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AAAction/AdventureFanfiction stories that concentrate primarily on external threats or events, such as the Shadows, the Earth/Minbari War or other crises rather than interpersonal relationships or conflicts. Fics of this nature tend to have their cast either acting on or reacting to outside influences rather than being introspective. More reliant on setting and exposition than other story types, they will generally have less dialogue than a Drama, Intrigue or Romance.
ActorActors are those that undertake activities to either resolve or confound the problem the fic author has put before them. Unlike the Babylon 5 TV series, where people like Bruce Boxleitner, Mira Furlan and other professionals (real live people) are the actors, the characters they portrayed are the actors in a fic. For fanfiction purposes, Bruce, Mira, Claudia and Jerry don't exist - John Sheridan, Delenn, Susan Ivanova and Michael Garibaldi do - and its just coincidence that some Hollywood folks bear uncanny resemblances to them. See 'Cast'.
AFActorficAlso called Celebfics. These are fantasies about real live people, usually actors, actresses or singers. Written in first person point of view, they generally describe an imagined chance encounter between the author and the that subsequently leads to sex. Not surprisingly, these are usually written by men. I've never seen any of these incorporating actors or actresses in the Babylon 5 cast, but I have in others. See 'Smut', 'Pornography'.
ADLTAdult Situations DisclaimerWarning: This fanfiction story graphically depicts adult sexual interaction and/or contains strong sexual innuendo. If you are under the legal age to read such material in your area or you find such material objectionable, you are advised not to read any further. See 'Content Disclaimer'.
AEAlternate EndingA small-scale Alternate Universe fanfiction in which all or part of a canon episode is rewritten so the outcome is different. Rewriting the season two episode 'A Race Through Dark Places' so that John Sheridan and Delenn's Fresh Aire dinner date leads to an earlier onset of their romantic relationship is an example of Alternate Ending.
AH / PUAlternate History/Parallel UniverseA subcategory of Alternate Universe stories, the difference between AUs and Alternate Histories is primarily one of degree. Unlike AUs, which share history with the canon universe up until a recent divergence point, Alternate Histories have few common reference points with the canon universe (outside of shared characters) because their divergences occurred far in the past. In an AU, for example, everything in the past remains the same until Delenn fails to direct Jeffrey Sinclair's capture at the Battle of the Line. In a AH, there is no Grey Council, no Valen, and Delenn is a full Minbari.
ATAlternate Timeline or Andrea ThompsonWhen referring to fanfiction types, an Alternate Timeline story is an alternate universe in which canon events are the same, but the dates and orders in which they occurred differ. When referring to Babylon 5 real live people, AT is Andrea Thompson - the actress/model who plays Talia Winters, B5 telepath and resident Susan-lover. To her credit, she's also been a Vogue model, US Navy JAG, NYPD cop and CNN news anchor...and, for a time, the wife of Jerry (Michael Garibaldi) Doyle.
AUAlternate UniverseA story that departs from the canon events of the Babylon 5 series. The writer selects a decisive event from B5 canon and makes the opposite decision, exploring the potential changes that might have resulted. AUs ask the question 'what if?' and then try to answer themselves. In B5 fanfiction, the most complex (and longest) story is the AU Epic 'A Dark, Distorted Mirror' by Gareth Williams – which explored what might have happened had the Minbari not surrendered at the Battle of the Line.
ANAngstOne of the most popular Babylon 5 fanfiction types. Closely related to Hurt/Comfort stories, Angst stories explore emotional crises among the B5 main characters, usually budding or failed romances. They're characterized by anguish, soul-searching, longing, unrequited love or regret at actions taken that cannot be undone. Delenn figures in a lot of these, as do Lennier, Garibaldi and Susan Ivanova.
AnonymousA fanfiction written by an author who does not want to reveal his or her identity. See 'Pseudonym'.
AntagonistA canon or non-canon main character whose methods or purposes are an obstacle to resolving the plot, or a character who actively attempts to impede the protagonist. Unlike Villains, however, Antagonists do not have to be evil and they can even be sympathetic. Londo Mollari is the prime example of a sympathetic antagonist. See 'Hero/Heroine'.
