** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **
Okay then. All four current NES writers have had their character profiles submitted and approved, and we're finally ready to get started. Some time over the next 24-48 hours or so, I'll post an opening entry and enable everybody's posting privileges and we can watch this puppy roll. However, before I do, I just want to go through a few last minute details/guidelines/reminders for everybody involved...
The first thing everybody should know is that this community is set up in moderated posting mode. This means that when you post a new entry, it won't appear in the story until I have approved it. This is done more out of policy than neccesity, ostensibly to help avoid occurances of two writers posting at the exact same time, and ending up with two conflicting story threads branching off, and also to avoid the even less likely event that some rogue member does something crazy like kill off people's characters, or gets drunk one night and post a picture of their ass into the community, etc. Though I'm sure with only four writers at the moment, neither of those things will ever happen, it's still a better safe than sorry policy.
The tricky part is, I'm strongly anti-censorship in all its forms, and there may come times when you may post something which as a moderator, I think is just horseshit, but as a person, I don't believe in editing/blocking/censoring your post. In these instances, you'll probably get an email from me asking you to revise your post, but if somebody else throws in an update before you've corrected whatever it is that was wrong enough to merit a modification, their update will take precedence.
Speaking of which, in the very unlikely case that multiple writers attempt to continue the story at the same time, regardless of whose entry is "better" in my personal opinion, the entry posted chronologically first will be entered and the rest will be discarded. With four writers, I doubt that will ever come up, and I will be approving entries as promptly as possible to avoid a backlog in the story, but I just wanted to warn you in advance. Not every single entry you post will be guaranteed to make it into the story!
Now, onto other things. Writers are permitted to, and in fact encouraged to, discuss the story with eachother outside of the community, to plan their entries in advance or try to learn more about other peoples characters. When posting your updates, you are allowed to - and again, encouraged to - write about other people's characters in your entries, but try to avoid doing so in too much detail until you're sure you can portray that character correctly, either by waiting for a few entries from that character's "owner" to get a feel for the character's personality, or by running your post by the other writers backstage first before posting for them to approve or correct. This way, nobody writes anybody else's character into the story in a way that the creator of that character will disagree with, and everybody stays happy with the story. =)
Which reminds me of another important note - ALL posts to the community once the story has begun MUST be story update posts. Any post that isn't a continuation of the story will not be approved. If you want to post side notes, ask a question, or discuss something story-related, please post a comment on the relevant entry and discuss it in a thread there. Also, community watchers/visitors are encouraged to post feedback and comments along the way - writers are essentially egotists: we love to be told that you're enjoying the story! So as the story progresses, whether you're a writer or just a reader, please feel more than free to post your encouraging - or, if neccesary, constructively critical - comments along the way. Derogatory or completely un-NES related comments will be deleted, however.
What else... ah, just another quick reminder to try and keep the story logical and flowing. Picture it like a book in your mind, and always try to make your updates sound like they are picking up from where the last post left off - write your character into the story, don't just write a seperate storyline on the side because you've got a direction in your head that you want your character to go in. If you were reading a book, you wouldn't likely turn the page only to find yourself reading about a completely unrelated character, doing unrelated things in another part of the world, so you should avoid that here, too.
Logically, after the introductory posts and a bit of scene setting, all active characters should have met and be playing together as a team, unless you have a cleverly written logical reason why they should be elsewhere. =)
On the topic of characters, writers are fine to include "NPC's" (Non-Player Characters, for you non-roleplaying writers, if there is such a thing!) in their updates, so long as they don't become as involved as the main characters. Don't feel you are only ever allowed to write about your own single character and occasionally those of the other writers - it stands to reason that in any story, there are a whole cast of lesser characters and bit players that make up the story. You can have a girlfriend, father, dog, bartender, old war buddy, whatever, but keep them in the sidelines - the story is about the four first credited characters in the end, not the supporting cast!
Oh, also, plain text entries only please - no HTML, formatting, links or graphics, etc. And as briefly mentioned in the initial rules post, there is no set "turn taking" or enforced sequence, but try to keep the participation fairly even - try not to post again until at least one or two other writers have posted since your last update, and also try not to leave it six months between posts. If any writer vanishes for an extended period and doesn't respond to continued poking and prodding via email for a while, we will assume you dead and kill off your character in turn. =)
Anyways, this is becoming long winded so I'll wrap this up here. In short, the best thing I can say is, if in doubt, sit back and watch the rest of us first. If you're feeling unsure of where to go, what to do, or how to do it, let somebody else take the next update and get a feel for the direction the story, and the character development, is going in.
The next post will be the beginning of the story, and then it's open house for updates from there. And as always, email me - or the other writers - and ASK if you need to know something, or post a comment instead of an update. It's better to check in advance than assume and be wrong. And I hate having to ask people to change their writing or deny their updates, so please try not to put me in that position! =D
See you on the flipside guys!
** ADMINISTRATIVE UPDATE POST **