Thursday, September 27, 2012

Site Funding Update

A short note about donations. Our account is still positive. However, the funds from HASA's Story Pledge Challenge will last longer if we have more subscribers and "just because" donations. Right now subscriptions cover about a third of the hosting fee.

HASA is in its tenth year of providing ad-free, fee-free JRRT fanfiction that is owned and operated by the fandom, not corporate interests. Your contact information is not for sale to marketeers. There are no tests to take to join, all genres, characters, ratings and story lengths are welcome, and we get hundreds of readers a day.

Our PayPal account has three ways to donate:
- Monthly subscriptions - set up a monthly recurring donation in amounts from $5 to $25 dollars.
- Yearly subscriptions - set up a recurring annual donation in amounts from $15 to $50 dollars.
- "Just because" donations of any amount.

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 reviewer, no better time than now to sign up. If you are an author, please consider donating a new story.

Thanks for enjoying HASA!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

HASA News - How-tos September 2012

How do I...

... use the Forums?

In this How-to you will learn how to join a forum, how post to one and how to create one.

What are the Forums?

A forum is a group of discussion threads. The threads in a forum are organized around something - an author, a story, a topic, an event, etc. Here HASA members can discuss, debate, critique, or just hang out. Some forums are also available to the general public for reading.

There are seven forums at HASA:

Some forums are started by admins, but many more belong to individual members, for example authors who want to have a place to discuss their stories.

Closed Forums

Closed forums are only accessible to people who have been authorized by the creator of the forum. A forum may be closed for several reasons: for instance, an author may use a closed forum to discuss a story she's writing with her beta(s), or it could be about an adult story or discuss mature themes.

Read-only Forums

Read-only forums allow anyone to read a topic without being able to post. For instance, most of the site announcements are posted in read-only forums; only site admins can post to these.

How to join a Forum

  1. Click on the forum you would like to participate in. If it is an open discussion, you will see 'You are not a participant in this discussion,' followed by a 'Sign Me Up!' link in the "Participation" box in the navigation column.
  1. If you click on a forum that is closed, you will see the message 'We're sorry, this is a closed discussion'. If you want to take part in the discussion, click the 'Request Forum entry' button. An email will be sent to the discussion owner who may give or deny access, and you will receive confirmation of the result by email. Be patient; it may take a while for the forum owner to get the email and respond.
  1. For an open forum, simply click on 'Sign Me Up.'
  2. You will now see 'You are a full participant in this discussion.' You can now read or post at any time.

How to post in a Forum

  1. For any forum you wish to participate in, either by reading or posting, you must first join the forum as described above.
  2. Click on the forum you want to post in. If you are not already a participant, click on 'Sign me up!'
  3. Find the thread that you would like to post to and click on it.
  4. If you find a post you would like to reply to, click the 'Reply to Post' button in the message information box.
  5. Type your response into the message form. Don't forget to spell check!
  6. Click 'Post Reply.'
  7. Now, look over your post. If you want to change anything, click on the 'Edit Message' button in the message information box, and edit the post as you like.

How to start a new topic in a Forum

  1. Go to the forum you are interested in. If you have already joined the discussion, you will see a button 'Add a New Topic Thread' in the Participation box in the navigation column.
  2. Click the button.
  3. Type in the subject for the topic. This is what will appear in the topic list when that forum is opened.

Make it clear what the topic is about. Starting a topic in Jane Doe's forum called 'About your story' might be fine now when Jane only has one story; when she has eight it will be confusing.

How to create a Forum

Anyone, whether you are a writer or a reader, can create one or more forums. Obviously, you can start a forum to discuss your stories, but there are many interesting forums here on a wide range of topics related to writing. The busiest forums tend to be in the Resources Forums because that's where people go to look for help with research and to picking each others' brains on obscure Tolkien facts.

The key to getting a forum going is post a lot in that discussion yourself. Forums that look active attract more activity. If no one posts a reply to you right away, post something new - a new chapter, a new idea, a note about something you saw and thought was interesting, etc.

Also, post in other forums - that's how other members get to know you. If you like someone's stories, that person may have similar interests and may like yours, and the conversation may interest them in your forum or your stories. If it is a general interest forum, just be sure you are posting something pertinent to the topic. If you are posting in someone's story forum, you should be there to talk about her stories, not advertise your own. It is considered poor manners to "hijack" threads to try to draw people to your own forum.

