Sunday, November 28, 2010

HASA news - Challenges

In this week’s news: current and prospective Challenges, and the Nuzgûl of the Month.

Birthday Challenges

The November Birthday Challenge is still going on, and there are two days left to make a request or write a birthday drabble.

If you’re feeling inspired, you can also get an early start on the December Birthday Challenge!

Not sure what the birthday cards are about? Have a look at the stories already written this year.

Current and closing Challenges

November 2010 Birthday Cards - closes November 30

Prospective Challenges

Challenges are born from Prospective Challenges, and the Prospective Challenges Forum is where you’ll find out what other people would like to spring on unsuspecting authors... If you have any ideas you want to share, why not head over to the Challenges Forum; or be inspired by what is already there and pick up an older idea instead?

Nuzgûl of the Month

Just as Challenges come from Prospective Challenges, Prospective Challenges come from Nuzgûl, and Nuzgûl need attention to grow from tiny ideas into big stories. Step into the Nuzgûl hutch. The bunnies don’t bite (much). And who knows what ideas you may come out with?

The Nuzgûl of the Month!

There are still two days to write for the November Nuzgûl: Ruling Steward forevermore.

December’s Nuzgûl will be: The Passing of Narsil.

Come on over to the Nuzgûl of the Month Workshop.

Thank you for reading at HASA. Have fun!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

HASA Reviewed Stories November 2010

Since the previous Bulletin, 3 stories have been reviewed and there are currently also 8 stories in review (remember to log in before you follow the link). Reviews couldn’t exist without authors and reviewers. So Thank You all for your work. BUT... we always need reviewers!

Member participation is crucial for reviews. The more people are involved in reviewing, the more opinions are represented. Just as importantly, having more people involved means that stories pass through review more quickly - which is good for everyone. If you are an active reviewer, why not go and check out a story?

Or, if you are a writer, take the plunge and submit a story for review (and when you do, remember: Put one in, take one out.

By submitting a story for review, you are asking nine other members to read and evaluate it. So why not do for the other authors who have a story in review what you'd like other reviewers to do for you: check out one of the stories already in review and give it a read.

Becoming a reviewer
If you're not an active reviewer, but think you can spare a bit of time... – even if you just review one or two stories in a month, every review is welcome. If you are logged in, you can sign up here if you've been a member of HASA for thirty days or more.

Daunted by the idea of reviewing? Don’t worry, reviewing at its simplest comes down to asking yourself: “Would I recommend this story to someone?” Then, whether the answer is 'yes' or 'no', you can make a choice from the capsule reasons to clarify your decision. If you want to, you can add a few more words to convey what you (dis)liked about the story, but just the capsule reason is perfectly fine as well.

And remember: even if you think you're too critical or not critical enough: your review is only one of nine, and all points of view are welcome. Not every reviewer has to review every story and in the end it does all level out to a balanced judgement.

Reviewed story spotlight
These stories have passed through review since the previous bulletin. Congratulations to all authors; well done!

The Gift of Foresight by lindahoyland
Rating: General
Genre: General
Era: 3rd Age - Ring War
Summary: Aragorn and Halbarad have a conversation on the way to Minas Tirith.

Five Things That Never Happened to Sauron by Russandol
Rating: Adult
Genre: General
Era: Multi-Age
Summary: Five short scenes with a twist, in five different locations. Each of them harder to write than the previous one! Thank you to my fellow lizards for their nit picking and comments.

Song of a Swan Princess by Mirefinwe
Genre: General
Era: Multi-Age
Summary: At Mithlond, in the Third Age, a lost Telerin princess recalls the many sorrows of her long life, a life shaped by the deep purposes of Ulmo - perhaps...


Sunday, November 14, 2010

HASA How-tos - November 2010

This month’s HASA How-to tells you how to create a playlist of your favourite stories by other authors and of your own stories.

How do I...
... create a Reader Playlist and put stories in it?

Playlists are lists of HASA stories put together by authors and readers, just as music lovers put together lists of their favorite songs.

  • Stories in a series put in reading order.

  • A collection of similarly themed stories, such as Hobbit romance or critical essays on Men.

  • A reader's "favorites" list, complete with explanations of why the reader likes them.

  • A collection of stories by multiple authors.

There are three types of playlists, each featuring a slightly different set of perspectives.

The first type, Reader Lists, is for readers to put together collections of stories that you like, for whatever reason, in the order you like, and by as many authors as you like. Put together a reading tour of HASA!

You can add playlists as follows.

If you do not yet have any playlists, you can make one first:
  1. Go to the Playlists section.

  2. If the Main Menu is not open, click the header to unfold the menu.

  3. From the menu, click on "My Playlists", and choose "Playlists I share" from the righthand column.

  4. You will now see a form for creating a list.
    --Type in a title. It cannot be more than 50 characters, including spaces. Make the title distinctive. Do not use double quote marks!
    --Type in a description of the list. Use key words like your screen name, characters featured in the stories, and so on. Each one of these words is searchable. Click "Add new playlist".

  5. The playlist is created and you end up on the "Playlists I have created" page. You are now ready to add stories.

Or, when you are in Stories (and this works both for creating a new list and adding a story to a playlist you made earlier):
  1. While you are reading a story you like, click on the "Add to Playlist" button in the Readers Toolbox located at the top and bottom of every chapter page.

