Updated December 23, 2004
New cliches (now there's a contradiction in terms) appear in yellow. Thanks to all those who submitted them. Keep 'em coming! (And if you've ever used that line in feedback, give yourself ten points.)
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?
Prior to the Big Event,
Does either one have an erotic dream about the other?
With absolutely no symbolism?
With absolutely no dreamlike qualities?
Does either one cry out the other's name at the moment of orgasm:
While having sex with a partner?
Does the other hear it through the link?
Does someone else hear it?
Is the relationship facilitated by a third party?
Is it McCoy?
Is it a former (or about to become former) lover?
Is it the strange custom of an alien race?
Is it you?
Are other characters in the story aware that Kirk and Spock are in love before they are? (One point for each character.)
Is the crew placing bets on how soon "it" will happen?
Does McCoy win the pool?
Is the title taken from a song by Loreena McKinnett or Sarah MacLachlan?
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 Kirk or Spock?
To the other?
By Kirk AND Spock?
To each other?
Does the story have a happy ending? (30 points)
Against all odds? (30
Is it a hurt/comfort story? (15 points)
Does the hurt character prefer to die rather than reveal his feelings to the other?
Does the hurt character prefer to die rather than reveal his sexual need to the other?
Is the hurt sexual?
Is the hurt inflicted by the other?
Is the comfort sexual? (Why do I even bother to ask...)
If so, was the hurt sexual and would therefore most likely make some other form of comfort more appropriate?
If both the hurt and the comfort are sexual, give yourself ten points if the comfort occurs less than a week after the hurt.
If both the hurt and the comfort are sexual and the hurt was inflicted by the other, give yourself twenty points if the comfort occurs less than six months after the hurt.
If the hurt was a rape inflicted by
the other, give yourself twenty points if the victim ever accepts sexual comfort from the other or
if a mutually satisfying, loving sexual relationship ever develops between the two.
If Kirk is the injured party:
Does Spock carry Kirk?
Throughout the ship?
Within sickbay?Does he shove medical orderlies out of the way to do so?
Give yourself ten points if Kirk has recently been tortured and is too emotionally traumatized to go anywhere without Spock carrying him.
Give yourself two points for each occurrence of Spock carrying Kirk when it is medically unsound to do so, e.g. Kirk has suffered head injuries.
Give yourself five points for each occurrence of Spock doing anything else that is clearly more appropriate for nurses or other medical personnel, e.g. bathing Kirk or changing his dressings.
Give yourself ten points if Kirk asks Spock to do this because he is uncomfortable being touched by anyone except Spock.
Give yourself fifty points if the medical person who would otherwise be touching Kirk is a pretty girl.
Is Spock described as
Is Spock's voice described as
dark (or variations thereof such as mahogany, ebony or midnight)? (1 point for each)
in other terms that could
be ascribed to a good cup of coffee?
Is Spock's hair described as
any combination of the above along with the word
Is Spock's chest hair described as fur?
Are Spock's ears described as elegantly pointed?
Are Spock's nipples bronze?
Does Spock's kiss taste like copper?
Is Spock's genitalia described as
in architectural terms?
Does Spock smell like spice?
Is it cinnamon?
Is it sandalwood?
Does Spock smile?
A secret smile?
That he saves only for Kirk?
Does Spock lovingly brush Kirk's forelock back into place?
While Kirk is asleep?
While Kirk is unconscious?
Does Spock steeple his hands?
Do Kirk and Spock have a mindlink?
Is it established through sexual activity?
Does it drive them to compulsively have sex with each other?
Does it cause a complete change of personality and/or lifestyle in Kirk?
Do they use it to exchange secret endearments in the presence of others?
Do they use it to exchange information that should actually be shared with others since it has something to do with the mission at hand?
Do they communicate telepathically more than once?
Does the link conveniently break down for plot purposes?
Does it make sex
much, much, much better?
Do Spock's telepathic powers play an important role in the story, other than through his mindlink with Kirk?
Are his powers stronger than most other Vulcans?
Is Kirk described as
a tiger or a lion?
blonde? (10 points)
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 Kirk's ass described as
cool to the touch?
Is Spock emotionally aware, unnaturally so for a Vulcan?
Are Kirk's eyes flecked with another color?
Is it amber?
Is the smell of Kirk's shampoo described?
Is it pine?
Does Kirk display an overt fondness for:
Give yourself two extra points if either the puppies or the kittens are stuffed.
Any other items normally associated with pre-pubescent girls?
Is the word t'hy'la used in the story?
More than once?
As an endearment?
As a tortured admission of the truth?
Is another term of endearment between Kirk and Spock used in the story?
More than once?
Is it a Vulcan term?
Do either Kirk or Spock have long hair? (Five points for each and an additional point for every
sentence describing the hair or activity involving the hair.)
Do they get married/bonded?
During wild sex?
Aboard the Enterprise?
Does someone sing?
Is it Uhura?
Is it Kirk?
Is it Spock?
Is it you?
Is it a song by Loreena McKennit or Sarah MacLachlan?
Does Kirk request marriage or bonding within 48 hours of his first sexual experience with Spock?
