Creative restrictions as a result of new guidelines?

I’ve seen this be mentioned a few times as a result of the new guideline implementation. That the new guidelines restrict authors creativity?

I’ve looked through the new guidelines and noticed the changed, most notably no profanity without censoring, consent to sexual activity, and no guns on covers. However, I also noticed that the drugs & alcohol section became stricter, notably that Episode has enforced that characters under the age of 16 cannot do drugs/have alcohol.

I was wondering how this specifically limits creativity? How does consent to sexual activity and restricting alcohol/drugs from minors take away from stories? I understand that the guidelines have had a change around to state things differently, but not that much has changed? Do you believe the guideline change restricts creativity? Why?

25 Likes

Overall, no I don’t.
I can see how some people might have had to change scenes or plot points as a result of stricter guidelines, but I wouldn’t say it restricts creativity. I think the limitations would actually force you to be more creativity in some cases?

If someone completely has to scrap their story as a result of the new guidelines then… You really have to wonder about what they were writing in the first place :persevere:

28 Likes

How do you mean? :thinking:

4 Likes

I’m probably not the right person to answer this since I wasn’t around the “old” guidelines. However, the guidelines are quite vague, you can include those topics but it’s unclear in how much detail. I think that the new guidelines make a lot of authors insecure and doubt what they can include. It may lead to over-censoring and bland stories. :woman_shrugging:

@amberose and I agree

If someone completely has to scrap their story as a result of the new guidelines then… You really have to wonder about what they were writing in the first place :persevere:

2 Likes

Hmmm, I see what you mean. But over-censored doesn’t necessarily mean bland?

6 Likes

No, not necessarily :stuck_out_tongue: But it can happen, you have to be more creative haha

Edit: If you’re set on an idea it can be difficult to think outside the box (in my experience). That’s a good skill to master. :star2:

3 Likes

Well, for people who now have to change certain scenes, just finding new ways to get from point A to point B forces them to think out of the box and to come up with new ideas that they actually might prefer. The same also applies to covers that have changed. Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t have changed my cover if it weren’t for the guidelines update and now I like the new one I have so much more anyway

18 Likes

Yay for you to finally make this topic!

I’m not the best judge on writing certain themes yet, but for the most part I also don’t think the guidelines restrict creativity. At worst, I’m getting some arguments about certain swears not having much of a dramatic impact, but it’s not necessarily creativity-related.

I think the key element here is suspense. Sometimes implying something off-screen can have a bigger impact than showing something explicitly, if you get what I mean? Like a sequence in a horror film where someone gets killed, most viewers can be thrilled enough with, for instance, blood splatter or cutting away at the first blow.

10 Likes

I noticed this too. A few crucial guidelines have changed, but if you’ve been paying attention, most of the content guidelines have been there for a while. Speaking of which, does anyone happen to have an older copy for side-by-side comparison?

And I don’t think it restricts creativity - at least not nearly as much as people are saying. I am admittedly unpublished, but my WIPs all have mature themes and I’m not worried about writing them at all. To me, most of the guideline are about restricting you from showing things explicitly; if you just keep in mind that you need to be implicit, you can write stories with mature themes. And if you’re wanting to write explicit content exclusively, Episode as a 12+ app really isn’t the place for that.

17 Likes

In short: No.
In long: If any of you have read the og threads in regard to the new guidelines you’ll know I made my stance pretty clear about this in some ways. Having to change up a few things shouldn’t limit the creative mind, it should make it stronger. Also, as mentioned by multiple people in multiple threads: the rules have barely changed. Only a handful of things were added and a few things were clarified. If having to censor curse words or add in a consent option to sexual activities is really what’s going to send a writer over the edge…then why are they here??? And what kind of content were they trying to create in the first place??
I can fully understand if someone maybe misunderstood an old guideline that was now cleared up and they have to change a scene or two around. That would be frustrating. But a scene or two is a scene or two.
If as a writer you can’t step up to the challenge of creating things within the rules, then maybe it’s time for those people to work on their craft. :woman_shrugging:t2::sweat_smile:

9 Likes

This is a great point. With the guidelines telling you that you can’t include something, it opens up the ideas to you about what you can include? It might be hard for a particular scene but it helps you develop your ideas in the long run.

