Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Considering Black Library books, products and events.

Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Squiggle » Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:46 pm

I make no bones about putting this in the wrong forum...

However I would like as many people to read this as possible in order to get the best and more accurate response.

Some time ago, the Black Library used to host their own forum for fan-fiction and for discussion of their books and and the universes they are set in. For a number of reasons, they decided to stop hosting the forum - fortunately Sarah Cawkwell - Pyroriffic - stepped into the breach and created the Bolthole. This more of less continued in the same vein as the "official" forums did, without the Black Library folk having to worry about things such as being accused of stealing ideas from fan-fiction.

The forum used to be busier, particularly the areas dedicated to fan-fiction. And without blowing any particular trumpet, it acted as a catalyst for writers to get together and in a number of cases, go on to become published authors. Sarah Cawkwell is one example, and I can think of at least 3 or 4 others.

I have fond memories of that time - and of meeting up with fellow writers and Black Library fans at the Black Library Live events for chat, beer and laughs.

To my point, then.

What would you like to see in this forum. What would make you post more/visit more/post more fan-fiction?

The burden of control has been accepted by Xisor after sterling years of service by Pyroriffic and Narrativium before him. Running the forum has a small financial implication and so I am keen to see it flourish.

We have a blog, not updated since 2014. There is a facebook page which is somewhat unloved. We also have a twitter handle.

We are doing to need new blood to help rejuvenate and regenerate.

- Please send me your thoughts. If you would like to be more involved in making this forum an excellent and vibrant place to visit please volunteer.
- I am intending to run some short fiction competitions and try and encourage more writing activity. But that is hopefully just the start. I'd expect some Black Library activity to support the new 40k release - and that may mean they look once again for submissions from unpublished authors. In the past we have supported one another in these endeavours and I'd like to see this occur once more.

So yeah, thoughts. My ears are open.
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby MalkyDel » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:32 pm

I'm looking to get back into the community and so would be happy to try and converse and discuss more. I'd also be interested in sharing more fanfic and taking part in more contests
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Squiggle » Sun Jun 18, 2017 4:09 pm

Thanks Malky.

Comps like Read in a Rush? Something new?
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Rob P » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:20 pm

I'd like to see the forum get it's spark back.

I feel a few things in the last few years contributed to its decline.

In terms of general BL discussion, the decision of Black Library to alter book format and release schedule has disrupted everyone getting their books at the same time. This has meant that it has been really difficult to have a decent discussion on the new releases.

Second, The Bolthole is a niche within a niche, and even the bigger forums have started to suffer a decline over the last few years (tga.community and Bolter and Chainsword are the only other two I visit semi-regularly now).

Thirdly, the competitions here dried up when (1) the veteran fanfic writers found that they were getting good enough to get published (which is cool), but there wasn't really many coming through to replace them, and (2) GW went through that patch of open submissions which effectively made posting here pointless.

I would definitely like to see the blog carry on and for the comps to come back. I also like to see more people coming here to chat and what not. Not sure how to encourage any of that though
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Obscura Boy » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:40 pm

I'd also love to see RIAR (or something similar) make a come-back - it produced some fantastic stories and fostered a nice, supportive community. Plus from a personal standpoint it'd be great to have a reason to get something written every once in a while.
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby MalkyDel » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:30 pm

Squiggle wrote:Thanks Malky.

Comps like Read in a Rush? Something new?


Maybe a bit of old and a bit of new. The new edition could create a lot of opportunities for looking forward and experimenting a bit.
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Then one day at Istvaan III,
Horus came to say.
"Fulgrim with your clothes so bright,
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Then all the rebels loved him
And they shouted out with glee.
"Fulgrim the Traitor Primarch,
you'll go down in history!"
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Squiggle » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:50 pm

Obscura Boy wrote:I'd also love to see RIAR (or something similar) make a come-back - it produced some fantastic stories and fostered a nice, supportive community. Plus from a personal standpoint it'd be great to have a reason to get something written every once in a while.


hey dude. long time. hope you are well.
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Squiggle » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:52 pm

Rob P wrote:I'd like to see the forum get it's spark back.

I feel a few things in the last few years contributed to its decline.

In terms of general BL discussion, the decision of Black Library to alter book format and release schedule has disrupted everyone getting their books at the same time. This has meant that it has been really difficult to have a decent discussion on the new releases.

Second, The Bolthole is a niche within a niche, and even the bigger forums have started to suffer a decline over the last few years (tga.community and Bolter and Chainsword are the only other two I visit semi-regularly now).

