Solora’s Awesome Fanfiction Glossary- Part 3

And here’s part 3, folks. If you have any fanfiction terms that I missed, feel free to post them in the comments. If I come up with enough, I will eventually post a part 4 to this glossary. The language of fandoms and, by extension, the internet, is truly fascinating.

-Rating: A fic’s rating is a statement of who should be reading it. A K or K+ rating is safe for any kid readers who are browsing the site. A T rating means that teens can read the fic in question with little issue. T+ is right on the edge of a Mature fic. These fics will often have Lime scenes or references to issues such as rape and suicide. An M-rated fic is for mature readers only, often because of explicit sexual content or graphic violence.

-Roleplaying: When two or more people act out characters, usually online, and imagine different scenarios by taking turns and directing their chosen characters. Some roleplays are later refined and turned into fanfictions.

-SFW: Stands for Safe For Work. Remember that scenario I mentioned where you’re browsing the web at work? SFW refers to what you should probably be looking at during this time, like kitten videos or a T-rated fanfiction, or a piece of art where everyone involved is fully-clothed. That way, if someone looks over your shoulder, you only have to worry about getting in trouble. You won’t have to endure the strange looks you’d likely get if you were found staring at a picture depicting a three-way between Spock, Kirk, and a five-eyed tentacle monster.

-Slash: Refers to a fanfiction featuring a romantic pairing of two males. Slash = gay. (see also Femslash)

-Ship: The foundation of almost every fandom war in existence.

Ahem, sorry. A ship refers to a romantic coupling that a person supports in a work of fiction. Shipping as a verb is a way of saying that you want certain people to be together romantically. For example, I want to see Ren and Nora from the RWBY series become a romantic couple. Therefore, I would say that I ship them, or that I ship Ren with Nora.

-Shot: A shorter fic meant to detail a single idea or plotline, but is longer than a drabble. Generally has up to three chapters. (see Oneshot, Twoshot, and Threeshot)

-Songfic: A fanfiction whose plot is based around the lyrics of a song.

-Soulmate AU: Another common AU used by fanfiction writers. It’s a romance-based AU where everyone has a soulmate who is discovered through varying means. The most common one I’ve seen is a setting where a person’s soulmate’s name is written on their wrist from birth. Another one is a setting where a person sees in black and white until they meet their soulmate, at which point they start seeing in color.

-Smut: It’s amazing how many sexual terms there are in fanfiction… Smut refers to a detailed, uncensored, shameless sex scene. It’s a more unapologetic way of referring to a sexual work that often contains no plot. While a Lemon might have some plot surrounding the sex scene itself, smut generally is just straight-up sex from beginning to end.

-Tag: A tag is used to give a more specific label to a fanfiction, making it easier for people searching for a certain kind of story. Common tags include Romance, Friendship, Angst, Tragedy, and Hurt/Comfort.

-Threeshot: A fanfiction with only three chapters.

-Trash: A humorous, self-deprecating term for someone who is incredibly invested in a fandom, or aspects of a fandom. For example, a person who spends a large amount of time coming up with headcanons for a certain ship might say that they are shipping trash.

-Trigger warning: A statement added in the description of a fanfiction that tells the reader that something will happen in the story that will cause an intense negative reaction in some people. Depictions, or even mentions of rape, suicide, and self-harm are some examples of subjects that warrant the inclusion of a trigger warning.

-Twoshot: A twoshot is a fanfiction with only two chapters. Usually, it’s used to give more depth to a fic than a oneshot would. It can also be a oneshot that the writer decided to expand.


Solora’s Awesome Fanfiction Glossary- Part 2

And so it continues!

-Gakuen AU: Another common AU used by fanfiction writers. Gakuen is the Japanese word for school or academy. This AU involves taking characters and putting them in a high school setting, most commonly a boarding school-type setting or a setting based on academies depicted in anime.

-Gary-Stu: A male character who has no flaws, is perfect in every way and is usually a love interest for some other character. Less common than its sister term, Mary-Sue. They exist in canon works, but are most commonly created by fans in order to fulfill a personal fantasy within a story. (see OC)

-Genderbend: Despite the use of the word “gender” rather than “sex,” this label usually means that the biological sexes of one or more characters have been reversed in the fanfiction in question. The Nyotalia AU for the Axis Powers: Hetalia series is a good example of genderbend.

