A Guide to Fandom Terms

As you may have no doubt noticed from previous articles what I have writ, being in fandom often leads to the development of a new lexicon of words. But on just entering? Well, trying to understand these words and terms can be hard, and no one wants to be the person who asks the obvious questions. Well, we here at Fandom Wanderers are here to help. Below is a small selection of words or terms you’re likely to come across with the best definitions we can give. You’ll have the lingo memorised in no time!

ANON: This one means, of course, anonymous. Nothing to do with Anonymous, this instead refers to the process of talking online without revealing your identity. Can be used for good, or evil, but evil anons are, well, not nice.

AU/AR: Alternative universe/alternative reality. Usually a fan-created media term, this will denote a work that veers from canon in a usually significant way.

BNF: Big Name Fan. Or that one person in the fandom everyone seems to know/know of.

CANON: Canon is a simple one. It means the media of which you are a fan, essentially. The “canon” is what is shown in the media, and accepted as the truth of the events.

CON: Conventions. Big meet ups. Many are focused around particular types of fandom – anime, sci-fi, comic books – while some media will have their own ‘con’.

COSPLAY: Costume play. A fan hobby of creating costumes of a concept or character and then wearing it. Popular at conventions,

FANDOM: Fanatic domain, which is what we’re here for. Fandom refers to the group of fans of a particular media, who come together to be… fans. Some fandoms have nicknames for their collective groups – Whovians, Sherlockians, True Believers – some don’t. Can be considered ‘serious business’ by some, but generally accepted as fun by many.

FAN-ART: Visual media created by fans

FAN-FICTION: Written media created by fans

FAN-VIDS: Visual media created by fans

FANON:  Fan-created theories based on the ‘canon’ which while seeming as though to be entirely fitting with the story presented, are not ‘canonically true’ as they are not explictedly present in the originating media. It may often by the case that the fanon is so strong, that people forget it is, in fact, fanon.

HATEDOM: The opposite of a fandom. If fandom is people expressing their love for the media, a hatedom is, well, as the name implies. Most infamous example in recent years would be the one surrounding the Twilight series of books.

HEAD-CANON: Canon that is created by a fan. Differs from fanon in that is it usually only accepted by small numbers, rather than mistaken occasionally to actually be canon.

MARY-SUE: Oh boy. Basically a derogatory term used to describe a particular type of character. For more information, please check out the tvtropes page.

NSFW: Not Safe For Work. Don’t look at anything with these words in a public place.

OOC: Out Of Character. Ever had that moment when you’re absolutely positive that whatever a character just did, well, they shouldn’t have done that based on their previous actions and personality type? Congratulations, that’s OOC.
In RP terms, this generally refers to when you are not acting as the character you are portraying.

PWP: Porn Without Plot. A fic term. … Pretty much what it says on the tin, people.

RP: Role-play. In fandom terms? RP is basically acting, only you do it with the written word.

RPF:  Real Person Fic. This is a type of fan-fiction written about the actors/singers/creators of choice instead of the characters they portray. This often has a mixed reaction, either seen as a natural thing, or somehow wrong. Best bet is to live and let live, to be honest.

SHIP: Taken from “relationship”, ship – or shipping – refers to pairing two or more characters together. Shipping is very serious business and before entering any fandom, heed this advice: NEVER BASH SOMEONE’S SHIP. Seriously. Just… do not do it. If you have to express dislike, make sure you do not make it public to those ‘shippers’.

SLASH: Homosexual ships. The name comes from the “/” often used between the character names. Many sites suggest warning for slash. My advice? “Warn” for any type of romantic interaction, because discrimination is not cool.

Z McAspurren (Seriously though, DON’T BASH A SHIP)

This entry was posted in FW Tips, Issue Five and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A Guide to Fandom Terms

  1. Pingback: Fandoms | heathermcnairtvpresenter

  2. Ine Sofie Lodsby says:

    Isn’t it supposed to be “NSFW” and not “NFSW”? Or else it would be “Not For Safe Work”,
    instead of “Not Safe For Work”, right?

    • It absolutely should be – good spot! Our editorial team missed things now and then. Apologies for the late reply, I haven’t been checking the comments as often as before we shut down. Thanks for getting in touch! -Ed.

  3. cc says:

    while this is a good guide, I would suggest adding a couple more. OTP: one true pairing (absolute favorite ship), shipper: someone who ships a certain relationship, OC: original character, etc.

    • Thanks for the suggestions! This blog doesn’t currently update, but if/when we return we’ll keep it in mind. Apologies for the late reply, I haven’t been checking the comments as often as I did before we shut down. Thanks for getting in touch! -Ed.

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