From Pluralpedia, the collaborative plurality dictionary
Revision as of 22:37, 13 January 2023 by SOBQJMV (talk | contribs)
fictive (n.)
Other formsfictivity (n.)
Synonymsfictional introject (n.), fiction-sourced (adj.)
Applies toheadmates

Fictives are headmates based on a fictional source. Common sources are media like games and books, but almost anything can be a fictive's source, such as original characters or D&D characters created by other system members.[1]



Fictive was previously thought to have been coined in the soulbonding community some time during or before 2004 as a less spiritual way of referring to soulbonds.[2][3][4] Recent discoveries have led to a much more complicated history.

In 1988, Jay Martin published Who Am I This Time?: Uncovering The Fictive Personality, a book unpacking how some of the greatest artists "[take] on aspects of fictional characters to compensate for deficiencies in themselves."[5] While likely not directly related to the creation of the plural term, it is worth mentioning. Martin's theory of the fictive personality was later explained as "[p]ropos[ing] that the fictive personality is a personality disturbance in which, in the relative absence or weakness of both normal narcissism and object love, the self strives toward total identification with characters in literary, historical, or mass-media fiction."[6]

A Pluralpedia editor found a usage of fictive on a fanfiction site. The work in question was first archived in 1999.[7] On the Fanlore page for fictive, there is a non-plural definition from 2009,[8] and from there one can be led to the Subreality Café.

Subreality Café

The first archive of the writing site Subreality Café, made in 1999, defines fictive in its FAQ as "characters from the stories for whom the Cafe was created."[9] The concept existed before the website existed, as early as 1997.[10]

"If you watched "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," you might get an idea of what fictives are like "off duty." They're like cartoon characters; they can't really die, it only looks that way in stories, but it can sure tick them off! The only thing a fictive truly fears is his/her writer and readers giving up on their story, thus letting them fade away into non-existence again."[9]

In this original definition, fictives are presented as ideas that grow to the point of near sentience. By late 2000, Subreality Café (then Subreality Central) had been redesigned twice, and the writing page now included sections for "Fictives Only," "Fictive/Writer Interactions," and "Fictives About Writers."[11][12] With these changes, it solidified the idea that fictives could act independently of their writers, but these stories were still generally portrayed as pure fiction.

A metafic titled "Ancient History" brings that a bit into question. "Theoretically, the muses of Subreality had been the basis for his muse. At least, he hoped so. He'd hate to think his mind had pulled her out of nowhere." Before long, Harry, the main character, came home to a girl in his room. The fic also brings up his realization that "all" fans were in some way mentally ill or neurotic.[13]

It's impossible to know how much of Subreality Café was fiction, exaggeration, or genuine. The story that originally spawned the concept, "Subreality Hopscotch," seems to have been a purely fictional piece,[14] but all ideas expand. Most of the works are written in third person, which only complicates perspective more. Kielle, the site's creator, says in the author's note of "Subreality Chronicles" that she's not sure she wrote all of it, which lends itself to the plural end of the soulbond spectrum.[15] A work on from September 2000 stands out for its portrayal of fictives meeting in a room in the writer's head.[16] Some former Subreality members made Livejournal posts about their fictives as sentient independently from their Subreality fics.[17][18]

"Walking in the Rain" has an introduction to the Subreality Café that is indispensable to understanding the origins of fictivity. "Muses are the source of a Writer's Inspiration. The Muse may be a good friend of the Writer, or a long-time enemy; either way, Muses are indispensible [sic] to the Writing community. Some Muses are specifically assigned to Writers, while others are simply imaginary friends that the Writer failed to outgrow."[19]


In 2001, plural Sethrenn posted on their LiveJournal about soulbonding and tagged it with "fictivity," though that may have been added later. "There's a limit, I think. Even in fan culture. You can only talk about SBs and characters in your head so far, only take it so seriously, before other people start to back off and write you off as a raving loony. [...] It's interesting how, on a much smaller scale, the backlash in the fan community against SBing in a way mirrors the psych backlash against multiplicity, doesn't it?"[20] User Beverly McIntyre made a separate journal for her fictional character Dakota in early 2001, referencing SC in the post, and tagged it as fictives.[21] An earlier post of hers referenced a "fictive [fictional character]" being mad at her.[22] Subreality has an LJ community and has had it since 2001, which may explain the transition of terminology, especially after Subreality founder Kielle's death in 2005.[23] Fictive was occasionally shortened to "fic."[24]

