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. Gabri_Jade VIP

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    You're eloquent enough for me, Trace; you said exactly what I meant, and more concisely. [:D]

  2. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I have a very widespread question that I've noticed other people have issues with, so am submitting from the unhappy masses who puzzle over it:

    You submit an all-OC story and get rejected for characterization issues. Does that mean it has inconsistent characterization or just that the reviewers don't like the OCs?

    Now that that's over, this is an immensely helpful thread.
  3. Gabri_Jade VIP

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    Well, personally I can't recall having rejected an all-OC fic for characterization, but I can see how it might happen. Inconsistent characterization is definitely a possibility, as is weak characterization; for example, perhaps from the established back story within the fic itself, the reviewer isn't convinced that a character would behave the way they do later in the fic. As with any other rejection slip that mentions characterization, I strongly encourage the author to talk to the reviewers about it. Nuts and bolts stuff like spelling and grammar are straightforward; you get a letter mentioning those and you know what to look for on the next editing run. With more nebulous stuff like characterization and narrative, it's a lot harder. It's always worth seeing why a reviewer decided the way they did.

    As far as reviewers not liking the OCs in the story, lots of great characters in literature are thoroughly unlikable, yet add to the story. Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice springs to mind; he makes me cringe, but think what the overall story would lose without him. Disliking a character doesn't automatically make one dismiss the story, or even the character. If a reviewer didn't like a particular OC so much that they thought it would interfere with their reviewing, they always have the option of unclaiming the fic and letting someone else make a decision.

    More generally speaking, those who don't care for OC stories are encouraged to not claim them at all. That's across the board; if a reviewer really dislikes any particular character or type of fic, they're not supposed to claim them. For one thing, it's not particularly fair to the authors and stories. If you already know you don't like OCs, how likely is it that you'll be truly objective? And for another, none of us particularly want to sit around reading fics we don't like. :p Fortunately, we really do have a wide variety of preferences within the staff, so there's always someone who likes any type of story we get. :)

    Glad the thread is helpful. :D
  4. MariahJade2 Former Fan Fiction Archive Editor

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    To put things in simpler terms, for example, if your OC is a Sith, he/she needs to behave in a manner that would be recognizable as a sith within the AU premise, and if they behave differently, the reasons should be established within the story. It is one of the reasons you might see characterization listed in an OC rejection. Consistency in the character is another.


    This also goes back to Jade Solo's question regarding the guidlines. That's what I thnk they were intending to get across.
  5. TKeira_Lea Jedi Grand Master

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    Oct 10, 2002
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    Ths question actually ties into almost all the other questions brought up before. Typically as reviewers we try to pick stuff that interests us. Sometimes with the OC stories, it may not grab any particular reviewer's attention immediately. Hence, one reason a story will sort of stick in the queue. That's not to say a story is bad; it just hasn't grabbed a reviewer. As mentioned before, if you don't see two reviewers in your story status after a few weeks then by all means send a note to the editors. They're the bosses and they don't shirk from shaking a stick at us reviewers from time to time to get us hopping.

    On another note, if you have two reviewers on your story then typically those two reviewers have committed to a timely turn around. Sometimes we end up with a split and then it's sort of like going back to a new queue manned by only the editors. So now instead of a large pool of reviewers one of our three editors has to read the submission and render a final decision. The longer the story, the longer this process can become.

    Back to the question, characterization covers a wide range of issues in writing. The only way to get a specific answer is to ask for reviewer feedback. You have to remember this is a subjective process. As has been said before, if a reviewer just didn't get the story or your OC it may boil down to personal tastes. All of us as reviewers typically avoid taking a resubmitted piece we've already rejected, knowing that someone else may really like the story and accept it.
  6. SabyneAmberle Force Ghost

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    Sep 16, 2004
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    What a great thread! Nice job, Archive peeps! =D=

    Here's my question. Are there any types of fics that you absolutely cannot accept? For example, I know that FF.net cannot accept songfics due to copyright issues (though some folks do try to work around that). Is it the same for the Archive?
  7. Persephone_Kore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2006
    star 4
    We're glad you like it, thanks! [:D]

    And that's a good question. The TFN Archive doesn't take any songfics or crossovers, partly for that very reason. The site owners and the founding archivists decided that although there are other creators who don't mind fanfic and there's plenty of public-domain stuff, that wasn't something the Archive staff could be expected to police, especially since copyright law does vary across countries.

