It lies, man. It lies like a dawg!
If you're one of the authors who has been having problems with losing line breaks in stories, and you are coding your stories like this:
This is the first paragraph.[br][br]This is the second paragraph.
that might explain the problem. The software removes all the [br] tags and instead puts its own in wherever you've hit return instead. Because the above example doesn't have any hard returns in it, it ends up looking like one paragraph when it's added to the site.
If you're coding them like this:
This is the first paragraph.[br][br]
This is the second paragraph.[br][br]
then it will still look fine, because although it takes out the [br] tags, there are hard returns between paragraphs, where it then puts its own [br] tags. [p] tags will also work fine, but again if you are leaving space between paragraphs as well, you'll end up with extra break lines between paragraphs. Because it's just awkward like that. Apparently.
This is why we suggest that for preference you use text files (with some amends for italics and bold) all the way, baby! And Notetab, because it rocks like a rocking thing.
Now, Leah and I pride ourselves on getting to and validating stories as quickly as possible, despite the fact that we both have other commitments like jobs and families. It's very, very rare that a story is in the queue for more than twenty four hours and where they have been it's been unavoidable - either we've not been able to get online or there's something that Leah and I need to discuss before we can validate it. And even those stories are usually validated within 36 to 48 hours of submission.
Unfortunately, Leah and I still regularly receive mails from people wanting to know why their stories have not been validated, even though their stories haven't been in the queue a full day by that point. For some reason 16 hours seems to be a favourite length of time between submitting and chasing us. I have no idea why. I assume it's one of the unknowable mysteries of the universe.
Maybe there's a rip in the fabric of space and time.
I'm not actually singling anyone out - because as I said this happens a lot or I wouldn't be saying anything :) - but can I please ask people to be a little more patient about the whole submission process? While I'm thrilled that you're all so keen to have your stories added to the archive, mailing us so soon after submission is not going to get your story validated any faster. All that happens is that when we finally get a chance to get online in the evening and check our mail to see if any new stories have been submitted, your mail is sitting there right alongside the new submissions notification. And we can't validate it any earlier than that because neither of us has a time machine :) (although that would be really, really cool).
So, please, give it at least three or four days before you mail us. That way I won't have to release the flying monkeys and frankly that just gets messy for everyone :)
We've had some issues with authors not receiving mails, including rejection letters, because AOL had misidentified them as spam.
As an archive, we understand that the works we host are derivative and may infringe upon copyrights that are held by others. This is a risk that we have accepted. Most TV and Movie copyright holders are aware that fanfiction is not for profit and is written from love of the show rather than a desire to infringe on something to which they hold the rights. We are not, however, prepared to accept the risk that comes with authors quoting directly and extensively from copyrighted works, with or without disclaimers in place. Such quotage is in direct competition with the copyright holder's ability to sell song sheets, etc, and may be perceived as a threat to their income, with predictable results.
We don't, however, want to follow other sites in banning songfics completely. In fact, we haven't to date included anything in the rules about songfics at all, trusting to the judgement of our authors on what is, or is not, 'fair use' of lyrics (i.e. permitted quoting without infringing on copyright). Unfortunately, we have had a number of submissions recently:
- that have quoted most or all of the lyrics of a particular song
- where a large percentage of the story - in some cases more than half of the content - are actually directly quoted song lyrics written by someone else and are not the fanfiction author's own work.
In these cases we have had no choice but to reject these stories as it falls well outside our understanding of fair use, and we will continue to do so.
Could I therefore please ask all of our authors to be more careful about the stories that they submit and ensure that:
- the quoting of song lyrics is kept to a minimum. Consider them the fanfiction equivalent of hot chilli powder and use sparingly :)
- the vast majority of the story should be in the author's own words (and this would include not submitting stories that consist largely or significantly of dialogue from the shows themselves rather than the fanfiction author's own words).
This may mean a delay before dealing with submissions, so please be patient. And by patient, I mean 'please do not mail me within hours of submission wanting to know why your story has not been validated yet.' I do occasionally need sleep, you know :D
Just some advance warning :)
If you've read our rules when you joined the archive, or whenever you've uploaded a story (and we would hope you have :)), then you will be aware of the fact that while works in progress (WIPs) may be posted to the archive, we do say that in order to stay there, they should be regularly updated (Rule 7).
