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Synonyms: fanfic, altfic
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A spec is a term for fanfic. "Spec" is short for "speculative fiction." Someone who writes "specs" is a "spec writer."

Anne Rice

It was most commonly used for fanfic based upon the Vampire Chronicles and other fiction by Anne Rice.

Specs were first posted to alt.books.anne-rice in the early 1990's.

The a very early, well-known spec was Memnoch the Spec.

As of March 1995, there were twelve specs posted to alt.books.anne-rice.

From a 1995 FAQ for alt.books.anne-rice"

**What is a SPEC?

SPEC is short for SPECULATION POST/STORY. On a.b.a-r it is a fanfic story that one of us has done in an effort to help with the wait until the next Anne Rice book comes out and also for the fun of sharing it with others.

**Why is it called a SPEC?

We call it a SPEC because it is not a "real" story. We know that these are Anne's characters and we are in no way trying to usurp her. We're just having fun.

**Why do you put SPEC in the subject heading?

Some people do not like to read the SPECS so as a curtesy to them those of us who post SPECs put SPEC in the subject heading so those who don't want to read them can create a kill file for them. We don't have many rules about SPECs, but this is one of the few that we all have agreed on

**How can I make a kill file?

Check on the news.answers newsgroup for a FAQ on making kill files. That should tell you all you need to know.

**What's the difference between a SPEC and a SILLY SPEC?

A SILLY SPEC is just that: a humorous post not meant to be taken seriously, but a SPEC nonetheless. "Regular" SPECs are stories that their authors wrote in a more serious mindset and they're meant to be taken as actual stories, but still SPECs.

**If I get an idea for a SPEC from someone else's SPEC can I start posting it immediately?

That depends. If it is a serious SPEC and you are planning on using the ideas from that to continue that story yourself, another rule that we have all come to agree on is that you check with the author of that SPEC first to make sure that you won't inadvertently cross plotlines or ideas. The SPECs of Memnoch, Sins and In Death's Dream Kingdom are good examples of this. The three SPECs are all following the same ideas but the authors constantly e-mail each other before posting to make sure that something they put in their SPEC won't ruin something in one of the others' SPECs.

SILLY SPECs [1] are usually up for grabs, but you may want to check with the author first just to be sure.

And, of course, if the author posts a SPEC and says in the post that it's alright to post your own ideas, then go right ahead. [2]

The Spec Writer Massacre

When Anne Rice banned fanfiction based on her books in April 2000, many fan sites were decimated. Many fans refer to this as the Spec Writer Massacre.

Further Reading


  1. An example of a "silly spec" is here.
  2. SPEC FAQ (1995)