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 III. F.A.Q.s, World explanation & practical info
 Posted: Sep 8 2015, 01:24 PM
by: Brock
You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.

Available FAQs

Click below to jump to the respective FAQ posts. If you have any additional questions, PM a staff member or leave your question in the "Ask a Reference Worker" forum. We'll get back to you as soon as we can.

 Posted: Sep 28 2015, 06:45 PM
by: Brock
You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.

Concept FAQ

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?
    There are gangs based on book genres. Characters from that genre may choose to be a part of that gang. Some remain unaffiliated. The overarching goal of the gangs is to get more territory (i.e. shelf space). They try and get rid of other books or characters or simply promote their own books more. However, the gangs also have their own side-goals, such as validation (the Sketches), bringing more creativity to literature (the Fantoms), or keeping literature sophisticated (the Anecdotes).
2. Why do they want shelf space?
    Shelf space equals life. If they do not get enough readership, their world begins to fade, and they along with it. This is an extremely slow process while they are in the library, but it becomes more rapid when their book is discarded. Shelf space means their book and books similar to them (i.e., books in their genre) are being read and are safe from extinction.
3. Couldn't characters from one book view characters from other books within the same genre as them as competition for shelf space?
    It's possible, yes, but they wouldn't be the main focus. It's much more likely that someone who reads Harry Potter will read Lord of the Rings than will someone who reads Jane Austen novels, for example. More fantasy books means there's a greater chance that other fantasy books will be checked out soon. More fantasy books would not mean that more Jane Austen novels would be checked out, however. So the main goal is to gain shelf space for your genre. When you've finally dominated the library, then you can worry about more selfish aims.


1. You said the characters come out of books. What do you mean?
    Think of The Indian and the Cupboard or the small figures in Night at the Museum. On average, the Shelf Space characters are as tall as a person's thumb -- maybe two inches (5 cm) tall. They can walk (fly, run) out of their books and interact with the world. They can enter other books, too, similar to the portraits in Harry Potter. For example, Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice can go have tea with Professor McGonagall, if she chose to.

2. That's fine for novel characters, but what about comics? How do they look in the library?

    Comic characters look like 3D versions of themselves. They are sketched as roughly or as finely-detailed as they are in their comics. Similarly, spells and abilities manifest as animated versions of their real-life counterparts, and they have their full effects, so they can harm novel characters as much as their real-life counterpart can. (Ex: An animated tidal wave looks exactly like it's drawing, but it feels precisely like a real tidal wave and causes the same kinds of damage.)
3. Multiple copies, multiple characters?
    Yes. Take the Harry Potter series. If the full series is there, that's 7 Harry Potters at different ages. If there are two sets of the series, that's 14 Harry Potters. Each one will have different experiences than the others based on who they talk to and what gang wars they get involved in. It would be possible for them to be confused for one another. For instance, Harry D might be mistaken for Harry E and banned from visiting Frodo and Sam because, while Harry D is good friends with Frodo and Sam, Harry E was cruel to them.
4. How are multiples of web comic characters handled? Shouldn't there be only one copy of each? And how do web comic characters "fade out"?
    There are as many copies of web comic characters as there are computers in the library. This is because readers on different computers will be in different places in the comic. Just like a character cannot run between all the books in his series or be in two houses at once, web comic characters cannot be in two computers at once. And just like book characters, when a web comic isn't being read on a certain computer, that character is free to roam 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.

5. Do characters from early on in a series know what happens in the later books?
    It's possible. If they have talked with people in those later books, they might. They could also have spoken with people outside their book who know what happens or with people inside their book who heard what happens. Someone might also have spoiled it for them.
6. Can you explain more about unaffiliated characters?
    Unaffiliated characters are ones from the gang genres who choose not to get involved in the shelf space war. Perhaps they are pacifists. Maybe they are overly confident in their book or genre's ability to gain and keep readership. Characters who have been around the library long enough have a general idea of which unaffiliated characters aren't going to budge in their decisions and which ones might give in.
7. What do characters do when their story is read?
    When a book is skimmed or checked out and read, the characters essentially reenact the story for the reader. To them, it is like putting on a play again and again. To the reader, the story is set and done. It is static for them, while for the characters, it is a living thing.
8. Won't characters get tired of acting out their stories again and again?
    Yes and no. On the one hand, their story is their world and their lives. It's almost all they know. Besides, ruining the story risks losing their readership. Most characters want to stay alive, so they'll keep acting out the stories. Even villains are usually willing to act out the stories again and again.

    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?

9. What happens if a book is checked out but a character is outside of the book at that time? What if an additional character is inside it?
    If a character is missing or an additional one is present, the characters must adapt. If Harry Potter is missing, maybe Ron and Hermione talk about it and try to fight Voldemort in his stead. Or if Frodo Baggins is visiting Harry Potter when someone skims their book, Ron might shove Frodo behind a bush, and then they go on as normal. Their actions are what produce the words on the pages for the readers to read.

