The This Time Round FAQ (v.1.5.6)


FAQ Authors: Imran Inayat, Douglas B. Killings and BKWillis (with thanks to Paul
Andinach, Gordon Dempster, j2rider, Igenlode Wordsmith and Ken Young)

Disclaimer: This isn't official, or anything close to official. [thinks]
Then again, neither is the 'Round. It's intended as an intro to the place,
rather than the be-all and end-all of the place.

Questions:

1) So what _is_ This Time Round, anyway?
2) Do I need to have written anything beforehand to write a TTR story?
3) Which characters can appear in a TTR story?
4) How about crossovers?
5) Who created This Time Round?
6) What's the 'Round look like?
7) Does anyone run/staff the place?
8) Hey! That character died in the last story and now he's back! How'd
_that_ happen?
9) Umm... do I need to ask anyone's permission to write a This Time Round
story?
10) Okay, done the story. _Now_ what do I do with it?
11) How about doing a Round Robin?
12) What's this 'To Die For' stuff? Or that creche? Or Fantasy Island?
13) Where do I _find_ the TTR stories?
14) Which TTR stories should I read first, to get a hang of the place?
15) Are there any equivalents to the 'Round in other continuities?

---

1) So what _is_ This Time Round, anyway?

It's a pub that exists outside Doctor Who continuity. _Every_ Doctor Who
continuity.

Which, in practice, means that any Doctor Who characters can meet in the
'Round. TV series, novels, plays, audios, comics, fanfics, annuals, movies,
computer games... as long as they've appeared in Who, they can come in.
It's basically where they go when they're not having continuity-set
stories.

This even extends to different versions of the same character... so it's
possible that (for example) a fanfic post-Earthshock Adric (yes, there are
several) could meet a pre-Castrovalva Adric.

It's not just Doctor Who continuity, either - it exists outside /every/
continuity.

And it's not alone out there.

The 'Round, and surrounding region, is one of a number of Outside
Dimensions. Most residents of the Round keep things simple by calling the
'Round's dimension 'Outside', and use a variety of terms when referring to
the other dimensions (eg: residents of Subreality tend to refer to the
various Outside Dimensions as 'subverses').

Which leads to the rather interesting conclusion that denizens of the
'Round would be known as Outsiders...

The other subverses can be accessed from the 'Round either by using one of
the many PLOT holes around the place, or by using a TARDIS.

PLOT holes are openings in the Panreality Logarithmic Oscillation Template
that enable characters to go from one point to another without traversing
the intervening space/time/reality distance. The Panreality Logarithmic
Oscillation Template is a technobabbly concept whose only real meaning is
to form the anagram PLOT, so as to be the basis of bad puns.

It's relatively easy to find natural PLOT Holes around the place; they
can be opened by a PLOT Device, magic or the babbling of a crazed
physicist called Winifred (don't ask).

A siren's songs can also open a PLOT Hole - however, this method usually means
something comes through from the /other/ side before the hole closes.

So far, only the 'Round's resident sirens (Xeffy and Ayna) and their family know
this. And said family is keeping a very, very close eye on them.

'Inside' usually refers to what happens inside a specific continuity.
'Reality' refers to the authors' home universe.

2) Do I need to have written anything beforehand to write a TTR story?

Nope. No previous TTR stories, no previous 'Doctor Who' stories, no previous
/stories/, no restrictions, period. Not even suggesting something for the FAQ.

3) Which characters can appear in a TTR story?

Any character... as long as they've appeared in a piece of Doctor Who
fiction. Doesn't matter which medium, just that they've appeared (or _will_
appear, in the case of future companions) somewhere, in some form, in Who
fiction.

Original characters (like Francois, the Ogron bartender), muses, or 'author
avatars' (how an author chooses to write themselves into the 'Round...
which may be nothing _like_ the.Real Life author) can appear too.

4) How about crossovers?

The situation on crossovers has been... messy, in the past. You _could_
crossover characters straight into TTR... but people tended to get a little
irritated when that happened.

To be on the safe side, it's been recommended that the crossover characters in
question appear in at least one non-TTR Who story.

