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The Fan Fiction Rules - Read Me~

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Psychic, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. Blackjack Gabbiani

    Blackjack Gabbiani Clearly we're great!

    Is there a way to turn the swear filter off in this section? It really hampers some of what I try to post.
  2. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    According to bobandbill, Serebii doesn't think it's possible to disable the filter for a single forum. Because the default font size is 4, you can use size tags to wrap one of the letters in a swear word to get around the censor but have the word render correctly. Like this:

  3. Marika_CZ

    Marika_CZ Well-Known Member

    Good to know haha. I will need this myself. Thanks~
  4. The Walrein

    The Walrein Well-Known Member

    I have a question about this section: What counts as a "scripted fic"? Is it literally anything in the format:

    Character A: Dialogue.

    Character B: Response to dialogue.

    Character A: More dialogue.

    Or are there are other criteria for deciding whether or not something counts as script-fic? For instance, I assume that the "Production Roundtable" segments of Guidance (here and here) aren't being counted as script-fic for the purpose of these rules, even though they're in the above format. Is it because they count as 'epistolary fiction' instead, because they could plausibly be in-universe transcriptions of the described meetings? Or is it because the only important thing going on in the meetings is the character dialogue, so the 'pure alternating dialogue' format is acceptable in this case as opposed to the stereotypical script-fic which uses the format for the entire narrative, including scenes which are ill-suited to it like action scenes or scenes where the characters are exploring a new environment?

    It seems that Humans of Hoenn also doesn't run afoul of the rule, despite the text portion of it being mostly alternating lines of pure dialogue. Would an 'interview fic' in the same format, sans images, also not be considered 'script-fic'?

    Would say, something like a philosophical dialogue between a Team Plasma supporter and a Team Plasma opponent in the style of Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (which consists almost entirely of a conversation between three characters in the format listed above, modulo the inclusion of a few diagrams and pictures) be considered script-fic? I don't think something like that would be improved by adding 'stage direction' to it, since the focus is entirely on the ideas being communicated in the dialogue, and doing things like describing the coffee shop where the dialogue is taking place would just distract from that.

    Also, what is the purpose of the "fics cannot be written half in script form and half in prose" rule? I'm assuming it's to prevent confusion occurring when different formats are mixed together in a sloppy manner, but as written it seems to rule out the use of mixing the formats as part of potentially interesting literary devices. For example, consider a story about a man who keeps receiving portions of a screenplay which seem to accurately describe his current life, but present him as a (stupid, cruel) minor character in a bizarre horror story who's ignorant of the supernatural conspiracies and cults swirling around him. It might be interesting for the story to alternate between chapters from the screenplay and prose chapters of the man trying to figure out what's going on.

    Actually, to be honest, I'm not sure why 'stage-direction-free' scripted fic is banned at all. I don't think it's controversial that a skilled author can communicate characters' emotions and tone-of-voice with dialogue alone. And it's challenging, but I believe still doable, to also hint at setting details and what actions the characters are taking using only dialogue as well. Including a rule saying that any 'script-format' fic has to have stage direction to me seems to hamstring fics done in that format, and chip away at their very reason for being. Presumably the whole reason you'd want to write a story like that is to experiment with what can be done in fiction using only dialogue, and having a rule saying descriptions of character actions and such has to be added in to me feels like having a rule that any poem posted to the forums must have at least one line in every stanza that doesn't rhyme with any of the other lines.

    It's true that 'pure-dialogue' stories can be written in a lazy and unskilled manner, but isn't this true of prose format stories as well, or indeed any type of story? Then there are some other categories of fiction, like songfic and drabbles, which I feel are also associated with being unskilled and low-quality, but which are not subject to any special restrictions like scripted-fics are, nor are they mentioned as being specifically discouraged. Singling out script-fic to me seems arbitrary. Writing a story using only scenery description and nothing else is also challenging, but that isn't banned or mentioned as being discouraged. Epistolary fiction in the format of letters between different characters can also be difficult to do well, but that too isn't banned or discouraged.

