating that there isn't a K/S story that doesn't use at least a few of them. You can find them in my K/S stories, you can find them in my favorite authors' K/S stories, you can find them in your K/S stories. There's nothing wrong with cliches, not in fanfic. It's part of our tradition!
But they can be overused. As you may have noticed.
So this checklist is provided as a public service.
Notice that although you get one point for each "yes" answer (unless otherwise noted), there's no scoring. I'm not going to tell you how much is too much. If you use every cliche on this list once [shudder], you'd rack up in excess of 400 points. If you're comfortable with that, OK. And please send me this high-scoring story, that is, if you're also comfortable knowing I'll probably hurt myself laughing at it.
So find your comfort level. Pick a K/S story you like and score it. Set that number as your maximum when you write K/S. Or pick a K/S story you hate and score it. Set that number as your minimum when you parody K/S.Or maybe you'd just like to read through this list, knowing that by doing so, you will have experienced the essence of the fanfic tradition known as K/S.
In the story summary, do you refer to the main characters as "the Boys"?
Is it a "first-time" story? (30 points)
- Is a shuttlecraft crash involved?
- Is a cave involved?
- Is pon farr involved?
- Is Spock a virgin?
- Is Kirk a virgin with men?
Does the "first-time" occur as a result of the events in "Amok Time"?
Does the "first-time" occur because they run into each other on leave?
- Without recognizing each other?
Is the story preceded by a quote from a song by Loreena McKinnett or Sarah MacLachlan?
Is a song by Loreena McKinnett or Sarah MacLachlan played during the story?
Is a song by Loreena McKinnett or Sarah MacLachlan sung during the story?
- By Uhura?
- By Kirk or Spock?
- To the other?
- In public?
- By Kirk AND Spock?
- To each other?
- In public?
Are Spock's nipples bronze?
Does Spock's kiss taste like copper?
Is Spock's genitalia described as
Give yourself one point for each sentence used to describe Spock's genitalia.Give yourself one point for each usage of the phrase "double-ridged," "double ridges," or "twin ridges" when describing Spock's penis. (Note: If you were the first fanfic writer to describe Spock's genitalia in this manner, take away twenty points. Proof of this claim will be required.)
Is Kirk rather thick-headed when it comes to emotional awareness?
Is Kirk emotionally stunted?
- Due to his experiences on Tarsus?
Is Kirk unable to commit?
- Due to his experiences on Tarsus?
- Due to a failed canon romantic relationship or other relationship with a female?
- Due to a failed sexual relationship with Gary Mitchell?
Is Spock's love described as better than any love Kirk has ever experienced before? (5 points)
Is "Vulcan love" described as much better than "human love"? (5 points)
Is the love they share described as perfect? (5 points)
Does Spock call Kirk "James"?
Does either one cry? (25 points)
- Himself to sleep? (15 points)
- Is it a single tear? (15 points)
- Before sex? (15 points)
- After sex? (15 points)
- During sex? (50 points)
Take away five points for each character in the story (other than Kirk or Spock) whose function does NOT include expressing an opinion on the K/S relationship, worrying about it, gossiping about it, breaking it up or facilitating it.
Take away five points for each character in the story (other than Kirk or Spock) who is presented as having interests that have nothing to do with the K/S relationship.
Take away ten points each time Kirk or Spock actually does his job. (Note: Kirk reading, writing, or signing reports doesn't count. And no job-related activity counts if the character drifts off in the middle of it to day-dream about the other.)
Take away twenty points if there is a non-K/S plot that completes its arc. Give yourself fifteen points if you don't understand the previous sentence.