Cascade Library: a Sentinel fan fiction archive
New Arrivals || Authors || Titles || Site Information

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Relating to: Site Difficulties || Archive || Fanfic || Submissions || New to Fandom

Site Difficulties

Question: CL announced a new story at a page outside CL, but when I click on the link to visit the site, the story isn't there.  What's up?

Answer #1: Perhaps the page maintainer sent the note prior to updating.  Give it a little time.

Answer #2: Your browser may be showing you old data rather than a current page.  Two solutions: (1) Empty your cache and reload the site. (works for the enitre site)  (2) Do a hard refresh on the page - this is shirt or control plus the F5 key. (works on a page by page basis)

Question: I tried to visit such-and-such a site (i.e., a page outside of CL); it's on geocities/tripod/etc. and it's giving me an "allocation data transfer" message saying that I can't access the page for an hour. Can you help?

Answer #1: Actually, no, we can't. Many free servers are instituting this new rule. A page can only be viewed so often in an hour before it will shut down. You have two options: wait or write the author (all authors have their emails listed on their CL author pages). Sorry, that's just the way it is now.

Answer #2: You might also check to see if the author has a mirror site. The links used on the newarrivals page are nearly always the main site URL. Mirror site URLs are listed on the author's CL page.


Question: I can't get into skeeter sometimes. Are you ever planning to have a mirror site again?

Answer: We have no plans to have a mirror site at this time. Daily updating just one site takes enough effort as it is. (Meaning the Librarians aren't doing much writing of their own anymore...) If you can't get into skeeter and are receiving an Error 404 code, it probably means the server is being updated. We have no control over that as we do not own the skeeter domain although CL is hosted on it. All we can say is to be patient.


Question: How can I join the listserv/mailing list/discussion list for the Library?

Answer: First, the Library doesn't have a mailing list. The email address is just a contact addy for the Librarians for (mostly) archiving-related emails. If you want to keep up to date on what's posted, you'll have to visit the newarrivals page. Secondly, to contact other fans, please join a mailing list. I don't forward general inquiries to mailing lists. Visit the links page for some lists.


Question: There are stories here that have bad charaterization and/or bad spelling. Don't you have standards? Why don't you insist on everything being beta-read? Or at least spell-checked? Or why don't you do that yourself?

Answer: To answer the last question first, the Library is simply an archive -- we don't spellcheck or beta-read fic. There is a page with a list of beta-readers available for authors to peruse and ask for assistance. And a small spelling page with common errors. As for the rest, although it is preferred that authors have their stories beta-read or at least spell-checked, this is not something that can be mandated, at least not by CL. This is an author's choice. If I archived only the stories I thought were correct according to my view of the, this would be a mightily small archive. ~grin~


Question: Do you archive stories on LiveJournal (LJ) and Dreamwidth (DW) pages?

Answer: Yes. See the LJ and DW note on the site-info page for specifics.


Question: What's with the notification of "LJ" or "DW" prior to some new stories?

Answer: LJ is short for LiveJournal and DW is short for Dreamwidth. I have received notes from readers that some people have difficulties with LJ and was requested to make this note prior to any LJ links so they know not to click on them. Writers will want to take this problem into consideration when writing and posting fic.


Question: You say you only archive "general" fanfic, but I see fanfic rated PG and R. What's up?

Answer: "General" refers to non-slash fic, not the rating of the fic. Please see defintions page for further information.


Question: Are you the Elves?

Answer: No. The Elves were the archivists at Guide Posts, the original TS gen archive. Not us. We're Librarians. Not Elves. We still get the occasional "old-timer" referring to us as "the Elves" no matter how clear we think we are about that. No, we're not them. And they (as I'm betting they would proclaim long and loud) ain't us. So just to be clear one last time, the answer is no.


Question: Guide Posts is gone! What happened to the stories listed there that aren't at the Library? Can you help me get them?

Answer: Yes, it's gone and with it any stories archived solely at GP. We don't have any of that fanfic stored anywhere. You have a few options. (1) Try asking around on various fanfic lists; some people download and keep fic on their computers and might be willing to share. (2) Try searching for "lost fic" (and possibly Guide Posts itself) using the Way Back Machine, an Internet Archive search engine. (old GP URL:


Question: How many stories do you have on the Library?

Answer: As of 6/13/04, the Library has listed approximately 5048 stories, 672 of which are hosted directly on-site.


Question: I have a fanfic challenge I want to give. Do you have a place to post those here at the Library?

Answer: No, we do not. There used to be a challenge page by Jen and Suzie, but that went down several years ago. The only other one we've found is Plot Bunny 101 which hasn't been updated in awhile. If someone else wants to start a challenge page, go write ahead!


Question: Occasionally I visit my favorite authors' websites and find new stories there, but they haven't been announced at the Library, although they fit the guidelines. Why is that?

Answer: We can only archive what gets sent to us. If we're not informed, then it doesn't get listed. The Librarians themselves have visited sites, found new fic and read it, but have never received a request for archiving. And without just ain't happening. Maybe you, as a reader, should remind them to let us know. :-)


Question: Sometimes there is a story listed at the Library and then all of a sudden, it's gone. What happened?

Answer #1: Usually that means that a story has slipped by and been archived and it shouldn't have been, perhaps because it goes against one of our policies. There are a great many stories and many times, the Librarians don't have a chance to read through them all before posting. It is assumed that most authors have read what we will and will not take. However, sometimes they either haven't or don't know. In which case, a story may be reviewed and possibly removed; the author will be notified of this decision. This does not mean that the story was not good or that other stories by them will not be accepted.

Answer #2: Another possibility is that the author has removed the story from the 'net for her own reasons or for publication in a fanzine.


Question: I went to a website to read a Library-archived story and discovered that the author has other non-archived stories which are inappropriate for the Library (slash, discipline, NC-17, graphic sex, etc.). Why don't you do something about it?

Answer: When a story is archived at the Library, this means we have determined that the story fits within CL's guidelines for story submission (appropriate for a gen audience). The Library makes no claims about the appropriateness (or not) of any *non-archived* stories an author may have at her/his website, nor do we have control over what an author places on her/his website. A number of authors who have gen stories archived at the Library also have slash or NC-17 stories at their websites. This does not exclude their gen stories from being archived at the Library.


Question: Do you store all archived stories at the Library?

Answer: No, we do not. We only actually *store* stories here for authors who have no site and their stories are not being stored on someone else's page. If you have a site for your fanfic, we will link to it. If you have your stories stored here, then create a webpage of your own with your fanfic on it, we will simply link to your page and remove the stories from being *stored* at our site, but they will still be listed.


Question: What types of stories do you archive? What types don't you?

Answer: This information is on the site info page. But briefly, we are a gen archive for The Sentinel. We don't archive slash, pre-slash, or adult ("adult" refers to stories that include explicit male/female sex or anything graphic enough to qualify as NC-17) fanfic; we also don't archive discipline stories. See our guidelines for specifics on the site info page.


Question: There aren't any new stories today. Where are they?

Answer #1: Archiving is done in the evening (pacific time). If there's nothing new, then we probably didn't receive anything to archive.

Answer #2: This could also mean that ftp is down. If it is, we can't update. Patience, patience.

Answer #3: Although this is very rarely the cause, there is only one Librarian now. So if real life takes over or if I'm on vacation, then archiving may be delayed.


Question: Are you associated with CT (aka the CascadeTimes mailing list)? If so, how?

Answer: Despite the similiarity in names, we are NOT listmoms on CT. Nor is CT any kind of "official list" for the Library. The Librarians are members of CT, nothing more. Any comments and/or concerns about CT should be directed to the listmoms.


Question: Why do some stories have summaries and others do not?

Answer: Because some authors do not bother to submit summaries. At one point, the Librarians were willing to go retrieve them, but we no longer have the time or desire to do so. What the authors send is what will get posted. The only things that will changed will be occasional misspellings, minor typos, and perhaps some punctuation. We are tired of having to go hunt down miscellaneous information (summaries, URL's, etc.) for those few lazy authors. (Many kudos and continual thanks to all the authors who send us all the information we need! It is highly appreciated!) If they can't be bothered, then neither can we. Harsh, yes; but after continual and constant reminding, this is what it comes down to. If you want to know what we want to see in every story submission (for linking purposes), please see the submission directions. Personally, I'm a great deal less likely to read a story without a summary attached to it.


Question: I'm looking for stories about Blair's dad or Jim's mom or stories about kids.

Answer: Check out the Categories Page for a list. Feel free to ask us about stories or give suggestions. Also, check out the TSstoryfinders list if you've been hunting for a particular fic.


Question: How do I write an author feedback for her/his fanfic?

Answer: All authors have their email listed on their author pages. For stories located off-site, most authors will include their email (again) on their own pages. Note: Using the "Email" link in the menu or at the bottom of any CL pages will only send email to us, not the author. :-)


Question: What ratings system do you use? This pertains to the MPAA's squabble over others using their system.

Answer: Currently we have not specified and leave that mostly up to the authors. If we get contacted, that will change. In the meantime, authors are welcome to use what is familiar or we have linked a internet-fandom-developed ratings system on the links page under references.


Question: I submitted a story archiving request (once, twice, etc.) but never saw it show up. What's going on?

Answer: Unless I responded to you with a reason, then either your email got lost or Yahoo ate it or it got filtered incorrectly. To help prevent the last problem, I have set up a filter for any emails with the words "new fic" in the subject line to be automatically put in my inbox. I'm hoping this will help and would like authors who directly submit (which most of you do) to take note of this. As an addendum for those who will ask (and someone always does), (a) this filter is not cap-sensitive, (b) it does not require the subject line be limited to just those words, and (c) authors are not required to use it for new fic to be archived.


Question: How do I submit a story?

Answer: Extensive submission directions are on the site info page. Please make sure you read all of it. Contact us for any clarifications. See also formatting reminders.


Question: What's a beta reader, why do I need one, and where do I get one?

Answer: A beta reader is someone who reads your story to look for any number of things, from spelling and grammar up to plot holes and continuity, all depending on what you're looking for and what kind of beta reader the person is. At the very least every story should at least be spell-checked and hopefully grammar-checked as well; that can be done pretty much on any word processing program these days. In addition, a beta reader is useful to bounce ideas of off and to see things a writer might miss after going through a story a bazillion times. :-) However, if you're shy, that's okay too. Many people are. As for where to get one, we have a list of volunteer beta readers on site. Check it out. A note of advice: Make sure what you want to be checked matches up with what the beta reader does; not everyone likes the same degree of beta-reading.


Question: Can I use special characters in my submissions? Can I use italics and bold?

Answer: Do NOT use special characters -- they don't always convert. As for italics and bold, preferably not, as the librarians copy *just* the text into the template file. If you want something to show up as special, use astericks or all caps. We don't have the time to go through and change the text to italics for you. (Again, see the submission directions on the site info page.)


Question: How do I spell...?

Answer: We've compiled a short TS Writer's Spelling Guide. For common words/grammar, try Chatty Catty's Writer's Resources.

New to Fandom

Question: I'm new to The Sentinel. Who are Jim and Blair and everybody?

Answer: Visit Nightowl's Sentinel Reference Page.


Question: I'm new to The Sentinel, and there's so much fanfic. Where do I start?

Answer: Visit the CL Recommendations page.


Question: I'm looking for a list to join.

Answer: See the links page for several (gen-oriented) lists.


Question: I'm looking for links...

Answer: Try Becky's Sentinel Links page -- it has links to fanfic, resource sites, actor sites, foreign language sites, artwork sites, just about everything.

Last updated 9/14/10 igr