The Official TFN Archive Thread: Jan update!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by TFN_Archive_Sock, Sep 10, 2007.

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  1. TFN_Archive_Sock TFN Archive Editors and Reviewer Sock

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    [color=8D1A4F]Welcome to the Official Thread for[/color] [color=8D1A4F]TheForce.Net's Fan Fiction Archive[/color][color=8D1A4F]![/color]
    This is where you can post questions, meet the editors and reviewers in an informal environment, see Archive updates, and participate in Archive-related discussions!


    Let's get started. You might be wondering:

    [color=8D1A4F]What is the Archive? [/color]
    The Archive is a juried archive of selected Star Wars fanfic. Unlike fics posted on the JC and other sites, stories submitted to the Archive must undergo a reviewing process to assure that they are of the highest caliber possible, both technically and creatively. We like to boast that the Archive holds some of the best fic available on the web. ;)


    [color=8D1A4F]How is the Archive related to the JC? [/color]
    Both sites fall under the banner of TheForce.Net, but are not completely connected. In 2001, TF.N decided that, like fan art and films, fan fiction deserved a special section of the site. They recruited a number of prominent JC ficcers to help the project, as JC fanfic was already widely popular. Since then, many authors have been encouraged to post and have posted at both. However, neither takes responsibility for the other, and they each follow different rules and mandates.


    [color=8D1A4F]How do I join? Is my JC account linked to the Archive?[/color]
    You will need to sign up with a contributor account. You can use your JC alias or sign up with a completely new name. With an account you can not only submit your fics, but also leave signed feedback on other people's stories, sign up for the beta-readers' email list, or apply to become a reviewer (we're always looking for fresh faces!) .


    [color=8D1A4F]Where can I find more information?[/color]
    Well, you can ask us here in this thread :p But if you don't want to, there are a few places you can check if you have a question or are curious about Archive practices and procedures:
    • The Official Archive FAQ: Basic information about the Archive.

    • Guidelines: This official guide will tell you acceptable file formats for submission, how to rate your story, and what we're looking for, in general, in a submitted fic.

    • Unofficial TFN Fanfic Archive FAQ (lovingly entitled UFAQ by the staff): This important article should answer pretty much anything you could think to ask, and some things you don't!

    • Rejected!: LLL's article on being rejected by the Archive. Insight into what we mean when we feel we can't archive your fic. In sum: we still love you [face_love]

    • Archive Articles: Some authors have written other helpful articles on everything from grammar to OCs.


    [color=8D1A4F]What is this thread for? [/color]
    • Communication: We're all dedicated fanfic enthusiasts, and many of us are writers ourselves. We enjoy reading the fics authors submit, but the nature of the submission process often leaves us unable to speak to the authors on a one-on-one basis. Here we can change that. We're always around to answer questions from an author at any stage of the submission process and clarify any questions or concerns about the Archive in general.

    • In between questions, we'll post notices of official updates. The Archive is updated roughly once every month, but is always dependent on how many fics are ready to be archived. Rather than having to continuously check the main page for updates, you can simply look at notices posted here.

    • Occasionally the Archive hosts a poll. Here will be the place you can di
  2. TFN_Archive_Sock TFN Archive Editors and Reviewer Sock

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    [color=8D1A4F]Archive Staff [/color]
    Contact id for email: 105

    [color=8D1A4F]Editors[/color]
    The editors are responsible for keeping the Archive running. They HTML code and post accepted fics, read reviewers' notes on each fic submitted, mail out the rejection and acceptance letters, upload artwork, and edit contributor data. They also serve as tie-breakers if the two reviewers reviewing a fic disagree. They keep the site and the mailing lists free of spammers and trolls, create the polls, and keep the main page updated. Because of their status, they post under VIP red names on the JC. If you have a question about where your fic is in the process, the Archive in general, or have a more technical problem such as a lost password, they are the ones to contact.

    Gabri_Jade
    Reviewer Since: May 2005-Dec. 2007, returned Dec. 2009
    Editor Since: Sept. 2006-Dec. 2007, returned Dec. 2009
    Archive Contact Id: 2693
    Preferred Method of Contact: PM. I don't mind e-mail, but sometimes my junk mail filter gets overzealous and I miss things.
    Take Feedback Requests: Yes
    Feedback Policy: Ask, and ye shall receive. I usually take brief notes on what stands out to me, both good and not so good, as I review a story, then expand on those notes in case of feedback requests.
    About Me: Fanfic makes me happy. [face_love] L/M stories are what got me into fanfic in the first place and are still my favorites, but I enjoy stories in any timeframe or genre and featuring any character, including OCs. In real life, I'm a quiet introvert who's happiest when surrounded by books and cats, is addicted to Bob Dylan's music and Ogden Nash's poetry, and buys far more shoes, purses, and gel pens than anyone really needs. [face_blush]
    Why I Joined the Archive: Because I delight in good writing, and get a nerdy thrill from proofreading. :-B

