March 28, 2004
You've got a tale, and you want to send it to me as a submission. This is what I describe as a 'Good Thing'. Have you read HELP SUBMISSION from inside the game? I often find that people haven't done so, and this is a 'Bad Thing'. Let's have a look at common errors...
Did you ask me about the idea to start with? This step is not necessary, but if there is a major flaw in your proposition, I may be able to see it immediately. This can save both of us time, and I'm a reasonably inventive fellow, so I may be able to suggest something different.
I don't open DOCs or other file attachments. I only accept submissions in TXT attachments or in the body of an email (I much prefer TXT attachments). If you need fancy effects, please note them as such in the tale. Working in Word is all well and good, but make sure the result looks good when you save it out as a TXT file - I get submissions that have all sorts of strange characters because it sometimes doesn't work correctly. Also, do not cut and paste from a Word DOC to a TXT file - that gets worse results than when saving out erroneously.
Make sure your piece is based around Medievia. Aproximately half the rejections I send out are based around that problem - nothing to do with the game. It may sound a good idea to add in a new creature of your own devising, but I can't accept something that is not in the game. Feel free to read the builder application files to introduce the mob in question, but unless it's in the game, you need special dispensation to use it.
I'm always surprised to see how many rejections I have to send based on those grounds - you play Medievia and it's a Medievian publication. We require that every piece of fiction be based in the game. I need more than a character saying, "I've come from Braneri - what's the rush? Oh - an old castle that's not on the maps anywhere and no player can get to - what fun!" This is a Bad Thing. Use areas and items in the game - there are many to choose from, and they can often be the best sources of inspiration. Remember, most builders worked stories into their zones, so you can use those as the background to your tales. I expect some adaptation, but the basis for tales is out there.
Not heard from me in four working days? Ask me again or mudmail me - emails can sometimes go awry or be marked as read by accident. Follow up if you haven't heard from me soon. I generally try to alert people to my occasional absences with a note in the NEWS or similar.
Grammar and spell checking. You do not have to be exacting with this, though it would be nice if you were. If you do not have English as your first language, let me know, and I will try to help as required. If you do have English as your first language, I suggest that you should get a friend to read through your piece before sending it in. Many teachers would be more than happy to help - the ones I know would be pleased that you are extending your creative talents outside of the schoolroom.
You should always consider a few things before submitting a piece to me. Does it look like a story you would buy? Has the end of the world happened in the first two paragraphs? Does the story cover more than one page on your screen? Think about these and feel free to ask me if you are uncertain about any factor in your work.
I will cheerfully help people in rewriting things to an extent, and I reserve the right to do this if necessary, but if a story requires heavy work, it will be up the author to make most of the effort initially. The piece is supposed to be your story, not mine.
Using the modern slang language where you replace 'you' with 'u' and similar obscenities will get the article rejected immediately. It is lazy and something that I should not have to deal with - it emerged on cell phones where a limited keypad is available for text messages, but most people write with a full keyboard. As a god, I am not supposed to have biases. Consider this to be my failing - you have been warned.
These are the most common pitfalls, but there are others. Common sense is one way to avoid them but above all - ask me if you are not certain. I like people, and I like receiving emails. If I can help then I will.
An ideal submission should look a little like this...
Submitter has an idea for a story and asks me about it.
I reply and say what I think works and doesn't. However, at this stage the submitter should have a better idea about the end result than I do. I'm open to argument at all stages of the process.
Submitter sends me the attached file and I read it.
I think, "This chap(pess) needs a literary agent, not me." I send the file off for final proofing, and it will appear in the next edition of the Mudslinger.
At the point of publication. Soleil emails all the authors whose work merits a donation award and asks them what donation equipment of the appropriate grade they would like.
The above is an idyllic version of what should happen. What normally happens is that the process bogs down around the time I get to read it. Generally speaking, I have to exchange a few emails with most authors with advice, suggestions and comments about their work. This is perfectly normal. As always, I am open to argument about certain points, but I generally make comments when I can back them up. I don't always catch things the first time around, and I work between customers at work, so I can think of things but forget to put them in when I get back after talking to someone in another room. I'm only divine, not perfect. Sometimes I may inquire about word choice or plot elements. Other times I may have different concerns. That depends on the story I receive.
What am I looking for? I have two main criteria to consider when I look at a piece. Firstly - would I write it this way? This is perhaps the least important as different authors have different styles. Secondly - is it entertaining? This is where it becomes difficult, and I have to start applying part number one here. Could I improve on this? Do I need to improve on it? I have to make a judgement call on the plot and entertainment value, and then I have to balance this with the fact that it's someone else's work. That last point is important - I could fill the Mudslinger with articles most issues, though with bulk comes a lower quality. The Mudslinger is for the players, though - that's you.
Rejecting articles is something I do not enjoy, but I will always give my reasons. If you think that I am wrong, explain your reasoning to me, but all of my article rejections are copied to Soleil. I've been in this position for roughly four years now, and I have not yet had anything to say that I rejected something unfairly or improperly. Feel free to challenge a rejection - if you are right, I will concede the point.
Even a rejection is not a final step. Some rejections are on the grounds that a piece would need far too much rewriting (I'm not giving examples). This should be obvious from the rejection, and in that case you could try and rewrite it with any necessary changes. There are two grades of rewrite, however. The first type is where I am happy to work with the submitter on small alterations - these are usually changes of words and sentences here or there. The second type is a rejection one - generally it's best to discard what you have and just start from scratch again, taking into account what I have said about what works and what doesn't.
The most important thing to remember is that I don't bite. Feel free to send me any and all ideas, but please bear in mind the guidance above.
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