OutsideTheLines FanFiction Mailing List

Welcome Letter
What's New This Month

OutsideTheLines FAQ
Feature of the Month
OTL Guidelines
Fan Fiction Writers' Resources
The Yellow Ribbon Campain
"In My Humble Opinion"
The Outsider Survey
Website Register
Webring Membership
Technical Support Centre

OutsideTheLines Staff

OutsideTheLines Home Page Awards

Powered by Topica
Free Mailing List Systems

   CFAN - The Comic FanFiction Authors' Network!

OutsideTheLines Facts and Questions
  Secret of Young Justice Impulse from Young Justice

Version 4, January, 2000

Compiled by Indigo
and the
OutsideTheLines Site Staff

  Changes since last update;

  OutsideTheLines has changed list servers, and thus subscription information and list commands have changed.

  Adding multiple or secondary addresses to your OTL account is easy with our new server.

  Now OutsideTheLines is proud to offer web-based reading and posting to the list!

Back to Top

  What is OTL?
Why is it called OutsideTheLines?
Who Staffs/Runs this List?
How do I join the OutsideTheLines Mailing List/FarBeyondOTL?
How do I unsubscribe from the list?
I'm going on vacation for a few weeks, how can I stop receiving posts without unsubscribing, and is there any other way to read OTL without going to my mailreader?
Can I use a different e-mail address to send OTL posts to, and/or can I subscribe to more than one e-mail account?
Are any kind of comics fanfiction okay for this list?
Is this list just for X-Men fans, or can anybody participate?
How do I post, and is there any rules I should follow?
Can I post to the list even if I haven't joined, or submit fanfiction via a friend?
Is there legal stuff I should know about?
Where do I go to get my fanfiction archived somewhere on the web?
Is there anything I shouldn't do on the list?

What is OTL?

OTL is short for OutsideTheLines, the name of the mailing list. Members of the list are affectionately known as "Outsiders."

Back to Top

Why is this mailing list called OutsideTheLines?

Susan Crites, the owner of the list, explains it best in the OutsideTheLines Charter:

What's behind the name, you ask?

Well, it's because comics depend on lines to tell their stories--the lines that draw the characters and settings, and the lines of the dialog balloons.

We fan fic writers are stepping over and outside those established lines when we create tales that will never appear between those glossy covers.

We read between the lines of established canon to get our private inspiration.

Plus, we're all rebels who insist on the right to color where we WANT to color!

(In other words, the list is for anyone who enjoys writing or reading, and/or discussing fan-fiction based on comic books.)

Back to Top

Who Staffs/Runs this List?

There are a couple of folks you can contact for help with regard to the OutsideTheLines Mailing List. In order, they are:

  • Susan Crites, Owner of the OutsideTheLines Comic Fan Fiction Mailing list, affectionately known as the OTL ListMom.
  • David D. Amaya, The OTL Site Administrator - he keeps the awards and OTL Features of the Month all nice and tidy and, helps answer questions and forward stories to and from the list.
  • Thistle, Assistant Web Page Administrator and Designer - she makes sure the site looks spic 'n span and deals with any formatting errors. Also helps with the Feature of the Month, What's New This Month, and the Site Awards.

Back to Top

How do I join the OutsideTheLines Mailing List/FarBeyondOTL?

There are now three ways to subscribe to OutsideThelines, The first, and recommended, way is by e-mail.

Send a piece of email to OutsideTheLines-subscribe@Topica.com and leave the subject line blank. In the body of the email, type subscribe outsidethelines or subscribe farbeyondotl

You will receive an automated message asking you to confirm your subscription request.

Secondly, you may enter your E-mail address in our new auto-subscriber located on our main page, or click on our link to send an e-mail subscription request following the steps above.

The third way is via our list's home on the net, Topica.com .

Log on as a new Topica member, then just add OutsideTheLines.

NOTE: You must verify your listed E-mail address by replying to the automated message sent by Topica, asking to confirm that the e-mail address you entered is valid.

If you have any trouble please consult Topica's help file, or feel free to ask Susan or David to help you out.

How do I unsubscribe from the list?

Send a piece of email to OutsideTheLines--unsubscribe@Topica.com and leave the subject line blank. In the body of the email, type unsubscribe outsidethelines or unsubscribe farbeyondotl

You will receive an automated message asking you to confirm your request to unsubscribe from the list.

If you have any trouble please consult Topica's help file, or feel free to ask Susan or David to help you out.

