Extend-A-Story - Story Guidelines

Written by Sir Toby (Jeff Weston)

This document explains some basic guidelines I want to lay out for anyone who decides to add to stories here at Sir Toby's Extend-A-Story. With the latest version of Extend-A-Story, the story will now be moderated. Authors will still be able to create episodes without any sort of approval process, and those episodes will be made available for everyone else to read immediately. However, if a moderator feels that an episode is seriously in breach of these guidelines, the episode will be edited; in the worst cases the episode may even be deleted. These guidelines set forth what you can do to avoid this fate for your episodes.

Respect the Work of Others - This is a collaberative story. Some authors have devoted a whole lot of time contributing to the story. Don't try to sabotage other authors' work. Respect the plots that others have written. If you want to add on to their storyline, by all means do so, just be sure you take the time to understand the history of the storyline you are adding onto.

Keep it Consistent - Figure out the basics of whats happening in the story and keep those things consistent from episode to episode. For example, the main character of The Never Ending Quest is Lord Fred. Lord Fred should never be "Lord Fred" in one episode and "You" in the next. It doesn't make sense. If a character has a huge meal and is stuffed in one episode, he can't be starving in the next episode. These things can't change without some sort of transition explaining to the reader how we got from the first situation to the second situation.

Stick to the Theme - The Never Ending Quest started out with a quest theme. Many of the episodes in the story are along this theme. Try to follow the theme of the storyline you are writing for. This is not to say that the theme can never change. However, theme changes should be rare and there should be a good reason for the change. You don't want Lord Fred fighting the dragon with his sword and then suddenly have one of his companions take out an Uzi and slay the dragon with that instead.

How much to write? How many options? - Like a Choose-Your-Own Adventure book, the reader will want the story to advance slightly from choice to choice. If the episodes are too short, the reader will feel they are making an endless string of choices while the story goes nowhere. Try at least to string together a few paragraphs before giving the reader their choices. When you get to the choices, don't give the reader too many choices. Two or three choices should be sufficient for each episode. While you are allowed to enter up to ten choices, there really needs to be a good reason to justify having that many choices. Bear in mind that the more choices you give the reader, the less likely it will be that any of those resulting storylines will be developed very far.

Rated "E" for Everyone - This story is available to everyone on the internet. That includes the possibility of children. While I don't want the story to turn into a "G" rated sugar coated Disney film, I don't want to see graphic sexual encounters in the story either. There is some room for the possibility of some sexual situations in the story, but these need to have a good reason for their existence in the story. The main character will NOT try to have his way with every maiden that walks in front of him. This appears like it will be the most likely reason that episodes will get deleted. I will not tolerate episodes of this nature in the story.

Proofread! - This story has a preview feature. Please take the time to check your work before submitting it. Check that there are no blatant typos. Ensure that you haven't omitted anything important. If you can't spell to save your life, write the episodes using a word processor that has a spell checker and then copy the episode into the story creation form. The story also has an edit feature. If you find errors in your episode after you have posted it, take the time to correct the problem.

Copyright - I'm not a lawyer, but I know a little bit about copyright. You can't outright copy someone else's work in its entirety. Now I'm a fan of fair-use and parody, so feel free to base parts of your episodes on the work of others. Just don't copy them wholesale. As far as copyright of episodes in the story, each episode is copyrighted by the individual author. By posting the episodes on this site, they give me an implied right to publicly display them as part of the story. They also give me an implied right to edit the episodes as I see fit. They do not give you an implied right to copy their work and use it how you see fit. If you see something here that you want to use elsewhere, get the permission of the author first.

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