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Fiction written by fans of a particular book, TV series, film (series) etc, using characters and settings from the fictional universe. Some fanfic writers turn pro, others merely lighten their shabby little unmemorable lives by basking in reflected glory.

Star Wars and Star Trek have turned fanfic into business models.

Authors' reactions to fanfics vary. Some see it as a harmless way for fans to express their love of a series. Others dislike the idea of someone using their copyrighted characters. A few have even gone so far as to use legal means to remove fanfiction of their works from the internet.

Categories include:

Mary Sue
The author has a deputy character in the story who can resolve all problems #just like that.#
Crossover fiction
Mix-and-match universes. Darth Vader meets the Daleks in Mordor - why not?
Fanfic is much more equal opportunity relationship wise than other categories
If any two entities are physically capable of having a relationship, they will. If a fanfic has the relationship between the characters as their mein focus, it is called a "shipping fic" ("shipping" as an "relationship").
Erotic fiction in which the writer cannot decide which of two male characters she fancies, so has them both together at once.
The author continues the story of a work they feel ended prematurely (Firefly, anyone?)
Alternate universe
The same story, just with something different in the setting. Popular choices include "___ but they're all in high school" and "___ but the genders are swapped".
Real people fanfics
No, I'm not joking. See for yourself.