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Dr. Fanfic - by SimonBob

Dr. Fanfic

Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the code

In this lovely age of upheaveal, annoyingly hard trick trick trivia questions (I maintain that the answer was "2,") and a handy drink called PC Cola, I have discovered my emotional centre. It took me three licks to get to the middle, and now I'm into the gooey middle of my soul. That sounds nasty but it isn't.

Lots of people have been talking about "Fanthoughts this" and "Articles that" recently. I would say that those would be the three most updated sections around here, if you include Trivia. Which I didn't, but you get the idea. I would also be tempted to name Poems and Songs except it just got back from hiatus and I wouldn't enjoy being pointed and laughed at for including it too soon. I prefer being pointed and laughed at for tangible reasons, and usually by people I can see and hear.

Now, my favourite of all the sections I just listed above is probably Trivia. First of all because I'm usually good at it (I usually miss one question if any, and almost always on a technicality) but secondly because it's very well-run. Anthadd has made a big deal about how it's always updated Monday, every week. This is a brilliant idea; I know that because I unconsciously adopted it. Fanfics update every Friday. It's a very nice phrase to say in a used car salesman voice: "Fanfics update Friday!"

So's here's the problem. It's not that there aren't enough Fanfics being written; there are lots of great writers doing lots of great things with their words. No, I think the problem might be that not enough people are reading the Fanfics. I know I never read Fanfic updates before I was a staffer. I figured they weren't worth the time; they were too long, too dry, maybe too crazy; I wasn't sure, having never read a Fanfic, but my mind was set against it. I ignored the section.

It wasn't hard, either. Except for EBounding, whom I recall wanting to quit because Fanfics were driving him insane, I can't remember who did them. A brief look at the archived news shows that Rune was in there when I first joined. A more in-depth look brings me to the point I wanted to make, which is that there were rarely any updates to Fanfics in the first place. Well, that's not entirely true. Rune certainly updated often, and usually with little funky Anime pictures or video game sprites; but they were sporadic, there was no real timeframe. And he kinda skipped November (something I tried once with math class in '94, it didn't work out though) by getting his 'net account smacked down; not that anyone seemed to notice. Apparantly, until mid-January, the Fanfics section was the buggiest part of the site.

Also in mid-January, EBounding inexplicably took over for Rune. There was just a sudden WHOOSH sound, and suddenly we had a new Fanfic guy. Anyhow, EBounding seemed pretty keen on the job. He got me a little more interested by making a big deal of Rune's "Fanfic of the Week" idea, which got me reading but not perusing the section. A Floridian vacation on EBounding's part left us with few updates throughout March and April. After a brief flurry of updates in April, another unexplained disappearance left the section down until May. When EBounding left to take over the Mailbag, Tomato sort-of handled the section until a replacement could be found. Guess who that was? (Hint: It wasn't Richard Nixon, though he was my main competition for the job.)

Like I said above, Fanfics update Friday. Send Fanfics to me. If it's been six years since this article was written, send Fanfics to whoever runs the section now. They'll be updated on Fridays. Every Friday until the end of time. This is the first thing I did with the section when I inherited it, was to find an update day that everyone would remember. Now you can kick back and read Fanfics every Friday. If I get a big update, then you even have a weekend to use for Fanfic reading! Pretty sweet, eh?

The second big thing I did with the section was to create a lovely HTML guide. This was for two reasons: One, since nobody was allowed to send Fanfics in .doc, they lost a very good way to make nice-looking Fanfiction. Two, only a few people seemed to know HTML, which is the best alternative to .docs ever. HTML is easy to teach, and yet nobody on the Fanfic team ever bothered to show anyone how it's done. I figured that if people could learn the UBB tags on the forum, they could learn HTML, so I put up a guide and that was that. I've already received several HTML Fanfics that would probably have been in .txt form if it weren't for that guide. Not that I'm bragging, except I am. ^_^ I'm also not putting down the Fanfic team, those guys were great at the job too. So next time you see EBounding or Rune or anyone else from the team, say "Good Job!" Don't say why though, let them figure it out and watch the hilarity in the meantime. :D Heheheh.

So now I am going to embark on the fourth big thing for the Fanfic Department. The third was renaming it a "Department" because that sounds cooler than "Section." The fourth will be to get people reading again. I plan to use several tools at my disposal; the forum, the chatroom, a few aces up my sleeve that will be revealed as time progresses, and a cool banner which I haven't planned yet. I'm going to reshape the old notions of Fanfics; they are never dry, rarely as insane as you might think, and only as long as you want them to be.

This is a very long article. Most Fanfics are maybe three times as long as this. You can read them in chunks, you know; a bit here, a bit there, just like a book. Some Fanfics are tailor-made for that kind of reading, since the authors submitted them in chapters, or even went to the trouble of chaptering them for you. The Fanfic Dept. goes a long way to make sure you can enjoy the Fanfics. So please, go enjoy.

Fanfics update Friday. Sincerely, the Fanfic Department.

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