Ye Olde Jolly Jolly Anal-Retentive General Fandom and Fanfiction Glossary
(Online Edition v1.53)
I don't claim to know everything—this is just stuff I picked up from life online, research and my own personal involvement in fandom and the various fanfiction communities as an author and archivist for several years
Corrections (some backing proof would be nice) are extremely welcome. Email Eline.
/: When seen in fanfiction descriptions, it's a "slash"—a little symbol that indicates a pairing in fanfiction, usually romantic/intimate, for both het and slash fics. Like "Scully/Mulder" or "Mulder/Krycek". These days, it's more slash (homosexual relationships) than het. The character mentioned first is usually the more dominant/aggressive one (see seme and uke for additional info)—E.g., a pairing like "Qui-Gon/Obi Wan" would indicate that Qui-Gon is the "top" and Obi Wan is the "bottom" in the relationship (though this is not always so--there's apparently also something called "topping from the bottom"). This, of course, is highly subjective to the authors' preferences—there are no "fixed" positions for characters. See Slash for more info on homosexual pairings.
+: Seen sometimes in fanfiction descriptions to denote the relationship between a pairing, usually romantic, in some fandoms.
X: Seen often in fanfiction descriptions to denote the relationship between a pairing, usually sexual, in some fandoms. The character mentioned first is usually the more dominant one—see seme and uke for info. See / and Slash for more info.
Alias: Also "Net Alias", this is the name people use to describe their Net personas. Also see Nick.
Anime: As in Japanese "animation", a kind of "cartoon" that some people (this site Keeper included) consider an art form. See manga.
Angst/Angstfic/Angsty: Description of fanfic or fanart—usually involving a high degree of angst. Angst implies putting fanfic characters through the wringer emotionally/physically/mentally and making the readers feel for them.
Archivist: Someone who archives fanfiction on his/her/its site. He/she/it may also be a fanfic author archiving his/her/its's own fanfics.
Avatar: Another name for that dreaded creature, "Mary Sue". Like its original meaning, an avatar is an extension of the almighty fanfiction author in his/her/its story.
AU: Acronym for "Alternate Universe", usually found in fanfiction. This is fanfic that does not follow the canon storyline in the original series/book/comic/whatever.
BDSM: Acronym for Bondage Dominance, Sado-Masochism. Sex/relationships involving sexual slavery, master/slave relationships, sadism and masochism as foreplay, bondage games, kink and fetish. Will usually involve leather, whips and chains.
Beta-Reader: An important person (in the webkook's honest opinion) in the life of a fanfic author. The beta-reader is a person who voluntarily proofreads fanfics before the original author posts it (sometimes after posting if the author requests it). This is supposed to improve the quality of fanfics. There are many kinds of beta, the most common of which is the technical beta who takes care of grammar and spelling to make the fic marginally readable/tolerable to the general public. Other betas check up on characterisations, plot holes, the danger of Mary Sues and even help with ideas. Betas are more like advisors and fanfic authors can accept/reject their proposals (this has happened from time to time with one of my online friends, but we're still okay because she still listens to my opinions).
Bishonen: Means "pretty boy", usually associated with characters from an anime/manga—though in the case of a lot of anime/manga, don't be too surprised when the boys are prettier than girls. Term can also be used to describe any hottie in the vicinity. (Equality, you know? Equal opportunities to drool whatever your gender/preferences are.)
Bishoujo: Means "pretty girl", usually associated with characters from an anime/manga. Term can also be used loosely to describe any hottie in the vicinity.
Canon: The "central dogma", if you like, of fandom. Canon would be things that every fan knows to be true about the original series ,the timeline, the characters, etc., etc.--e.g. Buffy Summers = the Chosen One on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".
Characters: Imaginary characters from an existing fandom, used in fanfics.
Citrus: Fanfiction that is lemon, lime or grapefruit. In other words, sex is involved.
Copyright: Intellectual property rights. Read more about this issue in Ten Copyright Myths and Copyright Online.
Dark/Darkfic: Fanfic of the dark variety that may contain themes that are a lot darker than normal. Themes like rape, adult situations, violence, cutting, suicide, etc, etc . . .
