The Vocabulary of Fandom: S

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The vocabulary of fandom gets safe with the letter S. It’s a letter for sequels, series, and shippers. But it’s also a very sexy letter. Slash and smut are in its realm. Prepare for a set of fannish words that begin with the letter S, and will probably leave you speechless. By the way, this list of words starting with S is quite long. It has taken me more than usual to write this post, that’s why I’m posting it with a delay.

Safewords: are particular words or actions chosen by partners before beginning consensual BDSM sexual acts. If one of the characters doesn’t like what’s happening, they can say the safeword and their partner will stop immediately.

SD: is an acronym for “super-deformed.” It refers to drawings where the characters are drawn adorably, but very deformed. This acronym comes from the manga and anime worlds.

Seiyuu: is a Japanese word for voice actor. You can also find the acronym, VA, instead of seiyuu. It refers to a person who contributes in voicing an animated character. You call seiyuu the Japanese actors who give their voices to the animated characters. You use VA for their English counterparts.

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Self-insert (or SI): refers to a type of story where the main character represents the author. The author might choose to write themselves into the story because they want to interact with the characters they love. Many self-inserts are written in second-person so that readers can imagine themselves in the author’s shoes. Many stories where the author is in it are parodies. However, many others are not. And many times authors cross the line and write Mary-Sues and Mary-Stues.

Seme: is a Japanese word that means “dominant” in a slash/ yaoi relationship. Saying it in other words, the seme is the one who penetrates the uke (receiving partner).

Sequel: is a story that continues a previous one. When someone writes a sequel, and then a sequel of the sequel, we’re talking about a series.

Series: is a set of interconnected stories that follow one another in sequential order.

Sex Pollen: are stories where some external influence makes the characters engage in sex. Most of the times the external influence is a drug or magic. You can find this trope in science fiction stories a lot because it’s here where it found its birth.

Shipper: is a fan who cherishes and promotes the relationship between two or more characters. Shippers enjoy shipping their favorite characters together. The pairs they favor might be heterosexual or not. Shippers enjoy matching characters, but to enjoy the action they don’t always need to promote their OTP. When someone loves matching characters of the same sex, we can say that they’re slashers. But, most people use shipper as a general rule.

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Shoujo/ Shounen: are the Japanese words for girls and boys. Generally talking, shoujo anime and manga tend to deal with relationships and feelings, while shounen is more like adventures and superheroes.

Shounen-ai: is the equivalent of BL (boys love). It’s a type of non-explicit fanfiction or fan art that deals with homosexual relationships between two men. However, in the West, BL can have smut. If you surf in Japanese sites, it’ll be the sweetest version while on the western shores it could be very explicit.

Shrine: is a website devoted to one work or character. Some fans love a character so much that they decide to make a page just for them.

Schmoop: refers to a type of story that contains romantic fluffs, or public displays of affection. These stories are very loving, but they can also be very fluffy.

Slash: is a term that refers to stories where there’s a homosexual relationship. They can be explicit or not. This word derives from the slash used to write pairings. For example, Kirk/Spock is where it all began. So yes, they started all the slash wording. You can find the word “femslash” to refer to stories where the homosexual characters involved in the story are two women.

Slave (fic): are stories that feature characters that are either sex slaves or forced to be so. These stories tend to be harsh and feature lots of abuse and rape. But, some stories don’t and just contain healthy BDSM. Authors should warn about this because it can be a squick for many people.

Slow Burn: refers to stories that feature characters that slowly fall in love with each other. The focus of the story is the slow evolution of their feelings for each other.

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Smarm: refers to physical or emotional displays of affections between characters of the same sex. But these aren’t sexual in nature. Smarm isn’t slash at all. Instead, it refers more to family and friends’ affections.

SMOF: is an acronym for “secret masters of fandom.” It refers to the fans that are behind the scenes organizing the fandom, online and offline. For example, think about the fans that run independent conventions around a fandom or a set of fandoms.

Smut: is another word for porn. Smut stories feature graphic sex, where there’s a story behind it or not. These stories are often for an adult audience. Smut it’s usually used for male/female relationships, while porn is used for any type of relationships. However, recently many authors use smut for any type of relationships. So, smut and porn are more synonyms that different categories.

Snacky’s Law is similar to Godwin’s law. The comparison that loses the argument says that the other persona is just like “those girls who were mean to me in high school.”

Snark: are sarcastic wits exchanged by characters. It tends to be edgier than just sarcasm.

Snuff: is a story that only exists because the author wants to kill a character. When an author hates a character to the bone, they write snuff to get rid of them. Beware, because fans tend to find snuffs childish.

Sockpuppet: is a person that promotes an unpopular opinion. They tend to do so under several names so that they can convince other people that their opinion isn’t a solitary one.

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Songfic: refers to stories inspired by songs. Authors might use the lyrics of the song to embellish their stories.

Speshul: is a misspelling of “special.” It’s used to refer to something or someone foolish. The people who are speshul tend to have great egos, so go figure.

Spider: is a canon inconsistency. There’s something in the plot that isn’t quite right.

Spoiler: are stories that contain canon material that is so new that not all the fandom knows about it. These stories spoil the canon to many fans, that’s why authors have to warn about them.

Spork: is a verb. When a story is sporked, it means that there’s feedback about it being horrible. The feedback tends to appear on message boards and mailing lists.

Squick: means offensive. Many people find bestiality, abuse, rape, suicide, etc. offensive. Therefore, authors have to list these in their warnings. For example, trauma survivors won’t like to read about that ever again. It’s also a good idea to add in your warnings everything you can get into your mind since squick is different for every person. What is a kink for you might be a squick for someone else.

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Stand alone: is a single story that can be understood on its own. You don’t need to read anything else before reading an stand alone. These stories usually have no sequels either. Some people call these stories “one-shots.”

Steampunk: refers to stories that are set in a world with weird technology connected to the Victorian Era or the Wild West. Technology is usually powered by steam. Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction and fantasy.

STFU: is an acronym for “shut the fuck up.” People use it in discussions and comments when they cannot stand it anymore. It’s insulting.

Sticky: refers to a type of sexual intercourse made by humanoids or robots. The author decides to describe the action as if it was done by humans. Hence, it’s sticky.

Stream of Consciousness: is the character’s thoughts and feelings as they have them without any edits. These can be confusing, but the author aims to let us take a peek into the mind of the character.

Sub: is short for subtitles in an anime. There’re fansubs where fans spend lots of time translating and writing subtitles so others can understand their favorite anime.

Subtext: is a set of unspoken or unwritten connotations that happen “between the lines” and that allows the audience to see beyond the story. For example, subtext in the Sherlock series allows us to fantasize about Sherlock and Watson’s romance. Many shows and movies use subtext because in that way they don’t have to confirm nor deny anything.

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Suethor: is an author who writes Mary-Sues a lot.

Summary: is a brief description of a story. If done good, it’ll attract the attention of the reader. Authors have to be careful not to give away too many details, or readers will be disappointed and bored.

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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