LUNACY'S FAN FICTION REVIEWS
Last modified: November 03 2012 12:33:12
Included on this page are definitions of some common terms you may come across in the world of fan fiction - specifically those most commonly found in Xena and Star Trek Voyager Fan Fiction.
Also make sure to visit Cmshaw's excellent FANFIC page for additional definitions, including ones for terms not listed below. Cmshaw is a fan of STAR TREK, HIGHLANDER, X-FILES and THE SENTINEL but features definitions for many of the same terms commonly used in XWP fanfic.
- ALTERNATIVE FICTION
- Alternative or alt. fiction refers to stories that feature a same-sex romance or attraction between the main characters. It is a term most commonly used in Xena fanfic.
- On the Internet a fanfic archive is a site that physically hosts fan fiction stories. The stories available at the site are on the same server and in the same account as the other files made available by the site. The webmaster in charge of the site is the person who electronically places the stories on the Web and keeps them available there.
- A fan fiction writer. This term was developed among Xenites in honor of our beloved bard, Gabrielle of Poteidaia. In real life the word bard has traditionally been used to refer to a poet-singer who composes and recites epic stories. In the Xenaverse it applies to anyone who writes fiction.
- BETA READING
- Beta reading is the process whereby new stories are first read by one or more test readers before the stories are released to a larger audience. Bards often work with beta readers as they are writing stories. The beta readers continuously give them feedback, letting them know how the story is progressing, informing them of any mistakes in the story, correcting grammar and spelling errors, etc. The use of beta readers almost always results in higher quality stories. Bards who would like to work with beta readers are urged to look at the BETA READERS DIRECTORY for a listing of volunteer beta readers they can contact.
- CLAN MACBAT
- Individually known as MacBatties, these are fans of fanfic bard Bat Morda, also known as the "Flying Mammal". Their motto is "Forged in the heat of humor...Fighting for the greater guffaw"
- A crossover story is one that features characters from different TV series or different movies. An example would be a story which has Xena and Gabrielle meeting the characters from STAR TREK.
- FAN FICTION
- This term typically refers to fiction written by fans of a movie or television show based on the premise and characters featured. The term is not restricted to the Xenaverse. Fan fiction has been around for a long time but most people became aware of the genre during the early days of the STAR TREK phenomenon when fans started writing original stories featuring the characters/premise they were seeing. Fan fiction is a broad term which in fact encompasses many different types of creative writing from novels, to short stories, parodies, vignettes, poems, screenplays, and skits.
- FIRST TIME
- First time stories are romantic fanfic tales which have the main characters making love for the first time. First time stories are a mainstay of alternative Xena fan fiction. Some first time stories have Gabrielle as a virgin but virginity in itself does not necessarily define the category. In the early days of Xena alt. fiction first time stories did usually involve virginity because the character of Gabrielle in the TV series was assumed to be a virgin. Recently, however, what they in fact tend to revolve around is Gabrielle's first time with a woman - specifically with the Warrior Princess. First time stories tend to be very romantic and passionate - often explicit as well.
- Hurt/comfort stories are ones in which one of the main characters is hurt while the other tries to protect and comfort the injured partner. These types of stories tend to inject a lot of vulnerability in the characterizations making the drama rich in emotion.
- In fan fiction an Index refers to a web site that provides links to the various stories located at different sites and that organizes those links in some fashion - usually by title and author, often by categories as well.
- MARY SUE
- A character in a story that acts as a surrogate for the writer. Mary Sue characters have long been present in fanfic as writers either consciously or subconsciously put themselves in the stories with character from the TV shows or movies they're writing about. Readers generally don't tolerate Mary Sue characters well - particularly when it's very obvious that this is what they are.
- MEL/JANICE STORIES
- Stories featuring the characters of Mel Pappas and Janice Covington introduced in the episode THE XENA SCROLLS. The first Mel/Janice story published on the web was Bat Morda's IS THERE A DOCTOR ON THE DIG (March 1997). [See also the entry for UBER]
- Fans of fanfic bard Melissa Good, also known as Missy, Merwolf or Alpha Female to her Merpups. The Merpups have a number of Web sites in honor of Missy's stories, they adore mushy scenes and they're seriously protective of their Alpha leader. The name "Merpup" is derived from Missy's own moniker Merwolf.
- In fiction a parody is an imitation of some original work with differences included for comic effect. In the Xenaverse you'll find parodies which take a very serious storyline from one of the episodes and then alter the dialogue and/or some of the action to create a funny version of the same storyline. Some parodies take elements from different shows and combine these again to create a comic effect. They may have Xena and Gabrielle on a popular game show, or may have Oprah interviewing the Warrior Princess. Parodies are purely for comic relief and often serve to lessen the angst fans feel after very dramatic episodes.
- This term is used to refer to stories which use the premise from the series ender episode, FRIEND IN NEED, which had Xena choosing to remain dead in order to give the souls of the villagers she accidentally killed decades before their "grace" or peace. Post-FIN stories typically have either Xena and Gabrielle learning to deal with Xena's new existence as a ghost, or they have Gabrielle coming to terms with her partner's death, or they attempt to "fix" that final episode offering some solution which would have allowed Xena to return to life. The first post-FIN story posted to the web was Cath, Bard's AND 'ROUND WE GO -- AGAIN (June 18, 2001).
