Archiving is a Bitch
I am not an archivist.
When I started conceptualizing this website some six months prior to the writing of this article, that was one of the first things I decided. There were many reasons for this. One of which being the minor fact that at least one Sailor Moon archive opens what seems like every damn week.
And they’re ALL Usa/Mamo based. Usually hosted by some third-rate fic author who wants an outlet to show-off her own work and the work of her friends. No one really seems to care that there are more Usa/Mamo based fics than bunnies bred by the average rabbit in the course of one year—most of which are far from the high quality fics produced by most NON-Usa/Mamo writers.
12 Year-Old Writer: Gee... I’m a first time author! I know! I’ll write some really angsty Serena/Darien WAFF! People LOVE that stuff! While I’m at it, I’ll put Darien in a boy band! I love boy bands! So must everyone else! Even if it’s CRAP! But it can’t be crap, because I’m the one that wrote it!
Whatever, kiddo. If that’s what you would LIKE to believe, far be it from me to burst your bubble. When YOU get negative reviews, don’t come crying to me.
That having been said, I have a firm respect for archivists—especially those that at least ATTEMPT to be choosy about the fics that they host. (You know who you are. You are actually choosy enough to REJECT the crap. Thank goodness SOMEONE has the guts.) They are far better people than I could ever be. I don’t have the patience.
Yes, I said patience.
Besides the databases and all of the hard work that archivists have to go through in order to host YOUR fics, they have to put up with one thing that I would never be able to deal with: stupid people that cannot properly submit their fics.
Why is it that NO ONE knows how to submit a fic for archiving? Really, people! Most archives give specific instructions regarding how to submit your fics. READ THEM!
If I had a dollar for every time I had to read about an archivist being forced to reject fics solely because of formatting, I would be able to afford enough Sailor Moon doujinshi to open up my own museum... and make the admission free of charge. I am very tempted to hit some people. IT’S NOT THAT HARD! All you need to do is READ.
If you cannot read, then why in the Hell are you even bothering to write a fanfic in the first place?
However, it has occurred to me that maybe you folks need to have a little refresher course on the basics of how things work.
First and foremost, please, I beg of you... RESPECT THE ADOPTED FILE FORMAT OF YOUR ARCHIVE! In Sailor Moon, that means .txt files. Granted, in some other fandoms with a much smaller fanbase, .html MIGHT be the format of choice. However, in Sailor Moon, that isn’t an issue—there’s too many fics and .html takes up way too much server space. There are few things more annoying to an archivist than having to remove YOUR markup language from your fic, line by line. Why are you even submitting your fic in .html, anyway if NO ONE uses it? Common sense is a foreign concept in your life, isn’t it? Your parents must be so proud.
Unfortunately, on that same note, people seem to also enjoy submitting their fic as a .doc file.... If you are one of these people, YOU ARE A LAZY ASSHOLE. All you need to do is go into the “File” menu in Word and when you save, save it as a .txt file! See! Easy as pie!
You don’t know what I’m talking about?
Okay. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. When you click on “save as,” most programs ask you what type of file you would like it saved as. If you click on the little downward arrow, IT GIVES YOU OPTIONS! You could save it as a .doc file or a .txt file or even as a webpage! Yes, I know. You are shocked and amazed. I was too... when I first figured it out seven years ago in my middle school “Basic Computer Concepts” class! (Which is where we were taught a variety of useful things like how to save, how to use Word and Paint, AND how to play “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?”)
Secondly, WRAP YOUR TEXT AND EDIT YOUR FICS! No matter how many times you may wish it to be otherwise, your archivist is NOT your editor/beta reader. DO NOT TREAT HIM/HER LIKE HE/SHE IS ONE! If you do this, I guarantee that the archivist will send it back to you. Then he/she will write really nasty reminders on his/her webpage that he/she has created those rules FOR A REASON!
It saves their sanity. I would not doubt it if I heard a story of an archivist receiving one improperly formatted story too many and snapping like a dry twig.
Loony Archivist: Gah! It’s “THEIR” not “THEY’RE!” [*archivist starts chopping up his/her pc with a large ax*] DIE yon evil fic writing bastard from HELL! Yon grammarless spawn of SATAN! Thou art a vile harlot of iniquity!”
(And said archivists spends the next ten years giving him/herself a nice, long hug in a new, white jacket. Meanwhile, Shakespeare’s ghost cringes in fear of the misuse of Olde English.)
Folks, it’s not like these are things that you can’t do yourself. You DO have a spelling and grammar check readily available to you. USE THEM! Then, send your fic to an editor to catch those times when you have the spelling right and the word wrong. “You’re” does not equal “your” no matter how much you may wish it to be otherwise.
Wrapping text is even easier. When you save your file to text, all you need to do is make sure that notepad is set in automatic wrapping mode and fix your window so that it is NO MORE THAN 70 CHARACTERS PER LINE. Then you put your little curser at the end of the line and hit “enter.” You do this at the end of every line. Your readers will thank you for not making them scroll horizontally. Your archivist will thank you for not making them work harder than what is truly necessary.
And I will thank you for doing your part in keeping me from abusing my university’s free Tylenol supply because the headache that I *usually* get from horizontal scroll bars has been avoided.
Folks, archivists DO NOT need to be doing what they’re doing. DO NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM! If you do, you are one sorry bastard.
Archivists, I salute you.