Hmm. However, given it's the place where the characters go when they're
off-duty, some of them can have friends and acquaintances from other
continuities (like we have friends who don't share our job. Or our fascination
with Who, for that matter). So... provided there's an understandable reason for
a straight crossover... go ahead.

5) Who created This Time Round?

TTR was created by Tyler Dion in 'A Quiet Night Out', posted 23/1/1998, as
an adaptation from Kielle's Subreality Cafe. (bows before Tyler and
Kielle).

6) What's the 'Round look like?

Umm... as far as we can tell, it's a fairly small building, painted dark
brown, a bit creaky at times. The main floor has bay windows. There's a car
park outside, where various means and methods of transports are left (apart
from the sentient TARDISes. But don't bring that up with them. *Really*.).

There's a wood just outside it, and a hill opposite (high enough to peer
down at the place with binoculars). There's a small town nearby, with a
strange and wide variety of shops.

There's a high school and day care centre just adjacent to the 'Round... but we
won't go into those. Believe me.

Inside... it's subject to writer fiat. You can make it look any way you
want. But there's usually a saloon room, and a number of back rooms,
including a games room, a room with a Time Scoop, a library, toilets for all
genders, and a wine cellar - and dungeon - in the basement. The bar's usually
in the centre of the main room.

Also, there's the scheduling board (where all the stories, novels, audios,
etc. are listed along with which characters they involve), the LAN room
(run by Mel, the TTR Systems Operator), and the Juke Box (which seems to
have every song ever released somewhere in its memory, and which
automatically will tailor its descriptions and content to whoever happens
to be looking at it at the time).

The 'Round has at least one upper floor, with a number of sleeping rooms
(you _don't_ wanna know what an Ogron sleeping room looks like...), which
are often used for the more 18-rated things, sort of thing...

Oh yes. One big rule. This Time Round is _not_ bigger on the inside than on
the outside. It just looks that way.

It's currently listed in the CAMRA (CAMpaign for Real Ale) Guide to the
Universe, Fodor's Guide to Subreality, and the Michelin Guide to
Trans-Continuity Hotels, Pubs and Restaurants.

Ratings hover around two stars.

(No, This Time Round's location isn't based on any RL location, as far as
we know. It seems to work on the 'if you want to find it, you will find it'
narrative rule.)

7) Does anyone run/staff the place?

It's run by a figure known as the Proprietor. He doesn't usually get
involved in the 'Round's chaos, and when he does, it's usually with the
staff, as they complain about their jobs... He has been referred to as
'Tyler', on a couple of occasions... but the connection to Tyler Dion, who
opened up the Round to the writers, is... uncertain...

One thing that should be noted is that if something loses the Proprietor
money, he tends to get... rather unhappy about it.

On the other hand... is he all that he seems? TTR _does_ exist outside
continuity, after all...

The regular staff at present are:

Bartenders: Francois, Harry Sullivan, Adric, Chang Lee (who usually takes
graveyard shifts), and now Fitz. Of these, Francois is the only one that
definitely works full time, although Harry and Adric often work near-full
time (Adric probably because he's got nothing better to do and at least it
keeps him safe from the Psycho for a few hours). There's also a long
tradition of the remaining companions taking turns as bartender, so the
hours where the above five are not scheduled or when extra hands are needed
are when the others take their turns.

With Lee currently taking leave (and getting holiday pay for it, much to the
Proprietor's distress), Sandra, the resident ghost, is filling in for him on
the graveyard shift, (no puns, please), with the assistance of her
telekinetic powers.

Other staff: Katarina is usually on waitress duty, and Polly is (of course)
the "Access Control Monitor" (read: "continuity cop").

Although, having finally caught on that no-one's been able to justify /not/
having crossover characters - and getting tired of generally getting messed
around by everyone in the 'Round - Polly's decided to quit.

She's /still/ watching the crossover characters, waiting 'till they mess
up... 'cause when that happens - and it will - the companion who sponsored
the character is going to take her job.

Whether they like it or not.

With the resulting influx of crossover characters, the Proprietor's found
that he needs more staff to deal with the workload, and is currently
looking for suitable vict- , er, *applicants* from throughout the
subverses.

