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Your Guide to Internet Fandom

Written & Designed by Molly Gates

Beta’d by Terri Gates & Anna Alseth


by Molly Gates

Š 2014 Molly Gates

“Fan fiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don’t do it for money. That’s not what it’s about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They’re fans, but they’re not silent, couchbound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language.” -Lev Grossman, Time Magazine

So you’ve discovered the best piece of media ever. It’s so amazing it consumes your thoughts and dreams. Your friends are sick of hearing you talk about it, you have elaborate theories about how character A and character B are deeply and madly in love, and you know EXACTLY how character C escaped his fate even though it was never explicitly explained. You want to talk endlessly about it with like-minded individuals who, like you, never want the story to end. It sounds like you’re ready to join a fandom. Joining a fandom is like visiting a foreign country. Fans speak a language of their own, and have rules and customs in place already. As when visiting a far-away land, it is helpful to know a thing or two about life in a fandom before you jump in too deep. Fan!Tastic will give you a basic knowledge of fanspeak and etiquette applicable to any fandom, and will act as your guidebook. Fan!Tastic does its best to cover all the basics, but has left out terminology that only applies in one or two fandoms. (If it were all included, you wouldn’t be able to lift this book.) You will come across fandom specific terms in your travels that you will have to learn for yourself. However, you are an amazing humanoid, and the basic knowledge you will gain in Fan!Tastic can easily be built upon.

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

Throughout this book you’ll see text decorated in the following ways. They match their sources, as shown here. Princeton. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Mar. 2014. <http://www.princeton. edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Fandom.html>. Defines Fandom, and provides a brief history. Miller, Emmi. “Surviving the Fandom of Others.” MookyChick. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Mar. 2014. < geek-girl/surviving-fandoms.php>. A look at fandom from the outside. Also provides witty insight into fandom history. ”Rules of the Internet.” TV Tropes. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Mar. 2014. <>. Fandom Tropes (and their explanations) as well as Rules of the Internet. “10 Most Popular Fanfiction Websites.” E Book Friendly. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Mar. 2014. <>. Continues this book’s guidance to fanfiction hunting. Fanlore. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Mar. 2014. < Page>. Hands down the best internet guide to fandom terms.

Image: Cover of Hound of the Baskervilles, Conan Toyle

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

The year was 1893, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had just killed off the beloved Sherlock Holmes. Fans of the books publicly mourned his loss and wrote letters to the equally fictional (though slightly more alive) John Watson. This is the earliest recorded instance of fannish behavior, and thus the Sherlock fandom is considered the world’s oldest. The use of the word “fandom” started in 1903 to describe a community of people who demonstrate an intense interest in something, and who seek like-minded people with whom to share thoughts and ideas. A fandom can be centered around any area of interest, be it narrowly defined (the Beyonce fandom) or extremely diverse (the book fandom). There is even a shower fandom, centered around images of creatively built showers.

The biggest famdoms are the Star Wars and Star Trek fandoms (which is not surprising, given that you need only watch one movie or show and you’re pretty much in the fandom automatically). There are movies, novels, games, toys, clothes, TV spinoffs, collectables, bedspreads, cell phone cases, coloring books, patches, shot glasses, keychains, magnets, water bottles, and probably even stylish toasters. (Sci Fi fans are the easiest people for whom to buy gifts, coincidentally.) Back in the ages before the internet, fans would create publications called fanzines which contained fanfiction, fan art, and other content. They would join mailing lists, exchange audio cassettes with their far-off friends, and write letters to stay connected to their fandoms. With the advent of the internet, fandoms flocked there to stay connected. There were message boards set up that fans could write fic (fanfiction), and other people could comment on it. This is the model of fandom communication still in use today.