In May 2002, DeadJournal user dende listed their interests as including "fanfiction, fictives," and "plushies named after fictives."[25] The LiveJournal muse community wildfictives was created in October 2002 and is titled "The Fictional Characters in CK's Head." Individual characters had their own blogs and the description states that they are "all fictional" but "each have our own distinct personalities."[26] They would have long discussions, seemingly between the fictives, about their organization and leadership.[27] One post reads, "Y'know, I'm aware I'm fictional. All the things I've known and done and thought are just a dream someone's dreamt, no more tangible than a few pieces of paper, and some binary data... but I still retain memory."[28] This community may be one of the first existing usages of the term fictive in a plural sense, but there's no way of knowing how much of the content was simply roleplay.

The term was later adopted by other plural groups, but it is unknown when exactly. It is now widely used beyond its original coinage. Some members of the multiplicity LiveJournal community discussed terms describing fictive and adjacent experiences in 2004, describing "fictives" as "oh, media people in your head."[29] One soulbonder using the tag "fictive" in 2005, and a few followed after,[30][31] and if it can be counted, "fictivity" was used in a comment in 2006.[32] There are records of similar concerns about "faking" fictivity in LiveJournal communities as have been prevalent recently.[33][34][35] A multiple on LJ in 2006 said that "there were places online where people didn't talk about multiplicity strictly in terms of trauma," but "other worlds, walk-ins, fictives and the like were rarely discussed at all."[36] In 2009, an introduction in the pagan_multiples community identified many members of a system as fictives, clarifying that they "started as soulbonds."[37] It was added to Fanlore's soulbonding page in October 2010, stating that it was used because soulbond "devolved from its original meaning into something casual and flippant."[38]

Empowered Multiplicity

Pavilion added fictive under their definition of soulbond in mid-2008, which was mirrored on Astraea's Web.[39] At the same time, Astraea's Web altered their page on controversies to include the term fictive, which was defined as "a serious connection to a real presence with a fictional source" and pitted against soulbond.[40] The first archive of Ex Uno Plures's glossary in 2009 redirects fictive to soulbond.[41] An essay archived from 2008 lists terms related to soulbonds, naming, "Soulbonds, Fictives, guests, non-humans, Furries, Otakukin, Otherkin, Therians, imaginary friends, archetypes, in-sourced, out-sourced, characters, role-playing, muses, and whatever else," but notes that fictive is reminiscent of "a fake person."[42] Kasiya's personal site listed it in a 2008 archive as a recent synonym of soulbond that "we personally feel [...] is even worse."[43] It was listed separately on Pavilion by 2009, based on Astraea's mirror,[44] where it was defined as a "person from fictional sources, who is adopted into the mindspace of another person."[45]


Dreamwidth user Tidepools said in 2010 that they were a multiple system with soulbonds/fictives.[46] "Non-fictive" was being used alongside thoughtform on LJ in 2011.[47] Fictive was used in an October 2011 fanfic on Archive Of Our Own, which was also tagged with plurality and multiplicity.[48] A 2012 article about Draven (infamous in some fandom spaces) defined fictive as "like an otherkin where the true, internal identity is a fictional character," with Draven identifying as a "fictive singlet."[49] The Tumblr tags fictive and fictives were seeing usage by multiples and fictionkin in 2011.[50][51]

A multiplicity glossary on Tumblr in 2011 defined fictive as, "A member of a system who originates from a work of fiction. This is a controversial term, and some find it offensive and prefer the term 'soulbond.'"[52] The LivingPlural Tumblr account had a "fictive directory" in 2012[53] and had defined it as "a headmate based on a fictional character" by 2015.[54] Also in 2012, a Tumblr user referred to fictives as being "common among multiples."[55] The Magneton System defined fictives as "just what they sound like: headmates who originated elsewhere and moved in here"[56] or "a headmate based on a fictional character."[57] The blog Fictive Talk, to which fictives could submit messages reaching out to each other, was probably created in 2012.[58]

