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First, The Realities of Fan Fiction

Technically, all fan fiction is an infringement of copyright due to its definition as derivative works. Whether or not you add a disclaimer does not alter the fact that you are playing in someone else's sandbox. Fortunately, the owners of said sandbox usually do not care very much about the world of fan fiction and, for the most part, turn a blind eye to it. Some authors have made formal requests to cease and desist and if this site were to ever receive such a request, of course we would abide by their wishes.

With this in mind, please note that fiction by Mercedes Lackey, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Anne Rice will not be hosted on Open Scrolls Archive.

Submission Guidelines

These are not as bad as you think since we have always been advocates of pushing the envelope when it comes to good storytelling. While there is always going to be a certain amount of reverence by the readers of any genre or fandom, this archive will try to be open-minded about most of the stories submitted. Authors are free to upload their work, which instantly appears on the archive, but all stories are subject to moderation at some point by the OSA team. The reason for this is simple; this archive wishes to reflect good quality fics. There is no problem with a story where Captain Kirk goes off to conquer the Klingon Empire or where Wash just damn well ducks, but a reasonably interesting plotline is expected and, in the case of PWP (Plot, What Plot?) stories, it should be written well.

Also, if KEWL is a word you use frequently in any fan fiction and the remainder of your writing style leans towards more of the same, this archive is not for you.

With no exceptions:

  1. All fan fiction here is based on the characters and situations described in the selected fandoms and categories. Here are some questions authors should ask themselves to assess this:
    • Is the fic based on, or expands on the original work, characters or situations?
    • Is your fic based more on fandom or fanon than the original work?
    • Does fic do more than have a character named (insert hawtie here) in it?
    • Could your Haldir, for example, just as well be named Legolas, or Orophin, or Joe?
    • Is this fic really about the OFC? Does that OFC have a place in the fic's 'verse, however fish-out-of-water?
    • If your canon character is in our world - what about their essential character will add to, explore, or expand on that world or situation?

    We sometimes come across stories labelled LotR and that may contain one or two elvish-sounding names and that is where the resemblance ends. Please, remember that even AU stories have their basis in canon as a starting point. If you find, for whatever reason, your story turns out to be, say, 'Tolkienesque' or 'Tolkien-inspired' at best, label them as such in your author's note or summary.

  2. As this is a het archive, obviously no slash is permitted. (We cannot seem to stress this enough.)
  3. Stories not involving partnerships (i.e. neither "het" nor "slash") are welcomed, as long as they abide by the guidelines. This is not just a home for smut, you know.
  4. All pairings are permitted, no matter how odd, as long as they are male/female and do not go into bestiality or paedophilia.
  5. All stories must be spell-checked, and written with the use of proper grammar and narrative. We do recommend you get a beta-reader as MSWord's spellchecker certainly does not catch everything. Good formatting is also essential. Use the 'Preview' and 'Reformat' tools the archive provides.
  6. Unless necessary for dramatic storytelling, all stories should be written in the past tense. No stories shall be written in script format. It does not offer a proper narrative. The stories on Open Scrolls should read like a book.
  7. If quotes or references from another source are used, credit to the original author should be given at the beginning or the end of the story.
  8. If your story contains elements that some readers might find offensive, WARNINGS are necessary. Please, see Warnings below.
  9. There will be NO
    • Real People Fanfics (RPFs, RPSs) - Actors from movies or TV series have no relation to the fictional characters they portray therefore have no place on this archive.
    • Adult sex with a minor - Any kind of sex between adults and underaged children will not be tolerated. Depiction of, say, Hermione/Snape sex is considered to be paedophilia and will be immediately deleted. We will permit same age sex, provided the characters are above the age of consent - and for Open Scrolls this means 15 years old. However, we do recognise that cultural differences may vary in terms of these so please ensure that if you must refer to underaged sex, keep the description to a PG rating or put a warning.
    • Mystery Science Theatre (MSTs) - These stories are not conducive to the spirit of this archive. Since they are comments using someone else's hard work, good or bad, we prefer that they be not archived here.
    • Chat Room Fanfics - These are not stories with a clear narrative and are better suited for archiving elsewhere.
    • Lists/Bloopers - Same reason as above. More substance is required.
    • Game Show Fanfics - Because Wheel of Fortune has no place in Middle-earth.
    • Song Parodies - This is a story archive, not MTV. Seriously, if you have an original poem, we have a special area for it.
    • Parodies - There will be no story parodies where canon characters are twisted so out of their original concept that they are virtually unrecognisable. This archive intends to maintain the spirit of the creator's original work. No one needs to see Starbuck turned into a dancing ballerina. We don't care how funny it is supposed to be, and calling it AU does not cut it either.
    • MPREG (Male Pregnancy) - Somehow reading about Batman carrying Joker's love child is just wrong.

Warnings

There are elements that can be disturbing for some. The use of warnings will help guide members in their reading choices. It protects both authors and readers so pay attention.

Warnings should be provided for:

  • Non-Consensual Sexual Situations: Where consent is a grey area.
  • Rape: Consummated sex that is fully against one character's will.
  • BDSM: Covers bondage/discipline and sadomasochism. Generally it implies that the sex is consensual, though, unless you add a non-con warning as well.
  • Graphic Violence: You'd only need this if the violence in your fic were very intense, explicit and disturbing.
  • Character Death (if non-canon): For example, you obviously don't need to warn people that Wesley dies. If they don't already know that, we'll have a word with them. *g* But if you're going to snuff Connor (come on you know you want to), you may want to give a warning ahead of time!
  • Incest: Not everyone wants to know how Simon and River first played doctor together.