Image:, unknown artist

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

In 2006, a group called Anonymous created a set of rules for the internet. They were originally written for people within Anonymous, but the rest of us got ahold of them somehow. They are easily accessible through a google search, but I’ve taken the liberty of putting them here just for you, dear reader. Keep in mind that these rules use axioms associated with 4Chan (an imageboard forum site) and 2006 (a year), so don’t feel badly if you do not understand it all. But you must read them at least once because that’s just the way it is. Rule 1: You don’t talk about /b/. (random 4chan images) Rule 2: You DON’T talk about /b/. Rule 3: We are Anonymous Rule 4: We are legion. Rule 5: We do not forgive, we do not forget. Rule 6: There is no rule 6. Rule 7: No matter how much you love debating, keep in mind that no one on the internet debates. Instead they mock your intelligence as well as your parents Rule 9: Anonymous is still able to deliver Rule 10: There are no real rules about posting Rule 11: There are no real rules about moderation either - enjoy your ban Rule 12: Anything you say can and will be used against you. Rule 13: Anything you say can and will be turned into something else. Rule 14: Do not argue with trolls - it means they win. Rule 15: The harder you try, the harder you will fail. Rule 16: If you fail in epic proportions, it may just become a winning failure. Rule 17: Every win fails eventually. Rule 18: Everything that can be labelled can be hated. Rule 19: The more you hate it, the stronger it gets. Rule 20: Nothing is to be taken seriously. Rule 22: Original content is original only for a few seconds before it’s no longer original. Every post is always a repost of a repost. Rule 29: On the internet men are men, women are also men, and kids are undercover FBI agents. Rule 30: Girls do not exist on the internet. Rule 31: You must have pictures to prove your statements. Rule 32: Lurk more - it’s never enough 5

Image: Unknown Artist

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

Rule 34: If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions. Rule 35: If there is no porn of it, porn will be made of it. Rule 36: No matter what it is, it is somebody’s fetish. Rule 37: No matter how fucked up it is, there is always worse than what you just saw. Rule 38: No real limits of any kind apply here - not even the sky Rule 39: CAPSLOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL Rule 40: EVEN WITH CRUISE CONTROL YOU STILL HAVE TO STEER Rule 41: Desu isn’t funny. Seriously guys. It’s worse than Chuck Norris jokes. (A nonsensical Japanese word repeated over and over again to spam 4Chan boards) Rule 42: Nothing is Sacred. Rule 43: The more beautiful and pure a thing is - the more satisfying it is to corrupt it. Rule 44: If it exists, there is a version of it for your fandom... and it has a wiki and possibly a tabletop version with a theme song by sung by a Vocaloid. Rule 45: If there is not, there will be. Rule 46: The internet is SERIOUS FUCKING BUSINESS. Rule 47: The only good hentai is yuri, that’s how the internet works. Only exception may be Vanilla. Rule 48: The pool is always closed. Rule 49: You cannot divide by zero (just because the calculator says so) Rule 50: A Cross Over, no matter how improbable, will eventually happen in Fan-Art, Fan Fiction, or official release material, often through fanfiction of it. Rule 62: It has been cracked and pirated. no exceptions. Rule 63: For every given male character, there is a female version of that character (and viceversa). Including Chuck Norris. Rule 61 is lying to you. And there is always porn of that character. No Exceptions. Rule 85: If it exists, there’s a pony for it. It’s basically My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic crossed with any other franchise or work. Rule 9001: It’s over 9000!!! No exceptions. (4Chan’s way of saying “a lot”) Congratulations. You have just experienced your first rite of passage as it pertains to fandom. Go you! 7

Image: Private World Issue #3 Cover

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

Back in the good old days, fans had to walk uphill both ways with their feet bare and backs aching to find a good fanzine full of fanfiction. And they were grateful, gosh darnit! They knew the value of a dollar and they respected their elders! But thankfully, these are not the good old days. These are the exciting new days and the internet has placed relevant fanfiction just a few keystrokes away. Note that your fandom may have specialized sites for a portion of its fic, but here are a few general platforms to get you started. Livejornal A social networking site where users can keep a blog, a journal, or a diary. The built-in comment system makes it ideal for finding fanfiction and leaving feedback for writers. A Livejoural account is highly recommended if you want to be social on the site, but you can still see most content without one. Archive of Our Own Archive of Our Own (or AO3) is an open source, not for profit archive built just to house fanfiction. When you arrive at their page, there is a navigation bar with a button that says “fandoms”. Simply follow the links to the content you’re looking for. The filtered search option is not always the best, but chances are you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for soon enough. In order to post though, you have to be invited by another user. Fanfiction.Net (or FFN) is the largest and most popular fanfiction website on the internet. It works much like AO3 in that it is easy to find what you are looking for in just a few clicks. While all content can be seen without an account, signing up gives the site a much more social nature allowing you to submit your own fanfiction, apply for a beta reader position, maintain a profile, and message other users.


Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

Tumblr Tumblr is used for micro blogging and for social networking. Though it may take a little digging, you’ll be able to find some good fic (and lots of other fandom goodies) on Tumblr. You can follow authors and creators you like, and their posts will show up directly on your “dashboard” (basically, a feed of everything you find interesting). An account is required to navigate the website properly. Wattpad Wattpad is an online and app based community centered around story-telling. It urges you to sign up but you can use the site’s search function without an account - plus it has the nifty option to refine your search by category and by tags. FicWad FicWad is a site that prides itself for ease of use. Each fic (and story - there is original fiction here as well) is user rated, so you can ensure that you are getting quality content when you want it. If you want to read NC-17 rated content, you will need an account…


Image: Still from Elf, 2003

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

When you first start out, it is advisable to simply lurk until you get comfortable with your community. Grab a drink and stand against the wall, bobbing your head to the music. Just take it all in. Make an account, read some fanfiction, and read through some comments. Just enjoy consuming for however long it takes for you to learn how your forum of choice works. When you feel comfortable with your surroundings, you can start leaving comments on fics you like. Tell authors that you are new to the community and that you really love their work. It will make them feel special, and authors love knowing that they are part of the reason you are now in the fandom. Start making friends! Comment on some things and engage in conversations. Remember to always be respectful of those who came before you, and promptly apologise for any mistakes you make. You’re new here, after all, and as long as you are respectful and kind to other users, you will be gladly accepted into the fandom community. If you get in a heated debate that turns into a fight, step back and take a deep breath. Think about what you are about to say, and what the possible consequences are. Don’t resort to personal attacks, even if they do… Apologise for your wrongs (if you have any), then clearly explain your stance on the issue. If the other person does not calm down and continues to abuse you, tell them that you don’t feel that this argument is productive and that you are going to stop commenting. Do just that. Do not reward the bad behavior. Do not feed the trolls. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. If, god forbid, this person (or any person, really) continues to pester you, use your best judgement. Block them if necessary. Report them if you feel threatened. It can also be helpful to have a friend also in the fandom (online or otherwise) to vent with about fandom drama... Just make sure you don’t send your ill opinions another fan “reply all” style.


Image: by Aci (aka Phantasm)

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

Once you’ve been reading and commenting for a few weeks, it is safe to start posting original fic. Make sure you proofread and get someone else to beta (edit) it for you. When it comes time to post, label and tag your fic throughly! (This will be covered later.) If your platform supports it, put the fic itself under a cut so you’re not forcing people to read it if they don’t want to. Do not post the same fic more than once in the same place! Doing this will make people angry at you because the story they either already read or that they don’t want to read keeps showing up in their feed. Remember that when you put your work out there, you are giving people permission to be constructively critical of it. So if you are not ready to handle what your fandom has to say about your work, good or bad, maybe now is not the best time to post it. Most people, though, will be very gracious and give lots of good feedback (and compliments).


Image: Still from Tangled, 2010

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

The word “ship” or “shipping” is a shortening of “relationship”. To put it simply, shipping is imagining a romantic or sexual relationship between characters whether it is explicitly stated in the source material or not. Shipping is the glue that holds the foundation of your fandom together. Even if you choose not to ship, it is important to know that shipping is a thing that exists. Many fics are written about romantic and sexual relations between characters, so it is important to know what pairings you like, and what ones to avoid at all costs. This book may be good, but it is not good enough to help you chose your ship(s). The thing about shipping is that there is no such thing as a wrong ship. (And don’t let anybody else tell you otherwise.) No matter how unlikely it is that characters would ever get together in the source material, anything is possible in the fanfic universe, and there is always content for any ship. A ship is a highly personal choice, and everybody has a right to their ship. Respect other peoples’ ships, and you’ll be a-okay.