    Pallas-Athena
    Reviewer Since: December 2006
    Editor Since: January 2008
    Archive Contact Id: 553
    Preferred Method of Contact: PM. I have hotmail, so please be forewarned that, if you send an email, it may accidentally get junked before reaching me. :oops:
    Take Feedback Requests: Yes
    Feedback Policy: Most often I like to simply tell authors my reason(s) for rejection, based off of my notes to the editors. I love, however, to work with authors to make corrections and will beta for re-submittal in certain circumstances, so please ask! :)
    About Me: I started writing A/P fic when I first joined the JC. Since then I've tried to branch out into things like OC fics and, most recently, Kotor fic. I've learned though, since joining the Archive, to read pretty much anything. In real life, I'm a student studying ... something (I change my mind constantly, you see 8-}).
    Why I Joined the Archive: Like many ficcers, I was wary of the Archive for quite some time (damn rejections :p), but after talking to some of the Archive people, I decided to give it another chance when I was asked to apply as a reviewer. I've really enjoyed, since then, being able to read some of the really great fics that have been submitted. :D But I especially love helping people to improve their writing and to better understand the Archive's processes.





    [color=8D1A4F]Reviewers[/color]
    The reviewers are responsible for reading and making decisions on fics that are submitted. While reviewing, they check each fic for technical proficiency and quality of writing. Once they reach a decision, they inform the editors in the form of a review.

    Andre_Randos
    Archive Name: Andre
    Reviewer Since: September 2008
    Arch
  3. TFN_Archive_Sock TFN Archive Editors and Reviewer Sock

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  4. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I have a generalized question. What sort of waiting period is appropriate?
  5. Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor

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    For what? A decision on a fic? That's informally two weeks. But, of course, that's going to vary depending on your fic's length and how many fics are waiting in the queue before it. Sometimes, people have gotten fics back within a few days, when they're really short. I would say that two weeks would be the average for a vignette 10-15 pages.

    Unfortunately, for longer fics (40+ pages), the wait can be much longer. This is not only due to the time it takes to read but also the fact that many reviewers will hesitate to claim something if they're unsure if they can read through it in a timely manner. One of the bigger unofficial no-nos is to sit on a fic. So we let the fic stay unclaimed in hopes that someone will have the time to read it quicker than we could.

    So, for my advice, I would say feel free to bug us after two weeks on a vignette and wait a little longer on longer stuff (maybe a week for every ten pages?). Also keep an eye on your author statistics. That will show you how many reviewers are reviewing your fic at the moment. If it goes from being unclaimed to claimed, then your fic's moving along nicely. If your fic has been claimed for an unreasonable amount of time yet still no decision, you really ought to contact us, because that means that someone's sitting on it. It may be perfectly unintentional, like the reviewer was unexpectedly swamped with DRL. In any event, your note will serve as a reminder that the reviewer either get to reviewing or unclaim it, so that someone else can do it.
  6. obaona Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2002
    star 4
    Pallas-Athena is quick like the wind, posting as I was composing. ;) Welcome to the thread, Ish. :)
  7. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I am asking because I may be submitting a 1000-page epic very soon and wanted to know if there was a "standard period."
  8. Jaya Solo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 1999
    star 5
    My experience was that I waited a good 3-4 months before I heard the final word on one of my stories. Hopefully it's better now than last year... [face_worried]
  9. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Well, I've seen it vary wildly, so was curious if there's a point at which you start asking if they're really going to finish reviewing, such as 4 months for a 3-page vignette.
  10. obaona Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2002
    star 4
    Ah, yes - epics definitely take a while, I know that from both sides (reviewing and submitting). :p I think we have gotten better about getting fics through the process - right now, our queue is virtually empty. Only the editors know what point in the process all the stories are at, though. :p

    Four months for a three page vignette is definitely too long. At that point, you should bug one of the editors - they're the only ones who can see everything (which reviewer has/hasn't made a decision, splits, etc). Alas, we're human and sometimes let things slide by accident. I noticed when we were filling out our bios that pretty much everyone said to poke if they didn't reply to requests by authors, though - so definitely don't be afraid to poke and ask questions about your fic. ;)

    Getting things back to the authors in a reasonable time is something that we know is an important issue, and we're always working on and asking ourselves 'how are we doing?'. Sometimes, though (especially for epics) it just takes longer - there's more to consider in reviewing than when just reading for enjoyment, and that especially makes a difference in reviewing epics. :)
  11. Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor

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    What oba said ;)

    I would add that there can be a definite difference in time depending on a fic's quality. Some are easily decided while others blur the line. Some reviewers (newbies especially) may not comfortable in making a decision. Obviously this is exemplified by fics going into splits, which take even longer. So in some cases, no news can be good news.

