Guidelines for Submission to apocrypha

[Basic Requirements]
[What Do I Get?]
[The English Student]
[Challenges, Specifically]
[Challenge Submissions]
[What Happens After I Submit Something?]
[The Ugly Truth About Plagiarism]
[List O' Ideas To Combat Writer's Block]
[Additional Links]

Basic Requirements

  1. All stories must feature some reference to Law & Order. Crossovers are fine, but the bulk of the subject matter must be about characters featured in Law & Order. Additionally, don't feel intimidated into only writing about Logan, Stone, McCoy, Kincaid, or Cragen. Any characters are up for grabs. What does Shambala Green do with her spare time?

  2. Story length can be up to 10,000 words. We will consider longer stories, but only in special cases. (We gotta really love it, for one.)

  3. The Serialization Clause: Serialization is possible for book-length stories. We will require that the novel be complete before we accept it. If we do accept it, then we will publish it in installments over a period of several issues.

  4. In terms of editing, we will run one spell check over each accepted story, and that's it. See below for more detail, but basically the only changes we will make in a story are for spelling.

  5. You define, based on our ratings system, what categories your story should fall under. Make sure you state this when submitting. We'll make the ultimate choice, but we'd like to see where you're coming from.

  6. We will accept anything. That means fantasy, action, adventure, romance, sex, slash, speculative, essays ("The Meaning of Mike Logan in an Uncaring Universe" could work), poetry, artwork, multimedia, songs, science fiction, name it. Any questions on subject matter, just ask.

  7. Submit, whenever possible, in RTF format. That means, when you save the story, you choose "rich text format" from your saving options. If this totally loses you or you have no clue, save it in text format and make sure anything that needs to be italicized, bolded, or otherwise changed is clearly marked. All documents should be 1) attached as a file AND 2) included in the email. Send more than one piece of email if it won't fit in a single buffer. If you prefer to upload the file to us directly, you may send it to our ftp site at: Again, keep it as an RTF file, if possible. Remember, the happier you make us when you submit, the happier we'll be when reading your piece....

  8. Include, with your submission: the name you want to have it published under, your email address, a one to two sentence summary and the ratings you want applied. You may include a one to two sentence bio if you like, but this is optional.

  9. As always, notify us if you have questions.

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What Do I Get Out Of It?

  1. Aside from the obvious joy of having something of your own published, we will be html'ing your story for you. You can lift it off of us at any time and feel free to paste it on your own web site.

  2. Additionally, you're hopefully setting up a standard of quality for other Law & Order fanfiction that comes down the pike. Sure, we're cribbing somebody else's characters, but the ideas are ours and should be out there for everyone to see!

  3. And as if that wasn't enough, eventually if this takes off we may start having reader-based awards or even reader-judged contests. Anything is possible! Sky's the limit...

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The English Student

  1. Okay, so not to disillusion you, but these are the facts. You could be the next William Faulkner, and if your story is unreadable due to consistent grammatical or spelling errors, we just won't bother. We will run one spellcheck over accepted stories, and make those changes. As in life, you are judged by the quality of your output. Read your story over. Love it. Kiss it. Then mail it.

  2. If you don't know your "its" from your "it's" then investigate Common Errors In English, a wonderful page against which to check yourself. Another interesting place to go (and heck, it's fun to read, too) is The Curmudgeon's Stylebook. By the way, "it's" is the contractions of "it" and "is" and "its" is the possessive.

Other helpful places to visit:

Dictionaries Online
Strunk's The Elements of Style
American Slang

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Challenges, Specifically

    Challenges work along the same guidelines as other stories. That means ratings, how to submit -- the works. However, there are a few additional requirements and changes:

  1. Challenges should be shorter; since we're going to try and put up all responses that at least meet original guidelines, we'd like to keep the length at 1500 words or fewer. If you find yourself getting carried away, submit it as a story. We will, at this point, print all challenges which meet the other standards -- so this way everybody has a chance to be published!

  2. Challenges should reference the challenge being accepted. Tell us which challenge you are accepting either in your submission letter or at the top of your submission.

  3. Challenges have a DUE DATE which will be listed on the main page. Stick to it. If we want to extend, we'll mention it on the main page, but otherwise, if you're too late, you're too late.

  4. Some challenges will not specify a character to be written about. That's ok! That means you can pick any character upon which to base your story.

  5. Have fun with challenges (as of course you should with your other stories)! Be silly, irreverent, shocking. The more you push the envelope, the more interesting the concept becomes.

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    Challenge Suggestion Submission

    1. You probably don't really need us to tell you: give us ideas! Just send a piece of email with a suggestion or two for future challenges you've always wanted to see written, and if we like it, we'll use it! Thanks in advance!

    2. Keep it tasteful. You know who you are.

    3. Writers block? Don't know how to start? Check out Challenge Ideas to get yourself going.

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      So I've Submitted. Now What Happens?

      1. Well, first we read what you've sent. Then there's a complex algorithm we employ to make sure it's suitable (that is, we check spelling and word length). We'll send you an email at this point to let you know we've received the submission, and it is under review.

