The Write Practice Pro is a diverse community of authors. The goal of Pro's leadership is to encourage nearly limitless creative freedom; however, since our membership includes minors, we must impose a series of reasonable restrictions in order to not require a person to be over 18 in order to join our community.
By making small sacrifices, we can all make it safe for younger people to write, read, and critique here.
Following the Law
We realize that other cultures and countries might consider different things to be suitable for minors, but since this is a US-based company, we have to abide by US laws. The specific law we’re worried about is this:
Federal law U.S.C. § 1470- prohibits “Transfer of obscene material to minors.” Of course, the definition of “obscene material” is vague:
The standard of what is harmful to minors may differ from the standard applied to adults. Harmful materials for minors include any communication consisting of nudity, sex or excretion that (i) appeals to the prurient interest of minors, (ii) is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable material for minors, (iii) and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
The official policy of the The Write Practice Pro is that no post, critique, or Cafe comment shall contain pornographic material, hate speech (other than historic depictions), and excessive depictions of violent acts.
As with all art, this is somewhat vague, and requires individual discretion. However, Pro's team of Moderator/Mentors will police this policy for the good of the community.
As a guiding principle, keep these two ideas in mind:
- Don't post inappopriate content; this way we can keep the community in good legal standing
- Post a Content Advisory for appropriate mature content in order to keep the community in good emotional standing
Great stories often include scenes of violence, include horrifying elements like blood and gore. Authors should be aware of the following guidelines about what kind of graphic violence is permitted with a warning, and what kind is not permitted whatsoever.
- Definition: "Graphic Violence" is defined as any scene that describes a severe bodily injury in which there is gratuitous blood and/or sufficient damage to the body that bones are broken or body parts are removed. This includes sports injuries, car accidents, animal attacks, etc.
- Content Policy: If your scene includes graphic violence, it must be brief and worded in such a way as to avoid numerous descriptions of excessive blood, bodily fluids, and grotesque disfiguring injuries.
- Torture: If your scene must include graphic violence in the form of torture, it must be brief and worded in such a way as to avoid numerous descriptions of blood, bodily fluids, and grotesque disfiguring injuries. (Note: Sometimes a character will be captured and endure a chapter of torture or interrogation; this is fine, so long as restraint is used and a content warning is posted that specifically labels torture as an element.)
- Requirement: All posts with graphic violence of any kind must include a content warning, otherwise they may be removed by Admin.
Sample Content Warnings:
- Content Advisory: Graphic Violence (Descriptions of Torture)
- Content Advisory: Graphic Violence (Blood and Bodily Injuries in a car crash)
What to Do With Your Pro-Inappropriate Content
Even if you want to write content that doesn't fall within our guidelines here at The Write Practice Pro, we still want you to be able to get the feedback you need.
That's why we urge you to solicit private beta readers in The Cafe. By informing readers up front about the nature of your story, they are opting in to the content you've created. This also keeps the material off our platforms and away from the eyes of underage users who shouldn't be reading and critiquing it.
Content Advisories and Matched Critiques
In the Short Stories Workshop, Pro members are assigned 3 critiques for each post. It is very possible that you will come across a piece with a Content Advisory that you choose to heed. If you are matched to a piece of writing with a Content Advisory describing material that you are uncomfortable reading, please take the following steps:
- Scroll to the bottom where you would normally enter your critique.
- In the "Leave Feedback" box, type the following message: "I was eager to read your story; however, since it contains [MATURE CONTENT DESCRIPTION], I am not comfortable reading this story. Is there another piece of writing you have posted that doesn't have this mature content? If so, please share in a reply and I will gladly critique it!"
- Click "Submit Critique"
- Following the Honor system, find another piece in the Short Stories Workshop and critique it with a thorough OREO critique. (Don't know what an OREO Critique is? Check this out to learn more!)
Hopefully this enables all members to participate in matched critiques while avoiding content that may be psychologically or emotionally damaging.
Keep Pro Appropriate and Advised
We are all eager to explore creative frontiers. That will often have us exploring topics that aren't appropriate or acceptable to everyone, and that's perfectly fine.
The important thing is to know if your most daring creative explorations are a good fit for this community. Many of them are, so long as you post a helpful advisory to keep your neighbors in the know. If you ever have a question about the appropriateness of a piece of content, just reach out to your Mentor or to David Safford (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get a clear answer.
Thank you for your creativity and kindness to others as we enjoy this journey together!
Happy writing, and happy advising!