Thirdly, the competitions here dried up when (1) the veteran fanfic writers found that they were getting good enough to get published (which is cool), but there wasn't really many coming through to replace them, and (2) GW went through that patch of open submissions which effectively made posting here pointless.

I would definitely like to see the blog carry on and for the comps to come back. I also like to see more people coming here to chat and what not. Not sure how to encourage any of that though


Valid points Rob. I can hardly pass judgement. I didnt get good enough to get published, but the last 4 years (since I last went to BL Live! with the Bolthole posse) have been a complete rollercoaster for me and writing just hasnt featured. However I can certainly address some of those points.

What we also need to do is to restore the relationship we used to have with some of the Black Library writers, through interviews and the Ask the Author pages, which I think made this place have something of its own value to the members.
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Athelassan » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:33 pm

I think Rob is right that the staggered releases have really put the boot into forum discussion of novels. Unfortunately there's not much we can do about that. But trying to get some authors back over here (especially new ones; I know Gav for instance still posts occasionally) would be great; that would at least give us something akin to a USP.

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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Xisor » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:43 pm

One thing I'm curious about off of other sites, but haven't tried to investigate, is the code needed to have Spoiler tags become collapsible, rather than obsidian monoliths.

I think that sheer scale of certain things males people divide strongly over whether to use them at all. My only tyrannies will be against people spoiling things through thorough inconsideration, and loud eaters. But loud eaters shouldn't be a problem hereabouts.

Though it does conjur the idea: a podcast...
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby MalkyDel » Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:38 pm

Podcast could be fun. Me and the Heroes and Heretics boys had discussed that at one time or another.
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Then one day at Istvaan III,
Horus came to say.
"Fulgrim with your clothes so bright,
won't you help me slay tonight?"
Then all the rebels loved him
And they shouted out with glee.
"Fulgrim the Traitor Primarch,
you'll go down in history!"
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Chun the Unavoidable » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:03 pm

Like everybody else, I'd love to see the slow decline of this forum reversed. I only ever regularly contribute to the 'What Are You..' threads these days. I haven't read or writ any 40k -FanFic or official- in years. To be honest, I've never been an avid reader of BL products, so I've never really felt qualified to add to discussions in that field (though I do feel a reread of Space Marine and the Inquisitor War omnibus coming on ;) ). However, in the past I mainly hung around the Warhammer 40k fan fiction section, contributing and critiquing in off-kilter and often off- (if not anti-) canon fashion, and am quite willing to venture back in again if there's hope of activity there.

It seems we've got the egg, let's get stoke up the ashes and see if there's life in it.
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Midgard » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:29 pm

Honestly, I visit the forum perhaps once or twice a month to catch up with the stories I follow... and not much else. To me, the attraction of this forum is due to several well written, inventive fan-fics, but originally there was more discussion of new BL fiction and universe, which drew me in to begin with. And then, as an author, I will admit that I like interactivity, lively discussion, continued feedback and back-and-forth with other fellow authors and readers. I suspect that if the volume of discussion on works posted here returns, more authors will be inclined to post their works here, which should have the effect of driving the discussion further up, and invigorating the forum.
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Lord of the Night » Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:41 pm

I come here to see what everybody is reading but admittedly the discussions have dropped to nothing at the moment. Granted that is because some members like Bane of Kings, Shadowhawk and Lilidhe have moved on, but also because of the release schedule for BL books changing a great deal.


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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Squiggle » Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:46 pm

Podcast is a good idea.

Thanks for the comments so far. I am happy to kick the embers and see what happens.

Keep ideas coming.

Fan fiction forum has been rejigged and I will be launching a competition shortly.
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Rob P » Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:22 pm

Podcast sounds fun, but it's a lot of hardwork. Would it just focus on black library fiction? What's the vision?
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Xisor » Wed Jun 21, 2017 11:37 pm

Many podcasts are 'classically' two folk talking (I cite Cortex, Hello Internet, S'Laughter, Kermode's film review, Film Fandango, NDT's Star Talk, Guilty Feminist, etc), so aiming for something as fundamentally simple as an audio version of "What are you reading" might be the core of it - where we know it's commonly (but not necessarily exclusively) BL stuff, but discussion of fanfic, amateur-to-professional writing and so forth can come into it.

Well, that's the notion that cropped up on suggesting it. I'm not too beholden to it (but I'm quite fond of it, as I personally find the interesting podcasts I listen to don't take tangents quite enough, for my tastes - I like off-piste ideas discussions, I'd like to listen to/have more....), of course, but it seems like the easiest way to provide a focus yet allow flexibility *and* to drift/change with audience, or let it find its own voice.

