Fanfic terms you need to know
Fandom The community of fans of a show, series, book etc
AO3 Archive of Our Own. This is one of the main sites for fanfiction now. I could go into a lengthy description of just how important AO3 is and how fantastic everything they do is, but it would take a while. Feel free to have a read about them. There are no ads on the website, and their cataloguing system is out of this world. You can search fics in multiple ways, including by pairing/characters/series/tags/rating–it’s fantastic. You can also download every fic in multiple formats to add to your e-reader for ease. They are, basically, the best.
Canon Refers to the original source material–for example, the setting, characters, and time period.
AU Alternate Universe, the story is not set in canon. For example, there is no magic in Harry Potter, or Kara from Supergirl is not an alien from Krypton, but rather a human raised on Earth. Or perhaps the time period is completely different. Some popular AUs are: High School AUs, College AUs, Historical AUs
Canon divergent This story is set within canon, but then narrowly shifts from the known storyline at a certain point. For example, Lexa was never shot in The 100 and the story goes from that point in time as if the event never happened.
Canon compliant This story follows canon (for example, Supergirl is from Krypton and has super powers charged by the sun)
Oneshot A one-part story that will have no continuation. Read at own risk, sometimes very satisfying, sometimes leaves you hanging for more
H/C Hurt/comfort, one character is experiencing/has experienced emotional or physical distress, and is cared for by the other character
OC Original character. This fic will content a character(s) not from the show/books/movie
OOC Out of Character. This fic is written knowing that some characters will be acting in a way that does not make sense for the character you know.
OTP One True Pairing. A term to describe your favourite couple
PWP Plot, What Plot? If you want to read some sexy times, this fic is for you. No plot, lots of sex.
RPF Real Person Fic. This fanfiction is written about real people (actors, singers, etc), not fictional people. It’s quite a contentious topic and one not everyone is comfortable with.
Crossover This fic contains two or more series/shows/books existing in each others’ worlds in some way. For example, The 100 crossover with Harry Potter–all The 100 characters are at Hogwarts.
Crack pairing/crackship A pairing that makes no real sense, lacks canonical reasoning or evidence.
Crack fic A fic that is ridiculous or absurd, most likely on purpose
Angst A fic that is often sad and dark–can be related to unrequited love, for example, or two characters who can’t be together. Could involve some kind of terrible tragedy, or just be the general tone of the fic.
Fluff A fic that exists to be happy and joyful. Opposite of angst.
A/B/O Alpha/Beta/Omega.These fics are everywhere, in every fandom now. Based on a kink idea that everyone or some people have roles that are divided biologically–it is often related to werewolves. Check out this link for a more detailed description. https://fanlore.org/wiki/Alpha/Beta/Omega
A/N Author’s Note. Author’s of fanfic often put this here if they have something they’d like to let you know before or after a chapter.
Beta’d This means the fic has been “beta read”, read by one or more other people to check for consistencies, typos etc.
Kudos This is similar to pressing a “like” button on Archive of Our Own
Comments A thought left on a fic, can be anything from “Love this!” to a long, review style piece of work. Comments, of all kinds, are a fic writer’s best friend. Please consider leaving comments for fic writers–they go to so much effort and post these stories for free, and letting them know you enjoyed their story makes their day.