      2. Then we decide whether we like it or not. Remember, this isn't a catchall fanfic page -- this is just for work we feel deserves to be read by a wider audience. We call it an online fanzine, which basically means we're a magazine on the web, so we're limited by space and time, and can't accept everything that comes over the virtual transom.

      3. But we do want to see everything coming over the virtual transom! Send, send, send, and don't take it personally if we can't use what you've sent! Send one, send two, send more than two...and if we decide to use your story for the upcoming issue, we'll contact you as to any other information we may require. Make sure to include ratings, the name you want to be published under, your email address, and a quick summary of the story when you submit, but if you haven't, we'll ask you for these things, too.

      4. And that's it! If we can't use your story, we'll do our best to send it back with a few suggestions for how to improve it. Then you can always resubmit!

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        The Ugly Truth About Plagiarism

          A policy adapted from the guidelines presented on the X-Files Fan Fiction Mailing List.

          Plagiarism is the act of taking ideas or writings
          from another and passing them off as your own.

          Plagiarism is strictly forbidden in apocrypha.

          If you suspect a story posted to apocrypha has been plagiarized, immediately contact the editors of apocrypha by direct email at apocrypha with the titles and authors of both the suspected and original works. Please do not contact anyone else; we would like to handle this as an internal matter until it is resolved. The editors of apocrypha will contact all pertinent parties including all authors involved and potentially an independent panel to help resolve the problem.

          Administrative notification is strictly confidential and for your information only. It is not an invitation to become involved. Any person involved in resolving the dispute who breaks the confidentiality of anyone involved will be removed permanently from any further matters involving apocrypha or any future apocrypha mailing lists.

          The editors (Kitteridge and Korillian) of apocrypha will conduct all correspondence with (and between) the involved authors while the stories are investigated. At no time should any involved author contact any other involved author.

          The investigation will be conducted in the following manner:

          1. If an author is accused, a determination will be made by the editors of apocrypha as to whether or not it is, in fact plagiarism.

          2. If the editors feel the work is questionable, the accused author will be contacted.

          3. If the accused author says the work was plagiarized, then the editorial board of apocrypha will omit any further review, and steps will be taken, depending upon the current status of the work.

          4. If the accused author says the work is original, the stories will then be reviewed by both editors of apocrypha and an independent panel.

            The Panel:

            Any involved author, at any time, can ask that the fic be sent immediately to the independent panel for decision, bypassing the editorial review stage.

            The panel is made up of three anonymous persons chosen in a random fashion and moderated by the editors of apocrypha. These persons will be completely anonymous from each other and the involved authors in order to minimize concerns of favoritism.

            Both stories will be addressed in an anonymous and impartial manner. They will be stripped of title and author (i.e.. "story a" is being accused of stealing from "story b", etc.) before presentation to the panel also to minimize concerns of favoritism.

            The panel's decision, by majority, is final.


            1. If the story is found to have been plagiarized, the author's fiction will be removed from the site and/or archives of apocrypha (if already published) and a suspension from all further fiction consideration will be imposed for a period of six (6) months. During this period, other or future works by the author will not be accepted in any form, even if the work is joint between the author and another writer.

            2. If the story is found to be an original work, the fiction will remain on the apocrypha site and archived as per usual. All persons notified of the suspected plagiarism will be told that the fanfic in question was found to be an original work. An apology will be requested from the accuser.

            3. The review process does take time and the involved authors, if asking for review, by either the editors or independent panel should be patient and allow time for communication and careful review. Everyone involved will be kept apprised of the status of the review process.

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          List 'O Potential Fanfic Subjects

            Here are a few good starting points for waking up that muse, courtesy of your editors and fellow readers!

          1. Why is Mike Logan always shown chewing gum? Is he overcoming a smoking problem?
          2. Just how bad was the breakup where Mike Logan punched a wall in?
          3. Why does Jack McCoy have a sailboat in his office?
          4. How did the relationship between Jack McCoy and his other assistants develop?
          5. In the script for Everybody's Favorite Bagman, Ben Stone is supposed to be having a five year relationship with a pediatrician. How did that come about? Why does it work or not?
          6. Does Ben Stone ever date anybody? What about Shambala Green?
          7. What was it like for Claire to have that relationship with Judge Thayer referred to in Censure? What brought her out of it?
          8. Did Claire and Tim Bayliss of Homicide: Life on the Streets ever formally date while she was in Baltimore for the crossover?
          9. For any character: why did they pick the jobs they have? How did they get there?
          10. For any character: what were they like in college?

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            Fan Fiction Information

            In case you're still at a loss for how to get started, check out some of these links:

          12. Dr. Merlin's Guide to Fan Fiction by: Dr. Merlin (alias Melissa Wilson)
          13. What is Slash Fiction?
          14. Pass the Crisco, Spock
          15. Fan Fiction and Crossovers by Kathryn Andersen
          16. Glossary of fanfic terms

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