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Fanfiction 101: Customizing Your Superheroes

Common Types of Fanfic

superheros in profile against a rising sun.
  • Angst - Stories involving significant emotional turmoil and anguish, often illiciting strong feelings from the reader.
  • AU - Alternative Universe, stories that deviate from the established plot line of the original work (canon), often changing key events or ignoring entire portions of the text. For example, an AU story may remain "in canon" for books 1-4 of Harry Potter but become AU for books 5-7.
  • Challenge - A story that began as a response to another fan posting a challenge/dare to write about a specific thing, sometimes also called a "gift" fic.
  • Crack fic - Also called crankfic.  Named after the drug, these fics are considered so unusual or absurd they could only be the product of either drugs or mental illness.  Often used jokingly.
  • Crossover or Xover - A fic involving two or more original works crossing paths. For example, a story where Hermione Granger from Harry Potter goes to work for the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit and befriends Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds.  One of the more difficult genres to pull off and remain in character. 
  • Darkfic - A fic that is darker in nature, meaning it contains highly unpleasant situations or plot elements. The line between Angst and Darkfic can be blurry.  Darkfic plots often include elements of rape, incest, murder, torture, suicide and so forth.  The main difference typically lies in that for angst fics the situation typically comes back around by the end of the story, but in darkfics the situation usually remains either unresolved or the situation deteriorates further by the end of the story. May also be used for stories were characters "go bad". For example, Luke Skywalker joining forces with Vader and killing his sister.
  • Deathfic - Story involving one or more main characters dying.
  • Drabble - A very short story. Often 50-100 words. 
  • Femslash or yuri - A story involving a romantic and typical sexual relationship between two or more female characters.
  • Het - A story with a romantic and sometimes sexual relationship between two characters of opposite gender.
  • Hurt/Comfort - A fic involving an injury, illness, or trauma of some kind to one character while another character offers comfort, advice, or healing.
  • mPreg - A fic involving a male character becoming pregnant.  In some cases this is a "natural" condition or it may be used as part of a science fiction/fantasy plot.
  • POV - Point of View, a fic that is written from the point of view of a specific character, often in first person.
  • PWP - Plot, What Plot?  OR Porn Without Plot, a fic with graphic sexual content and little to no other plot
  • Round Robin - A story written by multiple authors, each one responsible for a certain portion of the story line. Often a round robin will have an author responsible for only a single chapter with no over arching plan for the story, meaning that each new author must keep the story continuity, add to it, but leave more room for future authors to add their own elements.  This often means that the strongest authors will take up the 'rear' of the story (meaning the last few chapters) so that they can wrap up all existing plot arches that were created by the earlier authors in the round.  Every round robin group is different, however, and the rules are often group specific and fluid.
  • Slash or yaoi - A story with a romantic and often sexual relationship between two or more male characters
  • Songfic- A fic involving a song. Typically this is done by taking verses of the song and writing portions of the story to match the content with the verses often being used as section breaks.  Occasionally the lyrics of the song are integrated into the fic.