How to post a highly-formatted fic on dreamwidth, AO3, and livejournal?
July 15, 2017 9:16 AM   Subscribe

I am writing a fanfic that's a performance review for a fictional character. Since it's supposed to be an official document, I want it to look something like the sample documents here, with boxes and bolded text and centered text and the like. I would like to be able to post it on multiple sites (dreamwidth, Archive of Our Own, and livejournal, with a minimum of futzing around with formatting.

(Unfortunately, I have always had to futz around with formatting text for fanfics that I've posted, because each site has slightly different formatting standards). Is this possible? I was thinking of writing it in pdf form, and then posting it as an image file, but I'm not sure if that will work at all, or on any of the three platforms. Any other suggestions are welcome.
posted by SockISalmon to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I know Archive Of Our Own allows image uploads.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:25 AM on July 15, 2017

HTML can handle all of this just fine. For the boxes, you can use a table. Centering, fonts, coloured cell borders, coloured cell backgrounds: all of that should work.
If you don't have a HMTL editor, there are plenty that you can use online, even WYSIWYG; I've never tried one but here is one as an example.

But your idea of making it into an image and then embedding it in your posting should work fine, too. And Dreamwidth has image hosting now! \o/
posted by Too-Ticky at 10:27 AM on July 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you post it as an image it will be inaccessible to anyone who uses a screen reader. Consider whether the gimmick of the presentation is important enough to you that you're willing to deliberately block some people from being able to read it.
posted by Lexica at 10:37 AM on July 15, 2017 [5 favorites]

AO3 doesn't have image hosting, FYI; you can link to externally-hosted images but they don't have space themselves. (Both LJ and DW do have their own image hosting; DW's only lets you link to images from DW, as far as I am aware. When I need images for a story, I typically use LJ's image hosting and link the images from DW (which crossposts to LJ) and AO3.

On AO3 I have seen people post image-heavy fic with a second chapter consisting of a plain-text transcription of the image; I've also seen people use custom work skins to have finer control over the CSS than AO3 typically allows you. (Here is a guide to work skins.)

It won't help with your more complex HTML needs, but Astolat's OpenOffice fanfic conversion macros will handle putting the basic bold/italics into HTML suitable for LJ/DW/AO3 with a minimum of fuss. Other people have similar workflows for Google Docs to AO3 but I cannot personally vouch for those.
posted by sineala at 1:23 PM on July 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

You could post a PDF that's readable for everyone.

For those of us who can't read typical-size print, we'd have to scroll horizontally and vertically to read the filled-in form. While a pure image (TIFF, GIF, PNG) is inaccessible, a well-designed PDF is readable. The key issue is that the flow of text in the PDF matches the natural reading order. Depending on how you create the PDF, you could make big boxes on the bottom and then a tower of smaller boxes on the left and fill-in boxes on the right. A screenreader reads in that order, making nonsense of the narrative.

Some authors who want very strict control of their formats post text-only versions on AO3 then host tuned epub/pdf/azw files on Google Drive or Dropbox. This is the approach AJHall takes for her Queen of Gondal series
posted by Jesse the K at 4:32 PM on July 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

Thanks, all. I'm not sure which method I'm going to use (except not an image file--hadn't thought about screenreaders), but you've given me a lot of things to think about. Off to write the darn thing and then figure out which method of presenting it will work best for me.
posted by SockISalmon at 6:15 PM on July 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Update just in case anyone else is going to try this in the future: I finished the story and attempted to use an html editor, and found that each of the sites handles the same html about tables differently, and I would have to manually adjust the html for each site.

I ran out of time to manually adjust everything, or to try the other options (story is due to be posted on DW tomorrow), so I made a readable pdf, dropped it in dropbox, and will be posting a link to the pdf in LJ and DW. I'll try to figure out what to do on AO3 sometime later when I'm not aggravated with LJ/DW/AO3 for making formatting so annoying to deal with.
posted by SockISalmon at 8:31 PM on July 30, 2017

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