    I am asking because I may be submitting a 1000-page epic very soon and wanted to know if there was a "standard period."

    I think LLL now has the longest story ever accepted. Perhaps she can share how long it took (plus, fics written by reviewers often take doubly long). To give an honest opinion, something that long would probably take up to a year (completely reasonable if, on average, 10 pages come back in two weeks). It sort of sucks, but you have to remember that reviewers are reading critically and usually taking notes. It can take as long as a beta.

    I don't really have to tell you this, Ish, because you're an accomplished writer, but just as a more general note to those thinking of submitting epics: make sure you have had a thorough beta. I've read epics that have had to be rejected for silly little things like pov shifts and grammar. Looking at how much time the author has put into the fic and how much time they have to wait for us to review it, it's something that I personally hate seeing. :(
  12. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    How much leeway do you give mistakes in a story? Is an epic more likely to be given some slack than a short story or vignette? I know POV changes are usually a reason for rejection but how much? Would an epic with some POV changes be more likely to be accepted than a vignette or doesn't it matter?
  13. ardavenport Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2004
    star 4
    Hmmmmm, this is odd, but if I click on the link in this part of the first post (the unofficial FAQ):


    Unofficial TFN Fanfic Archive FAQ (lovingly entitled UFAQ by the staff): This important article should answer pretty much anything you could think to ask, and some things you don't! [/li]


    I get an error message: The system cannot find the file specified.

    But if I paste the actual link into my browser:


    http://fanfic.theforce.net/articles.asp?action=view&ID=37


    I get the unofficial FAQ page.

    Actually, I have run into this problem before with the Archive. I click on a link on an Archive page and get an error message. But if I have that link bookmarked, I might still be able to get to it. Loose links?

  14. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    Thanks for the advice. I have a very picky beta.
  15. Persephone_Kore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2006
    star 4
    That can really vary. An epic will probably get away with having a higher number of mistakes in it than a vignette simply because that boils down to a lower proportion of problems. Ten typos and two POV wobbles in a hundred thousand words will seem less egregious than ten typos and two POV wobbles in one thousand words. ;)

    On the other hand, it's possible for a problem to occur once and look trivial in a vignette, but become really, really prominent if repeated over the course of an epic. I'm still writhing over having misspelled "Millennium" in one very short fic, though luckily I caught it before it was actually put up. But if I'd referred to the "Millenium Falcon" five times in five thousand words, I imagine the story would have been rejected.

    There's also the likelihood that a vignette will rely proportionately more on wordcraft. You can develop things in an epic that can only be hinted at in a vignette, but you can do things in a vignette that would drive both author and reader insane if extended over the course of an epic. So the aspects of writing that seem to be most essential to a particular story are the ones that are likely to get a lot of weight in reviewing. If your epic's plot and overall effect depend heavily on what specific characters know and perceive, even a few little POV wobbles will detract a lot more than a similar number of unsignaled shifts in a story where subjectivity is less of a factor.
  16. Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor

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    star 4
    The most simplistic answer to that is that it's a percent correct sort of thing. A 100 page epic that has one error per page will be treated the same way as 2 page vignette with one error per page.

    What that treatment is is a more complicated matter. It depends on who gets your fic and the nature of the mistake. I, for example, find myself looking at bad grammar as a sign of deeper underlining problems with the fic. So if there's a bad error in the first sentence of a fic, my expectations lower immensely. Chances are, if an author can't tell the difference between it's/its, she is not going to understand the nature of plot structure. I also mark in my mind a distinction between error and typo. If the author writes through instead of though, but uses them correctly elsewhere, I let it slide. But if Jedis is the plural for Jedi throughout the fic, it's a problem (especially when it is with SW vocabulary, as it shows an unfamiliarity with the fandom).

    In epics, however, problems like that can run through the fics, and become repetitive. If you say Jedis once in your two page vig, it can be quickly fixed before archiving. But if you use Jedis 50 times in your 100 page fic, it is unacceptable.

    As for POV, it's hard to say. Unless the slips are really minute and hard to see (or somehow stylistic), it's unlikely that either an epic or vig with just a few would get in. The archive is pretty picky about this. And because, unlike grammar, POV mistakes are not definite or easily repairable, we can't just give out an acceptance and ask you to fix it.


