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15 November 2009 @ 11:08 pm
On Defining "Gen" and its Counterpart for FKficfest  
The rules of play for fkficfest will be very similar to those used successfully in the femme_fic and oldschoolfic fanfiction story exchange events.  However, there's one big difference.  Those are multifandom; this will be FK-only.  Similarly, we can't quite parallel the rules for the single-fandom Harry Potter games that [personal profile] leela_cat plays, because those are single-genre -- even single character -- and we'll be playing across all factions.

For fkficfest, players will submit three FK prompts.  We need to differentiate them somehow to provide some diversity of choices to the writer and aid in matching.  My co-mod and I talked about the possibilities for that, the different available categories, and we settled on: gen, ship, other.  This should, we hope, help us get compatible prompts into everyone's hands.

But do you see the challenge?  Definitions!  What should be the definition of "gen"?  Is "ship" the best collective term for that which is not "gen"?  How about "romance"?  (I have trouble accepting that we need to say "het or slash or femmeslash" every time we mean "that which is not gen.")  We need, if we can get them, definitions that help spread contentment, not contentiousness. 

My working definitions presently, for this event, are:
  • A "gen" story spotlights any plot or theme except romantic encounters/relationships.  This does not mean that mentions of Don and Myra's marriage are banned, or that Nick can't kiss Janette, or that Lacroix doesn't have designs on Nick.  It just means that the main focus must be elsewhere than on romantic/sexual encounters/relationships.  Mystery, action, adventure, horror, philosophy, science, friendship, humor...  The episode "Father Figure" is gen.
  • A "ship" story spotlights romantic/sexual encounters and/or relationships.  This does not mean that cop plots and existential angst are banned.  It just means that the main focus should be on romantic encounters/relationships.  (Obviously, it may be m/f, m/m or f/f, as called for.)  Erotica is a subset of this genre.  The episode "Be My Valentine" is ship.
  • An "other" prompt, in the game, could be another gen or ship scenario, or it could be something category-busting or completely different.  This would be the place for a wild AU, perhaps.  The episode "Curiouser and Curiouser" is other.


What are your better definitions of these labels, or your better labels for these same definitions?

For example, is "Partners of the Month," as a whole episode, a gen story or a ship story?  What if it is divided up, and the scenes examined as individual units?  Is the scene with Nick and the lawyer gen, and the scene with Nick and Janette in the Raven ship, and what does that mean to the ability to classify the episode as a whole?  And what about the conversation between Schanke and Janette, which is clearly all about their respective romantic relationships with other people -- is it in itself gen, or not?

For another example, take "Dance by the Light of the Moon."  The flashbacks must fall under romance/erotica, but in the present-day story, Nick seems to be falling for Anne Foley, but is not; does that undercover revelation make it gen?  What about "Last Act"?  Or "Night in Question"?

FK canon does not fit these categories easily or snugly.  It is all things, all the time.  I love it that way.

In the past year or so, I've encountered a few fans -- not in FK, actually; elsewhere -- expressing bitterness and even hostility toward the genre that is not their own favorite.  I don't want to mess with that hornets' nest.  I like FK in every genre.  But I cannot think of a better way to match readers and writers within FK (except by faction, and that has its own challenges -- numbers being the first).

How do you define these categories today?  How useful are they to you in FK (which is not necessarily like other fandoms)?

And what kind of set of prompts would you most like to receive to work with as a writer, if you're considering playing in fkficfest?

  • By genre? Gen; Ship; Other
  • By plot? Cop shop; Vampire fantasy/sci-fi; Interpersonal
  • By season? Pre-DK, first season or hiatus; Second season; Third season or post-LK
  • By angle? Dark; Light; Shades of Gray
  • By character? Nick, Lacroix or Janette; Natalie, Schanke, Stonetree, Cohen, or Reese; Tracy, Vachon, Urs, or Screed
  • By type? Keyword; Quotation; Scenario
  • Other?


