Emma DeMarais (emmademarais) wrote in ficfinishing,
Emma DeMarais
emmademarais
ficfinishing

FAQ

Answers to frequently asked questions may be found below.

Please feel free to ask questions in comments or via email to your comm mod. (emmademarais at gmail...)

Question: What is this comm all about?

Answer:

ficfinishing is about helping authors who have partial fic they are having trouble getting done. With assistance from the comm and the community of writers and readers here they are given support and techniques so that they can write the rest of their fic and finally complete it.

Question: How does the comm help authors?

Answer:

There are three main ways in which the comm assists authors.

1. Techniques
We have a number of detailed Technique posts that offer a myriad of tools and approaches that can help jumpstart an author's progress and get them new words even on long dead fic.

2. Daily Suggested Tasks
For the core two weeks of the round (what we call the active portion of the round) there are daily posts containing suggested tasks to help authors gain movement on their stories.

3. A Supportive Community of First Readers and Fellow Authors
Our First Readers exist to read work in progress fic for authors - to encourage them and help them through the rough spots. Their support, and that of fellow authors, makes a big difference in the success our community members see in their goal stories.

Question: Who is this comm mod Emma DeMarais and why should I listen to her?

Answer:

The answer to this is on our About the Comm Mod page.

Question: What exactly am I signing up for?

Answer:

(For Authors)

Authors sign up for individual month long rounds, committing to complete one single partial fic. The commitment is over once the month is over, however authors who have completed a round remain comm members, able to go back and review the comm Techniques and other f-locked content at any time.

Authors who have completed a round successfully may sign up for two fic a month in future rounds if they would like. The guideline remains to sign up for only as much as can be finished in two weeks.

(For First Readers)

First Readers sign up once per fandom, agreeing to be available to read work in progress fic for authors in that fandom and to offer encouragement. First Readers are not expected to give beta or alpha readings and in fact are asked not to critique fic at all unless an author specifically asks for such an arrangement outside of the scope of the comm. First Readers retain the right to decline at any time.

First Readers remain available month after month unless they request to be put on hiatus. With a simple comment post they will be listed as unavailable until such time they decide they would like to come back and read again.

There is no limit to the number of fandoms someone can First Read for, however adding more fandoms means more requests may come in, which could mean more time spent on the comm.

Question: How do I get started/sign up?

Answer:

(For Authors)

Step One: Join and watch the comm
(Important! Otherwise you can't see our f-locked sign up posts!)

Step Two: Follow the instructions on the Author Sign Up page
(They are always found on the first day of each month)
You will be asked to fill out a brief form and post it in a comment

Step Three: Read the New Author Orientation
(Linked at the bottom of the Author Sign Up page)
After that just wait for the Round Begins post for more instructions

(For First Readers)

Step One: Join and watch the comm
(Important! Otherwise you can't see our f-locked sign up posts!)

Step Two: Follow the instructions on the First Readers Sign Up page
(They are always found on the first day of each month)
You will be asked to fill out a brief form and post it in a comment

Step Three: Read the First Readers Orientation
(Linked at the bottom of the First Reader Sign Up page)
After that just wait for the Round Begins post for more instructions

Question: Where do I find the sign up posts?

Answer:

Sign ups are always posted on the first day of every month. They are always F-locked. If you can't see them odds are it's because you are not a member of the comm; only comm members can see the F-locked sign up posts. If you recently joined you may need to refresh the comm's home page for the entries to show up. If you still can't see the posts then check again to make sure you actually joined the comm rather than just watching it - watching the comm is not sufficient.

Question: What do I do after I sign up?

Answer:

Watch the comm and on the first day of the Round there will be a Round Begins post followed by a Day 1 post. Each day after that there will be a Day post for days 2-14 plus a few additional posts including the Round Ends post on the last day of the month. Read each post carefully; there will be directions including tasks to do each day and ways to participate in comments to each post which is where much of the action takes place.

Many participants engage in off comm conversations with other participants as well - most notably Authors sharing work in progress fic with First Readers. All off comm contact is optional, but many Authors find emailing and chatting with First Readers to be a great source of encouragement and incredibly helpful in their fic finishing efforts.

