Useful terms that you may hear online but which have not yet migrated into popular comicfic usage are listed in italics. If I know which ficdom source the term originated in, I will list it at the end of the entry in (parentheses).
/ : Two letters separated by a / in the title or description of a story means it's about romance between two characters whose names start with these letters. Yes, sometimes figuring out who can be tricky if you don't know the fandom well! ;) Note: the word slash (see entry below) comes from this practice, which was often used to denote same-sex relationships back in the 'zine days -- the most famous being K/S (Kirk/Spock). However, of course the slash can denote straight relationships too, ie. L/R (Logan/Rogue).
! : also known as a 'bang' -- signifies "not." Example: POP-UP FANFIC_OK !MST_OK means "You can reproduce this story as a pop-up fanfic but you may not reproduce this story as an MST." !amused = not amused, and so on. A symbol used mainly by techies and dinos.
ABH: Anywhere But Here -- a type of story told in second-person form (ie. "He walks over and takes your hand...") ABH stories tend to be sexual in nature and are generally regarded as pretty bloody horrible. (Star Wars)
ACFF: alt.comic.fan-fiction, a newsgroup spun off of RACMX many years ago in order to keep the loonies in their own bin. As to who exactly the loonies are, I'll let you draw your own conclusions. Sadly, this newsgroup has pretty much been abandoned to tumbleweeds and spam.
alternate universe: Imagine a universe slightly different from ours... All fictional settings and the variants thereof are said to take place in alternate universes, as if they're actually real but can't be seen or reached except by the imagination -- or by crossovers. ;) Sometimes this term is abbreviated to AU or A/U in other fandoms; however, the concept is universal. See also Elseworld (DC/Marvel) and uber (Xena).
angst: Refers to the emotional wounds suffered and/or borne by a character, especially if they spend pages moaning about their miserable life in great detail. Can add intensity to a story or turn it into one big long pityparty. Warning: angst can be addictive!
angstfic: A tale, generally a vignette and often first-person, which ruminates on the heavy emotional repercussions of a character's ruined relationships, life, month, day, hairstyle, etc. 'Ware suicide.
APA: Amateur Press/Publication Association/Alliance -- an old-fashioned way of distributing fan-related materials in which contributors submitted pages to an editor who photocopied and mailed out the collated result. Some APAs featured fanfic, though it was not originally called that. APAs still exist and are sometimes mentioned in connection with fanfic, but are no longer in their heyday.
archive: A collection of fanfic available on a website or automatically logged for a mailing list. The former is handled done by an archivist, either of their own work or that of others, with express permissions; the latter is automatically handled by a list server under the assumption that anyone posting to the list knows in advance that their posted work will be logged for future access. A third as-yet-rare type of archive allows writers to archive their own work (ie. www.fanfiction.net). "Archive" is also a verb which means "to place on an archive."
archive fic: Originally created by Buffy archivist Anya to present her archive updates in an amusing fashion, this is one clever way to keep an off-topic post on-topic. Basically, the author writes him/herself into a short fic interacting with a character(s). Usually used to get information out to a mailing list. Also known in comic-fanfic circles as a feedback fic. (Buffy)
AU, A/U: See alternate universe.
avatar: A character which represents the person that created him/her -- a fictional version of the real person, so to speak. Most writers have several "me" characters but only one true avatar.
badfic: Stories that are purposely written bad (characterisation, plot, spelling/grammar) for humourous purpose. (Buffy)
bard: See fanficcer. (Xena)
bdsm, BDSM: Bondage, domination, sado-masochism. A term from outside of fanfic, but a useful one to know when deciphering ratings.
beta, betaread, beta-read: To edit and comment on someone else's work before it's finalized, taken presumably from the old software term "betatesting." Betareading brings a fresh perspective to a rough draft -- by the definition of the word, one cannot beta one's own work.
betareader, beta-reader Someone who edits your work by request. You cannot be your own betareader, and unsolicited comments from readers after the story goes live do not count.
Blue Believers: An old-but-still-going-strong Beast/Nightcrawler/anyone-cool-&-blue fanclub.
BNF: "Big Name Fan" -- someone who is so active in fandom that their name becomes well-known in fan circles, to the point that sometimes other fans want their autographs or pay their way as guest speakers. A term native to conventions and other old-style fan gatherings, but still useful to know in case it crops up. A step lower on the totem pole is the WKF (Well-Known Fan). Lord only knows who makes the distinction, honestly.
breaking the fourth wall: The fourth wall is an imaginary designation for the wall you can't see when you look at a movie or a comic panel -- the invisible barrier which separates fantasy from reality. A character breaks the fourth wall when they speak or refer directly to their audience or creator, revealing their awareness of their own existence as mere celluloid or ink. Not strictly a fanfic term, but a useful one. The fourth wall is pretty much a shattered ruin in any Subreality story or metafic. ;)
bunnyslippers, predatory canaballistic: namely Wink-Wink and Nudge-Nudge, writer Abyss's imaginary sentient footwear. It's a long story. Suffice it to say that they're small, cute, fluffy, and known thorughout comic fanficdom as the most dangerous creatures in the multiverse.
canon: an adjective referring to a character, event, plotline, etc. which happened "for real" -- the actual professional source material. Note that "canon" is a term used throughout most fanficdoms, not just here.
CBFFA: The Annual Comic-Book Fan-Fiction Awards, an open fic/writer popularity vote first instituted in early 1998 -- voting is conducted in December/January (watch this site and others) and the results are presented in a rather unique form in March (hopefully!). The virtual award taken home by winners is called the Creative License.