Do they have a child?
Is the child raised on Vulcan?
After retirement, do Kirk and Spock live on Vulcan?
Does Kirk express his wish to become more Vulcan?
Does Kirk acknowledge that the Vulcan way is better than the human way?
Does Kirk express regret that he is unsuccessful at being more Vulcan?
Does Spock sigh and suffer patiently over any of the three above items?
Is Spock affectionately forgiving of Kirk's "failure"?
Is this reminiscent of a fond parent
and a small child whose mistakes are just so cute?
Is there a Vulcan tradition or ritual that Kirk misinterprets with humorous and/or embarrassing
Is there a human tradition or ritual that Spock misinterprets with humorous and/or embarrassing results?
Was it set up by McCoy?
If Gary Mitchell appears in the story:
Is he Spock's chief rival for Kirk's affection?
Is he a total bastard, i.e., completely one-dimensional?
If a previous amour of Kirk's appears (canon or original) in the story:
Does she inform Jim "who he really loves"?
Does she die?
Is it you?
Does Kirk explain all his former girlfriends in a dismissive way because
they meant nothing to him?
he only had them because he couldn't have Spock?
he did all those
women to hide his desire for Spock?
Does Kirk or Spock scream during sex?
More than once?
Loudly enough to trip the medical alarms?
Do both scream during sex?
More than once?
Is Spock's love described as better than any love Kirk has ever experienced before? (5
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
Is Spock's traumatic childhood an important feature of the story?
Is it similar to
your traumatic childhood?
Does Kirk take a break in the middle of his shift
To masturbate while fantasizing about Spock?
To work out in the gym to take his mind off his fantasies about Spock?
Is Spock in the gym?
Does either character get caught while masturbating?
By the other?
In the gym?
Was the story written for an online Fuhq Fest in which you wrote about your assigned non-K/S pairing but it turned out to be K/S anyway? (50 points--I increased the points on this because I'm so sick of it.)
Give yourself one point for each character in the story who expresses his or her feelings about
the K/S relationship and performs no other action in the story.
Give yourself one point for each sentence in a bridge scene in which one character eats his
heart out over the other.
Give yourself two points for each sentence in a bridge scene in which both characters eat their
hearts out over each other.
Give yourself one point for every time the POV switches in mid-sex scene.
Give yourself two points for every time the POV switches in mid-sex paragraph.
If you don't understand the previous two items, don't worry about it but give yourself ten
Give yourself one point for every speech that begins with the other's name followed by a period.
Example: "Spock. You know I love you."
Give yourself one point for every speech that contains an ellipsis (...).
Give yourself one point for every scene that takes place in sickbay due to serious injury or illness that affects Kirk or Spock.
Does the other stay by his side 24/7?
Despite duty and the needs of others?
Are tears choked back?
Give yourself one point for each one of the following characters who expresses approval of the K/S relationship:
Give yourself one point for each of the following characters who expresses disapproval of the K/S relationship:
Give yourself one point for each of the following characters who is jealous of the K/S relationship:
Nurse Chapel (two additional points if she smiles bravely through her tears)
McCoy (two additional points if he gets drunk over it)
Male guest star (two additional points if he rapes Kirk or Spock)
Female guest star (two additional points
for each of the following: crying, screaming, attempted murder, suicide)
Give yourself one point for each sentence used to describe tongue-kissing.
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
Give yourself one point for each sentence used to describe Kirk or Spock's clothing other than his uniform. (The first sentence is a freebie; no points.)
Is it tight jeans?
Is it formal wear?
Is it a meditation robe?
Is it workout apparel?
Is it a towel?
Ask a gay male Star Trek fan to read your story, and watch him as he does.
Give yourself one point for each time he laughs if your story is not a comedy.
Give yourself five points if he cringes at any point.
Give yourself ten points if he complains that either or both characters are too effeminate or display any other stereotypical gay behavior.
Give yourself fifteen points if he says "I'm sorry, but I just can't finish this."
Take away twenty points if, while reading the smutty parts, he asks to be alone.
Give yourself 500 POINTS if you wrote this and were older than 15 when you did so.
Give yourself 1000 POINTS if you're not sure because you've written so many letters like it.
Give yourself MY UNDYING ADMIRATION if you still have the stationery and write me a letter on it.
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.
Take away twenty-five points if Vulcan genitalia is non-standard (i.e., not double-ridged).
Take away an additional twenty-five points if Vulcan genitalia is non-standard AND is something you thought up yourself.
Take away seventy-five points if the story has an unhappy ending.
Take away an additional ten points for each piece of feedback you get that protests this.
Take away an additional ten points for each instance of the following in feedback:
How dare you...
Are you nuts?
You'd have to be blind not to see...
Take away twenty points if the story focuses equally on Kirk and Spock.
Take away thirty points if the story focuses more on Kirk than on Spock.
Did I miss your favorite cliche?
Are there other elements of originality that you believe should be rewarded?
Let me know about it in the Guestbook.
I haven't done anything with K/S in the Mirror Universe or pre-Reform Vulcan yet.
Heh heh heh.