Question: What is a First Reader?

Answer:

First Readers, unlike alpha readers or beta readers, aren't about critique. They read work in progress fic, sometimes even the same fic in different stages of development. They give positive feedback and encouragement, letting authors know what they like about a piece, giving them a boost to help them through the writing process.

Question: What about beta reading?

Answer:

Beta reading is outside of the scope of this comm, however it's likely authors will meet people here - fellow authors and readers - whom they might build up a relationship with and wind up engaged in beta pursuits. Our assumption though is that authors signing up to the comm already have beta readers.

First Readers are not prohibited from doing beta reading for authors in addition to providing First Readings. It's important to have First Readers so we heartily encourage using them in addition to betas, not just skipping straight to beta.

Question: Why must goal fic be able to be completed within two weeks if the rounds are a month long?

Answer:

Even though the rounds are a whole month long authors rarely spend the entire month working on their fic. Authors may take a while each month to decide on what fic to sign up for or need a break to decompress from the previous round if they were signed up for it. Every author is welcome to start writing on the first of the month (and of course before that since we require that the fic be partial when the month begins) so there's more than two weeks available to write. That's just the core time for techniques etc. for that month. The two weeks ends before the end of the month so that there's a few bonus days for authors to wrap up their fic before the month ends and the round closes. What tends to happen though is that it's difficult to both judge how much work a fic will need to complete plus it's often very hard to discern the demands real life will put on us in the month to come. By selecting a fic that will only require two weeks of effort that allows for quite a few days of not being able to write due to life etc. getting in the way while still allowing enough time for authors to meet their goals. We hope authors won't need the extra days - that the two weeks of intense effort and support will be sufficient - but the limit is set to ensure the best chance of success for all who sign up. In fact, one of the main reasons authors cite for not finishing their fic during a round is underestimating the amount of work needed on a fic/overestimating the amount of free time they'd have to work on it.

Question: Does the fic I sign up to finish have to be partial?

Answer:

Yes, you must have already written at least some of the fic to sign up with that story as your goal fic. Starting a fic from scratch offers totally different challenges to completing partial fic and this comm is oriented entirely to completing partial fic, particularly those that have lain dormant for long periods of time.

Question: Am I limited to one fic to finish per month?

Answer:

To start, yes. But if after a successful round as an author you want to take on a bigger challenge then you can sign up for two. Two is the maximum allowed for authors. You can always finish fic outside of the comm using the comm's techniques, but we want to ensure you can finish any and all goal fic successfully and two weeks is not much time. We suggest picking one official goal fic for the comm and 2-3 maximum unofficial ones where it's not critical if you don't finish them on time and you're okay with maybe just getting new words on them.

Question: What if I want to finish a longer fic, one I can't get done in two weeks? What about Big Bangs and novel/novella length fic?

Answer:

The techniques we use work on longer fic too, but it's important to employ the skills successfully on shorter projects to build them up. After a success or two with shorter fic, you may find working on your longer story outside of the comm flows better, but for the purposes of our monthly rounds goal stories should be of a length that can be completed in the time frame of the round.

Authors who are writing very long fic may sign up to complete one specific named or numbered chapter of that long fic, however we strongly discourage this for members signing up for their first ever round. Experienced ficfinishing authors who do wish to sign up for a single chapter must state the name or number of the specific chapter on their sign up form. The chapter chosen as goal fic must be partial before the author signs up. Plans to begin the chapter do not count - the chapter must already have words written in it to be acceptable as a goal fic. Authors who would like to complete more than one chapter per round are welcome to sign up for their existing partial chapter and then continue to use the comm for the rest of the round once that goal is met to get even more words/chapters done.

Big Bangs and other novel/novella length fic, same as above, can be signed up for if they are either written enough that they can be finished in one round or if the author signs up for a specific named/numbered chapter.

Question: Can co-authors sign up to finish a fic together?

Answer:

Yes! Both authors should join the comm and both are welcome to participate in the round fully. We just ask that only one person post a single sign up form and put information on both authors in the one form so it's clear there are two authors working on a single fic.

Question: Why do you limit which fandoms authors can write for?