- PWP (PLOT, WHAT PLOT)
- This term is used to refer to stories which are typically short and revolve around a single scene usually involving a sexual encounter. The story can be a long one but it won't have any detailed plot aside from sexual encounters between the characters.
- ROUND ROBIN
- A round robin story is one written by a group of writers instead of just one. In Xena fan fiction round robin stories are usually written in a mailing list or discussion forum with one writer submitting a chapter, then another writer contributing a second chapter, a third writer doing chapter three, etc.
- In Xena fanfic a skit is a satirical or funny story, often written in play format with just dialogue. Skits are sometimes parodies in that they mimic an episode or some scene from the TV series but they can revolve around more original storylines.
- Subtext is a term used throughout the Xenaverse in reference to situations, dialogue, characterizations or storylines either in the actual TV episode or in fan fiction which infer a same-sex romantic relationship.
"Uber" is a German term that literally means "over" but which is used in academia to refer to the fundamental essence of a concept or an idea or a character. An Uber-Xena story is one which takes the ESSENCE of the characters in XWP and places these in another time, another place, another reality. The TV series itself provided us with its own Uber-Xena episode in the XENA SCROLLS. A story involving the characters of Mel and Janice *is* an Uber-Xena story because these characters retain essential qualities of the original Xena and Gabrielle while existing in another time (1940's). In an Uber-Xena story, the characters do not have to be mirror images of the originals they are based on - both physically and spiritually there could be differences but again, the ESSENCE of the originals must be there. Taking Mel and Janice as examples once again - Mel is very different from Xena as is Janice from Gabrielle but three things define them as Uber representations - Mel and Janice resemble their ancestors physically, they are identified as being descendants of the warrior and bard, and they share the same type of bond. The Xena and Gab representations in an Uber-Xena generally resemble the originals although they don't have to look exactly like them. In most Uber-Xena stories they are presented as either descendants of the warrior and bard or reincarnations but again these aren't prerequisites. Suffice it to say that if you're a fan of the TV series, the characters in an Uber-Xena story will be familiar to you even if they aren't exactly Xena and/or Gabrielle. The first uber-Xena story actually appeared in another fandom - in HERCULES fanfic - it was called A MEETING OF CHANCE (January 1997) by Terra Chang and featured modern-day versions of Xena, Gabrielle, Hercules and Iolus. The first uber to appear in XWP fanfic was Darkone's WARRIOR'S HEART (February 1997) with the uber-Gabrielle as a rock star and the uber-Xena as her bodyguard. The first Mel/Janice story was Bat Morda's IS THERE A DOCTOR ON THE DIG (March 1997).
As fanfic has evolved, we've been seeing more and more stories which blur the line of what is considered "uber". There are stories that have the Xena or Gab from Ancient Greece becoming immortal and living on into the present. There are stories where the reincarnations suddenly remember who they once were and become Xena or Gab. For the purposes of my fanfic reviews, in terms of the physical, if the body involved in a story is the original one from Ancient Greece then I do not consider that uber - that's simply an immortal Xena or Gab. If it's a different body then I look at the soul's personality and memories. If the character remembers every single thing from Ancient Greece and her personality was formed during that period then I lean toward NOT uber. If the personality is very much a product of the more modern environment and there are only a few or no memories of the past, then I will tend to see it as uber.
For the purposes of my reviews also let me add that I may review stories as "uber-Xena" even if the writer did not intend them that way or presented them as such. If they come across as uber-Xena to ME and I feel they might also to other Xenites then I'll include them in my uber section but this in no way means the specific stories are not original tales with characters and storylines exclusively owned by the respective authors.
- In fiction this refers to a very short composition or sketch. Vignettes usually describe a "moment in time" and are usually serious but can be comic as well.
- Warlord/slave stories are ones which revolve around a relationship between two main characters in which one of the characters assumes a warlord persona while the other is placed in a submissive role as servant or slave. These stories are popular in Xena fan fiction and are present as well in the uber-Xena genre. Most often in XWP warlord/slave tales Xena is the one placed in warlord mode but a few have Gabrielle in the position of power. Warlord/slave stories rely on different types of plots to create the power shift in the relationship - sometimes amnesia is the culprit, sometimes the gods are involved, sometimes the warlord/slave relationship is one the partners assume on purpose in order to fool enemies or in alt. stories specifically, as part of sexual role-play (although for the story to be categorized as warlord/slave tale on this last basis alone the role-play has to be a prolongued one constituting a significant portion of the story). In Uber stories the warlord/slave elements can simply be part of the regular relationship that is established between the characters. Warlord/slave stories present the gamut of emotions with some being quite poignant and at times violent, others being hysterically funny, and some being fiercely passionate and erotic. Generally believed to have been the first and among the most influential warlord/slave stories, Rosemary's A SIMPLE TWIST OF FATE was published to a private mailing list in the Fall of 1996 though it did not make it to the web until January 1999.
- XENA THE CONQUEROR
- Xena The Conqueror stories are ones based on the vision of Xena as set forth in the HERCULES episode ARMAGEDDON NOW. The premise of this episode was that in a world where Hercules never existed, Xena never saved Gabrielle from slavers, going on instead to become an uncompromising, often cruel despot and the ruler of all the known world. Some of these stories use the exact characterization of Gabrielle shown in the episode, others alter it a bit but in general she is shown as someone who opposes Xena's tyranny. The first conqueror story was Katrina's THE STORYTELLER (February 1998).
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