CFAN: the Comic-Book Fanfic Authors' Network (yes, I know the acronym doesn't fit exactly) -- the major hubsite for comic ficdom, probably the page you found this-here list on.
challenge: An informal game played in writing circles -- one person says "Hey, I dare you to write about [X]!" and anyone who likes the idea responds with a story about it. [X] can be a character, a particular set of characters, a crossover, a situation, an event, or even a set of funny lines or objects that must be included within the body of the story. A challenge must be interesting, unusual, and original -- something that hasn't been done before, if possible. Ie. if characters X and Y have been written as a couple a hundred times already, asking for more stories about them is not a challenge.
challenge fic: Any story that appears as the result of a challenge.
character death: A warning placed in the header of a story in which one or more major characters dies. Personally, I'm all for keeping this term the hell out of comicfic, as it spoils major plotpoints. Yeah, I know, my opinions shouldn't be expressed on this page, but honestly: "Oh no, you killed [insert character name here] without warning me! I'm traumatized! Boo hoo! Waaaah!" *snort* Babies. Go read "Devil's Due" and get out of my face.
The Common People: aka TCP -- an open-to-all-writers anthology of short stories dealing with everyday non-superhero life in the Marvel Universe.
con: Slang for a fan-related convention, often used as a modifier (ie. consuite, San Diego ComicCon). In comic fanfic, organized gatherings of fanficcers who don't normally get to see each other are called cons -- so far the big ones are DexCon in Toronto and Subrealicon in Southern California, though variations like BritCon, SouthernCon, and AussieCon are in the works.
crossover: A story which straddles two different fandoms. Can be as close mixing characters from different universes within a genre (ie. Batman/Wolverine) or as wildly disparate as you can imagine (ie. Buffy/Teletubbies). These stories can either be great fun or infamously horrible, depending on the skill of the writer. Sometimes spelled "cross-over" or abbreviated to "C/O" but not with comic fandom.
dino: an oldtimer ("Call me a dino, but I remember back when Claremont...").
dinew: Someone who was an dino in another fanficdom but is new to this one. Term coined by Trisha Sebastian.
DISC: short for "discussion" -- a word added to the subject of a message to indicate that it is a discussion.
drabble: a short-short little scrap of a storylet (just a few paragraphs or less -- 100 words?) just written for the fun of it, usually humorous. (Doctor Who)
egoboo, ego-boo: short for "ego boost," an old term dating back to APAs and fanzines -- basically any verbal encouragement or support a writer receives, be it spoken or typed.
Elseworld: Taken from the DC comics of the same name, an Elseworld is an alternate reality or timezone-- you may recognize the basic characters, but they are actually analogues leading entirely different lives. Ie. mutants cropping up in the old West, or Batman living during the Inquisition. See also uber.
Estrogen Brigade: a humorous term used by some segments of female fandom who are devoted to a male star, ie. the PMEB (Paul McGann Estrogen Brigade) or the DDEB (David Duchovny Estrogen Brigade). Now popping up in fanficdom in the wake of the movie, most notably the HJEB (Hugh Jackman Estrogen Brigade).
faanfiction: Nope, that's not a typo -- this is an old term referring to self-referential fiction about fans and/or fandom itself, usually in the form of satire laden with injokes. See Subreality or metafic for more recent Internet equivalents.
the Falstaff Syndrome: See top-heavy.
fan: Short for "fanatic," the definition of "fan" depends on who you talk to. A mundane on the street will tell you that it means "someone who's really into something," and probably means a sports team or a TV show. However, when we say "fan," we're really using a secret wink-wink geek code that means "person who's into something that requires an operational brain and some creativity," be it sci-fi, fantasy, roleplaying, comics, etc. We're not just fans -- we're fans. And in our own aggressively antiestablishmentarianistic way we're pretty bloody arrogant about it, too. ;)
fanboy: See fangirl.
fanfic: short for "fan fiction" or "fanfiction," also called "fic" -- any story written about an existing TV show, book, movies, comic, etc. without permission from the original creators or intention of profit.
fanficcer, ficcer: Someone who writes fanfic. Also more generically called "writers" -- alternatively called "Writers" (with a capital W) in Subreality fic and "bards" in Xena fic.
fan fiction, fanfiction: See fanfic.
fangirl: See fanboy ;) No, okay, seriously, any childish, obsessed, over-the-top fan who makes more mature fans embarrassed to be associated with them. The kind you see on TV (usually in full costume) every time the local newsteam decides to go cover a convention. Specifically, in ficdom, a writer whose stories are nothing but badly-written wish-fulfilment fantasies.
fanzine: See zine.
fb: See feedback.
feedback: Any comment -- whether it be by e-mail, chat, or live -- from a reader/viewer/listener etc. to a writer/artist/filker about their creative work. Put it this way: most creative types like to "paid" for their hard work in feedback. ;) In other fandoms this is referrred to as fb or LOC (Letters Of Comment).
feedback fic: Originally called archive fic, when authors in Buffy fandom wrote off-topic notes in the form of little stories to avoid getting in trouble and make them eligible for archival. In comic fandom, these are usually written to help give other authors feedback -- hence the new name.
fen: The plural of "fan" as used on the convention circuit. Rarely seen online except in the word slashfen.
F/F, f/f: Denotes a story involving a romantic or sexual relationship between two female characters. In mainstream porn "F" usually indicates an adult woman while "f" indicates one who's underage -- ie. F/F would describe an encounter between two adult women while F/f would be a liaison between an adult woman and a teenage girl, and so on. However, this distinction is not well-known in fanfic and cannot be used as an accurate guide to content. For full details on same-sex themes in fanfic, see slash.
FIAWOL: Short for "Fandom is a way of life." See FIJAGDH.
FIJAGDH: Short for "Fandom is just a goddamn hobby." See FIAWOL.
fic: See fanfic.
#fictalk: our backup auxiliary IRC room on EFNet -- our original room until troll problems drove us out, still used on occasion. A new #fictalk is now registered on Dalnet. See #subcafe.