ABHAnywhere But HereThe ultimate escapist uberfan story. Written in first person point of view, the fic author doesn’t even try to disguise himself or herself behind a Mary Sue. Instead, they physically insert themselves in the story. The form takes its name from a game played on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is more of a roleplay scenario than a fic. If you begin a fic and the first line is “I was in the Cobra Bays when Michael Garibaldi walked up…”, you are reading an ABH. Also called a Self-Insertion story (which engenders a whole host of troubling mental images...)
APXAppendixIn fanfiction, supplementary descriptive material attached at the end of a story, usually after the Epilogue. Unlike the epilogue, however, appendices are not a part of the story. Their primary purpose is to provide a place to explain backstory, terms and concepts introduced in the main body of the story without resorting to excessive exposition.
ArcBroadly, story progression throughout the five year run of the Babylon 5 series. Also referred to by J Michael Straczynski and others as 'holistic storytelling', B5 was developed as a novel for television, with a beginning, middle and end, and one in which the actions and results of those actions had a direct impact on later episodes. On a personal level, the 'Arc' referred to how a character's choices, challenges and responsibilities (as reflected in their development over time) changed them for either better or worse. See 'B5 Plot Structure', 'Foreshadowing'.
AsideSometimes called 'Tearing Down the Fourth Wall'. An aside is a theatrical/literary device that occurs when either a character or the author addresses the reader directly from within the story. If you're a new fanfiction author...don't do this. It destroys the reader's suspension of disbelief by reminding them that they're reading a fic. Find a way to impart the information you want the reader to have without having your characters step out of their roles.
Aura of SmoothHonestly, I didn't make this one up. The term refers to the inexplicable energy field surrounding blatant Mary Sues and Gary Lous that sucks any semblence of judgement, leadership or common sense out of the canon hero/heroine when in their presence. See 'Badfic/Suckfic', 'Mystery Science Theater'.
A/NAuthor's NoteA short, introductory message to the fanfiction reader from the fic's author. The text of the message can be anything - explaining the author's inspiration for the story, detailing differences between the author's universe and canon, setting the timeframe for the story or expounding on the aspect of a character being explored. The author may also request feedback and provide his or her e-mail address. Author's notes are optional. See 'Pairing', 'Rating', 'Comments & Criticism', 'Read and Respond'.
AvatarIn the Babylon 5 fandom, an Avatar is the manifestation of a canon or non-canon character's traits and/or image to represent real live people, usually oneself. Essentially, all original characters in B5 Fanfiction are avatars of the author to a greater or lesser degree, the most egregious of which are known as Mary Sues. Physical avatars, also known as thumbnail images or icons, are part of the stock-in-trade in the B5 online community, serving as visual idealized representatives of fans. See 'Roleplay', 'Fan Art', 'Rasterbation', 'Fakir', 'Mary Sue'.
B5 Plot StructureThree is more than a sacred number to the Minbari - it's also the number of plots in the average Babylon 5 episode. To assemble and write a full-length B5 episodic story, there should be an 'A' Plot - The primary problem the main characters are trying to resolve; a 'B' Plot - A problem that may or may not be related to the primary plot that is being worked by other characters; and a 'C' Plot - a relatively minor issue or comic relief that serves to break up the intensity of the other two plots. See 'Pacing', 'Script/Teleplay'.
BoTWBabe of The WeekNot much of a problem in the Babylon 5 fanfic fandom. The term refers to any non-canon female written into a story specifically to have sex with the canon male leads (Sheridan, Sinclair, or, most likely, Garibaldi). These differ from Mary Sues in that they are not really developed as characters...they just seem to appear, screw, and then disappear into the ether somewhere. See 'Smut', 'Pornography', 'Badfic/Suckfic'.
B5Babylon 5The abbreviation/name of the 1994-1998 television series from which the B5 fandom is derived. Ultimately, every fanfiction written in this fandom traces its way back to Babylon 5. Also, the name of the space station the events of the canon series revolve around. Fanfic authors will sometimes insert 'B5' in the header data of fanfics that appear alongside fanfiction from Crusade (CRU) and/or Legend of the Rangers (LotR) to differentiate among them.
