If you are, or wish to be, a Newbie Writer for The Plothole, this article is here to offer you reassurance! The truth is, there is no right or wrong to this, and there are no lofty standards to aspire to. We want writing on The Plothole to be as fun an as inclusive as possible, to appeal to everyone. The only consideration to make is to remember that most of our Books (Threads) are collaborative, so whatever you come up with will affect other Writers that come after you. You are, however, welcome to make an entirely new thread and fashion yourself a solo-adventure if you please!
- 1 Collaborating
- 2 The Neverending Story
- 3 Format
- 4 Inclusivity and "I Don't Like that Kind of Thing"
- 5 Artwork
- 6 Beyond The Neverending Story
- 7 Using the Wiki
The unique feature of our board is that we offer a collaborative experience. This can be compared to a round-robin story, each person involved can take turns to tell the same Story. There is no required order, you do not have to wait your turn. This helps to ensure things progress without being held up by a specific person, and releases Writers from the pressure of obligation. You are never obliged to write a post, and should never feel that it is a requirement. Just a single, quirky post can make all the difference! What should you write about? Whatever makes you happy! But remember, whatever you do write will be carried on by someone else. Nobody is psychic here (if you are, congratulations!) and will not necessarily carry your additions to the Story in a way that you had foreseen. This should be a fun surprise, please don't hold others to specific expectations. Interested? Well then, where do we start?
The Neverending Story
As you may be able to tell from the title of this series of Thread-Books, this Story is a never-ending affair. It has been running since 1999 and has reached it's third Book in, The Neverending Story 3. This might seem daunting, but never fear, you are not expected to read all of it. Or any of it, actually. In fact, we encourage you not to read it!! Reading the entirety of the NeS would take a huge amount of time, cloud your own vision on what you want to do, and be a big chore. If you are a super dedicated reader, then of course you are welcome to the peruse our Posts right here on the Wiki. But I would advise you begin your own NeS legacy before you delve into the long, and utterly bonkers, history of the Story.
You Can't do it Wrong
There are three main concerns most new Writers have, just as I did when I began.
a) Feeling the need to read the whole thing
b) Afraid of "messing things up"
c) Afraid of "not being good enough"
I promise you, you do not need to read the whole thing and we don't want you to. Even those that were there in the past can't remember any of it, and I, current administrator, wasn't even there for most of it either! You cannot be 'good enough' for NeS. If you are that good, please come and show us your ways, oh master of the literary arts! None of us are professionals. The likes of J.K. Rowling and Neil Gaiman have yet to show up, so you'll be in good company no matter you skill, or lack of it, in writing nonsense. There's also no such thing as messing it up, we thrive on CHAOS! If pushed to breaking point, we have a handy-dandy solution that cements the very foundation of the site - the plothole.
Our 'get-out-of-jail-free card'. Did you accidentally write a character where they weren't a moment ago? Plothole opens! Did you just forget how to get from the UK to Australia? Plothole opens! My first post to the NeS, I made a character that proceeded to murder the entire cast of characters. Can you guess what happened? A Plothole opened! It is literally impossible to ruin the NeS. Unlock you hack our website. Please don't hack us. We will cry.
The NeS is mostly comedic, with a lot of goofiness, silliness and downright dumb things happening to our Characters. However, do not feel as though this is your only option. There is always room for action scenes, romantic scenes, dramatic scenes, horror scenes; whatever your literary heart desires. Some Writers have specific preferences and will often add Posts in their favourite genre, which can help other Writers indulge in Character or Story angles they may otherwise never have considered. There is an abundance of science-fiction and fantasy too, so you aren't restricted to real life.
Make a Character
The best way to begin is to jump straight to the current page of the Story and read that. Figure out who the current cast of characters are and then make your own! Adding your own character can be a fantastic way to instantly relate to the Story and that figure will act as a lasting impact on NeS even if you eventually leave, or take a break from the site. What should your Character be? Whatever you'd like! They can be an exciting wizard with powerful magic, an alien from your own made-up planet, or an average guy that likes to eat jam doughnuts all day. Many of the greatest NeS Heroes have been goofy characters that run away from everything and just want to spend their time playing video games. If you'd rather not add a character at all, that is fine too! There are a plethora of existing characters that you can write with and contribute to!
