When it comes to sharing interests with your friends, fanfiction (fanfic for short) is one of those things that can be liberating or anxiety-inducing to talk about. It’s understandable if you’re scared, fanfiction is after all one of those topics that the general public looks down upon. However, you want to be able to share one of your favorite things with one of your friends. So, how do you even introduce them to fanfic?

What Is Fanfic?

If you’ve clicked on this article, it’s highly likely that you already know what fanfic is. Though it’s also likely you don’t know how to explain the concept to someone who has no idea what it is. If that’s the case, then don’t worry TDF’s got you covered.

Popular fandom worlds expressed in art fanfic form
Illustration by Bill McConkey

Fanfic is a form of writing medium in which others take an established world, such as Harry Potter, and expand upon it. Simply, fanfics are stories in which writers take their favorite fandom and make it their own.

Step One: Figure Out Your Friend’s Taste

Alright, now that we got the basic definition of fanfic out of the way, it’s time to actually get to the fun part! Before you can even send your friend recommendation lists of fanfics to read, you have you to know if they would even read fanfic. If they do then great! Now, it’s time to figure out your friend’s taste. Do they seem like the type of person to read real person fiction? Or are they more the type to read Alternate Universes (AUs) of their favorite fandom? To make it easier on you, ask your friend what’s their favorite genre to read and their favorite fandom.

The Various Fanfic Types/Genres

If you want to make it even easier, send your friend these two lists of the various shipping and genre types of fanfiction.

The Shipping Basics Of Fanfic:

  • Gen: Gen, short for “generic.” Fanfics are the stories that typically don’t involve any romantic or sexual relationships. Gen fanfics are usually stories that predominantly focus on friendships, family relationships, or are centered on a specific character.
  • Het: Het, short for “heterosexual,” are ships that involve a straight male/straight female.
  • Slash: Slash fanfics refer to male/male ships, which typically aren’t canon.
  • Femslash: Femslash fanfics are the female equivalent to slash fics. These fanfics involve female/female ships.
  • Multi: These fanfics are stories that involve more than one kind of relationship, or a relationship that features multiple partners. OT3 (One True Threesome), OT4, OT5, etc. would fall under this category.
  • Crack Pairing Ship: A crack pairing or ship are relationships that are considered to be highly bizarre, or in some cases, disturbing. Some good examples of this would be: James “Bucky” Barnes/Plums, Harry Potter/Pennywise, or Thanos/Lefty (Lefty is the mascot for Hamburger Helper).
  • Reader: Reader fanfics are stories where a reader is able to insert themselves into the story and ship themselves with a certain character.

The Basic Fanfic Types:

  • Canon or “In-Universe”: These fanfics are stories that take place and/or build off of a series’ canonical timeline.
  • Alternate Universe (AU): AU fanfics are fics in which a writer will take canonical characters and place them in a different location or setting.
  • PWP: PWP stands for either, “Plot? What Plot?” or “Porn Without Plot.” The fanfics that go under this category are fics that are simply smut (written sex) filled stories that have almost zero plotlines, just as the name suggests.
  • Crack: Crack fanfics are fanfics that include an excess of unbelievable, incredible, or silly elements. These types of fanfics are usually done on purpose for fun and humor.
  • Crossover: Crossover fanfics are fics in which two different franchises/series (or “worlds”) exist in the same world. Two examples of this would be a Marvel and DC crossover, or a Supernatural and Scooby-Doo crossover.
  • Real Person Fiction (RPF): RPFs are fanfics that involve real people, dead or alive.
  • Drabble: A drabble fanfic is a fic in which the story is exactly one hundred (100) words.
  • Remix: A remix fanfic is a fic where a writer takes their story, or someone else’s fic (with the author’s permission) and tells the story from a different character’s perspective
  • Oneshot: Oneshot fanfics only have one chapter. These fics can either be long or short.
  • Podfic: These fanfics are just the audio version of someone’s fanfic.
Girl writing fanfic of Ash and Misty from Pokemon

Step Two: Make The Fanfic Rec List

Once you get the basic details down, it’s time for you to make your fanfic recommendation list! Since this is probably your friend’s first taste of fanfiction, I recommend making your list up to ten fanfics maximum. By keeping your list to ten fanfics, it keeps from overwhelming your friend but still gives them enough content to go through. However, if your friend breezes through your rec list, then feel free to make a longer rec list.

Step Three: Pat Yourself On The Back

Congratulations! You have officially introduced your friend to fanfiction. By now, your friend could be throwing love at you, or cursing you for introducing them to this addictive world. No matter what the case may be, hopefully, the two of you have another thing to talk about together.