Welcome to the new and hopefully improved apocrypha! We've learned a few new cute HTML tools and decided to return to our old frames setup, but hopefully with a cleaner, more streamlined look. Please feel free to email us with comments a lot of browsers see things differently from how we do, and the last thing we want is to make your reading experience less enjoyable. Plus, if you have tips, you might be able to help us make it look even better. apocrypha is at its best when all of our readers pitch in!
That aside, however, here's a topic we've been mulling over that we'd like to hear from you all on: apocrypha has based itself on trying to provide quality fan fiction that is, we insist on clean text, character consistency, story plausibility, among other things. But often we find ourselves thinking, "The story's fair to middling, but we guess it might have a certain amount of 'popular' appeal." That's a hard one to decide on apocrypha only works if people come back and read, but there is a standard we've tried to maintain over the years. We prefer originality, we prefer clever characterization, we insist on readability (and these days, everybody's got a spell checker). So what do you, the readers, want out of your apocrypha? Challenges, in case you were wondering, are not edited by us (except for basic spelling and punctuation), while the main stories we publish are subject to exacting standards, and can be rejected. Knowing this, not all fan fic out there fits in apocrypha but we want to make sure that readers are getting what they want. We'd like to go into the new year with a better sense of all of this.
That said, there are a few things on our wish list for the new year:

  1. An eradication of the word "alright." No matter where you've seen it before, there is no such word. "All right," however, is correct.
  2. The disappearance of characters who have sex without any sort of motivation behind it. This requires a knowledge of who you're writing about, what their personalities are like, and making the reader believe that these two really would get together in the now of your story, without having done it previously or on the show. This counts for same-sex as well as hetero relationships.
  3. The removal of the oft-seen Hallmark sensibility towards romance. It doesn't jive with the tone of the show. That doesn't mean even the romantic stories need to be hard-boiled, and of course cops and lawyers just need some luv too, but these are jaded individuals who almost to a person come with damaged backgrounds. They're not going to go all gooey over some of the things us "civilians" might.
  4. No more submissions that don't make sense in formatting. Send attachments that are either text (.txt) or RTF (.rtf) or even Microsoft Word documents (.doc). Single-space them, indent paragraphs. As we say in the guidelines, the easier you make your story to read, the happier we will be with the story. If you slop together a couple of words and don't read it over (or, better, aloud), it's like sending us a mangy mutt we then have to clean up before we can pet it. If you don't love your story, why should we?
  5. And yet, despite all of the nasty stuff we just said: More submissions! You'll never know what we might like until you send it. Be as weird and wacky as you like. Some of the most popular stories here have been dark horses. Submit, submit, submit and don't feel every story has to be 10,000 words. Sometimes, short and sweet is exactly what a story needs.
Now it's your turn: What do you wish from apocrypha in the coming year?

All right on to this issue. We've got lots of great fiction, including numerous challenges (with three to choose from, we got a lot of great replies) and even some very interesting nonfiction, including an interview with the co-executive producer of Law & Order: Criminal Intent and an essay on minorities in Law & Order. Plus: A bunch of new challenges for you to sort through and if that wasn't enough for the money you spend, a competition! So what are you waiting for? Open this present early and keep on your toes ... if we get enough submissions by December 20, there'll be a brand-spanking new Holiday issue for you!

Looking forward to hearing from you!


P.S. The email address is new, new! So write it down: apocrypha@podengo.com. The old one may work a while, but we don't know how long -- so don't use it any more!

Subj:  I Wish You Could 
Date:  10/13/01 2:58:35 AM

I'm just replying to the story I Wish You Could that was posted on the new issue of apocrypha. In one word: Bravo! Wonderful job. Characterization was abosolutely perfect and every word seemed straight from the character's mouth. Personally, the ending was a little bit weak but otherwise it was great. Good job!


Subj:  On why Jack McCoy is my least favorite character 
Date:  10/23/01 5:28:24 AM

Dear Sir or Ma'am, I enjoy the show "Law & Order" but some of the characters are annoying. Jack McCoy is my least favorite because even though he maybe an excellent lawyer, he sucks as a human being. He seems to only care for winning instead of comforting the victims and he thinks he knows the police but he doesn't as he treats them like dirt sometimes. He's the most self-congratulatory, self-centered, arrogant jackass I have ever seen. I wish someone would just haul off and beat the crap out of him! I am glad that Abbie Carmichael is gone because, like McCoy, she maybe an excellent attorney but fails as a human being. I want Ben Stone and Claire Kincaid back! Thank you! 

Sincerely yours, Shelby

P.S. Is it just me or are there any others who love to hate or hate to love Jack McCoy like I do!


Subj:  This issue 
Date:  10/18/01 2:04:05 PM !!!First Boot!!! 

Congratulations for a superb issue. I liked the red white and blue. Apt with your sentiments in the editorial. But shouldn't apocrypha be doing more to imortalize NY's finest? What about a story set on September 11th for a 
challenge or is that too crass? How does a crossover with Third Watch sound?

the two fiction stories were too few. Where are all the writers? Come on, come on. I liked Heartbeat. Funny others haven't picked up on Olivet's comment that she had a "personal" relationship with Mike Logan. Personally I don't think they would have made it past two dates!

Kudos again.


Ed. Note: Good questions, Roda: Writers -- feel free to pick her up on these ideas! As for apocrypha doing anything to immortalize NY's finest, two things: 1) Each issue does, in a way, do that -- NY's finest are always immortal without our help, but cops are one of the main staples of fiction here! Next, as to dealing with the events of September 11, last issue felt too soon -- and, in truth, no one sent in stories about it. This issue features apocrypha's first foray into the topic, with a story called "Ground Zero." We expect many more to come with time.

Subj:  Blackout Night 
Date:  11/14/01 7:03:53 PM !!!First Boot!!! 

Good. Do a whole book or movie. You might want to check on the copyright restrictions and complications, of course. Or just create a whole new set of characters. I was sorry when the show [Forever Knight] ended and still enjoy the reruns, although the liberal preaching was getting a bit much, after a while.

A fellow writer.