Fanfiction Glossary

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The Fanfiction Dictionary is an often tongue-in-cheek list—by no means exhaustive—of the fanfiction-related terms used in our fandom. Several items from this list come from The Fanfiction Dictionary, posted by hell_penguin at Unknowable Room and quoted/adapted to this page with the author's permission.


What happens to lazy fans who couldn't be bothered to write the full name of books or characters. Their excessive usage can make comprehension by fandom outsiders difficult. At UnknowableWiki, the standard book acronyms are PS, CS, PA, GF, OP, HBP, and DH. They should be used sparingly.
Stands for Alternate Universe. AU fics do not follow canon directives; a common example of AU fic in Potterverse is writing about any given wizard as if he or she were a Muggle.
Any ship involving individuals of the Black family. Popular pairings include Sirius/Regulus, Bellatrix/Narcissa and Bellatrix/Andromeda/Narcissa.
British references and compatibilities are important when writing Harry Potter fanfiction. Some authors also prefer to follow Commonwealth spelling rules, as well as use English slang.
Everything J. K. Rowling has written or said about the series.
Canon rape
Blatant disrespect for canon rules, without declared AU intention. Every time canon rape occurs, a cute kitten dies. ...Please don't do it.
The term means that a certain fanfic is centred almost totally on one character (e.g. a Lilycentric fic).
1. An overused phrase, both in fanon and regular literature, that should be avoided so as not to sound cheap or corny (e.g. "from the bottom of one's heart").
2. An overused situation or plot device in fanon that should also be avoided (e.g. having Lily and James fall for each other after the death of a parent).
The bane of all fangirl/boy existence: a chapter ending that comes abruptly—right before or in the middle of a crucial situation. (see 'The Five Stages of Acceptance')
Dressing up like a fictional character for movie premieres, conventions and other fan meeting spots.
Crazy, often pointless fanfic, written solely to entertain; its plot usually makes little sense to anyone who—unlike the author—isn't hyper when faced with the story.
Combining elements of two or more universes (e.g. a House M.D./Harry Potter crossover would likely have Dr. Cameron and Remus bonding over a cup of hot tea, or Dr. House himself exchanging barbs with Severus Snape).
A feeble guarantee but a necessary one nonetheless; authors should always state plainly that, while they acknowledge that J. K. Rowling owns the copyright for Harry Potter and all other related names, the fic in question intends only to pay homage to the books by borrowing its characters, with no intention to make a profit. Disclaimers are unnecessary when posting at UnknowableRoom; an automatically generated one shows up in each fic page.
Any piece of fanfiction between 100 and 500 words.
Petunia/Lily fanfiction.


Like fangirls, only more macho—sometimes—and often somewhat more subtle.
Breed of females who utterly devote themselves to their fandom. Often seen squeeing at movie or book premieres, shamelessly wearing their fanon's merchandise, and having heart-to-heart intense discussions about obscure Movies x Books problem points. Fangirls can also be devoted to a certain author or fic.
Everything that's been written by fans, based on canon. The word is most often used when referring to a well-established tradition among ficwriters that may or not have some canon support, such as James' genius for Transfiguration.
Five Stages of Acceptance
  2. "I hate you."
  3. "I actually love you, so please update."
  4. "This was brilliant, by the way."
  5. "Can’t wait!"
Gen fic is a story in which romance and pairings play no significant role.
Happy Pill
A unique form of medication that may come in several different forms, most commonly a good book, movie, fic or character (e.g. "Sirius Black is my Happy Pill").
Short for heterosexual romance. A type of romance fic that is centred on one or more male-female parings. This does not necessarily prevent a het fic from including slash (q.v.) on occasion.
Hourglass Awards
Fandom-wide fanfiction awards created by Solarism, initially hosted at a LiveJournal community. The Unknowable Room now has yearly Hourglass cycles.


