Fandom Definitions -- June, 2005Posted by b_f_d_mod on July 8, 2005 at 2:44
Several moderators from Yahoo! Groups (and various blog communities) came together to create this list of fandom definitions. Anyone is welcome to use this at a given public forum (lists, blogs, boards, etc.). We only request one thing in return: PLEASE keep the entire document -- including beginning and ending (where the creators are mentioned) -- intact. Thanks.
We'd also appreciate being contacted if you're going to share it somewhere (but we don't require it): email@example.com
[This version is dated June, 2005.]
Note: Not all fanfic or fandom-related words are included in this list. We welcome additions and corrections for future list versions: firstname.lastname@example.org
[Feel free to share this list with others!]
Adult (Adult Content): Any public forum -- site, list, message board, etc. -or- fanfic -- containing mature (adult) content, intended for an adult audience. Adult content might include drug use, violence, death, sexual content (sometimes graphic), same-gender involvements, etc. Adult content is *not* the same as pornography! Most fan sites would not classify themselves as being pornographic in nature, nor do most people who read or write adult fanfic actually browse/visit pornographic sites. [Note: Some lists/sites are moving away from using the term 'adult' due to the negative connotations -- and the assumption that they contain pornography.]
Alpha: Fanfic that has *not* been checked over by a beta -- in other words, a rough work (potentially containing mistakes). Many authors consider an alpha fanfic to be a first draft, rather than the finished product. [see Beta]
Angst: Fanfic where one or more of the characters (or real people) experience deep feelings of anxiety or apprehension (and sometimes depression) are often referred as 'angsty.' [Note: It's common to see angst listed in the 'warnings' of a fanfic template.] [see Template, Warnings]
Anime: Short for 'animeshon' -- the Japanese phonetic spelling of animation. While this technically refers to all animation, Anime fans reserve 'cartoon' for referring to Western fare. The old term Japanimation is considered offensive. (A racial slur and lame pun). [Note: This would be consider a fanfic category or genre.] [see Genre]
Antific: A story where an author abuses and/or kills off the cast of a fandom he/she dislikes. Though sometimes childish, this can also be a humorous medium.
AR (Alternate Reality): Fanfic where characters (or real people) are placed in non-canon situations within the same universe, i.e., Aragorn becomes King of the West but takes Legolas as his consort instead of Arwen; Alexander the Great is defeated at Gaugamela and becomes a slave to Darius; etc. [Note: It can be argued that fanfic taking place *after* the end of a movie/show/book, etc. may not be 'alternate reality' -- because there's no actual canon for them to contradict. To remain believable, however, a character (or real person) should bear close resemblance to his/her fandom identity.] [see AU]
AU (Alternate Universe): Fanfic where recognizable fandom characters (or real people) are placed in a non-canon environment, i.e., the Backstreet Boys are living in Fifth century England with King Arthur; Hector of Troy is a modern-day prince or movie actor; etc. [see AR]
Author: A writer of fanfic. [Note: Fanfic writers or authors frequently use pseudonyms or pen names, sometimes relevent within the fanfic universe they prefer, i.e., 'Trojan Goddess' or 'Boyband Scribe,' etc.]
Award Banner: A graphic banner created for the express purpose of acknowledging participation in -- or winning of -- a Fanfic Contest. Some Award Banners are presented for other fandom-related activities, including artistic efforts, etc. [see Fanfic Contest]
Barry Sue: A male version of a 'Mary Sue' (often called by other names, such as 'Marty Sam'). As men began to write more and more fanfic, 'Barry Sue' characters began to appear more frequently. [see Mary Sue, OC, OMC]
Beta (Beta Reader, Betaed): The fandom equivalent of an editor in the world of published books. An author shares an Alpha (non-betaed) fanfic with someone, who then reads (checks over) the fanfic. A beta might edit technical errors (spelling, grammar, etc.), plot devices and/or canon errors. The term Beta also refers to any fanfic that *has* been checked over by someone other than the author (as opposed to an Alpha work). Many lists, websites, etc. *require* a fanfic be betaed prior to being shared/posted. Many templates will include a Beta line where the author can acknowledge the beta. [see Alpha, Feedback, Template]
Bible: The 'rules' (canon) of a given fandom, this term is taken from the actual 'bibles' used for various television series. Writers of certain TV shows are given the bible that outlines certain series aspects that govern the behavior of the characters, etc. [Note: Unfortunately, not all TV series work with a bible -- or stick to the chronological aspects laid out in the course of their own show.] In the case of real people, a bible might be various biographies, taped or printed interviews, etc. that give insight into an individual's personality. [see Canon]
Blog: Short for weblog, a shared online journal or diary where people reflect on their personal interests and activities or opinions on events or specific subjects. Many blogs (such as LiveJournal) include Communities, where members can interact with one another. There are several free blogs available online where people share fanfic (in place of posting it to a website). Such blogs tend to be user-friendly, not requiring knowledge of HTML or CSS. Blogs such as LiveJournal would be one of the (many) public forums available online.