-Harem: A fanfiction where one character ends up in a romantic and/or sexual relationship with several other characters. Often used in M-rated pieces.

-Headcanon: An idea that is unproven in canon that a fan thinks of as canon until proven otherwise. For example, in RWBY I have the headcanon that Jaune Arc would be terrible at naming things. He’s never been seen naming any pets or places, but his character as I’ve seen him up to this point makes me think that he would be bad at it.

-Lemon: Sex. Uncensored, descriptive, detailed sex. A Lemon fic is a sex fic. A Lemon scene is a sex scene. Lemon = sex. (see also NSFW and Smut)

-Lime: A Lime is a censored Lemon. It gets into the nitty-gritty without giving the reader detailed descriptions of the parts involved. It’s essentially a really close look at the foreplay followed by a much more muted look at the actual sex. The line between a Lemon and a Lime is blurry, but you younger readers should be good as long as you aren’t seeing any detailed descriptions of anyone’s genitals.

-Mary-Sue: A female character who has no flaws, is perfect in every way, and is usually a love interest for a canon character. (see also Gary-Stu) They are generally used as self-inserts for authors and fanfiction writers who want to fulfill a certain fantasy. For example, Bella Swan from Twilight is a canon Mary-Sue. The Pokemon character I made in middle school who was Ash’s older sister, had the largest Charizard on record, and was a love interest of Gary Oak, was an OC Mary-Sue. (I was twelve. Don’t judge me.)

-Modern AU: Another common AU used by fanfiction writers. Essentially, this AU takes canon characters and puts them in a modern, first-world setting. That can mean putting people in school, giving them mundane jobs, or anything else that represents modern-day society.

-Mpreg: A fanfiction featuring a biologically male character becoming pregnant.

-Multishipper: A person who supports multiple romantic pairings for the same character.

-Neko AU: Another common AU used by fanfiction writers. Neko is the Japanese word for cat. As you would expect, this type of AU involves turning one or more characters into cats or having a cat-based equivalent to the canon world. A good example of a canon Neko AU is the Nekotalia world depicted in some episodes of the Axis Powers: Hetalia series.

-Non-con: Rape. Non-con, or non-consensual sex, is a pretty way of saying rape. If you see a fic with this in the description, you are not in for a romance fic, regardless of what the tags say. You are going to see a character getting raped. It’s a sick, sugarcoating term that needs to die.

-NSFW: Stands for Not Safe For Work. You know when you’re at work or in class and are on your computer, and end up browsing the web instead of doing what you’re supposed to be doing? NSFW is anything you probably shouldn’t be looking at during this time. Imagine a coworker or classmate looking over your shoulder and seeing a page full of gay Avatar porn. Awkward, right? (see also Lemon and Smut)

-OC: Stands for Original Character. An OC is a character made to fit into a fictional work by a fan of the fictional work in question. It could be a background character who helps things along in a fic, a main character who changes the course of certain canon events when inserted into certain scenarios, or a love interest for a canon character.

-Oneshot: A fanfiction containing only one chapter. Usually, it’s a shorter romance piece or a response to a recent installment in the canon series. Often used in collections.

-OOC: Stands for Out Of Character. If you see this in the description of a fic, it basically means that the characters will be acting in a way that does not adhere to how their characters would canonically act. A stoic character may be weirdly hyperactive. A lighthearted character could be acting like a complete emo. Sometimes, there’s a reason for the OOC-ness, like a mind ray or something similar. Sometimes, the fic writer in question is just lazy.

-OT3: Stands for One True…Three-way? Trio? It is a polyamorous romantic coupling involving three people that a person supports over all other romantic couplings in a series. It’s an OTP, but with three people. (see also OTP)

-OTP: Stands for One True Pairing. Refers to the romantic pairing (see also Ship) that a person likes more than any of the others. For example, in Harry Potter, I supported Luna/Neville and Harry/Ginny, but Ron/Hermione was always my OTP.

-Poly Ship: Refers to any polyamorous romantic coupling. (see also Harem and OT3)

Solora’s Awesome Fanfiction Glossary- Part 1

I still remember my early days of browsing fanfiction. It was like entering a virtual alien land where the language was only somewhat familiar. With the rise of fandoms (a term I will cover here), and the many kinds of fan works that came with them, there was a rise of new words and old words with new meanings. Read on, and I will try to demystify the strange language of fanfiction.