Comments on Dreamwidth: comment count unavailable
 
 
 
Leelaleela_cat on November 16th, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
Going through my FK stories recently, I think most of them fell into a category that I consider Gen. Although one I categorised as gen was probably m/f in a sense. Does the vampire hunt count as a ship? Uh... for me, no.

I tend to work best with some combination of the above. By type (keyword, quotation, scenario) is good, with a list of potential pairings and/or characters for ship/gen (I dislike the term romance, because not all pairing stories are romantic by nature).

Given that, the prompt can cover genre, plot, angle, season, etc.

I think simple is best for your fest. I'm honestly not sure I could come up with an 'other' prompt on demand. Gen and ship is much easier, and 'type plus characters/pairings' even easier for me.

For the most part, I think I could write anything but a Nick/Nat ship story (up to and including a Nick and Nat friendship story).
One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear: flying by Abby & Rache & meamilyn on November 17th, 2009 12:12 am (UTC)
Honestly...I'm not sure *I* could write a N&N ship story. It's just...well, not canon except in desire, and NEVER healthy. Too upsetting, you know?

Other ships, certainly. N&N ship stuff would be after the show and would be dark and disturbing, I suspect, if I tried to write it...not a happy place..
Amy R.: N&Nbrightknightie on November 17th, 2009 07:50 am (UTC)
>"and NEVER healthy"

"Never" is a big word, and all in capital letters, too. :-)

I'm not personally a N&Ner, and I wrote a whole novella to deconstruct N&N romance, but ... there's surely room somewhere back or forth in their "ever" for a hot UST story, a bittersweet "what never was" story, a powerful unconsummated love story, an unexpected lessons story, a broken-heart story, and many more, as well as the more convention-following happily-ever-afters...

In other words, I apparently still can write N&N, if called to that duty. :-)

Do you remember "Rarely Beloved" by Sarah W.? I would have recommended it years ago, if I could find the author to get permission. Love it. Surely it, too, is an N&N ship story?

Just chattering. Never mind me...
Amy R.: Trio Fang Gangbrightknightie on November 17th, 2009 07:38 am (UTC)
I'm thinking that examples would be very useful. By the weekend, I will make a fkficfest post inviting everyone who has written (or had written for her) FK for any sort of prompt-driven event to share the prompt and a link to the story or stories she's most proud of. What FK prompts were chosen? How did they work out?

>"By type (keyword, quotation, scenario) is good"

How interesting! I didn't guess many would want to be required to give one keyword prompt, one quotation prompt and one scenario prompt, but I thought it might be a strong mechanism for getting everyone a variety of possible inspirations.

>"a list of potential pairings and/or characters"

A list of potentials hasn't been customary in the ficathons I've played, as we discussed once. People tend to specify the exact characters they want. That's why I worried that most players wouldn't offer much variation of characters unless required.

>"I dislike the term romance, because not all pairing stories are romantic by nature"

And so I'm confused on definitions again. Isn't a story that does not focus on romantic or sexual content a "gen" story, regardless of whether it contains a "pairing"?

All this "pairing" stuff frustrates me. I don't understand it; it doesn't seem to fit FK; and everyone seems to have her own definitions, so I never seem to get any closer to understanding. Perhaps the goalposts just move too fast for me.

I would gladly toss it all out, shake the can and let the straws of "gen" or "pairing" fall where they may, but I'm afraid that could lead to people feeling cheated or ill-used. That's one of the things I most want to avoid, if I can.

>"For the most part, I think I could write anything but a Nick/Nat ship story (up to and including a Nick and Nat friendship story)."

Do you mean to include "a Nick and Nat friendship story" in the anything else that you could indeed write, or in the "ship story" that you coudn't? I'm sorry; I thought I knew what the sentence meant the first few times I read it, and then when I came to reply, I tripped on my grammar! :-)

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and helping me work through the questions.
One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear: natalieamilyn on November 17th, 2009 12:10 am (UTC)
I think the lists (genre, plot, season, angle, etc.) could be easily used for the writing portion of the signups: "Of the following, list all that you COULD/would be able/willing to write."