    Edit: PK stole ma thunder! :p
  17. obaona Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2002
    star 4
    ardavenport - I clicked on that link maybe ten times, and didn't run into that problem. [face_thinking] Perhaps it's a browser/website compatibility problem? (Yahoo mail used to crash both IE and Firefox when I clicked links - until I reinstalled Windows, when it was magically fixed. :p ) Have you tried another browser?

    If it's a problem with the site, I'm not sure there's a lot that can be done about it - we don't really have a tech person at the Archive at present, unfortunately. Perhaps the editors can answer that question.
  18. ardavenport Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2004
    star 4
    It could be a browser problem and those are harder to find if you can't get the problem to repeat. I'm using Firefox and I've just been working around it.

    If you get a tech person, let us know!

    Another question: How long should it take for an accepted story to appear in the Archives?

    I got the e-mail accepting a short story of mine last March. I sent the cover art that week. Actually, I think I sent it twice since I sent the wrong art file the first time. I was just thinking that 6 months was a little long.
  19. dianethx Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 1, 2002
    star 6
    I don't want to bother my beta readers if I thought the POV problems would kick it out anyway (and frankly, I've tried to fix them and they're not fixable without a major and potentially impossible overhaul). Thanks.
  20. Gabri_Jade VIP

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    Nov 9, 2002
    star 5
    PK and Atty gave excellent answers here. :) Like they said, when it comes to the number of errors, the proportion is the important thing. When it distracts the reviewer, it'll distract readers too, and such a story is much more likely to get rejected.

    The type of mistake is extremely important as well. Like Atty's example of the POV shifts, some mistakes need bigger fixes than others. A few forgotten punctuation marks are far more likely to get leeway in an acceptance because the editors can fix that fairly easily when we're coding a story. (Quick caveat here: That doesn't mean that the editors will act as third betas and fix all of a story's errors, by any means, so please don't assume that we'll do so. I'm talking about high quality stories that the reviewers really want to accept, with very few and very minor fixes. Anything beyond that is likely to get rejected and fixes are up to the author.) However, things like POV shifts, or characterization, or narrative flow, or plot, etc. - those things are the foundation of a story, and something that only the author can take care of. A story that reviewers absolutely loved save for one spelling error will almost certainly get through and the editors will fix the mistake before archiving; a story that reviewers absolutely loved save for one really glaring glitch in the narrative flow will almost always be rejected.

    Just one correction, Atty: And because, unlike grammar, POV mistakes are not definite or easily repairable, we can't just give out an acceptance and ask you to fix it.

    We give out conditional acceptances so rarely that I'd be more comfortable saying that we never do. Earlier in the Archive's history, that did happen on occasion, but it was decided that it was neither effective nor in line with the principles of the reviewing process. As I mentioned above, if the error in question isn't something technical that an editor can quickly and easily correct, the story will be rejected and have to be resubmitted for another consideration, should the author wish it.

    ardavenport, like oba, I had no problems with the link. [face_thinking] I also have to admit that I'm definitely the least tech-savvy editor, so if there was a problem, I'd be pretty useless. :p Generally when the Archive gets technical attention, Herman's the lucky one who gets to chat with Anthony, so he might have a better idea than I do. :)


    Edit: ardavenport, saw your second post after I'd posted.

    Another question: How long should it take for an accepted story to appear in the Archives?

    General answer: It depends on when the cover art is ready, how much coding a story needs, and how much time the editors have. A longer story or one with many italics takes longer to code, and while it happens fairly rarely, sometimes all three editors get walloped with DRL at once and coding gets put on hold for a while. Generally speaking, though, once we get the cover art done and have an artist's name to put into the coding, it shouldn't take long for a story to be archived.

    Specifically regarding your story, I'll PM you. Something definitely fell through the cracks there.

    Just for general knowledge: If anyone has a specific question regarding the length of time your story is taking, either in the reviewing process or in archival, by all means ask us. We don't mind discussing these matters, and sometimes we miss something and don't realize it until the author pokes us. :)
  21. JadeSolo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2002
    star 6
    I have a question: Why did you reject my story!!1!!?1!?!!

    Kidding! Thank you for putting the time into this thread. It's very helpful!

    So now, my real question. The Submission Guidelines say:

    If EU characters are used, they should be in tune with their presentation in the books (as the fanfic author has seen them), or have good reason to behave differently.

    Can you explain what the part in bold means? What you would look for in a story? I don't mean to argue about "AU" vs. "canon" characterization, by the way. :p I was just trying to think of a situation where an author's interpretation of an EU character is not quite what you see at face value in print, but also not quite AU. Do you have general guidelines for AU behaviour, or do you just make sure that the behaviour fits within the context of the story?