-!: An exclamation point is a way of shortening descriptions, usually used to say that a character is different in some way from how they are in canon. For example Trans!Bob would mean that a character named Bob is a transgender character in the fanfiction in question, but not in the canon work he comes from. In my RWBY fanfiction “Goddess of Victory,” the character Pyrrha Nikos is a literal goddess, so I add a mention at the end of the description saying simply: Goddess!Pyrrha AU. This tells the reader that this is an Alternate Universe in which Pyrrha is a goddess without wasting precious description space.

-Alternate canon: Whenever a story tweaks the canon-verse, it can be seen as an alternate canon fic. Since most fics tweak canon in some way, this term isn’t used often.

-Animal Transformation AU: A common AU used by fanfiction writers. Involves one or more characters being transformed into an animal. The most common form of this that I’ve seen is a scenario where one character turns into a kitten, and the intended love interest in the story ends up taking care of them, often unaware of the identity of the kitten until the end.

-AU: Stands for Alternate Universe. Any story taking place in a universe that is different from the canon universe can fit into this category. For example, if a writer decides to take the characters of a sci-fi series and make them into college students, you would have a College AU. Alternate canon often ends up under this umbrella term.

-Author Notes: Some writers like to engage with their readers at the beginning and/or end of a fanfiction. The Author Notes are where writers can talk to their readers, respond to questions, explain if the fic is taking place during a certain point in canon, etc. They’re often set off by being written in bold or italics.

-Canon: Canon refers to what is “real” in the fictional work that fan works are being written about. For example, a fanfiction may include a character who has died in the series in question, but is alive in the fanfiction. The character’s death is a canon event, regardless of what happens in the fanfiction. Fanfiction writers may choose to ignore canon in their works, while others may incorporate it into what happens in certain plotlines.

-Canon-verse: Just as canon refers to anything that “actually” happened in the fictional worlds upon which fanfictions are based, the canon-verse is the world in which the actual works take place. It is the universe of the series as it was written by the original author.

-Coffeehouse AU: Another common AU used by fanfiction writers. It usually depicts two characters meeting and falling in love in a coffeehouse setting. One character is usually a barista while the other is a regular customer.

-Collection: A fanfiction where its chapters are individual, not necessarily connected scenarios.

-College AU: Another common AU used by fanfiction writers. It takes some or all of the characters, and places them in a college setting.

-Commission: A commission is a fanfiction written for payment. The commissioner gives the writer specifics concerning what they want to happen in the fic and what the word count should be, and the writer complies in exchange for an agreed-upon amount of money.

-Crossover: A fanfiction that includes two or more different fictional worlds interacting. It can involve the characters of one world ending up in another world, characters from both worlds interacting in a new setting, or basically anything that prominently features characters and settings from more than one fictional universe. Ben 10/Generator Rex: Heroes United is a good example of a crossover that happened in canon.

-Drabble: A shorter fanfiction, usually 1500 words or fewer, that has little overall plot, and is meant to show a single scene or train of thought. Often used in collections.

-Fanart: The visual equivalent of fanfiction. Fanart is art based on another work of fiction. Fanartists and fanfiction writers often collaborate with each other, whether it involves a fanartist making cover art for a fanfiction, or a writer making a fic based on a scenario in a piece of fanart.

-Fandom: Refers to the fan community surrounding a work of fiction. Members of a fandom can range from fanfiction writers and fanartists, to roleplayers, to people who make forums dedicated to predicting what might happen in the next installment.

-Feels: Refers to any strong emotion that is evoked while consuming a work of fiction. Sadness is usually the emotion in question, but tearful happiness can also be used.

-Femslash: Refers to a fanfiction featuring a romantic pairing of two females. Femslash = lesbian. (see also Slash)

-Fic: A shortened term for fanfiction. Often used in conversation. Fanfic can also be used.

-Flame: A harsh, overly-negative review or comment that has no constructive criticism and was essentially written to insult the fanfiction, the writer, or both.

-Fluff: Refers to a fanfiction meant to evoke good feelings, “warm and fuzzies,” if you will. If you see fluff in the description, you are in for a feel-good fic with often sickeningly-sweet descriptions of people being happy.