Just remember these words of wisdom from the Flying Dutchman: “Insulting a man’s ship be worse than insulting his mother.”


Image: by Tumblr user littleulvar

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet


An exclamation point between two words denotes that theres is a trait!character relationship between them. For example, pretend your fandom has a character named Jamie. (And if it does, just imagine them.) In the fic in question, Jamie is in a particularly dark mood, said fic may be labeled “Dark!Jamie”. It can also be used to describe a fic in a noun!type of fic format. For example, a Crack Fic could be labeled “Crack!Fic”. However in this case, the exclamation point can be dropped to make “Crackfic”. This is never the case with trait!character because DarkJamie just looks silly.


The slash is used to link two characters and to denote a relationship (be it sexual, sexually unresolved, or romantic). Let’s say that you’re about to read a fic where Jamie and Danny (FINALLY) get it on. The fic would be labeled Jamie/Danny. Or Danny/Jamie. Whichever sounds better to the author. Though the slash is often used to denote homosexual relationships it is also widely used in the scope of heterosexual relationships.


Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

Beta The person who edits a piece of fan fiction. A beta checks for story continuity, grammar, punctuation, and makes suggestions on how to improve a piece of fanfic. (My mom is my grammar beta for this book. Thanks, mom!) (You’re welcome!) Brain (or Eye) Bleach When you’re in a fandom, you will inevitably see or read something that you really wish you hadn’t. Your brain will feel dirty, and you will request of your fellow fans, “Please pass the brain bleach.” Canon Ideas, events, and relationships explicitly stated in the source material. In other words, what actually happened. Character Bashing The hostile dislike of a particular character as shown through fanfiction. The author may call them names, depict the character as a terrible person, depict the character as the story’s villain, or even sadistically kill them off. Closet Fan Closet fans keep their fannish ways a secret from those in their real lives. That, or I suppose a person who has a passion for closets could be considered a closet fan. Actually, there is probably a closet fandom out there somewhere. Drama Think back to high school. There was always social drama of some sort… well, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but some people in your fandom never grew out of the drama-stirring ways. They will start rumors about other users, they will find ways to get offended about anything anyone says, and they will be just plain nasty. Fandom drama is exactly the same as high school drama. Fandom A fandom is a community of people who are fans of something. The word is a portmanteau of “fanatic” and “kingdom”.


Fanspeak The language used almost exclusively in a fandom setting. These are the words you are looking at right now - difficult to understand unless you are part of the in-crowd. So congratulations! You’re on the fast track to being in an in-crowd! Feels Your feelings. Though “feels” specifically are often referred to as though they are a part of the body. “This fic got me right in the feels.” Flame The part of an argument where participants start TYPING IN ALL CAPS (virtual yelling), calling each other names, and using language that would make a sailor blush. The act is known as flaming and the person doing the flaming is called the flamer.

Fangirl As a noun, a fangirl is literally a female fan, but the term can be used in a gender neutral manner when meant positively. When used as a verb, “to fangirl” is to love something deeply, and to become excitable when talking about an enjoyable aspect of your fandom.

Fanboy This term is generally used negatively to denote a fan who lacks social skills, has poor hygiene habits, and who, perhaps, lives in their mother’s basement. The term refers to childishness, not necessarily gender. Fannon Ideas that are not expressed in the original source material but which are commonly accepted as canon by fans. In other words, what fans think must have happened. I’ll Be in My Bunk What you say after you’ve just read a fantastic piece of smut. It’s basically a polite way to say, “This makes me want to masturbate.” Keymash “ASDFJKLLFJAEOW” loosely translates to, “I enjoyed this piece and it made me feel very happy.” A keymash (or keysmash) is created by pawing at your keyboard in a nondiscriminatory manner to communicate an excitement so great, you forgot how to type. Lolfan A lolfan follows a book, tv show, or movie just to laugh at it. Lulz Something “done for teh lulz” was done just for the fun of it, for personal comic enjoyment.

