With space on the library shelves scarce, the characters of your most beloved genres are banding together into gangs to secure their books' places - and their lives.
The little town of Stonewood sits in the forested hills of East Tennessee. Like most towns, it has a public library, and like in most libraries, a strange and entirely invisible war rages.
Gangs centered around major book genres battle one another for space on the shelves. The more books in their area, the better the chance of their own novel being read. Readership determines life or death, so it's every genre for itself.
But if survival alone wasn't enough, genre rivalries and biases leave some gangs not only fighting for shelf space but pushing their own agendas as well - even within their own groups.
Welcome to Shelf Space. Let the war resume.
of the month
Jan. 1 Welcome to 2018! This month's newsletter is short and sweet, but don't let that stop you from reading it.
No special event this month, so let's really use this time to further our gang sub-plots!
" Nothing brings you together like a common enemy.”
― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4593/38720755914_479147fa0e_o.png
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Posted: Sep 8 2015, 01:24 PM
Posted: Sep 28 2015, 06:45 PM
Questions about plot, character experiences, and other world details are below. If you have any further questions, please PM staff.
1. I don't quite understand the plot. Break it down for me?
1. You said the characters come out of books. What do you mean?
2. That's fine for novel characters, but what about comics? How do they look in the library?
If the web comic isn't read on a computer for a long time, then the characters connected with that computer will fade out. When the comic is read again, the characters will fade back in. Web comic characters have the same fade out times as book characters.
That said, web comic characters tend to have higher turn-over rates than book characters. Books can be discarded from a library, but since the web comic is online and reaches people worldwide, it is unlikely the site will be shut down. So web comic characters don't have the same fear of fading as book characters do. Some still fear it, certainly, because there is no guarantee they will be read on that computer again; however, since they don't have a book that will be thrown away never to be read again, web comic characters tend to be more accepting and less fearful of fading than print characters are.
On the other hand, some characters do tire of the routine. Most will still keep going and put up with it, but others lose heart and give up. When this happens, fellow characters will rally around the person and try to encourage him to persevere lest they all lose their lives.
Some characters become or already are too unbalanced or jaded and don't care about their own lives or the lives of their books. Some want it all to end, and that's where real panic begins for their friends. What do you do when Draco Malfoy gets fed up with it all and refuses to return to his book?
Losing a character or having an additional one risks readers putting the book down, getting confused, and more. It threatens readership, which only the most off-balance of characters might want. It's a good way to ruin your enemies, though. In fact, trying to ruin other characters' stories is one of the most common ways to try and destroy a gang.
Recruiting: Characters in the gangs may find neutral characters or characters from newly purchased books and attempt to get them to join the efforts to gain more shelf space.
Sabotage/War: They may try and ruin books, keep characters out of books while they are checked out, or involve themselves in other devious acts if it means that book will lose readership.
Outside of the book, however, they are physically the age they were on the page they left. For example, if on page 27, Harry is twelve years old but on page 82 he is thirteen years old, then he would twelve if he entered the library from page 30. When characters re-enter their books, they become whatever age they would be in the book. So twelve-year-old Harry could walk onto page 82 and be thirteen years old instantly.
When in the library, characters do not age physically . So twelve-year-old Harry Potter would stay physically twelve. Therefore, being trapped outside of a book wouldn't age a character. Harry would be twelve regardless of how long he spent outside the book.
They do continue to gain knowledge and experience, however, and can "age" this way. If a Jane Austen novel has been in the library for twenty years, those characters are likely to have 20 years of knowledge under their belt. They would know the ins and outs of the library or how the gang wars work and so on. The children's book characters as a whole seem to be the only exception to this.
Non-plot romances are perfectly possible, be it with a character from inside your own book or from outside of it. All characters should know that they will need to go back to their own plot romances, if only for the reader's sake. How the characters feel about that is up to you.