#fictalkers: the IRC regulars, be they in #subcafe or #fictalk. "#Subcafers" just doesn't have the same ring.
fictive: any character in a fanfic, usually but not always referring to those either created or altered by fanfic writers. More specifically, characters usually called "fictives" when they are outside their usual story, ie. hanging out in the Subreality Cafe. Fictives sometimes get the chance to scold or comfort their writer in metafics.
Ficworld: A major page devoted to Generation X and then X-Force/New Mutants stories; well known with a devoted audience. Formerly known as "GenXForce" -- now defunct but often mentioned.
filk: A fandom-oriented rewriting or parody of an existing song, using the same tune but new words. Can also refer to original tunes written about/within fandom, or to the actual act of turning a mundane song into a filk. Popular after-hours at conventions.
flame: to "flame" someone is to viciously insult them or their work in a manner that has little or no redeeming value. Note that "flame" is a general-usage netword, and is not appreciated anywhere...especially not in writing/creative groups.
fluff: lighthearted, inconsequential. A fluff fic is somewhat like a sillyfic, but more cute than humorous -- it's generally short and sweet. In some fandoms, stories of this type are jokingly called "hhjj" (happy-happy-joy-joy).
FOAD: "F*ck off and die." NOT nice. ;)
gayfic: A fanfic centering around characters who are known to be gay/lesbian -- a subtle distinction from slash, which usually involves characters who are assumed to be straight or at least uninvolved in canon. See slash (Sentinel)
gen: A fanfic suitable for all ages and mores, containing no sexual overtones whatsoever. A term usually used by slash writers.
genre: general usage: a type of story, ie. fantasy, sci-fi, romance, etc. Fanfic itself is technically a genre. When specifically used by a fanficcer, however, the word can mean a more specific "style" of story within that ficcer's own area of writing/reading and is applied to stories that can be lumped together by some common theme -- ie. Rogue/Gambit, X-S, AOA, etc..
grrl: As Red Monster put it: "Like a girl, only without the sugar and spice. We are not darling little pink-ruffled girls, we are s***-kicking, taking-crap-from-no-one grrls." Not a fanfic term, but one often seen so here's the entry for ya.
hammerspace: A pocket dimension where characters in silly stories keep weapons, used to explain how they whip 'em out of thin air. Named after Akane Tendo and her "war mallet," this can be applied to any character who seems to pull a weapon out of mid air. Known to Dirty Pair fic writers as "bikinispace." (anime)
Hawk's Archive: The first major comicfic archive, consisting of all stories on the newsgroup ACFF saved on an FTP site. Long defunct but often mentioned by dinos.
h/c: hurt/comfort -- a style of story in which one character is harmed (physically or emotionally) and another must save them, make them feel better, or both. Though not often seen in comic fandom, this one's been around since the original Star Trek 'zines and is often used to encourage a hopeless romance or set the stage for slash. In Sentinel fandom, stories of this type are jokingly called "owwies."
het: Short for "heterosexual" -- denotes fanfic depicting a sexual relationship between two people of different genders. In other words, standard erotica. A term usually used by slash writers.
hhjj: "Happy-happy-joy-joy." Not spotted in comic fandom. See fluff.
HOSD: See THOSD.
hubsite: A webpage which consisted of organized links to other pages containing fanfic or ficcer resources. Called an "index" in some fandoms.
iconoclast: A writer who features only underused characters for the sole reason that no one else is, and who flaunts their uniqueness around the community. (source unknown)
The Idiots In Charge (TIIC): See The Powers That Be
index: See hubsite. (Xena, others)
infoquest (IQ): A word added to the subject of a message to indicate that it is a request for information. If spotted on OTL, send all responses by private mail or else!
IRC: A free (so far) chat service used by many in this fandom to congregate and gab. For more info, click here.
jossed: As in Buffy creator Joss Whedon. A fanfic author's theories on what "really happened" in a canon plothole are "jossed" when the canon source provides information which contradicts those fan theories. Ie. all fanfics dealing with how Angel got out of Hell were jossed when his return was shown in an episode of the actual show. (Buffy)
LEO: Low Earth Orbit -- a silly destination for anyone who's had their butt kicked. For example, it's where most anime characters find themselves after being kicked into the air by Akane Tendo. (anime)
lemon: A fic containing gratuitous sex, usually between two female characters; however, the term is branching out to denote most gratuitous erotica. Originally an anime term.
listmom/dad: The person in charge of maintaining order on a mailing list; usually but not always the person who created the list in the first place. One well-known Listmom (with a capital "L") is Susan Crites, owner of the Outside the Lines Mailing List.
LoC, LOC: Letter of comment, also seen as "eloc" (e-mailed letter of comment) in some backwater ficdoms -- see feedback. (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Man From U.N.C.L.E., others)
mainstream: The one-and-only original unaltered canon version of a character.
maintext: Any canon romantic or sexual relationship between characters which occurs as the writer intended and without need for interpretation. The opposite of subtext. (Xena)
Mary Sue: Originally "Ensign Mary Sue," a derisive term coined by Trek fandom. This is the generic name for any new female character who's obviously a ego-stroke for the writer: she's beautiful, has amazing skills or superpowers, gets into a love affair with an existing character, or (usually) all of the above. Good writers can write good Mary Sues, but this is not the norm. See fangirl. Also, some avatars are Mary Sues -- see avatar.
mediafan: A fan whose main focus of fascination is popular media, ie. a particular TV show or movie. A slightly demeaning term used primarily by snobby oldtimers who still think that fandom should be restricted to arguing the mechanics of so-called classic sci-fi and cranking out mimeo'd zines, if you ask me.
meta or META: A word of "warning" politely added to the subject line of a post or e-mail to indicate that the message contained therein is ABOUT fanfic or the people who write it, but isn't actually a piece of fanfic itself.
metafic: A self-referential story which "breaks the fourth wall" by acknowledging that the characters within it are not real -- and, generally, know it. Can be enjoyed in non-fanfic efforts like "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" and John Byrne's "She-Hulk" -- often used to humorous effect in fanfic by way of dragging the writer into their own story to face his/her irate fictives. See also Subreality.
