The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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thanksgiving is for meta
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
So while navigating separate pages of chapters of a fic to cut and paste into Word (that would be thirty-six goddamn chapters of copy/paste, convert to html, add to calibre, and convert to mobi), I had a lot of time to think one day about reading habits; ie, my interaction with fanfiction. Me and my Kindle did not have a hard bond on the subject of fanfic until my schedule became insane at work this summer and suddenly it was a hell of a lot easier to navigate AO3 on my Kindle to grab fics I wanted to read or do a sweep at home through the archive, add a whole whole bunch to calibre, and upload quickly.

Now with both my Kindle and Kindle Fire, the habit is set; I want it readable on one of them, and if I have time, I'll damn well make it readable, but if I don't, it's a skip. And this, retrospectively, is by far the biggest shift in my fanfic reading habits since the mailing-list to livejournal changeover, which was preceded by the usenet to mailing list (and yes, there's overlap in all of these).

And I say this with complete understanding of my own quirks; AO3's single-one-stop mobi and single-page format reading options have really fed my entitlement, to the point where I'm staring at ff.net hatefully and muttering, and yes, The Paladin Protocol was totally worth it, but still. Thirty six chapters with careful copy/pasting and everything jumping to center abruptly for no reason so I had to format did give me some moments of pure hatred.

To give some context, I was on ff.net before the NC-17 ban and did a full delete of my account when it came down. A lot of this was I wasn't trained into ff.net's structure early on so I had no reason to stay; I was trained into fanfiction in Trek when everyone was getting geocities webpages and everyone on their own pages would do single-page format for long stories (and short) I could download (fairly easily) and I only read short form in email off mailing list. And all my character codes, my pairing code order and fandom acronym and header structure were announced on ASC and pretty much everyone followed it because I don't say everyone in Trek was there, but it sure felt like it.

As far as pairing codes and fandom acronyms go, I'm really into authoritarianism; I am a fan of a certain level of rigid structuring being in place that everyone uses and then a more free-flow beneath that. I have no personal opinion and attach no deep meaning to whether Clark or Lex goes first in a pairing code because in Trek, if I remember correctly, it was based on rank followed by first appearance (see Neelix, Kes, Seven of Nine). And it took me several years in fandom to realize people did, in fact, use pairing code to express a lot more than these people were in a relationship and/or fucking. It could be--and sometimes was--a rather sophisticated expression of how they were fucking and many variations in between.

Has anyone else noticed this kind of shift? In Trek and early X-Men, I was very much save and print, because dial-up was expensive and my computer was slow and a desktop. Late X-Men to SGA, it was very much save to disk and read, because by SV I had a faster computer and by SGA I had a laptop. Late SGA to well, this summer was bookmark to delicious, so I could read it anywhere I had a connection. Now I'm back to the surreality of cut-paste to html to calibre to mobi, plus bookmark to delicious (bundles are back! And fucked up, but I can deal with that, they are still here!) plus save to disk for later mobi conversion. AO3 and the mobile archives are suddenly like, places I spent a lot of time tracking down authors in the hopes that the story they posted to LJ is archived there and trying not to judge them if they aren't (yes, I do not have my entire back catalogue on AO3 yet, but this is because I am lazy and because even after conversion, I have to go in and hand edit some truly hideous things I did in html tags back when I didn't know better. My later stuff when I became a fan of using style sheets is ridiculously easy in comparison).

Also, AO3 is faster than calibre in bulk conversion if not in fine tuning the formatting. And now I'm faintly resentful I can't find a site I can go to, copy in the addresses of a whole bunch of bits of stories, and have them deliver me a single file mobi file on the spot. Which I can honestly say like, a year ago I would have called myself an entitled ass, but that was before I drank the e-reader kool-aid and realized that this was like, the reason I was born, you understand. To clutch my Kindle in one hand and read with a flicker of my finger anywhere in the world without fuss and without bulk (this has transformed flying for me, you understand. Transformed it).

So in light of massive turkey consumption and having a glorious four days of no work and catching up on my sleep and whatnot, anyone else having a revelation in reading habits? And more importantly, and this made me curious, with the advent of ereaders and tablets and very large phone screens, is the future of fanfic archives going to shift to an equal if not higher focus on accessibility on mobile devices instead of on the current computer screen standard size and functionality?

