8FOLD/FAQ: Your Guide to the Eightfold Universe, Frequently Asked Questions Version 2.0
milos_parker at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 1 20:49:01 PDT 2008
YOUR GUIDE TO THE EIGHTFOLD UNIVERSE
FREQUENTLY-ASKED QUESTIONS v. 2.0
Last revised: September 2008; posted monthly
1. What is the Eightfold Universe?
2. Who's in charge?
3. How do I join?
4. What if I don't have any ideas?
5. Is it 8fold or Eightfold?
6. Is there anything I should avoid?
7. How do I contact you?
1. WHAT IS THE EIGHTFOLD UNIVERSE?
The Eightfold Universe is a "shared universe" created by Jamie
Rosen and Tom Russell that debuted in April of 2005. It's an
extremely diverse setting, encompassing not only superhero fiction,
but also romance, comedy, and surrealism. Thus, the Eightfold
Universe isn't centered around one genre or high concept like a number
of other shared universes, nor does it have the tight and constraining
inter-title continuity of the Big Two-- no mandatory summer crossovers
The thing that defines the Eightfold Universe can be summed up in
one word: Quality. We're looking for high-quality fiction of all
stripes and styles. We offer the benefits of a shared universe-- the
chance to borrow characters and ideas, the presence of collaborators--
without the drawbacks-- having to conform to one big plan or style.
There are many windows in this house of fiction.
2. WHO'S IN CHARGE?
Founders Jamie Rosen and Tom Russell are the "owners" of the
universe and Co-Editors. Writers wishing to join our Eightfold family
should try contacting Tom, as he's slightly more active.
And while we're concerned with maintaining Eightfold's level of
quality, we're not ogres about it. Ultimately, it's your story and
your characters-- both of which you own all rights to.
3. HOW DO I JOIN?
Send Tom an e-mail with an idea. That's the first and the most
If we're not yet familiar with your writing, we may ask for a
sample, though a first draft of your story will probably do just
fine. If we say yes to the idea, it's now up to you to write the
story and send it along to us.
We'll read the story as soon as we possibly can. This might take a
week. It might take two. It might take a month; both Tom and Jamie
have a number of other pursuits, both professional and amateur, that
also make claims on their time. But rest assured, we will read it,
and we will get back to you, thus initiating the Editing Process.
The Editing Process (kraka-thoom!) is not as foreboding as it
seems. We're actually fairly hands-off people. All we want is a good
story, and if you provide that, we have no problem. We will, of
course, check for continuity concerns-- it'd be pretty embarrassing if
California dropped into the ocean in one story and was there in
another-- but since Eightfold isn't prone to those kind of silly
changes, and since most characters and titles occupy their own corner
of the universe, it's going to happen only seldomly.
We'll also make some suggestions-- style, plot, and grammar-- but
we approach this less as whip-cracking demi-gods and more like
collaborators-- equals. Most such suggestions are made in the aim of
achieving higher clarity.
In the end, it's your story. There are very, very few things that
we'll out-and-out say "no" to.
Once the first issue or story is good to go, the process will start
again for the second-- though most likely slightly accelerated. Once
we've reached the point where we can trust you not to throw California
into the ocean or to write sentences that make Dan Brown look like
Umberto Eco, you'll be able to pretty much write and post whatever you
We're not looking for people to work under us; we're looking for
people to work with us. If you can show us that you write good
stories and that we can trust you, we'd be more than happy to have
So what are you waiting for? Send that e-mail, and get the ball
4. WHAT IF I DON'T HAVE ANY IDEAS? CAN I USE ONE OF YOURS?
Of course! The Eightfold Universe is chock-full of characters and
ideas, many of them created as brief sketches and waiting for someone
to flesh them out. Do you want to continue the saga of the Century
Man, wielder of the Spear of Destiny? Or how about shedding a light
on the private life of the Two-in-One? Do you want to explore the
political ramifications of Mask Statements and Anti-Supervillain
Acts? How about contributing to an issue of KINKY ROMANCE?
You can find out more about these and other parts of the Eightfold
Universe in some of our other resource documents, which are generally
posted four times a year:
HEROES ROSTER, a list of heroes and their friends;
VILLAINS ROSTER, a list of their opposite number;
THE WORLD OF EIGHTFOLD, a compendium of history and world-building,
including a summary of all stories.
5. IS IT 8FOLD OR EIGHTFOLD?
Both. Generally, we advise that you use the "8FOLD" tag when
posting a story, without brackets like so:
8FOLD: Jolt City # 18, War of the Balloonists!
Stories that feature content for grown-ups-- cursing, violence, sex--
should also feature an ACRA tag:
8FOLD/ACRA: Jolt City # 8, Panic in a Pretty Box!
If this content is featured heavily in the story, you should put a
warning at the top of the story in the message body.
6. IS THERE ANYTHING I SHOULD AVOID?
Well, not "avoid" per se; if you're a good writer, we're game for
just about anything. But there are a few things that usually aren't
conducive to quality fiction, regardless of genre.
* Characters with silly names.
* Transparent swipes of pre-existing (i.e., DC or Marvel) characters.
Originality is the name of the game. While there might be some iconic
or archetypal similarities between your character and, say, Marvel's
Weapon X, calling your character Weapon J doesn't really depart much
from that point of origin.
For a first issue, I would advise trying to err slightly more on
the side of telling one complete story over beginning a continuing
saga with lots of various subplots and threads. Not only will this
show off your talent more to your perspective collaborators, but it
makes things a helluva lot easier for your readers, too. (Nothing's
more disheartening than reading a story adorned with a "# 1" and
feeling like you came into the middle of a twelve-part story arc.)
While by no means a "style guideline", I think clarity and cohesion
go a long way towards making a story "good"; another common
denominator of good fiction is a feeling that the story _counts_-- not
by changing everything and being "important" and full of cataclysmic
events, but by the feeling that the story matters deeply to the person
The only way I'm aware of to pull that off is to actually do it--
to write stories that matter to you. Put yourself into everything you
do, and you'll very seldom go wrong.
7. HOW DO I CONTACT YOU?
Send an e-mail to Tom at milos_parker @ yahoo dot com with the
subject heading "Eightfold Universe".
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