M/M, m/m: denotes a story involving a romantic or sexual relationship between two male characters. In mainstream porn "M" usually indicates an adult man while "m" indicates one who's underage -- ie. M/M would describe an encounter between two adult men while M/m would be a liaison between an adult man and a teenage boy, and so on. However, this distinction is not well-known in fanfic and cannot be used as an accurate guide to content. For full details on same-sex themes in fanfic, see slash.
mook: No relation to the original gangster slang-word -- "mook" (or "mooky") describes close loving relationships that are Just Plain Cuuuute. The characters involved in said relationships are called "mooks." Mook stories may or may not involve actual sex, and often don't -- the only criteria is that the characters involved be sweet, romantic, and totally in love. As one expert put it, "Angst is allowed, but tragic or otherwise dark stories are not mook." Note: Mook in comic fic is often (yes, yes, not always) associated with slash.
mook, mooks: The characters involved in a mooky relationship. The originals were Kaylee's "Gem Twins," Jack & Zach. When fans refer to "the mooks," however, they are generally referring to another currently popular duo -- if you aren't up on the latest gossip in the world of mookiness, you'd have to ask to find out. ;)
mooky: Describes the state/action of being cute-romantic-awww towards a love interest, especially (but not always) if said love interest is the same gender. See mook.
moviefic: When used within the context of X-Men fanfiction, this term refers to any story set within the continuity of X-Men movie. See movieverse.
movieverse: When used within the context of X-Men fanfiction, this term refers to the setting of the X-Men movie which hit theaters in July 2000. Movie continuity is distinctly different from comic continuity, so stories set therein are regarded as a different subgenre.
MSTing, msting, misting: To subject a fanfic to the same treatment afforded bad movies on the show Mystery Science Theater 3000 -- in other words, to dissect it line by line in order to make fun of it, either speaking via the original MST3K characters or with others. This joking style is called "riffing," and the individual gags are called "riffs." Some call MSTing a form of flaming -- people with an actual functioning sense of humor call it high comedic art. You decide. (No, I'm not biased -- what are you implying? ;)
multiverse "Everything everywhere" -- includes all alternate dimensions, other realities, parallel universes, and fandom genres.
Mundane, mundane: A person who's hopelessly mired in reality; a non-fan; anyone who ignores, belittles, or is completely oblivious to creative interests. People who are breeding far too fast to be healthy for this planet, I say. ;) Term adopted from Piers Anthony's Xanth series -- or did he adopt it from fandom? I'm not sure. Regardless, if a fan calls you a mundane, they're insulting you by calling you worthless.
newbie: A raw newcomer to any online group/place/genre, sometimes less charitably called a "virgin," or in older circles a "neofan" ("neo" for short). In comicfic, the term "newbie" is not meant cruelly but as a simple statement of fact.
nm, (nm), NM: "No Message." See (nt).
nt, (nt), NT: When spotted on the subject line of a message on a messageboard, this stands for "No Text" -- meaning that there's no message attached to the subject line, the subject line is all of that person wanted to say, so dno't bother clicking it to read more because there ain't any. Also seen as (nm) -- "No Message."
non-con: Non-consentual sexual act. The jury is still out on the shades of meaning here -- some say non-con is just another word for rape, while others see the two terms as subtly different.
ose: The filk equivalent of angst -- the chief intangible quality of a depressing song. Think of the term in this way: "That filk was nothing but ose, ose, and more ose." Get it? (filk)
OT: Denotes an off-topic message on a mailing list or messageboard -- see also meta.
OTL: See Outside The Lines.
Outsider: A member of Outside The Lines.
Outside The Lines: Outside The Lines, our major fanfic distribution/evaluation mailing list.
pairing: Any combination of characters who are romantically and/or sexually involved in the story in question. A fanfic "pairing" can occasionally be a threesome or more; however, trios wherein three characters are involved with each other but not all together (ie. Logan and Cyclops vying for Jean's attentions) are referred to as triangles. More than three in a situation like that and it just gets messy. ;) In comicfic, this term is mainly seen in moviefic, and is almost interchangeable with 'ship.
plot bunnies: Ever get hit with the idea for a fluffy little vignette that doesn't really go anywhere but you have to write it? You've just been attacked by a plot bunny! Diamonde says that she invented this term on a comicslash list, and I do believe her, but I've heard it in totally unconnected fandoms too...
pop-up fanfic: Ever seen "Pop-Up Videos" on VH1? That's where they show a video and "pop up" little interesting/funny facts about it while it's playing. Someone had the bright idea to do the same to a fanfic once (exactly once, mind you), creating a very gentle but still funny sort of MSTing. Ever since then, some writers who are afraid of their work being MSTed are also afraid of being "pop-upped," so they place warnings against both in their disclaimers. Why? Ya got me.
POV: Point Of View -- specifically in fanfic, a type of story told first-person from a character's point of view. Has migrated into comic ficdom with X-Men movieverse fic. (Star Wars)
The Powers That Be (TPTB): The people who control the canon material, be it comic or TV show. In other words, the people who hold the rights to the stuff we like to write fanfic about, and who could probably squash us like bugs if we really pushed it. So far, so good. ;) This term lies somewhere between respect and sarcasm, and usually does not include writers/creators beloved by the fans. TIIC (The Idiots In Charge) can be used if you're feeling particularly sarcastic. Note: This term can also be applied to any nebulous agency or persons who "hold the reins" in a story. Most commonly used in X-Files fic, but seen everywhere.
preservation: Saving a fanfic for posterity, usually on a website. A variation of archive. (Foxtrot/Calvin & Hobbes)
PWP: "Plot? What Plot?" or "Porn Without Plot" -- the nickname for a story which was written purely for the sake of creating pointless sexual escapades. ;) Originated in another fandom, possibly Star Trek or anime.