(To be fair, this is also the result of entering a fandom read-only and falling in love with a het pairing so hard I think I bruised myself, but oh my God I love Penny. I just love Penny and I want her to have everything she wants in the universe. And after Rodney blowing up solar systems, Sheldon doesn't worry me at all. Though [personal profile] norabombay thinks what the world needs is support group fic where John Sheppard, John Watson, Penny, and Clark all gather for cookies and xanax to talk about how they deal with genius-teetering-on-the-potential-for-supervillian significant others and everyone sits in awe of Penny who has like, a pack of them wandering around her and she hasn't killed them all yet and how she does it. Because I love Penny. And support groups are a good thing.)

Posted at Dreamwidth: http://seperis.dreamwidth.org/117032.html. | You can reply here or there. | comment count unavailable comments

AO3 has spoiled me so bad. I noticed this fairly recently, too.

I actually went through my most recent bookmarks this month to change the links so that they'd point to AO3 (when available, of course); it's so much easier to copy my favourites to my Kindle that way! (Unlike you, I don't really send the fic to my Kindle unless I've already read and loved it. If there were a speedier process to do it in bulk, I would, but it's still too cumbersome, especially considering how many <5000-word fics I read.)

More often than not, I find it annoying to have to read on LJ/DW when I'm on my phone, so I default to mainlining AO3 fic like a madwoman and putting off reading non-AO3 fic.

Which is horrible and I really shouldn't, but oh well. I kind of wish I could persuade all fic authors to post on AO3—it's so much easier to find things! So much more standardised and upfront than LJ! And I don't ever have to ?format=light in a hurry to avoid horrid layouts! :DD

I was a ff.net member when they purged the NC-17 fics; it was very icky and it really pissed me off, so I never really looked back; their layout still creeps me out, so I basically never read there. I'll Google the hell out of a ff.net fic if it's highly recced, in order to try to find a mirror somewhere. Worst case scenario, I'll copy-paste. Just—no.

Plus, for reading uber-long fics on my computer, I can have all the chapters on a single page. The beauty. I can't even. ♥ ♥

(I have a Pinboard archive account, which stores at-the-time-of-bookmarking snapshots of all my bookmarks, so it's a definite plus to have all the chapters stored in case the fic goes kaput.)

tl;dr *sighs* Hi, my name is Chris and I'm an AO3 addict.

Edited at 2011-11-24 11:04 pm (UTC)

I've been using this to download multi-chapter stories from FF.net, if it's any help?

Also have heard of this one but haven't tried it out yet. Must remedy that.

Might I suggest http://dev.squeebook.net/ ?

It is supper easy, downloads to multiple ebooks formats and will allow you to upload many chapters at a time. I have never had any problems with the ebooks it produces. It is the only site I use nw to get fanfic onto my ipad/iphone.

Yes. This. I always look for an AO3 link.

I copy pasted together all the many many parts of Beadattitude's Checkmate series and turned it into one ebook but there are very few multi-multi part fics I'd do that for.

Every AO3 fic of any length at all that looks interesting goes on my Kindle for reading at a later date. Any fic on LJ or DW that I really want to read (that's more than one part) gets copy pasted into word and Kindled. And everything I adore no matter how short also gets Kindled.

My only problem now is remembering to leave feedback. I finally started tagging fics on my pinboard as unread-kindle so I can find them again to leave comments.



Edited at 2011-11-25 12:24 am (UTC)

damn you.

I now find a need to read that story in your last paragraph. The only Het pairing I find myself reading and there is a sad lack of stories that I can find for it.

That aren't painful to read. Huzzah to the Paladin Protocol!


I love that story so much. I mean, thirty-six chapter cut and pasting to get it, and I was okay with this because holy God yes.

There are some good ones at AO3 as well, but I'd kill for more super long ones. Just want so much.

I have over 500 fics converted to epub for my iPad, but I only make the effort if I have read and loved it first, so I still do the first read online. I don't need or want paper anymore, though. It's wonderful to have all the stories I love in one small package. I also combine a story and all its sequels into one epub, which makes it so much easier to keep reading once I've started a series.

I burned through a lot of stories over the summer. I've taken a break to try and read through some of them, but I've got a lot more I'd like to convert so I can get rid of the printed copies.

