Submission Rules
Sycophant Hex Submission Rules

Last Updated: October 1, 2008

To post with Sycophant Hex (SH), all authors must be registered users abiding by our Terms of Service.

To write a story, you will need a word processing program on your computer. Once it is finished have it beta read by a qualified beta reader. A beta reader is someone who checks for plot holes, grammar, and canon facts.

Some possible places to search for a beta are:

- - Visit the Seekers and Keepers for beta services.
- - A directory for beta readers that are tested.

We do not expect perfection from authors (everyone makes mistakes, even admins), but we do need to get the idea that as an author, you have taken the time and care in editing and having the story beta read by a qualified beta reader. J.K. Rowling has taken liberty with her writing, and fanfic authors we are allowed to do the same. Grammar rules are there to help the reader enjoy your story; if the story works well as it is written, it could be considered technically correct even if it is not grammatically correct.

If an author feels a correction is unnecessary please contact the admins at admins [at], the correction will be looked at closer and a decision will be made.

We have limited staff, therefore we allow up to seven (7) days for validation of any fic unless there is a delay in the validation process.

All chapters from unvalidated authors are individually read and screened for quality by the admin staff.

The information below is needed when filling out the form to submit a fic to SH.

All stories being submitted to SH should comply with the submission rules below, or contain a note to the admins explaining why you have deviated for stylistic purposes. Requests for exceptions from the submission rules below are subject to Admin review and approval.

Category: The submission should be placed within the correct category or categories.

Descriptive fields: When filling out the descriptive fields (title, chapter title and summary), use proper English, including correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Summaries must be completed for each submission. As our readers are rather sophisticated, we will return stories to the authors if they have "Erm...I'm really no good at this..." in the summary, or something similar. We will also return stories that contain Netspeak/Internet slang in the summary (i.e., ďSeverus *discovers* the real Hermione -- lots of PRON!Ē) Summaries should be between one and four sentences.

Classification fields (i.e. Ratings, Warnings, Genres, etc): Submissions should be marked appropriately for their content. The Admins reserve the right to change these items as necessary.

Alternate Universe/Canon Compliancy: We expect that stories will be canon compliant, that authors are educated about the universe in which they have chosen to write. However, we do understand that to make a story work some things need to be changed or amended. Therefore we expect authors to follow these two simple guidelines that will make it easier for all.

i. It is assumed that stories will be compliant with existing canon. In the authorís notes at the top of the story please put which book the story is canon compliant to.

ii. Sometimes to make a story work it needs to change details that were never canon, if this is the case please select Alternate Universe as one of your genres.

Characterization: Stories will be rejected if the canon characters are so OOC (Out Of Character) that they cannot be recognized.

Plot/Story Development: Each chapter will be read to make sure that, at a minimum, it is internally consistent. Readers expect stories to make sense and develop in a steady and coherent fashion. Beta readers are strongly recommended for any problems in plot development and will help any author keep on track.

Language: Our readers are adults; therefore, the language of all submissions must be at an appropriate level. Our readership expects fully developed works of prose or poetry with a style that is reasonably sophisticated. Stories using Netspeak, computer chat abbreviations, or (except in dialogue) colloquial language will not be accepted. Also, when writing, it is important to stretch beyond a primary or grammar school level. A variety of words describing scenes or objects makes for a more exciting story and is more likely to grip readers' attention. We also encourage authors to use a broad range of sentence structures.

Resources to thesauruses, which is an excellent way to expand your vocabulary, are listed below.


Grammar: Each chapter is checked for grammar. Infrequent or minor errors will be pointed out to the author during the validation process. However, chapters containing frequent or major errors that in our judgment would distract a reader will not be accepted. Major errors include problems with noun-verb agreement, verb tense, syntax (word order), or usage. In those cases, the writer will receive a letter explaining why the chapter was rejected and advising the use of a beta reader.

Resources providing help with grammar are listed below.


i. Punctuation: Correct punctuation--particularly commas, quotation marks, and apostrophes--is a must for acceptance. Infrequent or minor errors will be noted and a letter sent to the writer asking for changes with a probationary validation. Stories with frequent or significant problems in these areas will not be accepted.

Resources providing help with punctuation are listed below.


ii. Dialogue: Dialogue, grammar, and punctuation, i.e. the way the dialogue is formatted within the text, must be correct for acceptance. Frequent or consistent errors will result in rejection, possibly without the chapter even being read in its entirety. There are very specific rules about the correct formatting of speech. They are as follows:

All spoken dialogue is placed within quotation marks (single quotation marks for British and double quotation marks for American). The attribute (explanation of how the dialogue is spoken) is generally linked to the rest of the sentence thus:

a. "It's a very hot day," panted Hermione. (Note the comma within the quotation marks.)

b. "What did you say?" asked Hermione. (Note the question mark within the quotation marks and the lower case beginning of the attribute.)

c. Severus said, "We did not expect to see you here, Miss Granger." (Note the comma after the attribute and the capital letter introducing the spoken sentence.)

There is only a comma within the dialogue when it is linked to direct speech attribution. If the speech is followed by action, or other descriptor, then there is no comma.

d. Here is an example:

"I hate you!" She glared furiously at him. (Glaring has nothing to do with the act of speaking.)

e. And another example:

"That is all I have to say." She turned away and walked to the door without another word. (Full stop here because there is no speech attribution.)

f. Split dialogue:

"What did you say? Are you telling me," he gasped, "that you are pregnant?" (The second speech fragment begins lower case because the sentence is split.)

g. "What?" he shouted. "You are pregnant? How the hell did that happen?" (The speech attribution separates two complete sentences here.)

h. "Didn't you just hear her; she said 'I'm pregnant'. What is so hard to understand about that?" Harry asked. (The apostrophe around what some one said indicates dialogue from another character being repeated.)