BNF (Big Name Fan): Someone so active in a fandom that his/her name becomes known in fan circles -- sometimes even to the point where other fans seek autographs or pay the BNF's way to Cons as a guest speaker. Originally native to conventions and other fan gatherings, the term now appears online and has (unfortunately) taken on the *negative* connotation of 'someone arrogant and self-important.' Usually abbreviated to BNF and sometimes also called a Superfan.
Bondage: A situation where a character (or real person) is tied up or physically restrained in some fashion, i.e., put in handcuffs or tied up. [Note: In fanfic, an author would usually include a bondage (or BDSM) 'warning' in the template.] [See Template, Warnings, BDSM, Kinky]
Canon: Actual events within a given fandom. Canon elements are the *core* (or bible) of a given fandom and create the 'laws' on which authors base their fanfic in that genre. However, canon is often the most confusing and disputed aspect of fanfic. In the case of television, movie and book fandom, canon is all-inclusive -- every character, every place, every action and every bit of dialogue is part of the fandom canon. RP (real people) canon is based on the *historical* (known) elements of the people involved (although with historical characters or even modern-day people, there may be many different interpretations of those elements that are 'known.') Fanfic authors often specify in the fanfic template whether they are writing within movie or book canon where the two disagree. [Note: AU and AR fanfics ignore one or more aspects of fandom canon, so unless a fanfic is labeled as such, the reader should assume the work is attempting to stick to canon.] [See Bible, Feedback, Canon Feedback]
Canon Feedback: This is one of the three major types of feedback (the other two being emotionally-based feedback and technical feedback). Canon feedback deals with the 'canon' of a given fandom. Canon Feedback might point out where the author has deviated from or placed extra emphasis on the known facts of a given genre. [see Feedback, Canon]
Chan: A Japanese suffix implying that one character is younger and more innocent. Can be translated as 'sweetie,' 'little one,' 'dear,' or 'junior.' Often used as an endearment. Also can be short for Chanslash.
Chanslash: A slash fanfic where one member of a pairing is underage -- generally assumed to refer to between 13-18 years of age, yet might also mean under 21. [Note: Many public forums won't accept chanslash. Chanslash archives often end up underground in order to avoid legal difficulties.]
Character Death: Fanfic containing the death of a character (or real person), usually simply called 'death' in the template. [Note: This is considered an essential element of the 'warning' line in a fanfic template.] [see Template, Warnings]
Combo: Fanfic containing elements of both slash and het -- thus 'combo.' This is most often applied to a fanfic that has romantic/sexual content that is *both* same-gender and opposite gender (male/male, female/female *with* male/female). [Note: This is considered a very important 'warning' when sharing/posting fanfic in a place that allows slash, het and/or combo content, as many people who enjoy either slash or het do *not* enjoy seeing the two combined.] [see Slash, Het]
Consensual: A 'warning' in a fanfic template (or included in the Summary statement) that indicates that all parties participating in a given activity (usually sexual in nature) have consented to be involved -- as opposed to Semi-consensual and Non-Consensual (non-con). [see Non-Consensual, Semi-Consensual]
Constructive Criticism: Fanfic feedback which is helpful, useful and detailed -- rather than rude, curt, disparaging, or overly positive. Also called constructive -- in-depth -- feedback. [see Feedback, In-depth Feedback]
Continuation: Fanfic that carries on after the end of a given movie, TV series or book (etc.). A 'continuation' fanfic is not specifically non-canon, but rather extends the story according to the author's imagination. This wouldn't necessarily be considered AR, as a continuation would have no canon, i.e. 'reality,' to contradict. [see Canon, AR]
Crossover (Xover): Fanfic which combines characters (real people), events, places, ideas, etc., from different fandoms. For example, Harry Potter meets the Backstreet Boys. [Note: It's important to include a crossover 'warning' in fanfic, as many readers dislike crossovers.] [See Template, Warnings]
Darkfic: A fanfic involving large amounts of pain, trauma (and even death) being inflicted on the characters (real people), often used to force characterization or plot. In Anime, a darkfic refers to a tale from a series otherwise considered light or comedic. Also called a shockfic.