I love AO3 for the ease of downloading and I always try there first for stories I want to save. I have also figured out how to convert from a Word file, for stories I had saved that aren't online anymore, and to do "view source" and copy and paste html from other sites. And I curse as I do this for the 10th chapter in a fic that could have been posted in 2 or 3 parts on LJ based on its length. I feel your pain with the 36-part FF.net story. I still edit all the files before I save them to standardize the html/css to display them the way I want, but that's often a lot easier with AO3 files than other sources. The worst mess I've had to deal with looked like it started out as a Word document which was saved as html, then run through Calibre to create an epub. Both MS and Calibre add a ton of style codes to the html, and it wasn't pretty trying to figure out what they were doing. After that, I started using Sigil to create the epubs rather than Calibre.

I have learned so much about html and css from this process. :)

Hmm. I adore Sheldon and Penny and don't see Sheldon/Penny but here's the thing. I didn't see canon Kirk/Spock at all either until I read, um, I think the first one I read was You'll Get There In the End, and then War Games & Repeat Offender. I have all three saved in Word and on my Kindle.

And oh hell yes Kirk/Spock works in canon and I say that as a hardcore Kirk/McCoy and Spock/Uhura shipper.

Do you have a link handy for Paladin Protocol?



Edited at 2011-11-25 01:03 am (UTC)

*g* Oh yes, I do.

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5623923/1/The_Paladin_Protocol

I also have the mobi and I think I have an HTML of the entire thirty-six chapters in a single file. Email me at seperis at gmail if you want me to send that.

I came in to fandom in 1997-8, so still in the mailing list/archive era, and I was mainly into X-files. I didn't have internet access at home, so every day I would go to the library and cut and paste all the interesting fic I could find into wordpad and save to my 3.5 inch floppy so I could read it on my ancient black and white 386 laptop (with no modem). I'd save my favs to disk and then delete everything on the floppy to be ready for the next day. Something like ffnet or LJ, where fic wasn't in one long page would have been terrible for me at that point, since I got half an hour of computer time at a shot and needed to grab-and-go as quick as possible. Which meant I was willing to try all sorts of cracktastic and crazy stories (including my first slash story) especially if they were long, because otherwise I had nothing to read at all, and couldn't get more stories until the next time I went to the library.

I drifted out of X-files when the show started sucking, and didn't get back into fandom until 2003. By then I had a good laptop and wireless DSL and had been on LJ for a couple of years. Everything was posted chapter by chapter, which didn't bother me since I had always-on internet. It also meant I read a lot of shorter and mid-length work, because popping open a tab was less commitment than downloading to a disc with limited space.

I got my Kindle a year ago, and the ability to take fanfic with me easily -- like, to toss it in my purse the way I would with a trashy novel to read in a waiting room or on a bus -- was totally life-changing. I don't use Calibre, (it irritates the snot out of me) so everything that I convert off LJ is cut-and-paste either into textedit or into an online converter which spits out .mobi to download. It's a LOT to commit to for stories I'm not sure about or something that's only going to take me 5 minutes to read. I have never been a supporter of AO3 or OTW, but the ability to easily download .mobi versions of fic has significantly changed my thoughts about the archive, because being able to download, e-mail, synch and go is such a seductively useful functionality to have.

It's interesting, though, that the way I'm reading now really hearkens back to the way I read in my X-phile days -- I'll troll LJ and the archive for new, exciting fics, download a mess of them, synch them to my Kindle and then read until I run out of stuff to read, rinse and repeat. It also means a distinct preference for either short fics (1000-1500 words) or long epics, since that's what makes most sense on my Kindle and that I'll totally go for length and ease-of-download over quality in choosing what to read.

Reading on FF.Net or LJ is a huge PITA but it's doable to see if you want to commit to the whole process of copy and paste and convert to mobi. On the Kindle go to the address where the fic is on ff.net or LJ, and switch it to Article Mode, this prevents the LJ scrolling and allows you to enlarge the font on ff.net and LJ for reading. Then, you'll need to switch back to web mode to surf for the next part, if necessary. It's what I do to determine if a fic is good enough for the whole copy and paste, etc., process

God I love this post.

