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Board Members Guide

Welcome Fellow Board Members. This guide has been created to help you setup, and maintain your new novel or Reference Book. You the Board members, are the life of your Book. You have given your idea lots of time, and finally it has taken shape, gone through the creation process, and now, you are ready to begin.

This guide will be broken down into the following sections.

The Dust Jacket

The Novel Editor

Preparing Your Book

Tips to a Successful Start

Maintaining your Book

Dealing with Disputes 

What Makes an Effective Board Member




Dust Jacket

Novel Title is located Below the Dust Jacket Image.


The Edit Button is your key to making changes.

Members of your Board are listed on the left side of the dustjacket.

The First Feature you should become familiar with on your jacket is the edit button located on the right hand side of the Dust Jacket as you can see here on this screen shot. This button will open your imagination, to change your dust jacket's appearance, as well as admit members and make changes to the Books guide.

Novel Editor

Upload Image Change the Weather Add Weather Person Review Application Queue Change Novel Text Edit Novel Guide Change Novel Year Edit Messages

Upon entering the edit key on the dustjacket, you will find the Novel Editor with the options, you as the board member have to set and create for your Novel or Reference Book. The options personalize the Jacket and Guide to your specifications. The Options available are explained in further detail below.

Upload New Novel Image

This is the tool to use, when you desire to replace your dust jacket image. Simply browse for your image and hit the upload button. Remember size and resolution will determine download time for your members. The Image should capture the imagination of your book.

Review Character Application Queue

If you have a Closed Novel, or a Reference Book, You will need to check daily to see if any characters have applied to your novel. As the screen shot above shows, when a person has applied, you will see their Character name, the Reason they have applied, and the Dispensation you will be taking. If you wish to wait to process their application, you simply leave it as No Action. If you wish to admit them to your Book, you will hit accept and go. This will send out their acceptance letter to their home, and add the character to you member list. If for some reason you decide to decline the person to the book, simply choose Decline and go. Sometime, a character will apply twice. You may accept the person once and decline them for their second application. This will not affect their first acceptance. Remember most people do not like to wait on applications, so it is best to process them as quickly as possible.

Change Your Novel Text

This is the number one element you will use for your Novel or Reference Book. Here you can use HTML codes to change your background, add images, Change Fonts, and the text content on your Dust Jacket as often as you like. The main goal here is to maintain a balance of pictures and text that will not overwhelm the jacket. If you do not know a lot of HTML, please use the Scriptorium codes to copy for help with your jacket, or you may ask an Editor or Agent for assistance. If you place an image on the jacket, please be sure to include the full url source code, or else you will have a little red dot. For example if you have uploaded the image to your home, and have copied the code down, you will need to add to it so that it follows this format:
You may need to manually add the portion shown in italics dependant upon how you have obtained the url for your image.

*WARNING* If you use style codes on your Jacket, you must include the Closing Style tag, Failure to do so will result in losing your update button, and your edit button. The only cure is to find Wyatt or another Agent to fix this error.

Edit the Novel Guide

The Story Guide is an important tool for Board Members to take advantage of. Basically, it is the "fine print" rules of your novel. The default guide is a great place to start, but personalizing the guide with a welcome statement gives it prominence. Attention to details, like the Story Guide, indicates to members, and new members alike, that the Board Members of your novel are observant and take interest in the particulars!

Change the Novel's Year

As your story progresses, you may wish to change the year your novel is currently written in. This option allows you to do so. Simply replace the current year and hit update your novel.

Edit Decline Accept Messages

This Feature is used for Closed novels and for Reference Books. It allows you to customize your acceptance or Decline letters to the members that have applied. You may include HTML in these as well. Simply Change the Letters as you desire, and hit the Change Letters Button. Note: Do not use apostrophes in your accept/decline messages as they sometimes cause a glitch when sending to the member.

Planning Your Novel
by Wyatt Earp

One of the great features at Pan Historia is the ability to create your own role play environment and get other people involved. It's not, however, all smooth sailing. Many novels founder and never set sail upon the high seas. While it's never possible to guarantee a successful story play novel there are things that you can do that will maximize your novel's chances of success. This article will, hopefully, supply you with some advice and guidelines so that when you decide to take the step of creating a new novel here at Pan Historia it will have every chance of success.

