Member Conduct

Holly's Writing Classes Membership

The following are the unique terms and conditions of use for the community areas of the Holly's Writing Classes site: forums, chat, and any other areas added later in which two or more people communicate directly with each other.

In order to have access to community features, you must agree to and abide by these terms. By the act of using the community features, you affirm your agreement with them.

General Posting

You own your own words. That means that you and you alone are responsible for the content of your posts and any consequences of those posts. With that in mind:

  • Treat others with courtesy and respect.

  • Don’t ask for location, age or other personal information to or about another member of the site.

  • Discuss issues, but do not point fingers. “That is a stupid idea,” is an acceptable post, though perhaps not a particularly well-thought-out one. “You are a stupid person,” will result in me or a moderator removing your post without warning. People who use name-calling, harassment, or abusive language toward other members will be removed from the boards.

  • Do not leap into the flames. If you see an inappropriate post, DO NOT RESPOND TO IT. Notify a moderator about the post and the moderator or I will deal with it. Do not respond to it — the only effect that will have is that your post, too, no matter how erudite and well-thought-out, will vanish with it.

  • If you wish to discuss in a reasoned manner something that is going down in flames elsewhere, do so in a separate post with a similar title. That way people will be able to find your post, but it won’t be deleted or get you into trouble on the boards.

  • This is a forum specifically created for writers who wish to sell their work commercially.

  • This is not:

    • a general-subject-matter forum,

    • a forum for writers who have no interest in creating original work, including writers focused exclusively on fanfic,

    • a forum for writers who think of paid creators of fiction or nonfiction as "filthy pros,"

    • a forum for writers who think that getting paid for writing is immoral, embarrassing, evil, or ipso facto indicative of shoddy workmanship or lack of literary merit.

  • Your presence here indicates that you want to write and get paid for your work.

    If this statement does not describe you, you're in the wrong place.

  • All site members here have the equal right to enjoy civil, intelligent, and well-thought-out discussion free from harassment, hostility, and personal attacks.

    Trolls will be removed without warning or apology.

  • I will block from access to all shared areas---either temporarily or permanently at my sole discretion---any member who acts unprofessionally or uncivilly towards any other member.

DISCUSSING RELIGION AND POLITICS

  • While some discussions may drift into esoteric areas of writing, certain topics may ONLY be discussed impersonally from a research perspective, and without personal interest or bias. These subjects are politics and religion.

    EXAMPLE: You may ask a research question regarding the tenets or platforms of various religions or political organizations, and other students familiar with those organizations may post objective information answering your question, without offering opinions about the value of the organization.

  • You may not ask another member what religion or political party he belongs to, nor may you in any way proselytize for your own.

USE OF THE BOARDS OR CHAT ROOMS TO SOLICIT MONEY OR THIRD-PARTY SALES

  • You may not, under any circumstances whatsoever, use these forums to solicit money for any cause or purpose. This includes requests for donations for charities, crowdfunding, and anything where the money is for someone else or "a good cause."

  • You may not, under any circumstances whatsoever, post affiliate links to ANY products.

  • You may not, under any circumstances whatsover, solicit sales for any products, with the single following exception:

    • You may post non-affiliate links only to your own books on the I'M PUBLISHED! Board and in your forum signature.

For breach of any of the terms above, I or my moderators may move your post, remove your post, or issue a warning. I may also block you from the shared areas, specifically forum, chat, and any other site communication services we add in the future, or temporarily or permanently suspend your account.

The Family License Clause

To prevent course theft through your account, do not access your course or membership through public terminals, and always log out of your account when you are finished for the day if you use a shared private terminal. You are responsible for your Student ID and password. Unauthorized downloads are logged, and are cause for permanent termination of your membership.

You are entitled to print one copy of the course materials for your own use (and I strongly recommend that you do). You are authorized to print as many copies of all worksheets as you need for your own personal use.

Your subscription to this course entitles you to the personal and private use on computers and mobile devices belonging to you and USED ONLY BY YOU. You may not share course materials.

The rule on the sharing of course materials has the following single and specific exception:

    • Family members (spouses or domestic partners sharing the same legal residence OR a parent [or legal guardian] and child or children sharing the same legal residence), may use the printed contents of the course and may watch any movies or other course training materials presented via the site. ONLY the paid family member may access and post to the workgroups and boards.

Underage Members

For the first time since I left Forward Motion, I am permitting people between the ages of 16 and 17 to create accounts.

WITH ACCESS COMES RESPONSIBILITY

Accounts belonging to underage members are subject to specific community restrictions---that is, restrictions in how you use the forum, chat, and any other communication services we may add.

  • For your own safety, you are not permitted to tell your age, nor are you permitted to ask anyone else's age.

  • You may not access separate 18-and-over discussion areas. I have folks who write erotica. You MAY NOT join them. These areas are clearly marked and will not open to anyone between the ages of 16 and 17.

  • Lying about your age to circumvent access protection is grounds for PERMANENT removal from the site. That means if you make this an issue and I have to block your account, I won't let you back in even after you turn eighteen.

  • Let your parents know you use this site.

  • Basic safety:

    • Don't invite people you have only met online to your home.
    • Don't go anyplace else to meet people you have only met online.
    • If a presumed adult acts inappropriately toward you, report it to your parents, and use the forum/chat Report Abuse tools to give them documentation of what happened.

INTERACTION RULES FOR UNDERAGE MEMBERS

Like your adult counterparts on the site, you are here to learn to write fiction (and to a lesser extent, nonfiction) and get paid for it. With that in mind:

  • Post in complete sentences, with correct capitalization, spelling, and punctuation. No, this isn't school. This is the real world, and real writers have to use all the tools of coherent, intelligent, correct language to get paid. Start using them now.