    The other reason, however, is that the TFN Archive was designed to be strictly a Star Wars archive, with no overt references to other works or even the real world. And that lets out songfics, crossovers, epigraphs from Shakespeare, and other "Earth references."

    Earth references can be subject to interpretation, though. If you're not referring to a specific person, place, or thing, there's room for interpretation as to how much is simply the normal use of language and what constitutes an undue reference. I'm puzzled by people who want "the Star Wars word for bread" or something like that but use words like "sadistic" without blinking. I've run across people who object to calling a particular metal "copper" in a fantasy set in a world that never had Cyprus. (For the record, I would not reject a story for Earth references for using "sadistic," "maudlin," or even "quisling." Or, for that matter, "copper.") There's also room for debate sometimes as to what's a reasonable translation of a concept into Star Wars and what's too much like the real-life equivalent.
  8. Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor

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    We can't accept songfics, crossover fics (including crossovers with Earth), incomplete fics, actorfics, and brownie recipes. :p

    Edit: she stole ma thunder again!

    Earthisms are indeed subject to interpretation. I tend to be a little loose on it. As, if Zahn had never wrote a SW novel, a fic with hot chocolate in it would have been rejected ...
  9. Persephone_Kore Jedi Master

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    Jan 19, 2006
    star 4
    Right, those too.

    But I think we can accept fics that include brownie recipes!
  10. Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor

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    Providing the brownies are in character [face_batting] And, interesting to note, as I mentioned above, chocolate exists in the GFFA, so get to writing, people!
  11. DarthIshtar Chosen One

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    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    What constitutes as a "crossover"? I submitted a fic featuring a character who is now "c-level canon" due to being a character in a Timothy Zahn book, but met her original incarnation as a Star Wars fanfilm character. How does that qualify for being rejected as a "Crossover"?
  12. Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor

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    Um, that you should PM the editors or the reviewer that read your fic. The answer to that question is a little too specific and relates more to your fic in particular.

    Edit: To be more general, fan film characters, because they are not canon, are held at the same level as OCs. That is, they must be believable characters within the GFFA. Like an OC, any elements they have that can be considered crossovers will be. Any character that makes an appearance in the EU must also behave in tune with what they are shown as in that EU source.

    Edit 2: Say for example, you took that small senate rotunda scene with ET and wrote a vignette during that scene of ET thinking about how much he misses Elliot and reeses pieces (which would be kind of awesome, don't get me wrong). This would be a problem, because it crosses with Earth and the movie ET. But, if you had ET, with a proper GFFA name, thinking about how right after this meeting, he's going to explore a new planet in another galaxy, but made no mention of Earth, it would be fine.
  13. DarthIshtar Chosen One

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    Mar 26, 2001
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  14. ardavenport Force Ghost

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    Dec 16, 2004
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    What??? :eek: Where is chocolate used in the GFFA? I must know the reference. o_O

    I just try to avoid Earth slang, formal names and recent words to keep the tone GFFA in a story. I would never have anyone use a 'cell phone', but a bad guy might be 'sadistic' since the later term has been in use for so long that many don't know that it came form a specific person. One can always pick the ultimate language nit and ask why they're speaking English at all, but then you wouldn't have time for writing the fic in the first place.
  15. Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor

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    Somewhere in the first chapter of The Last Command. Couldn't tell you exactly where - I tossed the thing a while back, in small part, at least, to that. It completely threw me out of the book. I laughed at first, then was confused (like had Earth been found after RotJ?), then was angry.

    I think this is the crux behind problems with Earthisms. The most definite sign of an Earthism is if it throws the reader. Every word in our language is part of a rich linguistics tradition that is forever mixed with history and culture. We can't deny that, but we can say that, given their context in our culture, some words are going to be less appropriate in the SW universe. Take for example, saber. Sabers are perfectly acceptable in SW, despite their ties to earth history. Following this path, katanas, swords, and knifes might also be perfectly acceptable, if just because they are basic terms in English. But if you start using words like cutlass and epee, those tend to draw more attention to the specific times and cultures where they were used. Much the same way, a character might go to market or even to the grocery, but he shouldn't be caught dead at a wallmart.

