Big thanks to purple_drake for looking over this and giving some suggestions.
Reading these rules is absolutely vital because they are very specific regarding what you can and can not post. Your thread will likely be closed if you don't read these. These rules are also subject to be edited as necessary, so be sure to stay up-to-date.
What is Fan Fiction? Fan Fiction, or a “fic,” is a story or any piece or writing that is based off a fandom: an animé, manga, book, comic, game, video game, movie or TV show. These are stories using the characters or worlds of these universes. “Fan Fiction” = you the fan are writing fiction based off a fandom.
If what you have written doesn’t fit the above criteria, then either read on for more information or see if what you have made belongs in a different section. There are multiple sub-forums with varying uses.
If you see a fic breaking any of these rules, use the Report button on the bottom left-hand corner of the post to inform a Moderator- it is the Moderators’ jobs to deal with rule-breakers. The best way to help out is to inform someone, as mini-Modding (acting like a Mod) is not allowed. You can also contact a Mod if you have any questions or comments.
Breaking these rules has consequences, so please try to stay on top of them. If you don’t understand something, be sure to reread it and feel free to ask a Moderator for clarification. We're happy to answer your questions. :>
THE RULES OF THE FAN FICTION FORUM
Please note that all other SPPf Forum Rules still apply here.
1) Post in the right section.
Know what each section in this area is for so you post in the right place.
Fan Fiction: Pokémon stories and Pokémon crossover fics belong in the general Fan Fiction section. Basically, if the story is mainly about Pokémon, stick it here.
The Author’s Café: A place where all the writers here at SPPf can come to chat and discuss different topics related to stories and story-writing. There’s a thread for just about every topic or need a writer may have. Anyone can come to share their ideas, debate interesting topics or even post previews for upcoming fics. Someone is always willing to listen and provide help, insight or an opinion to debate here!
Completed Fics: Once you are satisfied that the story you posted here is complete and there’s nothing more to do to it, it can be moved into and archived in this forum. If you feel that your fic is done, PM a Mod and ask them to move it here. You cannot post in any Completed Fics.
Non-Pokémon Fics: If a story doesn’t contain Pokémon or anything affiliated with it, it belongs here. Whether it’s based off another fandom or if it is original, this is where it goes. It should be noted, however, that if it’s a fic based off another fandom you have to state that it is, such as if it’s a fic about Harry Potter, or Fred and George Weasley opening a business, or even a made-up character living at Hogwarts, then in the first post you must state that it is a Harry Potter fic.
Shipping Fics: This section is actually within the Shipping Community forum. “Shipping” is pairing of characters together to have a romantic relationship. Any fic that centers mainly around a ship belongs over here.
If you realize that you have accidentally posted in the wrong section, please PM a Fan Fiction Mod and ask them to move your thread.
2) Only post your own works.
Do not post your a story written by your friend, or your sibling, or anyone else, even if they give you permission. Do not post any story other than your own. If your friend wants their story posted, they should do it themselves.
Collaborations (collabs) – stories co-written by more than one person – are allowed as long as all the authors give their consent to have it posted and are credited properly. Not all authors have to be forum members, in which case a means of communicating with them should be provided.
3) Plagiarism = Ban.
Taking something that another person made and claiming it as your own is stealing. It will result in a two-month ban. A permanent ban will follow if it happens again. This is not for debate and we do not give warnings.
It doesn’t matter if only a paragraph was stolen, it doesn’t matter if it was edited, it doesn’t matter when it was stolen, it doesn’t matter how many people were stolen from or if multiple people stole from the same person. Forgetting to give credit is one thing; stealing something that was not written by you is another. There are no excuses; if you steal at school you get expelled, so if you steal on this forum you get banned. You are expected to know this from the start.
If you feel a work has been stolen or used by someone else in any way, PM a Mod with a link to the fic as well as the original (wherever it’s from) and we will handle the rest.
4) Rate it and keep it appropriate.
