I’ve been talking with others about Scarlet PI, and they share their own stories with me, hoping that they could get into the world of this brand.  While I do encourage people to do so with the Creative Commons License, and Scarlet PI is more than what I can type on my own keyboard. There is scant little I can do about adding your characters and storyline into the books I write.  My stories are pretty much set, especially with the current Story Series, and I still have that lesson of "Too Many Cooks" spoiling too many previous web comics to count.

My ruling on people wanting to make their own stories in the Scarlet PI brand is this, "I’ll let them, and I’ll even encourage you to do so, but I do not have the ability to publish every story and character into the books.  That honor must be earned by your own abilities."

How close you are to that honor will be gauged on the level of story you make, which I will personally rank.

Level 1

These can be just about any story out there on the tubes.  You’ll find them more in Fanfiction.net or Fiction.net or what other site you come up with.  The only requisite is that you write the story yourself.  There’s a computer, there’s a keyboard, have fun kids.  Just don’t post online something that you’d might regret seeing on a troll site.

Level 2

In a couple weeks, I’ll set up a Wiki to store the stories that interest me enough to promote. These are the upper class fanfiction that people would find enjoyable but not necessarily become part of the cannon.  I’ll let you know personally when your story becomes Level 2 and ask for your permission to post it on this wiki.

What makes a story Level 2 is how much quality you put in it.  Just about anybody can just type on a keyboard like you’re jerking off and make some far out tale with Scarlet in it, but if you want Level 2, I’d want to see that you did some good work on it.  Here’s what I’m looking for.

  1. At least Proofread, or at most have it thoroughly edited. Yeah, yeah, I might not be perfect in spelling and grammar, but I do appreciate a beta reader giving me some proper feedback.  I encourage you to do the same and that goes beyond a couple passes in the spelling and grammar checker.  Nothing ruins a story for me like a typo so glaring that the blind can see it.  I’m not talking whether or not you single or double space after your periods, I’m talking about stuff that makes my eyes bleed.
  2. Decent formatting on a Word Processor.  The biggest turn off I have for Fanfiction.net is that it’s always center aligned.  It’s just not readable to more people than just me.  Level 2 stories need to be either left or block aligned. (All would be too much) with space between paragraphs.  The font for the main text needs to be uniform and easy to read, although you can use other fonts when you need them. The need for a word processor is a must; Notepad isn’t even worth making notes on, and all the others are better used for coding not writing. And don’t bitch to me about not being made of money; Libreoffice will do just fine.  Exporting to PDF format is a plus.
  3. The Storyline must be self-contained and not depend too much on the previous works.  I still have horror stories about how major the original Blood and Metal crashed and burned, all because the piss-off I had on the Archie Comics came through on my storywriting.  Learn from my Fail, folks.  Your story should not require me to rewrite the books that I’ve published.  All they need is vigilant eyeballs finding those stubborn typo bunnies.  The story you make must be able to stand on its own, and not interfere with the timeline.
  1. Side Note:  The current Canonized Timeline goes as follows.  The Story Series from Books 1 to say 6 or 7 starts from day one and deals with the first cases with HFL, and is pretty much written in the concrete and is setting.  It’ll focus on a few characters in HFL, Scarlet and her Circle of friends, a couple characters who are double agents, a nanotech symbioite that becomes Princess Aria, and that’s it.  I can’t add your story to that.  Some time follows after this series, then Murder in Main Street takes place, followed by the upcoming Adventure under the Rising Sun.  There is plenty of space between the Story Series and the two Pilot books to set your story in.  If you need questions on continuity, please let me know.
  • Characters you make
    1. There are Original Characters, and there are Mary Sues.  Learn the fsking difference!  Look, I’m not going to blame you if you start typing away and overcompensate for your life by making a character that is just too perfect.  (That’s how I describe it; it’s just like guys with small johnsons getting blinged out cars. Or why Cloud, Squall, Inuyasha, et al., carry swords big enough to surf on.) I just don’t want your character crowding out the characters in my cannoned books, that’s all.  The camera might be on your prized child in your story, but keep in mind, your character isn’t the only one shining.
    2. Good characters aren’t perfect, they have their own personal ticks and qualities, both good and bad.  Granted you can start with a self-insertion, but I’d suggest that you work on that character some more, on different stories, including different universes than Scarlet PI.  In time you’ll find that your character in your head wants to go off in paths that you wouldn’t go yourself, take on a name other than your own or that you wouldn’t call yourself, and turn into someone other than you.  This is what you want to happen.  You. Will. Thank. Me.  Especially with the name; if he or she is still using the name you were born with, keep working at it.
    3. Do not—DO. NOT!—merge any other brand or story to Scarlet PI with your character.  Whenever I see someone who’s the love child of Sailor Moon and Goku, or a descendant of Captain Jack Sparrow, or something that brings a fandom that does not belong here, (Note too all Wizards.  There’s the fsking door.  It leads to Islands of Adventure where you’re supposed to go.) I have to favor my forehead.  And I don’t need the headache.  Keep your characters as part of SPI and only SPI.  Granted, you can make an homage to your favorite show (A HFL version of Twilight Sparkle, anyone?  A character with a Sera Fuku, perhaps? Keyblades with Mjnoir’s enchantments?) but don’t hardwire any links to other shows.
  • The story must be licensed by the Creative Commons, which will permit people to share your work.  BY-NC-SA would be an excellent choice to fall on, but you might want to lessen the restrictions even more.  I would never ask for all the rights to your story.  I just want to to be able to post the story as a whole on the wiki, and then maybe later on, when the story hits Level 3, to put it in book form with your cooperation.  With the Creative Commons, I can do that without being dragged into court.
  • Last but not least, any rating up to R is acceptable. Sure you can have Sex and Violence, but please refrain from making stuff that would make Jigsaw go, "Whoa now, pilgrim, tone it down a bit. Take it easy on that poor soul."  Ditto with pron.  I don’t have wallpaper in my apartment and I don’t want to hear something peeling behind me.  I don’t mind fluff and the occasional Playboy Bunny, but this is Scarlet PI, not Penthouse.
  • Level 3

