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Author Topic: Collaboration on Steamhawke  

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I think it is a misunderstanding somewhere, and I wanted to clear it up.

I fully agree that completed stories (which are posted already) are canon, while saved posts are not canon. By the time that a story is posted, it must follow on from recently completed stories. It is the writer's responsibility that their story does not contradict the recently completed stories.

At the same time, everybody knows that not always saved posts can be made to flow from any story that is completed in the meantime, simply because the sequence of events must have a logic. One can't post the effect before and the cause afterwards, because this is not how things function.

I fully agree also that this is not a competition, this is a collaboration. Collaborating means communicating and arranging the sequence of posts so that it matches the logical sequence, and this makes the story grow together. The adaptation can mean also scheduling the posts in the right order, so that they flow nicely to reading. We did it in the last chapter, when we had to wait and plan the sequence of some posts. For this chapter, things will be the same way, because a logical sequence is important. We cannot have the trial before some other elements, for example.

If a discussion was mentioned in a post, that discussion has to be posted before the post where it was mentioned as an accomplished fact. As long as said discussion is still in progress, that other post, which is completely written, can wait, completely written, for the other to be posted first. Otherwise, if that result is posted first, then... the discussion (which might be in an advanced stage of writing or not yet) can be scraped completely, because it doesn't make at all sense to happen post factum.

So, I think communicating and scheduling post order is equally important to adapting to the posts already published.

Elena

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Information topic
  • Date: 18/11/13
  • Time: 07:23 PM
  • Number of visits: 2503
  • Number of Replies: 10
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Re: Collaboration on Steamhawke

« Reply #1 » Published on:November 18, 2013, 08:14:13 PM

Five

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Yes, we want to keep things logical, but we also can't plan far in advance.  It's essential that we don't contradict what just happened, but also equally essential that we don't depend on certain other things happening in the future.

If you are having to scrap posts, you are planning too far ahead and in too much detail.  Our ideas need to be flexible and not depend on very specific occurences.

For example, we don't know if there's going to be a trial.  It has not been written yet.  There are a million different ways this story could go.

 

Re: Collaboration on Steamhawke

« Reply #2 » Published on:November 18, 2013, 08:21:17 PM

Five

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Also, even when the contradiction is too high, many parts of a story can be salvaged and used elsewhere.

 

Re: Collaboration on Steamhawke

« Reply #3 » Published on:November 18, 2013, 08:59:48 PM

Daenelia

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1. We can't plan in advance beyond 2-3 posts.
Why? Because we have a lot of people coming and going. We cannot pressure people into waiting or postponing their owed post. We still have a one post per month request (though we are relaxed about it). We must give people room to make that one post a month by not hogging the next few storytime days or character actions.

This is why we do not plan too far in advance. This is why ideally no member should have more than 5 posts waiting in their control panel.
Because every post that needs to happen at some determined point prevents other writers from contributing their own posts.

2. We do not re-shuffle posts.

I did it once because I was fed up with explaining. I am not doing it again. If a post happens that is out of sync, the author will need to edit it.

Writers need to be flexible or get used to scrapping posts.

3. Not every plot turn needs to be discussed to death.

I do not run Steamhawke to debate or discuss or attend meetings. I want to write, just as much as the next person. If a plot needs to be discussed into such fine points that I do not need to read the actual story posts anymore, I am done with it.

We write. We write together. We jump into what other people write. This is how we see Steamhawke. We are not writing a novel that needs to be planned that far in advance.
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Re: Collaboration on Steamhawke

« Reply #4 » Published on:November 18, 2013, 10:21:00 PM

Hyren

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Just be sure to think carefully about what you do before you do it. Just in case it doesn't turn out they way you would like.

Edit - Because you'll have no one to blame but yourself.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2013, 10:23:01 PM by Hyren »

 

Re: Collaboration on Steamhawke

« Reply #5 » Published on:November 19, 2013, 09:28:49 AM

Elena

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We are not writing a novel that needs to be planned that far in advance. - Yes, we are writing a collaborative novel together, and planning is good because it would eliminate inconsistencies.

The need to "reshuffle" posts happens just for lack of communication between players. If the next days' posts (story days) would be planned and people would communicate about it, finding the right place for each piece of the story, there would never be a need to reshuffle. (And why scrapping them instead of communicating and FITTING them where they should go? Because they take effort to be researched for, written, and they are written for a purpose.)

Planning in advance isn't bad. By contrary, it allows people to make the needed research in their own time, and write according to their inspiration.