Preparation First do your research. You have an idea, either original, historical, or based on fan generated role play (like Star Wars). Have a good look around the other novels. Peek in the different genres. See if there is a similar idea already on the site. If there is and the novel is failing or just quietly ticking along you might want to consider jumping in and story playing in that one instead of creating a whole new one. If there is a very popular novel on that theme then maybe you don't want to create something that will compete.

Second is to give your novel idea body. Nebulous rambling novel ideas often fail because there is too much room and too little guidance. People get lost and never feel comfortable jumping in. Newbies never get comfortable enough to find their feet. Small tight novel ideas are too rigid. People don't have room for their own creativity. Examples of rambling novels are historical stories set in a huge time period with a plan to move the novel from one century to the next. It seems there is a plot to follow but the scope is too large and people are supposed to die over the course of the novel and others wait before they can even start posting. You want all your members to be able to interact together and be able to be flexible about the events they narrate. Pick a year during an exciting era and start there. Don't be in the court of the king of the era unless you are prepared to let loose a little from the moorings of recorded history or the era itself has little firm facts. If you want to write about Queen Victoria (where there is tons of facts) then perhaps set the tale amongst the servants of her household. They can show her life through their eyes and yet have plenty of room to make up their own lives and loves. Deciding you want to play Queen Victoria and record her life might be a bit dull after a while. You might find yourself just rewriting the historical record. It always seems fun to play a famous person but unless you are prepared to break loose from history you limit yourself. If you are writing about the court of a Pharaoh there is very little recorded fact and you need only be guided by the historical flavor of the period.

The third thing is to find out if there is interest in your novel idea. Talk to your friends. Post at the Pan Historia Junction to see if others would like to story play in such novel. You will need at least one other person willing to be a board member with you. Check out the guidelines for creating a novel application and what is required. Even though you need only two board members for your application the more board members you have the better for everyone. Running a successful novel takes some commitment and story play is a leisure activity for the most part, so people may have limited time to commit. Be prepared for people to come and go and not always do what they say on time. Real life usually has priority. Obviously you want to choose board members who appear reliable and excited about the idea. Don't persuade a friend against their will - they'll only flag in enthusiasm sooner than later.

Tips to a Successful Start
By Wyatt Earp

You've had your novel application accepted and now you have the boards and dust jacket. Set up those boards first, before getting into the story play. Be sure give plenty of guidance to your new members on your dust jacket. Give the tone and feeling you want for the novel to have right away. People like guidance as long as it's not too rigid. Tone is set by the language you choose to use and the images you choose. Boards should have clear topic titles and descriptions. There should be places to socialize, for the novel to be administrated, for research and story discussion, and for the novel posts themselves. Novels at Pan Historia are given three bulletin boards. The novel boards are for the actual story play and fiction posts. The story boards are often used for research and social clubs and the planning boards (which are only readable by members of the novel and site admin) can be used for plot discussion and administration; anything you would rather was just available to your members. Make sure you put up topics where your new members feel they can ask questions and get help. Welcome new members and see that they know who you are as a board member. Once your administrative and social topics are up, it's a good idea for the board members to plow right in with some novel postings.

Maintaining your Book
By Wyatt Earp

Set the story. Give a beginning that others can follow. Don't be discouraged if the board members are the only ones posting initially on the novel boards. People are a little nervous at first. Members are thin on the ground. Keep posting. Tend to your novel a bit every day. That way people will grow more comfortable. New members will be attracted by what they read. Time will yield more members if you have a fun plot and lively postings. People will begin to find writing partners.

Foster an atmosphere of creativity. Don't just dismiss ideas presented on the boards because they don't fit with your initial vision. For a novel to become successful and grow it must be an organic entity with input from all its writers. Stifle their creativity and they will leave to find more fertile fields. If the novel takes off at a gallop then slows down, don't despair - it's natural. There was an initial burst of enthusiasm and now people are settling in. Don't stop tending your novel like a garden. Keep up posting yourself. For your novel to stay alive it must be seen on the daily index regularly. A good idea is to think of a new twist in the storyline. Post to the boards announcing something fun is happening, or leave your members messages inviting them to get involved. Try to think of plots that everyone can partake in. Not every storyline should need to involve all characters in a given novel but togetherness will create a stronger novel, one that will stand the test of time.

