Fanfic Terminology Part 1

I’ve been part of the fan fiction community for a bit over a year now, and I realize it’s not an exactly a well known thing. So in this blog, I wanted to take some time to talk about where members of the fanfic community share their work and the terminology we use. 

So, first off where do we share our work? Well, on the internet there are a multitude of websites for fanfiction and just written work in general. The most famous ones I know of are AO3(Archive Of Our Own), Fanfiction, and Wattpad. However, I’m hesitant to include the last one as it’s more for original work than anything else. Anyhow, these are just the famous ones. There are so many out there that not even I know them all, for example an acquaintance at school introduced me to another website called Quotev. As of now I generally upload to Fanfiction and Quotev, but I do use all of these websites every now and again. Still, I’ll be sticking to what I’m familiar with and focus on Fanfiction, but all the terminology I use here can be applied to the other websites as well. 

To start off, I want to talk about the most common terminology I see in the works I’ve read which is AU. What is AU? Well it simply stands for Alternate Universe. In these types of stories, character retain their personality and appearance but the plot is set in a completely different universe or ends up going in a completely different direction. The former is pretty obvious right off the bat, as the world will be completely different. Typically, you’ll know what kind of AU the story will be set in with a tag, something along the lines of modernAU or fantasyAU on the synopsis. However, the second is a bit harder to spot. Sometimes stories don’t start off as an AUfic but end up becoming one because of plot choices down the line. Next is crack-fic. This doesn’t usually pop up in general fan fiction terms and only appears in Shonen fan fiction communities. Basically, these fan fictions are defined by the fact they don’t care about the character or plot and everyone can be either really OP (Mary/Gary-sues) or just OOC. 

Since I mentioned Mary/Gary-sues and OOC in the previous paragraph, I might as well talk about them. Generally, Mary/Gary-sues refers to overly perfect OCs that are usually self-inserts and have absolutely no depth. These types of characters are usually frowned upon but no one will really judge as long as you put a warning on the synopsis. As for OOC, that stands for (Out Of Character) a problem I have actually faced with my own works. What this means is bending a character’s personality away from its established work. Most of the time authors don’t intentionally make a character OOC, but sometimes it just happens as they move the plot along. Eventually, it just gets to the point where it’s fairly obvious to the readers and author that a character (or characters) are OOC. At this point the author can either embrace the OOC and roll with it or set things back straight.  

Alright, now that I’ve talked about most of the famous stuff, I’ll be touching upon the rarer content now. First up, is OCs and self inserts. Both of these terminology’s fall under the OC umbrella, which means they are original characters. Generally if there is a self insert OC, the story revolves around them. And if there is just a general OC, he/she is usually there to fill in some plot gap. However, the later of these two can further evolve into a OC driven fic. Those kinds of stories are the rarest in the fanfic community and border on original work. Basically this mean every character introduced is of the authors own creation. The only thing labeling these kinds of stores as fan fiction and not original work, is the fact they take place in the universe of a publish work. These stores most commonly appear in fan fiction based off games with no set characters. 

 All in all, that is most of the terminology used in the fanfic community. There were some stuff I skipped over like the coffeeshop AU or gamerfics, but those terms are so obscure you’ll almost never see them unless you’re part of the community. However, I might make a sequel as there are still some terms I would like to share (like fluff or shipping, stuff I cover in my own work). Overall, I hope this gave you some insight into the fanfic community and makes your life a lot easier when you visit the aforementioned websites above. 

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