In that case, my writing offer would look like: "Genre: Gen; Plot: cop shop, interpersonal; Season: any; Angle: any; Character: Nick, LC, Janette, Natalie, Schanke, Stonetree, Cohen, Tracy; Type: As you wish."

Then, in my signup, I could list my two preferences from those lists, plus a prompt of a sort (like from your "type") list)...so, if I wanted to choose genre and character, I could sign up for those, if I wanted to choose plot and angle, I could sign up for those.

In that case, my signup would probably look like: "I'd like gen about Janette and/or Natalie. Prompt: snow." Or "Prompt: Nat and Janette have quite a great deal in common, more than the show ever explored. I'd like to see them discover a commonality--other than Nick--that they share." In either case, then, the writer would be able to write whatever they felt like, and set it in any season, just including either snow in some form or in some way or doing the "Nat & Janette discover common ground" thing, set any time.

Then the matching would be made based on who was willing to write things that fit what folks ask for. Most of the FK folks I know (and especially those likely to participate) would have pretty broad offers, and those with narrower offers would then be the ones we matched up first.
Amy R.: Natalie Againbrightknightie on November 17th, 2009 08:16 am (UTC)
the opt-in approach?
>""Of the following, list all that you COULD/would be able/willing to write.""

Wow! I hadn't had that in mind, actually. That's a new idea. Have you seen it used in another event, having the players specify comprehensively what they're willing to write?

My mind immediately leapt to three possible concerns about that approach, compared to the other.

  1. That any really creative prompt would be frozen out, as no one would think to include it in their opt-in content list. (For example, the characters list you provide above doesn't include Grace, so we couldn't give you a Natalie and Grace prompt.)
  2. That it could raise unreasonable expectations of how precisely compatible the prompts and stories should be to the player's wishes.
  3. That it would be much harder to match to match prompts to comprehensive lists of what people are willing to write than to rule out writers based on lists of what they're not willing to write.


>"so, if I wanted to choose genre and character, I could sign up for those, if I wanted to choose plot and angle, I could sign up for those."

I'm afraid I'm not sure I understand. Do you mean that there should be no guidelines for the prompts? I'm beginning to think that, too. My current thought is that we should have examples; before Thanksgiving, I'll ask people to share examples of FK stories they have written (or had written for them) successfully in prompt-based ficathons, so we can all see prompts that have been chosen by a write and written to the prompter's satisfaction.

Still, it would be good to have some variety between the three prompts on a slate, for the sake of sparking the writer's imagination. Hmmmm. merfilly (on DW) thought that the "one gen, one pairing, one wildcard" slate would work; leela_cat prefers the "one keyword, one quotation, one scenario" slate idea. Hmmmm.

Still plenty of time! :-) But I'd like to have the first draft of the rules ready and headed your way by the end of next week, if things work out. Then we can serve them back and forth until they shine with mutual understanding and general feasibility. ;-)

Edited at 2009-11-17 08:16 am (UTC)
Havochavocthecat on November 17th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
I think the lists (genre, plot, season, angle, etc.) could be easily used for the writing portion of the signups: "Of the following, list all that you COULD/would be able/willing to write."

In that case, my writing offer would look like: "Genre: Gen; Plot: cop shop, interpersonal; Season: any; Angle: any; Character: Nick, LC, Janette, Natalie, Schanke, Stonetree, Cohen, Tracy; Type: As you wish."


I like this idea! But it can potentially be a LOT of work to do the pairing up that way. Which might be worth it. And, um, now that I think about it, you guys might have fun with the amount of organization that you'd need.

I had spreadsheets. Two of them. No, wait, three? Maybe? Two of them, and one that I printed out in two sections and used as two spreadsheets. Pages and pages of spreadsheets, and prompts printed out separately, and a ruler, pen, and highlighter, because it's not possible to do it without printouts. There are too many variables to keep track of that many windows on screen. I had a process of matching people up, and tracking everything, and it was a whole lot of fun, but it was time-consuming.

