It’s fair to say that fiction in EON has been in a strange kind of limbo for the last couple of years. It used to be the case that if they were good and loosely obeyed a few simple rules, stories from players stood a fairly decent change of becoming official canon. Of course they had to be original, previously unpublished and avoid focusing on prime fiction characters and capsuleers, but past that, if we liked the story we would forward it on to CCP for final approval. Three or six months later it might appear in print, alongside a piece of art (or three) created by CCP’s talented crayon department. It was all about good stories and evocative illustrations. Simple.
The process of accepting and approving player-written stories became a little more convoluted in 2008, for one very good reason: stories weren’t quite up to pace with the evolving background that was a prominent drive just prior to the Empyrean Age expansion. EVE was going to war, and it made sense at the time that EON should help flesh out some of the background material through the fiction we publish. Previously EON fictioneers were dissuaded from writing about prime fiction characters and events, but under the new plan, the barriers could come down a little, just so long as a close eye could be kept on the story being written so that it didn’t stray too far from a pre-approved synopsis, or blunder into a story arc that had yet to play itself out.
The problem was, being a quarterly magazine, and with the EVE scenery suddenly shifting very quickly, it became clear that just from a logistical perspective the plan was going to stumble. Either the story would be chronicling something only loosely related to the ongoing arcs, or the writer would have so little time to keep it current that quality might suffer. In either case the poor writer would either be frustrated at having to write a story “to spec”, rather than something that was their own inspiration, or would be become dismayed by unreasonable deadlines. Personally I don’t believe quality did suffer, but the process did annoy a couple of very talented authors, I’m sure.
The plan to pre-approve synopses was quietly dropped some time ago, pending the agreement of a new plan for accepting player-written chronicles into the official EVE body of work. In the meantime we’ve received and published a few stories that were sent in cold, although not as many as we used to in the early days, on account of there not really being an agreed way to take EON Chronicles forward.
It’s likely that the plan for EON chronicles will be no plan at all, which is pretty much how it was in the beginning and how it is today. Hindsight, being what it is, tells us that herding fiction writers was perhaps not a great idea, although the objective was a worthy one. Seeing that these days of course the Mercury and IC teams are more that capable of providing timely background articles to support events closer to the game, the more dispersed and independent writers of EON chronicles can go back to being inspired as much by their own characters and storylines as by EVE itself.
If anything changes I’ll let you know.
If you’ve written a story about EVE, one that you think is good enough for others to read about and that doesn’t centre on fruity goings-on between alliance leaders (or anything else contrived to be vain, vengeful or sensationalist), we’d like to read it. You never know, the story could end up in print.