Death inside books when not being read: Non-plot deaths that happen inside the book are a little different. If Harry Potter is killed by a Death Eater in his book or by Darth Vader when he visits Luke Skywalker in his book, that is non-plot, and he will take longer to revive or re-spawn. The re-spawn time for in-book, non-plot deaths is 2 hours.
Death in the library: Outside their books, it's a similar matter. If someone shoves Harry off a shelf, and he dies, then he will re-spawn. The only difference is the amount of time that passes. Out-of-book deaths have a re-spawn time of 4 hours.
Animals cannot communicate in any human language unless it is written in their book. For example, Harry Potter's owl Hedwig cannot speak English. He also cannot learn English, since he is an ordinary owl. If, however, there were a cat that could speak Chinese (as written in its book), then it is possible that the cat could learn English as well, just as a human would. Additionally, animals and humans can communicate if that human has a special power or a device that allows them to communicate.
Animals can communicate with other animals as they would in their books, if it is written as such.
Books, Setting, World
1. Can you explain more about non-print materials, kids books, and non-fiction?
Each gang responds to them a little differently, and you can read about that in the group guides. As a whole, however, they aren't often associated with and are usually regarded with indifference or disdain, depending on the gang. The same is true of children's books and non-fiction.
See the library map for locations of all materials.
Following are summaries of the groups.
The characters and narrators from audio books can leave their audio books and enter the library. They appear as the heights they are in their stories or, where unknown or when a narrator, as the average size of a person (animal, etc.). Their forms are silver by default and look like jumbles of electricity that formed into a human. Typically they are more akin to a stick figure than a proper person. This is especially true of narrators, and no narrator has any form outside of this.
However, the more described a character is in its book, the more defined its electrical form becomes. Where color is given, the electricity turns from silver to that color. Where not given, skin tones are estimated by the character's name and the book's setting. (Example: a character with Chinese name in a New York setting results in an audio book character with the skin tone of the average Chinese person.)
Note: though the audio book characters appear as jumbles of electricity in human (animal, etc.) form, they are NOT dangerous to touch. In fact, touching them gives no sensation at all.
Audio book characters move around the library like their book counterparts do.
CDs do not have a physical form like characters do. They can leave their CDs as an invisible wave, and the longer the CD track they left from, the longer that invisible wave will be. A typical 3-minute song will be the length of a fingernail, while an hour-long piece will be the length of a half a hand (from the tip of the middle finger down). Some of the longest sound waves are the length of an entire forearm.
CD "characters" are the various layers in their songs. For example, there may be a drum "character", an electric guitar "character", and a vocal "character". An orchestral piece will have "characters" for each instrument.
These invisible "characters" (waves) travel through the air and never settle anywhere in the library. They are easily blown around by air movements.
Communication with regular characters is nearly impossible. Instrumental "characters" can only "speak" in notes. They can sound loud or soft, frantic or calm. Typically they can only pull from the parts their composers wrote for them (eg. a sporadic trumpet part means the trumpet "character" usually sounds frazzled.) These parts determine the "personalities" of the CD "characters". These personalities are only as complex as the instrumental line is diverse. A sporadic trumpet line with no moments of calm results in an energetic, perhaps panicked trumpet "character", but a piano piece that ranges from mellow to intense will have a more dynamic personality.
Vocal track "characters" are the only ones who can communicate with the other materials in a way they can understand. However, their speech is determined by their CD's theme. An angrier soundtrack results in a more hostile vocal "character" while one of sad love songs results in a sappy or depressed "character". Therefore, these vocal tracks will speak using lines from or lines similar to what is written in their songs. Likewise, they tend to sing their sentences rather than speak them. Only vocal tracks that have spoken parts in them can speak normally. Vocal tracks can communicate what instrumental tracks are trying to say, but interpreting what a book character says back is more difficult, and how the vocal tracks do that is a matter of style and preference.
