Generally, we give most submissions a quick once-over before posting to remove typos, add paragraph breaks, and cut unnecessary details. But this takes time, and the more errors there are, the longer stories take to get posted, or they may not get posted at all. The following is a quick & dirty guide to the things you should know before submitting. If we can send a story straight from the inbox to the queue, it makes our jobs easier and ensures that your story will be posted as quickly as possible.
When deciding which details to include in your submission, remember Chekhov’s gun: “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.” Do not include uneccessary elements in your story. Feel free to tell us about the creepy girl who tagged along with your cosplay group and how she tried to feel up your boyfriend, but we don’t need the names and descriptions of every member of your group. Don’t tell us about people who don’t say or do anything important.
Out of the people you DO include in your story, it is suggested you use aliases. This isn’t strictly necessary (no one but you will be able to tell if “Jack” is a real or made-up name), but most submissions do it just to be safe. Any submission with a full name, photograph, or online alias violates our anonymity policy and will be either censored or deleted. When choosing aliases, keep it simple, but not TOO simple. It’s easy to lose track of characters A, B, and C, but names like Alice or Billy are easy to remember. Many submissions also use obviously fake nicknames or pet names like Sprinkle. Cosplayers can be named after their costume, such as Miku or Karkat.
This isn’t a hard rule so much as it is a suggestion: use a title. It doesn’t matter what it is, but they make submissions easier to identify and sort through. We might change it if we think of a better one, don’t freak out about it.
Another gentle suggestion: don’t open your story with some variation on “I like anime/manga, but I’m not a weeaboo”. We know. We don’t care. The mods like anime, most of the readership likes anime, and most of the stories involve meetings through anime clubs and conventions. We assume you’re not a weeaboo. Even if you are, we don’t care as long as you tell a good story.
Be careful about the details you choose to share about your weeaboo. Many submissions detail people who, in addition to their rude and invasive behaviour, have hygiene problems. This is perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged to a point - vivid descriptions make your story more fun to read. Do not villify people for being overweight. Actually, you probably shouldn’t mention their weight at all, unless it’s absolutely crucial to the story. It’s okay to include details about their body odour or dirty clothes, etc - basic hygienic tasks that they choose not to perform that make the people around them uncomfortable. Being overweight isn’t a bad thing and isn’t an act of agression towards the people around you, so there’s no reason to include it. (For this same reason, we strongly, strongly discourage the use of the word “hambeast”.)
Generally, our stance towards grammar and spelling is make it readable. Nobody’s going to crucify you for a typo or a change of tense or a capitalisation error. It happens. The only time we will reject a suggestion for grammar errors is if we can’t make heads or tails of it, or if there are too many errors for it to be parsed easily. Run it through a spellchecker, it’ll probably be fine.
Paragraph breaks are a necessity, especially if your story is long. Don’t throw them around arbitrarily, but make sure your submission isn’t a huge, unwieldy block of text, either. Paragraph breaks indicate a pause, so separate paragraphs based on passage of time, change of location, or to add a dramatic pause.
Most long stories use read more cuts in order to avoid hogging up dashboard space. We’ll take care of these if they’re necessary - although it is possible to put them in your submission yourself, it makes it harder for us to read as we have to take the post into the editing page to read the whole thing. Don’t worry about it.