Back to Top

I'm going on vacation for a few weeks, how can I temporarily stop receiving posts without unsubscribing, and is there any other way to read OTL without going to my mailreader?

Topica does not have any majordomo commands like OTL used in the past, but if you wish to edit the dilevery system on Toipca, you must go to your Topica account at Topica.com, click on "Lists" and each list you are subscribed to are listed, and its dilevery method, You now have FIVE choices in which to recieve OTL;

Messages- are the default way OTL sends posts, as a standard e-mail.

Digest- form sends a full days worth of posts in one e-mail, the drawback of this is that the files can be large, so far it can avarage about 200K in file size.

Web Only- Toipca offers a new way to view OTL, especialt helpfull of you are away from your usual computer and do not have access to your regular E-mail account, regestered members can view their lists on Topica's web site, you can also post, and reply to messages, just the same way you would at your e-mail reader!!

On Hold- If you are going on vaction, or if you wish to stop reading OTL for a while WITHOUT unscribing, you may place a hold on your e-mail posts from OTL, that way you do not have to sift through all unread OTL posts when you get back on-line. All you have to do change back to your regular dilevery system.

And last but not least;

Unsubscribe- If for some reason you must must say goodby to your fellow Outsiders. We will miss you a lot and think of you often, though ;) NOTE: If you want to get off forever, then please use the unsubscribe command.

Back to Top

Can I use a different e-mail address to send OTL posts to, and/or can I subscribe to more than one e-mail account?

Many of our members have told us that they prefer to use a secondary address, or that they subscribe to mutable e-mail addresses, (one at work, one at school, one at home, ect..) Topica makes this easy to manage more than one e-mail, and it helps to keep all those posts straight.

Go to your Topica account and click on the "email addresses" link. Shown in the window are the e-mail addresses you have subscribed to Toipca's system (including OTL, FBOTL, and more) and which lists are subscribed to each address. Add a new address by clicking "New Address." Delete any address by selecting it and then clicking "Delete Address."

NOTE: You must verify your listed E-mail address by replying to the automated message sent by Topica, asking to confirm that each e-mail address you entered is valid.

Back to Top

Are Any Kind of Comic Book Fanfiction Allowed? (Manga? Non-US? Non-Marvel/X-men? Comics based on TV or the movies?)

Very nearly any kind of comic book fanfiction is welcome on the list, yes. If it is an established comic book, no matter what company puts it out, or what country it's from, then it's on-topic to post to OutsideTheLines.

The exceptions to this is manga (because it already has a huge, separate following of its own), and comic-come-lately titles, such as comic books that have sprung up lately to ride on the coat tails of a TV show or movie. Such things include:

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • The X-Files
  • Cartoon Network Comics

However, if you want to do a crossover, then you are welcome to use those types of comics. Such cases might include:
  • The Atom in Dexter's Laboratory
  • Vampirella meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • WildCATS meet SWATKats

Back to Top

Is this list just for X-Men Fans or can anybody participate?

YES! YES! YES! Anybody can participate! While we do have a sizeable amount of X-Men fans who write X-Men fanfiction, we welcome and encourage comic fanfiction writers who venture into other comics titles/genres. We've seen DC/Vertigo, Image, and foreign comics all hit the list and we welcome more!!

Back to Top

How do I post, and are there any rules I should follow?

OTL now offers two ways to post to our lists:

You may, of course, post to the list by sending an email to outsidethelines@Topica.com.

You may also send posts via Topica.com, from your Topica membership page.

If you are a subscribed member of the mailing list, your post will go directly to the mailing list. If you are not a subscribed member of the mailing list, the majordomo will forward it to the owner of the list -- and there may be some delay of your post going to the entire list.

If you have trouble posting your story, or it is received by Outsiders with bad spacing problems, please consult our OTL Crash (& Burn) Course In Story Formatting.

There are a couple of rules for writing the Subject heading, so list members can administrate the mail from the list themselves.

It may seem a bit complicated, but it's really easy once you get the hang of it. The Subject notations are for the convenience of our list members -- so they can ignore or delete any mail that doesn't suit their interest. All the examples below go in the subject line before the actual subject itself.

  • [META] or [OT]- this should go in front of anything like an off-topic announcement, such as "they've finally gone post-production with the Iron Man movie!" or "my web page is moving".

    Example: [META] My web page is moving!

  • [FEEDBACK] - this should go in front of anything that is a public response to a fanfic posted by someone else.