  2. If you do not have any playlists at all, you will immediately see a form like the one de-scribed above. Follow those instructions to create a playlist.

  3. If you already have playlists, you will see a drop-down list of your Reader playlists, plus a link to "Create new Playlist."

  4. Once you have either created or selected a playlist, you will be prompted to add the story to the list.

  5. Provide a brief explanation of why you are adding the story to the list and click "Add".

  6. The screen refreshes and you can see the story in the list. It is added at position "0". You must set the story to a number other than "0" for it to show on your list.

  7. Use the small ordinal drop-down boxes to put the story in position.

  8. Click "Reorder List" to update the order.

NOTE: When a playlist is created, it is set to Inactive. This is because when it is created, it doesn't have stories in it. After you add stories to it, you must set the playlist to Active to allow others to read it.

The second type of list is the Author List. If you write multiple stories that should be read in a particular order, or if you have different sets of stories (these are my Dwarf stories, these are my Hobbit stories, etc.) you can group them together. The only limit here is that any story included in the list must be Beta, General, or Reviewed status.

Creating an author playlist is also a great way to promote your own works. The most recently updated playlist appears on the home page of HASA, which is a good way to bring a set of stories to the notice of readers.
  1. Go to the Playlists section.

  2. If the Main Menu is folded up, click the heading to unfold it.

  3. Choose "Playlists I Write" from the menu.

  4. On that page, if you do not have an author playlists yet, you will be prompted to create one.

  5. Enter a title and a brief description of the playlist, such as "This is my Legolas AU series set in chronological order."

  6. Click "Add".

  7. When your list is first created, it is set to Inactive. This allows you to put your list together before releasing it to the public. You must set your list to Active to make it viewable.

Now that your list is created, you can add your stories to it.
  1. Navigate to My Playlists-->;Playlists I Write in the Playlists section of HASA

  2. You will now see the list of all Author Playlists you have created. If you don't have a playlist yet, you'll be prompted to create one.

  3. Click "Update List" to add stories.

  4. The screen will refresh and you will now see all of your Beta, General and Reviewed status stories in a drop down list.

  5. Select the story you want to add from the drop-down list and click "Select".

  6. Provide a brief explanation for the story. Use keywords that readers might use for search-ing, such as characters names or story genre. Take time to say something that will spark curi-osity about your story and make a reader want to click. If you are putting together a thematic series, put that in.

  7. Click "Add".

  8. The story and reason are added to the list.

  9. Be sure to set the order of the list after adding a new story. Use the order drop-down num-bers to do this. The stories that are left set to "0" will not show up in the playlist.

After you have added a story, you will need to reset the overall playlist to Active status.
  1. Click the "Edit Playlist" button in the top table.

  2. The playlist will open in a form.

  3. Make changes to the description if desired and change the status from Inactive to Active.

  4. Click "Edit Playlist".

Workshop Lists. These are the most specialized. These are lists of stories by authors who be-long to a particular workshop. If a group of authors is conducting a writing exercise, they could gather the stories in a playlist. Or if the authors are jointly writing stories, they can compose the joint works in a workshop, then put the stories into a playlist with commentary about writing them.

Adding stories to a Workshop List works the same way as described for the other two types of playlist. The only other thing you need to keep in mind here is that only stories that are in a Workshop can be added.

Have fun!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

HASA news - Birthdays and stories

November birthdays and links to the stories written or updated in October.

November Birthday Challenge

Is your birthday in November, and would you like a drabble about your favourite character or topic? You can request it here.

Not sure what the birthday cards are about? Have a look at stories written for previous requests.

October Stories

All of us writers love feedback. It is the lembas and miruvor that sustains us as we write our story, and leaving a few words about a story you read is always a nice thing to do, whether the story is new or old.

Every fifteen minutes HASA highlights a story chosen at random from the Reviewed and General stories in the archive. Read the currently featured story on our front page.

Many talented writers are publishing every day. In October:

--- 8 Reviewed Stories were published or updated.
--- 29 General Stories were published or updated.
--- 3 Beta Stories were updated.
(Please note, you need to be logged in to view beta stories.)

Thank you for reading at HASA. Enjoy!

~Nath ~

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Donations needed for October & November

Please read. After paying October fees, our account is at -$88.00. The $150 bill for November will be due soon. HASA is a fee-free Web site, run for the enjoyment of quality JRRT fanfiction & it depends on member & reader donations to pay hosting fees.

The hosting fee pays for the dedicated server HASA needs to provide the features and fun visitors love - stories, comments, forums, alerts, challenges and more. When you make a donation you will be helping to make sure all the great stories and resources archived here will remain accessible. HASA's indexing and recommend features make it easy for readers to find the stories they are looking for. Our resource section helps authors get the details right in their stories. Our forums and workshops help connect authors and readers so authors can make stories better.

If you haven't donated yet to help support HASA, please consider doing so; any support will be timely and greatly appreciated. If you're a little short on spare change at the moment, donations of time are always appreciated. There's an archive full of stories just waiting for comments, authors who would dearly love an email complimenting them on their work, challenges that need entries, playlists that need to be created, and forums begging for discussions. If you are a reviewer, check out a story today. If you aren't a reviewr, no better time than now to sign up. If you are an author, please consider donating a new story.

Thanks for enjoying HASA!