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lit.hatori42.com: Write and be read.

By delmoi in Culture
Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 09:06:44 AM EST
Tags: Books (all tags)

lit.hatori42.com is a site I've been working on over the last week or so. Based on scoop the software that runs Kuro5hin, the idea is to become an online literature site, similar to k5, but focusing on fiction and other forms of creative writing. As an amateur writer myself, I've often wanted to be able to share my ideas with a wide audience online, but I've never really found an appropriate venue. So I decided to create my own.

I don't know why I became so interested in writing, probably because It's easier for me then most other art forms. One day I just started writing, I'd planned on just a short 500 word description piece, just to make sure I could still do it, and I ended up with 35,000 words of a novel, and several short stories. I had setup a website for the novel, and got a few thousand hits (along with several nice emails and about 20 people signing up for an updates email list)

As time went on, I became interested in publishing my work, or at least getting it a wider audience. Much to my dismay, however, it appeared that the publishing industry, or at least the 'writers interface' to it was pretty much unwired. Indeed the website for Darhansoff & Verrill Literary Agency -- Neil Stephenson's Literary agent -- says simply "Coming soon" (and has for over a year). Of the sites out there that I managed to find through Google and Yahoo and designed for writers (as opposed to readers), most seem rather crappy. That may just mean that I'm bad at doing net searches, but none the less, I didn't find much by the way of usable information.

Nor were searches for online writers workshops much more fruitful. Those that did exist seemed very 'top down' in comparison to sites like kuro5hin. And many sites focused only on science fiction. And while I consider myself to be a sci-fi/ cyberpunk author*, its not the only thing I'm interested in writing, and it certainly isn't the only thing I'm interested in reading. One site in particular authorlink actually required you to mail them a floppy disk as a submission. Apparently, accepting things over email was 'to much of a virus risk', because, as we all know, viruses never come on floppy disk...

I thought about creating my own site, but those plans got shelved (due in no small part to the fact that I'm lazy), but after the somewhat mixed success of picture-rate.com, And the fact that I could get the source code to the site I most wanted to emulate I decided to go for it.

Right now, lit.hatori42.com is setup mostly as an open-to-all writers workshop. If the site grows the way I hope it might, I'd like to turn it into something more. Maybe 'wire' the publishing industry a bit more, or even create things like a micro payment system (where users could pay other users directly)

But that is a little bit off in the future, and I don't know I'll get enough users to sustain 'critical mass' or not. In the mean time, check the site out, post something. And let me know what you think!


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
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Seem like a good idea
o no 6%
o yeh 78%
o who really cares? 14%

Votes: 47
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Scoop
o Kuro5hin
o Yahoo
o Google
o lit.hatori 42.com
o scoop
o website
o Darhansoff & Verrill Literary Agency
o Neil Stephenson
o authorlink
o somewhat mixed success
o Also by delmoi

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lit.hatori42.com: Write and be read. | 36 comments (35 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
+1 Section. Shameless self publicist. (3.50 / 6) (#1)
by deefer on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 05:07:13 AM EST

But well written and an interesting idea.

What was the reasoning behind the hatori42 name?

Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

SSP (3.66 / 3) (#2)
by Delirium on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 05:26:34 AM EST

Yeah, I don't mind self-promotion if it's clear that's what's going on. That's not to say that I'll vote up all self-promotion that's honest, but if it's interesting I won't hold it against the author. What I do mind is attempts to write sensationalized hype-pieces while pretending to be unaffiliated with the site you're hyping.

As for hatori42, since it's lit.hatori42.com I'd assume hatori42.com is his personal domain and he just created a subdomain for the literature site, but perhaps I'll let delmoi answer that one. =]

[ Parent ]

Domain name (4.00 / 2) (#6)
by delmoi on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 11:21:29 AM EST

Well, as Delirium said hatori42.com is my personal domain. I didn't really want to buy a new domain for this project, and 'lit.hatori42.com' just sounded cool to me, I don't know :P

as for the hatori42? Well, I just needed a domain name, and I didn't want to get 'delmoi.com' since I've been getting sick of the 'delmoi' name. (you'll notice I've used takinara on the other the lit site). The main character in my novel is named Ama Hatori (who is actually named after the lead singer in Cibo Matto, if anyone else has heard of them). And 42 is just an all around cool sounding number, I guess :P
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
[OT] Hatori vs. Honda (none / 0) (#12)
by fluffy grue on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 01:34:39 PM EST

I was under the impression that Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda shared equally in the role of "lead singer." At least, it seems that in one third of their songs it's Miho as lead, in one third it's Yuka, and in the remaining third it's both of them sharing more or less equally.

