- Main article: Permission
Some of this information may be covered elsewhere, but since these questions are frequently asked, it doesn't hurt to frequently answer them.
Q. What can I do without Permission?
Lots! The following list is far from exhaustive, but covers some of the most frequently raised issues.
- Post to The Board and chat in the PPC Lounge.
- Contribute to the PPC Wiki.
- Play in most PPC games, including the PPC Boarder Shipfic Fest, the PPC Badfic Game, and Fill the Plothole.
- Take part in most PPC RPs, except where specifically noted to require permission.
- Act as a beta reader for other PPCers.
- Report badfic to the Board or Lounge, and join in the analysis of it.
- Write PPC Badfic Reports, and post them on the Wiki.
Q. When should I ask for Permission?
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. The Permission Self-Check is here to help you assess yourself.
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 are the Permission Givers looking for?
A. Good writing.
... what you wanted more? ^_^
- Good SPaG.
- An understanding of both the setting and spirit of the PPC.
- Characters who come across as three-dimensional and interesting to read about, and fit in with their supposed backgrounds.
- A story that reads like a story, not half a scene cribbed from a larger work.
- Reasonable reactions to events around them (ie, character-driven rather than plot-driven).
- Other stuff like that.
Q. I really have problems with writing from prompts. Is there another option?
A. Not at this time. The control prompts were picked specifically because they're scenes that almost everyone will write anyway, so we don't think you should have a problem just because they're prompts, too. The random prompts exist for several very good reasons, one of which is to give you a clear idea of what the PGs are looking for in a permission request. You can replace the random prompt with one of your choosing, but unilaterally ignoring good advice is a bad idea, so we'd rather you didn't.
Q. What if my random prompt is something my character(s) wouldn't do?
A. You can always cheat and pick whatever prompt you think will be easiest to write; we'll never know. However, we'd really much prefer that you challenge yourself and stick with the results of your dice roll. Each box has two prompts to choose from, so you're not totally without options, and each prompt is open to a variety of interpretations. If you're imaginative and know your characters and the PPC well enough, you should be able to find an interpretation that works.
If you can't think of a single thing to write based on either choice, we might get worried about your level of creativity or how your agents fit into the organization. PPC stories thrive on the ability to think outside the box and craft entertainment out of bizarre scenarios, so if you're stumped by prompts hand-picked by the PGs to inspire interesting scenes, how will you cope with badfic?
Q. Hey, my prompt seems a little grim. I thought you wanted humor!
A. Grimness is in the eye of the beholder. Some prompts may suggest a more serious character development moment, yes, but that doesn't mean they have to be DARK. In fact, please avoid this!
Q. 400-800 words? Really?
A. This is more what you'd call a guideline than an actual rule. As the 36 Prompts document says, it's more important that you craft solid, entertaining scenes than that you slavishly adhere to a word count. As long as your samples showcase your writing ability, including mechanics, characterization, and style, you should be fine. Just bear in mind that very short samples may not show off your writing at its best, and the PGs may not have time to fully read a very long sample, let alone two.
Q. Can I use free-to-use characters in my writing samples?
A. By all means! Using the characters, locations, and concepts of the PPC is an important part of writing in the shared universe. You can find the Free-to-Use characters category here on the wiki, and the links to their appearances from their respective articles. Remember: the best way to learn how to write a character is to read their stories, not just their wiki page.
Q. Should I get my writing samples beta-read?
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 we 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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
A. When permission is withheld, the Permission Giver in question should give you a good reason (or several). The most common reasons, singular or in combination, are:
- Having no idea who you are when you ask;
- Ideas that contradict the spirit of the PPC (i.e. Sue or Stu agents, SRS BSNS, mean-spiritedness);
- General cluelessness about how the PPC works, in-universe or out;
- Bad writing. Not just a few typos, but horrible writing.
The good news is that you can always try again! Just make sure to first take plenty of time to improve on whatever problems the PG pointed out to you.
Q. Does Permission make me an official PPCer?
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!