The Most important RulesEdit
While the nature of writing about fictional works requires a certain amount of flexibility, ad hoc decision making, and some policies may be subject to change, we have two cardinal rules we observe here:
When writing articles about the characters or events of a work, write in past-tense, and in-universe.Edit
It's usually best to avoid references to our own timeline in an article. Jake Featherston doesn't know he's a functional equivalent of Adolf Hitler, and so addressing their similarities in the article is unnecessary. Obviously, there are instances where the characters involved in the story are somehow aware that there are multiple timelines (e.g., the Crosstime Traffic series), and so comparisons in the article make some sense.
However, that is not to say comparisons with OTL are unwelcome; just refrain from using them in the "historical analysis" portion of the article. Instead, save them for a separate section at the end of the article, in a subsection of their own. In some cases, an article dedicated to comparing Turtledove's work to OTL might be warranted.
Stay within the parameters of what Turtledove actually put on the page!Edit
Don't worry about trying to fill in the gaps of knowledge that Turtledove inevitably leaves. If a person, place, or thing is fleetingly referenced, its enough to note the fleeting reference. For example, Peru is quickly referenced as being at war with its neighbors in the Southern Victory series. Obviously, there might be some actual historical basis for this alternate historical event, but including that information in an article is completely unnecessary, as it would be speculative, and the event's role in the overall series is quite narrow.
Speculation in articles is discouraged as a rule. All articles should be about people, places, and events at least mentioned (or described obliquely) in Harry Turtledove's work. However, Turtledove does not always fully describe the people and events that are peripheral, a certain level of speculation is tolerable if: 1) It has some factual basis in Turtledove's writing; and 2) It is needed to reconcile an inconsistency in Turtledove's work or otherwise produce a coherent article.
An excellent example is Franklin D. Roosevelt as he appears in Southern Victory. When he is first introduced, FDR is a member of a Democratic administration. However, for the remainder of the series, FDR is described as a lifelong Socialist. Turtledove never directly addresses this inconsistency, and so speculation is necessary for the article to work.
Keep it in your blog!!
Do not put fan fiction in articles. For example, Martin Luther King's role in In the Presence of Mine Enemies has no place in the article about King, as he was neither mentioned by name nor described in any way in that work. If you want to write a harrowing narrative about King's fight against the Nazis who occupied the U.S. after the Third World War, keep it in your blog.
Every character should have a template. In light of Turtledove's large body of work, we've created a story-specific template system. Novels and series have their own set of templates for fictional and historical characters. For short stories, we have a "short story character" template.
The complete character templates may be found here.
Creating Articles for historical figuresEdit
When should I add one?Edit
Given the importance of historical fiction and historical figures to Turtledove's work, we tend to prefer creating articles about historical figures. Obviously, people who appear in a given work, either as a major or minor character, should be given an article. Historical people who don't appear on-stage, but who are referenced and are alive at the time of the work's setting should also get articles.
Historical figures who are deceased at the time of the story's setting and are referenced are trickier, especially if those people died before the Point of Divergence. If that posthumous reference reveals something about the history since the POD, or the culture, politics, etc. of the world after the POD, then an article may be warranted. For example, George Washington has never appeared directly as a character in a single Turtledove work. However, an article has been created because of various posthumous references that were important to their respective works. Washington is a subject of the titular painting in The Two Georges. That painting and Washington himself are both important symbols to the historical background of the novel.
If, however, the only reference to Washington in any work was a passing reference to his status as the first President of the United States, then an article probably would not have been worth creating, as this information is consistent with OTL, and would not reveal much about the world and the people Turtledove had created.
How do I format the article once I decided to create it?Edit
When adding information for a historical character who appears in unrelated works, separate that information using appropriate sub-headings. See model entry, or for example, Abraham Lincoln. To limit confusion to new visitors, its best to begin the article with a brief sketch of the historical figure's biography. It needn't be a complete survey of that person's life, merely the highlights of why that person is remembered/important to our history.
Subsections should be created for each fictional work the historical figure appears in, or at least plays a noteworthy role in. Those subsections should be organized based on the Point of Divergence, with the most recent POD on top, and the oldest POD at the bottom. Using Abraham Lincoln as an example: Lincoln appears in, among other works, The Guns of the South (POD: January 17, 1864) and the Southern Victory series (POD: September 10, 1862). As The Guns of the South has a more recent POD, the subsection should be placed before the Southern Victory subsection.
Links can be made to specific subsections of articles. This is especially useful with Historical Figures and geography generally. For example, a link to Abraham Lincoln in Southern Victory would look like this: [[Abraham Lincoln#Abraham Lincoln in Southern Victory|Abraham Lincoln]].
When creating new categories, it's best to first consider how many articles might actually be listed in that category. Usually, a category should have at least three articles to start, but that is not a hard and fast rule.
All series should have their own categories, as should stand alone novels and short stories.
Subcategories for characters should be created in most instances. See the Characters category for a list of categories that apply to characters, including nationality, religion, profession, etc. Not all of Harry Turtledove's short stories embrace many characters. Some may have one or two. In those instances, a subcategory is probably unnecessary.
Geography may be divided by continent, country, state/province, or city.