ANYWAY, that would be the most complete way to do it, and I do like that idea.
Amy R.: Caddybrightknightie on November 18th, 2009 08:18 am (UTC)
>"But it can potentially be a LOT of work to do the pairing up that way."

I also wonder whether, as I suspect we're likely to have a relatively small turnout, some people could be simply unmatchable under that approach. That is, if they could very strictly "opt-in" on what they're willing to write, would it be less a prompt-receipt game than a prompt-offer game? In which case, the thing to do would be to post the offers publicly, and let people claim them?

>"because it's not possible to do it without printouts"

I was imagining printing every submission (with the name in the header and footer) and cutting them in half, giving me a "card" for every prompt and every offer, and then spreading them around the living room, with amilyn on the speaker phone. They could be sorted into stacks, and then substacks, and then stapled together when matches were made...

I should really put more thought into the spreadsheet alternative, huh? :-) Lucky there's time yet...
Havochavocthecat on November 18th, 2009 02:20 pm (UTC)
In which case, the thing to do would be to post the offers publicly, and let people claim them?

I ran out of free time in sg_rarepairings this year and just did that. Unfortunately, we ended up with 1500 prompts. *headdesk*

I was imagining printing every submission (with the name in the header and footer) and cutting them in half, giving me a "card" for every prompt and every offer, and then spreading them around the living room, with amilyn on the speaker phone. They could be sorted into stacks, and then substacks, and then stapled together when matches were made...

Um. That's almost what I do, but with spreadsheets, it takes a LOT less space up. Though it does require an empty desk, a ruler (to make sure I'm reading the right line on the spreadsheet), and a great deal of flipping through papers.

I can send you my spreadsheets, if you want. I'm not saying you have to use them, of course! Just saying that you might want to check out what I've done.
Amy R.: Thanksbrightknightie on November 20th, 2009 05:11 pm (UTC)
>"I can send you my spreadsheets, if you want."

I would be grateful for the opportunity to learn from your experience! Thank you.
Havochavocthecat on November 17th, 2009 03:11 pm (UTC)
Perhaps "gen," "ship," and "wildcard?" Because an AU could certainly be a romance-focused or a gen-focused AU. I have no objections to your definitions of ship and gen, though! Wildcard could certainly be focused on any of your bullet points.

As to prompts, will we be able to say what we're not interested (or able to) write? Because I can guarantee that there are certain pairings that I would suck at writing. I have no objection to them being there and requested and written (all factions are, in fact, rather awesome), of course, and obviously everyone's happy with something different!
Amy R.: Nanettebrightknightie on November 18th, 2009 08:07 am (UTC)
>"Perhaps "gen," "ship," and "wildcard?""

Yes! I meant "wildcard" by "other." Sorry. And the consensus seems to be that "ship" should be replaced by "pairing"? Hmmmm.

I somewhat wish I could ask everyone to please talk as if it were 1996 on the lists. Then I'd know what the words meant! Mostly. ;-) But this is the thing. We will have some people who have always/never lived their fannish lives on the email lists, and people who have always/never played in other fandoms as well as FK. Neither the venerable vocabulary of the email lists nor the contemporary vocabulary of LJ is quite right for the mixed audience. We'll work it out...

>"As to prompts, will we be able to say what we're not interested (or able to) write?"

Yes. My idea was to take your work as a template, and only adjust it for the single fandom. I was going to (1) change the three fandoms as the guiding structure to gen, pairing and wildcard, (2) add a section about FK factions and/or favorites, and (3) make the "3 things I can't/won't write" into a maximum of 5 or even 10.

I didn't actually mean to suggest a revolutionary new prompt procedure. :-) That was amilyn's inspiration, above. I think we need to ponder that a little and learn where that may fit and grow.
Havochavocthecat on November 18th, 2009 02:07 pm (UTC)
Yes! I meant "wildcard" by "other." Sorry. And the consensus seems to be that "ship" should be replaced by "pairing"? Hmmmm.

