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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:01 am
Posts: 184
Location: Elko NV
Hello everyone.

It has been a while but now that we have the forums up and running again, I just want to give a brief history about the web site Pathfinder Chronicler and what is expected of a person writing for the website Pathfinderchronicler.net.

Pathfinder Chronicler was founded back in 2009 after the second annual RPG Superstar contest. It was created after Paizo announced its Community Use Policy. The name Pathfinder Chronicler was taken from the Prestige Class included in the 3.5 Pathinder Chronicles Campaign Setting which has now been updated to The Inner Sea World Guide. Its first member was Montalve, but I like to consider him a founding member for all the dedication he put into the site. So if I could put it out there, Montalve and I were the founding members of Pathfinder Chronicler. His dedication to the site rivaled my own in many ways and also augmented it in areas that were sorely lacking. Between him and I we ran the site for some two years with some to little interest from the community.

At its creation we asked the Paizo Community for input as to what they wanted to see from Pathfinder Chronicler and to help design a "method" that would create above average works beyond typical fan fiction sites. They summed it up pretty well, Editing.

Note: We prefer to use the term "alternative fiction" because there are a lot of atrocious fanfic sites that does the name no credit to anyone that upholds it.

If I could project the site's real meaning, I would describe it Pathfinder Material Editing, because honestly, that is about all you are going to be doing here. I would say we edit five times whatever we write. Well, that is an understatement when it comes to me but our editing members edit about five times what they write.

Very stringently, we ask that all stories be edited by our peers no less than three times (and not by the same person twice). The number three was agreed upon because that was felt to be the bare minimum of feedback one needs to get a "reality check." Just by doing that particular process, I imagine you will not only see to editing three other people's works, but you will in fact have to edit your own story three times too! That means you will need to do some six edits just to get your story published to the site and return the favor to your other fellow writers. Of course, editing is not as much work as creating something from nothing, but it is time consuming.

Now, we did keep track of all that at one time. We had a password place that you submitted your word counts that were edited. It got really confusing at times and we kept ratios of words edited by you divided by the words you submitted in your own stories for editing. It came up with a number that we felt had to be around three. As in, you editing three times the number of words you submitted. It got a little too serious, but we wanted to be fair. And that was the best we could come up with.

We have done away with that. I think as a group, we can police ourselves and not deal with a time clock manner of tracking everyone. It just felt like a person was doing a job and let's be honest, editing is work for sure. This place has had stories thrown up (quite literally vomitted) onto our forums where no one touches them with a ten foot pole. The reason why is that we are a community first and editors second. We have people that will go the distance for longtimers but look skeptically at the newbies. Who can blame them? Editing someone's mega-nightmare grammar plot trainwreck craptopolis is a daunting task. And even after you do all this work. the writer then takes it badly and runs home crying to momma because the evil editor didn't like them personally (then momma remembers to give her child the psychotropic meds and eventually the writer comes back to the boards...but two years later!).

So please, consider the ones that edit your work to be angels who put their time (and trust) into you. Consider your goal in coming here: to become a professional writer. In order to do this you must edit a whole truckload of documents. Self-editing is what you will do most of but what really counts is helping your peers visualize the same goal as you. Get used to being the person that is always editing: editing others, editing yours and even editing while you write. Believe it or not, the more you edit, the better your writing gets.

And editing my friends is what a real writer always does. And be prepared, you will be challenged on your ideas. You will be challenged on your word choices, grammar choices, plot points, reasoning, etc. With three people editing your story you will still get missed mistakes that an editor failed to find for you. Three people editing a story can find a lot of mistakes but no one in particular is equipped to find them all. You may have a terrible story but an editor caught all your grammar mistakes. You might have an "ok story" but the editor is able to provide insight into creating a masterpiece, however, is daft at grammar editing. These are the real problems you will face but as you work with us, you will be building relationships with those that would see to your success. You'll learn who you want to edit your story first and who you want to edit your story last. Finding people you can trust with your work in a community environment is a real gift. For instance, if there is an editor that is great at plot suggestions, then why would you have an excellent grammar editor go through your work first? You might have to completely rewrite your ending and lose all that good grammar work.

True story: I have had writers refuse to change their bad plot stories just for that reason.

So, we must keep in perspective as to what it means to join a group and just how we find our place within that group, so we can be productive. Start out humble, build your relationships up and learn the community you wish to be supported by and support.

When you have had three edits on your story and feel satisfied enough to share it with the world, you're ready to post to the site. When you do this, we like to promote your story to all our mediums which include Facebook, PathfinderChronicler.Net and Paizo Message Boards. New stories on the site add to our prestige and give our readership something to look forward to.

What I have discussed above pertains only to submissions for PathfinderChronicler.Net and has nothing to do with the Pathfinder Fiction Contest, Wayfinder Submissions, and the Anthology Volumes. I will note however that within all these different media that is collectively Pathfinder Chronicler, we follow the three edit rule of other's work in all endeavors as a minimum and not a benchmark of completion to a story.

I will leave you with this story. I once met a published author who I asked, "How does one write something that is publishable?" He responded in a very unusual way.

"Well, you have to write of course and I was lucky to get my first book published by a publishing house. I met someone though that also got published. At the time this person wasn't published and he asked me to see his story. When I read it, it was the most gorgeous thing I ever read. It was so well thought out and concise. It was a precision piece of work which I could never see myself ever able to do. So I asked him what was his secret? He said he simply edited his story over and over. I asked how many times? He responded with a grin saying, until I puked at the memory of it."

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:15 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:44 am
Posts: 43
Location: Winnipeg, Canada
As someone who has done a LOT of editing for Pathfinder Chronicler Anthologies 2 and 3 in the past six months, I can tell you that I whole-heartedly agree with methodology we follow here at the Chronicler, which Ted has outlined above. The process that my work has gone through, and the edits I have put in on others' stories has made me a better writer without a doubt. Certainly there are times when it's a struggle. I've had my creativity challenged and my ego bruised. But each time, after the initial shock (and sometimes indignation) has worn off, I have come away with new insights and ideas which I were incredibly valuable. I have gained new skills and perspectives, forged new relationships and grown in more ways than I can count.

Is it hard work? Most definitely. But is it worth it? Come work with us and judge for yourself. I promise you will not regret it. :)

Laura Bowlby (Sheppard)
Pathfinder Chronicler Anthology Editor-in-Chief and contest judge (2013/2014)

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