Disclaimer: In a template, this is the line that would express an authors *intent* toward those with legal ownership of fandom characters (or toward real people). Because there are concerns in fandom regarding copyright laws and other forms of ownership, most authors like to state that their work is only *based* on a given fandom. (In Real Person fanfic, this is generally changed to a statement that the work is not intended to be slanderous in nature.) Some authors also might state that there's no monetary gain made with the work in question. At a mailing list or website (or other public forum), a disclaimer might further cover *all* of the content included at the list/site. [Note: Though some authors are flippant regarding disclaimers -- or entirely refuse to use them -- there have been several cases where a disclaimer kept an author from being sued.] [see Template]
Drabble: A fanfic of a specific amount of words -- no more and no less. Generally this will refer to a work of *exactly* 100 words. (A half-drabble would be a fanfic of exactly 50 words and a double-drabble would contain exactly 200 words.) Often a drabble will be written in answer to a Fic Challenge -- or Fic Contest -- and a certain number of words will be specified (such as 100, 200, 300, etc.). Drabbles began in British SF fandom in the late 1980's. (The term originates from a Monty Python skit: "Drabble. A word game for 2 to 4 players. The four players sit from left to right and the first person to write a novel wins.") A drabble should *not* be confused with a ficlet. [see Ficlet, Fic Challenge, Fic Contest]
DT (Discussion Topic): A fandom-based discussion posted at public forum such as a list, message board or even blog. Someone (often the Moderator) will post a topic and members or friends will be encouraged to take part in a discussion based on the topic. Such topics will usually result in sharing/posting back and forth, creating lengthy threads. [see Threads]
Ep: Abbreviation for episode -- referring to an episode of a television show.
Emotional Feedback: This is one of the major types of feedback. Emotional feedback focuses on how a reader *feels* about the fanfic in question. Does the reader like/love the fanfic? Does the reader dislike/hate the fanfic? Did the reader enjoy various aspects of the fanfic, such as the pairings portrayed, or the plot shared? Generally any reader will feel comfortable offering emotionally-based fb, as this can be considered the most *subjective* form (based almost entirely on the reader's feelings). [see Feedback, Technical Feedback, Canon Feedback]
Erotica: Fanfic containing erotic involvement between characters (or real people). 'Erotica' is sometimes considered a mild form of pornography. Much fanfic contains erotica, as opposed to more graphic sexual activity (or 'smut'). [Note: Most fanfic authors feel that their work -- even when self-defined as graphic or smut -- would never fall in the category of actual pornography.] [see Smut, Graphic Sex]
Fan: Someone who has a strong interest in some subject (or group of subjects). Based on the word 'fanatic.'
Fandom: A collective term applied to people and activities that surround a given fan interest. [Note: Fandom can be applied to Science Fiction and/or Fantasy -- but it can also be applied to love for a given celebrity, like Colin Farrell. Fandom can be applied to a movie, television show, book, comic book, celebrity, etc.]
