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Popular Culture in the Classroom  

A guide to help incorporate popular culture into classroom curriculum.
Last Updated: Nov 19, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Fan Fiction Print Page


Contains fanfiction from a number of sources, including but not limited to television, movies, books and anime.
This archive boasts the largest collection of fanfiction online. Stories are not vetted and are of varying quality.

Archive of Our Own
Developed as a reaction to’s searching limitations, AO3 contains fanfiction as well as other transformative fanworks.

The newest site to this list, FictionPad was developed to promote more a community sensibility and offers a variety of interactive features.

Lunaescence Archives
Largely devoted to Anime and Manga, this is a moderated site in which works are reviewed before publication.

A rapidly growing community, stories are not reviewed before publication.

Popular with high school students, this site contains a number of stories by first time authors.



Often specialized archives devoted to a specific work will emerge. For example, an archive may be based on a specific show or may be based on a specific coupling. Below is a sample of these types of archives.

Harry Potter Fanfiction

There are a number of Harry Potter related archives but this one is especially diverse and is frequently updated

Nine Lives: A Caryl Fanfiction Archive

This site contains only stories involving Carol and Daryl from AMC’s The Walking Dead. Other characters may appear but all the stories revolve around these two and tend to be romantic in nature.


This site features fanfiction dedicated to the Twilight series. It contains stories related to the books as well as the films.

Winchester Generation Tumblr

Tumblr is an increasingly popular way for fans to share fanfic recommendations. For instance, this popular Tumblr lets fans know the best, crowd sourced stories related to the WB's Supernatural.

Dr. Who Fanon

Show speciifc wikia sites are also gaining in popularity as a means of sharing fanfiction recommendations. This site, devoted to the very popular Dr. WHo franchise, offers links to popular stories as well as character overviews for newbies.



These slides present a nice overview of the mechanics of fanfiction. To view full screen, click on the white box with the two arrows located on the bottom right of the player.



While a perception exists that fan fiction is nothing but poorly constructed stories, it is actually a form of writing that is as varied as any other. But because of its association with popular culture, fan fiction provides a particularly accessible way to engage students. This page is designed to provide an overview of fanfiction and its associated vocabulary.



Below are some of the terms most often used in relation to fanfiction. For a comprehensive list, please visit the FanFiction dictionary.

**Please note that these definitions come from Fanfiction Slang.

A/N = Author's Notes  refers to an author's personal notes about the story
Angst refers to a genre of stories with prevalent physical or, mainly, emotional torment of characters. 
AU = Alternate Universe  refers to a story of which there is a (often major) plot, setting, or character deviation away from established canon.
Beta Reader A beta reader is an editor of fan fiction. 
Canon refers to elements established by the original source material (TV show, book, movie, etc...) itself for either plot, setting, or character developments. 
Character Death refers to stories in which a major or minor canon character dies. 
Concrit = Constructive Criticism refers to a specific type of feedback in which polite, helpful suggestions or edits are offered to improve the quality of a story
Crack (-fic)  refers to stories in which completely ridiculous, unbelievable or insane things occur, often without reasonable explanation but great enjoyment. 
Disclaimer refers to the legal statement of ownership, or non-ownership, authors make regarding the use of canon characters, settings, premises, etc.
Drabble refers to stories of exactly 100 words in length. 
Fandom refers to the fan-based community dedicated to a particular TV show or other cult-inducing medium, including movies, books, music, comics, and any other canon source material
Fan Service  refers to scenes or moments within the original canon source material that are deliberate nods to the fans.
Fanvid refers to music videos and montages created by a fan using a combination of clips from original source material set to a song or tune. 
Flame refers to inflammatory (rude, cruel, mean, hateful, unjust) remarks made about an author or their work.       
Fluff refers to stories that tend to be short and sweet, with little to no depth, but often quite comforting to read.
Headcanon refers to the personal beliefs or interpretations about canon that an author or reader makes to explain or account for some aspect of the actual canon. 
Lurker refers to a reader who does not comment or review a fic or post. 
Mary-Sue  refers to the presence of an original character that represents an idealized image of the author. 
Missing Scene refers to a, usually, short story written to fill in, add to, or flesh out a gap in the canon episode's storyline.
Newbie refers to a fan, author or reader, who is relatively new to the fandom (or the concept of fandom in general) and does not yet know all of the ways of the fandom. 
NSFW = Not Safe For Work  refers to stories or images that contain elements, usually of an explicitly sexual nature, that make them inappropriate to be opened in a public domain such as one's place of employment.
OOC = Out-Of-Character  refers to the fact that the characterizations used by an author are not those established by canon standards. 
OC = Original Character  refers to a non-canon character created by the author that is featured prominently in the story. 
Oneshot refers to a single story that can be read and understood in full without having read any other prior story. 
OTP = One True Pairing  refers to an author's preferred relationship pairing between certain characters within a fandom. 
Pairing refers to the main characters featured in a romantic or sexual relationship within the story. May be het (m/f) or slash (m/m or f/f) or consist of multiple characters. 
Post-Canon refers to stories set after the official canon's timeline ends.
POV = Point of View refers to stories written from a certain character's perspective.
Pre-Series  refers to stories set before the official canon's timeline begins.
Prompt refers to a story idea issued in the desire that it will spawn a plotbunny and inspire an author to write a fanfic. 
Ship war  A war between two followings of different 'ships, usually sharing one common character, thus the reason for their fighting.