The Amorpha System on Tumblr made a few posts looking back on the perspectives on fictives, then called other things, in the early 2000s.[59][60] "Actually, we had some longrunning debates in email in 2000, when we were still in the closet and trying to hide ourselves in the soulbonding community, about whether fictives (though they weren’t called fictives then) could be parts of 'real' plural systems."[61] Some plurals expressed concern that plurality was being equated with fictivity and being otherkin.[62] Fictive ask blogs existed in 2013, leading to critiques about stereotypes around fictive roleplaying.[63] Some Tumblr users criticized fictives as "roleplaying extremely hard" and being "uncreative at best."[64] A 2013 kin manifesto was noted as being for "Otherkin, Fictionkin, Otakukin, Fictives, and all and sundry."[65] A short essay was posted to Dreamwidth titled "are therians, otherkin, and fictives real?"[66]

A conversation about a "Tumblr nutcase" referenced "crazy tumblr otherkins and 'fictives'," specifically a definition more accurately labeled as fictionkin,[67] although other conversations had more accurate definitions,[68] and at one point fictive and factive were called "new words for otakukin."[69] Members of the otherkin community in 2012 and 2013 referred to the term fictive as a "new way" to refer to soulbonds.[70] [71] A member of the r/tulpa subreddit claimed they never saw fictive when they lurked in Tulpa spaces in 2013 and 2014.[72]

It's on the first Plurality Resource glossary archive in 2014 as "a headmate who identifies with or believes they are, spiritually or psychologically, a person, creature, or race from fiction,"[73] and it's been on the r/Plural glossary since its inception in late 2014, defined as "a system member who arrives in the system with the form, personality, and possibly psychological backstory."[74] Also in 2014, claims were made that fictive was a fictionkin term for someone who kinned a specific character, as opposed to a species in general, seemingly based on earlier Tumblr definitions that they perceived as being replaced by a plural definition.[75][76] A conversation on about soulbonding included a comment that "a lot of tulpas are also fictives."[77]


A September 2013 work showed that the usage of fictive as a type of muse was still surviving.[78] "Outspacer" was coined as a synonym for the plural term by Lightrayes in 2014.[79] By late 2014, the bastardized term "fictivekin" could be found on Tumblr,[80] as could claims that fictive was coined by the early 2000s multiple community.[81][82] An attempt to make a distinction between fictives and fictionkin stated that, "Fictives are walk-ins. Fictives appear in an already living body in this world fully aware and conscious of their identity as a certain character."[83] In 2017, concerns arose around claims that "non-traumagenic systems aren’t allowed to use 'fictive'."[84] ow, fictive has even entered the medical sphere.[85]

Related Terms

Introject is an umbrella term which includes fictives and factives, which can be considered medical and avoided by certain types of systems.[86] Though some systems consider the term to be open for use in a non-medical context, this term should not be used for systems without their consent.

Factives are headmates based on a non-fictional source, like another person.

Walk-ins and soulbonds can be some types of fictives and were formerly more synonymous.

Fictionkin can also involve considering oneself to be a fictional entity, but can be experienced by singlets. Fictives may identify as fictionkin if they choose. A fableing is a headmate within a median system who is identifies as both, or somewhere between, a fictive and a fictionkin.

Fictive-flux is when a headmate's connection to their source(s) varies over time. A post-fictive is someone who no longer identifies as what they were originally a fictive of.

A semi-fictive is someone who is partially a fictive in some way, while polyfictive or multifictive is someone who is made up of multiple fictional entities. Polyfictives and multifictives could be considered composites.

A system with many, or mostly, fictives can be called fictive-heavy.