Always be sure to rate your fic based on its contents. Ratings belong in the title or the first post of your fic thread and indicate what readers can expect in regards to mature themes, violence, gore, sexual content and strong language/swearing. If one chapter requires a higher rating than other chapters, please clearly state the new rating at the beginning. Evading the swear filter is allowed within the context of a story.
The basic rating system:
G: Suitable for all ages, like the Pokémon animé. You won’t have much of even the most basic swearing or violence in a G-rated story. The most you will really see here is light kissing, fighting without blood and the rare use of “hell” or “damn.”
PG: Signifies that some aspects may not be suitable for younger audiences. Mild swearing and romance are fine, but violence is toned down, and there won’t be many mature or controversial subjects.
PG-13/14/15: Likely to contain frequent or semi-frequent profanity and scenes of violence and sexuality that are probably inappropriate for audiences not in their teens. Violence can be more detailed and gory, and romance can be more mature. Really intense topics won’t be present, but controversial and more mature themes can be.
R: This is the highest allowed rating on the forums and must be approved by a Moderator for the fic to be posted. Will include themes intended for adults, more graphic violence, frequent use of profanity, implied sexuality/sex, drug/alcohol use and so on. R generally (but not necessarily) has more and harsher language. Detailed violence may be present, but never detailed sex.
NC-17: Basically a more intense R. This applies to stories with the harshest language, most brutal violence, profane themes, descriptive nudity, fetishes, and sex. Note that any Fan Fiction with this content is NOT allowed on the forums.
While we allow most topics in fics, nothing should go above an R-rating. R-rated fics must be PMed to a Mod to be approved before posting, or they will be closed. Keep in mind that we are a child-friendly forum, so not all R fics may be allowed, either.
In terms of sexual content in fics, if it's descriptive or fetishized, it doesn't belong here.
5) The first post must not be empty.
The first post of any fic thread must contain one of the following:
the first chapter
a short story (aka a One-Shot)
whatever other kind of writing you are posting (a poem, songfic, etc)
If it does not contain one (and only one – see Rule 8) of these, the thread will be automatically locked. See Rule 9 for definitions.
All or a part of your story must be in this first post. You can NOT link to your fic on another site, only post character biographies, only give a summary/introduction, or say “I will post my fic later.” These threads will be instantly closed.
Similarly, you must post all of the chapter in one go and NOT IN PARTS. You can not write up half the chapter and edit in the rest later. The exception is if you can not fit an entire chapter on a single post because your chapter is too long to fit in one post.
6) Stories must be of the proper quality.
If you're posting online, you're expected to use proper spelling and grammar. Otherwise the thread will be locked immediately. If it is readable but still below an average quality level, you will be warned and told to make improvements. These improvements must show in your next chapter, and anything with poor quality edited. If no changes are made, the thread will be locked.
All fics MUST be written on Microsoft Word or a similar word processing program, or at least run through something like http://www.spellcheck.net/ if you have no such program. This will help you find and fix most, if not all the small spelling or grammar mistakes you may make without realizing it (it happens to the best of us). You should not have mistakes the above programs can easily fix.
This also means that proofreading is essential. Proofread your fic at least twice before posting it; often you can pick up your own mistakes which the program you’re using won't always find. You’d be surprised to see how many things you can fix the second time you look at your work.
English not being your first language isn't an excuse for low quality. Your fic will still be closed for poor grammar/spelling. Fics written in languages other than English are allowed, but all rules still apply.
All chapters also must have the proper paragraphing. Remember: a new paragraph begins every time a new person speaks or a new topic is discussed. Press the Enter button twice when starting a new paragraph (to skip one line since we can’t indent; it’s difficult to read otherwise). Chapters consisting solely of large blocks of text or short lines of dialogue do not make for a good-quality story.
Any stories that contain images or smilies (such as and ) instead of text will be closed immediately. If you wish to include pictures they should be in the author’s notes at the beginning or end of the chapter. Pictures do not replace words.