Fanfic (fan fiction, fic): The literal meaning is 'fan-written fiction' -- thus fanfic! Fanfic covers anything written in story form that features an actual fandom. This writing can include drabbles, ficlets, multi-part (multi-chapter), one-of-ones, poetry, etc. Fanfic is written by -- and for -- fans. OC (original character) fiction is *not* fanfic -- unless fandom characters (or real people) are also featured in the work. [see Author]
Fannish Activities (FANAC): Activities that are fan-related, such as writing fanfic, writing a fandom newsletter, creating a fandom costume, belonging to a fandom-related club. Anything *concrete* that a person does to show interest in a fandom. [see Fan, Fandom, Fannish]
Faction: When portions of a fandom are split due to various opinions about issues or characters, these are referred to as factions. For example, some fans may like and support a given character (or real person), while others do not. [see Flaming]
Feedback (FB): A comment, review or editorial given as response to a fanfic. In the early days of fanfic, readers would send an LoC (Letter of Comment) to authors, in order to share their input regarding the work -- the form was literally a letter sent through the mail to a physical address. Since the advent of online, the LoC has become known as Feedback (or FB, for short). There are many types of feedback, but three common forms are: technical, which focuses on any and all technical aspects of the fanfic; emotional, which focuses on whether or not the reader likes/enjoys the fanfic; and canon, focusing on how the writer has utilized the universe of the genre. Some authors will include a 'feedback' line in their template, indicating what type of feedback they want -- and whether or not they want this feedback shared in public forums (on list or at a blog, for example) or in private (via personal email). [Note: It's considered essential for readers to make the attempt to feedback authors if they read their work, even if such feedback is only one word or one line. Feedback is the only 'payment' a fanfic author receives.] [see Canon Feedback, Emotional Feedback, Technical Feedback, One-liners, Template]
FemPreg (Female non-male-assisted Pregnancy): Coined by fanfic author FatJoey, fanfic focuses on female characters who are pregnant by another female character (without any type of male assistance). As with MPreg, these fanfics can be controversial. [Note: Such pregnancies can be literal (a woman physically carrying a child inside her body) or 'psychic' (pregnancies that occur due to a mental and/or emotional bonding with a baby/child).] [see MPreg]
Fic Challenge: One person (or more) offers a 'challenge' to authors to write a fanfic that incorprates a certain theme, certain words, a certain line (or lines) or a certain idea. For example, someone might ask for a fanfic that pairs a certain couple, or they might suggest an author write a fanfic that begins with a given line, such as 'Once upon a time,' etc. Fic challenges are very popular online and often will spur writers to participate during a 'dry' spell at a list or other online community. [Note: A 'challenge' is *not* the same thing as a 'contest' -- in a contest there is a winner (or winners). A challenge focuses on participation without 'reward' (other than feedback).] [see Challenge Fic, Fic Contest]
Fic Contest (Fanfic Contest): In a fic contest, one person (or more) sets up a 'contest' where authors meet certain requirements in their writing in order to compete against one another. Often there is a voting process involved in determining the winner, though sometimes a person, persons or panel will make the selection. Generally the winner(s) will receive an Award Banner to acknowledge their win. [see Fic Challenge, Challenge Fic, Award Banner]
Flames, Flaming: When a fan makes personal or 'inflamatory' remarks (defined as comments which arouse passion and/or strong emotion, especially anger, belligerence, animosity, or indignation) to another fan, it is referred to as a flame (or flaming). Flaming is an attack on a person, rather than that person's opinions/statements (though flaming can often be veiled as fanfic feedback). [Note: Most public forums (such as lists, blogs, etc.) will not allow flaming (or discourage it).] [see Feedback, Moderator]
Fluff: A very light-hearted 'day-in-the-life' fanfic (usually humorous and often cute) is referred to as fluff.
Furry: This refers to a fanfic that focus on an animated television show or movie. [i.e. something from Disney, or Pokemon, etc.]
Gayfic: Fanfic that centers around characters (real people) who are actually known to be gay or lesbian in canon -- a subtle distinction from slash, which generally involves characters who are either declared or assumed to be straight in canon. [see Slash, Femslash, Canon]
Gen: Short for general (or sometimes generic). Gen fanfics are actually 'general' in nature and usually focus on fandom canon (with the same rating level of said canon). There would be no particular romance or relationship other than what is normally seen in the given fandom's canon. [see Canon]
Genre: Genre can refer to a given fandom, a style of writing, or even a category of fanfic.
