Derbyshire Writers' Guild

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Archive
Name: Derbyshire Writers' Guild
Date(s): 3 February 1997 – 1998 (at The Republic of Pemberley)
1998 – present (as separate archive)
Archivist: Crysty, Amy I.
Founder: Ann Haker
Type: fanfiction, fan poetry
Fandom: Jane Austen (also original fiction, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries)
URL: www.dwiggie.com/derby/ (2010– )
www.austen.com/derby (1998–2010)
www.pemberley.com/derby/ (1997–1998; via Wayback Machine)
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The Derbyshire Writers' Guild (also DWG or Dwiggie) is a large non-selective archive for Jane Austen fanfiction & fan poetry suitable for young teens. Founded in 1997 at The Republic of Pemberley and 1998 as an independent archive, it is one of the oldest Austen archives on the web and is probably the largest open-access archive. It includes both close-to-canon works and modern AUs & other canon-divergent works. The site also provides discussion forums. DWG remains active as of January 2014.

History

See also Bits of Ivory

The Derbyshire Writers' Guild was founded by Ann Haker. It states its date of foundation as 3 February 1997, which refers to the archive located at The Republic of Pemberley (which was later renamed Bits of Ivory).[1] Ann split from RoP around March or April 1998, and moved the DWG to a separate host, initially at Spring.net and later at Austen.com. The new version of the DWG included many but not all of the works previously archived at RoP.

The RoP Bits of Ivory archive subsequently allowed only works that are set in the Regency era and are close to canon.

Jane GS believes that: "DWG spun off from RoP and provided a place where there were far fewer rules associated with sticking to the canon."[2] Aja comments "...when I was in the fandom there *was* tension between the academic side of the fandom and the fanfic writers, because the fic writers, especially the AU and modern retelling writers, were seen as derailing the community. This was actually why Pemberley eventually stopped hosting fanfiction and the DWG was formed way back in the day."[3]

In 2012, Aja said: "
[When I joined fandom] I wonder[ed] if there are other people—because I had found in this Georgette Heyer, you know, I found listservs. I found all kinds of communities of fans around her, just discussing her work and I thought, Oh, I wonder if there's something like that for Jane Austen. And, of course, there was, but the very first hit that I got took me to the Republic of Pemberley, pemberly.com at the time...They eventually kicked all the fanfic off their site. But at the time, they housed discussion and fanfic in the same place, in 1998. So, I was introduced to fanfic really the same day that I actually got the idea to google or to search on search engines and see if there were other people out there who liked the same thing I did, (laughs) essentially. So, my very first fanfic archive was pemberley.com. After they kicked all the fanfic off, they kicked it off and sent it to another site, austen.com, which was the "Derbyshire Writers Guild", which is still there today. Both of those sites are still there today, and they were forum-based, so you actually posted your fic on a message board. [4]

Split from Austen.com

DWG was hosted at Austen.com until 2010.[1] In May 2010, the DWG discussion boards & later the fiction boards moved to their own domain, dwiggie.com, and the site split from Austen.com.[1][5] The stated reason for the move was that high traffic on the boards caused downtime at Austen.com; Margaret D explains:

Why we moved the message boards: The austen.com server has been struggling to deal with our traffic for many months, and our message boards have been crashing the entire server several times a week. We have become too popular! The "austen.com" domain is owned by Paul Terry Walhus and Spring.net, and we cannot move the entire site to a bigger server. After much discussion, we decided that we would split the content between two sites, keep what we have on "austen.com" with Paul Terry Walhus, and move the message boards onto "dwiggie.com". We own the "dwiggie.com" domain, and we moved it to a new web host that has bigger servers. We are in the process of figuring out how our future site finances will work. We have always given all the money from fundraisers directly to Spring.net, but that will change. For the present, we admins are covering the unplanned additional web host fees.
Our goal is to improve the reliability of both parts of our site. Without the message boards overloading the server, you should be able to search and access our story archives on "austen.com" more quickly. The new "dwiggie.com" server should (hopefully) be able to handle the message board traffic without making you wait for 15 minutes while the server reboots.[5]

Austen writer & blogger Mags documents a dispute ongoing on 21 April 2010 – a week before Margaret D's quoted post – over content belonging to Austen blogger Laurel Ann being reblogged without attribution by the owner of the Austen.com domain. Mags states The ladies from the Derbyshire Writers Guild, which shares the austen dot com domain, were as disturbed by this situation as the rest of us. ... So many thanks to Crystal and Margaret from the DWG for intervening![6]