Whether you've made yourself a new Character or not, you'll want to begin your NeS journey with the NeS Heroes. They are the main cast of characters and our protagonists for the tale. Every Writer will follow these bumbling fools around the planet Earth as they tackle an assortment of villains or dilemmas. As most Writers introduce a Character of their own, this Character usually joins the team and may remain on that team for an extended period of time, even if that Writer leaves or takes a break from writing. The size of the cast is usually dependant on how many Writers have added content during a Chapter. Any Character that is ever added to the Story can also appear again as side-characters at any given moment, even if they have not been on the NeS Heroes for an extended period of time. And should you take a long break and arrive back months later to find your Character was left behind somewhere, you can bring them straight back into the fold without question!
The NeS Heroes are usually self-aware persons who know that they are in a Story and that they are being written, allowing them to crack jokes or criticisms on tropes or poor writing or perhaps they can even catch a glimpse of the script for themselves!
The Main Character Designed for Everyone
The one Character that is always present is the Main Character, who is Losien Simon. Designed to be an easy-in Character for new Writers who won't have a difficult time getting her down. She leads the group on their missions and has such familiarity with the Story that she is able to predict, or sometimes manipulate, things like tropes. This is usually called "Story-wielding". This is her only supernatural power and is otherwise an average woman with a particular fondness or cheese and crackers and has some confidence issues that she is perpetually working on.
Though it's not necessary, it's usually a good idea to fashion yourself a character profile. Have a look on the NeS Workshop and give it a go. This can help you design a character and come up with their appearance and personality and give other Writers somewhere to check it out; otherwise they might get it wrong when writing your character themselves!
The format of NeS writing isn't set in stone, but we do have a certain traditional standard that has developed over the years to ensure legibility for others. Speech is usually given in script format, with the speaker's name being placed before the spoken words. For example;
|“||Losien Simon: "Hi there! I'm Losien Simon of the NeS Heroes!"||”|
Conversely, the narration for the Post is usually written akin to a written story as it will appear as block text. The narration can be anything you'd find in a story, from scene-setting, to an expression of Character's feelings or, most importantly, a description of their actions. Check out the following to show you a standard bit of posting as seen on the NeS;
|“||Losien: "Hi there! I'm Losien Simon of the NeS Heroes!"
Losien walked up to a chair and sat down as she looked to the new Writer (that's you!) and gave her best 'welcome to the team' smile. She wasn't very good at it as she didn't exactly feel like the right person to be welcoming anyone, least of all such an amazingly talented person as this Writer!
Losien: "If you have any questions, you can always write to one of the other Writers, or even the administrators. They help me out all of the time. Mostly because I'm completely useless."
Always so self-critical, Losien. But, she is right. You can always write to anyone else on the board if you feel you need some extra advice, or if you just want to feel included. This is a small community and everyone is welcome to buddy-up! We were all new to the Story once and we all had growing pains.
Past tense or present tense is up to you. Most write in the present tense but I, Britt the Writer, use past tense. This is because I write outside of NeS and it's easier for me to stick to using the past tense. There's no rule here, only your preference!
Quality of English
Your English proficiency, or the quality of your writing boils down to one thing: can we understand it. You do not need to be Shakespeare (though if you are Shakespeare, please tell me the secret to your immortality!) to write for NeS. In fact, several of our Writers have had dyslexia to varying degrees, including myself! If English is your second-language, there is no greater way to improve than this. Mistakes happen, bad English also happens. If the other Writers can't understand something you wrote, they can either work around it or ask you. As this is the modern age of the internet, your browser should have a dictionary available, or if you use a word program that also has a spellcheck. So you'll have to work hard at being misunderstood!
Holy smokes, Batman! It's a copyright infringement!