Lastly, CD "characters" have three similarities to regular book characters. First, all CD "characters" know all the songs on their CD, just as a book character knows all the chapters in its book. Second, just like there are multiple copies of characters, each copy of a CD and each CD by the same artist means multiple instrumental and vocal tracks that manifest in the library. Finally, just like characters leave their books with the effects of whatever chapter they exited from, CD "characters" leave with the emotions of the track they left from, even if they have a song with opposite emotions on their CD.
How characters view the adults represented in children's books depends on the indivual. However, collectively all children's book characters, including the adults, are referred to as Kids.
Some characters among the fiction books have given the non-fictions a derogatory nickname: Nons. These characters detest the non-fiction books and have deemed them "not" books, a.k.a. non-books. Depending on the genre of these characters, their reason for disliking or outright hating non-fiction books will vary.
Unlike other books, comics, and videos, Reference books do not have multiple characters. Instead, the Reference book manifests a single person as a representative of its information. This person is comparable to a librarian, and their personal library is their Reference book. They know all the information from their book. They can tell that information to characters seeking such knowledge and, in some instances, can point the character to a page for them to visit themselves. (See below.)
Certain reference books (eg. dictionaries, atlases, census lists) cannot be entered into like one enters into novels. Characters seeking that information must go through the Reference book "character". If they are able, characters can physically open the book and flip through the pages to view the images, charts, and other entries.
Reference books that read like history books or textbooks, however (including encyclopedias) can be entered into like one enters into novels. These reference books still have one "character" who manifests in the library and represents that book to the other materials.
Video characters can leave their films just like book characters can leave their novels. They appear in the real world exactly as their actors look or as their characters are drawn. (Like comic book characters, animated and CGI characters appear as 3D versions of themselves.)
It might be more helpful for the characters to type “Harry Potter is a great series!” than to type “I’m Harry Potter, and I and all the other characters in the books are real. Please read us.” People would be more likely to think the latter was a prank and the former an interesting suggestion left behind that they might look into. Readership is the important thing, not getting people to believe they exist.
To that end, the way a book dies is similar to a person dying. A book that gets ruined early on is like a person dying young. A book that has been checked out hundreds of times and has the wear-and-tear to prove it is like an elderly person. The characters are (generally) at peace with their book's end and they know that there is likely to be a new copy to replace it. That new copy is akin to a new generation.
Multiple copies within the Stonewood library act a little differently. Generally, if one of the copies is checked out, the other one remains safe. Copy 1 is popular enough to be checked out multiple times, so there is a greater chance of Copy 2 also being checked out.
The same is true for series. Take Harry Potter. If Book 3 is checked out a lot, it is extremely safe. By extension, the rest of the series is safe, too, because the reader will likely continue the series. You can picture it like this: a shelf of books on a computer screen, with the Harry Potter series in the middle. You hover your mouse over Book 3, and it's color darkens to show it is selected. Book 3 is safe. Not only is Book 3 highlighted, though, but the other books in the series are highlighted, too, just in a fainter color. That means those books are safe by extension.
For pages that have been torn out (see earlier question), the characters on the torn out page will continue to exist as long as that page is read.
Posted: Sep 28 2015, 06:53 PM
Questions about types of characters allowed, site confusions, and other practical information are below. If you have any further questions, please PM staff.
1. What does non-fiction entail?
1. Can we make characters from children's books?
2. Can we make non-fiction characters?
We do not allow any other non-print materials. Movie and audio book versions of characters are not allowed. Please app their novel forms.
However, this applies only to the face claims/avatars you use. For the game-play, your character's coloring (or lack thereof) comes from where you pull them from their comic. For example, if you pull them from a colored inside page, then they would be colored in the library. If you pull them from a black-and-white page, then they would have no color in the library. No matter which color avatar you decide to use, if your character is stepping from their comic in a different color, specify this in your post for the other players to know.
1. What are Banner Books?
Input & Assisting on Site
1. I want to submit a Banner Book, Quote of the Day, or Daily Prompt.