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.