    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.

10. What do characters do while out in the library?
    They can do whatever they want, but typically they visit with friends from other books, try to recruit unaffiliated characters into their gang, and sabotage or wage war on the other gangs.
11. Break those down for me, please.
    Visiting: Characters may visit their friends. They can talk and relax, ask questions, tour another book's world, and participate in the story plots. Most generally stay within their genres, and very few associate with non-print materials.

    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.

12. Do characters age outside their books? How does time work?
    Within their books, characters according to the plot, and they automatically get older or younger depending on what page the reader flips to.

    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.

13. What about pregnancies and non-plot romances?
    The only pregnancies that are possible are ones the author has written into the stories. So, if Characters A & B were written to have a child, but Characters A & C were not, then no matter how hard they tried, Characters A & C could not have a child. No character from within or outside of the book can get a character pregnant if the author didn't pen the idea.

    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.

14. How does death work here?
    When a patron has the book: When a patron is reading a book, the characters die according to the plot. Once the reader finishes the book, the character is returned to life so they can reenact it again for the next reader. If a reader pauses in the story, then the deceased character comes back to life. When the reader resumes the story, the character resumes being dead. It's just like if someone took an intermission in a play right after a death scene. The actor could go get water then come back and be dead for the next scenes.

    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.

15. How do languages work here? Does all characters understand one another?
    No, there is no "universal" character language. If your character knows only English and French, they cannot communicate with a Finnish speaker in Finnish. However, if they are taught Finnish by this person, then they can speak to him at whatever level of Finnish they know.

    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?
    Non-print materials are: audio books, CDs, computer and internet resources (including web comics), and videos.

    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.

1a. About Audio Books
    In general, they are the calmest non-print materials and are usually inclined to stay out of the books' war.

    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.

1b. About CDs
    They are highly variable in their responses to the outside world. Some are pacifists, and others rally to lead any sort of charge. Their non-print status aside, the difficulties nearly all characters have in communicating with them leave the CDs on their own.

    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.

1c. About Children's Books
    They are not included in the shelf space war and so remain unaffiliated. Though considered taboo, some of the gangs have been known to recruit a few characters for special assignments. In general, however, the picture books are left alone, both for their youth and for the kids who read them. They also get checked in and out extremely frequently and in bulk, so the gangs' efforts would be a waste.

    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.

1d. About Non-Fiction Books
    They are are sometimes spoken to by the gangs, and occasionally their advice or assistance is sought. They may or may not be neutral.

    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.

1e. About Reference Books
    These are your encyclopedias, atlases, and dictionaries. Sometimes their information is sought, and they will give it to everyone who asks regardless of gang affiliation. They are neutral, however, so they are otherwise not involved in the shelf space war.

    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.

1f. About Videos
    The videos are the most energetic of non-print materials. Most are not associated with, however, though the Sketches are inclined towards the animated films.

    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.)

2. When a character comes out of a book, can they bring out items with them? Can they use them in the library? What about in other books?
    The short answer is yes, they can bring and use weapons or magic. However, the actual answer is more complex than that, and there is a very detailed answer in the original ask, so click the link and read more! [Original Ask]
3. How do characters interact with the world?
    The characters can move physical objects according to the object's size and their own strength. For example, a couple of them could push a pencil around or work a computer mouse. Please remember how small the characters are in the library. They way their strength or magic powers work will be on a much smaller scale. A computer mouse might be as big as a lion to them, so their strength and powers will work on the computer mouse like it would on a lion in their book world. [Original Ask]
4. Can normal people (library patrons) see the characters?
    They cannot be seen by normal people (library patrons). See the original ask for more. [Original Ask]
5. Can characters exist outside the library?
    Yes, they can exist outside of the library. When a book is checked out and read at home, the characters act out the story there just like they would in the library. They can also meet other characters from that home's books. Even in the larger world, they exist. For example, if a book ends up in a dumpster, the characters may try to attract someone's attention so their book gets read and they don't die.
6. If no one can see the characters but they can make changes in the real world, can they leave notes to people explaining their existence?
    They could, if they get enough people to help lift and maneuver a pencil or to jump on the keys and type a message on the computer. It’s doubtful anyone would believe them, though. They would probably think it was a prank.

    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.

7. To what extent does the real world affect the books? Does spilled water flood characters on those pages? Do torn pages break those characters' bones?
    This is another long answer and with two very important questions asked in it, so click the link below and read all about it. The short answer is that damage of any kind does not affect the characters physically. It only risks their readership (thus their lives). Torn out pages are an interesting matter and best explained in the link. [Original Ask]
8. How do worlds fade? What about wear-and-tear?
    Worlds fade as readership wanes. It takes a couple of months inside the library for that process to begin. Outside of the library (eg. a book that ends up in a dumpster), the process begins after one month. All characters know their world can't last forever, just like a human's life can't.