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

Lurker A member of a fandom who doesn’t contribute anything to the community. They are often new to the scene and aren’t yet comfortable enough to post anything. Mod (Moderator) A mod runs a fandom community. They run challenges, oversee message boards, and keep things running smoothly. Multifandom An activity or challenge that involves more than one fandom. The results are often crossovers fics. Multishipping / OT3 Multishipping Shipping more than two characters together. Mundanes The term for people not in a fandom. Newbie A newbie is a person who is new to a fandom. OP Stands for “Original Poster”. In a long string of comments from multiple people, if a participant wants to talk to (or about) the person who started the thread, they can refer to them as OP. OTP Stands for “One True Pairing”. This is your favorite romantic relationship between two characters, the one that stands above all the others, canon or not. You can have multiple OTPs of course. Pairing A pairing is either a canon or non-canon romantic/sexual relationship between two characters. Pimp To pimp something is to announce that it exists and that people should care that it exists. For example, to pimp your friend’s blog, you tell your followers, “Follow her! She’s awesome!” PN Stands for Pen Name. This is the name authors write under to conceal their identity from people in their real life, or just because they like having a pseudonym.


Plot Bunny A way of saying that you have a great idea for a piece of fanfiction. Sometimes, people refer to keeping plot bunnies like pets and feeding them to get plot ideas. An all around adorable visual. Polyship A polyship is a romantic relationship between more than two characters. The relationship can be the same between all of them, or there could be different kinds of relationships between different people in the group. Rec A fanfic recommendation either asked for, or volunteered. RL Stands for “Real Life”. Meaning life off the web. Life with the mundanes. Shipping One of the most important parts of fandom. “Ship” comes from the word “relationship”, so “to ship” means to want certain characters to be in a relationship. A canon ship is one that is explicitly displayed in the source material, and a non-canon ship are characters who fans still write about because they feel they would be good (or at least entertaining) together. Shipping Wars Insulting a ship could start a shipping war. A shipping war is a heated argument between two or more people with conflicting views about how to see a ship, or even just about how one ship is better than another ship. So don’t do it. Shipping wars are never pretty. Side Pairing A pairing described in a fic but which is not the main focus. Signal Boost To share a piece of information with your followers with the intent of getting them to share it, therefore boosting visibility and access to the information. Slasher Slashers like gay porn, not murder... Slasher slashers must exist though. Sockpuppet A sock puppet account is one run by a person who runs another account to create the illusion of controversial dialogue. If you’re going to talk to yourself, at least be open about it.

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

SPAG Stands for “Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar”. This term describes a light edit of a fic, instead of an in depth read like betas do. Spam To post the same content multiple times in the same place. Spoiler A golden rule of fandom: DO NOT SPOIL THE SOURCE MATERIAL FOR ANYBODY WHO HASN’T SEEN IT YET. This means that if there is an epic development in your fandom’s source material, do something to keep it behind a cut and slap a huge SPOILERS warning on it so that anybody who doesn’t want to have the big reveal spoiled for them can steer clear. Squee Something that elicits squee is exciting and/or cute. Squee refers to the high pitched squeal that many people make when they are excited. Squick A squick can be described as a visceral negative reaction towards an idea or theme in a fanfic - something that makes the reader uncomfortable. (For example, someone with an embarrassment squick cannot stand to read about a character being humiliated.) Stan Stan is a portmanteau of “stalker” and “fan”. Stans are basically creepy fans. Story Bagging A negative review of a piece of fanfic. Suethor A Suethor is a fanfic author who is known for writing characters who are too perfect and who are just plain boring to read about. tl;dr Stands for “too long; didn’t read”. Often put at the end of a long post, as a summary. However it can be used rudely, as a way to tell someone that you found their content so boring that you couldn’t bring yourself to read it. Trolls/Trolling Trolls are users (often anons) who visit a forum with the sole intention of making people angry. They get their jollies by making unfounded personal attacks in an action known as trolling.