BTW, do you know if Cibo Matto is still producing music under the Cibo Matto name? It seems like both Yuka and Miho are too busy working on their side projects these days (i.e. both of them are doing something called "butter08" or something, and rumor has it that Miho is involved in Gorillaz). And what's Sean Lennon doing in the meantime? Oh, and the other two members whose names I can't remember. :)
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Cibo Matto (none / 0) (#15)
by superfly on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 03:48:12 PM EST

I've always seen Miho Hatori described as the singer, and Yuka Honda as keyboardist/sampler/programmer/whatever.

Cibo Matto seems to be together still. Butter 08 was a one-shot made in 1996. I don't think anything more is happening there. Sean Lennon left Cibo Matto (I think) and is presumably working on more solo stuff. Miho Hatori sings on two Gorillaz songs.

There's a bit of info at cibomatto.com.

[ Parent ]
even further off topic (none / 0) (#17)
by superfly on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 04:02:30 PM EST

You can get the video for 19/2000 (with Miho singing) at http://www.gorillaz.com/screening/

[ Parent ]
Hrm (none / 0) (#22)
by delmoi on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 07:51:59 PM EST

that was an extreemly cool video

Is there anywhere I could see the full sized one?
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
vid (none / 0) (#32)
by superfly on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 11:40:27 AM EST

Is there anywhere I could see the full sized one?

Don't know. If you find it, let me know...

[ Parent ]
Oh (none / 0) (#18)
by fluffy grue on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 05:30:10 PM EST

I thought Butter 08 was more recent than that (i.e. after they released Stereotype A).

Was Lennon only in CM for Stereotype A then? I mean, his first solo album was basically Cibo Matto under his direction instead.

I hadn't ever noticed the history-type stuff on their site. In any case, the 'news' page indicates that Lennon is still with 'em. Which is good, IMO... as talented as he is, I don't think he can make it on his own; he has his dad's talent, but his mom's singing ability. :)
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Miho rox0rs (none / 0) (#21)
by delmoi on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 07:37:15 PM EST

Have you ever been to any of their concerts? Fucking amazing :P. (I was like 4-5 feet away from Miho and Yuka btw, it was a pretty small venue) I got their CD at the concert, but I was a little disappointed, their live act kicked much more ass

In the stuff I've read, Miho seemed like the 'leader' of the group. And she was also much, much hotter then Yuka
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Concert (none / 0) (#24)
by fluffy grue on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 08:18:55 PM EST

Yeah, I saw them on the Stereotype A tour in Washington, DC when they played at the 9:30. They ruled.

I think Yuka's cuter, myself, but she's spoken for anyway.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

site design (2.33 / 3) (#4)
by Refrag on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 08:28:24 AM EST

Dude, I really like your site design. It's an excellent use of CSS! I'm going to have to prowl through your code some and really get back into CSS for the first time since it first came out.

My girlfriend is interested in writing, so I'm going to set her up with an account on your new site too.


Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches

Wow thanks (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by delmoi on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 11:33:09 AM EST

It's really easy to play around with site design in Scoop. I was a little worried it might be a little over the top, but the more I looked at it the more I liked it :P

It's kind of a departure for me, very zeldman-esq I think. Well anyway, thanks for the complement :) CSS is definitely a cool technology, much nicer to work with then tables (Although I had pretty much gotten to the point where I could whip out nested-table-layout pages as fast as I could type English :P). Browser compatibility still isn't perfect, and I even had to use a little browser detection Javascript to work around it. But just about everything works in IE+Mozilla now, so it's not as much of an issue as it was in the past.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Zeldman (2.50 / 2) (#9)
by Refrag on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 12:01:38 PM EST

Yes, the orange is a bit Zeldman-esq. :) Browser compatibility is the reason I haven't been doing any placement or anything with CSS. I really just have one CSS file that I load in in the header of each page to customize the look of the Website and add some style classes. I wish the browsers had better support when CSS first came out and I was really interested in it.

What did you have to do browser detection to implement on your page? I really like the CSS shadow effect on your title. It really gets rid of the need for a title graphic, and I don't think you should change that just for graphics sake.

Anyway, like I said, I'm definately going to have to snoop through your CSS sometime...