    Overall, I feel like any good this rule might do in discouraging amateur authors from posting stories which fall into a particular failure-mode of lazy writing is outweighed by its potential to discourage truly creative and experimental forms of storytelling.
  5. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me

    I don't think you're taking the script rule in the spirit in which it's intended. If you have genuine artistic reasons for presenting something in a pure-dialogue pseudo-script format, nobody's going to close your story for it or get on your case for not having stage directions. Just like sometimes there are valid artistic reasons to write a huge block paragraph that's a single run-on sentence, but it's pretty easy to tell the difference between that and somebody who's written their entire story in a huge block paragraph because they don't understand how paragraphing works, there's generally a pretty obvious difference between script that's script because it's a well thought-out formatting choice by the author and the sort of lazy script format used as a crutch by beginning writers who don't want to have to write narration. Sometimes using incorrect spelling and grammar is also a legitimate artistic choice, but in general, stories should still use proper spelling and grammar.

    There is a rule banning script, and not other common forms of low-effort writing, because we used to get a significant number of those sorts of obviously lazy, low-effort stories written in script format; I'm sure there'd be a similar rule for songfic if we'd had an epidemic of low-effort songfic, but as it happens I remember seeing like... two songfics on the forums ever. Likewise, we haven't had a problem with low-quality drabbles filling the forum.

    The rules need a rewrite in general, something that's been on the agenda for a long time now, and all these sorts of rules will probably be reconsidered, but rest assured that if you're able to argue for the specific merits of using a scriptlike format for something in particular, it's already fine.
  6. Molag Bal

    Molag Bal It's evolution, baby.

    What's the policy on fade-to-black sex scenes in fan-fics?
  7. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me

    Fading to black, or otherwise implying sex happens, is fine. If you'd see it in a PG-13 movie, it's fine in a fic. If it's starting to get into more risque territory, you'll need to get it approved by a mod, so that we can verify that it's done tastefully. Graphic details of body parts or the act itself are not allowed, nor is anything obviously written to be titillating even if it's not sexually graphic per se.
  8. gwen-watson

    gwen-watson A Marvel Baby

    Sorry to bump the thread, but I've got a question and I don't want to post a fic and get into trouble with the mods.

    So, I posted a fic here back in 2006, when I was much younger and under a different username. Fast forward to now, I'm a forgetful moron who forgot my password to my old account and therefore made this one. I would actually like to rewrite my old fanfic on here. But again, I was under a different name. I would like to post the rewrite, but I don't want to step on any toes.

    Would I be in trouble if I posted the fic I wrote years ago under a different username? If there's any confirmation I can provide I will definitely try.
  9. bobandbill

    bobandbill Winning Smile Staff Member Super Mod

    Apologies for the delay!

    If you are clear under which account you originally posted the story on in the OP, that'd be fine. In future do try forgot password issues or reach out to admins who can always reset passwords/emails for you.
    gwen-watson likes this.
  10. LucarioIsMegaEvolving

    LucarioIsMegaEvolving A single misplaced step

    Sorry to bump this thread, but I have a question regarding whether or not something counts as fanfiction, and I didn't know where to ask it.

    It's a Pokémon Mystery Dungeon crossover with Undertale, and the medium in which I've chosen to tell the story is a sprite comic, which seems to fall under neither fan art nor fanfiction. It seems closer to fanfiction, which is why I'm asking here, but I'm unsure where I would post it. It is made to look like screenshots from a PMD game and would link to Imgur for the panels. It's possible that it wouldn't even fall under either category and would just go against the site's rules, which I would understand due to it being an unorthodox medium. But I would like to post it on here if possible, so I'm asking regardless.
  11. Kutie Pie

    Kutie Pie "It is my destiny."

    LucarioIsMegaEvolving likes this.

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