So far he's managed to hire Luna Inverse (elder sister of Lina Inverse, of
"Slayers" fame) as a part-time waitress.

The rest of the staff are currently laying bets on who he's going to hire
next...

8) Hey! That character died in the last story and now he's back! How'd
_that_ happen?

Oh yeah. That's another rule of the 'Round. If someone dies in the 'Round,
they come back to life shortly afterwards.

In other words... no-one dies in the 'Round. At least, not permanently.

(And Death is usually on hand to prepare the deceased for return...)

However, it gets murkier if it happens off-premises. Basically, it appears
that if you die outside of the 'Round, you have to get a deferment from the
Mortality Deferment Office in Limbo, (aka the waiting room of the
afterlife), in order to come back to life.

Adric is the only one with an express-ticket, (his mortality deferment
card, aka "the punchcard"), but that's because he keeps getting bumped off.
He undeniably holds the record for number of times killed.

Some characters remain in Limbo - they usually end up working for the
Mortality Deferment Office, or hanging around Limbo aimlessly. Most of the
MDO's staff are selected from characters who committed suicide.

(Apparently, there's a PLOT Hole somewhere in the subverses that leads to
Limbo. Probably somewhere anime side, accessible only to divine and demonic
agents, and those they bring with them.

Oh, and to Ryouga Hibiki.

Long story.)

Some characters don't choose to come back - they choose to go on to
whatever fate awaits them, choosing either the Light or the Darkness. After
that... while past and alternate versions of that character may still be
around, the character is /gone/.

Permanently.

No living character knows what happens to those who decide to go on.

There is another choice, though - undeath.

In this case, there has to be something powerful enough to call - or send -
the deceased back in undead form, and it ends up causing a /lot/ of
paperwork for the office... but when they /do/ come back, they're
effectively immortal and nigh-on indestructible, barring preset conditions.
They're also pretty much stuck as undead, barring unique circumstances.

Punchcard holders are /not/ exempt from this - one version of Adric has
undergone this, coming back as a revenant. To the best of anyone's
knowledge, he's still out there...

When corporeal undead - vampires, zombies and so on - are killed and
resurrected, they come back in their undead forms.

Whether /non-corporeal/ undead - ghosts - can be killed remains open to
debate...

(Reanimated mindless corpses come under the heading of 'special
circumstances' - the deceased's soul isn't present, the corpse is animated
by the forces involved, whether that's emotion, magic, or weird science.)

9) Umm... do I need to ask anyone's permission to write a This Time Round
story?

Uh-uh. Though it's generally considered polite to note who/what in the
Round belongs to which authors/companies.. (One of the writers of this FAQ
(Imran) admits to not having done this himself)

It's usually also considered good form that if you're intending to write a
story significantly using another fan writer's characters or storylines you
ask that person beforehand via email (if possible). 99.9% of the time
there's no problem, but it's better to make sure.

10) Okay, done the story. _Now_ what do I do with it?

Usually, you can post them to the alt.drwho.creative newgroup (preferably
with [TTR] in the heading as a flag, so people know it's a This Time Round
story).

(Been lucky. Haven't seen TTR 'plagiarised' stories, or flames in story
form. Apart from that, as long as it's about, or set in, This Time Round,
it counts as a This Time Round story.)

11) How about doing a Round Robin?

Mm. The first 'Round Round Robin involved Pinky and the Brain, the Author
Mafia, Shub-Barneyrath, Sailors Gallifrey and Marinus, Philip Seagull and
some _Thing_ in the Corner...

Then we finished the /second/ TTR Round Robin (involving Eric Saward,
Sailor Fitz, the Evil, Neutral, and just plain _odd_ Odd Trios, the
Infinity Doctor's evil twin brother and a fuzzy toy Yeti)...

The third, 'Dark Carnival', is still in progress. The Tod Brothers' Carnival has
arrived in town, and the usual suspects have descended on it, suspecting dark
forces at work.

This time, the dark forces are prepared for them.

There are two main ways you could start one.