Ratings

  • G - No strong language, no violence and nothing more than kissing (and innocent kissing at that).
  • PG - More or less the same as the above except sex is Mills and Boons/Harlequin style, implied. May contain the occasional swear word.
  • PG-13 - Sexual thoughts and some sexual intensity but no actual scene. This can also contain strong language and non-sexual violence.
  • R - Full sex scenes are not explicitly detailed. Also covers all levels of violence and language.
  • NC-I7 - Explicit sex in hopefully rich and textured detail.

Mary Sue, Marty Stu and Original Characters (OCs)

  • The OC should not interfere with the canon characters' basic personalities (i.e. the canon characters should not go OOC (Out Of Character) simply because of the original character's presence). For example, do not have Clark Kent (or anyone else) turn into an evil rapist just because the OC is so damn irresistible.
  • The OC should not dominate the fan fic to the extent that all other canon characters become non-existent.
  • The OC should have plausible powers and attributes. There must be good canonical explanations for any powers/hair colour/traits that your OC has.
  • The OC must have a solid background. That's not to say you have to spend an eternity describing the OCs childhood - however, the OCs background information (i.e. name, race, family, appearance) should fit with the universe you are writing in. Do not invent new family members of existing characters unless the canon is vague on their ancestry. Mr. Spock does not have a daughter and Bruce Wayne does not have a sister.
  • The OC should be realistic and have depth to his/her character. An OC that is too perfect, or has too many powers is neither believable nor fun to read about.
  • OCs should not cause plot holes. Whatever adventure they get embroiled in - make it reasonable. If the OC has to join the heroes' adventure, please come up with a plausible reason why. Jack O'Neill wouldn't just take a 15 year old on an off-world mission for the hell of it.
  • While it is interesting to have an OC with a detailed background, please try to limit the device of having her abused, raped, sold into slavery, etc. Not only have these been done to death but, after a time, strain credibility when an OC is subjected to so much abuse and then rises to the occasion instead of being a gibbering wreck.
  • Modern Age OCs - If the OC should originate from a universe other than the fandom you are writing in (e.g. from our modern world into Rome, Serenity or Star Wars), make it an integral plot element, not simply an author's device to get yourselves into the story. Also if same OC should enter that universe with prior knowledge of it (like, say, enter the Matrix and telling Neo how it all ends), it is imperative that this be used as a plot element and done plausibly, and that the consequences, good and bad, intended and unintended, are shown in the story. In short, if you are going the 'Girl Falls Into M-E' route, make sure that some part of the story, if not all, somehow hinges on either the OC's arrival or her prior knowledge of that universe (or both) to make your story work. Open Scrolls strives for quality and anything as big a plot point as this remaining unexplained would reek of nothing but LAZY PLOTTING and will not be accepted. In the same token, the OC should not be able to speak the language *instantly* unless there is a plausible explanation for it. Remember that Klingon is not English and a Modern Age OC could not possibly learn Sindarin in three hours.

Non-Fiction

  • This includes articles, comments, essays and reference information. Currently, this section is only opened for the works of JRR Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings fandom.
  • The non-fiction category will permit the discussion of all topics of any rating.
  • Works including controversial subject matter, such as slash, will be clearly marked (i.e. Warning: References to slash).

Song Fics

The fic must contain a story with proper narrative. While the lyrics of a song may reflect the spirit of the fic, the fic itself should be able to stand alone. The entirety of the fic should not be lyrics alone. Should the lyrics be the work of another source (i.e. Narnia or Shania Twain), please make note of it in the headers or in a footnote. Let's give credit where credit is due, folks. If the lyrics are interspaced throughout the entire fic, then the credit should be made once at the beginning or the end of the fic only. It is not necessary for every chapter.

Based on a Role Playing Game (RPG)

While this archive accepts works originating from RPGs (Role Playing Games), it should have the following:

  1. The work should allow or be altered to allow non-members of the RPG to follow the story's narrative.
  2. In absence of a complete rewrite of the work where necessary, then an explanation or a summary of the RPG's premise as well as some sense of where and when the story takes place within the game's timeline should accompany the story in an author's note at the beginning.
  3. Writing a character in an RPG does not mean that the author is not bound by the constraints of canon. Even if you write Boromir having survived Parth Galen and embarking on ensuing adventures after the War of the Rings or some other scenario, the man does not get turned into an evil rapist, acrobat or clown. If so, then why bother writing the character at all? You should be creating a new one and giving him another name.
  4. In the case of self-insertions, please remember that the same rules for Mary Sues apply. And be careful of those modern expressions. If we see one "Wow, Achilles, you are so totally cool!", the story will be deleted.

Alternate Universe (AU)

When writing AUs please ensure that your changes are intentional alterations of canonical plot or characters, usually stated in an author's note at the beginning of a story, and not a blatant attempt to completely disregard the source material. While it is acceptable for some things to be altered, say for instance a 'what if Jean Grey didn't die at Alcatraz' story, a fic that has Superman running off to join the Temptations to be their lead singer is not.

The archive may not host works of slash but we cannot ignore its existence in the fandom. Thoughtful articles investigating this genre as well as others are welcomed on this archive.

And on with the show...

Submission Guidelines based on those of (the late) Hidden Archives of Middle-Earth and the Library of Moria, used with permission.