RACC: rec.art.comics.creative, the newsgroup home to stories about original comic-type characters.
RACMX: rec.art.comics.marvel-x-books -- the discussion newsgroup that ACFF split away from, itself a spin-off of the newsgroup rec.arts.comics.marvel I believe.
ratings: An author- or archivist-applied system which lets readers know what they're in for before they start reading a story. Not all archives or mailing lists require ratings, but most of the good ones do -- ratings are increasingly becoming a solid component of good fanfic etiquette, and at very least authors are expected to warn readers if a story contains explicit adult content. Using the American movie guidelines as a template, most fanfic can be rated as follows:
G: Good clean fun for all ages.
PG: Mild implied sexual innuendo, mild bad words, or violence or serious (though not quite mature) topics.
PG-13: Some violence, bad language, obvious sexual innuendo, implied sexual relations. Also may include some mature topics such as suicide, homosexuality, drug/alcohol advocacy, rape aftermath, details of childbirth, etc. depending on the mores of the fandom involved.
R: Just-short-of-explicit sex, graphic torture or violence, rape. Not recommended for anyone underage.
NC-17: Pornographic sex, explicit erotica, excessively gory violence. Often illegal for underage readers.
X: the same as NC-17 but only in reference to sex. No longer used by some fandoms.
XXX: Pure pointless graphic badly-written porn -- rarely seen and not encouraged in fanfic circles.
relationshipper: originally, a fan/writer who fervently believes that Mulder and Scully "belong together" -- "shipper" for short. This term has now popped up in other ficdoms about other characters -- for the comics explanation, see 'shipping below. (X-Files, migrated to Buffy fandom then beyond)
revenge fic: A) A story in which the fictional characters which an author has inflicted misery and suffering upon return the favor on the author. The term is originally from anime, but has also surfaced in other fandoms, including Star Trek and MST3K. B) A story written as a "return volley" at someone whom an author feels insulted them or their work -- basically a flame in story form. Choice B) is the meaning usually meant in comic fanfic.
riff, riffing: see MSTing.
round robin: A story written in installments by various writers, usually impromptu. Often abbreviated to "RR."
RR: See round robin.
R.S.T.: Resolved Sexual Tension -- see U.S.T. (X-Files)
SC: See Subreality Café.
semi non-con: Story contains iffy consent issues -- one character may not have been interested in a sexual act, but ends up enjoying it (against their will); or, they started off having fun but the experience got frightening or unpleasant. Usually involves a bit of psychological nastiness.
'ship: Short for "relationship" -- uses to denote which pair of characters are romantically involved in a given story. See 'shipping for more details.
'shipping: short for "relationshipping" -- a 'shipper is someone who believes that a chosen pair of characters "belong together," and who diligently reads and/or writes tales to that effect. The term originated in the X-Files fanfic, but has migrated over to comicfic in full force with the advent of the X-Men movie and a subsequent boom in Logan/Rogue 'shipping.
shounenai, shonen ai: indicates stories dealing with male/male (gay) pairings that are milder than yaoi --the term is, I believe, related to the Japanese words for "shy boy love." See also yaoi. (anime/manga)
Siku, Sikudhani: See X-S.
sillyfic: a recently-coined term which refers to "lighthearted, usually short pieces written for the sake of amusement or to lower the angst-level of current fanfic traffic flow," to quote Indigo.
slash: A type of fic, often written by women, involving romantic or sexual involvement between two major canon characters of the same gender, originally mainly M/M (male/male) but lately shifting to include F/F (female/female) tales too. The term originates from the splinter of Trekdom which came up with the idea of "Kirk/Spock" stories -- the term "slash" comes from the slash (/) placed between the names of the characters involved. Also called "alternative fiction" in Xena ficdom. Pure sweet romantic slash is sometimes lumped under the term mook.
slashfen An older but still used term to denote fans of slash ("fen" being the convention-circuit plural of "fan")
slashy: A playful term in regards to slash overtones -- also used to denote subjectively-perceived sexual tension between canon characters, ie. "Ooo! Did you see the slashy look Bobby gave Remy on page two of that Uncanny issue last week?!?"
smarm: a type of story starring characters, usually of the same gender, who care and worry about each other a LOT. Not slash, more of a noble not-too-macho-to-admit-I-love-you,-buddy brotherly-love kinda thing. Often found hand-in-hand with h/c (hurt/comfort, see above), smarm sometimes leads to slash and is often associated with it, but it IS different.
snark: To snarl rudely; to be sarcastic, impatient, or downright bitchy for little good reason. Snarking is not cute or funny -- it's annoying. A person who snarks is being snarky.
snarky: Someone who's been snarking an awful lot lately. See snark.
songfic: A story inspired by and based entirely around the lyrics of a song. Thanks to a flood of sappy, stupid, pointless songfics in other genres, these are generally regarded as a Very Bad Thing to be avoided at all costs. A story can be named after a song or even include a few lyrics to set the mood and not be songfic, as long as the story would not completely collapse without the song to provide support and an excuse. The worst consist little more than the song itself...and the very worst are ones that seek deep personal meaning in the hot pop-song of the moment.