Disclaimer: Something you will find on most fan-created websites and fanfictions. Anyone watched "Dogma" before? That was a pretty good explanation in the beginning—something along the lines of "covering your ass". That's what a disclaimer is—a statement disavowing ownership of the fandom/characters and the fact that the site/fanfic in question was done for non-profit reasons. E.g. "I don't own (insert characters here) or the (insert fandom here)—they belong to (insert original author/creator/artist here) and (insert publisher/broadcasting-company/copyright-holder name here). I make no money from this—please don't sue me, I'm only a poor (insert humble occupation) who spent all my money on (insert merchandise from said fandom in here)."
Doujinshi: 1) Fanart comics of established mangas/anime—not the original mangas by the original creators. Done by "circles" of artists and can be bought commercially. These comics could show what the original could not show (because of ratings and so on) and so don't be too shocked to see het sex or more commonly, yaoi. Warning for the non-slashy-types: a lot of doujinshi tends to be slashy. (Not that I'm complaining—some of them are just gorgeous.) 2) Sometimes taken to mean fanart in comic form for any fandom/fanfic.
Essays: Fan-written essays on areas/issues related to fandom. (Probably the first time where essays have not been written for school/work . . .) For fun/serious stuff or as articles for other fans to read.
"Evil author" fics: Fanfic authors who insert themselves into fics as "Author" or use their pen name. They then proceed to mess around with the characters in fanfic to attain a comic effect of a parody or similar. Works only sometimes depending on how deadpan the unwilling characters are and how wacko the "evil author" is.
Fans: Not the mechanical-thingy you use on a hot day. These are people who love certain shows, authors, actors, singers etc, etc . . . This sort of attraction tends to manifest itself in many ways—eg. fan sites, fanfiction, fanart, the buying of heaps of associated merchandise.
Fandom: A term used to encompass the fans, their activities and mostly everything related to whatever they are fans of. Eg., "The Star Wars fandom has to be one of the largest Internet communities I've stumbled across."
Fanfiction (Fanfic): Fiction written by fans of a particular fandom involving characters/places/scenarios from said fandom. Done mostly for fun and covered with disclaimers to prevent the copyright holders from suing them.
Fannish: Referring to stuff associated to a fandom—"fannish resources" like links to sites with scripts, pictures, stores with merchandise, etc.
Fanon: Usually found in fanfiction to describe certain storylines/ideas (AU or otherwise) created by fans/some fic author that has attained a level of notoriety/fame and has spawned its own fanfics by other authors. Not official canon descriptions of characters, but generally accepted by the fans.
Fans: The people who make fandom happen.
Fan sites: Web sites showcasing fandom and fannish devotion in it's myriad forms. Fanfic, fanart, reviews, opinions, funny stuff, lists, other fans, episode guides, miscellaneous stuff and more stuff that defies description . . . (You'll know what I mean if you visit your favourite links in your fandoms of choice.)
Fem slash: A label found on fanfic, fanart or site content that constitutes a warning. A homosexual relationship involving two female characters from a fandom. Also known as "yuri" or f/f for short.
Filk: It's a song that's been written by an author to reflect certain themes/ideas/characters from their fandom. Compare with Song parody. Some of them are really quite ingenious and funny.
G: A rating for content or fanfiction, according to the popular MPAA rating system—"General Audiences". Generally describes fanfiction with kiddie-safe content.
Grapefruit: Fanfic description. Not too sure of this, but I've seen it explained as "g-rape-fruit"—i.e. rape or non-consensual sex scenes involved.
Hentai: Genre description. Originally Japanese for "weird/strange/perverse". 1) Loosely coined to indicate graphic (NC-17) depictions of sex, often in picture form or video form and even fanfic. You shouldn't be allowed within ten feet of this unless you're 18 in most countries. Check your location's Net laws. 2) Can also be used to describe gutter-minded people--e.g. "You hentai!" or "I've got a hentai brain!"
Het: Sometimes short for "heterosexual sex/relationships/situations".
Humour: Either humour related to a fandom (e.g. lists entitled "Sexually-Slanted Star Wars Lines") or humour in fanfiction--i.e. funny fics. Stuff that fans from a fandom can relate to and laugh about, probably incomprehensible to non-fans.
Keeper: A Keeper is a fan who "keeps" personal items of his/her/it's favourite character. As these characters are imaginary, these "keepsakes" are also imaginary. Like hair, underpants, smiles, virginity and even body parts. They tend to state their status in their e-mail sigs with their titles. For example, I'm the Keeper of Snape and Lupin's (from "Harry Potter") leather pants, as well as Snape's Voodoo Childe LP. (Keepers and keepsakes do not always have to make sense, and they seldom do anyhow.)