Aha! I see now! I thought you'd meant "something that is neither gen nor ship," which confused me. :) Personally, I'm OK with either ship or pairing as a term.

Neither the venerable vocabulary of the email lists nor the contemporary vocabulary of LJ is quite right for the mixed audience. We'll work it out...

I'm not too worried. :)

Yes. My idea was to take your work as a template, and only adjust it for the single fandom. I was going to (1) change the three fandoms as the guiding structure to gen, pairing and wildcard, (2) add a section about FK factions and/or favorites, and

*nods* I can totally see how that would work.

(3) make the "3 things I can't/won't write" into a maximum of 5 or even 10.

I have to strongly, strongly recommend against this. I sympathize with people who have long lists of won't-write-this, but it's actually REALLY hard to match people who have long lists of won't-write-this up. In sg_rarepairings, we let people specify which characters they would or wouldn't write, which meant hours of agony, and then God forbid you should accidentally give a prompt containing Elizabeth Weir to someone who Will Not Write Elizabeth Weir At All.

On the other hand, it's your ficathon. So if you decide that I'm exaggerating, or you want to do the extra work, more power to you! (Everything I say is always only a suggestion, and I hope that I haven't ever made it sound like you two should do things my way.)
Amy R.: Tracybrightknightie on November 20th, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
>"I have to strongly, strongly recommend against this. I sympathize with people who have long lists of won't-write-this, but it's actually REALLY hard to match people who have long lists of won't-write-this up."

~nods~ That was my first instinct and inclination, too. And as I remember, you went from five to three items on this list from one femme_fic ficathon to the next. I do want to learn from your experience!

I was idly musing on raising it from three to five in an in-person conversation with leela_cat this summer when, to my surprise, she expressed outrage that any ficathon would not allow you to include an lengthy list of things you're not willing to write. Apparently, over in HP, that's the norm. How on earth could they manage that? I boggled. My guess is that the vastness of the fandom, and the specificity of the fests in which she participates (pairing specific or character specific or slash specific), allows such exclusions.

But FK is not, to say the least, vast.

I was settling back into the thought of three (or five at the most), when this "opt in" idea broke out, in which you would closely dictate what you're willing to write (e.g. "I'll only accept gen prompts set in first season starring Nick with flashbacks"). Ack! I think that would be literally impossible to match in a small event, so I scurried back to the idea of a longer "opt out" list in self-defense.

I will keep pondering. :-)
PJ1228pj1228 on November 17th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
I've been following this discussion with interest, however I must admit as one who has never participated in any fication before, I had difficulties to understand what was meant or what the problem is. There seems to be quite a vocabulary common around fications that I have never heard of before.
For example, it took me a while to figure out that "ship" probably means relationship. My first thought was that there was a spelling mistake and that it had to be "sip". I thought, oh great, a NN sip story must be something where Nick sips from nat. I'd enjoy writing that. LOL
Also, I figured that "gen" might stand for general, which is difficult to define as has been pointed out above. Of course a story about THE GENERAL would be something I could write. ;)
In conclusion, I realized that I will need quite a detailed description and perhaps a glossary so that I will be able to comprehend what I'm being asked to write.

I'm not sure if this is any help to the current discussion, but on my website (which is currently undergoing a major reconstruction) I've grouped my stories into "Classic tales", which cover those stories that are like episodes with the focus on the crime story. Then there are tales focusing on "Nick and Natalie", "Nick and Janette", Nick and Lacroix", "Nick, Nat and Lacroix", "Natalie and Lacroix". For me this is the most less confusing categorization.

In connection with a prompt, I could then choose e.g. "Nick and Nat, dark" for a dark NN story or "classic, Nick, personal turn" for a cop story in which Nick's secret is in danger of being exposed or something like that.

