Everything you need to know about the world of fanfiction

Have you ever re-read your favorite book or watched an incredible new Netflix series and thought, “If I was in charge, this *never* would have happened?”

Well, good news! There’s a whole online world where you can read (or write) stories about any movie, show, and book you love. Whether you wish Blair ended up with Nate or want to see which Percy Jackson character would win hunger games, Fanfiction has it all. Written for fans *by* fans, we’re here to answer all of your questions about the world of fanfiction.

The Big Three: Where to Read Fan Fiction

The first and arguably most important step in finding a fic is finding a site to read it on. Here are the three biggest fan fiction sites taking over the internet.

Own archive: Nicknamed Ao3 and with five million users and almost 10 million works, Archive of Our Own is an amazing site to find high quality long form fics. With its easily accessible tagging system (more on that later) and diverse fandom collection, Ao3 is one of the most talked about fanfiction sites and considered by many to be the best choice. The site’s only downside is that there’s no corresponding mobile app, and most readers find it easiest to access on a computer. Ao3 might be a good choice if you want to read some novel-like fiction. And the best? There are no ads!

@snapeisdead NO BECAUSE WTF THIS SCENE WAS #harrypotter #ao3 #wattpad #fanfiction #wolfstar #hp #harrypottertok #marauders #atyd #maraudersera #ff #gay #lgbtq ♬ harry philosoph potter – marauders

Wattpad: If you’ve only heard of one fanfiction platform before, you’re probably familiar with Wattpad. Featuring works from the platform that were turned into IRL novels before hitting the big screen (hint: The kissing booth and To), the site is quite well known in the mainstream media. However, Wattpad isn’t always known for having the highest quality lyrics, and finding a specific piece can be difficult as the tagging and search systems are generally clunky. On the other hand, it’s definitely possible to discover a fic you’ll love – it might just take a little trial and error. But once you do, you have access to an active community of readers and writers, all available through the website or mobile app.

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Fanfiction.net: Although Fanfiction.net is the largest fanfiction forum and archive on the web, it may not be talked about much, but it’s a great place to find stories and connect with your fandom’s community. The fics are well organized, so it can be very easy to find an entire collection of stories centered around a specific idea. If you’re interested in dipping your toes into the writing side of fanfiction, Fanfiction.net is the perfect place to start. The site makes it easy to find co-authors in your niche thanks to the large forum and PM systems. The website also has a corresponding app that makes it easier to access on mobile devices.

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The *ultimate* fanfic glossary

Undoubtedly, the world of fan fiction can be a bit overwhelming. We’re here to help you sort through all those foreign language terms and phrases…

Sign: A genre or story trait fanfic writers use to describe their fanfiction. Reading the tags on a fic will make it easier to find a story that interests you.

AU: Stands for “Alternate Universe”. This is a type of tag indicating that the story takes place in a different universe than the original media – for example MCU characters in a “Coffee Shop AU” or stranger things Characters in a “Hogwarts AU”.

Fear: A type of tag indicating that the story contains sad, heartbreaking elements or plot points. This can range from “mild anxiety” (slight heartache) to “severe anxiety” (grabbing the tissue).

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Fluff: A type of tag indicating that the story contains light-hearted elements or plot points. A fluffy fanfic will allllll give you the warm and fluffy feelings!

OTP: Stands for “One True Pairing”. Your OTP is your favorite ship (aka romantic character pairing) of all time. Maybe anyone?

Canon: True to the original medium. Plot points, characters, settings, etc. present in the original media are considered canon. Therefore, something non-canonical from the media’s original storyline would be revealed, or the canonical order of the story would be changed.

head cannon: Something a fan would imagine to be true in the original media universe. For example, a head canon could be an additional character trait or backstory.

Now that you’ve learned all about Wattpad and shipping, you’re ready to dive deep into your favorite fandoms. We are sure you will find the best fanfictions with your comfort characters and OTPs. Happy fangirling!

Share your fictitious OTP with us on Twitter @girlslifemag!

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Slider image: @victoriacastora

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