Common Fanfiction Terms

9/26/2005 1:32:22 AM

The Basics

Fan Fiction: A story or poem that deals with copyrighted characters and settings belonging to someone else. The fandom can be from a variety of media including video games, movies, television shows and comic books.

Canon: The established facts belonging to a fandom, or those items to be found in authorized materials such as technical books, approved biographies, or official websites.

Fanon: Details in fan fiction, created by fans, that have been used so often by so many that they are accorded the same status as if they were part of the original canon.

Genre: The type of story written. Includes mystery, sci-fi, adventure, romance, supernatural, and drama, among others.

Mechanics: The basic building blocks of writing: spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Often abbreviated as SPaG.

Betareader: An editor whose duties encompass proofreading for mechanical mistakes, finding and pointing out plot holes, suggesting wording changes, and generally giving an author’s work the once or twice over before publication.

Types of Stories

WIP: A “Work In Progress” a story not yet finished.

One Shot: A single chaptered story, complete by itself.

Song Fic: A story where the plot is centered and crafted around the lyrics of a particular song.>

Crossover/Xover: A story that combines the characters and settings of two or more fandoms.

Alternate Universe (AU): A story that takes parts of the canon and puts them into a different setting or changes canon events in some way, be it subtle or blatant.

Hurt/Comfort: A story where the main emphasis in the plot is the injury, sometimes severe, of one character so that another can provide emotional and sometimes physical comfort.

PWP: Porn Without Plot or “Plot? What Plot?” A story that includes gratuitous and explicit sexual activity where the entire reason for the story is the sexual activity.


Concrit: Criticism, positive and negative, given to aid a writer in bettering their skills. Not to be confused with a flame.

Flame/Flaming: A review or comment meant to ridicule or belittle an author. Often uses profanity and has nothing to do with the story at hand; a personal attack.


OC: “Original Character” Any character created that is not part of the canon.

OOC: “Out Of Character” Applies to a canon figure that is not written according to the emotional and psychological traits given in canon.

Mary Sue: A female character who is extraneous to the canon of a fandom but becomes the focus of the story, usually outdoing the canon characters in just about everything. She is usually also romantically involved with one or more of the canon figures.

Marty Stu/Gary Stu: A male Mary Sue. Much less frequently encountered than his female counterpart. There are a couple of other names associated with this type of character other than the ones listed here.


Slash/Femslash: Originally meaning any kind of sexual or romantic pairing, the word “slash” has almost universally come to indicate a male/male pairing, while “femslash” has come to indicate a female/female pairing.

Het/Gen: Indicates a male/female romantic and/or sexual pairing.

Ship/Shipper/Shipping: All used to describe a story that explains or reveals a close, often sexual/romantic, relationship between two canon characters. Can be slash, femslash, or gen.

YAOI: In anime, a male/male sexual or romantic relationship, often tragic.

YURI: In anime, a female/female sexual or romantic relationship, often tragic.

MPREG: Indicates male pregnancy in the story.

Odds and Ends

RP/RPG: “Role Play” or “Role Playing Game”. Originally played in person with maps, rule books and multisided dice, the online RP can be a “take turns” adventure where people write small bits of story on a message board, or a “chat room” adventure where people add their own parts in an online chat, to be posted later.

Zine: A “fanzine” – a publication filled with art and stories written by fans and sold by either mail order to at conventions.


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