We also ask that you do not change the color or font size (except for headings) of your text. It may make your story harder to read, especially for those using different forum skins.
7) Stories must be of the proper length.
While there is technically no minimum on length for One-Shots and prologues, all chapters must be an absolute minimum of TWO PAGES long on Microsoft Word, Arial font, size 12. Exceptions may be made if the chapter is exceptionally well-written and gets the job done.
Chapters are generally recommended to be at least three or four pages long or more. If they’re shorter, you don’t leave room for very much to happen. If your fic was a television show, each chapter would be like a half hour-long episode: long enough that something actually happens and short enough that it’s not tediously long or boring.
8) One chapter per post.
Only one chapter can be in a post, meaning no post should contain multiple. One post = one chapter. The prologue and first chapter should not be in the same post unless the prologue is really short and would stand better with the first chapter. If they can stand alone just fine you may be asked to separate them.
Two chapters can be posted in a row – just not in the same post. For example:
You post chapter three. Nobody replies to it. You can then post chapter four, even though it is technically double posting; here it is allowed (see Rule 12). Please do not delete chapter three and then post it again a month later just to bump the thread - we can see if you do this. Do not complain about a lack of replies.
9) Types of Stories.
Most forms of writing are allowed here. The following are acceptable, though sometimes only to a certain extent. Please note that just because you've written something doesn't instantly make it suitable for posting. If it’s rushed or written for a cheap laugh and it shows, think twice before posting it for all to see.
Chapter Fics: Basically written the same way a novel would be: with chapters. Chapter fics contain the following:
Chapters: There’s no limit on how many chapters a fic can have. Remember that when deciding on the length of a chapter you should aim to make it the equivalent length of an episode of a television show. The recommended length for these is at least 3 pages on Microsoft Word. The ABSOLUTE MINIMUM length for a chapter is two pages. Anything under is likely too short to have enough happening in it or much effort put into it and can get your fic closed.
The Prologue: Comes before the first chapter. Generally, a prologue will not take place during the same time/place as the rest of the fic, instead setting up background. The goal of the prologue to get a reader excited and interested in the upcoming story, to whet their appetite so they’ll want to continue reading. Keep in mind that though prologues are popular, they are not mandatory.
The recommended length for a prologue is about a page in Microsoft Word, though going under or over is fine. If you write a really small, short prologue to convey a the scene and background that’s pretty useless on its own, you might on occasion be able to post the prologue and the first chapter in the same post, but if it can stand on its own then it’s unnecessary.
One-Shots: A One-Shot is merely a short story that can not be divided up into chapters. These can be of any length, so they may be on the short side, but not ridiculously short. It’s also fine if it doesn’t all fit on one post (and you can even divide it into a Part One and Part Two if necessary, making it what some call a Two-Shot).
Scripts: The format plays and screenplays are written to instruct actors. No scripted fics are allowed unless they are properly written scripts. This means they include details on the setting, characters’ emotions/tone of voice, and stage direction.
Scripts are generally discouraged here, as a lot of people write them out of laziness, and it shows. These are one of the hardest types of stories to pull off well, as scripts are not meant to be read, but performed by actors. Fics can not be written half in script form and half in prose - your format must be consistent. We know when it's being done out of laziness.
Here is a quick, random, short example of how a basic script should look. No stealing.
Spoiler:- Example by Psychic:
A dark city street late at night, devoid of cars or passers-by. The street lights illuminate the sidewalk dimly. One flickers on and off sporadically, causing shadows shift and dance. A man with gray, dishevelled hair and a wrinkled face in a long brown coat appears, walking quickly down the street. He has a proud air about him, and a Breloom with weary eyes and wrinkled skin walks by his side. There is a slight chill and the man pulls his jacket closer to his body. He is holding a small paper bag in one hand.
Alexander: (To the Breloom.) Come on, Brin, hurry it up. The food’s gonna be cold by the time we get home at this rate!
