This week will sort of be a part two from the previous blog. Last time, I introduced you to where you can find fan fiction work and some common terminology. In this blog, I’ll be expanding on that and cover topics I personally work with. Last time I was a bit constricted with what I could share because it’s better to get a full over view of the community before diving into the specifics. In this blog, I won’t really explain terms I used in the last one, so read that one first.
Alright, this is a term I mentioned in my last blog and one I would have explained, shipping. So what is shipping? Basically, it when you support two characters getting together in a romantic relationship. This is most prevalent in Shojo fanfic communities but also appear in Shonen fanfics as well. Because of the nature of shipping there will be always be popular ships and overlap between characters. For example let say the main protagonist is a male, we’ll call him A. Then there is the main female lead, let’s call her B. Along side them are the supporting cast, C, D, etc. The most popular ship would likely be a pairing of A and B. However, there could also be a ship for A and C, regardless of gender. From personal experience, I have also noticed a very interesting trend. In Shojo, the most popular ship is fairly standard, male and female lead. In Shonen though, it’s slightly different. In this genre, shipping is a lot more liberal. The most popular ship is usually the male lead and his rival, archenemy, best friend, or something along those lines. Regardless, more often than not it’s a guy on guy ship. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact I support it because this is whole point of fan fiction. Still, it’s just interesting to see the difference between communities.
Next up is fluff, another term I’m well familiar with. Basically, what this means is text that doesn’t contribute to any plot or character development. Some fanfiction’s can be entirely made up of fluff, or there can just a chapter of fluff. An example of this is my own work. Personally, I add a chapter or two of fluff between major plot developments. Most of time, fluff will usually take a ship and butter them up with really cute interactions. Unfortunately, because of how quickly it can become stale, most authors choose to do a one-shot(A one chapter story) during special occasions like valentines or Christmas. However, fluff isn’t bound by these rules and can appear in many different forms. For example, there was one fluff fic that was over 100+ thousand words long and managed to rise to the top of its respective community.
The third term I want to talk about is the gamerfic, a term I also mentioned in my previous blog. This term is also pretty unique, because it only appears in Shonen communities and is usually paired up with an OC. Basically if a fic has this tag, it turn the entire world into a game for whoever the protagonist is. For example, there will now be levels, skills, and other common features found in an RPG. This is also the reason why it can solely exist in the Shonen genre. Unlike Shojo, Shonen has enough action and perhaps even an established skill/ability system to convert it into a gamerfic if somebody wanted to. However, I also guess someone could possibly turn a Shojo piece of work into a gamerfic. I’ve never seen it done, but you could base the core system on an otome game (one girl with a bunch of guys, in a visual novel format) instead of an RPG.
For the next two terms, I’m going to combine them into one paragraph. The reason for this is these terms aren’t exclusive to the fanfic community and you’ve probably heard of them. The first term I would like to talk about is hiatus. This is used in all sorts of media and usually means you won’t see any activity for a while. In the fanfic community, we use it like how anyone else would. If an author wants to takes a long break, they’ll post their status as an ongoing hiatus somewhere on the synopsis. However, a really long hiatus can also mean a dead fic. After a certain amount of time (usually two years) the fic will be labeled as dead by the community, meaning it will no longer be updated. Authors with enough foresight to know they will be leaving the community permanently, will sometimes set their fic up for adoption, meaning someone new will continue where the previous author left off. The second, term I want to talk about is gender-bending, a common occurrence in fan art these days. Basically the author will take a character, usually the protagonist and gener-bend them, pretty self explanatory. The benefits of this it creates new interactions and romance opportunities between characters. So if you not a big fan of Yaoi (guy on guy romance) but you still really want to see two character get together, a gender-bending fic might be for you.
Overall, I think that covers all the terms I wanted to cover. As I stated before, I enjoyed talking about these terms a lot more than the previous set. I hold shipping and fluff pretty close to my heart as that is what I primarily write about, and I’m also interested in gamerfics to an extent. I also just wanted to show that even we in the fan fiction community use conventional terms. So far, everyone who’s visited my work has given me supportive and honest comments. Fanfiction is a great way to meet new people and it’s a great way to express your creative fantasies, after all that’s what fan fiction is for. All in all, I hope this inspired you to visit one of the many fan fiction communities out there.