Glossary of terms


Ever look at a story summary or warning, baffled by all the little initials and so forth? Well, to make things a little clearer, here are some definitions of the more common terms, abbreviations, and whatnot in use here at the Midnight Inne.

Angst: Melodrama. Emotional roller-coasters. a.k.a doing terrible things to perfectly innocent characters. Literary example: Hamlet's famous soliliquoy, "To be, or not to be."

A/U: Alternate Universe. Putting established characters in settings and circumstances that vary from the "official" storyline or setting. Example: Harry Turtledove's alternate history books.

Avatar: A vehicle for the author to write him/herself into the story. See: Mary Sue, Self-Insert.

beta: volunteers who perform certain editorial tasks for a fan-fic writer before a story is posted to a mailing list or a web page. (Thank your betas!)

BNF: Big Name Fan. Some of 'em are very nice people. It's some of their fawning hangers-on that cause the problems. (I mean, seriously. Death-threats in another writer's guestbook because s/he has dared to *gasp* not like a BNF's stories? Or created their own fic list? *stagger* What cheek! This bit of over-acting sponsored by Sarc-o-meter, get yours today, only $19.95, sorry, no C.O.D.s!)

BDSM: Blanket term, used as a warning for sadomasochistic, Dominance and submission, or bondage and discipline activities. Often used to warn of other fetish activities within the story. Can range from mild (blindfolds, silk scarves) to extreme (chains, whippings, bloodplay, etc.)

canon: The official storyline, as presented in the original film, TV series, or book the fiction is derived from.

chan: a genre of fan-fiction that involves underage characters.

cross-over: genre that blends characters and settings from two different sources. For example: a Highlander/Forever Knight crossover would feature characters and settings from both shows in one storyline.

Dark-fic: A genre of fan-fiction that has no happy ending in sight. Gut-wrenching. Misery. Pain and suffering. See Angst, but carries more of a whallop.

DWB: Deepwater Black, short-lived sci-fi series. Also known as Mission: Genesis. DWB/MG

fan-fiction: Fiction derived from popular entertainment media, such as films, television, comic books, novels, etc.

filk: Songs based on others' literary works, often a parody. At conventions, there is often a filk gathering. Some filkers of note: Leslie Fish, Mercedes Lackey, Heather Alexander.

first-time: indicates a first sexual encounter in an adult fan-fic. May be used to indicate a 'how So-and-So lost his/her/its virginity' story. Or not. <g>

gafiate: Acronym for Get Away From It All.

gen: General fiction. Used (incorrectly) to indicate an adult heterosexual story or (correctly) a story without sexual activity.

h/c: Hurt/Comfort. A genre of fan-fiction that deals with pain and vulnerability of a character, and another character's nurturing response
to that pain and vulnerability.

Lemon: Story category in anime fanfic, to indicate explicit sexual content.

Lime: Story category in anime fanfic, indicate less explicit material. Equivalent to an "R" rating.

lit-slash, litslash, or LitSlash: Slash fiction inspired by "classical" literature, such as Henry V, Dracula, anything you may have had to read for school. ;)

Mary Sue: In the beginning of fan-fiction, Mary Sue was a kind of superwoman, a bubbly, perky, 'can-do-everything' nymphette. She could do no wrong, and saved the universe single-handedly five times before breakfast. (Believed to have originated in Trek fandom.) Since this type of character was usually an original female character, any OFC runs the risk of being labelled as such.

Nowadays, 'Mary Sue' has expanded into a character class, like the Paladin, the Fighter, the Mage, the Vampire, etc. It's possible to take canon characters and Mary-Sue them, even if writing slash.

Mary-Sues are often hallmarks of new, inexperienced writers. Be patient when you see them. :) And do creaters of OFCs a favor: don't call their creations 'Mary-Sues,' even if you feel that's what they are. Constructive criticism is the way to go. If you can't take the time, don't bother.

Mirror-fic: A fan-fiction that features characters that have been portrayed by the same actor. Mirror-fic is almost always a cross-over. Examples: Obi-Wan Kenobi/Curt Wild. Duncan MacLeod/Cole. Can also include twin-fic or clone-fic.

mirror-piece: a re-telling of a story from the POV of a character in the original story. Classical example: The Alexandrian Quartet

OFC: Original Female Character. A character created by the author to take part in a fan-fic. Sometimes automatically labelled a Mary Sue, rightly or wrongly.

OMC: Original Male Character. Same as above, only male.

OTP: 'One True Pairing.' The driving force behind certain fan-fic writers. OTP takes true love and destiny as a given. However, a happy ending is not. "Star-crossed" lovers can be as much of an OTP as any fairy tale couple.

plot bunny: an insidious evil, the irresistable story-nugget that spawns in the imagination, until the poor over-whelmed writer has more story ideas than time to write.

poem-fic: Story inspired by a particular poem. See: song-fic.

PWP: Plot? What Plot? Blatant sex scene with or without frills. ;)

pre-slash: a catagory of fiction that foreshadows a future homoerotic relationship, though no sexual activity takes place or is even implied in the story itself.

ROG: Really Old Guy. Refers to Methos, used by fans.

RPS: Real Person Slash. Very dicey area for some fans...involves the public personas of actual people (usually celebrities) and putting them in a fictional setting.

self-insert: story where the author writes him/herself into the story, either blatantly or using a thin facade. Related to: Mary Sue.

Shounen ai: "boys' love" Another anime term, describes a story that contains m/m material, with major scenes and a storyline outside of the explicit scenes.

slash: homoerotic fiction. m/m = male/male, f/f = female/female See also yaoi and yuri.

song-fic: A story inspired by a particular song, using the lyrics as a base for the plot and the characterization.

squick: A reader's or writer's comfort zone, the ultimate "can't read it, won't look at it, don't even go there" limit.

yaoi: term in anime fandom used to indicate male/male homoerotic fiction.

YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary. A caution, concerns volatile subject matter. An 'agreement to disagree.'

yuri: term in anime fandom used to indicate female/female homoerotic fiction.