The Austen.com index page states:

With the unfortunate departure of Dwiggie, a wonderful repository of fan fiction, we are now looking for new content producers who would like to help maintain this site. We had 10 terrific years with the Dwiggies but they decided to move on and now we need to breathe some fresh air in to Austen.com. We would of course welcome back the Dwiggies at any time but, that being unlikely, we're seeking an individual or group who loves Jane Austen who would like to volunteer to maintain and grow this site.[7]

Culture

Members are known as "Dwiggies". DWG is intended as an appropriate site for children and young adults. As with many online Austen spaces, the use of real names is strongly encouraged. Adult posters are required to use their real name or a real nickname. Children are encouraged to use an alias that resembles a real name.[8]

Forums

Stories & poems are posted at the DWG & "A Novel Idea" forums, where readers can give feedback. The "Tea Room" hosts Austen-related discussion, including longer discussions related to posted fanworks; "The Baronetage" allows authors & readers to post profiles. There is also a chatroom. The message boards moved to being hosted by Phorum in June 2008; archived posts are available back to that date. The discussion forums are moderated by Margaret D.

Archives

The Jane Austen archive hosts fanfiction & fan poetry for all Austen's works. It is split into the "Epilogue Abbey", for canon-era stories that are fairly faithful to the original, and the "Fantasia Gallery" for modern AUs, historical AUs set in other periods, and stories with fanciful elements, or more irreverent stories.[1]

All stories archived have been first posted to the DWG message boards and are required to be suitable for young people (early teens or even younger),[8] roughly G to PG-13 in rating. Although the vast majority of content is gen or het, there is no restriction on content; at least one archived story is m/m slash.[9] Archiving is performed manually by the archivists.

As of January 2014, there are 1535 works in the Epilogue Abbey (completed & WiPs) and 751 completed stories in the Fantasia Gallery. Works are not separated by source novel in the story listings, but a search engine enables search by novel. The great majority of works are for Pride and Prejudice (over 2,200); approximate stats for other Austen novels (including many crossovers) are as follows:

A sister site, "A Novel Idea" hosts stories by members in other fandoms, predominantly The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, as well as a lot of original fiction, particularly Regency and modern romances.

Authors

A partial list of prolific authors includes:

Reviews

The site is widely known and is recommended in most Austen links lists.

There is another place: The Derbyshire Writters Guild ( www.austen.com ) with many fan-fiction stories based on the novels, many in a modern setting and which are also very funny... (Cinthia Garcia Soria)[10]
This is a huge archive where you can find fic based on all of Jane Austen's works, but the majority of the fic is Pride and Prejudice-based, since it is arguably the most well-known and best-loved of her books. It is into dived into two areas: the Epilogue Abbey, where you can find fic set in the time and usually written in the style of Austen's original works, and the Fantasia Gallery, which houses AU fic, usually set in modern times, but using the same general characterizations of your favorite Austen personas. This site also has a message board. (imacartwright in Crack Van overview)[11]
This site is located at austen.com, which is a great resource for all things Austen. DWG is family friendly and you will not find any adult fiction there, but there are some excellent stories, and not just for P&P (although fiction based on the other novels tends not to be as good, sadly) (Hafital)[12]
My personal favourite Austen archive is the Derbyshire Writer's Guild. Generally very long and well-written stories (one of the great things about Austen fandom; you don't get many teens writing their first attempt at fiction!) and saving is so easy. Very long stories do have multiple pages, but each page incorporates multiple chapters, which severely cuts down on the amount you have to save. Also, the styles are readable and the html's simple, so all you have to do is press file > save page as. (Lothy/Atalanta)[13]
The Big Austen Site. All-ages friendly and everything from nuts to bolts. One of the few sites in the fandom that archives Austenia from books other than Pride and Prejudice. Quality varies, but pretty much everything under an M rating winds up here at some point. (Pervy Butterfly Minion)[14]

Outside Fandom

DWG is often mentioned in mainstream media. It was discussed by James R. Kincaid in the New York Times in 2000, in a review of Julia Barrett's Sanditon completion.[15] Pamela Licalzi O'Connell, again in the New York Times, discusses the differences between the two main online archives in early 2000:

The two Austen Web sites represent two schools of fan fiction. The Republic of Pemberley's stories try to mimic more closely Austen's style with plots that remain "in period," or true to Regency-era England. They range from straightforward sequels and "missing scenes" (those that readers wish had been in the novels) to retellings from different characters' points of view and stories that imitate Austen's style without being a sequel to, or a completion of, any specific original.
Austen.com, however, allows more fanciful interpretations, like "crossover" stories in which Austen characters mix with those from other novels or even modern television characters like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A recent story inspired by "Pride and Prejudice," for example, was set in the antebellum South. "That was our first black Lizzie!" Ms. Haker sighed, happily.[16]

DWG is also discussed in several academic studies of fanfiction, including Sheenagh Pugh's book, A Democratic Genre: Fan Fiction in a Literary Context (2005). Amanda Gilroy, in "Our Austen: Fan Fiction in the Classroom" (2010), compares DWG's critique favourably with that seen on FanFiction.Net:

Commentary on FanFiction.net more or less lives up to [Darryl Jones]’s stereotype: responses to “Ten Years,” a Pride and Prejudice story, include “Awesome update,” “Cute,” and a number of “LOLs.”

In contrast, responses on the DWG Message Board tend to be less colloquial and frequently offer sophisticated textual analyses. For example, a recent story entitled “The Inheritance” by ValT, premised on Mr. Bennet’s death and the arrival at Longbourn of the new heir, one Mr. Bingley, elicited nine responses on the day Chapter 3 (the proposal scene between Bingley and Jane) was posted (14 July 2010); these range from general appreciation, especially of the romantic scene, to detailed critical observations. Thus, in the first vein, “AllisonOM” notes, “How nicely the two come to a resolution without any mothers or friends interfering. Lovely. Jane’s happy moment was just perfect,” while in the second mode, “Nikki N” comments,

I love this Bingley, and I love these altered premises. I find it fascinating when JA characters are put in different circumstances and yet “in essentials” retain their personalities—it is very likely that a Bingley whose father had failed in his attempt to make a fortune would develop in this way. . . . And from what Elizabeth said—even she would have been willing to marry him, she was not in love with him but she had some regard for him. In canon, E could not possibly accept Mr Collins not because E did not love him, but because Mr C was a stupid man whom she could have no esteem or regard whatsoever—canon E is not really so romantic as to want to marry only for the deepest love.

This response thoroughly deconstructs naïve preconceptions about fan communities. The respondent discriminates between the recreated and the canonical, via the clever concept of “canon E,” and comments on the latter as well as the former. She knows the original intimately enough to play with Austen’s language, quoting Elizabeth and Wickham’s conversation in chapter 41 about whether Darcy has improved “in essentials” (and clearly expecting her readers to get the reference). If Nikki N’s knowing allusion to the original text is not essentialist, it nonetheless hints at her allegiance to a type of fidelity discourse, while the speculations about what Elizabeth felt and the discursive register (“I love this Bingley, . . . I love these altered premises”) confirm her fan identity and distinguish her reading from less emotive academic ones. Support of another fan’s fiction remains the primary function of her response.[17]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Derbyshire Writers' Guild: How does this place work? (accessed 27 January 2014)
  2. Reading, Writing, Working, Playing: The Democratic Genre: Canon, Fanon, and Hornblower (accessed 28 January 2014)
  3. bookshop: Response to query by calvinahobbes (accessed 28 January 2014)
  4. Fan Fiction Oral History Project with Bookshop
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dwiggie: Welcome to DWIGGIE.COM (accessed 28 January 2014)
  6. AustenBlog: Sounds like this is a job for the Cluebat of Janeite Righteousness (UPDATED) (accessed 28 January 2014)
  7. Austen.com: What's Here? (accessed 28 January 2014)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Derbyshire Writers' Guild: Contributor Guidelines **PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING** (accessed 27 January 2014)
  9. Profanation of Our Joys by Malini
  10. AUSTEN-L: The Bits of Ivory (accessed 29 January 2014)
  11. Crack Van: Pride and Prejudice: An Overview (accessed 29 January 2014)
  12. hafital: P&P Fanfic Recommendations (accessed 28 January 2014)
  13. epic-rants: Thread started by Atalanta in comments to Now is the time for all good authors to embrace the single file story... (accessed 27 January 2014)
  14. Subliminal Messages: Links (accessed 28 January 2014)
  15. Kincaid, James R. (2000) You Jane? New York Times (accessed 28 January 2014)
  16. O'Connell, Pamela Licalzi. (2000) A World Without End For Fans of Jane Austen. New York Times (accessed 29 January 2014)
  17. Gilroy, Amanda. (2010) Our Austen: Fan Fiction in the Classroom. Persuasions On-line 31 no. 1 (accessed 28 January 2014)