Graphic Sex: Generally refers to very detailed and/or base sexual interactions between characters (real people), which often contains strong language. It's generally considered important to include a graphic sex (or smut) 'warning' inside a fanfic template. [see Erotica, Smut, Template, Warnings]
Het: Short for heterosexual content -- male/female. This is most often applied to a fanfic that has romantic/sexual content between a man and a woman. [Note: This is considered a necessary 'warning' when sharing/posting fanfic in a place that allows slash, het and/or combo content.] [see Slash, Combo]
Hurt/Comfort (H/C, h/c): If a fanfic features one (or more) characters (real people) being put through traumatic experience in order to be 'comforted,' it qualifies as a hurt/comfort fanfic. In early fanfic, hurt/comfort was often seen as a replacement for slashy interactions. [Note: Hurt/Comfort can often be very violent and/or angsty in nature, so it's wise to include it in template 'warnings.'] [see Template, Warnings]
Incest: Sexual interaction (or even romance) between two people who are related by blood (and sometimes through other familial ties). In fanfic, this can be quite controversial, and some public forums (such as lists, blogs, etc.) will not allow it to be shared/posted. [Note: It's always essential to post incest in the 'warnings' of a fanfic template.] [see Template, Warnings]
In-depth Feedback: Detailed feedback, sometimes line-by-line, examining any and all aspects of a story, including content, tone, style, technical details, characterization and canon. [see Canon Feedback, Feedback, Emotional Feedback, Technical Feedback]
Kinky (or Kink): Usually applied to a fanfic featuring sexual behavior -- most often it refers to content which might display abnormal, bizarre or even deviant tastes. Sometimes kinky refers to fanfics strikingly unconventional in nature. [Note: Kinky to one person may not be kinky to another, but when fanfic content strays from so-called accepted 'norms,' it's a good idea to include 'kinky' in the 'warning' section of a template.] [see Template, Warnings, Squick]
LiveJournal: An online diary system increasing used in recent years by fanfic authors as a public forum for sharing/posting work, offering feedback and taking part in discussion (often leaning toward the vituperative). Individual journals are often called 'blogs' (short for weblogs) -- LiveJournal is only one of many popular blogs. LiveJournal allows for membership in Communities, similar to joining mailing lists, etc. (Frequently abbreviated to LJ.) [see Blog]
Lurker (Lurking): A member of a public forum (list, blog, board, etc.) who is predominantly inactive. Lurkers are generally assumed to read the things shared/posted (including fanfic), but are unlikely to offer comments or feedback of any kind. To be a lurker is to lurk. [Note: Some lists discourage lurkers, while others are happy to have these more 'quiet' members hanging around.]
Mary Sue: Historically (starting in the 1980's), 'Mary Sue' referred to any female character who was an OC (original character) created by the author. 'Mary Sue' characters are generally agreed to be a personification of the author. 'Mary Sue' characters are often seen as being idealized ('too perfect') in appearance, knowledge and behavior. Still, many fans greatly enjoy reading fanfics that focus on a 'Mary Sue' character. [see OC, OFC, Barry Sue]
Moderator: The person (or persons) who runs (moderates) a public forum (such as a list, community, board, etc.). Often this person/moderator is also responsible for having created the site or list, though in some cases a person may act as a moderator in place of (or in conjunction with) the actual owner. Moderators vary in style and level of activity, but are generally acknowledged as the 'final word' for the arena they lead and control.
MPreg (Male Pregnancy): Fanfic focusing on a male character who is pregnant by another man. MPreg can be somewhat controversial (much as slash was in the 80's). [Note: Such pregnancies can be literal (a man physically carrying a child inside his body) or 'psychic' (pregnancies that occur due to a mental and/or emotional bonding with a baby/child).] [see FemPreg]
Netiquette: Rules of acceptable online behavior. Whether assumed, word-of-mouth, or painstakingly recorded, rules vary from situation to situation and from fandom to fandom. Often can result in unpleasantness to Newbies or others assumed to be 'outsiders' to a given fandom and/or public forum. While netiquette should be a positive thing, many fans have made it a negative.
Newbie: Any fan who is new to a given fandom or public forum (such as a list, community, etc.). [Note: This is *not* a derogatory term!]
