It has come to our attention that, while we like to surround ourselves with other fangirls, not everyone in our lives knows what we are talking about on this blog. We get so used to fangirling with our friends, both IRL & on the internet, we forget that people (some who are very important to us) do not speak the language of “Fangirl”…they might not even be able to understand that last sentence! So our gift to you is the gift of understanding… understanding via The Fangirl Glossary. Next time your mom asks, “What are you talking about?” when you try to discuss your fav ships or your boyfriend stares blankly at you as you try to name all of the fandoms you belong to point them to this page. After a read through the Fangirl Glossary perhaps they’ll have an easier time deciphering your vernacular:
A/N (noun) “Author’s Note” Signifies a note by the author of the fanfic that should not be considered part of the story. A [A/N] is typically found at the beginning or end of the story/chapter, but could be dispersed throughout, hence the need for a way to distinguish it from the story itself.
Adultfic (adjective) An adult fanfiction censor rating. It is equivalent to a PG-13 or NC-17 cinematic rating, meaning the story will have sexual or violent situations.
AR (adjective) “Alternate Reality” A fanfiction or story that takes place in the same world but under different circumstances. For example, Harry Potter is still a wizard but instead of going to Hogwarts he is raised & educated by his Godfather.
A common AR subgenre is Reverse-verse, where the protagonist & antagonist are switched. Suddenly the hero is bad and the villain is good (Harry is the Dark Lord & Tom Riddle is trying to stop him).
Asdfghjkl (phrase) A phrase used to represent that you do not know what to say. The lack of words is probably due to over-excitement, too much emotion or overwhelming attraction. This can be used interchangeably with any other random string of characters, however this is the most common collection you will find.
AT (adjective) “Alternate Timeline” A fanfiction or story that takes place in the same world but different time period. For example, Harry Potter & friends going to Hogwarts in the Marauders or founders era. Also, BBC’s Sherlock could be considered an alternate timeline to the original Sherlock Holmes books.
A common AT subgenre is Movieverse, where the story takes place in the timeline laid out by the movies rather than the original source materials. Most Avengers fanfictions take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and almost all Jurassic Park stories follow the timeline laid out in the films, rather than the novel.
AU (adjective) “Alternate Universe” fanfiction or story that takes place in a drastically changed world. For example, Harry Potter with no magic.
A common AU subgenre is AH “All Human” (also referred to as RL “Real Life”), where all magic and supernatural aspects have been removed. The Twilight vampires are now all regular humans, or Sam & Dean fight normal serial killers rather than ghosts & demons. It is also popular to take things a step further with HS “High School”, where all characters are now high school students, no matter their age in the canon material. HS can be done with or without AH.
Avatar (noun) When the author inserts him or herself into a fanfiction the character they create to represent themselves is called an avatar.
Beta (noun & verb) An editor or the act of editing. This reader could perform typical grammar & spelling editing or edit for content, suggesting plot points or checking if the story is in line with the fandom/canon/etc.
Britpick (verb) When a fic is beta’d to ensure it is properly British, using correct locations, vernacular & slang, etc. (e.g. Fries are Chips, the Subway is the Underground or Tube)
C&C (phrase) “Critique & Comment” A call for Feedback (FB) from the readers on a fanfiction. Authors LOVE feedback so if they end a story with C&C be sure to join the conversation.
Canon (adjective) The official story, as told by the original source material. In the Harry Potter universe the books and facts provided by JK Rowling about the series are considered canon. Fanfiction and fandom imaginings are based on this canon information but are not canon themselves as they are invented by the masses (not the fandom’s writers or creators) and are not presented as part of the official story.
Collab (adjective) A collaboration between multiple authors to create one story/video/etc.
Comic Con (noun) Comic Con is an abbreviated way of saying Comic & Pop Culture Convention. These conventions feature panels about fandoms and featuring fandom creators/stars/etc, vendors selling geeky or collector merchandise and loads of people in cosplay. The one true Comic Con is held annually in San Diego, however other exhibitions have adopted the same nomenclature.
Comic Expo (noun) Another name for a Comic Convention. Specifically for me this is the name used to describe the Conventions held in Alberta (around my home).
Continuation (noun) A story that takes place after all of the canon material has concluded. This allows authors to keep their fanfiction canon while still having lots of room to use their imaginations. A popular continuation genre is Next-Gen (adjective) in the Harry Potter universe, which follows the children of Harry & friends.
Cosplay (verb) A shortened form of costume play, cosplay involves dressing up as a favorite character. Cosplayers (people who cosplay) will sometimes imitate their costume’s character but this is not essential. Cosplay is defined by wearing the clothes, not by acting out scenes or portraying that character in any way.
Crack fic (noun) A fanfiction story that contains insane pairings (crackships), ridiculous situations and/or nonsensical writing. Crack!fics are sometimes actually intense parodies, but usually are just a poorly written serious attempt at a story.
Crackship (noun) A ship that you truly believe in despite it being completely improbable (such as enemy characters in a series) or impossible (such as pairing two characters who come from different fandoms).
Crossover (noun) Also called a xover, this is a story which includes multiple fandoms. The crossover is denoted as: Fandom1xFandom2. The CW tv shows Arrow & Flash have had multiple crossover episodes (ArrowxFlash). There are exceptions to the notation rule, such as the #1 fangirl dream of a SupernaturalxDoctor WhoxSherlock crossover, which is usually referred to as SuperWhoLock.
Dark fic (noun) A fanfiction story that is dark in nature, usually featuring mature content like alcohol use, drug abuse, self-harm, assault, etc.
Disclaimer (noun) Each fanfiction must start with a disclaimer specifying that the author of the fanfiction does not own the characters, setting, etc borrowed from the fandom.
Done. (phrase) This expresses does not actually mean that that a fangirl is literally done with the subject in question. It means the fangirl is so overcome with feels or desire that they need to take a minute to regroup before continuing fangirling. A particularly sexy picture of Tom Hiddleston could induce this reaction. As could a very emotional song on Ed Sheeran’s new album or a story of how Harry Styles reached out to a young fan with a terminal illness.
Drabble (adjective) A short, self-contained fanfiction, of typically 100 words. A Half Drabble is 50 words and a Double Drabble is 200 words.
Faction (noun) A faction is a subset of a fandom that centers around one specific interest, be it a character, ship, etc. HarryxHermione shippers would be a faction of the Harry Potter fandom. Another example of Harry Potter factions would be people who identify as Gryffindors.
Fanboy (noun) The fangirl’s male equivalent.
Fandom (noun) A group who shares a mutual (often bordering on, or fully crossed over into, obsessive) love for a particular book series, tv show, comic character, video game, band, etc. With the help of the internet these groups can be spread all over the world yet still easily communicate & interact with each other. A fandom could be based around absolutely anything, however it is important to note that it is the incessant interest & discussion of a cohesive fan community that distinguishes a fandom from a simply-beloved topic.
While it’s not a requirement, fandoms often have names for themselves based on what their obsession is. Here a just a few examples:
Whovians – Doctor Who Fandom
Trekkies or Trekkers (there is a difference) – Star Trek Fandom
Browncoats – Firefly/Serenity Fandom
Bachelor Nation – The Bachelor(ette) Fandom
Directioners – One Direction Fandom
Swifties – Taylor Swift Fandom
Hamonizers – Fifth Harmony Fandom
Fanfiction (noun) A story written by a fan about their favorite fandom & it’s characters (book/tv show/movie/etc.). Fanfiction can be used to describe one story (also called a fanfic for short) or the entire genre.
Fangirl (noun) A female who is interested in fandoms. It is possible to be a fangirl and only have an interest in one specific fandom, however opening yourself up to the fangirl life often leads you down a slippery slope that ends in multiple obsessions.
Fangirling (verb) Obsessing over your fandom and doing what is required to maintain fangirl status. Fangirling can include many different activities, such as browsing tumblr, plastering your walls with posters, spending hours discussing minute details and other excellent uses of ones time.
Fanon (adjective) Non-canon material used so often in fanfiction/fan imaginings that it has almost been accepted as canon by the fandom.
Feels (noun) A strong emotional investment in your fandom. Instead of have specific feeling towards something, a fangirl will just have “feels,” expressing the complex range of emotions that cannot all be listed or even discerned.
Fem!Slash (noun) Pairing of two female characters who are heterosexual in the canon story. While FemSlash refers to female/female pairings, the term Slash is used to describe male/male parings.
Flame (noun & verb) An unneededly mean, negative comment or review meant to enrage. You can write a flame (noun) or you can flame someone (verb), by sending a comment to them. Flames can get you banned from message boards & comment sections.
Fluff (adjective) A light fanfiction story that has a day-in-the-life feel. It is usually more about character interaction than plot.
Genfic (adjective) A general fanfiction censor rating. It is equivalent to a G or PG cinematic rating, meaning there is no sex or violence in the story.
H/C (adjective) “Hurt/Comfort” A type of fanfiction where the focus is on a character experiencing ‘hurt’ (whether physical injury or emotional pain) in order to be conformed by another character.
Head Canon (adjective) Something you have accepted as canon in your own head, although it is not actually canon.