    Example: [FEEDBACK] Neon Hearts

  • [CHALLENGE] - this should go in front of any post to the list that challenges fanfic writers to try a certain type of fanfiction. Responses to the challenge should have the name of the person making the challenge in them.

    Example: [Alara's Challenge] With Friends Like This...

  • [INFOQUEST] - this should go in front of any post to the list requesting information about a character or comic fanfiction topic. Please note: all replies to infoquests should be via private email only.
  • [DISC] - this should go in front of anything that is discussion about fanfiction.

    PLEASE NOTE:The List administrator has made the decision that any and all discussions about Fan Fic be taken off OTL.

    Discussion threads have spiraled out of control on many occasions, therefore OTL has created a sister discussion list, FarBeyondOTL to handle decisions.

    You may begin a discussion post from OTL, but the ListMom and assistants reserve the right to declare a discussion closed, at which point replies should go to private email or get 'Pushed Beyond' and sent to FBOTL if the discussion is to be continued.

    Example: [DISC] Domino's Powers

Please Note: Only discussions on FarBeyond, Stories and related posts to OTL, please.

There are also two subject notations that come from the list staff:

  • [ADMIN] - this goes in front of messages from the list staff and range from important messages concerning the list, a forwarded story, or officially declaring a discussion topic closed.

  • [WEB PAGE NOTES] - From the staff of the OutsideTheLines Home Page, generally major updates about the OTL page.
PLEASE NOTE: Do not put [OTL] or [FBOTL] in the subject, as our list server adds it automatically to all posts to the list.

When posting fanfic itself to the list, use the same format used on the alt.comics.fan-fiction newsgroup. The name of the characters/team/company about which you are writing, the title of the story, and whether it's suitable for all readers.

We tend to stick to the American Motion Picture Association "movie rating" system, since many people, at least in the US, are familiar with that. It is, however, explained below, for the convenience of those who may be unfamiliar with it.


  • [WONDER WOMAN] Three Cheers for the Red, White & Blue [G]

    G rated means suitable for all audiences, from the littlest child to the oldest grandparent.

  • [Green Lantern] It's Not Easy Being Green [PG - language]

    PG rated means there are some things unsuitable for young children, discretion is suggested.

  • [Matt Wagner's IMAGE] Joe Phat's Lament [PG-13 - language/violence/adult themes]

    PG-13 rated indicates there are things unsuitable for children under the age of 13. Discretion is strongly suggested.

  • [X-MEN/Humor] You Did WHAT in a Cave?! [R - adult language/themes]

    R indicates the presence of strong language, violence, or other adult content unsuitable for anyone under the age of 17. Discretion is encouraged.

  • [HOTH/TCP] The Humanity...? [NC-17 graphic violence, adult language/situations]

    NC-17 indicates the presence of extreme graphic violence or other adult content and is unsuitable for anyone under the age of 18 -- and the warning here is most serious. If you are under the age 18 and/or reading material of this nature is unlawful in your area, you are highly encouraged NOT to read them.

For a quick run-down of our list guidelines, click here.

Back to Top

Can I post fanfiction to the list even if I'm not a member, or send it via a friend?

Sure! -- If for some reason you can't join the mailing list, but have a friend who is on the list -- you can send your fanfic in that way. Or send a note to OutsideTL@hotmail.com So David and his 'Staff' can send you their forwarding requirements, so your story is readable on all mail readers. When it is ready, send it to us and it will be redirected to the list.

We will even redirect feedback to authors!!

Back to Top

Is there Legal Stuff to be concerned about?

In the interest of giving credit where credit is due, since fanfiction necessarily works with characters the writers haven't created, a DISCLAIMER is necessary, stating who truly owns the characters in your story. If another fanfiction writer's characters appear in your story, make sure you have that writer's permission as well.

There is an example below of a really formal one, but you don't have to be that formal if you don't want to.

DISCLAIMER: [Characters] are owned by [Company]. They are used here without permission, and for entertainment purposes only. No profit can be made from this story without the express permission of [Company] and [fanfic writer]. No challenge or infringement upon the copyright is intended, nor should any be inferred.

Back to Top

How do I go about getting my fanfiction archived somewhere on the web?

CFAN: The Comic Fan-Fiction Authors' Network is the best place to go to find a fanfic archive where you can have your work put up for all to read on the web. It lists archives all over the web that specialize in different kinds of comic book fanfiction, from DC to Marvel, Image and beyond.

CFAN also offers an array of services to help fanfic writers, including a Beta Readers Board, and the ACFF Style guide.