Non-Consensual (non-con): A 'warning' in a fanfic template (or summary line) indicating that one or more parties participating in a given activity (usually sexual in nature) are doing so AGAINST THEIR WILL (being forced or while under coercion). [Note: Many public forums (lists, blogs, boards, etc.) do *not* allow the sharing/posting of non-con fanfic.] [see Template, Warnings, Semi-Consensual, Consensual]
OC (Original Character): Any character (even those in Real People fanfic) who is *created* by an author. If a story *focuses* on an OC, it is generally *not* considered to be an actual fanfic. (Fanfics require that characters be taken directly from some given fandom.) Most authors *will* incorporate some OCs into less pivotal roles in their fanfics (out of necessity), but there are writers who end up with the (dreaded) 'Mary Sue' (or 'Barry Sue' -- the male counterpart) as the primary focus of their story. [Note: The use of OCs in a fanfic should always be included in your fanfic template 'warnings' line.] [see Mary Sue, Barry Sue]
OOC: Short for 'Out of Character' and generally refers to RPGs. If a canon character behaves in a way that is generally considered to be contrary to how they would normally behave, then he/she is referred to as being OCC. This term is *also* used when a person playing in an RPG wishes to express something as themself (not within the confines of the game and their RPG persona). They might send a message that begins with OCC to indicate they are 'out of character.' For example, "OCC: Sorry, but I've got to leave now, so I'll have to end the party for now." [see RPG]
One-liners: This usually refers to a very short -- and sometimes demanding -- Feedback offered in a public forum (such as a list, blog, etc.). A 'demanding' one-liner might say something like: 'post again soon' or 'include sex next time!' This type of one-liner rarely includes any positive reinforcement or praise for the author. Some moderators of public forums won't allow one-liners, though authors vary in how they view these types of fb. [Note: Many authors prefer a one-liner feedback to none at all, and some authors *prefer* one-liners to more in-depth fb.] [see Feedback, In-depth Feedback]
One True Pairing (OTP): The belief that a given fandom only contains one genuine (or real) couple/pairing, and that any other 'shipping' is unacceptable. Usually abbreviated to OTP. Sometimes used humorously. (An OTP of three people is OT3.)
OT (Off Topic): Most public forums (lists, blogs, etc.) are formed around a basic Topic (or interest). People join in order to share the topic with other members. When a person shares/posts something that doesn't focus on that topic their message is considered OT (or off topic). [Note: Many public forums (lists, blogs, etc.) *require* members to put an OT warning in the subject line of their message.]
Pairing: This is usually a line in a fanfic template that indicates which characters inside a fanfic will be in a relationship (romantic and/or sexual) together. Usually the names of these two (or more) people will be separated with a forward slash (/), such as Alexander/Hephaistion -or- Han Solo/Princess Leia/Luke Skywalker. Though the forward slash (/) is frequently associated with Slash (same-gender) fanfics, there are times (like this) when it's simply used as a handy divider. (In other words, the forward slash (/) can also be used to divide Het and Combo pairings.) [Note: Most public forums prefer the use of full names to avoid confusion for their readers. Some places have (unfortunately) made a habit of 'joining' two names to indicate pairings (in a nauseating 'cute' fashion), such as 'Cluben' for fanfics featuring Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard slashed. Really, don't go there!] [see Slash, Template]
Plotbunny (bunny): This is an affectionate term for any idea that seems to stick in your head, begging you to write about it! Often non-writers will have a plotbunny to share/post, which will lead them to suggest a Fic Challenge! Sometimes plotbunnies go hopping off before a full length fanfic can be written, leading to ficlets. [see Fic Challenge, Challenge Fic, Ficlet]
Pre-slash: This is a term applied to fanfics that show the 'promise' of future slashy (same-gender) behavior between characters (real people), without actually bringing these two people into a slash relationship. Some hurt/comfort fanfics qualify as pre-slash. [see Slash, Femslash, Hurt/Comfort]
PWP: Short for 'Plot, What Plot? (No -- it's *not* short for 'porn without plot.') a PWP is a fanfic written expressly for the purpose of having an overt sexual interaction between two (or more) characters. [Note: Authors usually include PWP in the 'warnings' line of their templates when appropriate.] [see Template, Warnings]
Rape: A fanfic containing rape includes an incident of sexual violence (generally penetration) of either a female -- or *male* -- character (real person) and should be included in the 'warnings' of a template. [Note: Although the violation of a man isn't legally considered rape, it would generally be acknowledged as rape in fandom/fanfic.] [see Warnings]
Ratings: Some public forums (lists, blogs, etc.) where authors share/post fanfic require (or prefer) the use of a 'rating' system to caution readers concerning story content. A common rating system might include: hug/kiss -- G; language/hug/kiss -- PG; in bed/private parts/violence -- R; actual sex/strong language/rape/death: NC-17. [Note: Many public forums *prefer* the use of 'warnings' over ratings, primarily because the rating system tends to be quite subjective and offers less insight than actual warnings.] [see Template, Warnings]
Reader: Quite obviously the person who reads a fanfic. In fandom sharing/posting of fanfic, there's a symbiotic relationship between author and reader, best typified through reader feedback. [see Feedback]
REC: Short for recommendation, this can refer to recommending a fanfic, author, website, public forum, or anything else someone feels others should see.