Kuro5hin: ...and culture, from the trenches
[ Parent ]

Sounds interesting and scary (3.50 / 2) (#5)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 08:53:43 AM EST

The idea sounds interesting. But. I've been reading fanzines, and their online equivalent, for years. Sturgeons Law indicates that 10% might be worth reading, but that's for material that has made it past an editor. My experience is that it's closer to 1% in fanzines and, especially, online fanzines. Perhaps the filtering a la scoop will improve the quality of qhat gets posted. But I doubt it. Take a look at some of the poorly written stuff that gets through the queue here.

"Anything that's invented after you're 35 is against the natural order of things", Douglas Adams
Filtering ablity (4.00 / 1) (#8)
by delmoi on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 11:37:25 AM EST

Yeh, I'm hoping the filtering ability will help out... of course it might be harder to vote down someone's creative work then an attempted news story. Right now the biggest problem is a lack of any content, other then my own (and one poem).

Hopefully when ever rusty finished the 'new queue system' we'll be able to use that, and people will be able to select from a gradient in both reading selection and rating, rather then the trinary 'drop/section/FP' system we have now.

But I guess only time will tell.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
The filtering (4.50 / 2) (#10)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 12:08:02 PM EST

I feel sory for the poor bastards that do the filtering. The stories in the queue here are often poorly written, with bad spelling, tense confusion, and other technical problems. And are often filled with mindless drivel that sounds like some discussions I had back when I did lots of acid. But they are, usually, very short.

Fiction, however, tends to be a bit longer. Reading something with all the faults noted above, that runs to 1000+ words, would be painful. Just imagine trying to read a novella submitted by CmdrTaco, and then suggesting helpful edits. Ouch.

Good luck! I fear you'll need it. Who knows, maybe the next Clarke, Heinlein, or Piper will turn up there.

"Anything that's invented after you're 35 is against the natural order of things", Douglas Adams
[ Parent ]

CSS is useless!! (1.50 / 2) (#11)
by spoony on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 12:39:55 PM EST

hi man, it sounded like the right idea, but what about the implementation?
why use css if it's not compatible with netscape (4.75 in my case)? Please don't tell me to turn it off, because I can't from my college terminal! do you really want to narrow down the accessibility for the sake of little colors?
Please don't follow the hype and use standard html.

Ky Vinh

Netscape is broken, not CSS (4.00 / 1) (#14)
by vectro on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 02:15:36 PM EST

CSS has graceful degredation - if you're on a browser that dosen't support CSS, the page should still be perfectly useable, it just might not look good.

The problem is that Netscape claims to implement parts of CSS1, but does so in very broken ways. So the page comes out ugly, or worse, unuseable. But the fault there lies with Netscape, not the site designer.

Why not use Mozilla instead? It has nearly full CSS1 support, and goot CSS2 support to boot. Alternatively, you could go with Netscape 3, which has no CSS support and thus should work as well.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Read again... (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by Parity on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 03:57:31 PM EST

He explicitly said he was on a machine he didn't control. Or almost explicitly. ('don't tell me to turn of CSS, I can't on this college terminal I'm using')

Presumably the same applies to installing software on a lab machine, and the last I checked mozilla doesn't fit on a floppy. (It -does- fit on a CD but if you had a machine capable of constructing a CD that Mozilla can be run directly from, why would you need the school machine to surf?)

And yes, Netscape is broken, and yes, the college should upgrade to Mozilla. That doesn't solve the practical problem, and that catch 22 is why the web sucks.

Parity None

[ Parent ]
Not the author's fault. (4.00 / 1) (#19)
by vectro on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 06:39:44 PM EST

My point is that you shouldn't blame the author for using correct CSS. If I were forced to use some broken browser that replace every `i' with an `e', I sure as hell wouldn't blame content creators for using `i's, I'd blame whoever it was that was making me use such a broken browser.

The original poster implied that one should never use css, because ``it's not compatible with netscape.'' And my response is that as long as the author is following the standards, he shouldn't be criticized.

Now, if the author is using CSS in such a way that it won't gracefully degrade, you can flame him away. But that is not the case here.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Yeap, broken CSS (none / 0) (#20)
by delmoi on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 07:32:10 PM EST

I added a CSS border to a table, and rather then simply not showing the border, Netscape decided to removed the entire table. I tried putting the table in a DIV with a border, but that didn't look right in IE or mozilla.

For other CSS things that didn't work I was able to use JavaScript to enable/disable based on browser. But I don't want my layout to be dependant on Javascript either... as that would obviously be a problem. The way I have it setup, non-Javascript browsers just don't get an extra piece of chrome. It doesn't make much of a difference.

