The Vocabulary of Fandom: A

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Since the vocabulary of fandom can be quite challenging, I decided to write a new guide. This time, I’ll be presenting letter by letter. Focal vocabulary is what you need to enter into some sub-cultures. In the case of fandom, there are certain words that will help you navigate the world. Be aware, however, that there are far more than these!

A/A (Action/ Adventure): it’s a fan fiction genre that features stories with a lot of action. These stories can be heavily plot-driven. However, you can also find romance, mystery and more in them.

Abandoned: when an author doesn’t finish a story in fan fiction. It can be either because they couldn’t, or because they don’t want to do so. Abandoned pieces of fic main remain unfinished and incomplete, unless another author decides to give an end to them. (Think of it as a work in progress, aka WIP).

Adult: a designation for fan fiction works that require the readers to be adults. They might contain violence, explicit sexual content, or other graphical elements that are not suitable for a young audience.

Aftercare: it’s a genre in fan fiction. Here we’re reading stories of dominant/ submissive partners. When the physical exchange or BDSM experience has ended, they the dominant tend to comfort, reassure or care about the submissive. The stories are mainly for an adult audience. But not always.

Alpha/ Beta/ Omega (A/B/O) dynamics: also in fan fiction. It’s a genre plenty of kink memes in which characters can be dominant females or males (alphas), ordinary people (betas), or submissive males or females (omegas). Most stories are related to relationships, mpreg, etc. They can also contain aftercare stories, and many kinks and tropes.

Amnesia: it’s about stories of a character with memory loss. It’s a genre that explores what would happen if a character had amnesia. How would others react? Usually, but not always, they regain their memories at the end of the stories.

AMV (anime music video): a series of clips from an anime series that are used along with a favorite song.

Angst: it’s also a genre in fan fiction. The stories are deeply emotional and with a great amount of anxiety. They can also evoke other feelings, such as fear, and even depression or suicide. There are also less tragical stories, such as teen light drama.

Anime: Japanese animation. If you say “an anime,” it refers to a set of episodes of an animated series from Japan. Anime tends to tell a story throughout several episodes.

Anon (from anonymous): either the author or the reader are anonymous and cannot be identified. It can be a user who posts, but they’re anonymous. You can find other words like Same Anon (SA), New Anon (NA), and Different Anon (DF).

Anthropomorfic: it’s when the fan fiction has inanimate objects or creatures that resemble humans. These tend to be short stories, often comical.

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Antihero: a main character or protagonist that lacks some o the qualities of an idealized hero, like morality or courage, and acts in an unheroic manner. An example: Wolverine.

APA (amateur press association): a group of people who publish collections of works and distribute them among their members. Many APA was founded in the 30s by fans of science fiction, comics, cinema, etc. APAs are being changed by internet mailing lists, etc.; though many still exist.

Asynchronous: [from Greek “synkhronos” (happening at the same time); from “syn-” (together)+ “khronos” (time)]. The depiction of sound in a panel that is not happening at the same time as the events that are pictured in the panel. The sound can be music, dialogue or sounds.

Arc: it’s a theme in fan fiction that overarches a plot theme that extends through the story. It can be tied to the primary plot, or run behind it. It can have its origin with the canonical (canon) story, or it can be pure fan fiction from the hand of an author.

Archive: it’s a collection of stories by different authors that can be found in a single location. An archive can contain few stories or thousands of them. They can be about only a fandom, or they can include multiple fandoms. is the largest archive that exist at the moment.

ATTHS: “And then they have sex.” From the X-Files fandom. It’s used by authors who don’t want to describe explicit sex in their fan fiction pieces.

AOLESE/ AOLER: when someone types with exaggerated chatspeak. You will find it usually written all in capitals, like OMG or LOL, or OMFG. It’s used ironically. Its origin can be traced on the stereotypical AOL customers. (So, you get the idea.)

AU (alternate Universe): a piece of fan fiction that happens in a world that it’s somewhat different from the original canon of the source material. It can be subtle, or wholly irrational. For example, imagine an alternate Universe where Thor is the evil brother, and Loki is the hero.

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Author’s notes (A/N): these are the notes of an author about a story. These are usually included at the beginning of a piece of fan fiction. Sometimes, authors incorporate them throughout the story. Other authors prefer to use footnotes. They can also be used as a way of parody or to create humor. Some authors use them in Badfics, for example.

Avatar: it’s a squared image that a person uses to identify themselves on a weblog, forum, or message board. These are also known as icons.

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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