Rice out(TM): To make an ass of oneself by reacting to negative feedback by insisting that one's creative work is superior in all aspects. To be fully worthy of the term the author should publically insult both reviewers and readers alike. This term was inspired by a notorious hissyfit thrown on Amazon.com by the inimitable (and apparently too-good-for-an-editor) Anne Rice. Note: The (TM) is vital because (as we all know) Ms. Rice is very protective of her trademarks.
RL: Short for Real Life, this refers to the time spent away from online pursuits.
Round Robin: A fanfic written by several authors who take turns writing a portion of the finished product.
RP (Real People): Most frequently called an RP (or RPF), this is a fanfic that features real (actual) people (either living or dead -- usually celebrities). Over the years there has been much discussion about the legal and moral issues surrounding the writing and reading of RP fanfic -- and many fans still strongly disapprove of this genre. Sometimes known as RPF or RPS (where appropriate). [Note: It actually appears that RP fanfic might be safer -- from a legal standpoint -- than writing character-based fanfic, due to copyright laws. It's considered essential to post an RP 'warning' when sharing/posting such fanfics to a place that allows character, RP and/or OC fic.] [see RPS, RPF]
Semi-Consensual: A 'warning' in a fanfic template (or line in the summary) indicating that one or more parties participating in a given activity (usually sexual in nature) have not *specifically* consented to be involved. For example, one person might be asleep. [see Consensual, Non-Consensual]
Shipper (or 'shipper): This term is short for Relationshipper, which refers to a fan who supports a particular fandom pairing, as in Aragorn/Legolas, Arthur/Lancelot, Buffy/Spike, Olivia/Alex, Hector/Achilles (etc.). If you were a big fan of Alexander the Great slashed with Hephaistion, you'd refer to yourself as (or be referred to as) an Alexander/Hephaistion Shipper.
Slash: At the current time, this term is used to refer to any fanfic that features same-gender content -- male/male or female/female. *Historically* (when slash was first being written and shared in the late 70's and early 80's) only *non-gay* (and non-lesbian) characters could actually be 'slashed.' This term has *evolved* (particularly online) to include gay and lesbian activity. (It is not, however, a replacement for the term 'homosexual.') Slash most often refers to fanfic that has romantic and/or sexual content between members of the same gender. [Note: This is considered a necessary 'warning' when sharing/posting fanfic in a place that allows slash, het and/or combo content.] [see Femslash, Het, Combo, Template, Warnings]
Smarm: A type of fanfic featuring characters (real people) who care and worry about each other excessively. Generally *not* sexual or slashy, but rather with a noble (not-too-macho-to-love-my-buddy) brother-love focus. This usually features two male characters and is often found hand-in-hand with H/C. Sometimes smarm leads to slash -- and it is often associated with it. [see Slash, H/C]
Songfic: A fic based on song lyrics (or focusing on a song). Songfics can range from the ridiculous to the sublime, depending on the mood and skill of the author -- and the receptiveness of the reader.