Now that the archive has been open for a year, we thought it was time to review the stories archived with us and ensure that they comply with this rule.
What this means is that starting after the holidays in January, Alyse and I will be and I will start identifying languishing WIPs.
Languishing WIPs mean all stories not marked completed where a new chapter has not been added in more than four months (which is a month longer than the rule). This does not include series made up of individual, completed stories (though we urge you to mark such series as 'Complete,' since each story in that series is complete).
Once we've identified these stories, we will mail the authors. The authors will then have two weeks to mark their stories as completed (if they are, but weren't indicated as such) or add a new chapter. After that, the WIPs will be removed from the archive. With the holidays, this should give authors an extra month to work on their stories.
(Please note: If we remove your WIP, you are more than welcome to resubmit it once you have added new chapters or completed it. We will be happy to re-archive them.)
So, this is a very, very good time to make sure that all your finished stories are marked 'Complete,' so they don't look like WIPs. You can do this by logging in, going to Your Account, and clicking on Edit/Delete Stories. Once there, you'll see 'Completed: no' (or 'yes) next to the title of each story. Click on the 'no' and it will become 'yes,' indicating that your story is complete.
Alyse and I will be doing this periodically from now on, so please be sure that you update your WIP stories regularly, and mark finished stories as 'Complete.' If you need any help with this, there are some instructions on the help page.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact myself or Alyse, either via e-mail or by leaving a comment for this news item.
However, in that year Leah and I have not had a break - even during holidays we have checked frequently to make sure that stories are validated - and we've got to the point where we need to recharge our batteries, write our own stories and catch up on sleep :)
Consequently, we're taking a little time off. The archive will therefore be closed to new submissions until 1 December 2005. You will still be able to sign up for an account, receive and respond to reviews and edit current stories. The only thing you will not be able to do is add new stories or new chapters to existing stories.
There are some stories in the queue awaiting formatting edits by the authors who submitted them, and we will add these to the archive when the changes have been made. But we would appreciate it if any problems with the archive could wait until the 1 December, unless they are significant enough to harm your enjoyment of the archive.
We'll see you on 1 December.
While we realise that everyone who submits to the archive is a fan - and we're all in favour of encouraging new writers to stretch themselves and to jump on in to the fanfiction water - at the moment we seem to be rejecting far more stories than we are accepting due to simple grammatical errors or typos that could, and should, be picked up by running a spellcheck never mind by a beta reader.
We want to remain as encouraging as possible, and we really don't enjoy telling people that their work can't be added to the archive, so please, if you're new to writing, or even if you know that there are any areas that you can improve in, seek a beta reader before you submit your stories rather than waiting until it is rejected.
Also, I would remind even those authors who have had stories already added to the archive that while we do try to be more lenient towards newer authors, by the time you've submitted a few stories we do expect you to have improved to the point where you have no difficulty in meeting our minimum standards. We have had quite a few instances recently where this improvement hasn't been made and we've been left in the unenviable position of having to reject stories by established authors.
I would also like to point out that since this post is about grammar and spelling it is inevitable - in fact it is an immutable law of the Universe - that it will contain at least one (and probably several) typos or other errors. Please feel free to point and mock when you find them.
Thanks to everyone who voted for us.
So if you'd like to offer your services as a beta reader, please consider joining wraithbeta (like I was going to be able to resist making that pun).
Please note that if you have posted a completed story to the archive, it is important to mark the story as 'complete.' You can do this by following these simple directions:
Log in to your account:
- choose 'Edit/Delete stories'
- go to the story in the list. Next to the name of each story is 'Completed: no'
- click on 'no' and it will change to 'yes'.
Stories marked as incomplete may not get reviewed, as many readers don't like reading WIPs. Also, incomplete stories won't show up as search results.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
This functionality will make it even more important for authors to remember to change the status of their stories to 'complete' when they are finished, as Leah said in her last post.
Just a friendly FYI from the co-archivist, to help make your fic-searching lives easier. :-)