    I hope that makes sense. I suppose these questions could apply to film characters as well, but EU characters get all those interesting author commentaries to further develop author interpretations. :p
  22. Herman Snerd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 1999
    star 6
    Not having written that, my initial guess is that the bold passage refers to what EU books the author has read.


    As the EU has grown the characterizations have changed - drastically in some instances. For someone like me who gave up the EU quite a long time ago, I'm more likely to write the Solo kids the way I remember them from the last books I read, not from the most recently published EU novel.
  23. Gabri_Jade VIP

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    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2002
    star 5
    Ah, characterization. Almost as intangible a thing as narrative. And that bolded part confuses me, too. :p

    Characterization can be a tricky thing to judge, there's no doubt about it. Like Herman says, characterization has changed a lot in the EU itself - as a Mara fan, you probably don't want to get me started about how wildly her characterization can vary even from book to book. :p And every fanfic author is going to see things just a little bit differently than the others, too. What I personally do when reviewing is try to view the character in the light of their original source: For the movie characters, their appearances in the movies, for the EU characters, the way their creating author wrote them. And even that allows for wildly differing interpretations at times, from a Dark Luke to a Jedi youngling Mara and everything in between.

    I honestly don't know how much sense I'm making; hopefully one of our more eloquent reviewers will chime in with their viewpoint. But I guess the bottom line is that no, we don't have any real guidelines for AU behavior. It's something each reviewer has to decide for themselves.

    The safety net against potential individual disagreements on characterization is the reviewing process itself. Our staff is incredibly diverse, with correspondingly diverse preferences and areas of "specialization", if you will, which means that each story reviewed gets a pretty fair shake between two of us. Also, if a story I reviewed is submitted, rejected, and resubmitted, I'll nearly always not take it the second time around, which lets the story be viewed by fresh eyes; I think most of us do the same.

    If your story is rejected for characterization, my advice would be to contact both reviewers (and the editor, if it was a split) and get their reasoning. What did they see that they felt was out of character, and why did they feel that way? Do they have any suggestions as to how the characterization should be tweaked? Listen to them, and make some changes if you think their points are valid. Run the story by a beta again, maybe a different one than before, perhaps someone who's known as a good writer of or particular fan of that character. Resubmit the story, knowing that in all likelihood, two different reviewers will look at it this time around.

    And I know I talk too much, but I really want to say this: If you strongly disagree with the reviewers' reasonings as far as characterization (or anything else), by all means stick to your guns and resubmit anyway. Maybe the next two reviewers will think it's great - and even if your story doesn't wind up being archived, you'll feel better about your story if you do what you think is best for it. I've so often seen people get really upset about a story being rejected from the Archive. That's a natural reaction, but really, don't be too worried about it. The Archive is a great fic repository and we're proud of it, but it's not the be all and end all of fanfiction, and not getting a story archived does not mean that it's an awful story or you're an awful writer or that readers won't love that story in another venue. Write what you love, the way you love it, and if it doesn't quite work for Archive puposes, don't let that discourage you. Striving to improve is always great, but you being happy with your writing is vastly more important than the Archive being happy with it. :)


    Edit: Clarity.
  24. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    I am asking because I may be submitting a 1000-page epic very soon and wanted to know if there was a "standard period."

    Oh, man. You've got me beat by ... umm ... *goes to check* ... 486 pages.

    Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is 514 pages long in manuscript form. I finished it in March of 2006, did some minor surgery, and submitted it in June. It was over a year before I heard that it was accepted, with reviewers claimin' and unclaimin' it all over the place. :oops: BUT, I am staff, and staff submissions get lower priority. And the subject matter isn't for everyone.

    Heaven knows when it is going to go up, because it is full of italics near the end, and it's been tough to get cover art that I think adequately reflects the subject matter. I don't hound cover artists, because they are after all donating their time. Plus ... I've been doing substantial rehauling on this story for reasons not related to TFN, and need to swap some chapters for their "new and improved" versions. If the editors don't kill me. [face_worried]

    SO, I'd say my wait time to hear if it got in or not is pretty much on par; but I wouldn't go by my acceptance-to-archival time at all.
  25. Jedi Trace SouthEast RSA

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Dec 15, 1999
    star 6
    I?m not eloquent, by any stretch of the imagination, but I?ll chime in to say that I will buy into AU characterization if it is strong, consistent, and plausible within the setting of the story. I think what we don?t want to see is an OC with a canon character's name stuck on it. ;)


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