Trigger A trigger is something that may elicit intense emotional responses from traumatizing memories. Common triggers are rape, incest, self harm, eating disorders, etc. Triggers are marked at the beginning of fanfics as “TW Rape” or “Trigger Warning Incest” to indicate that readers who are easily triggered should skip the story. It’s just good manners. Wank Wank has a number of definitions in a fandom community. 1. Masturbation 2. British term for Nonsense or Rubbish 3. A loud, public online argument 4. A term for objectionable fannish behavior.

Image: Photographed by Brian Brownell

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

Commentfic A fic written in the comments section of a forum, or underneath a piece of fan art. Drabble A really short fic, usually about 100 words long. Ficlet A one chapter fic. Multi Chapter Fic A fic that contains more than one chapter. One Shot Usually longer fics, not divided into chapters. Script Fic A fic written as though it is being acted out on a stage. Vignette A fic that contains only a single scene. WIP A Work in Progress


Image: Unknown Photographer

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

At the beginning of most every piece of fanfiction, you will encounter a list designed to let readers know what they are about to read without giving away too much information. Fandom: The fandom for which the fic is written Title: The title of the piece Author: Often a pen name Rating: Based on the content, the author makes a rating decision, much like the movie industry does. Pairing(s)/Character(s): Who’s in this fic and/or who’s romancing who? Summary: What’s going on in this fic? This is where authors hook their readers. Disclaimer: States that the author does not own the characters or the franchise, states who does, and explains that there is no copyright infringement intended. Genres: What kind of fic is it? Adventure? PWP? Word Count: Just what it says on the can. How many words are there in this fic? Format: How is the story built? (This is where the author states if it’s a drabble, short story, WIP, etc.) Type: Does this fic stand alone? Is it a prequel or a sequel to another piece? Does it belong in a series of stories the author’s been writing? Archive: A Yes or No answer, indicating whether the author wants their fic archived, or, if it is already archived, where it appears. Warnings: Are there triggers in this piece? Squicks? Spoilers: This section tells you if the fic will potentially give away information vital to the source material’s storyline, and that might spoil the surprise for the audience. Timeline: Where does this fit into the series? Author’s Notes: Whatever the author feels you need to know. Thanks to the Beta(s): Usually kind words about them and links to their blogs.


Image: Unknown Photographer

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

This image acts as a key for the following rating scales. They look just like movie ratings, but these are just for fiction. Keep in mind that rating scales differ from site to site.


Image: Motion Picture Association of America

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet


Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

Aged Up / De-Aging If a character has had their age changed for the fanfic, they have been Aged Up or De-Aged. Aging Up means an author has made a character older for their fic, and De-Aging means an author has made them younger. (Aging up is common in fandoms with characters who are under the age of consent in canon.) AU (Alternate Universe) An Alternate Universe fic takes place in… Well, an alternate universe. This universe is similar to the canon one, but there is always something noticeably different about it. Common AU’s are those where a certain character didn’t die, or where a character is a different gender. Angst Angst fics are designed to provoke feelings of sadness and/or discomfort in the reader, indicating that the story will be dramatic as opposed to comedic. Bonk Like much of the English language, fanspeak can have the same word mean two opposite things. Bonk, for example, can mean either sexual activity, or that someone is about to get beat up. Buddyslash Buddyslash is the fandom equivalent of when a guy tenderly whispers, “No homo” as he slides into his best friend. Crossover Characters from one fandom added to another fandom’s world. Dub-Con Shortened version of “Dubious Consent”. This means that characters are engaging in a sexual act, but it is not clear whether one of the characters consented to the act. Emoporn Skinny boys wrestling each other out of tight jeans, flipping their long hair and doing naughty things to one another, inspired by the ministrations of My Chemical Romance... While this is likely the definition of emoporn somewhere, for our purposes emoporn is a very emotionally intense and satisfying fanfic. Although emoporn could easily be emoporn…


