So… I’ve had a problem with the site since the day I launched it: there’s just not enough art on the site.
The truth is, and I freely admit this, I’m a writer. I once wanted to draw but quickly learned I had no ability to do so and not for lack of trying. Believe me, I tried.
As such, I’m left to my friends like Dan Kellner to make what original art appears on the URS. It’s amazing stuff. His badges for the Republican Fleet, for instance, are awesome. I sketched them up on a white board at my place in Brooklyn and he made them real. Very real, in fact. I think you could make actual badges out of them. And when I picture them on Republican Fleet uniforms, I swear they’re almost what I see.
I want people who read this site to contribute art but, thus far, it hasn’t yet attracted anyone. Once they do, any art that relates to a story will be tagged along with a story for display to add to the reading experience.
We haven’t yet had any art submissions yet though, so I’ve been thinking about a way to break up the large amounts of text within the stories. My hope is to bring a casual reader into the sheer amount of story associated with the URS. And, so without art, the thing I’ve been working on is a plug-in for both WordPress and MediaWiki to feed article summaries of items tagged in stories with their reference content.
What I’m envisioning are boxes with article summaries near by the link to the reference section of the site. The hope is to break up the lines of un-ended text with little boxes of related information. I wouldn’t normally do something like this, since I feel it takes away from the story itself but the web is a different medium, one where people want to know something about something now and not wait for it later. And I feel like the summary boxes will provide a nice break in the page flow and possibly encourage interested readers to go deeper into the story world.
I’ll admit something freely right here, the stories that are posted on the URS thus far have all been mine and are not at all the best stories I’ve ever written. Some of them are over five years old and I like to think I’ve grown mightily as a writer since. My ultimate goal is to draw others into the story world that is the Unified Republic of Stars so that others might also contribute, both adding to the world with their own ideas and also doing a better job at story telling than I may have done thus far.
As such, I’m looking forward to this new improvement to the site and I hope you are also. I think it’ll make it more visually pleasing and so a better job at encouraging an interest in the story world by others.
As always, I’d love feedback. Feel free to hit the contact form and let me know, yes or no. The Unified Republic of Stars is built on the idea of community and without feedback will inevitably become stale. Your feedback keeps the site alive.