I've pondered on the issue raised by havocthecat and I agree that it might be helpful to list things we do not like to write (e.g. Nick becoming mortal, unless it's temporary) in addition to listing the things we like or can write.

I'm not sure if my post is helpful to you at all and I apologize for being a bit dense about the vocabulary.
In any case, I'm looking forward to this event.
Amy R.: Tracybrightknightie on November 18th, 2009 07:54 am (UTC)
>" I had difficulties to understand what was meant or what the problem is. There seems to be quite a vocabulary common around fications that I have never heard of before."

It's not as much a common vocabulary of ficathons as a common, contemporary vocabulary of still-in-production fandoms that operate mainly on LiveJournal. It's not just you struggling with the vocabulary! I'm struggling myself, which was part of the point of that post.

However, I now realize that I jumped into the middle of the conversation, and accidentally left many people behind! I intend to post a "Ficathon Basics" or "Ficathon 101" on fkficfest, but had not thought of posting it here. I should. I will! I'll call it the rough draft for the eventual fkficfest post.

>"For example, it took me a while to figure out that "ship" probably means relationship."

This term goes back to X-Files fandom. The fans who favored a romantic relationship between the lead characters were called "relationshippers," which quickly contracted to "shippers." After a while, it became a generic term for any fan who subscribes to what FK calls a "couple faction." So a Nick&NatPacker is a "shipper" who "ships" Nick and Natalie, and Nick/Natalie is a "ship." (And, equally, a UFer is a shipper who ships Nick and Lacroix, and Nick/Lacroix is a ship.)

However -- just to complicate things -- what I am hearing from other commenters is that the word "ship" is now out of fashion, and the word "pairing" is in. :-)

>"I thought, oh great, a NN sip story must be something where Nick sips from Nat. I'd enjoy writing that. LOL"

~grin~ I will know to send Dark Nick prompts your direction. ~grin~

>"I've grouped my stories into "Classic tales", which cover those stories that are like episodes with the focus on the crime story. Then there are tales focusing on [pairings]"

That's very similar to the comparison I was hoping for with the words "gen" (classic) and "ship" (couples).

By asking each participant to submit at least one prompt of each type, I thought that would help ensure a variety of choices for each writer, in case some writers feel they can only write "classic" tales, or only tales about couples. However, now I am wondering whether I should not try to guide that, and instead just let people go wild. (For this to be clear, you will probably want that "Ficathon Basics" post. I will write it.)

>"... it might be helpful to list things we do not like to write ... in addition to listing the things we like or can write."

Oh, yes. That's definitely going to be part of the sign-up. I am thinking that we will ask each player to share (1) a short wish-list of things she most likes to read and write, and (2) a short won't-list of things she would rather not read or write. We will need some limit on these lists, so they don't get impracticably long -- perhaps a maximum of ten items each?

Actually, this idea of the writers giving such very strict and detailed limits on what they are willing to write is new. I'm not certain that it would work, for the writers to specify so precisely in advance what prompts they will accept. It could mean that a very creative prompt would have no writer to go home to, jsut because no one imagined it! :-)

>"In any case, I'm looking forward to this event."

I'm glad! And I'm sorry to have jumped ahead in the ficathon conversation.
Havochavocthecat on November 18th, 2009 02:09 pm (UTC)
*interrupts* I do like the idea of one gen prompt per participant. I would be entirely uninterested in a Nick/Tracy story, for example, but a Nick and Tracy story? I am so there.
(Anonymous) on November 17th, 2009 08:36 pm (UTC)
Season's Greetinga
I think a "season" preference would help, especially pre or post LK.

Also concerning additional categories: perhaps check boxes for, say, dark, light, middling and then if they are left blank, that would mean any or no preference as far as that category would be concerned.

Also, perhaps 4 out of 5? Say, someone listed ship, cop, post LK, dark, Reese. And someone could write a story incorporating four of the above five. Not susre that would work, but it's an idea. :-)
Amy R.: Nick Againbrightknightie on November 18th, 2009 08:20 am (UTC)
Re: Season's Greetinga
>" think a "season" preference would help, especially pre or post LK."