Getting it to work in Netscape would require me to work out a 2x2 grid of possibilities, with Javascript on/off and ns4/not ns4 on separate axis. I'd also have to figure out a way for all four implementations to share the same few lines of code and not interfere with each other.

Its much easier just to tell ns4 users to turn off CSS. And better over all in comparison with bloating my page down with lots of complex Javascript layout stuff.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Server-side workarounds (none / 0) (#25)
by vectro on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 09:01:00 PM EST

My sister's website had some 16-bit images that displayed really poorly in Netscape 4.x on systems with 16- or 8-bit color. Dithering the images down to 8 bits solved the problem, but it didn't look as good.

The solution? Have both images avalible, serve the 16-bit one unless the User-Agent shows a netscape 4.x browser; then show the 8-bit one.

I should also point out that it is important to assume the browser is compliant unless it has shown itself to be otherwise.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
and that, of course (none / 0) (#27)
by delmoi on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 11:29:08 PM EST

Would require modifying the scoop code itself. And I don't know perl :P

I don't think it's to much to ask people to disable CSS, I mean it *does* work without it. But I didn't think of people who wouldn't be able to. I may try to do the crazy-ass javascript stuff (using javascript to comment out stuff that would normaly run without it, then generate the 'correct' HTML for the platform. I think CSS dosn't work in netscape with JS disabled, which makes the solution a little bit simpler -- on the other hand, I don't want to show mozilla users, or IE sans javascript my ns4 version of the page. Which makes things complicated again. Arg. Well, I'll see what I can do)

Maybe rusty 'n' co can add browser detection and multiple browser sensitive templates to the next version of scoop or something.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Browser detection (none / 0) (#29)
by vectro on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 01:05:20 AM EST

Apache has some browser detection features. You might be able to rig it so that a different scoop install (which talks to the same database) is run depending on the browser. Dunno how well that would combine with mod_perl, though.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Ya stole my idea! props...plus some ideas (none / 0) (#13)
by panck on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 01:49:42 PM EST

Hey, good idea! great minds think alike...

I haven't really checked out your site in depth, but it sounds like the same Idea I had: user submitted/rateable "articles" of multiple types: poetry, prose, essay, etc. Kind of a portfolio for writers to get some feedback etc..

some Ideas that I had for my site-I-was-going-to-build-once-I-got-around-to-it-and-had-some-free-time and which you should feel free to use:
Make every "article" categorized (poetry,short fiction,sketch, non-fiction, essay...etc) into general categories (much like k5 and now that I think about it scoop is perfect for that)
Make the "rating" system not merely a 1 dimensional Good vs. Bad...Allow further detailed stylistic categorization: humor, artsy, sci-fi, modernist, post-modernist, parody, space-opera...etc. And let the readers rate the article this way. Maybe a 2-dimensional grid of options (much like www.allmusic.com does things with their "Artist Browser".). Also allow a keyword field that maybe the author fills in.
This allows someone to search for a "sci-fi poem about cats" or something.. Where poetry is the general category, sci-fi is a style and "cat" is a keyword.

I just signed up for an account...maybe I'll post some of the stuff I wrote on http://decayer.blogspot.com

Hope to see your site grow and get lots of hits!

(p.s. the one thing I hadn't figured out how to do on my to-be-site was how to have it pull in enough money to pay the hosting fees and make it viable :) so good luck!)

Nice site, but... (none / 0) (#23)
by driptray on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 07:53:33 PM EST

Great site, great idea. But one small cosmetic problem for me is the background image of the pixelated earth. It makes the text illegible in Opera 5.11 for Windows. I mean totally illegible. I have to unload images to be able to read the text.

I reckon your site is going to take off in a big way, although it's hard to predict exactly what direction it will take off in. Enjoy the ride.

We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders. - Paul Keating
fixed (I think) (none / 0) (#26)
by delmoi on Wed Jun 27, 2001 at 11:21:59 PM EST

The image shouldn't show up now unless you are using MSIE. I was using netscape3.0 in this lab here and it was giving me some weird problems (showing inline with the text... in other words I had this huge ass image before any of my content :P). It should only render on IE with javascript enabled now (I had done that on the orange index pages, but (apparantly) on the grey 'secondary' pages. But, like I said, should be fixed now.

"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Nope (none / 0) (#31)
by kapital on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 06:43:31 AM EST

The image is still showing up on top of the text in Opera 5.11.

