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 Guide to Ratings

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Gwendolyn Felton
Founder/Drarry Lover
Founder/Drarry Lover
Gwendolyn Felton

Number of posts : 419
Age : 32
Location : Worthing, UK
Points :
100 / 100100 / 100

Registration date : 2008-04-06

PostSubject: Guide to Ratings   Mon Apr 07, 2008 3:31 am

Although this forum will allow all types of writing and all ratings, some readers/RPers do not want to read RPs with certain ratings.

We also understand that it may be hard to know exactly where the RP will go, but if you have a specific rating in mind, Post it in the RP thread title. If the RP has changed ratings, send a message to Ashlina and let her know. Please link the RP thread to me. I will NOT go searching for your RP to edit the rating.

Once you have posted your RP and have a RP partner for that specific thread, talk to each other and decide where you would like the RP to go. It is not required that it be decided as soon as you beging the RP but it may help knowing how far your RP partner is willing to take the RP.

*Note: I do not watch BtVS or AtS and am working to change the examples in the rules a bit to a more general topic. If anyone has any suggestions, please message me.

As far as ratings go:
((I nicked these from www.herringjousting.com and made it a bit more specific to RPing))

G- This should be reserved for the absolute zero level of controversy. No profanity whatsoever, no sexual situations whatsoever, no violence bigger than the shin-kicking incident in “Chosen” or talking about an incident that happened off-page, such as “Buffy had staked two vampires that night and was really angry to find she’d missed taping Seinfeld.” G, by the way, does not have to mean that a RP is boring, badly written, or written by junior high kids for junior high kids. Sadly, that stigma has gotten attached to the rating, and it’s really quite unfair.

PG- Again, many would argue this is the lowest possible rating for a fic that centers around BtVS or AtS simply because of the shows’ topic matter: demons, blood sucking, violence, and all that sort of thing. While personally I think that’s taking it a bit far (there are loads of violent creatures and situations in most children’s stories), it’s a defendable position and one I can respect. In that case, the guidelines for G apply here. However, PG fic can probably get away with a little low-scale swearing (damn and the like), some not-too-violent violence (actual fight scenes are possible as long as not a lot of gore is involved and they’re not the sole focus of the story), and there can be a little low-scale sexuality as well, though no actual sex or even overly-descriptive snuggling (Spike can wake up with Drusilla beside him, can give her a good evening kiss, but when the words tongue, groin, or aroused come into play, you’re not dealing with PG anymore).

PG-13- This is where it gets sticky. The line between PG and R is a vast territory and open to a wide variety of interpretations. Think of it this way. Picture a 13 year old. That would be a seventh or eighth grader usually. Now, don’t think of what seventh or eighth graders do or say or think they can read. Think of what would be considered acceptable reading material in a seventh grade literature class. Some of those “adult issues” might start to pop up. Language can get a bit coarser. Some sexuality could be discussed. However, you’re not going to see something like, say, The Great Gatsby being read in a seventh or eighth grade classroom in spite of the fact that the language is low key, there’s relatively little violence, and sex is hinted at but not shown. Why? It’s still considered inappropriate though the book would most likely NOT deserve an R rating. See the problem?

R- This one is even more difficult. The line between R and NC-17 is so thin that people really do use them interchangeably in many cases (which is where the highly confusing term “Hard R” comes in as well). When does a sex scene go from being R to NC-17? I have no idea. Seriously. As I said earlier, it’s almost impossible to write any sex scene without it automatically turning into what the film industry would call NC-17. Some people say that graphic violence that doesn’t cause death or that heals belongs here, but that’s arguable too, especially in a genre where many characters can heal from things that would kill people instantly. Some say one use of the f-word is enough to render a fic R even if absolutely nothing else happens. Others decree that the profanity has to be much more severe and repeated to hit this level. The idea of adult topics comes up too. Many readers would state that any treatment of rape deserves at least an R, though again, that’s arguable depending on what precisely the writer is describing (the reactions of the victim post-attack are one thing, while depictions of the actual attack are another entirely). Prostitution, drug use, underage drinking, and abuse are often resigned to this level or higher, but again, that’s arguable.


NC-17- Of all the ratings, this one is undoubtedly the most difficult. A huge slew of things can fall under the term NC-17 in fanfiction. Legitimate film work very rarely uses this rating, normally reserving it for pornography or highly unusual art films. Fanfiction uses it for so many things that it’s unbelievable. Generally speaking, roughly 40% of all fanfiction that I’ve run across rates itself at this level, and frankly, I don’t think it’s a particularly good term. It’s too big an umbrella. Take a look at what can fall under the NC-17 label.

Sexual situations form one thing. Now, anyone who’s read fanfic can tell you that not all sex is the same. There are the caring, loving, emotional sexual situations. You usually know when you’re reading this because you sort of smile. These can run a whole gamut of explicitness as well, from not very but still happening to nearly photographic, but it’s the tone that usually sets the mark for this kind of fiction. Whatever is happening is happening within the confines of love.

Of course, this is not the only kind of NC-17 that pops up. There are a lot of much darker aspects that can indeed fall under this banner. Rape is one (and personally I’ve always found the term non-con to be rather troubling. Non-consensual sex is rape. Period.). Torture. Bondage. Masochism. Sadism. Underage sex (which is only a problem in cannon Buffy characters with Dawn up through season six as there were no other major child characters). Incest. Angelus “playing” with his victims. Domination. Submission. Mutilation. All of those can come under the NC-17 banner. Most of those are usually light years away from the “love” sorts of sex that you would find with, say, a cannon-based Willow/Oz. Has the show touched on these topics? Absolutely. However, I’d argue that there are very different tones that can be used with these situations, and that each situation is very different.

For example, let’s look at rape. If you’re writing a story about Angelus, rape is almost certainly going to come up. The question is how it’s being described. Is it being looked at as a horrible, terrifying, deeply wrong act? Is it meant to portray the realistic feelings that a victim would go through? If so, the author is using the rape as a means of character development, and the graphic nature is more than likely included to underline the emotional severity and undercurrents of the scene and its ramifications. On the other hand, if the rape is being described in a way that makes it seem like a desirable activity, the overall image of the fic is going to be dramatically different.

Torture is a slightly different story in the Buffyverse than almost any other fandom. It’s pretty obvious that some vampire characters in particular regard violence as a fun means of foreplay and actively enjoy it. From a human perspective, that’s perverse, but they are wired differently. It’s obvious that Spike is ecstatic about Drusilla scratching open his face in “School Hard.” On the other hand, if a writer had Xander scratching open Anya’s face, the tone and intent are going to be drastically different. In the same vein (no pun intended), I’ve read some vampire-torture things that go way beyond a little blood play and into the land of deeply humiliating and damaging, so simply making the characters non-human doesn’t always work to quell the “they’ll heal…right?” problem.

Unrated- If you honestly have no idea where you want your RP to go, or don't really care which direction it goes, put this to begin with. Once the RPers have RPd a bit or know where it will go, msg me and I will change the heading.


Again - Ratings are extremely hard to understand and if at any point during your RP you feel like the rating should be lowered or uped one, please send me a message. Please keep in mind that others will be reading your RPs and not just the few people typing as characters.

_________________
Last one to the triage nurse is a rotten cyberman!
*Gwendolyn & Draco Malfoy*
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