I think you're right that this is important. I will try to find an easy and consistent way to incorporate that into the matching.
greerwatsongreerwatson on November 18th, 2009 12:08 am (UTC)
Interesting. You use "ship" (and so do some of those commenting); but I don't think I've ever seen "ship" used before in an FK context. Like pj1228, I must move in different circles. I've always used "pairing" or "relationship"—which either dates me or FK fandom, I guess.

I'm inclined to think that the blend of components so characteristic of FK is likely to get lost if people get too precise in listing what they want/write. On the other hand, that's not to say that some specifications are out of order.

First off, the bit about "which season?" strikes me as relevant. Less between Seasons 1 and 2, though, as between those and Season 3. There are those who can't abide Season 3 (among which number I am not to be counted, since I thoroughly enjoyed it). Similarly, post-LK stories are a genre in their own right. Then you have the all-historical (or almost all flashback) stories, as opposed to those with either a cop plot or a thorough blend of components.

Second, I notice that you talk about erotica as a type of "ship". This raises two questions.

I have often seen non-sexual romantic stories called "gen" in opposition to "adult", with no intermediate "romance" category. You need to make it clear that, in this event, gen means only non-romantic—at least, as I interpret what you have said.

As a genre, slash sort of takes care of itself simply because you allow people to specify the pairings they want. However, for all types of pairings, I think it is extremely important that people be able to specify the degree to which they want (or will write) a story that is sexually explicit. "Adult" is a very relevant distinction, especially where the romance/erotica/porn continuum is concerned.
Amy R.: Torontobrightknightie on November 18th, 2009 08:49 am (UTC)
>"I've always used "pairing" or "relationship"—which either dates me or FK fandom, I guess."

From the comments, it seems that "pairing" is in and "ship" is out. :-) I should have stuck with my original inclination of "romance" -- or go properly old-school FK and say "couple faction," which is, after all, what they really mean.

FWIW, "ship" dates to X-Files fandom, as I understand it. The fans who wanted a Mulder/Scully romance were called "relationshippers." This began as, basically, a faction name, but it spread and became a generic term (a N&Ner is a shipper who ships Nick and Natalie, by this usage).

>"I'm inclined to think that the blend of components so characteristic of FK is likely to get lost if people get too precise in listing what they want/write. On the other hand, that's not to say that some specifications are out of order."

I agree on both counts.

Actually, I wasn't trying to address the question of writing/offers, which I figured was well covered by the rules of the existing ficathons I'm familiar with. I was on the question of prompts/requests, which must be different from the other games.

amilyn's inspiration to have a detailed and exclusive "opt-in" approach for writers is a bit different. What has been usual is to have a "wish list" of three or five things you particularly like to read (e.g. history, friendship, off-stage references to Myra), and a "won't list" of three or five things you won't write (e.g. adult content, post-LK, comedy), and then you receive a slate of prompts that definitely don't violate the "won't"s, and hopefully somehow resembles the "wishes."

>"I have often seen non-sexual romantic stories called "gen" in opposition to "adult", with no intermediate "romance" category."

That is the definition I learned when I joined fandom via the FK email lists, and it's the one I'm most comfortable with. However, it does not seem to be a definition in use beyond the FK lists at this time. That's one reason why I asked; thank you for covering it.

Some people can be quite hostile about even G-rated romance that is not their particular flavor of romance; they insist on warnings to protect them from seeing it by accident. I will do the best I can with a glossary up front. And after the stories are posted, we will tag them.

>"people be able to specify the degree to which they want (or will write) a story that is sexually explicit."

Oh, yes! I always specify "NC-17" on the list of things I personally will not write when I play a ficathon. I was once matched with someone who put "adult content" on her "wish list," anyway, but she had listed other things as well, so I did my best to meet one of her other wishes.