A sex scene, usually rated R or NC-17.
The Harry Potter Lexicon is the master resourcelist for anything Potter, known to have been consulted by J. K. Rowling herself. It's an extremely useful source for canon information.
Mary Sue
She's an annoyingly perfect original character, or a barely recognisable corrupted form of a canon character. (See specific article for more details.)
Male pregnancy is a reasonably common occurence in slash fics, most notably Remus/Sirius ones. (Don't ask how the baby leaves Remus' body. Just don't.)
'MWPP' stands for 'Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, Prongs'—the nicknames of the four Marauders. MWPP-era fanfiction, therefore, is fanfiction set in the 1970s, until the Potters' death in 1981.
National Novel Writing Month. See the website for more details.
A fic involving rape or any other sexual act performed in which at least one of the individuals involved is unwilling.
The acronym stands for Original Character.
A short, one-chaptered fanfic.
"Out of Character".
Stands for One True Pairing.


A tongue-in-cheek story intended to mock canon and/or fanon, often by deliberate usage of the worst clichés.
The universe depicted in the Harry Potter novels.
The acronym stands for "Plot? What Plot" or "Porn Without Plot", i.e. a fic with no purpose other than to satisfy the author and the readers' wishes to write and read NC-17 fanfiction.
Read and Review. Reviews are like candy to authors. While it may be a few words or random praise, or even harsh criticism, it doesn’t take much to get your average ficwriter scarily sugar-high.
Round Robin
A collective effort to write a fic, in which every collaborator writes a few paragraphs.
Real-person slash, i.e., fics involving real people, most commonly actors. It's more common among Lord of the Rings post-movie-trilogy fans than it is in the HP fandom, but there are a few Daniel Radcliffe/Rupert Grint stories out there.
The official Unknowable Room fanfic-writing contest held monthly.
Many a Suethor's habit of projecting her own self, improved with stunning beauty and fantastic magical abilities, into Potterverse in the person of an Original Character, most often a Mary Sue of the worst kind.
Any sort of romantic/sexual relationship between two or three given characters in the Harry Potter series. See the page linked above for more details.
Ship war
See linked page.
A male/male ship.
R or NC-17-rated fanfiction, often with no purpose other than gratuitous sex scenes (see 'PWP').
A fanfic with song lyrics inserted at some point, usually as a divider between chapter sections.
The Hogwarts house to which all speshul Mary Sues are sorted. The title was immortalised here.
Information that gives away vital details of a movie or book plot. It's generally frowned-upon, especially soon after a new Harry Potter installment is released.
A sound fangirls often make when extremely hyper.
A ficwriter, usually a newbie to fanfiction, who tends to write Mary Sues.
A peculiar genre of Harry Potter fanfiction involving the Fred/George pairing.


Unknowable Room
A Harry Potter fanfiction archive. UnknowableWiki is one of its many baby-projects.
Unresolved Sexual Tension.
A boring, commonplace sex scene. It usually involves plenty of clichés (e.g. darkening eyes, slow kisses that become faster, hurried disposal of clothes, fade to black).
A short story, often character-centric, generally introspective and involving inner dialogue.
Arrogant, self-absorbed behaviour, unaccepting of other people's opinion, most often found in fandom discussion regarding polemic subjects, such as slash or incest. Fandom Wank is a website known for cataloguing many of the most relevant and notorious wanks in several fandoms. Harry Potter fans are known for their absurd ability to wank more than most other fandoms put together.
Annoying angst, usually involving cutter and general behaviour, and often even anachronic Evanescence-listening tendencies.
Any ship involving the children of Arthur and Molly Weasley, the most popular of which are Fred/George (see Twincest) and Ron/Ginny.
Work in Progress, unfinished fic.
Equivalent of slash (q.v.); used mostly in anime-friendly fan groups.
The anime equivalent of femmeslash. Like 'yaoi', the usage of the term is not restricted to manga and anime communities. Femmeslash (q.v.) remains more commonly used in Harry Potter fandom.

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