What if I’m in a different timezone?
All of the deadlines are in UK / London time. So if (for example) you are living in France (which is an hour ahead of the UK) you’ll get your brief at 1am instead of midnight. Some people believe this system gives the Australians an unfair advantage.
Every year several people email me and tell me that they think they have the first chapter. One of the implications of the ‘minimal information’ and ’only aware of what’s going on in your chapter’ principles is that you will only have received something in that section if you need to know it… either to avoid major continuity issues, or to prevent you repeating something from an earlier chapter.
As such, there will be several sections that have nothing in the “Things that have already happened” section. That doesn’t necessarily mean that yours is the first chapter, it just means that (other than what is mentioned in the “General Background” and other information) there is nothing that you necessarily need to be aware of to write your section.
In other words, plenty might have happened in the book, or nothing. You might be the first chapter, you might be the last… but there’s a 23 out of 25 chance you’re somewhere in the middle!
Can I ask for more information on the day?
Yes! There will be a post where we all hang out on the day and banter. It’s a good place to ask general questions that will benefit everyone, like “What city are we in?” or “Why is everyone so short?”.
How are the books compiled?
Using the magic of Scrivener! In fact not only are the ebooks (epub, mobi and pdf) all generated using Scrivener’s compile function, but so are all the information packs sent round to participants.
Downloadable compile settings for both Mac and Windows will be made available for the 2014 NiaD onwards.
Are the books produced using the Mac version or the Windows version of Scrivener?
We’ve used both over the years…
The Dark - MacOS v2
Lunar520 - Windows
Made Man - Windows
Section 7 - MacOS v2
Marshal Law - MacOS v2
3 Ghosts - MacOS v2
Start Wearing Purple - MacOS v3 (beta)
Auld Lang Syne - MacOS v3
Butterfly Dawn - MacOS v3
The District - MacOS v3
On Your Honor - MacOS v3
What do I get in an information pack?
The exact contents vary from year to year, but chance are thar the pack will something along the lines of:
A cheery welcome note!
A reminder of the deadline
A writing style guide
Info on what you have to write about in your section
Character sheets for any of the characters included in your section
Location sheets for any locations included in your section
A few short pieces of research / background that might be helpful
A final note of advice on how to respond to the brief
It sounds like a lot, but it in practice it isn’t. For example, the writing style guide says little more than “write in whatever style you want”. The final note of advice is again stating the obvious. Eg, it reminds people that things in the part of their brief entitled “Things that have already happened” have already happened, and therefore they don’t need to write about them.
How prescriptive are the chapter briefs?
Information in the chapter briefs is kept deliberately light. I’d rather it was a fun exercise for all and have a few continuity errors than have it be overly prescribed and just “painting by numbers”. As such, please add whatever additional colour and little adventures you like to your chapter, as long as you cover the plot points listed in your brief and respect the start and end points detailed.
The best way to get an idea of these is to read some chapter briefs from previous years’ events.
How much detail is given on the characters?
Not much. Some years I provide photographs, and some years I don’t. There will usually be details on age, key relationships / family, appearance and background. Check out the previous years’ Scrivener project files for examples.
Can I make up my own characters?
Yes, add as many as good taste allows, bearing in mind that any characters you introduce won’t get mentioned anywhere other than your own chapter, and the closer the relationship to an existing character, the more likely that they’ll cause a continuity issue.
Hey! I also wrote a NiaD! Where can I get one of those sweeeet forum badges?
Well, at the moment we're not sure how to display these... on the new forum software (signatures aren't currently supported). If you want to download the files for use elsewhere, though...
A number of forum badge files have been uploaded to pigfender.com/NiaD_Badge/
You’ll need to add the filename to the end of that address to see the image.
The files have been named according to the number of NiaDs you’ve taken part in. So if you took part in NiaDs 1, 2, 3, and 4 then the file name is 1-2-3-4.png (with a full path of pigfender.com/NiaD_Badge/1-2-3-4.png)
Similarly, if you took part in NiaDs 2 and 3, the file name would be 2-3.png
I’ve not made badges for every possible combination, only for the sequences that people have actually taken part in. If you think I’ve gotten this wrong, let me know.
To save you a few precious keystrokes, you can just paste the following text into your forum signature, adjusting, of course, the “1-2-3-4.png” part to get the correct PNG file representing the years you’ve taken part: