Tools of the Trade

How to find fic's with a special theme

If you are familiar with one of my two favourite fan fiction archives “The Athenaeum” you might have noticed that this site present you with a search facility. If you choose to do an advanced search, you’ll be treated to a number of possible searches, one of these is the possibility to search by “teasers”.

Should you search teasers for a word ex. "basketball" this is the list of fic’s that you will be presented with.

At the "Royal Academy of Bards" you can find a Google search facility that support a broad text search for any word you choose.

I hope this will help you get your hands on the sort of fic’s that you enjoy the most.

How to find what has been lost

I’ll let you in on how to find what has been lost on the web. It’s really quite simple all you have to do is get hold of the URL (address) of the web-page that you wish to access in an earlier version than the one presently available or perhaps no longer available. Once you have the URL, you go to the homepage of “The Internet Archive” also called “The Wayback Machine” and type or paste in the URL.

The Wayback Machine will present you with a list of all the available archived versions of the site that matches the URL that you have typed. Select any of the dates available and you will be taken back to the archived version of the site. If you are real lucky you’ll even find that the links available on the archived site is still working ;-)

It’s really not as difficult as it might look when described in writing. Do try it out … perhaps you’ll find a long-lost (fan) fiction that you love. Ok - I know it doesn’t work every time, as not every site on the web has been archived, but I’ve found quite a few well-loved – and lost - stories this way.

If you want to know a bit about The Wayback Machine" look up this wiki.

How to make an eBooks in a format of your choice

I’m not a computer geek, but I have found something a little geekish that I like a lot; it’s a html merger from Iterati. This software can help you merge two or more html files into one. This is a great thing if you like to read online fiction while you are offline and if the stories you are interested in are not available for download.

In plain English what you can do is to save a story that are divided into two or more parts directly from you browser and merge the separate parts into one story (eBook) and it’s really simple. All you have to do is to drag the saved html files onto the screen of the "htmlmerger" and point to the destination where you want the merged file to be saved. If you use Calibre for Ebook management you can convert the merged file to a format that you can read on you eBook reader - see this previous review for information on Calibre.

The only thing that I found real geekish about the Iterati software was that I had to download yet another program - WinRAR - to be able to decompress the Iterati software after download, but it all went smoothly so I’ll live with geekish.

I have to disappoint the MAC-users though - Iterati's html-merger is not available for MAC, but you can find a OS X ready variant of Calibre.

How to identify a story by a few key points of the storyline

.... you do remember a few highlights from a storyline but you just can't locate the story among your bookmarked links or remember the title or the pen name of the author of the fic?

If you know the feeling and you are desperate enough to seek help ;-) you might register as a user at The Forum of The Athenaeum - this is a great place to ask fellow (fan)fiction readers for help to locate a story. If you look through the requests for help that has been posted at The Forum over time - you'll see that even just a few key points from a storyline will trick someone's mind to come up with a title, name of the writer and a link to the story you are looking for.

I wouldn't hesitate to ask the members of The Forum for help - they are real friendly bunch.

During 2012 the activities on The Athemaeum Forum has almost dwindled away, so at the moment I go to The Fan Fiction Lounge or the Yahoo group Fan Fiction Reviews when I need help

Where to find online stories ready for download

The largest archive of fic's available for download I've come by is The PDA Fiction site. The site is no longer updated with new fic's, but you'll find a ton of (fan) fic's from a number of writers available for download in a multiple of formats.

If you can't make use of the formats available at PDA Fiction you can get a free reader that support a multiple of format it's called Stanza, and it's available for both Mac / Windows-pc and iPhone/iPad (download here) or you can download Calibre - a free software that will let you organise your eBooks, read a multiple of formats and convert files to and from a multiple of formats.

The Athenaeum has started posting a number of the fic's archived at the site in eBook formats too,  so if you are lucky your favourite fic's is available for download. On the Authors Page at The Athemaeum site authors with stories posted in eBook formats are marked with a small square by their names. 

I've also found that offers some titles in an eBook format - The Rocketreader format - Auxip have left a link to a download of the RocketReader software, but I really can't recommend it - I never got used to the reader. Files in RocketReaderformat can be converted by way of Calibre.

The Royal Academy of Bards has also made a number of stories available in the RocketReader format, and has linked to the site where the reader can be downloaded.