April 11, 2010

How to get your story posted at Twilighted

OK in the whole mess with FFnet I have come to some conclusions

1) there are TONS of sites out there to post your fics

2) I have heard all of the complaints from authors about posting at Twilighted

SO lets get the dirt

Twilighted is the largest Twific community

It is the first place I found when out looking for something to fix my frustration from SMs fade to black (I did not find it on my own, I was told to go there by a friend from another board)

While chatting with my dear Ninapolitan, who is a big wig over at Twilighted, I asked her if I could interview her, to find out how to make it easier for authors to get their stuff posted at Twilighted.

Nina of course agreed because we are all about removing fear and helping folk.

Remember people, there are TONS of places to post your fic if you want a comprehensive list you can see it here courtesy of our friends from TwilightAwards
This is another link to Author Blogs again from our friends at TwilightAwards

Along with Nina, I chatted it up with my pal Autumn who is also a Junior Validation Beta AND I have comments from our very own Lady Tater AKA Pomme_de_Terre who only posts her stories at Twilighted.
As always, if you have Questions do not hesitate to ask.


1. What is the main thing an author should do to get their fic posted? Everyone should have an experienced beta. Hands down, the easiest reason for rejection.

I should stress this though as well. It's not just proper punctuation and well phrased sentences that get you validated on Twilighted. It's interesting stories and not a rehashing of any of Meyer's books or a plot similar to another popular story. Sure similar plots exist but you've got to set yourself apart from the others. Every author has their own voice.

This isn't just for Twilighted by the way, this is true as well for getting a readership. The way I would write a plot bunny is different than the way you would and so on. People are looking for something new and interesting. The next big story.

Autumn: #1 thing: Have a qualified, experienced, educated beta, who is not afraid to tell you if you have problems with your chapter.

2. What is the average wait time for a new author chapter to get validated?

For new authors just submitting to the site, it averages 2 weeks, sometimes less or more depending on real life factors. We're all on a volunteer basis with families and full time jobs but most of us are in the queue at least everyday or every other day. For authors that have their work on the site already it's possible that they could go up faster simply because their beta is used to their work already and it's easier to go through. That doesn't mean they jump the queue if they're submitting a NEW story, they still sit for at least a week just out of fairness.

Autumn: For a new story, expect your wait to be around two weeks for the first chapter to be validated.

3. Explain the validation process

The queue is essentially a running list of CHAPTERS in order of the date of submission, chapters of both new and current fics are listed in the same roll. The authors that are updating NEED TO PUT THEIR BETA'S NAME IN THE CHAPTER TITLE. Trust me, that is the biggest problem with us validating quickly. Many of us do a "find" for our names in the queue, we get those out of the way then run back through for new fics. With close to 400 chapters in the queue at any given time, IF our names aren't on them, we don't see them.

Autumn: Process:

#1: Write YOUR story. Sounds simple, but lots of people are intimidated and influenced by what's already out there. If you are interested, chances are womeone else will be, too.

#2: Beta thing I had before. This is CRUCIAL. Your bestie probably isn't the right choice, because chances are she won't be honest with you.


#4: Watch your punctuation and spelling. Probably 90% of the chapters I reject are because of punctuation/spelling issues. USE SPELL-CHECK, but don't rely on that alone.

#5: Submit correctly. For example, if it's a one-shot, put that in the title. If you're cutting and pasting from word, use the clipboard with a 'W' on it below the story text screen. Don't use harsh language in the title or summary-all ages can see those. In other words, READ THE INSTUCTIONS.

4. Do authors get a list of what errors need to be fixed in their chapters : For example if I submitted a doc would it be "red penned" so I know what to correct?

Twilighted has submission criteria. It's listed here under Submission Rules. The betas on site are a jury so to speak. We're not there as a traditional beta. It's why all authors (myself included) need to have their work gone over BEFORE submission. We don't 'red pen' per se, that should be done beforehand or it won't be accepted. But when a story is rejected, the author receives an email that will have certain things marked off as the reason for rejection so they know where to focus for resubmission. See next question for more on this.

Autumn: A qualified 'yes'. If a chapter has more than 10 errors per 1K words, it will be rejected, and a notice will be sent that tells them what to look at (Punctuation, spelling, canon issue, tense, etc.). Sometimes specific errors are noted, but not always. Validation betas are handling a lot of stories, and don't generally do 'in depth' corrections, but we do small, infrequent things. Occasionally, a beta will send out a real 'beta-marked' chapter, if the author asks for that.

5. How polished does your work have to be ? If there are minor errors will it be rejected?

No, absolutely not. We will make some changes. A missed unit of punctuation here and there or a misspelled word isn't the end of the world. Consistent errors through the chapter though, won't be corrected and the chapter will be declined until appropriate changes are made.

The biggest thing that stories get rejected for on Twilighted is the punctuation of the dialogue. There is a great thread on the Twilighted forums that explains in plain talk how to punctuate dialogue that I think can help a lot of the authors trying to submit their stories to Twilighted.

6. Many new authors are for lack of a better word intimidated by posted at Twi they try and get rejected how do you think an author should take rejection?