But hard work is the core of it. Also reliable technology to get a good setup that actually records okay.

----

As for forum reorganisation, I'd be keen to float an idea (that's mainly just what Squiggle's already done, but pilfered and more reckless) -

Renaming & Re-ordering

The forums might as well now go as follows, no? (^-- indicates a subforum)

The Discussion Lounge
- "Pyroriffic's Fireplace" (formerly Insanely Off Topic) - for warm & pleasant discussion.
^-- BL Products and Announcements (WAYR moved to the above)
^-- Debater's Lounge
- About the Bolthole
^-- Member's Only

Halls of Fiction
- Fan Fiction
- Competitions
- Ask the Authors
- General Fiction
^-- Spoiler Zone (might as well merge both)
- Worlds and Worldbuilding (formerly Worlds of Warhammer, accommodating ground-up 'fanfiction' world building, as well as discussions of existing stuff)
- Archives
^-- Read in a Rush
^-- Planning and Discussion

Any appetite for that? Emphasis being on discussion of 'items of interest' in fiction, fan-fiction, writing, reading, and Other.
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Duke_Leto » Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:19 am

First of all I want to say a massive thanks to all you guys hat have both set up and maintained thebolthole. On top of day jobs it must really be a labour of love and it is massively appreciated!

Like others I miss the golden era when thebolthole was buzzing (in the immediate aftermath of BL closing their forums) and as such found myself migrating and entering into more discussions on Bolter and Chainsword. For a while I also posted a fair amount on Warseer and Heresy Online but with these last two I have also pretty much stopped (visiting or posting).

I think the reason is much the same as said above, the change in the BL release patterns and formats meant that people couldn't all discuss a book at the same time and that kind of killed things...or meant only those prepared to fork out for shiny hardbacks or LEs could discuss.

I think the other reason is the changes we now know about at GW/BL that made some authors either back away for a bit or just not know what they could and could not say to the fan community. However, it is clear there has been a big reversal at GW/BL who are trying hard to re-engage the fans and also treat authors (or at least the authoring process) better (and so we see the return of Dan Abnett).

Been thinking about why I continue to post on B&C and realise it is one major factor... Some of the authors post there and enter discussions, primarily ADB, Laurie Goulding and Robbie MacNiven. That is the draw. To hear and debate things with those in the know.

I know Gav Thorpe still posts here sometimes but the others seem to have gone.

If we could find a way to get the authors to re-engage and then cross promote we could get more traffic and rebuild the community.

Interviews with authors would be a clear tactic for this. Competitions might also drive traffic (could we pursuade an author to be the judge?). By rebuilding relationships with the authors you could get them to promote interviews with thebolthole through their Twitter accounts and blogs (which all have fair numbers of followers).

I think fan fic and writing practice is a good idea. I have never submitted to fan fic because I don't think I am that good TBH. But a personal commitment to thebolthole is that if you run a competition I will have a go!

The other reason I visit B&C is people on there seem pretty quick to get the inside scoop or find news of new releases or future releases. I am always keen to know what is coming (and really happy BL finally returned to a coming soon section).

Oh one technical thing... I use an iPad to look at thebolthole. Since moving to iPad I haven't figured out how to look at the spoilers on here? Collapsible spoilers would be great!
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Rob P » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:01 pm

@Xisor - That sounds decent enough (both thoughts on podcast and forum structure).

It gets a bit boring but my first thought with a podcast is 'gah' that a lot of work with planning, production, scheduling and all the online uploading stuff.

After that it's whether it has an aim or whether it free flowing.

I listen to a lot of podcasts (and I mean a lot!). I listen to a fair few GW related podcasts too and there are generally two broad categories. The first are the set time postcasts that are regular and well planned such as Hard 6, Bad Dice Daily and Heelenhammer. Then you get the more sporadic ones like The Age of Darkness podcast which have structure but are not released with a precise schedule and which go on for hours.

There are audiences for both types (and I know most don't conform smoothly into one of the other), but they tend to attract different audiences.

A BL book of the month review/discussion could be good (not necessarily a new release).

I also like the writing workshop idea.
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Re: Front and Centre - a forum regeneration

Postby Midgard » Thu Jun 22, 2017 2:07 pm

Writing workshops/competitions can be a good idea to reinvigorate the forums, and to drive up participation.
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