- There's improvisational (post the beginning of a story to adwc, and hope
someone else takes it up.), which we used for the first two Round Robins.

- Or moderated. Post a call to alt.drwho.creative, asking for writers for a
This Time Round Round Robin. Then, after receiving responses from authors
who'd like to get involved (give this about a month or so), plan it out,
decide how long you want it to be (how many chapters it should have),
assign an author (if you have enough) to each chapter, get them to post the
submission to you first, for approval and editing, (preferably, should be
about a week between chapters), then post the chapters to the newsgroup.

Ooof.

And it's also probably a good idea to decide how many chapters (and how
many slots for authors, thereby)

12) What's this 'To Die For' stuff? Or that creche? Or Fantasy Island?

TTR has a number of continuing threads independent of the main Doctor Who
multiverse. In this way, characters can be bashed together in
unconventional ways for whatever reason the authors feel are appropriate.
Most of these storylines have been concocted for one-off comedy pieces, but
some have evolved significantly and are practically series in their own
rights.

It should also be noted that only changes Inside a character's original
continuity are permanent. Any other changes are optional (on the
character's part) - but there are a couple of things that appear to bend
the rules, when it comes to this.

Quite how that happens is still up in the air.

Anyway, on with the story arcs...

'To Die For' (aka Psycho Nyssa) :

(takes deep breath)

At this time TDF is the single largest ongoing-story in the TTR continuum.
Its genesis was a drabble (100-word story) by Erin B. Tumilty called
"Sadism", but soon after a number of writers (including Douglas B.
Killings, Bradley K. Willis, and others) jumped on the bandwagon and
hijacked the original concept for their own evil ends.

And what is this evil concept?

Imagine Nyssa. (Ok guys, you can stop drooling). Now, imagine that beneath
that sweet, calm, prim and proper Trakenite demeanor is a suppressed,
raving, psychopathic, murderous loony, and you get the idea. Mix in the
fact that she seems to have a fixation for not only venting all of her rage
at Adric but doing so in the most inventive and creative ways she can dream
up, and you have the basic story of TDF.

Now add various factions of loony fans (the militant and very well armed
Adric Defence Force -- the ADF; the inept and pathetic Wondrous and
Adorable Nyssa's Knights-Errant Regiment -- WANKER); Adric's several non-DW
friends (which include Wesley Crusher and Lucas Wolenczek); various
mysterious organisations that watch everything very intently; a cadre of
other evildoers such as Catbert, Sherriff Lucas Buck, and the Spring-Water
Drinking Man; and loads of other crossovers that usually show up just to
complicate matters; mix them all in a blender, and you get some idea as to
the complex mayhem this series has reached.

And this STILL isn't all, because despite all of their protestations to the
contrary, it's slowly dawning on the two main combatants (Nyssa and Adric)
that there are some things neither of them are willing to publically admit
to, and that maybe (just maybe) their public actions have nothing to do
with what they REALLY think about each other....

If you've ever enjoyed anime SF/F romantic comedies like Ranma 1/2, Urusei
Yatsura, or Tenchi Muyo, you should immediately recognise along what lines
TDF is modelled. The series' two main writers (Douglas B. Killings and
Bradley K. Willis) are also big anime fans, and decided to import those
conventions into the universe of Doctor Who. TDF is also almost unique in
DW fanfiction in that it is one of the few series around that is generally
sympathetic toward Adric, a fact for which its writers are unashamedly
proud of.

'Look Who's Talking', aka 'the creche', on the other hand, is _my_ (Imran
Inayat's) fault. Sorry. (Which means only I get to destroy it. Sorry...)

It's... (shuffles)... the day care centre outside continuity. Or the creche
outside continuity. It's where the baby versions of fictional characters
can be left.

Think 'Rugrats' crossed with 'Dexter's Laboratory'. Regress your favourite
Who character to toddlerdom. Then let them loose in a day care centre where
all the other toddlers are _also_ baby versions of their adult selves. Then
let the day care centre allow the toddlers to find, or build, virtually any
weird gadget or magic artifact imaginable (or unimaginable).

_Then_, watch the fireworks start....

