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Writing in the Libra fanfic - Guidelines for New Writers

Battlestar Libra is a collaborative fan fiction whose original writers began working together in October 2005. Our fanfic has evolved into what you read today. As we have worked together, we have drawn up guidelines to ensure that we continue to write an enjoyable, quality work for the writers and the readers.

If you are interested in writing with us, please review these guidelines carefully. They have been put together to best serve the interests of the entire group. New writers are approved by a consensus of current active writers


1. Potential writers must be eighteen years old, or older.

2. Those who wish to write with the Libra must post an example of their writing in the TNS Fanfic forum. You MUST demonstrate a basic grasp of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and the paragraph structure of narrative fiction writing. Perfection is not expected, but in order to enhance the enjoyment of the Libra fanfic, typos and errors should be kept to a minimum!

3. If a potential writer is being considered for addition into the Libra writer’s group, there will first be a two-week observation period for the potential writer. During this time, the potential writer can participate in chats and observe planning procedures, but not be approved as a writer yet.

4. If the potential writer is approved by a consensus of the current active Libra writers, he or she will initially be allowed to write one character only, and may not initiate subplots. The type of character the new writer creates will be discussed to ensure it fits in with the ongoing storyline. This character can be an NPC (non-player character) adopted by the writer, or can be a brand-new character. "Padowan" writers may wish to work closely with one or two of the active "Jedi" writers.

5. Once a new writer and his character has been approved, the writer should post the name, rank (if military) and general description in the appropriate thread in the Character Bios forum. See other bios for an example of what information to put up.

6. New writers will have a one-episode “test” period before final approval to continue to write with the Libra group is given. Writing collaborative fiction requires extraordinary teamwork, cooperation, and compromise skills. Continual debate about story line ideas is counterproductive to the writing process. Some writers may enjoy the freedom of solo writing, rather than staying within these necessary guidelines.

7. Once a new writer has had final approval after the "test” period, he or she may begin writing other characters and/or ships, as approved by a consensus of current active writers.

8. Requests to add new ships, military or civilian, will not be considered. The Libra fleet has plenty of NPC characters, military and civilian, and also un-claimed civilian ships that can be “adopted”. Please note that ships may not be "adopted" by a writer until said writer has completed the initial trial period.


1. Writers are expected to keep up with the story line, and post on a regular basis. Real life circumstances ALWAYS come first, and if a writer has to be gone for any period of time, please inform the group, and if necessary, make arrangements for your characters whenever possible.

2. New characters must get permission to be on a ship "owned" by another writer. Some ships may be "closed" to additional characters, while ALL ships have histories that must be adhered to by new characters also. There are also some NPC ships in our fleet, not owned by anyone, that can be “adopted”.

3. No superheroes. For "no superhero" we mean that the person cannot be the BEST pilot AND the BEST shot AND the BEST pyramid player AND single-handedly shoot down 12 raiders AND save damsels in distress or all other members of his/her platoon/squad/air group. Flawed is good. Competent is good. Outstanding is good. WTF-how-could-he/she-pull-that, hog-all-the-action-for-him/herself is NOT good.

4. Just as actions and events have consequences in real life, actions and events have consequences within the Libra storyline. The results and consequences of actions taken by (or experienced by) your characters and/or ships should be realistic.

5. Basic courtesy is key - you cannot assume/post another person's character, unless you have agreed with the writer previously.

6. The GM (Game Master) for an episode will post a general outline of the episode before the ep begins. This can be just a bare-bones minimal outline, with suggested Libra “day” the events occur on. If the GM wants to keep an event “secret”, he or she can post “Secret!” and them PM only the writers involved in the secret so they know what will be expected of their characters, and when.

7. All characters should more-or-less stay within the day that is currently occurring in the ep; this is more critical for any characters directly involved in the main story arc. The GM will provide timecode guidelines; please stay within these guidelines whenever possible. Exceptions can be granted by the GM.