Lemon: A label found on fanfic or fanart that serves as a warning. Lemons are fics with explicit sexual content. As in NC-17 rated stuff—graphic descriptions of all sorts.
Lime: A label found on fanfic/fanart that also serves as a warning. It's more like an R rating according to what I've read.
Mailing List: An online bunch of fans from a fandom/with similar tastes who use a list-server to facilitate discussions by delievering said discussion straight into your mailbox. Most commonly known list-servers are Yahoo!, Topica and Bravenet—search and you will find fans with similar interests. Also great for fanfic authors to meet up with other authors.
Manga: Japanese comics that some people (including the site Keeper) consider an art form. Mangas are also the original starting point for a lot of anime shows like Gundam (and all its incarnations), Akira, Rurouni Kenshin and Love Hina. They come in translations. (I've only read the Chinese ones sold locally, but English ones are available too, at greater cost.)
Mary Sue: An original female character in fanfiction. Watch out—it's the ultimate OFC! Run for it! Readers have come to dread the appearance of Miss Mary Sue, the most perfect limelight-hogging heroine you'd love to hate. Mary Sue is an avatar gone wrong because she takes over the fanfic entirely, out-shining even the main players. Mary Sue is self-insertation personified, an indulgence of the author in question. But not all Mary Sues are truly bad, some can fade into the background quite well and become mature characters in their own right. More on Mary Sues here. Take a (one of many) Mary Sue Litmus test to see if you're a Mary Sue for your fandom!
Marty Stu: An original male character (OMC) in fanfiction. Also known as Gary Stu or Harry Stu, this male version of Mary Sue arrives on time to sweep the heroine off her feet. While less common than the average Mary Sue (reason for this is probably the skewed ratio of female : male fanfic authors), Marty Stu is also more likely to appear in slash fanfic than his female counterpart, for obvious reasons, but it still very rare.
"miko": It's usually a form of self description or a title, found in sigs—E.g. "Snape no miko". It seems to be derived from anime fandoms and has its roots in the Japanese Shinto religion where "miko" means "priestess". In fandom, "someone no miko" would probably be the keeper of an Internet shrine to the character of her choice—E.g. "Ashram no miko", keeper/priestess/webmaster/webmistress of shrine to Ashram from the fantasy anime "The Record of Lodoss War".
ML: Acronym for "Mailing List".
NC: A label found on fanfic, fanart and sometimes even site content that constitutes a very serious warning indeed. It stands for a "non-consensual" (non-con), usually sexual situation. This includes depictions of rape—squeamish people should avoid these fics like the plague.
NC-17: A rating for content or fanfiction, according to the popular MPAA rating system—"No One 17 And Under Admitted". Generally describes fanfiction with graphic depictions of sex and/or violence.
OFC: Acronym for "Original Female Character". Found in fanfiction. Usually this is not just a run-of-the-mill character made up to fill in a role in a fanfic. If you see "(insert character here)/OFC", it means the protagonist of the story has a relationship/falls in love with the OFC. Comparable with, but may not always be a Mary Sue.
OMC: Acronym for "Original Male Character". Found in fanfiction and slash fanfics too. See Mary Sue and OFC for more info. Comparable with, but may not always be a Marty Stu/Gary Stu/Harry Stu.
Parody: A form of fanfiction that spoofs other movies/books/popular media by inserting the characters of one fandom into said media just for laughs. Most fandoms have fanfics that are spoofs or re-writes of popular shows like "Titanic", "Rocky Horror Picture Show" or "Star Wars" with all the characters replaced by the author's own dream cast.
PG: A rating for content or fanfiction, according to the popular MPAA rating system—"Parental Guidance Advised".
PG-13: A rating for content or fanfiction, according to the popular MPAA rating system—"Parental Guidance Cautioned".
Pregfic/Preggie: Description usually found in fanfiction of the slashy variety. Involves male pregnancy *ignores the protesting voice of her inner Biology student with difficulty*, childbirth and even raising the little sprog. (Heck, anything is viable in fanfic.)
PWP: A label found on fanfic/fanart that also serves as a warning. It is usually the acronym for "Porn Without Plot" or "Plot? *What* Plot?"—either one fits the bill. Applies to het and slash pairings. Sometimes known as lemons or yaoi. Likely to be rated NC-17 and fairly graphic.