I'm sorry that people feel that way. Honestly, it's not like we're sitting around gossiping about how much we love rejecting people and crushing their spirits. It isn't a cake-walk and that's for ANY author, and I'll be the first to admit that Twilighted ISN'T a home for everyone. A lot of people don't like that their work is read pre-posting, that's fine. Some don't want to be validated or have to wait. That's okay too. Like I said, we're not for everyone. That's what's great about the fandom. There are lots of places to read! You just have to find a home that fits.

Autumn: Take rejection as an opportunity to learn. I was rejected for the first story I submitted, and it stung. I can admit that. I wrote to the beta (vjgm), thanking her for looking at my story and saying that I was quitting. She very kindly wrote back, encouraging me not to quit, saying that she liked my story, and guidin me to an experienced beta who helped me brush up on my punctuation. Best thing I ever did, and I'll love vjgm until I die for that.

Twilighted is about high quality fan fiction. If you want your work to be the best it can be, then a rejected chapter should be viewed as an opportunity for improvement or constructive criticism. We want people to be able to learn from it and make improvements to their writing, which is why we provide the service and so many writing resources for the community. In the end, it elevates the entire community by improving people's writing and improving the quality of the material available to read.

This is my personal opinion, not that of Nina the beta for Twilighted. I have a sense of pride in my work. I can say that without a doubt 99% of people that write feel the same way. Treat your stories like you're submitting them for a grade in school. If you think your teacher would approve and praise your work, then you're good to go.

I'm saying this for ANY site you post to. If you're attaching your name to it, why the hell would you want it be sub-par? Just my .02.

7. How many validations Betas are currently working at Twi?

There are more than 60! Yes, that seems like a lot but considering that 2 years ago, Elizabeth started with 6 and it's grown that much that so many are necessary just to manage the influx of submissions. And because we all do this on a voluntary basis, that 60 can fluctuate as the betas take time off to deal with real life. We are hoping to add a few more rounds of new Junior Validation Betas in the next several weeks.

Autumn: There are currently about 60 validation betas, carrying a varying amount of current stories and picking up new ones as they can.

Sue : DANG

8. How does one find an experienced Beta

Project Team Beta that have a great fully trained staff and a swift turn-around-time. Also, the Fictionista Workshop has an extensive program from brainstorming your story, to outline help, to writing challenges to hone your skills. On Twilighted Forums, there are many people that offer beta work and a lot of authors find their perfect match there as well.

Autumn: There are a few routes. You can ask other respected authors, or see if the author lists their beta in their notes and directly contact that beta. I found Jen (Alicedances01) through the listing for betas on the forums. She is WONDERFUL. Do remember, though, that anyone can offer their services, but not everyone can do an adequate job.


9. What Qs usually get asked by authors about getting their stories up on Twilighted?

Can I request a specific beta? If I bake you cookies can you validate my stories faster?

Autumn: The main question is always about time. TWO WEEKS FOR A FIRST CHAPTER. Expect it and deal with it.

One more thing: FF popularity is no indication of technical correctness. A LOT of stories that are huge on FF get that way because of attrubutes NOT related to being technically correct, and their chapters would NOT fly at Twilighted as submitted to FF.


10. What kind of stories can and cannot be posted at Twilighted?

Inappropriate Content:
b does not accept submissions that deal with incest (except among the adopted siblings of the Cullen family, of course), pedophilia (except between centenarian vampires and 17 year old humans), necrophilia (except with vampires of course) or bestiality (with the exception of werewolves, of course). (What kind of book is this Twilight, anyway? Sheesh!) Stories involving racial intolerance, rape as titillation, and romantic relationships among HUMAN adopted children raised as siblings are also not acceptable. Fics declined due to this content cannot be resubmitted without a substantial rewrite.

NOTE: RPF stories have some special considerations, to make sure the characters are not portrayed in a negative light unsupported by what is public knowledge of their behavior.

Autumn: Twilighted accepts all ratings, but does NOT accept: stories with no or very little connection to Twilight (don't laugh-some people will try to submit anything). Stories that are technically a mess (bad grammar, spelling, punctuation). Stories written by teens that are over a PG-13 rating. Stories with graphic, gratuitous violence, especially aimed toward children. Bestiality, incest, graphic rape are all no-nos.

Bottom line: the ladies at Twilighted started the site as a way to dredge through the muck of FF. There are a lot of good stories there, but FAR more absolute crap. I have to admit, I like to read a story that is technically good far more than I enjoy a morass of bad grammar, spelling, etc. If the story is good, though, those things can be corrected, and the author can learn something in the process. Twilighted welcomes good stories!


AND there you have it folks, Twilighted posting broken down for you.

Please remember you can ask ANY questions if you have them. I know many of the ladies over at Twilighted and I have yet to find one that is not helpful when it comes to answering Qs.

Do not take rejection personally, it says nothing about you as person. What it means is that your writing needs a bit of polish to meet their guidelines.

And finally the comments from my dear Lady Tater AKA Pomme de Terre author of Not Like This and co-author of Becomes The Swan and part of the VAJWET team that writes the crackfic Cullen Robotics ALL of these are available over at Twilighted.

Because, in the past, I have a lot of work plagarized on ff.net and I don't want to take that chance again. Also, the quality of work is better on Twilighted due to the validation process. I like having the second set of eyes on my work and reading more polished stories...


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