  1. Fictives on the Fictionkin Wiki, via Wayback Machine, 2021
  2. The history of the term fictive by LB Lee on Tumblr, reblog by the-truth-is-outthere, c. 2017
  3. A History of the Fictionkin Community by House of Chimeras on Weebly, via Wayback Machine, 2018
  4. MPD/DID Glossary on Astraea's Web, accessed 2022
  5. ‘Fictive Personalities’ : Author Looks for the Character in All of Us by Mike Wyma, about author Jay Martin, in the LA Times, 1988
  6. Clinical contributions to the theory of the fictive personality. by Jay Martin, listed on APA PsycNet, published 1984-1985
  7. When Fictives Attack by Mercutio on the Wolverine and Jubilee Page, via Wayback Machine, published 1999 and accessed 2022
  8. Fictive on Fanlore, accessed 2022
  9. 9.0 9.1 Subreality Central via Wayback Machine, 1999
  10. Subreality Setup Part 1/? by Kielle, in mailing list, 1997
  11. Subreality Central via Wayback Machine, 2000
  12. Subreality Central via Wayback Machine, 2000
  13. Ancient History by Bayeux and Tapestry on the Subreality Cafe, via Wayback Machine, 2001
  14. Subreality Hopscotch by Kielle on the Subreality Cafe, via Wayback Machine, 2001
  15. Subreality Chronicles by Anonymous on Subreality Cafe, via the Wayback Machine, 2001
  16. A Pause, Before by kerithwyn on, 2000
  17. Dear Fictives by dragonbat2006 on LiveJournal and Dreamwidth, 2015
  18. Do anybody else's fictives channel Gloria Swanson? by dragonbat2006 on LiveJournal and Dreamwidth, 2006
  19. Walking In The Rain by D^Knight on Subreality Cafe, via Wayback Machine, 2006
  20. ...There's a limit, I think. by sethrenn on LiveJournal, 2001
  21. Oh, what a beautiful mooorning. Oh, what a beautiful daayyyy. Something something sooooomething... by beverly-mcintyr on LiveJournal, 2001
  22. Hmm. Random thought. by beverly-mcintyr on LiveJournal, 2001
  23. Subreality fanfic group on LiveJournal, created 2001
  24. The Long Road by wanderlustlover on Archive Of Our Own, 2009
  25. dende's profile on DeadJournal, accessed 2022
  26. wildfictives community profile on LiveJournal, accessed 2022
  27. Right, then. Consensus time. by burntfeathers on the wildfictives LiveJournal, 2004
  28. I almost feel like throwing a tantrum today. by the5thwheel on the wildfictives LiveJournal, 2004
  29. Random question from an apparent "oldbie"... by eclectic on the multiplicity LiveJournal, via Wayback Machine, 2004
  30. On Names, Identities, and Soulbonding by our_haven on the multiplicity LiveJournal, 2005
  31. Fictives tag on the multiplicity LiveJournal, accessed 2022
  32. The problems with being fiction-sourced... comment by sethrenn on the multiplicity LiveJournal, 2006
  33. I dunno, maybe if we join this, it'll get people off the idea that we're biased against fictives in some way? by sethrenn on LiveJournal, 2006
  34. lots of things by dreamwriteremmy on LiveJournal, 2011
  35. 101714 by thebrokenarrows on LiveJournal, 2014
  36. FYI, the question about Javascript by sethrenn on LiveJournal, 2006
  37. Persona System introduction by thegathered on the pagan-multiples LiveJournal, 2009
  38. Soulbond (Trope) edit history 3 October 2010 by KTJ on Fanlore
  39. A Suggested Glossary on Pavilion, via Wayback Machine, 2008
  40. Controversial Issues in Multiplicity on Astraea's Web, via Wayback Machine, 2009
  41. Soulbonds, alters, headmates, people, colleagues, where does it end? And which ones should I use? by Hess on Ex Uno Plures, via Wayback Machine, 2009
  42. Essays - Conflicts with the word "Soulbonds" by LeAnne of the Silhouettes on Weebly, via Wayback Machine, written 2008, 2015
  43. Glossary on Kasiya, via Wayback Machine, 2008
  44. Multiple Personality Glossary on Astraea's Web, via Wayback Machine, 2009