But if finding a warm, loving home for your work is a bit hard, we here at OTL recommend FanFiction.Net a totally automatic "self-service" archive, hosting Comic fan fic as well as some of the best fan fic from TV and movies like Star Trek, South Park, Stargate: SG-1, Star Wars and over 50 other Fan Fiction genres!

You can also access many sites belonging to members of OTL by accessing the Outsider's Web Site Regester.

Many fanfic archives are run by people doing it in their spare time as a labor of love. While many may take submissions, it is in their rights to say no, and it is in their rights to stop taking any submissions for the sake of their sanity.

Harassing or multiple e-mailing archivists asking repeatedly to get archived, is a major no- no. If an archivist puts a notice on his/her page to be patient and not email, please be so kind as to respect it.

Also -- if you want to improve your chances of getting archived, give some thought to learning HTML code, or get yourself an HTML editor program. If you can submit your fanfic to the author in preformatted HTML, that will help out the archivists a great deal.

Back to Top

Is there anything I should be careful not to do?

We have four rules that are pretty much hard-and-fast:

No One-Line Responses. This is basic netiquette. Please do not respond to anything on the list with anything along the lines of:
  • Me too!
  • Wow, that was great!
  • Can I archive this?

We understand occasional accidents happen and stuff goes to the list that was meant as a private response -- we will not be angry if that happens. So please do not send any "Opps! I'm Sorry!' posts to the list, we forgive you ;)

No Flaming. For the sake of peace on the list, Thumper's Law Applies: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." That means no abusive language, no taking shots at anyone. In short, think before you press SEND: 'would I feel the need to defend myself if someone said this to me?'

And if you still have to say whatever is on your mind -- please do so via private email rather than the list.

MST3K stories and Pop-Up Fics MUST have the permission of the Original Author.

What is a MSTie and a Pop-Up Fic??

A MST3K story gets its name and premise from the Comedy Central TV Show "Mystery Science Theater 3000," wherein a guy and his two robots make fun of really bad B movies, poking fun at writing, acting, direction, etc.

While some folks think it's funny to do this to a fic, a lot of us, (the OTL staff included,) believe that it can be taken as a cruel insult on a writer who isn't considered "very good" and may be so discouraged by the public ridicule s/he may not improve in their writing. Hence, MST3K's are considered flames. Although, some authors do and may appreciate a good natured "roasting" of their stories, so OTL requires that any such stories must have the original author's permission and MUST have their E-Mail address within the story.

A Pop-Up Fic gets its name and premise from the VH-1 show "Pop-Up Video," a music video show in which videos are accompanied during the flow of the videos by "popping" up interesting trivial tidbits about the video, (the people, cast & crew in the video, the location it's shot in, the lyrics, behind the scenes "dirt" or other semi-coincidental "info- bytes." Generally these are researched and are not insulting and are informative, (in its own way).

A Pop-Up Fic generally adds a touch of "silliness" to a story and isn't meant to be offensive. Nonetheless we require that Pop-Up's also have the original authors permission.

DO NOT send attached files or HTML tags and/or fragments to the list.

While this allows your story to have italics boldface and bigger easy to read type. The OTL Staff has now made the decision to state that the use of HTML tags and/or attached files ARE NOW BANNED FROM BEING USED ON THIS LIST.

Attached files and HTML tags caused some computers to crash so we request that you refrain from using them and if your story is too long for your mail provider to send, please break your story into multiple parts.

We are aware that plain-text format makes some types of speech hard to show, so we recommend that use character tags to show *BOLD FACED WORDING* <<Psionic Speech>> and _Underlined phrases_.

For these and other formating tags, please consult The OTL Crash (& Burn) Course In Story Formatting.

and above all...

Respect Other Authors. If an author has made a specific request for no feedback in public, please only send your feedback to the author privately. If the author has requested no feedback at all, please respect that and do not send feedback.

OutsideTheLines has these guidelines for the protection of our international membership of authors and readers.

Back to Top

The OutsideTheLines FAQ was compiled and created by Indigo and maintained by David D. Amaya and Thistle on behalf of the OTL Staff.

Questions, comments and suggestions are always welcomed!

Back to Top

All characters & publications mentioned in this document are trademarks of their respective owners, and all copyrights are held by them as applicable.

This information is not endorsed in any way or form by; Marvel Comics Group, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Image Comics or any other publishing entity.

The OutsideTheLines Home Page, its parent mailing list, Topica, Inc., Tripod Corp., nor those who own or assisted those groups, will be held responsible for any problems caused by information contained within this document.