SP: The Scratching Post, a major hub messageboard on CFAN.
spatulate: From anime fics, this is in reference to a certain Japanese character who uses cooking utensils in her martial arts. When you "spatulate" someone, it means to flip them over like a pancake, using a spatula, of course. (anime)
spoiler: A piece of information within a story or a message which can reveal (and thereby "spoil") an important plotpoint in a movie, show, issue, etc. that the reader has not yet seen/read. See spoiler warning.
spoiler warning: A good poster or chatter always takes their audience into consideration and warns them if they're about to mention a spoiler (see above). This is done by a) telling listeners/readers that there are spoilers coming so they can decide to stop reading before it's too late, and b) in the case of a messageboard post, adding a page's worth of blank space or gibberish to force readers to scroll down to read the actual text, ensuring that the spoiler is not spotted by mistake by a casual browser.
spork: A disposable plastic utensil which is part fork, part spoon, often spotted in cafeterias or cheap fastfood joints. Not a fanfic term, but it comes up a lot -- I think writers find it both a funny word and a funny thing to threaten each other with -- so here it is. :)
squick: To be "squicked" is to have been disturbed at a personal gut level, often but not always in regards to sex. (Ie. walking in on naked parents squicks most people. ;) Usually used in a humorous way, as if to indicate that you understand it doesn't gross out other people but man does it push one of your your "eww" buttons!
#subcafe: the Dalnet IRC chatroom where a lot of us like to hang out and avoid Real Life ;) See #fictalk.
Subreality: An imaginary borderland between reality and fantasy where writers can meet their characters and the casts of various fanfics from any genre can mingle for a beer and a nap between chapters. Adopted into several genres and used as the setting of many metafics.
Subreality Cafe: aka SC -- the between-dimensional hangout for comic-book fanfic characters (and, increasing, their writers) -- see also This Time Around.
subtext: In literary analysis, "subtext" refers to any element of plot that is implied rather than clearly stated. In fandom, this term is usually used to label any canon action, dialogue, or imagery which imply sexual attraction between two characters, usually of the same gender. Subtext generally exists only in the minds of viewers (calm down already, you Mulder/Krychek fangirls! ;), but in rare cases *coughxenacough* it can be pretty darn blatant. The opposite is maintext. (Xena)
Tapestry Syndrome: a serious condition in which a writer has so MANY ideas for stories that he/she can't possibly start them all, let alone finish them! Named after an infamous writer who seems to be permanently suspended in this strange state....
TBC: To Be Continued
TCP: See The Common People.
This Time Around: An imaginary bar where Doctor Who fanfic characters hang out between stories -- a spin off of the Subreality Cafe. (Doctor Who)
THOSD: The House Of Strange Dimensions -- sometimes abbreviated to "HOSD." A Subreality-related round robin set on a messageboard at CFAN. See RR or Subreality for more details.
TIIC: The Idiots In Charge -- see The Powers That Be
TMI: "Too much information." Almost always in regards to sex or other intimate bodily functions, ie. "Last night my boyfriend and I [fill in the blank]--" "Ack! TMI!" Used outside of fandom but useful within it, which is where many ficcers first heard it.
top-heavy: describes a story with an overly long title. Also known in some circles as the Falstaff Syndrome after a writer notorious for his long titles, who's probably going to hit me for including this. ;)
triangle: A plot situation often spotted in soap operas, wherein three characters are involved with each other but not all together (ie. Bobby and Logan vying for Rogue's attentions). More than three can be involved in a triangle, but three is the classic conflict number.
TPTB: See The Powers That Be
twink: A person or character who twinks. Not a nice thing to call someone. See twinking.
twinking: The act of adding amazing new powers (for characters or for one's own self in a self-insertion) whenever convenient. Often spotted in young roleplayers (which is where the term originated) and often associated online with Mary Sues. A person or character who twinks is a twink.
uber: A type of story involving "new" characters physically or psychologically resembling canon characters in a new setting. (Xena, where the term also covers two canon descendents of Xena and Gabrielle -- Mel and Janice?) See also Elseworld.
U.S.T.: Unresolved Sexual Tension -- a term for perceived "chemistry" between characters who are not romantically involved in canon or are prevented from pursuing the possibility by circumstances (ie. career, danger, both same gender, etc.). Think Mulder & Scully. Originated in X-Files fandom but has been popping up elsewhere. See also R.S.T.
vignette: A very short story dealing with a single brief period of time, a single subject (an event, an emotion, a relationship, etc.), and often only a single character. Rarely action-oriented, vignettes are usually involve a character's internal dialogue as they muse over something that's already happened, debate something yet to be faced, or simply "enjoy the moment."
WAFF: Warm And Fuzzy Feelings -- describes any lighthearted fic, often involving romance between two beloved characters. Most Rogue/Gambit fiction can be placed in this category.
WAFFy, WAFFish: See WAFF
WIP: Work In Progress -- a story whose ending has not yet been written, or which has not been thoroughly betaread, ie. a rough draft.
WNF: "Well-Known Fan" -- see BNF.
X-S: aka Growing Up X -- a popular multi-writer series created by Darqstar and concerning the life of one Sikudhani "Siku" Edna McCoy, a child adopted as an infant by Hank "Beast" McCoy and raised by the X-Men.
yaoi: indicates stories dealing with male/male (gay) pairings, usually intended for adults only -- the female equivalent is yuri. See also shonen ai. (anime/manga)
yuri: indicates stories dealing with female/female (lesbian) pairings, usually intended for adults only -- the male equivalent is yaoi (anime/manga)
zine, 'zine: Short for "fanzine" which itself is a corruption of "magazine" -- a collection of fan-oriented information or fanfic printed in magazine form, usually sold for cost-of-printing. A dying breed, 'zines pre-date the Internet by at least about twenty years but are still in circulation; you can find 'zines offered via mail-order from websites and at conventions.
Here are some abbreviations used to denote popular areas of fanfiction, so you know what you're going to be reading:
Abbr. What It Means Fanwriters Are Called...