[ Parent ]
Browser detection (none / 0) (#35)
by timefactor on Tue Jul 03, 2001 at 01:11:24 PM EST

Finding "MSIE" in the userAgent is not sufficient to determine if the browser is in fact IE. Opera can spoof other browsers (User Agent is configurable) to make it compatible with more sites (many sites only detect for IE or Netscape). Here's a sample script to get around that (note that this won't distinguish Mozilla from Navigator):
var agent=navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase();
var opera=(agent.indexOf("opera") !=-1);
var ie=(opera==false && agent.indexOf("msie") !=-1);
var navigator=(opera==false && ((agent.indexOf("mozilla")!=-1);
var browser=(opera) ? "Opera" : (ie) ? "IE" : (navigator) ? "Navigator" : "Other"

Why not scrap the picture entirely? It's barely visible in IE anyway and do you need an extra 30K of bandwith for every visitor for an image most won't (or would rather not) notice?

- I cannot believe in the existence of God, despite all the statistics. - Borges
[ Parent ]
This is a great idea! (3.00 / 2) (#28)
by coryking on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 12:30:02 AM EST

I can't wait to post some stuff to your site! I've (like everybody else) been thinking of doing this too. I'm so excited!

My only comment - you need to get a catchy name (like kuro5hin or slashdot) and real domain name for it. There is just something not very memorable about lit.hatori42.com, something you have to bookmark to remember. It's all in the branding. Hell, I'll even pay for the domain registration it if you want (it's like $17 dollars a year).

That's OK (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by delmoi on Thu Jun 28, 2001 at 03:06:04 AM EST

I can afford another domain name, thanks :) But I did want to make sure the site would work before I got stuck with a name I can't really use for anything else (see picture-rate.com :P).

Also, I actualy do like lit.hatori42.com, so there!
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
kaboom (1.00 / 2) (#33)
by anonymous cowerd on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 02:29:49 PM EST

Your site + Netscape 4.7something + Windows NT 4.0 = kaboom!

Boy how ah jist hates them fricken sites what makes me fire up thet Goddamn Micersoff Innernet Exploiter. Well hey, it seems to work in Lynx, so I guess it doesn't sux0r completely!

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

stint grits
darts file
gratis ways to fit tins
dapper angle
ill apple
-Barbara Baracks

Some suggestions from a workshop goer... (none / 0) (#34)
by Remus Shepherd on Tue Jul 03, 2001 at 10:52:26 AM EST

Nor were searches for online writers workshops much more fruitful. Those that did exist seemed very 'top down' in comparison to sites like kuro5hin. And many sites focused only on science fiction. And while I consider myself to be a sci-fi/ cyberpunk author*, its not the only thing I'm interested in writing, and it certainly isn't the only thing I'm interested in reading.

There's a reason for having focus. Valuable writing workshops like Critters focus on specific genre to keep things from developing into a useless anarchic jumble. Workshops without any rules at all, like Author, Author! devolve into places where -- in order to attract critiques -- authors pander to the lowest common denominator. Last I checked, "Author, Author!" was awash in soft porn with catchy titles and little else.

Personally I prefer workshops that are even more restrictive, because creativity begins with structure. My favorite workshop is alt.devilbunnies, which restricts authors to a specific shared universe with very well defined rules. There's no system of critiques there, however, so calling it a 'workshop' is a bit of a stretch. But I feel the structure is more valuable than what most other workshops offer. I've been fiddling with the idea of creating a highly structured writers' workshop, myself.

One other very serious problem I see you having with your site. Stories that are posted in publically available places on the internet are generally considered published, and reputable publishers will not accept them afterwards. That's why Critters keeps its submissions behind password protection. If your workshop allows people to freely read the manuscripts, then the stories there will never be published in print, although they may be interesting to learn from. Fair warning.

With those caveats in mind, I wish you luck.

Remus Shepherd <remus@panix.com>
Creator and holder of many Indefensible Positions.

Copyright? (none / 0) (#36)
by Frijoles on Tue Jul 03, 2001 at 04:59:59 PM EST

Interesting idea, I agree. I have a friend working on the same project.

The problem I have with this, and I have not seen it mentioned, is one of copyright. I have been writing a little bit these last few months and would be interested in posting, but I do not wish to have any ideas stolen. I know, my writing is probably not good enough to be stolen, but there is that small chance that an idea I come up with will be used elsewhere.

It is this reason that I would never post any of my ideas or even really explain them to anyone until I have it published/copyrighted. I'm afraid I can't rely on the honor code. Call me paranoid.

lit.hatori42.com: Write and be read. | 36 comments (35 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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