Spoilers (Spoiler Warning): Anything that gives away important events in a fandom -- be it a scene in a TV show or movie or an incident in book (etc.) -- is a 'spoiler' (spoiling it for others who've yet to view or read). When a fandom is based on a recently released movie or a television show with currently airing episodes, it's expected that people at public forums (lists, blogs, etc.) will use Spoiler 'warnings' in templates (or Spoiler space in messages) to avoid 'spoiling' the plot for others. [see Template, Warnings]
Smut: Smut refers (in a light and/or humorous way) to very graphic or base sexual interactions between characters (real people). [Note: It's generally considered important to include a smut (or graphic sex) 'warning' inside a fanfic template.] [see Erotica, Graphic Sex, Template, Warnings]
Squick (Squicky): Pretty much what it sounds like -- the content of a fanfic is 'icky' (unpleasant, gross and/or otherwise offensive) to the reader. [Note: Squick can run the gamut from describing oral sex to writing about a character eating a bug or being covered head-to-toe in mud -- and what squicks one person might not bother another. While 'squick' warnings on behalf of an author are a considerate gesture, it's also a good idea to include a more detailed explanation for the cause of the squickiness.] [see Template, Warnings]
Subtext: This refers to any plot element which is *implied* rather than clearly stated -- usually used to label any canon action, dialogue, or imagery that imply sexual attraction between two characters (real people), usually of the same gender. Subtext generally exists only in the minds of fans, though it can often appear to be quite blatant. Sometimes subtext becomes Fanon. [see Canon, Fanon]
Summary: This usually refers to the portion of a template that offers a short (one or two line) summary of a fanfic's content. Sometimes summaries are also available at websites (and other public forums), allowing readers/visitors to see information prior to viewing a fanfic webpage (etc.). [see Template]
Technical Feedback: This is one of the major types of feedback. Technical feedback deals with various technical aspects of a fanfic. Are there spelling errors? Grammatical errors? Poor dialogue (unrealistic and/or inappropriate to the character/real person)? Is the fanfic well-written? Does the plot hang together? Does the language flow? (And so on.) Generally the average reader tends to avoid technical feedback unless he is genuinely knowledgeable about writing skills. [see Feedback, Emotional Feedback, Canon Feedback]
Template: The opening section of a fanfic containing important (and usually necessary) information about content. A template begins with the name/title of the fanfic (and/or fanfic chapter) and includes the author's name, author's email address, date of the fanfic, pairings, a summary and warnings (etc.). [Note: Content of templates vary, depending on author preferences and the requirements of the public forum where the fanfic is being shared/posted.] [See Warnings, Disclaimer, Feedback]
Threads: The 'subject line' of a message shared/posted in a public forum (such as lists, blogs, etc.) is how various topics are followed by members. A THREAD traces a given subject from the first post through all responding posts. Many public forums encourage members to *change* the thread to reflect fluctuating themes in the body of responding messages, making it easier for members to discern actual content. [see DTs]
Underage: Fanfic that contains characters (real people) who are not of legal age (for a given locality). This would most often refer to youths (children) engaged in romantic/sexual activity. It can also refer to youths (children) engaging in other illegal activities. [Note: Underage is an important 'warning' when sharing/posting fanfic in public forums. Some public forums and/or moderators don't allow underage material.] [see Template, Warnings]
UST: Short for Unresolved Sexual Tension, referring to a fanfic that features interactions between characters (real people) which are not expressly sexual, yet contain sexual undertones. (This term was originally coined by X-Files fans to refer to the chemistry between Mulder and Scully.)
Warnings: One of the most *ESSENTIAL* lines included in a fanfic template. Fanfic 'warnings' can refer to any and all contents which require cautions for the reader. Such warnings run the gamut and can include the following (in alpha order): Alcohol use, Angst, BDSM, Bondage, Combo, Crossover, DEATH, Drug use, Erotica, Femslash, Graphic sex, Het, Incest, Kink(y), Mary Sue, Non-Consensual, OC, PWP, Rape, S/M, Semi-Consensual, Slash(y), Smut, Spoilers, Squick(y), Underage, Violence, WIP [see Template, Angst, BDSM, Bondage, Combo, Crossover, Death, Erotica, Femslash, Graphic Sex, Het, Incest, Kink(y), Mary Sue, Non-Consensual, OC, PWP, Rape, S/M, Semi-Consensual, Slash(y), Smut, Spoilers, Squick(y), Underage, Violence, WIP]
WIP (Work in Progress): Most commonly referred to simply as a WIP, this refers to a fanfic that is a 'Work in Progress' -- or uncompleted work. Many authors prefer to post fanfics as they write a chapter/part, but some readers prefer not to read WIPs. [Note: It's considered polite to include 'WIP' somewhere in a template to inform readers that the work in question is incomplete.] [see Template]
Xover (Crossover): A fanfic which includes characters (real people), events, places, ideas (etc.) from another fandom. For example, you might see Harry Potter meeting up with the Backstreet Boys. [Note: It's important to include a crossover 'warning' for fanfics, as many readers dislike crossover.] [See Template, Warnings]
Zine (fanzine): A collection of fan-created work published in print (rather than online). A zine might include fanfic (drabbles, ficlets, multi-part, one-of-ones, poetry, etc.), art, comics, crossword puzzles, etc. These are generally sold via conventions or through the mail. Such publications are written by -- and for -- fans, though there are a few that are professional publications.