Nobody says that the time for actually writing a post should be exactly the time to really post it. It can be written and kept to be inserted where it fits best. This is exactly where the COLLABORATIVE part enters into play, and the communication.

And yes, it is going to be a trial. :)

I researched the Victorian justice system, so different from ours (which is Napoleonic French inspired). I know where and what the judge and prosecutor says, when the witnesses are called, what the jury says and how it function, how a sentence sounded in that time. The post is actually half written (why would I have waited for the time when I have a busier period at work, when I could write it in my less hectic time and post it only when it needs the others' adding to it?), but not posted yet on the board because there are many other posts to happen before it.

I think it would help more if we try to plan the order of the threads we are writing/ planning to write for the next 1-2 story days, then go from there for the upcoming 1-2 days. This way we'll see each person's contribution where enters best.

 

Re: Collaboration on Steamhawke

« Reply #6 » Published on:November 19, 2013, 10:00:26 AM

Daenelia

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Just giving you a hug in advance, because it is awesome that you start discussions and prompt us all to think and rethink how we work together.

Nothing wrong with questioning and finding the best way to work things out.


The need to "reshuffle" posts happens just for lack of communication between players. If the next days' posts (story days) would be planned and people would communicate about it, finding the right place for each piece of the story, there would never be a need to reshuffle. (And why scrapping them instead of communicating and FITTING them where they should go? Because they take effort to be researched for, written, and they are written for a purpose.)

There should never be a reshuffle. It's ad admin task and I like to keep admin tasks as minimum as possible, because I do not like to admin. You may have noticed, me and Five dont do a lot of traditional admining. we're more comfy just writing.

Let's define reshuffling as I meant it: it means taking a published post and unpublishing it, and then publishing it again after another post has been published.

This is a nono. No, no, no. This is not how we write.

Do we solve this by communicating? Sure, to an extend. But we were writing with 16 people at one point. You can't go around 14 individuals and ask them if they are okay with you posting this or that. It takes too long. It holds up the story.

Communication is good! Don't get me wrong! But it stops being beneficial if you have to ask permission for every little thing.

Members do not have access to every post that is saved. And that is not going to change. Members can only see the posts they are working on. We have a reason for that.

We enjoy altering and editing posts to fit in the current storyline. If someone suddenly throws something in the mix, we enjoy writing our post in such a way that it fits.


We do not do it the other way around: plan something in advance and then ask everyone else to accomodate us and our plot.


Planning in advance isn't bad. By contrary, it allows people to make the needed research in their own time, and write according to their inspiration.

Nobody says that the time for actually writing a post should be exactly the time to really post it. It can be written and kept to be inserted where it fits best. This is exactly where the COLLABORATIVE part enters into play, and the communication.

No. Just no :) This goes against what I explained before.

We have writers coming and going. You cannot plan on their participation or stipulate when they can or cannot post something. If you count on someone to write a certain bit of the plot and ask them to post it at a certain time, you may find they're not there anymore when that time comes around.

And yes, it is going to be a trial. :)

Again, we don't know that for sure, It has not been posted yet. You may plan it, and we may all agree it would be an awesome thing, but something might come up. Yes, something could very well come up and prevent the trial. THIS is what we enjoy.

This is exactly what I mean with 'we are not writing a novel', and why planning and banking on something is not a good idea.


I researched the Victorian justice system, so different from ours (which is Napoleonic French inspired). I know where and what the judge and prosecutor says, when the witnesses are called, what the jury says and how it function, how a sentence sounded in that time. The post is actually half written (why would I have waited for the time when I have a busier period at work, when I could write it in my less hectic time and post it only when it needs the others' adding to it?), but not posted yet on the board because there are many other posts to happen before it.

Elena, I told you this before.

We are writing in an alternate universe, that only resembles earth history up to a point. That point is somewhere in the 15th century when two continents disappear. So, Terra is not Victorian Earth. It has a very very different history. You can do all the research you like, but point is, there was never anything like the Western Militia and justice in the Old West on Terra is not the same as in the Victorian US. Or Napoleanic... Militia is not that organised... There is no central government, afaik.

So, adapt. Change. And ffs: make it steampunk!

I think it would help more if we try to plan the order of the threads we are writing/ planning to write for the next 1-2 story days, then go from there for the upcoming 1-2 days. This way we'll see each person's contribution where enters best.

No.

Again. No.

I am not going to tell people what they can and cannot write and when their posts are due. That is just not done here.

I am also not going to change how we run things and what we expect, or curttail the freedom we give writers to suit one plot line. Or one writer.