Expanded Universe Say your fandom is a television show, but during the hiatus the franchise releases a set of books to keep the audience interested. The books contain adventures for familiar characters, and read much like an episode. The content of these books is known as the show’s expanded universe. Fakecest A combination of the words “fake” and “incest”. When it is revealed that two potential lovers may be related by blood, there is plenty of drama, and then it is revealed that they are not, in fact, related. Fempreg A phenomenon in which a woman gets pregnant after engaging in lesbian sex. Femslash Femslash probably makes up 50% of the internet’s content, and is lesbian porn. Plain and simple. Fix-It The author of a fix-it fic likely didn’t like the way the canon material turned out, so they write a fic that fixes it. Fluff Fluff is mushy, gushy, plotless displays of affection that just make you feel good. Het The term “het” is used to describe a heterosexual relationship within a fanfic. Het usually has sexually explicit content. Gender Bending/Gender Swap/Genderfuck A character is portrayed as a different gender than they are in canon. Often, the change is sudden and induced by magic or alien technology. Grimdark Describes a fanfic with a nearly unrelenting dark tone, and which describes death and pain in a realistic fashion, instead of glossing over the gorey details. HBIC (Head Bitch in Charge) Female character being awesome and taking control of the situation. Head Canon A fan’s own interpretation of canon events, often based solely in subtext. Basically, if a fan thinks it happened and has a sound logic behind it, then it can be considered a head canon.

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

Idiot Plot A usually capable character is written so out of character that they are depicted as an idiot. Kinks A kink is a non-normative sexual practice. Kinks often fall under the fetishism or BDSM umbrella. In fandom, the term “kink” can also be used to describe any element of a story that a reader finds pleasant, and actively seeks out. This is known as a narrative kink. A kink is a personal matter, so one person’s kink might be another’s squick. Mary Sue / Marty Stu A female/male character respectively, who has traits the author finds ideal. These characters are always good looking, talented, powerful, and they have lots of suitors fighting over them. They are too perfect to be interesting. Mirror Universe A Mirror Universe is a universe where characters are given opposite characteristics. A hero may be a villain, for example. Mpreg A genre of fic where a male becomes pregnant, through intercourse either with another male or with a female. Non-Con Rape fics where one character performs sexual acts without the consent of another character. NSFW (Not Safe for Work) This means that the content of the fic should not be viewed in a public space, like work. OOC (Out of Character) The term used when a character’s actions are not consistent with the established canon. Peggy Sue A Peggy Sue fic gives a character the chance to relive recent events, knowing what they know now. This is a common device to bring character back from the dead. POV (Point of View) The POV tells the reader whose head they are inside.


PWP (Porn Without Plot/Plot? What Plot?) Smut. Porn. Erotica. Boinking. Whatever you call it, that’s all the PWP is. When you need to read some porn without being bothered by any pesky plot, seek out a PWP. Revenge Fic A fic that inflicts pain and misery on a character who (the author believes) deserves it is known as a revenge fic. Slash Gay sex. Known as slash because of how fandoms notate pairings. (Jim/Dave) Smuff A combination of smut and fluff. A smuff fic has sexual content and an uplifting, happy tone. Smut Explicit sex. Snort Warning Often in the header of a fic, a Snort Warning tells readers that the fic ahead is funny and may cause snorting noises if you have that kind of laugh. Tissue Warning Common header warning for a sad fic. You’ll need a box of tissues handy before you start reading. Troll Fic Troll fics are written to be offensive, and their sole function is to piss people off. Troll fics are rarely if ever labeled as such, so if you come across a terrible and offensive fic, it just might be a troll fic. Underage A common warning on fics, alerting readers that characters under the age of 18 are depicted in sexual situations. UST (Unresolved Sexual Tension) Exactly what it sounds like. Characters are undeniably in love with one another, yet neither does anything about it. -verse The last sylible of “universe”, stuck on the end of another word. For example, if a fandom has both a book and a movie, they can refer to events in one or the other by specifying ‘bookverse’ or ‘movieverse’

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

WAFF (Warm and Fuzzy Feelings) Reading a WAFF fic will make you feel good inside. Wangst Winey Angst. Annoying angst. On the â&#x20AC;&#x153;woe is meâ&#x20AC;? scale, wangst enters the red zone. Woobie A beloved (usually male) character who evokes a desire to wrap him up, cuddle him, and comfort him. WIP (Work in Progress) This fic is not done yet, but do not bother the author about finishing it. Chances are their real life got in the way. Wump To beat a character up.