True, like how silence can speak volumes. Just hinting to something can have a massive impact, as may come as more of a shock rather than just being shown on screen? In one of my stories a character was sexually assaulted, and when explaining it she said “one of the guys followed me into the bathroom.” In the context of the conversation I believe this was enough to hint at what happened.

This!! I’ve seen a lot of people saying they can’t show something, which most of the time isn’t true. The clarity of the guidelines is partly as fault here, but there is a difference between explicit and implicit. A lot of things can be shown, but you have to be careful they aren’t detailed and excessive.

:clap:t2::clap:t2:

12 Likes

I’ve never thought these guidelines restrict creativity, but I also never thought of the possibility that they stimulate creativity. And now that you’ve said it, it makes so much sense! Before the guidelines changed, there were many scenes or actions that were standard for any romance or action or whatever genre. But after the guidelines became stricter, its kinda a push to think of new ways to show something or implement a certain idea while being within the guidelines. And I think because of this, good writers will be able to think outside of the box and communicate a scene to the reader that’s unique and creative.

13 Likes

This topic is great and so are the replies.

11 Likes

My story has some violence as the MC is an assassin but even before the change I didn’t have lots of descriptions.
And, even if I wasn’t writing about it, I believe that guidelines were clarified and they don’t restrict creativity when they just tell authors not to glorify what shouldn’t be glorified like alcohol consumption, drugs use, human traffic, and many other sensitive topics.

Some thoughts

The minimum age for a character always was 16 so these changes shouldn’t have been significant nor creativity restraining…

The first part is great imo as the amount of misrepresentation of rape will decrease :partying_face:
For the second part, I like my new covers more.

:point_up_2:t5:
This is so true because if I have some violence and didn’t feel like I had to change much so far apart from censoring profanity and a flashback scene, why would have drama and romance writers to do so? :thinking:

Well, I’m waiting for an answer because I want to know what I can or can’t include. I don’t have the wish to publish rush so that’s why I’m being patient but if people have doubts, they should ask whoever is concerned I’m also aware o how long they take, as I said I’m still waiting :woman_shrugging:t5:

I really hope so because that’s what I did for a scene I thought it would be troublesome :sweat_smile:

3 Likes

No. The only actual argument for it restricting creativity is the limit on how many and which swear words can be used, but I don’t believe that this actually restricts creativity. You can definitely write a creative story without swear words. The rules basically say that you can’t show anything explicitly- sex, dying etc. If anything, this forces you to think out of the box and come up with ways to demonstrate what happened without displaying explicit material. So… it kind of encourages creativity.

If someone needs to completely change their entire story, and I’m talking, basically create a new plot as a result of these guidelines… they didn’t change all that much, so their story might not have been in line with the old guidelines anyway :thinking:

14 Likes

I think that it’s great that the guidelines are restricting things like drugs and alcohol for minors and unconsented sex, but some of the rules are kinda restricting. For example, you can’t promote gambling, so a character can’t win the lottery. If you do include something about the lottery/gambling, there have the be negative consequences. I get illegal gambling, but not being able to win the lottery while over 18 seems somewhat restrictive.

4 Likes

Finally someone who touched this subject!
I feel like a lot of people are making a big deal out of this guidelines when they’re not that bad.
Yes they are more restrictive, but at the same time I feel like it will benefit the community in general.
An app where everything is more well thought and where authors know their limitations without going overboard.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with the new guidelines. Even though I still would like the Episode Team to be more clear about them, I think they will make this community more healthy and the stories on the app will still be mature but with a lot of sexual content out of the way.
This makes me happy, because if we think thoughtfully, this new guidelines can give a chance to different and original authors to shine and finally have their own spotlight.
I hope this is the beggining of a new and better era for Episode…

4 Likes

I do agree that these changes are a good thing, but I was planning on writing a story where someone gets murdered and multiple people die but I don’t know if it’s too gory. But yes, overall this will improve the episode community.

1 Like

Well, I think the best option you have right now is to send a suppor ticket to Episode asking them that. I’m sure that in some way they will clarify you.

Well as a loophole for example you could say there is a competition and whoever wins gets a sum of money

2 Likes