Mafia story + Episode guidelines

Hey there! Episode is famous for its unrealistic mafia stories and kind of getting sick of them. So if someone were to make a realistic take on the Mafia, what would be considered okay based on the guidelines?

Please note we are taking it in the context of a writer who is pretty much a nobody and is not signed onto the Episode team, so guidelines will be strict. Double standards don’t work here.

The guidelines have indicated clearly a “no” that is commonly associated with the Mafia.

  • promotes or depicts excessive violence or assault, including but not limited to sexual assault, murder, and torture against humans or animals;
  • promotes gambling, betting or casinos;
  • promotes suicide, self-harm, abuse, or bullying;
  • promotes excessive alcohol, tobacco or drug use;
  • excessively promotes the use of firearms, explosives, and ammunition;

So what if a story included these? Would it raise alarms?

  • Money Laundering: This is the act of covering up where the real money came from (eg. illegal prostitution, selling illicit drugs, human trafficking, corruption, etc.).
  • Bribes: To use something (usually money) to induce someone/group to look the other way (ya know, the illegal stuff.)
  • Murders: To kill someone/group in order to keep things quiet. Have seen this in many stories (both community and official) so should be okay, right?
  • Human trafficking: To bring people from another region into a country without proper authorisation and government acknowledgement. If this was used in the context of bringing in illegal immigrants for construction work, would that be appropriate?
  • Loan sharking: To illegally give out loans and then charge high interest for the returns.
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Interesting question. I think as long as you don’t promote/support/actively encourage it. :woman_shrugging: I have read a couple of community stories that include murder and with their high read counts I’m sure they have been approved.

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I agree with Tarly, as long as you don’t actively promote such things in a positive light or go into
excessive (by epi standards lol) detail as far as murder etc. goes, I’m sure you’ll be fine.

For the prostitution part, I would definitely keep any inferences (as it cannot be depicted) light and to a bare minimum to avoid any trouble.

I know you didn’t mention this in your post, but I would also stay away from adding any politics too that might have references or too many similarities to real political parties or people. Just thought it might be worth saying since sometimes the mafia and politics can and do have some ties. If you completely make it all up though, keep politics to a bare minimum or don’t add it at all, I don’t think there’ll be any breaches and ramifications.

With that being said, it would be a good idea to consult the episode team via ticket to see if there’s anything they would suggest you leave out or change, that is, if you’re still worried.

Good luck with your story btw!

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Yeah, I saw those too. But people been saying as long as you have a high read count, you can get away with anything.

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Oh, damn. The guidelines state:

  • No excessive promotion of a political agenda

Politics, corruption, and the mafia are infamous for it. It’s what makes people so hooked on K-dramas.
Everything is starting to feel like you can’t write a story on the Mafia realistically. :joy:

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I agree. But hundreds of mafia stories seem to promote Stockholm syndrome, but then again, it’s not against episode guidelines, just very weird! :woozy_face:

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Moved to Episode Fan Community since this is about Episode stories. Make sure to check out our Forum Tutorial for more info about creating topics, and feel free to PM me if you’ve got questions. :smiley:

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Writing a realistic mafia would be difficult, but doable. The key thing to remember is to not show or promote most of what they do. This is where things such as implication and news-position come into play. You probably can’t show the loan shark beating someone up. But you could probably have his lookout partner in front of a closed door that a character then walks out of with blood on his clothes followed by “How’d it go?” “I think he got the message.” It doesn’t show anything bad happening, but as a reader you understand what happened. You could also do things like have a character mention that one of their warehouses was raided by the cops, then not long after have someone watching the news where the anchor is talking about what they found in the warehouse or how people were rescued from it. Like I said at the start, it’ll be tough, but it’s certainly doable.

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That’s actually a very clever way! Thanks for the input!

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For money laundering, it’s fine when you portray these acts as crimes, but for the details of the “how”, be discreet and non-explicit. You should be good with it.

For bribery, again, it’s fine to portray it as something bad, but remember: discreet “how’s”.

Murders: very hard to tackle. I have some experiences writing murders since I have an active assassin as few of the main characters in my story, and the act alone is fine, just avoid visual representation of the gore.
If you’re stating how people die, it’s fine. Telling it verbally via characters usually helps tone it down. Describing explicitely how, again, is a bad idea.

Human trafficking: I honestly have chills thinking about this one, because one of my favorite stories just two years back got taken down because it “promotes kidnapping” (although I really wonder if any character would genuinely feel happy to be kidnapped by strangers… But I digress :laughing:).
My advice would be to leave it to conversations and insinuations. Avoid visual representations and direct mentions.

Loan Sharking: as mentioned above, portraying the act alone won’t get you into trouble. But in case you’re looking to describe the aftermath (getting physically assaulted), make sure you tone it down to pg13. Just a few soft punches shouldn’t get you in trouble, but when blood kicks in, that’s where the red flag rises.

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