  45. A Suggested Glossary on Pavilion, via Wayback Machine, 2012
  46. Nothing to see by tidepools on Dreamwidth, 2010
  47. our terminology by solipsistful on LiveJournal, 2011
  48. The Liberty by TheColorBlue (user-locked) on Archive Of Our Own, 2011
  49. From Otherkin to Transethnicity: Your Field Guide to the Weird World of Tumblr Identity Politics by Max Read on Gawker, 2012
  50. Fictives tag on Tumblr, via Wayback Machine, 2011
  51. Fictive on Tumblr, via Wayback Machine, 2011
  52. glossary on Multiplicity 101 on Tumblr, first archived 2012, accessed 2022
  53. LivingPlural on Tumblr, via Wayback Machine, 2012
  54. We all use different terms. Here’s a guide to them! by LivingPlural on Tumblr, via Wayback Machine, 2015
  55. LivingPlural on Tumblr, via Wayback Machine, 2012
  56. About Us by wearemagneton on Tumblr, via Wayback Machine, 2012
  57. FAQ by wearemagneton on Tumblr, via Wayback Machine, 2012
  58. Fictive Talk on Tumblr, via Wayback Machine (2012)
  59. More thoughts on fictivity, inspired by the last entry by amorpha-system (probably sethrenn) on Tumblr, 2012
  60. We actually got accused of being "anti-fictive" by amorpha-system on Tumblr, 2013
  61. Yelling at books brings back memories. [Riel] by amorpha-system on Tumblr, 2012
  62. UUUUURGH by plures-blog (possibly Ex Uno Plures) on Tumblr (2012)
  63. Hi there! My name’s Jack. by ask-fictive-frost, reblog with comment by somehealthyskepticism, on Tumblr, 2013
  64. I’d like to take a moment to point out the absolute uselessness of fictives on Tumblr. by shutthefuckupotherkin on Tumblr, 2013
  65. Kin Manifesto For 2013 And Beyond by general-jinjur on Tumblr, via Archive Today, 2013
  66. are therians, otherkin, and fictives real by jewelfox on Dreamwidth, via Wayback Machine, 2013
  67. very surreal when a tumblr nutcase is someone you know... on the sock_gryphon_group mailing list, regarding FailFandomAnon on LiveJournal, 2012
  68. Re: ITT: Ships you ship on the sock_gryphon_group mailing list, regarding FailFandomAnon on LiveJournal, 2012
  69. Re: factive/fictive? comment on Were Velociraptors on the FailFandomAnon LiveJournal, 2012
  70. crossposted from my tumblr by overlord-mordax on LiveJournal, 2012
  71. Soul Bonds comment by Mordax-sama (probably overlord-mordax) on the More Than Fiction forum on proboards, 2013
  72. When did the 'tulpa' community (namely, this one) start overlapping a bunch with other 'plural' communities? by u/FriendlyScarecrow on the r/Tulpa subreddit, 2016
  73. Glossary on Plurality Resource, via Wayback Machine, 2014
  74. Glossary edit by Four-Point-Quandary on the r/Plural subreddit, "8 years ago" in Jan 2023
  75. No no no. Fictive is specific character. Fictionkin is fictional species. Omg. on From Fiction, via Wayback Machine, 2014
  76. No no no. Fictive is specific character. Fictionkin is fictional species. Omg. on From Fiction Archive, 2014
  77. The Difference Between Tulpas and Soulbonds? on, comment by FallFamily, 2014
  78. Girl of my Dreams by Tracey_Claybon on Archive Of Our Own, 2013
  79. 101514 by thebrokenarrows on LiveJournal, 2014
  80. headmates don't real on Tumblr, via Wayback Machine, 2015
  81. headmates don't real on Tumblr, via Wayback Machine, 2015
  82. if someone says they’re fictive and don’t like to use the term fictionkin for themselves, respect that. reblog with comment by bitcheshavebirthdays on Tumblr, 2014
  83. Fictionkin vs Fictives by FromFiction on Tumblr, 2015
  84. Apparently, the newest thing going around is that “fictive” is the same as “fictional introject” by multiplicity-is-a-spectrum on Tumblr, 2017
  85. Fictive Alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder by Crystalie Matulewicz on HealthyPlace, 2018
  86. A Suggested Glossary on Pavilion