Brin: Breloom, bre?
Alexander: Yes, we could have taken the car had somebody not released a Poisonpowder in it last week! Who did you say we the one getting senile, again?
Brin: Bre-loom! Bre-bre loom! (Crossing his arms.)
Alexander: Oh, put a sock in it, you overgrown mushroom, and just concentrate on walking!
(A woman dressed in black, her ice-blue hair twisted into two braids with a cap casting a shadow over her face appears at the end of the block. A Glaceon stands firmly by her side. Both appear motionless.)
Alexander: Hm? What’s this?
Team Rocket Agent: Hold it right there, old man.
Alexander: (Stopping, staring.) Who are you?
Team Rocket Agent: (Without emotion.) That is none of your concern. All you need know is that if you don’t hand over your wallet and all your Pokémon, you’ll regret it for the rest of your pitiful life.
Alexander: (Enraged.) Do you have any idea who you’re talking to?! I am the former Gym Leader of Dewford Town!
Team Rocket Agent: Exactly.
Alexander: (Smirks.) Fine. You have no idea what you just got yourself into, missy! Brin, get in there with a Mach Punch!
(Brin leaps forward to face the woman. Without even issuing a command, the Glaceon by her side strides forward, grinning maliciously. The Breloom dashes forward, red claws curled in preparation for a punch…)
Poetry: A poem can be any form, style or length. If you’re posting multiple poems, it might be best to just put them all in one "anthology" thread. Please ensure that you post in the right section.
Drabbles/Microfiction: A rather odd form of short fiction in which you basically try to keep the word count as low as possible, like 100 words, or under a page long for drabbles. Again, if you have many, it may be best to keep them all in one thread.
Songfics: A short story which is usually inspired by or related strongly to a song, which will sometimes include snippets of said song here or there.
You may include song lyrics, made-up or not, in any part of your fic, but please be sure to credit the artist at the beginning.
Song Lyrics: You may post lyrics you have written yourself, in which case just title it and put the lyrics below, as long as no plagiarism is involved. Feel free to rewrite the lyrics to a song or say if it's to the tune of a certain song, again giving credit where it is due.
Crossovers: Stories that includes multiple fandoms in one way or another. This can include a story where Ash Ketchum meets Harry Potter or having the Doctor Who and Star Wars worlds suddenly collide. Please clearly state what fandoms you are including at the beginning.
Humour Fiction: Also known as crackfics, these are done for laughs. These are not excuses for sloppy work. Humour in script-form is allowed, but all quality rules still apply.
Authors who write with the sole intention of berating or hurting another member or group of people will be punished. Friendly jabs and parodies are fine, but if someone will likely be offended by it, please think twice before posting.
10) Do not write a fic solely to insult or bash.
Fics written for the sole sake of insulting individuals, groups or ideologies will be closed and infractions will be issued. This includes racism, sexism, homophobia and so on. These can be themes in a fic; a character can be sexist if done tastefully and so on, however the fic is not allowed to exist for the sole purpose of bashing any person or group of people. Even if it is meant as a joke, if you believe that someone may possibly take offense to it, or people do take offense, it may be better to omit it.
11) The following posts are considered SPAM and will get you into trouble with the Mods:
–Any posts that are not talking about the fic itself. Chatting, unrelated questions and the like belong in VM or the Authors' Café.
–Posts that say nothing about the fic itself such as: “I like this fic!” “That was awesome!” “You’re a great writer!” These kinds of posts can be posted anywhere and don’t show that the poster even read the story. If a writer put in the effort to write a fic, the least you can do it type up a few lines’ reply.
–Posts asking about fic updates: “When will the next chapter be up?” “Are you almost done the next chapter?” They are rude, period.
–Posts that do nothing but bash the fic or writer: “This fic sucks!” “You’re an awful writer: never write anything ever again!” “I hate this fic!”