    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.

9. What if there are multiple copies? Do all those worlds fade out? What about copies in other libraries?
    Copies from other libraries are irrelevant. The book characters consider "their world" to be the physical copy of book they are in. So if The Outsiders is checked out every couple of weeks at another library, that Outsiders world is safe. But if the copy at the Stonewood library isn't ever checked out, their world is at risk. Think of it like boats. If your boat isn't repaired enough, it will sink. But if your friend's boat is always repaired, it will last for a long time.

    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.

10. If characters are outside of their book when their "world fades", do they survive or do they fade from existence wherever they are?
    Short answer: they will fade out no matter where they are. There is a little more in the original ask. [Original Ask]

    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.

11. What if a book is a collector's item - kept in mint condition and not read? Will it fade, too?
    Normally, when a book isn't read, the world begins to fade from existence. This is because the book is going unnoticed. A collector's item is not going unnoticed. The collector may admire the cover or read the summary on the back and so on. This leaves the book in stasis. The characters can still come and go as they please, but they don't get to act out their plots or anything. Because their book is being appreciated and remembered, they won't die, but they won't be read, either. If they are forgotten about, however, (perhaps packed away and left for months), they will begin to fade away.
12. Can a "dead" book revive if it is read again? How does that work from the characters' perspectives?
    In theory, yes, a book could “unfade”. To read much more about the fading out and in process, see the original ask. [Original Ask]

 Posted: Sep 28 2015, 06:53 PM
by: Brock
You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.

Practical FAQ

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?
    Non-fiction includes: biographies, cookbooks, craft books, how-to books, health guides, educational books, travel guides, and other related materials.
2. What are non-print materials?
    Non-print materials include: audio books, CDs, videos, and online resources (e-books, web comics, YouTube shorts...)


1. Can we make characters from children's books?
    No, we currently do not allow children's book characters. They may be NPCed, but we will not revisit the possibility of accepting these characters until the site grows a lot more.

2. Can we make non-fiction characters?

    At present, we do not allow non-fiction characters, but you may NPC them in your threads. [Original Ask]
3. Can we make fictionalized versions of non-fiction characters?
    You can certainly make fictionalized versions of non-fiction characters, though! Jane Bites Back about Jane Austen is a perfect example. [Original Ask]
4. Can we create characters from non-print materials?
    The only non-print characters we currently allow are web comic characters. They are either Unaffiliated or Sketches (Webs sub-group).

    We do not allow any other non-print materials. Movie and audio book versions of characters are not allowed. Please app their novel forms.

5. What images can I use for comic book characters? If they have both color pages and black-and-white pages, what do I do?
    For animated characters, we allow some leeway in terms of black-and-white versus colored images for face claims and avatars. Specifically, this applies to manga characters. Because the covers (and sometimes some inside pages) are colored but most pages are black-and-white, you are allowed to use either version. This also takes into account anime face claims that may be used.

    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.

6. Why are multiple copies of characters allowed? Why not have one character for all the books in the series?
    The short answer is that if different volumes of a series are checked out by different patrons, the characters cannot physically be in both books at once. Harry Potter, for example, would be missing from 6 books at any given time, so when a patron read one of those 6 books, Harry would be absent and the story would read as such. [Original Ask]

The Banner

1. What are Banner Books?
    These are the books we post in the banner. You can read all about Banner Books here as well as find a list of all previous Banner Books.
2. What is the Quote of the Day?
    A quote (usually from that the staff likes and wants to share. You can find previous quotes here.
3. What is the Daily Prompt?
    These are words, phrases, sentences, images, song links, and more that we post in the banner. They are intended for those who like personal writing challenges or a way to practice writing. You can find previous prompts here. At any time, you can post a Prompted Writing (in this forum) based around one of our daily prompts, be they that day's or a previous one..

Input & Assisting on Site

1. I want to submit a Banner Book, Quote of the Day, or Daily Prompt.
    Great! PM Brock with your suggestion. Additionally, we'll ask for banner books on our social media sites towards the middle and end of each month. You can submit it there as well. Though we'll try our best, suggestions are not guaranteed to be posted.
2. I have a plot or event idea!
    Awesome! Again, PM Brock to discuss details. This is not a guarantee that the idea will be played, but we'll work with you as much as we can to see what we can do.
3. I love this site and want to help out. Are you all looking for staff of any kind?
    Currently we aren't seeking any additional staff members. If that changes, we'll post a notice on the site with further details.


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