    To sort of nullify this argument, though, fics are rarely rejected for crossover problems alone. I think, as a writer grows in the fandom and as a writer, word choice becomes less confusing and arbitrary.

  16. Persephone_Kore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2006
    star 4
    Heh. I'd have lumped katana with the second group, if anything. I'd definitely say it's fine to use "knife" though.

    But then, it's actually a bit of a pet peeve of mine when people feel compelled to make up words for things that already have an obvious one, or use a Star Wars "equivalent" that actually means the wrong thing. (It's okay to say "money." Ask Han. It's not always okay to say "credits." Ask Watto. ;))

    And Earth species really don't bother me, in fanfic or profic, though I'd get dubious if you start listing specific breeds of dog or something. You've already got humans; in a galaxy with thousands of planets, there's plenty of room for chocolate, ducks, and probably parsley, ostriches, lions, tigers, and bears. (Oh, my.) On the other hand, if undisguised Earth species are all over everywhere and the story stops feeling like Star Wars, then there's a problem.
  17. ardavenport Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2004
    star 4

    Hmmmmmmm, there seem to be more than one 'Last Command'. Is it this one?

    The Last Command (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 3) by Timothy Zahn (Paperback - Jan 1, 1994)


    Or this one?

    Star Wars: The Last Command by Mike Baron, Edvin Biukovic, and Eric Shanower (Paperback - Jun 2, 1999)


    Either way, I would be reluctant to put chocolate into any of my fics. It is distinctly earth-like. Basically, if I wanted chocolate (or bananas or lettuce or mayonaise) I would just describe it, as is, and give it another name. I will use the ordinary names for really generic foods like cake or bread or grain or juice.


    Not using earthisms sounds like something that would go into an Archives style guide. Is anything like that in the Archives FAQ.

    Also, writing styles where POV changes in a scenes always seems to get rejected at the Archives. Shouldn't this preference be put into the FAQ as well?

  18. Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor

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    er, sorry. It was Heir to the Empire, by Zahn, first in The Thrawn Trilogy.

    Not using earthisms sounds like something that would go into an Archives style guide. Is anything like that in the Archives FAQ.

    It's in the FAQ, 5d:
    Set exclusively within the Star Wars universe. All stories must be set in the Star Wars universe only. No crossovers with other media or the real world.


    Also, writing styles where POV changes in a scenes always seems to get rejected at the Archives. Shouldn't this preference be put into the FAQ as well?

    Good point. :p Since we can't, at this time, alter the FAQ, we put up the UFAQ, here. Once we manage to put up new guides, I'm sure it will be included officially.
  19. ardavenport Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2004
    star 4
    OK, here's a quick emergency Archives question:

    I just submitted a story to the Archives and now realize that I sent the wrong file. How do I retract it and re-submit?

  20. LLL Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 16, 2000
    star 4
    Actually, that is not a preference, but part of good writing mechanics.

    We're glad ppl are finding the thread helpful. A special thank-you goes to Atty, who wrote all this up and has been working hard on it for over a month.
  21. Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor

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    ardavenport: Resubmit a completely new version (refill out the form, upload the file, etc). Email the editors and ask them to remove the first file. Two stories with the same name in the queue will cause us to pause and wait for the correction before reviewing anything.

    LLL: *warm fuzzies* [face_love]
  22. Herman Snerd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 1999
    star 6

    Or if you don't want the hassle, you can e-mail the correct file to the editors and we'll upload it in place of the incorrect file.
  23. Pallas-Athena TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor

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    Yeah, the problem with that, though, is that someone could've downloaded it and then come back to claim it later without realizing that there's been a change.

    Cool that you can do that, though [face_thinking]
  24. Herman Snerd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 1999
    star 6
    If it's been claimed by reviewers, we contact 'em to let them know about the change.


    As far as replacing uploaded files, we used to be able to do it very, very easily.

    Now we can still do it, but it takes a few more exhausting mouse clicks.
  25. ardavenport Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2004
    star 4
    Well, I ended up just re-submitting the story and sending an e-mail to the editors. The story name is the same, but the file names are different and the e-mail says which is the right one. Thanks for the reply!

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