Question About Rules

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Question About Rules

Postby LukeSurge » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:07 am

Hi. I was wondering if someone could elaborate a little more on the requirements about scenes of sexual natures, especially if written tactfully. Are we allowed to include experiences if they are vaguely described, or not at all?


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Re: Question About Rules

Postby disgruntledpeony » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:40 am

My basic understanding is that things are to be kept more or less PG-13 (minus the one-F-bomb allowance in most PG-13 films).
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Re: Question About Rules

Postby Ishmael » Fri Sep 18, 2015 6:45 am

This is a hardy perennial question. I wrote thus to Joni two years ago:

Ishmael wrote:Discussion on the forum goes round and round again without ever reaching a satisfactory conclusion on the question of whether “excessive” violence or sex does or does not mean the same thing as a PG-13 rating (which is of course a US rating and not an internationally understood one.)

The issue seems to be that even where integral to the story (and thus not excessive in the literary sense) certain material could be outside the terms of PG-13 (and thus excessive in a completely different sense.) Do you think it would be possible to clarify this tricky issue?

She replied thus:

I'm not sure where the PG 13 thing came into being but really we just don't want violence for the sake of violence. We don't want graphic sex scenes either otherwise it can be construed as soft porn. We don't want that. These books we are promoting in high school class rooms as well as to the sf/fantasy community at large. I hope that helps.
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Re: Question About Rules

Postby s_c_baker » Fri Sep 18, 2015 7:26 am

There have been winning stories that were plenty violent, too, for what it's worth. "War Hero" from volume 29 is the one that comes to mind. You can read almost all of it free in the Amazon preview for that volume:

I guess there isn't a whole lot of on-screen violence, but the basic theme and the things that happen in it are pretty intense.

I seem to recall someone on the forums saying there was a winner with a sex scene in it, but can't remember the details.
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Re: Question About Rules

Postby amoskalik » Sat Sep 19, 2015 12:41 pm

Sharon's Gold winner from last year had a sex scene. Nothing too explicit, but sex nevertheless. Unless you're way over the line or the sex/violence is unnecessary to the story, you may as well send it in and see what happens. The only thing for sure is, you won't win if you don't take some risks.
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Re: Question About Rules

Postby orbivillein » Sun Sep 20, 2015 9:51 am

The contest sexual and violent obscenity "rule" appears to limit content to a young-adult maturity level: the shorthand term PG-13 means parental guidance for age thirteen years old. Thirteen is the mean age of adult onset, physically adult-like, not emotionally adult. PG-13 for a contest term started from K.D. Wentworth's description of a comparable film content rating model.

Thirteen-year-olds are generally curious about sex and violence and have a degree of aptitude for those topics. They can possibly handle more than parents might allow, probably emotionally benefit from some exposure to sex and violence topics. They probably want to know more than they can understand and cope with, too.

The two features of PG-13 -- parental guidance and thirteen years old -- are dissonant and as well reconcilable. How much sex and violence a parent might allow a thirteen-year-old to experience can be constructed from an aggregate of public social behavior customs; that is, what a parent is socially expected to allow a child teenager. The customs' axis ranges between extremes of none, or G for general audiences, for any age child or adult according to outspoken moral authorities and anything short of unacceptable sexual and violent behavior by any entity. The mean for PG-13 is some violence and sexual content but nothing explicit or gratuitous.

Gratuitous content is simply anything unnecessary to any story movement, including violence or sexual content. If a sexual or violent piece is only necessary to plot movement, it is melodramatic and artless, though one step improved over gratuitous. If a sexual or violent piece is necessary to character movement, and emotional movement, as well as event, setting, milieu, and plot movement, then the piece is essential. However, if the piece is contrary to public social moral customs for age thirteen content, the work overall is unsuited for the contest and best submitted elsewhere.

Contrarily, explicit sexual or violence content nature is probably the substantive reconciliation consideration. Instead of an explicit description, an implied description could pass notice. An implicit description appeals to older adults though passes by younger adults. No reason to drop in obscene words when actually stronger and clearer euphemism words appeal more. For example, Motherloving child of a barrel racer. No need to explain. Dunghead. Her blossoms thrust out firm and supple and the pink of primrose. They did the two-as-one horizontal slip-and-slide. Metaphor and similar tropes euphemistically substitute implicit content for explicit content.

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