    These are the crème de la crème of the stories.  The story is tight, well read, and can stand on its own, the characters are thought out and original, and almost all of the typos and grammatical errors are ironed out.  Also, to have a story go Level 3, it also needs to be able to click right in place on the continuity.  It doesn’t have to have its own spot between Cannonized books, your story can have its own route along the path.  Say you want to have Bonnie Hood go off in her own adventure.  Or have an HFL character who’s story is told from capture to either rebellion or contentment.  Or maybe even a character who comes along just to help out the main party as you go, but do not wish to interfere with the previously printed books, there’s one character who’ll be just that; not requiring me or any other writer who’ve already published their books to rewrite their books, but just goes alongside the story in its own path, like an access road alongside a Interstate.

    Congratulations! Your story just became part of the Extended Universe.  It’s officially part of the Brand, even though it may or may not be published.  Maybe you can publish it yourself, and by all means do so.  Keep with the Creative Commons licensing I use and knock yourself out.  You are well on your way of being a great writer in my book if you make it to Level 3.  If you’re a good fanfictionist, that would definitely translate into being a great writer of original fiction.

    Also, these stories do stand a chance of being published into books later on, although I can’t guarantee that every story will see print or how long it’ll decide to do so.  If the stories are small enough, they might be bundled up together with other stories and become an Anthology. If a story is good enough, it might become canonized into the Pilot Series—Either way, that’s Level 4; your story is now in the cannon—but that’s after a lot of negotiation and maybe even some minor tweaks and polishes.  (I’ll remain the sole writer of the Story Series, and I’m afraid I can’t put any of your characters in it. At all. Sorry about this.)

     

    I hope this clarifies matters to all of you who want to write a story in Scarlet PI or have a character that would be just grand to put in the story, and that all of you will agree with this.  I made this so that the quality of the Scarlet PI brand would remain intact and avoid the many pitfalls previous attempts suffered.  It’s not all set in stone though, if a minor detail needs more work on, please let me know so I can iron that out.