The Enlistment Office

Would you like to write a guest riff for us?  Here’s some information to help you go about doing just that.

Please note: The submission guidelines have changed!  To better streamline the guest riff processing we have revamped the submission process to allow a more manageable submission, review, and feedback workflow.  Prior to these new guidelines we were having several issues with quality control, feedback visibility, and formatting.  Current series that are in the works can continue by the old rules, but all new riffs will be subject to the updated submission guidelines.

Submitting a Riff:

If you are submitting a single or “one-shot” riff, the guidelines are what follows. For multi-part riff requirements, please see the next section “Multi-Part Riff Submission Requirements.”

All riffs are now required to be sent to the Library as a Google document or word document uploaded to Google drive (docs.google.com or drive.google.com respectively).  Other methods of submission will not be accepted.  The title of the document should be formatted as follows:

“Screen name” – “fic title” – “chapter or installment”

For example, if Taco was submitting a riff for the seventh chapter of Blorgus Collective, the title would be:

Taco_Magic – Blorgus Collective – Chapter 7

Once your riff is uploaded to Google, share it with editing permissions to: LotDGuestRiffs@gmail.com

You may also want to send us an email with your preferred user-name as a head’s up, but sharing it should notify us regardless.

Multi-Part Riff Submission Requirements:

Due to a historic issue with unfinished series, we have added an additional requirement for riff series to hopefully curtail the number of abandoned series.

When submitting riffs that will go on for multiple installments, you will need to provide us with an email outlining the estimated length of the riff.  This can be done as part of the first part submission or prior to any parts being submitting.  Additionally, before any riff in a series will be posted we will require the following number of installments based on the expected length to be provided as a minimum initial commitment:

  • For riff series that will contain five or fewer installments, all riffs will need to be submitted up-front.
  • For riff series that will contain five or more installments, at least one third (1/3) of the total number of installments will need to be submitted, rounded up.

Once we have received the requisite material, we will begin the review and feedback process.  During this time you are encouraged to continue submitting more installments.

Keep in mind that one-shot breaks for longer projects are encouraged, but if you’re doing a fic that needs one-shot breaks more often than every 1/3 of the fic, we strongly advise reconsidering doing that project.  Few staff Librarians have successfully tackled fics that long and, to date, no guest has successfully completed a project of that length.

All riffs require the following header:

The following header should be filled out and at the top of each riff with the bracketed information replaced by your information.  If you need assistance with this, please toss us a line at the above email and we can help you get it set up.

Title: [Exact title of the fic]
Author: [author name exactly as it appears, preferably with a link, but that is not required]
Media: [The media of the original work.  For instance, an Indiana Jones fic would be listed as a “movie”]
Topic: [The title or franchise that the fic is based on.  Such as “Indina Jones” as above
Genre: [The listed genre attached to the fic.  If none are given, give it your best guess]
URL: [URL link to either the first or chapter of the fic being riffed]
Critiqued by [Your preferred screen name]

The riff itself:

  • Any potential trigger warnings in your riff should be located directly below the header (Lyle was surprised by this once and doesn’t want to have surprise!mental-abuse happen again).  If the fic is incredibly violent or contains explicit sexual content, or contains rape/abuse of any sort/anything that could be a potential trigger, please put it at the top of the riff.  We’re okay with those types of fics being featured, we just need to have a warning in case any patrons or Librarians are triggerable.  Thanks!
  • Pictures, videos, gifs, and sound bytes are all welcomed in your riffs
    • Please include urls for all media where it should be placed in the riff.
    • While we are pretty much rated R, we are not rated X.  If you have explicit material you wish to include, please use the url and it will be linked in the riff instead of displayed visually.  If the Librarians deem the image too explicit, it will not be used and you’ll need to find another image to replace it.
  • Language is not censored . We allow swearing and name calling and cartoon-levels of violence.  But we will not tolerate bigotry in our riffs in any way, shape, or form.  Use of such things as racial/cultural/sexual orientation/etc slurs will result in you being utterly unwelcome in these parts.
  • Try to keep your riffs of a manageable size.  From a word-count standpoint, 6,000 or less words tends to make a nice digestible size, though anything up to about 10,000 words is typically okay.  Longer riffs are acceptable, but try to keep those to one-offs or short projects.
  • Spell check and do your best on grammar.  We do some proof reading, but if a riff is obviously poorly proofread we will send it back and tell you to do more proofing.
  • Italics, boldface, underlining, striking out words, highlighting, changing the color of your text, and changing text size are all allowed.
    • If using Word or Google, just do these things yourself in the document.
  • Make sure you indicate what is quoted from the fic.
    • You can indent the text to be quoted as an easy way to delineate it from the body of the riff.
    • Alternatively Blockquote tags before and after quoted text are easily convertible and very much appreciated.
    • Alternative methods of indication, such as text color, quotations, or italics, will no longer be accepted due to the amount of extra work it requires to convert these.

Riffs are posted in a “first come, first served” and “Let’s spice it up a bit and keep things variable.” Basis.  This means we’ll default to the most recent riff of the least recently posted riffer whenever possible.

We reserve the right to say “No” to your riff.

We are often backlogged with riffs.  If you haven’t heard back from us within two weeks of submission, you can feel free to email us to see what’s going on.  Likely we’re either behind or busy, but sometimes we just plum miss things and can use the nudge.

BatJamags’ Handy-Dandy Formatting Guide for Preserving Librarian Mental Health

  • RETRIEVING THE FIC: If you go onto fanfiction.net on a computer, change the “www” in the URL to an “m” – this’ll give you the mobile version, which will let you copy and paste. There are also exporter programs, but they screw up the formatting. In particular, they’ll fill every empty line of text with a single floating space. WordPress is smart enough to get rid of empty lines, but a line with nothing but a single space in it is technically not empty, which means we have to manually remove all of those. If, for some reason, you want to use an exporter instead of the mobile trick (which is really far easier anyway), we’d appreciate if you’d clean up formatting problems like that before submitting your riff.
  • QUOTES: Something that you may not notice if you’re on mobile is that the quotes from the fics, which look like they’re in italics, are a separate piece of formatting from regular italics: the blockquote tag. Blockquotes look different on the desktop version of the site. Now, you can send us the riff with all the quotes italicized. That’s the most common way of doing it and is fairly trivial to convert to blockquotes. The problem is that italics are also the most common formatting to appear in the fics themselves, so, depending on how dedicated the Librarian uploading your riff is feeling, they’ll either be lost or have to be put back in place by reference to the fic. Upon further consideration, I think I’d recommend underlining since it’s the least common of formatting types to transfer to the fic.
  • QUOTES PART 2: And for the love of crap, please don’t use any other line break or quotation marks that will have to be manually deleted for every single quote. You know who you are.
  • IMAGES: If possible, provide hyperlinks to the image address, left directly where you want the image to appear in the riff with no other formatting or commentary around them. If you must provide a file instead of a link, I’d prefer if you use something like postimage.org to turn it into a link, but failing that you can attach them to the email and just leave a note saying where you want them placed in the riff. Embedding images directly in the document itself creates unnecessary work for both you and me.
  • GENERAL FORMATTING: Please, please make sure your entire document is single-spaced (a double carriage return to separate paragraphs is good for legibility on your end, though). When some of it’s single-spaced and some of it’s double-spaced, WordPress pitches an absolute fit and does its own incomprehensible mix of the two that has to be fixed manually. This makes kittens cry. And Bats.