Image: Bonanza Promo Shot

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

As great as some fics are, others suffer serious ailments. If you come across a sick fic, there’s nothing you can do except watch it crash and burn. I’m so sorry. Cartwright Syndrome Sufferers tend to fall in love often because the objects of their affection keep on dying. The original Cartwright Syndrome comes from the much loved television show “Bonanza” where every time a Cartwright fell in love, the unlucky lady would die in the end. Hollow Man Syndrome Sufferers can sustain numerous physical injuries (which should have been fatal) and survive. This leads professionals to believe that these people have no internal organs. Mysterious Wife Plague Women with highly shippable husbands are especially at risk of contracting the Mysterious Wife Plague. Symptoms include death and widowers engaging in sexual acts to mark the occasion. This is the only known ailment whose symptoms persist after death. Presumed Dead Those who suffer from a Presumed Death appear to be dead, but later wake up, alive and well. This may cause confusion when the sufferer actually does die, and especially dim witted friends may gather around their rotting corpse just waiting for it to reanimate. Not pretty. Weepy Uke Syndrome A normally strong and capable person becomes helpless, needy and clingy. A heartbreaking syndrome for all involved. Woke Up Gay Sufferers (unless they’re not suffering) go to bed one night straight as usual, and then wake up the next morning straight as a slinky.


Image: Unknown Photograhper

Fan!Tastic - Your Guide to Fandom on the Internet

A safe way to leave feedback (especially when you’re new to your fandom) is to find things in fics that you like, and praise the author highly for them. Compliment their use of setting description, relationship dynamic between characters, etc. Tell them WHY you like it. Feedback is only as good as the reasoning behind it. As you get more established in your community, you can start leaving constructive criticism along with your compliments. (Unless the author leaves a note saying something like, “Please be kind. I’m very nervous about sharing this.”) If you loved the author’s use of foreshadowing but couldn’t stand how the lead female was portrayed, say something like, “I love how you foreshadowed the ending! That was fantastic! However, I felt that Jane was a little out of character. She could easily take more control over the situation than she currently does. Overall though, a lovely job! I really felt like I was there!” Notice how this comment follows a strict compliment, constructive criticism, compliment format? This is because it is even more important to tell authors what they have done well so that they may do it again. Also, a compliment after a piece of constructive criticism can act as a balm. The lesson is learned, but not in an abusive manner. If you could not find a single thing you liked about a piece… Well, remember what grandma always said. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”


You now know more about the workings of fandoms than most people do when they start out. You will be that “cool newbie”. The one newbie who asks good questions and who doesn’t tread on anybody’s toes. As long as you’re as awesome online as you are right now (and trust me, you are awesome) then you have nothing to worry about.

Now that you know everything there is to know about how fandoms work, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be happy to know that this book has a sister website full of curated content, just for your fandom! has an ever growing list of fandom resources including wikis (to help you keep your canon facts straight), and noteable fanfiction works, fan art, and other resources that have been submitted by users, and curated to only the content most important to your fandom. (In other words, pieces that you, as a fan, are all but expected to know about) There is also a section filled with notoriously bad fanfiction, and gallery full of terrible art for when you need a laugh. There are links to further reading and all kinds of goodies! However, if you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t find what you need, feel free to ask your fandom for assistance. They are your new friends, after all. (Then please, submit if you think other people would be looking for the same information.)

Profile for Molly Gates


Your Guide to Internet Fandom by Molly Gates


Your Guide to Internet Fandom by Molly Gates