AMG Ah! My Goddess
AnK Ai no Kusabi
A:TS, ATS Angel: The Series
B&B Beauty And The Beast (non-Disney)
B5 Babylon 5
B7 Blake's 7
BGC Bubblegum Crisis/Crash
BM Transformers: Beast Machines Transfans
BotP Battle Of The Planets
BTAS Batman: The Animated Series
B:TVS, BTVS Buffy: The Vampire Slayer
BW Transformers: Beast Wars Transfans
C&B Crash And Burn
C&H Calvin & Hobbes CHDAers
CCS Card Captor Sakura
DA Disney Afternoon
DBZ Dragonball Z
DS Due South Duesers
DS9 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Trekkies/Trekkers
DW Doctor Who Whovians (Yanks only)
DWD Dark Wing Duck
EFC Earth: Final Conflict
EGB Extreme Ghostbusters
FK Forever Knight FK'ers *
FS Farscape Scapers
FT FoxTrot FTDAers
FY Fushigi Yuugi
Gatch Kagaku Ninjatai Gatchaman ("Battle Of The Planets" or "G-Force" in America)
GitS Ghost In The Shell
GK Gabriel Knight
GQ Galaxy Quest (what? it wasn't real?) Questerians
HL:TS Highlander: The Series
HL:TR Highlander: The Raven
H:tLJ, H:TLJ Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
IA Doctor Who: The Internet Adventures
KOR Kimagure Orange Road
L&C Lois & Clark
LIS Lost In Space
LM, LesMiz Les Miserables
MK Mortal Kombat
MotU, MOTU He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe
MST3K, MST3000, MST Mystery Science Theater 3000
NA Doctor Who: The New Adventures
NGE Neon Genesis Evangelion
OMG Oh! My Goddess
PoP She-Ra: Princess Of Power
PR Power Rangers
PRZ Power Rangers Zeo
R1/2 Ranma 1/2
RB ReBoot Booters (original)
Bootniks (newer fans)
RD Red Dwarf Dwarfers
RK Rurouni Kenshin
RR Rescue Rangers
S, Sen The Sentinel Senners
SAAB Space: Above And Beyond
SM Sailor Moon
sQ seaQuest Questies
ST Star Trek Trekkies/Trekkers
TAS Star Trek: The Animated Series Trekkies/Trekkers
t10K The Tenth Kingdom
TF Transformers Transfans
TKR Team Knight Rider
TLK The Lion King
TM Tenchi Muyo
TNG Star Trek: The Next Generation Trekkies/Trekkers
TOS Star Trek: The Original Series Trekkies/Trekkers
TRGB The Real Ghostbusters
TS The Sentinel Senners
UY Urusei Yatsura
VOY Star Trek: Voyager Trekkies/Trekkers
WK Weiss Kreuz
WW West Wing Wingers, Wingnuts
WWW Wild Wild West
XF X-Files X-Phile, 'phile
XWP Xena: Warrior Princess
YST Yoroiden Samurai Troopers
YUA You're Under Arrest
Others are self-evident (ie. ER, Labyrinth, Oz, Pokemon) and thus are not listed.
* I have been informed that FK fans are highly factionalized -- they call
themselves about a hundred different things, and if I list some but miss
any others they'll flame me. So I'm not listing any. Go here instead. :)
Thanks to Ana Lyssie Cotton, D^Knight, Firebird, Hutch, Jacque Koh, Joannie
Milligan, JW Bosch, Kathy, Mitai, Ramiel, Rhona, Static-Pulse, Tangerine, and Tracy
Sue for helping out with this section! If you'd like to add to it, please contact me.
Listed here are some of the most common abbreviations and acronyms used by fanficcers in this neck of the woods. Most if not all of these are not unique to fanfic but rather reflect the fast-typin' pace of today's Internet where an abbreviation is worth a dozen clicks, but as newbies keep asking about them, well, here they are...
Please Note: This is NOT an exhaustive list, just of the slang most commonly seen around our fandom's chatrooms and hangouts.
ASL?, A/S/L?: Age/Sex/Location? *
AFAIC: As Far As I'm Concerned
AFAIK: As Far As I Know
AFK: Away From Keyboard
AIM: AOL Instant Messenger
BBL: Be Back Later
BRB: Be Right Back
BTW: By The Way
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
FOAF: Friend Of A Friend
FWIW: For What It's Worth
FYI: For Your Information
GD&R: Grinning, Ducking, & Running
GMTA: Great Minds Think Alike
HTH: Hope This Helps
IIRC: If I Recall Correctly
IME: In My Experience
IMHO: In My Humble Opinion
IMNSHO: In My Not So Humble Opinion
IMO: In My Opinion (rarely used)
IRC: Internet Relay Chat
IRL: In Real Life (as opposed to the Internet)
KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid
LOL: Laughing Out Loud
N/P: No Problem
OIC: Oh, I See!
OMG: Oh My God
OTOH: On The Other Hand
PITA: Pain In The Ass
ROFL: Rolling On Floor Laughing (incorrect version of ROTFL)
RL: Real Life (as opposed to the Internet)
ROTFL: Rolling On The Floor Laughing
ROTFLMAO: Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off
RTFM: Read The F*cking Manual/Message (aka "DUH!")
SO: Significant Other
TANSTAAFL: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (aka "Oh well, tough luck")
TTFN: Ta-Ta For Now
TTYL: Talk To You Later
WB: Welcome Back
WTH: What The Hell
WTF: What The F*ck
WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get
YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary
: Big Grin
: Very Big Grin
: Big Evil Grin
: Figure it out ;)
* This acronym, a crude request to scope out other chatters as potential cybersex partners, is only used by mundanes (usually AOLers, who don't know any better honestly) who mistake a fan chatroom for a pick-up spot, and usually results in immediate expulsion. Fans do not tolerate obnoxious outsiders.
