I’ve recently learned that my nickname, which my friend Karen bestowed on me back in 1989, is a term of art in fan fiction.
To ‘whump’ a character is to write a fic where awful things happen to him, often at the hands of other characters from the book/show/movie, after which everyone realizes they’ve done him wrong and make amends. Daniel from Stargate SG-1 is the canonical whump!fic target since he’s always dying, getting kidnapped by aliens, or dropped into stray singularities.
It’s amusing to learn this, and explains the odd reaction I get when introduced to fan writers.
I’ve asked how long the term has been in use, and guesses range from a decade to the past 20 years.
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