Spelling: Each chapter must be spell checked even if a beta reader has read it. Authors will be notified of corrections needed to only two misspelled words (canon and non-canon words) per two thousand words. If the spelling mistake is on purpose (journal entry, speech patterns, and etc), put a note in the Authorís Notes and let us know. We will understand. Spell checkers are standard on most computers and if by chance a computer does not have one, spell checkers are available online for free. Variations of British, American, Canadian, and Australian English spelling will be taken into account.

A free online spell checker:

i. Canon spellings: Correct spellings of canon names, places, and objects are crucial for acceptance! Please take the time to read through your chapter before uploading to ensure canon spellings are correct. Names of characters, spells, magical items, and fictional places can be verified in the books, at the Harry Potter Lexicon or the List of Canon Words by SH Staff and added to your spell check program.

ii. Spells: The proper names and incantations of all spells, curses, and hexes should be capitalized. To be consistent with canon, if a potion is not a JK Rowling potion, it should be capitalized if it a specific potion name. It has the option to be in lower case only if it is a type of potion, not a specific potion name. (For example, burn-healing paste and boil cure potion aren't capitalized, but Aging Potion and Blood-Replenishing Potion are capitalized.)

iii. Canon capitalization: Correct capitalization of canon names, places, and objects is important for consistency and easy readability. Incorrect capitalization will be noted for authors during the validation process and must be correct prior to the posting of subsequent chapters.

Length: Chapter length must be at least 500 words if it is a chaptered story. Short one-shot stories and drabbles are allowed to be less but must be at least 100 words. Authorís notes, disclaimers, story information and etc. placed in the story upload field will not be counted towards the final requirements of 500 words; the story content itself must be 500 words for chaptered stories.

i. 100 word Challenge Rules: Authors must seek prior approval before submitting 100 word challenge responses. When a challenge is hosted, one person is to gather them; beta read them and submit all of them in one submission so they are combined together. This will allow the queue to move faster and give the reader more stories to read on one page instead of having to search for other 100 word responses from the same challenge.

ii. Poetry: Poetry must contain recognizable parts of the characters if posting in one of the character-focused categories. If it is vague, the admins have the right to change categories to Chaos, the original works section, for posting. If the poetry is under 100 words we will request another poem be submitted at the same time.

iii. Epilogues: An epilogue is to be at least 300 words and can be a chapter within itself. The epilogues will need to be clearly marked so the Admins can appropriately assess the submission. (This does not include prologues; they still must be 500 words or more.)

Formatting: Proper formatting lets the reader view the story comfortably. Stories must fill the entire width of the page before going to the next line in a paragraph. If stories do not fulfill the requirement they are to be rejected without consideration until the author reformats it correctly and resubmits.

Double spacing between paragraphs and each new line of dialogue is required in order to make stories easier to read. A new line must also be in place when changing character point of view.

i. Author's Notes: Author's notes belong before or after the story. Authorís notes do not belong in the middle of the story. If this happens, the story will be rejected and the author will be advised to upload it correctly. A story may be rejected for offensive or inappropriate author's notes. Author's notes may not include replies to reviews; authors can reply to reviews directly, so there is no need for them to be in Author's notes. If this happens, the story will be rejected and the author will be advised to upload correctly.

ii. Scene changes: When changing scenes it is strongly recommended to provide a clear line, preferably a horizontal line a < hr > (an html tag). If using a different method, the lines must not be more than 80% of an 800x600 screen resolution or fifty (50) character spaces across the page; if it exceeds this length, the browser may be forced to provide a horizontal scroll bar (on the bottom of the window) to enable the reader to view the complete story. If this happens, the story will be rejected and the author will be advised to upload correctly.

Bad Email Address: If a letter is sent to an author for story (chapter) corrections and the letter is returned with a bad email address, the chapter will be taken immediately out of queue/deleted from the archive even if it is already validated, and the author will have to correct the email address or may contact User Help if there are any questions.


Number of Submissions:

Since we have limited staff we have restrictions on how many submissions can be in the queue. We allow only two submissions per author. The following are examples of what make two submissions:

- Two chapters of the same or separate multi-chaptered stories.
- Two separate one-shot stories.
- One one-shot story and one chapter of the same or separate multi-chaptered stories.
- Or any other combination that equals two submissions.

If a submission requires corrections, the subsequent chapters of the same story will be deleted from queue; if the submission is from a different story they will remain in queue.

Links and URLs: Active links are not allowed within submissions unless they lead to another SH hosted site. Any story with an active hotlink to an outside site will be automatically rejected and returned to the author. Additionally, if hotlinks are discovered in already-posted stories, SH reserves the right to immediately and directly remove the hotlink without notification to the author. URLs may be listed in the appropriate places (Author's notes) if providing reference material directly related to the story. Any other URLs should be listed on the Author Information page.

Underage Sex: No submissions depicting explicit sexual acts for characters below the age of 17 will be allowed. Reference to physical or sexual abuse of children under the age of 17 may be included within the story only as required for background information. No graphic details may be included.

Images: We currently do not allow images in stories.