The Vocabulary of Fandom: M

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The vocabulary of fandom gets magnificent with letter M. We’ve got muses that inspire great pieces of fanfiction. We also get Mary-Sues and Marty-Stues. M is just a merry letter, so let’s discover all about it!

M/F: is short for male and female, and it refers to heterosexual relationships. You might find it also written as just het.

M/M: is short for male and male, and it refers to homosexual relationships. You might find it also written as slash or yaoi for manga.

Manga: Japanese comic books.

Manip: short for manipulation. It refers to the manipulation of images with Photoshop (or equivalent). It could be an alteration that’s obvious, or it could be so perfect that it looks real. They can be erotic. Fanart pieces might fall into this category as well. If they’re not safe for work, they also are tagged with an NSFW notice.

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Mary-Sue: (or MS, or Sue) is a perfect female character. She is beautiful, very talented, outstanding, and the cure for everything. A Mary-Sue can fix anything! Most Mary-Sues have survived some sort of tragedy that gave them these superpowers. In short, a Mary-Sue is an unrealistic depiction of a female character, and it can become extremely annoying. They are inhuman since they have no flaws, and they are so physically perfect that no one can see themselves in them. This cliché is sadly used in many shows and movies, although you might think that you’d find it only in young fanfic authors. This word comes from a comedy Star Trek fanfic that made fun of this trope.

Marty-Stu/ Gary-Stu/ Wesley: is the male counterpart of the Mary-Sue. He’s a perfect character that can fix absolutely everything. Remember Wesley Crusher from Star Trek The New Generation? The audience came to hate him to the bone because he was too cute and annoyingly perfect.

Masterlist: is a single post that collects all the chapters of a story, or all links to collections of different stories that belong together. For example, stories from the same Universe. Authors usually have a master list post to list all their fics. Not all authors publish their stories on the same platform, so a master list comes in handy for the readers.

Meme: a funny picture with some wording, or an animated gif that conveys information relevant to a particular fandom. Sometimes memes get famous widely. It’s a blogging phenomenon associated with fandom that now it’s commonly used in social media platforms (and messaging!) A meme can also be a line of meaningful text or even a questionnaire posted in a blog. Then, there’s the meme theory relates to pieces of information that can be shared easily like a virus does.

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Meta (-fic): are stories that are abstractions of another story. For example, a fic about another fic. It can also refer to fics that break the rules and touch reality somehow. These stories are usually humorous in content, or crackfics. However, they can also be quite serious.

Missing scene: is a short story that’s been written just to fill in the gaps existing in canon. Imagine that an author liked an episode of a show a lot, but he finds a hole. That author might consider writing the missing scene.

MOD: short for moderator. Moderators are in charge of policing archives, communities, forums, Facebook groups, etc.

Mpreg: is short for male pregnancy. These are stories where a male character is capable of getting pregnant. For example, in the Omegaverse (yaoi manga) there is a high ratio of male pregnancies, so male characters take pills to prevent getting pregnant (and when the heat hits them). This should be listed in the author’s warnings since it can be a squick for many people.

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MTS (-ing): is short (and verb form) for mystery science theatre. It refers to authors that leave comments on fics they didn’t like, line by line. Many archives don’t allow this since it can become annoying for readers. It’s also rude to MST an author’s fic without their permission. This word is based on an old TV show where an evil mastermind tried to drive a man crazy by making him watch terrible sci-fi movies (Mystery Science Theatre 3000, MST3K).

Multimedia: refers to stories that have more than just words. For example, they might have fanart, pictures, videos, or radio files. The extra media is an integral part of the story.

Multiple partners: are stories involving a polyamorous relationship that might be sexual or just romantic. You might find terms like m/m/m or m/f/m, etc. OT3s (or OT4s, etc.) also fall into this category. This should be listed in the author’s warnings as well since it can be a squick for many readers.

Muse: it’s a source of inspiration for authors and artists. It could be a person, a thing, another’s author’s work, their imagination, etc. If you lack it, you might have a writer’s block. You might also find this under the name of plotbunny (an idea that destroys everything and brings you to the horrible writer’s block.)

Have I missed any words? Leave them in comments 🙂

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A Geek Girl interested in Geek Anthropology, comic books, books, Superheroes and discovering all about pop culture.

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