Italics are reserved for OOC chat when it is possible. The \\ is also used as in some places like TeamSpeak chat, it isn’t possible to write in italics. Of course, in an OOC forum, neither is required.
I think the short stories would be fine in the Character Backstories forum. You could begin a new topic titled “Stories by Blaze” or something and just keep adding the stories so that they are all gathered together. The original short stories posted in the data stream was an old method I tried which didn’t quite work out. Basically, it was using the blog in wordpress to post the stories. I have been thinking about how to change the data stream, and will likely update it with a link to the character back stories.
I have been thinking about personal logs too. For those posting them regularly, I was considering two options – making a dedicated forum for each person, or suggesting everyone posts in one topic thread (like the character backstories. Neither is perfect though – one topic restricts replies being made to a particular log, a dedicated forum for each person doesn’t seem necessary. I am still trying to think up alternative solutions, which includes looking in to user permissions and pages on the site.