–Posts that contain nothing but a number rating without any sort of explanation for it: “I loved this! 9/10!” “This fic was not my favourite, so I give it a 2/5.” “This is the worst garbage I’ve ever read: -1000000/10!”
–Posts begging to add characters or make silly changes: “I’d like this more if you put Ash in it.” “Can you make the character catch an Absol in the next chapter?” “Can you put my character in it? He has red eyes and owns a Dragonite and Houndoom!” “This would be way better if you made May like Drew instead of Ash!”
Generally, a post in reply to a Fan Fiction thread should consist of:
What you liked and thought was well-done in the story
What you didn’t like and thought could have been better in the story
Tips on what the writer can to do to improve his/her writing for the future
These three points will help the writer improve his/her abilities and gain confidence to do so. However if you feel too unsure of yourself to critique, please ensure that you show at least evidence of you reading the written work; “I like this” could be posted on any thread without even reading the story, so it doesn't tell th writer anything about their own story. Such posts are considered SPAM and will get you into trouble, as people have done this in the past just to increase post-count. All you have to do is say something specific: “I liked this fic and my favourite part was the battle between Charizard and Rayquaza” or “the description could have been better, such as when you were describing Misty in Chapter Three” to show signs of actually reading it and to be helpful.
12) On Double-Posting and Bumping:
Double-Posting: The same person posting twice in a row. It is not allowed in accordance to the general Serebii Forum Rules. Use the Edit button instead.
Bumping: When a person posts in a thread that has not had a new post in thirty days. It is not allowed in accordance to the general Serebii Forum Rules.
There are exceptions to these rules, however.
Double Posting: Only the author may do this. If they posted a chapter of their fic and nobody has replied to it, then they are perfectly allowed to post the next chapter anyway. Updates and important information such as the author’s absence or decision to make a change to the fic may also be double-posted after a chapter or another update. Please do not abuse this. Also, if a chapter won't fit in just one post is it perfectly okay to put it in multiple posts back-to-back.
Bumping: If the author has a new chapter, it is fine for them to bump the thread even if the last post was from more than a month ago. (However, if it has been a very long time it may be wiser to restart it in a new thread and possibly rewriting or at least proofreading older chapters before posting). Deleting a chapter/the entire fic and reposting it to bump the thread is not okay.
If somebody wishes to comment on a fic that is more than a month old, so long as the post is not SPAMy like “this was great I loved it” then they may also do this. Be smart about it; again, if there has been no update in eight months, chances are it has been abandoned.
13) Reviewing and Critiquing versus Insulting and Flaming.
Reviewing: When a person goes through a story and points out not only the good things, but also the negative things in a polite and sensible way. This can include anything from pointing out a misspelling to indicating parts of the story that need more description to saying that the plot is not very original. A reviewer aims to help the author improve their story, as well as their general writing skills through explaining what could be better, why it could be better, and how it can be improved without being insulting. Basically, reviewing requires effort and is helpful.
Flaming: Blatantly insulting the author, the fic or anybody else. Generally seen as “you suck” or “your main character is stupid and I hate him,” a flamer usually won’t say anything positive or back up anything they say with reasons or ways to improve. “This sucks because fics about Ash and Misty/May/etc being in love are stupid” is not a subjective way to judge a story. Please report these posts to the Mods.
Not every post pointing out something bad is flaming and should not be interpreted as such. Ignoring every person who says something bad is silly because it may still be useful. (Even if it’s a flamer saying “the grammar sucks,” although it’s impolite they may br saying it for a reason: that your grammar needs improvement). Writers are not obligated to obey everything a reviewer says, but listening can do a world of good.
The author should note that not every bit of feedback will be positive and sugarcoated; you will receive a mixture of very harsh criticism, beat-around-the-bush advice and plain old praising. However, loving the good and ignoring the bad is generally not a wise idea. Doing so in excess will make other members upset or get you into trouble with the Mods.
14) Respect everyone.
