Fan Fic Terminology By Sarah Lehman
Originally, I was considering either going over some of the more common types of fan fiction or list some more examples of book-based fan fics. However, I feel that a list of terms often used by fan fic writers would help you understand future articles. Below are some common words and phrases you will probably run across while exploring the fan fic world:
-Fandom: The collective name for fans of a particular franchise; ex. the Lord of the Rings fandom consists of fans of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and its spinoffs.
-Canon: The original story or series that the fan fic is based on.
-Fanon: An idea commonly believed by fans, but neither confirmed nor denied by the creator(s). Derived from ‘fan’ and canon’.
-Headcanon: A particular fan’s personal beliefs about certain parts of canon material, such as one character’s relationship with another. May become fanon if enough fans share the idea.
-One True Pairing (OTP): An author’s preferred romantic pairing. Sometimes expanded to a larger bonding. For example, OT3 would be a romance among 3 people.
-Mary Sue: An original character, often based on the author of a fan fic, who lacks any major flaws and/or acts as a way for the author to play out a fantasy. Mary Sue characters usually become romantically involved with a canon character.
-Author’s Note (A/N): A direct message from the author to the readers, usually found at the beginning or end of a story/chapter.
-Trigger Warning (TW): Used to warn people about certain types of sensitive content, such as drug abuse or high levels of violence.
-Real Person Fic (RPF): A fan fic written about real people rather than fictional characters, usually focused on actors, musicians, or other celebrities.
While these are among the most common terms used by fan fic authors and readers, they are by no means the only ones. Some fandoms have their own terms, such as various ‘ship names’—fan-created names for romantic pairings. Also, there are some terms that go into sensitive areas and/or are more frequently found in NSFW (not safe for work) stories, so I feel it would be best not to discuss them here. Fortunately, there are lots of places to learn other words!
Until next time, stay tuned!