In a Internet community people come and go. It's a fact of life. Sometimes people will be very active for a while and then their life will change and they'll not sign on anymore. This might leave dangling plot lines. Be prepared to move on or around such obstacles. It's natural to give people a bit of time to return, but let everyone in your novel know that if people disappear for long periods of time the story can't stop and wait for them. Be sure to use story play courtesy when moving around a suddenly still character. Don't kill them off without their author's permission. Just work your way around them (and then if they return, say after an illness or sudden business trip they can get back into the story). Fast forward a little in time or find another character to write with. It might mean changing some details of the plot. Be prepared to be flexible.

By Wyatt Earp

Disputes will arise. That's human nature. Breath. Maintain an even keel and even when you know you're right, keep calm and consider your member's words. Watch how you respond in posts. Reread what you write before hitting the post button. Try and read it as if you were someone else. How does it sound? Maybe you are being inflammatory, albeit unintentionally? You might just feel passionately but in posting there are no facial expressions and hand gestures to clue in your audience as to your tone. When you read a post or message from a member that is heated, just remember how frustrating it is to communicate without the benefit of facial expressions. Try and put yourself in their place. Ask yourself if maybe they have a point. If you can keep your head then most arguments can be resolved. If necessary request that a site agent help you mediate a problem. Don't let a problem fester or get out of hand until everyone is screaming on the boards and feelings are hurt all around.

What Makes an Effective Board Member?
By Lillie Langtry

Clear vision

A board member needs a clear vision of what you're trying to accomplish and a "game plan" for making it happen.

Good communication skills

Members need to understand the "game plan" for achieving that vision, and how they can contribute to the novel or reference book. This can be accomplished through two-way communication between the board members and their membership. Members often become personally invested in the success of the novel when their contributions and ideas are acknowledged.


While a board member may not be expert in all things, he or she demonstrates a working knowledge over crucial skills and is willing or eager to share knowledge with others. Choosing other board members who have skill in areas you are weak in is a good idea, and splitting duties eases stress and allows all members to enjoy themselves.


A novel or reference book may not always happen as fast, or in the manner a board member wants. Through tenacity and patience, he or she can keep members active and attract new members.

Problem Solving

There will be an occasional "rough sea" as your novel or reference book evolves, and a good board member should be able to navigate their membership through these through fair decisions, being frank and respecting the diverse group of people who have joined together to make the novel or reference book a success.


Board members must be flexible in their thought processes for they will be asked to consider new ideas that might enhance the novel or reference book.

Other traits of effective board members

include (but are not limited to): Sense of humor, supportive, good organization skills, active, but most of all - ENTHUSIASM! If you are enjoying what you are doing, it shines through in your work. Remember to Enjoy it!

Advertise Your Novel
by Swanlara Ramesses

After first opening a new novel or reference book, you are most certainly going to want to convince people to come and take part in the book. One of the first places to advertise would be the Pan Historia Junction. Many of you would have already advertised at the Junction before your book was created to see if there was an interest for the Creation of the book. At the Junction's Want Ads, you can take out classified ads for roles that are available in your novel, as well as advertise for your Reference Book. Keeping people up to date with happenings at your novel though the News Section at the Guild, or by taking out an advertisement for the Pan Historian is another way to get great access to the many people of Pan Historia.

Banners are also another way of advertisement. Members can display member banners at their homes, that link to your book, and people looking around at homes often go and check out the books the person belongs to as well. Subscriber banners are offered to subscribed members of Pan Historia as well, and the banner can advertise a novel or Reference book. Another opportunity for banners if the Banner Exchange program, which is located off the Guild in Community.

Advertisement, speaking to people on the IM panel, is a great way to ensure not only a great start to your Book, but as well as maintain the life of your Book. Posting regularity will keep your book on the Daily index, thus drawing more people. By utilizing advertising, your Book will continue to grow.

In Conclusion
by Wyatt Earp

As you can see creating and maintaining a successful story play novel is no little thing! You will find, however, with a little effort and some good writers by your side that the experience is very rewarding in many ways. You will make friends, learn new skills, and have fun using your own creativity with others to create original stories.

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