After I got my Kindle AO3 pretty much became my favorite place ever. I grabbed a ton of fics there by searching my favorite pairings and finding the longest complete stories. Right now I am nearing 300 fanfics on my Kindle (and probably 100 books, maybe).

I've found myself getting annoyed with large fics posted to LJ or even dreamwidth that don't have a PDF download or an AO3 link, if I am really wanting to read the fic I will do the copy/paste into a word doc, save as a PDF, and use Calibre to convert it to a mobi. So far it's been worth it. I actually prefer to read longer fics on my Kindle, its easier on the eyes and its more comfortable to settle down and read on.

I've noticed a definite shift too in posting to AO3. It's starting to become really apparent at big bangs. If people don't post to AO3 they might make a PDF or someone will make one for them. For the major big bangs I run the mods at AO3 actually gave me over 50 invites, so I plan to dole those out to whoever is interested to get more long fics on AO3.

A couple people have posted online webapps for dling off ff.net; there's also a program Fanfiction Downloader (one of the webapps is based off it) that I prefer to use. Granted I then run the result through Sigil 'cause I prefer epub and nicer css than ffdl does it, but it does the job nicely enough. And if its a wip, the first section ffdl creates has all the info, including when you dled the story off FFN.

I too originally went with the save to disk process back in the mailing list era (and have gone back to it today when downloading epubs from AO3 for my non-wifi Sony Reader). Aside from that, I have a Gmail account that I use with the toread bookmarklet. It works like a charm: screengrab the LJ/DW page(s), the formatting usually doesn't screw up, Gmail is easily searchable, it's always accessible, and I don't run the risk of losing the fic if the author takes it down or I have a hard disk disaster (which happened last week).

ETA: to fix my borked coding. WTF, self.

Edited at 2011-11-25 07:45 am (UTC)

I myself am currently dipping my toes into TBBT. Any recs in particular?

As far as pairing codes and fandom acronyms go, I'm really into authoritarianism; I am a fan of a certain level of rigid structuring being in place that everyone uses and then a more free-flow beneath that. I have no personal opinion and attach no deep meaning to whether Clark or Lex goes first in a pairing code because in Trek, if I remember correctly, it was based on rank followed by first appearance (see Neelix, Kes, Seven of Nine).

That’s how the slash was explained to me so I follow that convention of [main character]/[secondary character]. Or some fandom kinkmemes and Delicious accounts I’ve been in ask for characters in alphabetical order for easier book-keeping.



And it took me several years in fandom to realize people did, in fact, use pairing code to express a lot more than these people were in a relationship and/or fucking. It could be--and sometimes was--a rather sophisticated expression of how they were fucking and many variations in between.

See, when I do that, I use anime conventions of [seme] x [uke]; it confuses me when people try that with the slash. Heteronormative roles don’t register with me with a slash they way they do with an x.

I have a Bebook Neo ereader and I love it to bits. It has some major cons i.e. it's pretty expensive and the battery life is crap but it is AMAZINGLY easy to put and update my fic on it. The best format for reading on Neo is RTF or text and it has a SD card slot. All I have to do is cut and paste to bean and save to the any of my folders or subfolders on the SD card. It is especially great for WIPs. I just open the RTF file and cut and paste the update. Couldn't be easier. I have been saving my fav fanfics since I got into fandom in the mid 90's so I have 1000s saved on my computer and most are on my NEO. I take it everywhere and have my entire fanfic library at my fingertips in easy to navigate folders and subfolders. It has changed my life.

Um, sorry about that...? But thank you. :)

(I have been far too techno-crippled to get to grips with AO3 so far, I may have to rethink this situation. Especially if I am hoping to epublish original work.)


Did I not say it was worth it? I read like, a paragraph while at work and spent the next hour frantically cutting and pasting it together trying not to spoil myself. *bounces* It was fantastic.

Strangely, I just finished writing up the rec here. Thank you for this one. I swear I have read it nearly enough to memorize it in the last week.

I am narrowly avoiding fangirling you on this, but every time I re-read it, it just surprises me how good it is not just as basically a good ship story, but a fantastic story all in itself. It'll be one of the ones I keep and read even after I lose interest in the show or the ship because it's so well drawn and fun to read that the show gives context, but it can just as easily stand there alone and be awesome.

Edited at 2011-11-26 05:40 am (UTC)

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