For example, the Marvel movie universe has not told us that Clint Barton (aka Hawkeye) & Natasha Romanova (aka Black Widow) are romantically involved. However I have fully accept Clintasha as a real thing in my head. I don’t doubt it one bit. The important thing about head canon is that it will color the way you see things in your fandom. Natasha is wearing an arrow necklace in Captain America 2? Why, because it’s stylish? No, it is obviously because she is in love with the archer Hawkeye. Head canon accepted.
“I Hate Your Face” (phrase) This is usually said about someone who you actually love the face of. It is meant as a way of expressing how attractive you think someone is, while also letting the world know that you are obsessed and losing valuable hours of your life looking at this face simply because you can’t look away.
IRL (phrase) Standing for “In Real Life” this is how we discern things happening in the real world from fiction created in our favorite books/tvs shows/etc, or simply in our heads. It can also be used to distinguish our physical everyday lives from our online fangirl lives.
LARP (verb) “Live Action Role Play” In this case participants are dressed in costume and acting out a character. LARP can be recreations of existing scenes or the creation of entirely new stories & battles.
Lemon (noun) Heavy smut within a fanfiction. Lemons are fully described sexual situations and can be quite graphic. A fanfic can include one or multiple lemons within it.
Lime (noun) Light smut within a fanfiction. Limes are sexual situations described without as much details as Lemons, or with less graphic content to start with. A fanfic can include one or multiple limes within it.
Marty Sam (noun) The male equivalent of Mary Sue.
Mary Sue (noun) An original female character who is too perfect to be realistic. This poorly written character lacks flaws & depth but is often the protagonist of fanfiction.
MC (adjective) “Multi-Chapter” A fanfiction with multiple chapters, usually at least 3.
OC (noun) “Original Character” A fanfiction character created by the author, who is not in canon fandom. Could also be called at OFC “Original Female Character” or OMC “Original Male Character”.
One-Shot (adjective) A one chapter fanfiction story that is just a snapshot of time, often only one scene.
OOC (adjective) “Out of Character” When a character in a fanfiction acts in a way that is against canon.
OTP (noun) “One True Pairing” The pairing you believe in above all others, regardless of canon or the opinion of the masses. You would be be willing to metaphorically “go down with this ship.”
Pairing (noun) The ship(s) featured in a fanfiction.
Pairing Codes (abbreviation) These codes allow you to see what kind of sexual pairings will be featured in a fanfiction. These describe the sexual situations you may encounter while reading and can be considered warning of slash content. F stands for female; M stands for male:
F – A sexual situation with 1 female (female masturbation)
M/M – A sexual situation with 2 males (slash)
F/F/F – A situation with 3 females (threesome fem!slash)
F/M – Heterosexual situations
Prompt (noun) Anything meant to inspire. It could be anything: a pairing, line of dialogue, situation, setting, etc. A prompt given to many at once is considered a Challenge (noun). Challenges can be competitions or just a call for creators to use the same prompt simultaneously.
PWP (noun) “Porn Without Plot” or “Plot? What Plot?” or “Poorly Written Porn” A fanfiction that not only contains graphic sexual content but is basically just graphic sexual content. The plot is unimportant, if included at all.
Ship (noun) Derived from the word relationship, a ship is a romantic pairing of two characters. Ship can also be used as a (verb). To ship two characters is to pair them in a relationship. It is important to note that shipping does not have to be romantic (characters could be shipped as friends or into a bromance), however it typically is.
Ship War (noun) A disagreement between “shippers” (individuals who believe in a certain pairing) who each believe their ship is superior. These can get UGLY.
Silly fic (noun) A light, silly fanfiction. A Silly!fic very similar to Fluff but requires less adherence to canon, with characters often being OOC in order to add to the silliness.
Slash (noun) Pairing of two same-sex characters who are heterosexual in the canon story. Slash typically refers to male/male pairings, while the term Fem!slash is used to describe female/female parings.
Smut (adjective) Sexual situations in a fanfiction. These can vary in nature from light kissing to graphically described sex scenes. Smut can be considered very similar to erotica, but is written by amateurs & can therefore be varied in quality & content.
Song fic (noun) – A fanfiction that is based on or includes a song.
Spoiler (noun) A piece of information that gives away what will happen in a book/movie/TV show/etc.
Squee (verb) The sound a fangirl makes when she gets overexcited. This is the fangirl call, similar to an owl’s hoot or a Woo Girl’s Whoot. The noise most similarly resembles a kettle boiling.
Squick (noun & verb) Anything that disturbs or upsets you, usually in the way that you are grossed out.
WIP (adjective) “Work in Progress” An incomplete fanfiction.