I sincerly hope this clears things up a bit more. Because I am getting to a point where I just don't want to come on this site anymore. Because I hate to see it turn into the very thing I wanted to avoid.
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Re: Collaboration on Steamhawke

« Reply #7 » Published on:November 19, 2013, 07:20:17 PM

Tals

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I canít guarantee this makes sense because migraine hangover, but wanted to add my input anyway.

In general, I do not like planning things too far ahead and in too much detail. If Iím locked into having to have a certain thing happen a certain way, that freaks me out and I put off doing it. Also, character-wise, Ashrieda is extremely mercurial and changes her mind about things even mid-post, so character-wise, that approach doesn't work for me. Also also, I like having some posts be a surprise to me.

There are times when certain elements do have to be planned for everything else to make sense. Take Chapter Five, for instance (yes, I know, it always comes up). There were things that needed to happen in a certain order for the whole chapter to make sense, but at the same time there was still room for improvisation within the posts. But -- Chapter Five was in a very narrowly defined setting: on the Steamhawke (and the Sky Tiger), in the middle of a battle, in the span of a few hours. By contrast, Chapter Six is in a much broader setting and has virtually no planning whatsoever, but still reads well chronologically.

To Daeís point -- I have been working on a post with Shannon and Vertigo for a few weeks now. Originally, weíd planned for it to go just before Investigations. As it is now, weíre not close to being finished and looks like it could possibly be a Day Fiver, depending on what is posted before ours and what and when those things take place. If we had insisted upon everyone waiting until we finished up our post before Investigations went up, it wouldn't have been fair to everyone else who wanted to get the plot rolling and write about other things. And whatever else is posted before our post means that we have fresh information and angles to work with. I canít speak for Shannon and Vertigo, but I think itís kind of a fun adventure changing things around and adjusting things to suit the new storyline. Itís still in the vein of collaboration.

Now if two (or more) posts are really close to being finished -- like within the next day RL close -- I donít mind waiting for the other post(s). Elena and I felt that the post with Every and Leftheris needed to go before Investigations. It was a fast moving thread so we didn't have to worry about holding things up.
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Re: Collaboration on Steamhawke

« Reply #8 » Published on:November 20, 2013, 07:43:29 AM

Elena

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I am getting to a point where I just don't want to come on this site anymore. Because I hate to see it turn into the very thing I wanted to avoid.

This is the thing which struck me the most from all the thread. It is an unfortunate thing to happen, and it means only one thing: that our personalities and preferences don't mesh, that what you like is not what I like, so after this chapter I am leaving.

Yes, I guess there is a style and a site for everyone, and "Steamhawke" is not my type, because I like planning. Anyway, I stayed here 2 more chapters than I had initially said when I joined - because there are things I liked too.

As for planning when writing with 14 members - yes, for those who like planning, it is possible. I had done it on a site with around 30 participants, 100 characters and 20-30 more NPCs.

 

Re: Collaboration on Steamhawke

« Reply #9 » Published on:November 20, 2013, 09:26:46 AM

Daenelia

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Of course detailed planning is possible. But the kind of detailed planning that you propose doesn't work with the way we want to run stories. I guess this also explains why I am not part of any regular forum rpg anymore :)

As mentioned before, the most planned chapter was chapter 5. And even there we made sure there was room for improvisation and unexpected plot twists. After chapter 5 we made a conscious decision not to continue down that road, because it takes a lot out of admins and writers alike. On top of that, we had to constantly push people to post or ask them to wait for another post to be completed.

That kind of planning became too close to 'dictating' for my liking. And yet, I still thing that chapter is awesome and reads very well.

I think it is awesome you stuck around for 3 chapters. I did learn a lot from your writing style and your preferences. If anything, you helped me form our vision for the writing we are looking for.

We'll write out the chapter in some hybrid form, where we leave room for your planning and my need to do weird unexpected things.
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Re: Collaboration on Steamhawke

« Reply #10 » Published on:November 20, 2013, 10:32:42 AM

Elena

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We'll write out the chapter in some hybrid form, where we leave room for your planning and my need to do weird unexpected things.

This is the best solution, Dae!  :D And I am not against anything unexpected, either.  ;) I think a degree of flexibility is always important, the planning can't be too rigid either, because even when writing alone (not to mention with several people, where it multiplies) there is a general outline and, at the same time with it, sudden inspiration of moment which gives unexpected twists. As long as they are only twists and not an U-turn, I am always fine with it.

I believe in negotiation, and in each writer's goals being met at least 75-80% (which doesn't mean always the characters' goals - a writer might have goals which require the character to fail).

 




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