If you want feedback on a story, make it easy for those who might want to comment. You can do this by:

  • Linking your story to your forum
  • Asking specific questions in your forum introduction, the first message of your topic thread, or at the beginning or end of your story.

It is always easier to give a specific rather than general comment. Answering 'What did you think of it?' is much harder than 'Did Gandalf's motivations make sense?' or 'Is the Rohan scene too choppy?'

Now, how to create your forum:

  1. Locate an "Add Forum" link or button. These are located:
    • In the main Forums navigation drop down menu
    • In the top title bar on a Conference list of forums (See example in the Stories Forums . Please note, you have to be logged in.)
    • On the main "My Forums" page.
  2. Click the link or button.
  3. You will see the Add a Forum form.
  4. Type in the forum name; short names are preferred and display better. There is a 50 character maximum for titles.
  5. If this forum is in the Stories Forums, you might choose to title it by your name: 'Name - Stories,' by the name of the story itself or whatever descriptive name you want to use. If it is in Members, you can also use your name 'Name's Discussion,' or choose another title that you like.

    Keep in mind that if you title a story discussion by the name of one story, you may need to add another discussion or change the name of the existing one when you post other stories. It's easiest to use a general name for your discussion, and post a list of stories in the introduction (and edit that when you add a story).
  6. Choose which conferences you want the forum to appear in. Available conferences are:
    • Members
    • Stories
    • Challenges
    • Resources
    • Workshop (Note: you can only add to this conference when you are a member of a workshop)
  7. Write your introduction. This serves the same function that a summary does for a story; it is a way to tell members what's inside, and interest them in entering. It can be as simple as 'This is a place to discuss my stories,' or as long and detailed as you like. If it is very long, it will mean that readers have to scroll repeatedly to get to the threads, which some may find annoying.
  8. Choose whether you want other members to be able to link their stories to your forum, or whether only you may link to the forum.
  9. Decide whether you want to receive emails when there is a new post in your forum. You can always change your mind later. We recommend saying "Yes".
  10. Select whether your forum is for general or adult audiences. Please clearly mark forums or posts that contain mature content.
  11. Select who may participate in your forum. Unless you have a reason (such as discussing a story in beta, or a discussion on adult topics) to keep people out, you should choose "Open to all HASA Members, General Public may read." You can always change it later.
  12. Click "Add Forum".

If there is more you want to learn more about how the forums work, you can find the answer in the Forums FAQ

Have fun!

And if there is any topic you'd like to see in the how-to, tell us and we'll try to answer your question!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

HASA Reviewed stories September 2012

Since the previous Bulletin, three stories passed through review while there are currently 9 stories waiting for reviewers. Make an author's day and review a story!

Member participation is crucial for reviews. The more people are involved in reviewing, the more different opinions are represented. Having more people involved also 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, please 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 be, 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 Mariner's Woe by EarendiltheMariner
Rating: General
Era: Multi-Age
Genre: General
Summary: Sailing the stars alone and ceaselessly for thousands of years is bound to leave a mark, and not even Earendil the Mariner is perfect, or immune to temptation. A somewhat dark, angsty take on Earendil. Time tarnishes even the brightest glory, and dims even the brightest star.

Alfirin by Certh
Rating: General
Era: 3rd Age - Ring War
Genre: Other
Summary: Part I of the Colours of Dawn series. Even in the midst of war a fleeting semblance of quiet may be found.

Speak No Truth, Offer No Comfort by Adonnen Estenniel
Rating: General
Era: 4th Age
Genre: General
Summary: There's a feminist loose on the streets of Minas Tirith, and she's causing a bit of a stir. Curious to see what the fuss is about, one of the King's guards visits the tavern where she holds court, and he receives quite the earful for his troubles.

Make an author's day, review a story or post a comment.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

HASA news - Birthdays, Challenges, Stories

September Birthdays

Is your birthday in September, 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.


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!

The September Nuzgûl, Don't Worry, Be Happy, can be found here, and will run until the end of the month.

Come on over to the Nuzgûl of the Month Workshop and join in the fun. If you've written a story for any of the previous months, don't forget to add it to the Playlist!

August 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 August:

--- no Reviewed Stories were published or updated.

--- 31 General Stories were published or updated.

--- 2 Beta Stories were updated.

(Please note, you need to be logged in to view beta stories.)

Thank you for reading at HASA. Enjoy!