Badfic/SuckficJust what you'd expect - fanfiction that is plotted or written so poorly that it detracts from the reader's enjoyment of the story. While some deviation from schoolhouse grammar and punctuation is expected and can be overlooked, too many errors and misspellings can cause readers to give up in disgust. Similarly, Mary Sue/Gary Lou fics that are too obviously author-centric and condescending constitute Badfic. See 'Beta Reader/Editor', 'Mystery Science Theater'.
BeatA scriptwriting term indicating a dramatic pause in a character's dialogue, roughly the time it takes to inhale and exhale a breath. When writing a fanfiction, beats are used by the author to convey surprise or uncertainty when characters are speaking or reacting to the speech of others. Realistic dialogue will have beats built into sentences and conversations, usually indicated by ellipses (...) or dialogue modifiers such as 'uh', 'ah' and 'um'. See 'Script/Teleplay', 'Pacing'.
Berne ConventionThe Berne Convention is the legal agreement that protects copyrights across international boundaries. Essentially, it says that a work like B5, copyrighted in the United States, is equally protected under German copyright laws in Germany or UK law in the UK. While it is not international 'law' in the sense that it is overseen by an international court which 'enforces' copyrights in multiple countries, the signatories provide that they will honor a request to rectify a violation under their own internal laws. This is how Warner Brothers can reach out from America and go after a fanfic plagiarizer in say, Italy. See 'Copyrights', 'Trademarks', 'Fair Use' and 'Cease and Desist Order'.
Beta Reader/EditorThat very important person a fanfiction author sends his or her new epic to for proofreading before it gets thrown up for the world to see. Hopefully, a beta reader will catch any mistakes in continuity, grammar and spelling that the writer misses. The difference between a beta reader and an editor is that a beta reader just reads and comments. An editor, OTOH, is empowered to make changes to the story. Most fic authors don't want the level of detail that comes from an editor, so they stick with beta readers.
BMBill MumyActor portraying Lennier, Delenn's loyal-until-almost-the-end aide. Bill also played Will Robinson on Lost in Space, so his SciFi pedigree is pretty long. See 'Minbari', 'Religious Caste'.
BIBisexualA character or multiple characters who exhibit sexual attraction to or engage in sexual relations with more than one gender within a story. That Susan Ivanova and Talia Winters are bisexual is canon in the Babylon 5 universe, and stories exploring the relationship between them and others can be classified either as 'Bi' or single-gender. See Single-Gender 'Pairing'.
BDSMBondage / Discipline / Sadism / Masochism Pretty self-explanatory, I think. Susan Ivanova in a steel-studded bustier and thigh-high leather tying the unsuspecting Marcus up (B), ordering him to his knees, putting a dog collar around his neck and a leather zipper mask over his face (D), flaying his clothes off and cracking a whip across his bare, quivering ass (S) and then switching positions with him so he can reciprocate (M). Obviously almost always FRAO. Got it? See Rating, Erotica, Smut, Pornography, Adult Situations Disclaimer.
Boot SceneA boot scene is used when characters in a Romance have sex but the writer doesn't want to push into the FRM or FRAO arenas by providing any details. In the story, the characters will do all those things people do when they're about to have sex and then, rather than having them consummate the act, the story will transition to another scene with other characters doing something totally unrelated (this is the actual boot scene). When the story returns to the romantically-inclined couple, they have (presumably) finished and the male character is sitting on the edge of the bed...pulling on his boots as the female lays there watching. IMO, boot scenes are a cop out. If you're writing a story incorporating a sexual relationship as a plot element, then don't shy away from the act itself by skipping around it. Either grit your teeth and write it, do a fade to black or leave it out entirely. See 'Fan Rated For Mature Audiences', 'Fan Rated For Adults Only'.
BWLGWLGBoys Who Love Girls Who Love GirlsMale slash writers, almost always straight, who have vivid imaginations when it comes to female homoerotic relationships. See 'Girls Who Love Boys Who Love Boys', 'Male Slash', 'Femslash', 'Erotica', 'Smut', 'Pornography'.