To be honest, I have very little idea where it came from. Its genesis was
an aborted TTR fanfic of mine where the Eighth Doctor and his coterie of
companions got splashed by water from one of the Jusenkyou Curse springs
(familiar to 'Ranma 1/2' fans) - namely, Spring of Drowned Five-Year Old.
It somehow mutated into Look Who's Talking, the creche outside continuity.
Then BKWillis brought Psycho Nyssa in. And then came the jet-powered
pushchair... and the pirate TV station...

Here... the 'Who' babies can (and do) do virtually anything.

Rule the world, become the first toddlers to time travel, get their hands
on Excalibur, lead a break-in of the 'Round, fight over who gets the
cookies... _anything_.

(And you do _not_ want to go in the toybox... Then again, you don't wanna
go in the kitchen, either...)

It's run by the Supervisor, a man with a _very_ relaxed attitude towards
his job. We've never seen what would irritate him. Hopefully, we never
will. As long as the babies' parents collect them on time...

Recently, I've cadged two new assistant helpers in while Izzy's on holiday:
Kiyone, a Galaxy Police Officer First Class... and Mara, a /Demon/ First
Class.

Needless to say, they're _not_ having a fun time...

Oh.

Izzy on holiday?

Actually... /all/ of the Eighth Doctor's companions went on holiday.

Along with members of the casts of Tenchi Muyo, Oh My Goddess!, Ranma 1/2,
Urusei Yatsura /and/ DC Comics...

To some place called Fantasy Island.

The basic idea behind FI is that certain characters decided they needed a
break - both in /and/ out of continuity - so they came to a holiday resort
called Fantasy Island.

(It /is/ based on the TV series Fantasy Island... to a certain extent.)

But...

...they found that even here, work was /still/ catching up with them.

And then there was the sarcastic hotel receptionist AI, Izzy's bodyswap,
Ryouga's wandering through time, Ryoko's goody-goody twin sister...

...and someone who sits on a throne of stone, awaiting the day of his
freedom.

FI is, like TDF, based on anime series (well, _duh_...), but it draws on
different aspects of those series - with the focus not on romance, but
relationships.

Partly, it's about seeing how characters who can be so /different/ and so
/similar/ interact, relationships that form, break, rebuild and change, how
their shared experiences change them...

(It's also turning out to be a different take on the tradition of fanfic
anime crossovers... yes, there is a common enemy they're going to team up
against, but that's only /one/ of the storylines running through it...)

In 'The Wedding Planners' series, the FI gang - along with Anya, Dawn,
Fred, and Spike (from 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Angel') - now find
themselves in Tokyo, arranging a wedding. With added lunatic martial
artists, jealous Amazons and mysterious powers...

Then again, this /is/ Ranma Saotome's wedding. It's probably par for the
course.


And then, back in the 'Round, there's:

Paul Gadzikowski's Doctor/Peri romance, as the unlikely duo find themselves
falling for each other. Then again, given that neither of them know quite
how to deal with this...

Mags L Halliday's 'Clash Fiction' sequence, as Buffy and Spike turn up,
bringing their turbulent relationship with them...

...and the near-legendary MPT3K sequence by BKWillis. In an effort to
'cure' Psycho Nyssa, Number One, and Doug & Diane, Adric's Timescooped them
all to the Satellite of Love, where Adric and Harry make them read bad
fanfic (and the occasional crazed rant). Francois' turned into _TV's_
Francois, the series is a cable _hit_, Adric's making obscene amounts of
money, Harry smiles pleasantly (as he usually does...)... and our unlikely
stars are, for some reason, as yet uncured. Can't think why...

Yep, other authors can use the concepts - you don't need our permission.
(Keep question 8 of the FAQ in mind, though.)

Oh, and don't forget... Karaoke Night at the 'Round just got resurrected.
Be very, very, careful...

(And, for the even _more_ cautious, Crossover Poker Night, usually on
Fridays, when crossovers are encouraged to show up, provided they can get
past Polly's watchful eye - which _wasn't_ usually that difficult...)

13) Where do I _find_ the TTR stories?