8. “NPC’s” are Non-player characters; these can be used to play "bit parts" for minor interaction in scenes. Anyone may use an NPC when appropriate (for example, a pilot talking to an NPC knuckledragger). Just be sure the NPC you're using isn't also being used by someone else at the same time!

9. General guidelines for NPC pilots and Marines: if there is an active writer in a squadron/squad, the use of NPC characters in the same squadron/squad is restricted to that active writer, unless the active writer gives permission to another writer to use the NPCs.

10. Feel free to "invent" NPCs that you'll have very minor interaction with, or who will end up being red-shirted (killed)!

11. Please remember to put the Day and Time at the top of each post, unless it’s obvious that one post immediately follows the previous one.

12. The major story line in an episode should be what the GM has posted. Up-staging the GM's plans with something big is bad manners; if you’re not sure, PM the GM and check! BUT, minor story lines are free to be developed by other writers as they wish. If other writers don't like that minor story line, they can chose not to involve their characters in it. Above all, please remember the secondary story line should NEVER interfere with the main episodic plot. If it does the secondary plot will be removed for story flow.

13. Co-writing is encouraged, and is usually done either through PMs, via IM in Microsoft Messenger, or on the Secret Post Writing Forum. Most evenings many of the writers gather in Microsoft Messenger to chat about episodes, story lines, etc. Participation in chat is NOT a requirement to be a writer, though!

14. Disagreements between writers WILL stay private between those writers. If such things occur, keep them to PMs, private IM, or email.

15. The main site admin, Hazend, reserves the right to ban or delete any member for disruptive behavior after a thorough review of the behavior in question. In addition he has the right to delete posts which are deemed to be made in attempts to cause strife within the community (i.e. namecalling, attempting to cause a confrontation between writers, etc.). Hazend, being the main site admin and the site owner is the ultimate authority in this regard and is the person to contact if such bannings, or thread deletions occur.

Think Galactica and you'll do fine indeed - we're all fans here!

If you agree to the above please feel free to post in the recruitment thread and one of the writers will get back to you.

Thanks for your interest.

Site Admin

Writing in the Libra fanfic - Form and Structure

contributed by GoldWolf

Some of us in Battlestar Libra have been writing together for over a year; others have recently joined. This is a general guideline and a “helpful” reference for standard conventions we use.

Libra fanfic is written in the past tense: He was flying the Viper back to the battlestar.

NOT: He is flying the Viper back to the battlestar.

It’s easy to get present and past tense mixed up, so be aware of: He is flying the Viper back to the battlestar. He turned the ship and then glided gently into the landing bay, and touches down lightly. He is (present tense) flying the Viper back to the battlestar. He turned (past tense) the ship and then glided (past tense) gently into the landing bay, and touches (present tense) down lightly. Both past and present tense are used in the above, and it makes reading it a little awkward.

There ARE times when you want to mix up tenses—when you are showing the character’s thoughts. We indicate a character’s thoughts by putting them in italics. In BB code, use [i] in front of what you want in italics, and [/i] at the end. When you Post Reply on the bulletin board, there are buttons that will put the code in for you.

So here’s how you correctly mix tenses: He was flying the Viper back to the battlestar. I fly this Viper all the time, why am I always nervous when it’s time to land? The first part: ‘He was flying the Viper back to the battlestar’ is a description of what he was doing, past tense. The second part: I fly this Viper all the time, why am I always nervous when it’s time to land? was the thought he had AS he was flying the Viper, so it’s written in present tense.

Additional comments contributed by Silon

So as we use italics for character thoughts, we use quatation marks for their spoken words. For example: "You're an idiot, Commander Rodrigues," he blurted out loud. I sure am glad I'm alone in this room, he thought, so no one heard me say that just now.

And for communicating through the wireless or overhead p.a. system, we use the square brackets to indicate a voice that is coming through speakers. For example: [Attention, all crew,] Colonel Vansen's voice was heard throughout the ship. [Today... ice cream for everyone.] "Wow, that's cool," Petty Officer Jones said to his buddy. "I hope it's not strawberry; I hate strawberry."


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