As many of us know Episode just updated their guidelines. I thought I would detail here some things as I understand people seem to be confused. While I can’t say I understand everything I think this might help people, maybe.
disclaimer: Everything I say here should NOT be taken as rule or as anything over the episode team. I’m also asking @Liz to monitor this just in case I do get things completely wrong.
There are also things even I’m not 100% on so I’ll be sure to edit/update this as we all know more.
As I understand it cursing has to be bleeped out with asterisks (*). If you’re worried about this taking forever I strongly encourage you to use control + f which allows you to search for words.
I also understand this means all curse words or words that could be used as curse words.
As a general rule of thumb I’d personally just censor all curse words to be on the safe side.
As far as I understand we still can’t show sex on the screen or even directly say it’s happening.
Personally I would follow the “fade to black” rule. I mean we can all guess when two characters get in their underwear and make out and then it fades to black that they’re fixing to do it. However! Since it fades to black it isn’t “directly stated.”
It’s all about what is occurring at “that moment”
As I understand this this means you can have:
- two characters talking about sex and kissing before it fades to black but not
- the actual sexual act shown or described in the story
SEX MUST BE CONSENUAL. As I understand it this means the player must have a choice as to whether or not the characters have sex.
It’s a grey area, I know, and I’m not even 100% sure I’m understanding it clearly myself.
People can still get pregnant.
“But if we can’t show sex how can they get pregnant?”
Well, as I said above: We just can’t show them having sex. Showing is completely different from it happening off screen.
In regards to the consent aspect this probably does mean most stories will have to have a “non pregnancy” storyline should readers choose it.
Nudity even with the censor bars isn’t allowed on the covers of our stories but we can use it with the censor bars in non sexual situations in our stories. Though, personally, I would stray away from using it too much even in a non-sexual way.
Guns, Violence, Weapons
No guns on the covers. Personally I’m not too fussed about this but I can see why action/fantasy authors are.
As far as violence goes I think it’s talking about excessive use of it. In other words: not having a fight every other scene.
There also shouldn’t be depictions of torture, sexual assault, domestic abuse, etc. As far as I understand though these can still be alluded to? So I think someone could say their parent hit them, but I’m not 100% sure if they can actually show it.
As far as I understand it, we’re still allowed to promote our instagrams so long as we use them for episode.
Does This Apply to Everyone?
No one is going to automatically get their story removed. As long as changes are made, things should be fine. If you’re not sure of what you can and can’t do @Liz has already said we can submit our stories in for review/ask questions. They’ve also said multiple times that these rules and changes will apply to all authors (including the episode ones). This means that everyone has to make the changes but people aren’t just going to get the stories removed (unless they don’t adhere to the rules of course).
I also get some people are upset/ irritated/whatever but we all need to remember Episode is a company who has to do what’s best for their readers. We also have some pretty young readers and writers so I for one am glad the guidelines have been updated. I also ask that people are polite in the comment section here. Discussion is, of course, allowed. I also get there are some things I haven’t discussed on here yet but I’m hoping to as I start to understand them further.