A good number of them are archived at:

http://web.archive.org/web/20011024000051/www.panatropic.net/archive/index.html

Click on 'Stories orgainised according to type', and follow the link from
there. There's a master list of This Time Round stories up at:

The List of This Time Round Stories

New TTR stories are posted to alt.drwho.creative.

(current running total: 366 stories, round robins and filks.)

14) Which TTR stories should I read first, to get a hang of the place?

Mmm. Try Tyler Dion's 'A Quiet Night Out', or Erin Tumilty's trilogy of
'Sadism' drabbles, to start off with. Then... well, see where it goes from
there...

For a further introduction to the To Die For sequence, try 'Red Tape
Blues', by Bradley K. Willis, and 'Friendly Advice', by Douglas B.
Killings.

And if you actually _want_ to check out Look Who's Talking... Hmm...

For a general introduction to LWT, try 'You Have _Got_ To Be Kidding', by
Imran Inayat. For those familiar with the TDF conventions, try 'Look Who's
Stalking', by Bradley Keith Willis.

15) Are there any equivalents to the 'Round in other continuities?

This /can/ get a little complex, mainly because there's a difference
between those created in other continuities, and those created as part of
the 'Round's continuity.

A few subverses have been mentioned in the stories - five of them have been seen
'onscreen' in 'Round stories:-

- Kielle's Subreality Cafe, located in Subreality, the borderland between
Imagination and Reality (at http://www.subreality.com/sc.htm).

Subreality's home to the comic characters - fanfic and mainstream - and to
Calliope's Muses, the Muses of creative writing (who get trained in the
Collegium Imaginarium).

The rules there are _not_ the TTR rules. Read Kielle's FAQ to get an idea
of what you're getting yourself into.

Discovered by the Scribe Kielle.

- The Pro-Fun Hoedown, a pocket subverse devoted to pro-fun. It's centred
around the pro-fun trolls' TARDIS, based somewhere in southeastern
Virginia.

There's an annual Hoedown each year - it usually begins around May or June,
and has, to date, been hosted by Eloise, the first pro-fun troll to come
out of hiding. Characters from a *lot* of subverses have ended up at the
Hoedown.

There've been three Hoedowns so far - and each time, the Hoedowners have ended
up saving the Universe...

(The first annual Hoedown, 'Chaos in Cyberspace', can be found at
http://www.ucc.gu.uwa.edu.au/~pandinac/profun/index.htm

The second Hoedown, 'The Night The Stories Went Dark', can be found at
http://curry.250x.com/HoedownII/

The third, 'Goodnight, Sweetheart', can be found at
http://narm00.tripod.com/h3.html

Created by Ann Magill, Eloise's alter ego - or is that the other way
around...?)

- Otherside, home to the 'Round's sinister counterpart, Some Other Time Round.
Events there go in a ...darker direction... than the 'Round.

Everyone in the 'Round has a counterpart in Otherside. Most are darker, a few
are brighter, and some are about the same - but the darker turn of events leaves
its mark on all of them.

Contact between the two 'Rounds is limited, but there's at least one known PLOT
Hole linking the two - in both universes, it's situated at the top of the hill
opposite the pub.

Originally created by K. M. Wilcox.

- Nerima Ward and the surrounding area, centred around Ucchan's Okonomiyaki
Restaurant (a fixture from 'Ranma 1/2'). The anime/manga subverse, where
the laws of anime apply... and given the many genres that slot under that
label, things can get very, *very* interesting... (if someone could point
me to an URL for the stories, I'd be grateful.)

- Fantasy Island (mentioned above) was created as part of the 'Round's
continuity. It's a holiday resort subverse for the characters from every
/other/ subverse, whenever they need to take a break.

Narrative causality here tends towards giving tourists a happy - or at the
very least /interesting/ - holiday.


Most of the other equivalents (that I know of) are set in Subreality (if
you know of others elsewhere, let me know) - and are comparatively smaller
than the Cafe or the 'Round (that is, there are about three or four stories
for them). Definitely a Buffy the Vampire Slayer one and a ReBoot one...
along with a couple you wouldn't expect....

--

End

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