Fan Fic Terminology For Newbies

Alternate universe - Something major differs from the universe the show is set in

AU - Alternate universe - Something major differs from the universe the show is set in.

Archive: A website that has many pieces of fan fiction from many authors. Often has a theme (i.e.-Sheppard/Weir, Sheppard/Teyla, Apollo/Starbuck, etc There are also genre type archives including: gen, ship or slash fic).

Archivist: Webmistress/Webmaster of an archive.

Archive fic: A piece of fic that is essentially an announcement about the archive. The characters in the fic are all aware of fans, the sites, etc. and act accordingly.

Badfic: A piece of fic that is purposely written so it is horrible. Can include one or all of the following: poor spelling, grammar, lack of punctuation, unbelievable plotlines, poor characterization. There are also people who write badfic unwittingly, so always remember to check the above unless you are trying to create a monster.

Beta reader/Beta: Someone who reads your story for you, checking for spelling, grammar, punctuation, plot lines, and characterization. This occurs before you post your story to lists or an archive.

BSG/SGA/SG1: The universe that the show we see every week occurs in, (ie: sga = Stargate Atlantis, SG1=Stargate SG-1, BSG = Battlestar Galactica.

Canon: Something that has occurred in the Jossverse. For instance, the fact that Angel lost his soul is canon. Anything that hasn't been explicitly stated or shown is not canon however.

Constructive Criticism: Criticism that is meant to give suggestions for improving a piece. Not meant to be mean or cruel, but meant to help the author.

Conventional Couple: A couple or pairing that has already occurred in the universe. You are then simply expanding on what's already there.

Fanon: Something that has become accepted by a majority of authors/readers but has never been stated explicitly in an episode of "Battlestar" or "Stargate".

Feedback: Writing to an author after you have read their fanfic and telling them what you thought of it. This includes constructive criticism, but not flaming.

Femslash: A slash pairing where both participants are female. Hence the same FEMale slash. Elizabeth/Teyla are a femslash pairing.

Filk: Take a well-known song (any song). Change the words so they're about Starbuck and Apollo characters/plots. You now have a filk.

Flame: Feedback of an UNconstructive and cruel nature. Often insults both the author and his/her story, ideas, writing style. Does not provide suggestions and is always negative in tone. Try to avoid this. If you don't have anything constructive to say about something you've read, opt to say nothing.

Future piece/Futurefic: A story that is set sometime in the future.

Mary-Sue (Gary Stu): an original character based on the author him/herself. It's usually done badly, and should be avoided at all costs.

OC: Original character. A character made entirely up by the author of the story. Can be a Mary Sue, but sometimes not with some very interesting results.

Posting: To send your (hopefully beta read) fic to either a mailing list or an archive.

POV: Point Of View. Stories are usually written in first person.

PWP: Porn Without Plot, or Plot? What Plot?. Stories that are mostly smut with very little plot or dialogue mostly sex.

Rating: If you noticed, all Buffy and Angel episodes had a little box in a corner stating what age group the episode was intended for. This is what you're doing for your fic so those who don't want to read NC-17 or R rated fics won't have to!

Current Yahoo Group BSG Ratings are for instance as follows:

  • K (kids)
  • K+ (PG)
  • T (teenagers - like PG13)
  • M (mature - think R)
  • M+ (the old NC17)

Slash: Stories where the relationship pairing consists of two people of the same sex. F/F slash is female/female (i.e. Willow/Tara) while M/M is male/male (Angel/Spike).

Ship: short for relationship. It means what pairing the fic is about (Apollo/Starbuck, Adama/Roslin, Sheppard/Weir, Sheppard/Teyla, McKay/Weir etc.)

Shipper: Someone who favors one 'ship over another.

Spoilers: Plotlines or information that tells people who haven't seen a particular episode all the surprises and shockers that occur in it. I.E.-If you are writing about the Season 2 Finale, warn people what episode you're spoiling so those who haven't seen the finale yet won't have to be spoiled on the ending. It is important to remember that different countries start the new season at different times.

Songfic: A story that uses a song to help tell the plot or feelings of the characters.

UnConventional/UC couple: A relationship that hasn't (yet!) happened on the show.


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