Answer:

Part of the philosophy behind the comm is that having a supportive community is beneficial for authors. Fandoms are limited so we can ensure there will be First Readers available for authors in each fandom. In addition we advertise in our supported fandoms to try to ensure there are at least a couple of authors per fandom each round so no one writes alone. Adding just a couple of fandoms each month allows the comm to grow at a comfortable speed, keeping it more personal for our members than just opening it up to anyone.

Question: What types of fic do you allow (Het/Slash/Gen)?

Answer:

The comm has no limitations on what kinds of fic authors can sign up for. We welcome Gen, Het, Slash, Femmeslash and Cestfic. We are even open to people requesting Real Person Fic/Slash fandoms on our Fandoms page. Just be aware that not all First Readers will read all types of fic. We've not had any problems finding matches to date based on types of pairings/gen though.

Question: What fic ratings do you allow (PG13, R, NC17)?

Answer:

The comm has no limitations on fic ratings so anything G to NC17 is fine. No actual fic is posted to the comm and First Readers make their own decisions as to what ratings they choose to read or not read.

Question: Are crossovers allowed? What if only one of my crossover fandoms is on your accepted list? If they both are, which fandom do I sign up under?

Answer:

Crossovers are allowed if at least 50 percent of the fic is based on one of the fandoms on our accepted list. The rest can come from any fandom. We just need to make sure the majority of the canon one needs to know to First Read the story is knowable by people who signed up to read that fandom. (It's not really fair to readers to sign up to read Torchwood then give them a Primeval fic in which Captain Jack makes a brief appearance or is a totally minor character, for example. Nor would that be helpful to the Primeval author since their reader would be too clueless to be useful.) So if you've got a character from an outside fandom visiting an accepted fandom that we allow then great. If you're borrowing a canon character from an accepted fandom and just dropping them in an outside fandom fic? That's probably too far out to work here. The issue is that First Readers only know the canon of the fandom they signed up to read for. If most of your fic is oriented towards a fandom we don't accept, then the First Readers can't help you, and that takes a huge chunk of the benefit out of the comm. If both fandoms you are crossing over are accepted, then you're set! Sign up under whichever fandom is dominant in the crossover. If they're equal in your mind and you can't choose? Sign up for the fandom that has or is likely to have fewer authors signed up that round. That will help ensure you get plenty of options for First Readers and help get the readers fresh fic to enjoy!

Question: Are AUs allowed? How about original characters?

Answer:

Yes and yes. AUs are fine, just keep in mind the further out in left field you are, the harder it is for First Readers - who signed up because they knew the fandom - to latch on to something they know and like. Original characters are fine, with the same caveat.

Question: Do you allow Real Person fiction (RPF/RPS)?

Answer:

Yes, however we treat it as a separate fandom which must be requested and added first before authors can sign up to write for it. So authors can write Heroes fic, but Heroes RPS is not allowed since Heroes RPS hasn't been voted in as an accepted fandom. Reading Nathan/Peter is not the same thing as reading Adrian/Milo and our First Readers who signed up to read Heroes came with the understanding they'd be expected to know only show canon, not actors' personalities and personal lives, thus the segregation. We currently have both CW RPS/RPF and Supernatural as fandoms because enough people voted both in to the comm.

Question: What do I do once I finish my goal fic?

Answer:

Celebrate! Post a public Fic Finished! post on the comm to share the good news with the community! There is no set format for a Fic Finished! post other than asking for you to put the subject line "Fic Finished!" on it. It's a good idea to include the name of your fandom though.

When you eventually publish the finished fic please post a link in a comment to our Success Stories post so we may add you, deservingly, to our little hall of fame.

We ask that authors thank their First Readers as well as their beta readers when they publish. A shout out to the comm is not necessary, but if you did we'd be chuffed over it. :-)

Question: How do new fandoms get added to the comm?

Answer:

Votes are continually collected on the Fandoms page from individuals who would like to see their fandoms added. On the first of each month at midnight Pacific Time the top 2-3 vote getters are the fandoms that will be added to the comm starting with that month's round. For more details see the Fandoms page.

Question: How do I request a new fandom?

Answer:

Post a comment with your requested fandom name on our Fandoms page.
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