BritpickingA term that originated in the 'Harry Potter' fandom, but one that is equally applicable to Babylon 5. In beta-reading, it's the process of reconciling American and British spellings for common words (humor vs. humour, color vs. colour, etc.). The term also refers to substituting American English for the Queen's English and vice versa (trunk vs. boot, apartment vs. flat, etc.). In Harry Potter (set in England), British terms are substituted for American. In B5, an American show, the opposite is often done. Writers with beta reader/editors 'across the pond' will occasionally run into this issue.
BBBruce BoxleitnerPlayed Captain John Sheridan from seasons 2 through 5 of Babylon 5. Most female JDers tend to also be fans of Bruce Boxleitner. Currently, Bruce appears on the American TV series 'Young Blades'. See 'Delenn', 'Mira Furlan', 'John & Delenn Relationshipper', 'Shipper', 'Scarecrow and Mrs King'.
CanonLiterally, a book written while under divine inspiration and approved for inclusion in the Bible. When used in reference to Babylon 5, elements are 'canon' if J Michael Straczynski wrote them, confirmed them or they appeared in an episode or one of the accepted B5 novels. Only JMS or someone he authorizes can develop canon B5 material. With all that said, what constitutes canon within B5 is still sometimes a matter for debate as (much like the true Great Maker) JMS has contradicted himself on occasion. That's his story and he's sticking to it. ;)
CPCanon PairingThere are ten canon pairings in the Babylon 5 series. I included one from Crusade as well: John/Delenn; Susan/Talia; Sinclair/Catherine; Sinclair/Carolyn; Garibaldi/Lise; Franklin/Halloran; Lyta/Byron; Vir/Lyndisty; Londo/Daggair; Londo/Adira; Gideon/Lochley. While considered more or less canon, the below had either ended by the run of the series or would probably have existed had the series run longer (or had Marcus not become a popsicle): Susan/Marcus; Lyta/Zack; John/Anna; John/Lochley. See 'Romance', Shorthand Codes', 'Uncommon Pairing'.
CappingThis term has two definitions. (1) Screen captures - Using a video capture device or computer video software to freeze and save still images from Babylon 5 episodes for use in fanfiction stories, wallpapers, on web sites, etc. Now that B5 is out on DVD, high-quality captures are becoming available. (2) Captioning - Taking still images and inserting fan-inspired quotes or comments in place of character dialogue. A good example of this is Jumpnow's POTD. Captioning can also be comedic. Comic screencaps can be found at See also 'Avatar', 'Gratuitous Image/Icon Posting', 'Rasterbation', 'Fan Art' and 'Fakir'
CastA grouping of characters appearing in a fanfiction story. Unlike the Babylon 5 TV series, where the term 'cast' referred to the actors portraying the characters, the cast of a fanfiction story are the characters themselves.
RYORCaveat LectorThink 'Hannibal Lector'. In cases where there is so much nasty stuff in a fanfiction that the content disclaimer at the top could wind up longer than the fic itself the generic warning 'READ AT YOUR OWN RISK' or a warning to that effect will usually appear instead. Gird your loins and prepare to encounter your squick factor. See Rating.
CDOCease and Desist OrderWhat a fanfiction author or, more likely, the author’s website hosts or ISP get when J Michael Straczynski or Warner Brothers think a fic has stepped over the line into plagiarism. A CDO is an order to remove a fanfic story from the web or face legal action. Since JMS is generally accepting when it comes to fanfic most writers probably won't ever see one, but writers have to be careful that they don't mix their writing in with his. An original fic is OK, but lifting blocks of JMS's text and dropping it into a fanfic story isn't. See 'Copyrights', Trademarks', 'Fair Use', 'Berne Convention'.
AFCelebficReal Live People stories, generally pornography. See Actorfic.
CHChallengeChallenge fanfiction results when a moderator or other interested party puts forward a seemingly unrelated series of plot elements to a group of writers, and requests that each write a story using those elements. The resulting fics are then compared to one another. A typical challenge might be as odd as 'John Sheridan and Lyta Alexander, a jar of honey, Grey 17, and Delenn's Gok' or as mundane as 'A story about Marcus and Ivanova's first sexual encounter'. See 'Ficathon' and 'Round Robin'.

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