A SURVIVAL GUIDE TO IRC FIC-CHATTIN' TERMS
NOTE: Depending on how often I get back to update this file, this section might be a bit out of date. Things change rapidly in there and I'm not always onhand to keep up with the madness. And yes, many of the following are EXTREMELY injokey. :)
@: If you see this next to someone's name, it means that they have ops status. See ops.
all-caps: Ordinarily typing in all capital letters is considered very rude and may get you kicked out. However, if you see the most of the room saying weird things in all-caps and using the phrase "of the Strong" a lot, they're imitating Apocalypse. Don't ask...
Apocalypse: For some reason fanficcers like to portray this over-the-top Marvel villain as always speaking in all-caps. Therefore, using all-caps too much can result in an impromptu "let's imitate Poccy in the most insulting way possible" contest.
chainsaw: Laersyn's virtual weapon of choice, often borrowed by other chatters at violent moments...at the point this FAQ was written. However, his is not the only one in the room -- see the Dark Brotherhood.
chandelier: An imaginary decoration in which people take refuge when it gets too weird at ground-level...yes, there IS furniture in the room, you just have to imagine it. According to Lynxie: "The chandelier was MINE originally... I wrote it in as a place to hide from people during the hugfights and the large-aquatic-mammal fights...it's magically reinforced with a magic forcefield that may or may not be functioning properly, depending on who the unlucky soul seeking refuge is. "
couch, demonskin: For some reason, there's always been a couch in the room. (You have to use your imagination and picture a couch there, silly!) Various unsavory things have happened behind it...but I digress. At one point it was destroyed and subsequently reupholstered in uncured demonskin. It is therefore often kept in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.
the Dark Brotherhood: Laersyn, Ramiel, and Raven, with patron goddess Kielle and honorary sisters Tapestry and Indigo. All members carry chainsaws. Membership is by invite only.
Dawn: Tapestry's most famous character...mainly famous for being tormented and killed by her own writer.
deathlagged: Really, super, horribly lagged -- see lag.
dipsmooch: That's when someone swoops you over backward into a dramatic kiss. In the room, it's an enthusiastic form of greeting.
GGP: Gotta Go Pee. Said to have originated with Kaylee, I was told "it's just too classic to leave out." ;)
Guinness: The ale of the gods and the ONLY one worth serving, according to our mainly Canadian-and-British "drunken division."
gummis: The only food that can pacify a bunnyslipper. That, and Guiness. See bunnyslippers.
Jailbait Brigade, the: "Jailbait," in American slang, means "someone young enough to get you thrown into jail if you got caught in a compromising position with him/her." Our official "Jailbait Brigade" mainly consists of Junkmail, Lynxie, Tapestry, and Em-Spider.
k-lined: Banned from IRC, usually because other people on your server did something to really piss off the IRC people enough to ban your entire service from accessing their chatrooms.
kick, boot: To throw someone out of the room, metaphorically speaking.
lag, lagged: Sometimes one server runs slower than the others, resulting in some poor soul seeing messages up to minutes after they've actually been posted. This is called "being lagged." The cure (hopefully) is to get offline and to sign back into IRC. See also deathlagged.
NickServ: If you want to be the only one online with your screenname, you have to register with NickServ. Some of us are automatically assigned ops status in the room when we sign into our NickServ account -- see ops for details.
ops: Someone "with ops" has an @ next to their name and has more control over the room's security, ie. channel options, banning, kicking, etc. On #subcafe a certain number of trustworthy users are allowed ops by NickServ to prevent trolls and infighting.
peer: We don't know, exactly...but whenever someone get bumped offline by a bad connection, the error message says that something called "peer" did it, so we've decided that if "Peer" were a person, they'd be a very mean person--!
pie: Something which Abyss likes to fling at people when they "walk into the room" -- mainly, it seems, myself. ;).
ping: To select an option in your IRC menu that fires a signal at another chatter, much like a radar blip, to check the time difference between when you post a line and when they see it -- everyone may be in the same room, but some servers are more sluggish than others, especially on a bad night. If everyone seems to be badly lagged at about the same time, it's likely that you're the one you'd actually lagged, and to amend this problem you should sign off of IRC then log back in for a fresh line. See also "ping me" and lag. "ping me": When someone thinks they might be lagged, they ask for other users to activate a function called "ping" which reports exactly how lagged they are -- you can also ping the whole channel ( ie. /ping #subcafe ) to see how your lag time is relative to everyone else in the room. See also lag.
Poccy: See Apocalypse.
purple text: Yes, you can do this too. Just type /me followed by what you want to do. Ie. if I (Kielle) were to type /me sticks out her tongue at you and hit "return," my words would then appear onscreen as * Kielle sticks her tongue out at you.
reHi: "Hello again" -- said to someone who left the room but came back.
sake, saki: Yes, the Japanese alcohol. No one LIKES it, per se...we just like to mention it a lot after a CBFFA writer mispelled a word and unwittingly unleashed a torrent of bad puns....
Sexgod: Dex. ;).
strudel: One night the gang decided that if "bratwurst" can be used as a euphemism for the male member, then it's only fair to use "strudel" as the fem...er...well... (blush) Never mind! You don't need to know this one!.
Subreality Hot Tub: Oh yeah, we've got one of those somewhere in there too. Usually reserved for nights when the Jailbait Brigade isn't in evidence, for obvious reasons.
sushi: Favored food of several 'talkers and thus suitable bribe material.
troll: Someone who's a foul jerk just for the thrill of ruining other people's day, as seen both on the newsgroups and on IRC.
Ultim0: The king of trolls, the man --er, the scummy piece of pedophiliac slime who managed to drive us off of EFNet and onto Dalnet. Grrrr..
Pssst! Need some extra inside info?
Click here to read or join the #Subcafe Who's Who!
USEFUL TERMS FROM OTHER FICDOMS.
This section has been combined into the General Terms section -- look for italicized entries.
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