refers to the presence of a homosexual relationship featuring at least one canon character. 

TPTB = The Powers That Be  refers to the unseen controlling powers of a fandom's canon, they who brought it into being and who have the power to change it. 
Troll refers to someone (who is often anonymous) who deliberately and often repeatedly makes inflammatory or off-topic comments in a ploy to rile up other people and create dissension. 


Please note that these items are available through InterLibrary Loan.

Cover Art
The Fan Fiction Studies Reader - Karen Hellekson (Editor); Kristina Busse (Editor)
ISBN: 1609382277
Publication Date: 2014-02-15

Cover Art
Fic - Anne Jamison; Lev Grossman (Foreword by)
ISBN: 1939529190
Publication Date: 2013-11-26

Cover Art
Fan CULTure - Kristin M. Barton (Editor); Jonathan Malcolm Lampley (Editor)
ISBN: 0786474181
Publication Date: 2013-11-07

Cover Art
Fandom - Henry Jenkins (Afterword by); Jonathan Gray (Editor); C. Lee Harrington (Editor); Cornel Sandvoss (Editor)
ISBN: 0814731821
Publication Date: 2007-06-01

Cover Art
Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet - Karen Hellekson; Kristina Busse (Editor)
ISBN: 0786426403
Publication Date: 2006-07-05



Barnes, Jennifer L. "Fanfiction as Imaginary Play: What Fan-Written Stories Can Tell Us about the Cognitive Science of Fiction." Poetics 48. (2015): 69-82.

Black, Rebecca W. "Access and Affiliation: The Literacy and Composition Practices Of English-Language Learners in an Online Fanfiction Community." Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 49.2 (2005): 118-128. 

Korobkova, Ksenia A., and Rebecca W. Black. "Contrasting Visions: Identity, Literacy, And Boundary Work In A Fan Community." E-Learning and Digital Media 11.6 (2014): 619-632.

Lammers, Jayne C. "Fangirls as Teachers: Examining Pedagogic Discourse in an Online Fan Site." Learning, Media & Technology 38.4 (2013): 368-386. 

Leavenworth, Maria Lindgren. "The Paratext of Fan Fiction." Narrative 23.1 (2015): 40-60.

Lipton, Jacqueline D. "Copyright and the Commercialization of Fanfiction." Houston Law Review 52.2 (2014): 425-466.

Philpot, Chelsey. "Fan Fiction: Takes Flight." School Library Journal 60.8 (2014): 18.


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