You need to get permission from a Permission Giver on the PPC Posting Board before you're allowed to write PPC stories, including missions, interludes, and anything else set in the shared universe of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. This article discusses the whys and hows of doing so, and it is expected that you read and understand it before asking for permission.
Why Do I Need Permission? Edit
The reasons are simple:
- When you are writing about your agents and HQ, you are borrowing the world that was created by Jay and Acacia. They specifically requested that spin-off authors use their gadgets, follow their naming system for new stuff, include jokes and references, and try not to contradict PPC backstory. This has since been interpreted to include generally keeping to the spirit of the Original Series. Permission ensures that people who want to write a spin-off actually want to write a PPC spin-off—one that satisfies the above requirements—and not to make up something completely different. (Making up something completely different is cool, but calling it "PPC" is not.)
- We take pride in the fact that our stories are well-written. If someone asks for permission to PPC, and that person's post is riddled with bad spelling, grammar, and logic, permission will not be granted. What right do we have to mock people's stories if our own writings are just as bad? Additionally, it would be super-hypocritical if the PPC ended up full of Sue and Stu agents who are not reformed.
How Do I Get Permission? Edit
- Introduce yourself on the Board, read the PPC Constitution, and interact regularly for a while. We're a community, so if no one knows who you are when you ask for permission, it's unlikely to be granted right away. Also, uh, we're kinda weird. Hanging around and interacting with us will help you get acquainted with our quirkier aspects.
- At least read the Original Series. You're essentially writing a fanfic about it, so know your canon. It's also a good idea to read some other spin-offs, too. You can find a listing of them on the Complete List of PPC Fiction (also hosted here). You can also browse by fandom.
- Other recommended reading includes the Official Fanfiction University of Middle-earth and any other OFUs that tickle your fancy, the PPC Handbook and PPC Manual, and the writings about some of the events in PPC history.
- To help figure out if you understand what the PPC is all about, take the Permission Self-Check. If you can answer all the questions, you probably know what we're here for. This is not compulsory, but is highly recommended.
- Come up with an agent or two. Two is recommended if you're writing alone, but teaming up with another writer is equally encouraged.
- Find yourself a badfic you really want to spork.
- Once you're sufficiently oriented and sure of what you want to do, post your permission request on the Board. For what to include, see below.
What to Include in a Permission Request Edit
Generally speaking, a permission request should include the following:
- BRIEF character summaries for your agents. We don't want their full history—the purpose of this is just for the Permission Givers to check that they're not going to be Sues or Stus.
- A link to the badfic you intend to tackle as your first mission. Have to have done your research, you know.
- A link to a sample of your own writing. This does not need to be related to the PPC, but should be representative. We want to see whether you can write well, basically.
And that's it. The exact format is up to you, and it does help to look like you're having fun rather than just tripping over a silly ritual. It is that, but it's a necessary silly ritual.
Things to Avoid Edit
There are a few commonly observed behaviors that tend to worry or annoy the PGs rather than inspire them with faith and trust. These are them.
- Asking for permission within days of your first introduction post is both doomed to fail and a sign that you haven't learned the rules yet. Not following the rules is bad, so make sure you learn them before trying to get permission. Reading this page in its entirety is a good start.
- Bringing up the subject of permission at every opportunity is annoying. Chill out. Relax. Enjoy the Board and the missions. (That is why you're here, right?) Tell someone else how much you like their work. Tell a funny anecdote. Pose an interesting question. Discuss. Show us that you're part of the community.
- Exhibiting a lack of confidence in one's self does not inspire confidence from others. If you don't feel comfortable with your abilities or your knowledge, it's okay to wait to ask for permission until you feel ready—and for Eru's sake, cheer up!
- Reporting badfic is good. Reporting zillions of badfics does nothing for you, and if you spam the Board with new threads, it will annoy people. If there is a pre-existing badfic report thread, please use that one.
- Taking everything seriously is a sure sign that you have no idea what the PPC is about. Relax and have fun!
Some Frequently Asked Questions Edit
Some of this information may be covered elsewhere, but since these are frequently asked, it doesn't hurt to frequently answer them.
Q. When should I ask for permission?Edit
A. Whenever you feel comfortable and confident asking. Part of this should be that you are confident in your level of understanding of the PPC; to help you assess this, the Permission Self-Check has been created.
The sole caveat regarding timeframe is that the Permission Givers are not likely to grant permission to someone they just met or don't recognize, so it helps if you've been around long enough to have an appreciable presence in the community. However, there's no one magical time period.
Q. What can I use for my writing sample?Edit
A. Basically anything except a PPC story or a co-written work, as long as it reflects your ability to use spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Humor is encouraged but not necessary. Fanfiction, original fiction, and agent backstories/introductions have all been used and are all fine. Formal or non-fictional writing may be less representative of how you'll write PPC stories than the aforementioned, but if it's funny and/or particularly well-written, there's no reason not to use that sort of thing, too.
Writing samples that have tended not to work so well (apart from badly written ones) are ones that focus on really heavy, dark, or grim subjects. Heavy, dark, and grim are all right for their own sakes, but they're miles from the tone of the original, so it's probably not a good idea to show us that when you're asking for permission to write lighthearted spoofs of bad fanfic.
Q. Should I get my writing sample beta-read?Edit
A. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! We want to know what you're capable of as a writer, and that includes whether or not you know how to work with a beta-reader to get your work in its best possible shape before our eyes see it.
You can find a list of PPCers who may be willing to beta-read for you here. Note that if a Permission Giver betas for you, that PG will not be able to review your permission request later.
Q. Do I need permission for every new story/agent/idea?Edit
A. Nope. You only need to get official permission once. It is considered polite to ask for general Board approval when introducing new concepts or gadgets or whatnot, though, or anything else that would alter the universe for other people.
Q. Do I need permission to role-play/MST/co-write/have a cameo with my agent?Edit
A. Nope. Role-plays and other group activities on the Board or the IRC, or things that don't affect the PPC's continuity, like MSTs, don't require permission. Similarly, if someone who already has permission specifically asks for volunteers for a mission they're writing, it's okay to volunteer, and if someone who already has permission wants to co-write a PPC story with you, that's totally cool.
Q. Can I claim a badfic before I get permission?Edit
A. Yep! Just make sure to add it to the Claimed Badfic list and follow the instructions thereon.
Q. No one's answered my permission request yet! What gives?Edit
A. Not to worry. The Permission Givers have lives, and sometimes they're busy. If they don't respond as quickly as you might like, don't fret! Just be patient. It may be that they were waiting for another PG to respond—it may be they had some reservations but were waiting to see if any other PGs felt strongly either way—or it may simply be that no one noticed your request! If your request drops off the page without a response, you don't need to start a new thread about it. The best thing to do is approach a Permission Giver directly in another thread (or by e-mail, IM, whatever) and ask them to take a look at it.
Q. What if I get rejected?Edit
A. Permission is not withheld very often, but when it is, the Permission Giver in question should give you a reason (or several). The most common reasons, singular or in combination, are:
- Having no idea who you are when you ask;
- Ideas that really, really contradict the spirit of the original (i.e. Sue or Stu agents, SRS BSNS, mean-spiritedness);
- Really bad writing. Not just a few typos, but horrible writing.
The good news is that you can always try again!
Q. Does permission make me an official PPCer?Edit
A. Just being around, reading the stories, and basically hanging out with us makes you an official PPCer. Plenty of respected PPCers have never written a single mission. One of them is a Permission Giver herself!