While we don't want you adding your favourite superhero to the main cast roster, it is common for us to use popular culture all over the NeS. From fantasy items, to branded soft drinks to that superhero you like, they can crop up anywhere. Their use is usually sparse and temporary and, most importantly, satirical and often comedic. This includes real life people. As it's satire and transformative, and we don't make any money of of this, we'll be fine giving The Doctor or Mr T a cameo.
Real Life People and Places
While it's fine to include an actor, singer or politician that's in the public eye and worthy of a jibe, you can't go adding people from your work or school. Giving personal information of other people to an internet crowd is unethical and probably illegal. Stick to the pop icons.
Inclusivity and "I Don't Like that Kind of Thing"
The Plothole is meant to be inclusive of everyone, no matter their politics or religion or culture. At the same time, all of those things are wide open for ridicule and jokes too. Every political wing has been satirised, all religions are broken apart and there are lots of cultures on display usually with a healthy dose of silliness. It is imperative that you do not take things to heart and get offended if someone makes a joke about your favourite politician, god or breakfast cereal. Many of us make fun of the very things we believe in ourselves.
We generally operate on a 16+ basis, though there are no strict rules on age restrictions. This means we expect Writers to be adults. However, we do not wish for pornographic material to enter The Neverending Story. It may be permitted in separate threads should you truly feel the need. The same goes for overly graphic violence. This does not, however, mean we are prudes with weak stomachs. We have plenty of flirting, lightly worded sexcapades and fighting with fisticuffs or the exploding of heads. It's the detailed descriptions we'd like to avoid. Thanks!
Accepting Others' Mannerisms
It is important to remember that this is the internet and the internet is not exclusively attuned to your nation's culture. People behave differently all over the globe and they even speak differently. Words or ideas that mean one thing to someone, can mean something to you. You will have to accept that other country's exist and they are entitled to their own use of culture and words.
Hatred of Others
Though we accept all walks of life at The Plothole, we do not tolerate deliberate hatred of others. Brazen racism, homophobia, transphobia or any other form of bigotry is not welcome. It doesn't mean light jokes can't be seen in the mix, but prejudice against others for who they are and what they are is unacceptable. However, as above, it is important to remember that words in one culture can mean something different in another and it is important that you always consider the context of a word or statement before you judge it to be prejudice. We expect Writers to be adults about this kind of thing.
We expect the need for this kind of thing to be extremely rare. Generally, if you feel something might need a trigger warning then it shouldn't be in The Neverending Story. However, warnings are more commonly found outside of NeS proper, in titles such as The Legends of the NeSiverse. Trigger Warnings should be used in posts that contain harrowing content, such as references to rape or gore. There is no strict ruling here, and this is simply a means of being considerate of others' tastes. Some of us are squeamish.
Although, try not to go overboard with every other word. The board is for 16+ persons who can speak like adults.
There is artwork available to all Writers of The Neverending Story. You can check out how to get your own free character art on the forum itself. The artwork you can earn does only apply to NeS and not other threads on The Plothole, however other artwork for Characters in other threads may be awarded at the administrator's discretion, should you be interested.
You can also find a lot of older artwork right here on the wiki. Check out the Images to see more.
Beyond The Neverending Story
There are other Thread-Books on The Plothole that are spin-offs of The Neverending Story, including Hero Force Ultimate and Legends of the NeSiverse. These are not usually recommended to Newbie Writers as they can require a little more knowledge of events and Characters to really indulge in. You are free to join them at any time, however! If you would like to, feel free to check out the Wiki articles related to each of them.
Your Own Thread
Not every thread has to be related to the NeS. You can create your very own thread and give it your very own style. You could run a standard role-play thread if you wish, or even post your own story that is closed to other Writers. Clear and the Broken, for example, is set in the NeS Extended Universe, but is closed for other Writers. You can make your own little corner of The Plothole if you'd like.
Using the Wiki
The Wiki itself is an excellent resource for those that want to get into the meat (and the bones!) of the NeS. If you want to read 'ye olde postes', they're available right here. If you want to look up a certain Character to see their personality, appearance or even their history, just search for them here. This goes for places, groups or even events too! If you're confident, you could even have a go at editing and expanding the wiki if you're a glutton for punishment. I sure am!