Side panel for characters Bios and pictures

I just thought about something to make the site better which I don’t know if it would be possible or hard to do but here it is.

would it be possible to add 2 square side panels to the right of the story where authors can add characters names and thumbnails that when hoover over it will show a tool-tip showing that character Bio or it could also just flip the image and show the Bio “kind of” like what google does when you search for a show cast, but also show a bigger picture on the bottom side panel.

I was thinking maybe adding a tag or something after the end of the story that would not show up on the main story panel but would let you know that the information after that line is the info and picture links for character Bios for the right side panels, that is if the authors want to include it but wouldn’t be mandatory and if not would just show up blank or even better would be to not show the side panel if the info is not provided by the author.

I believe this will help long and multi chapter stories the most but it would be nice to have a picture of a character when available even on a short story.

thanks in advance and thanks for the great work you do on the site.

Wow, that’s one elaborate request… And I’m not sure how many authors would actually use it.

For a big story, something like a (visual) novel, this would certainly make sense, but most stories on the site are quite short and, I daresay, more focused on the ‘action’ and less on the characters.

But, I’ll consider everything for which there’s sufficient demand. So if you agree with this suggestion, please let us know here!

Right now, I’m quite busy with my new motorbike (a KTM SuperDuke 1290-R, in case anyone is wondering) and we’re having a wonderful summer this year. But I’m actually starting to look forward to work on the site again. I’m full of plans, so this fall I should finally get around to do some new stuff. I’ve got loads of things on my list.

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It’s an interesting idea but I think there are probably many things higher up on Martin’s to-do list. I don’t think I would personally use this feature in my stories.

If this site had lots of multi-chapter stories with strong character development, I’d say a side panel would be a novel idea. As it is, I think one of the general weaknesses of many stories here is that they don’t flesh out most of the characters (either by intention or neglience). Thus, having a side panel to clarify them seems superfluous. (I don’t mean to be snide, but in a good story, the character should be drawn in such a way that they are unforgettable. If you need a side panel to keep all the characters in mind, then the story probably has too many characters.)

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Also, this would be difficult to do well on mobile screens, which are what over 50% of visitors to the site use. It could be skipped if the screen is too small to show it, but if that’s over half the audience, it’s not really worth it, is it?

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Yeah, that’s another issue. I’d have to use some “slide-in” panel. And that sounds like a lot of work. But also something I’d love to implement :slight_smile: (I’m a sucker for these things). Still, there are so many other, more important features to do…

Martin, I bet if someone wanted to do a non-linear story, you could accommodate them. If one wanted to know more about the characters, one could click on the character’s name, and a new window would appear giving the character’s background story. Then for specific places or incidents in the story, the author could similarly supplement the narrative with these digressions (which would presumably add to the story).

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I often find myself scrolling up and down the screen or switching tabs when the author links pictures for the main characters. It’s not that I forget how they’re meant to look like but rather that I feel like the images are not fresh enough in my brain. I obviously don’t have the same issue when there are no pictures, which is the case for most of the stories.

It’s a very interesting idea. It’d be of some help for people who, like me, have to scroll up and down their screens or switch tabs that much, and it could potentially encourage some authors to add pictures to their stories. Still, as interesting as it is, I don’t find it essential. So if Martin finds the time to design it and create it, great. Otherwise, it will be fine. Stories will still be better or worse according to their narrative.

I’ve thought about it.

My solution would be a way to add a number of character descriptions (with an optional picture each). All occurences of that character (i.e. his name) in the story would be underlined. If the reader would hover his mouse over the name or touch it, a window with the description and picture would pop up.

What do you think?

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In general, when intended to supplement a story, I dislike pictures very much. I’ve always disliked porn because the pictures are so obviously fake, the models have no passion or interest in what they’re doing except admiring their physique. Men are not naturally shaped like someone who has ingested steroids (I smirk at knowing when they reach a certain age, use of steroids will curtail their quality of life and lifespan).

Of course, one could always choose to ignore the pics. But think for a moment of the cultures that prohibit images of some things: They make this prohibition in order to not restrain the mind from intellectually visualizing a concept. Once you assign an image to an idea, it hampers the idea. Keep that in mind.

I agree. Personally, I don’t like stories that include images and generally avoid them. I am skeptical of introducing new features that encourage the use of pictures.


It sounds perfect! Usually, the moment I’m trying to refresh how the author wanted me to picture the men he’s talking about is close to the moment he mentions his name, so that’d be great.


P.S. I understand why some people don’t like this practice. Adding a picture may feel almost like putting walls to the reader’s imagination. Fortunately, it’s the author’s choice to support their stories that way, and the reader’s to click on the links provided. As long as none of those are mandatory, I’m fine with it.