This rule is really a no-brainer, and is easily one of the most important rules on this forum. Here’s the break-down.
Readers must respect writers
If you are reading someone’s fic, you are a reader. Everyone is allowed to read whatever fic they want and are encouraged to post their thoughts and opinions on the fic. This is what is expected of them:
be understanding of the writer: writers write because they enjoy it, not because it is their job, and they are not obligated to write for you or entertain you. Writers are people too: they have lives and things to do besides write a story
do not pester them to write faster, or ask them when the next chapter will come out for this reason
do not demand that they put a specific character into the story or that they make the changes you want in the story: it is THEIR story, not yours. If you want to see something, write it yourself
if you are a reader, it is always nice and courteous if you post saying that you are reading the fic, and say what you like, what you dislike and what you think can be better. Writers always like to hear that people are reading their stories, and it’s nice to let them know
Reviewers must respect writers
A reviewer is a person who reviews fics. A review is generally a post that goes into a bit more detail talking about the fic, stating what they liked and disliked, what was done well, what was not done well and what can be improved on in the future. This is what is expected of reviewers:
understand that not everyone takes reviews well for different reasons. In some cases, other members may misinterpret a review as a flame
therefore do not be incredibly harsh or be mean on purpose
do not flame or bash a writer in any way, shape or form for any reason
all comments should be backed up by evidence. For instance, if you say “your description was poor,” provide an example, explain how it was poor and what can be done to improve it
try to help the writer improve by pointing these things out and kindly offer advice on how to get better
do not expect a writer to completely change or improve overnight; this process is long and difficult for many, so reviewers should be patient and willing to still offer advice and help over time
Reviewers must respect reviewers
Not everyone has the same thoughts or opinions on something, so they may conflict in some cases.
be aware that two reviewers can say two totally different things and both can be right or both can be wrong
no reviewer should act like what they say is better than what another said (without good reason)
do not start flame wars because of disagreements or conflicting opinions
do not tell a writer to ignore another reviewer unless the reviewer has said something wrong, offered extremely bad advice, etc.
respect each other’s opinions and way or reviewing
Readers must respect reviewers
understand that reviewers are only trying to help the writer out and are not purposely trying to sound mean
do not tell a writer to ignore someone unless the reviewer has said something wrong or offered extremely bad advice (and so on)
Writers must respect reviewers
do not completely ignore reviews
if a review is more than ten sentences long, then it means that the reviewer really put in the time and effort to help you improve. It means they care!
reviewers go out of their way to help writers along and assist them so that they become better; they do not mean to insult or sound mean, so please do not accuse them of this
reviews are not flames and should not be interpreted as such
help the reviewer help you by listening, considering, learning and practicing
LISTEN to what a reviewer says, because just about everyone has something noteworthy to say that could help a writer improve their skills
CONSIDER what a reviewer says
try to LEARN from your reviews
PRACTICE what a reviewer says and see if it helps – it often does
out of courtesy, thank reviewers for putting in the time and effort to try to help you
15) Don’t be a know-it-all.
If you see a person or thread breaking the rules, do not just post to say “you are breaking the rules” or “go read the rules, you idiot.” Use the Report button, explain exactly what is wrong with the post and a Mod will handle it from there. It’s like replying to SPAM: telling a person that they're breaking the rules is, in itself, breaking the rules.
When in doubt, report it and a Mod will have a look and will judge it him or herself. Please note that there will be rare exceptions to the rules, so action may not always be taken.
Mods may choose not to act against a fic as there are exceptions to the rules. If you think a Mod made a bad call, don’t be afraid to send a PM politely explaining why; we don’t bite, and if a good case is made, we may reconsider our actions.
Feel free to make inquiries, ask for specifics or make suggestions for these rules. While we are more than willing to answer and help out members, please don't expect things to change just because you disagree with them.
Thank you for your time,
~Psychic and the Fan Fiction moderating team
Last edited by Psychic; 14th January 2013 at 2:03 PM.