R: A rating for content or fanfiction, according to the popular MPAA rating system—"Restricted". Generally describes fanfiction with marginal depictions of sex and/or violence, swearing and other not-so nice things.
Rating: Similar to ratings on movies, these ratings on fanfic or fanart are meant as a warning of how suitable the contents are for certain age groups. The G/PG/PG-13/R/NC-17 system is mainly derived from the American MPAA system for rating movies and may not always be understood by non-American readers.
Scripts: Usually means the scripts of a TV-show/movie/anime, transcribed by the fans for other fans who may have missed something or need fanfic references. (This is one of the reasons why online communities are so wonderful.) Also good for people in need of translations if the version of the show you've got was not in your language of choice.
Seiyuu: Voice actor for animes—usually Japanese, although the term may apply for anyone doing voice acting for cartoons/anime these days. (Hard to get that sort of job around here—heck, I auditioned for a company doing English-dubs once in hopes of a part-time job to support my comicbook habit. Needless to say, it has not borne fruit and I'm sticking to recreational manga illustration.)
Self-insertation: Meaning that the author has written her/him/itself into the fanfic. Not necessarily Mary Sue, but close.
Seme: As opposed to uke. The "top" in the sexual relationship or the more dominant of the relationship.
Shounen ai: A label found on fanfic, fanart and sometimes even site content as a warning. It means "boy love" or a focus on relationships between young boys. While sexual situations may be hinted at, it may not be as explicit as "yaoi".
Sigs: Short for "signature", something found at the end of e-mail messages which may contain webpage links, quotes or titles.
Site content: Stuff that appears on a website. Varies widely.
Slash/Slashy/Slashyness: A label found on fanfic, fanart and sometimes even site content—most definitely should be considered as a warning. It implies homosexual relationships between characters from a TV series/book/comic/anime/anything that is the basis of a fandom. Also known as m/m or f/f for short.
Songfic: A variety of fanfiction that has song lyrics inter-spaced within the text. The lyrics are there to provide atmosphere or to emphasis what is not being said in the fic proper—usually very angsty lyrics.
Song parody: A filk where the authors takes a (usually) popular song and rewrites the lyrics using themes/characters from a fandom for a laugh.
Spoof: An adaptation of any existing media, altered to give a comic effect. Very close to a parody. E.g. "Spaceballs was a spoof of Star Wars."
Squick: It means that one is seriously uncomfortable with a concept, a pairing or something kinky in intimate situations. E.g. "Ewww! Squick!" or "This pairing just squicks me something wicked!"
Tentacles: A warning attached to some graphic artwork or fanfiction depicting sex involving an evil (most of the time) tentacled monster. This may squick some people.
Top Ten Lists: What it says. Lists of stuff pertaining to the fandom, usually amusing or funny. Almost every fandom has these. As a friend once said, "Blame Letterman" for the popularity of the lists
WAFF: Acronym for "Warm And Fuzzy Feelings"--means that the fanfic contains content that usually would produce this effect.
Warning: What it says. These are literally warnings that come before certain kinds of content that may be offensive to certain groups of people. Like slash, explicit sex scenes, nudity, swearing, alternative views, religious views and so on so forth. (It's this thing about human nature and not being able to make everyone happy all at once . . . one never knows what will set someone else off.) Take warnings seriously—you never know when you might see things you never wanted to see/hear/read.
Uke: A description of a character's position in sexual encounter. As opposed to seme, the "bottom" in a sexual relationship.
Yaoi: A label found on fanfic, fanart and sometimes even site content—should be considered as a very serious warning. Originally, YAOI stands for yama-nashi (without climax), ochi-nashi (without a conclusion) and imi-nashi (without content) within a manga/anime context. In other words, a PWP that doesn't sure any function beyond getting two/more people into the sack together. It has now come to occupy almost the same meaning as slash. The difference being, according to one article on Aesthetism.com, that yaoi needs less plausible reasons for slash to exist. And so slash is not yaoi (except perhaps when it's a PWP), but with some more plot, yaoi can sometimes be slash.
YKYOW Lists: You might have seen these on sites around the 'Net. Know the joys of "You Know You're Obsessed With (insert character/fandom here)" Lists, something every fandom worth its salt has in abundance. They're like checklists or one of those magazine self-tests, but quite firmly tongue-in-cheek most of the time.
Yuri: A label found on fanfic, fanart and sometimes even site content—should be considered as a very serious warning. The other (female) side of yaoi—f/f slash (fem slash).