  • Remember that this site is dedicated to creating a community of working, publishing writers.  Almost every site on the internet is about something else. If you're here, act like a writer, think like a writer, and above all, write.

  • If you act like an adult, you'll be treated like one. I routinely have young writers asking me how to get their work published professionally, how to be taken seriously, how to start building paying careers.

    It's pretty simple, and it borrows from that old joke about "On the internet, no one knows you're a dog." If you learn the ropes of writing, revising, and publishing, you can submit your work without ever mentioning your age.

    Your parents will have to co-sign your contracts until you're eighteen, but aside from that, if you're willing to act professionally and earn your skills through hard work and focus, you'll be treated like a pro. MANY writers publish before they're adults.

Open Workgroups

Your goal in any open workgroup is to learn how to refine your own work, or to discuss ways in which you have done so that may prove useful to other writers.

Workgroups are as much for brainstorming as they are for getting feedback on work in progress. While you can send sections of your work to fellow students via PM if you choose and they agree, DO NOT post actual work to workgroups. Use them to discuss the problems you’re having, and to find folk who are working through the same problems you are and who would like to exchange crits.

If you request comments or crits, give them in return. Crits are given on a one-for-one basis as value for value, and you and the person with whom you are exchanging crits must determine what each of you will consider an acceptable exchange beforehand.

Private Writers Groups

Each private writers' group is required to follow all site rules, including rules on giving and receiving objective crits. However, within private writers groups, you can post stories, cover art, and other private copyrighted materials, share crits, develop collaborative works, exchange story PDFs, and so on.

IMPORTANT: The contents of all private writers' group boards will be deleted monthly. This both protects works from any possible security breaches and keeps the site running smoothly. Remember to keep copies of the things you do in your writers' group.

Giving and Receiving Writing Critiques and Advice on the Site

Giving a Critique

NEVER offer a crit when one has not been requested.

When comments are requested, ONLY offer them to the question the writer has asked.

Subject matter is personal, and if what you read is not to your taste, responding with "I don't like this" is...

A) Not a critique,

B) Utterly beside the point, and

C) A violation of the TOS.

If you cannot offer anything helpful, move to a different discussion.

If a critique of presented material is specifically requested—by which, the writer asks, "Would you look at this and give me a critique on X, Y, and Z" either on the open forum or in private conversation, you must follow these rules:

  • Critique the writing, never the writer.
  • Never say, "You are…" or "You should…"
    Neither personal comments nor the word "should" have any place in a critique.
  • Instead, ask questions. "Why does [X] happen?" or "Why does [Y] do this?"
  • Point out areas where you get lost. "I cannot figure out how [X] leads to [Y]."
  • Note errors in spelling and word usage if applicable.
  • Find what is right in each piece as well as what is wrong.
  • Critique the story as it is, not as it would be if you were to write it. It's not your story, and how you would write it is irrelevant.
  • Remember that subject matter is personal. You don't have to like a project to give it an objective critique.
  • Remember what your biases are and comment around them.
  • Remember that you are judging the product of another human being's mind and creativity. You are not dealing with pixels on a screen. You are dealing with a person. Be objective.

Things you may not say while critiquing.

"That's awful."

"That's stupid."

"I don't like this."

"You're a terrible writer."

Receiving A Critique

  • Do not ask for a critique unless you are willing to receive one.
  • Do not ask for a critique expecting to be told how wonderful you are or your story is. Only ask for a critique if you understand that the work has flaws other people will see, and they will point these flaws out to you.
  • The people critiquing your work must abide by very specific site rules. They will not attack you, they will not attack your story.
  • You may not attack them for the responses they give you.
  • Read your critiques carefully. The person who has written them has taken the time to study your project, and wants to help you find ways to make it better.
  • Explain only if asked to. For example, the reader has said, "I don't understand how [X action] led to [Y result].
  • Don't rebut. A rebuttal is when your reader says, "I did not understand this," and your response is, "But it was my intention to confuse the reader."
  • The word "But…" will always put you in the wrong.
  • Be willing to make changes. It's how you learn to improve your work. If you don't intend to change problems found, do not request a crit.
  • Conversely, don't change anything you feel must remain in order to make the story yours.

If you are here, I assume and your fellow students assume that you serious about learning to improve your work, whether you want to be published or not. Don't request crits or join workgroups or private on-site writers groups if you are not interested in trading work for work, or in hearing what problems other students find in your work.

Things you may not say when being critiqued.

"You're wrong."

"You're an idiot."

"That was a lousy crit."

 

Forum Membership Is A Privilege, NOT A Right

I reserve the right as the site owner to remove any student from the boards for any reason.

You can be warned, or banned temporarily or permanently. I hate having to take drastic measures, but I won’t permit individual students who cause problems to ruin the course experience for those who don’t. If you value your access to the boards, please remember why you are taking your course or courses and what you hope to accomplish from learning the skills you’ll learn here, and behave accordingly.

So with that in mind, have fun and write with joy. You are among those who love what you love.

Legal Issues

Broadly, don’t do anything illegal in here or your board access will be revoked. More specifically:

Respect people. Don’t harass, stalk or verbally abuse anyone.

Respect the law. Do not use these forums for the illegal sale, purchase, or exchange of any form of contraband.

Respect copyrights. Don’t post anything for which you don’t own copyright, and don’t copy anything for which you don’t own copyright.

For the full legal language, also read:

Holly Lisle
Site Owner
Updated: 7/1/2016

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