For those who are new to us or to writing fanfic
Feb 06 2014
The forum contains many entries designed to help new writers find and please betas, and to help them with their own self-edits and proofreading. Each entry, in addition to the original post, contains all the comments that appeared after it was posted, many of which contain even more helpful information. I'm rereading a lot of these older threads both to bring them up again so that newbies can see and access them, and also so that I can look over the ones I've contributed in case I want to change or add or subtract something based on my new experiences in the past few years. So far, I'm finding that they all stand up pretty well. *is pleased* But I do want them to seem more current, so I'll be adding something to each one to bring it forward and make it easier for newbies to find them. (ETA - I don't think I can do that with each one. There are too many. Suffice it to say that most of the help can be found in the Forum - Writing - General Tips section.)
The rules for punctuation and grammar are just that - rules. They usually aren't negotiable (although there is room for argument about commas sometimes) and should be followed to the best of your ability. Ditto for spelling, although there will be differences between American spelling and British on many words. I will post a funny anecdote about that on the forum....
The "rules" for writing well are a bit more flexible and are subject to personal preferences to some extent. However, there are many writing quirks that are very common for new authors that really could use, if not complete discarding, at least some judicious paring; so a hard look at the writing "rules" and tips presented on the forum would be a good idea. "Never say never" and "Learn from the best" might be two thoughts to keep in mind when trying to adapt your style to something that will please the most people. When in doubt, feel free to ask someone on the beta list or who has posted frequently on the forum to look at a small sample of something you're worried about and get their opinion on it. A good opinion sharer will give you the reasons for objecting to something so that you will #1, understand better why it isn't considered "good" writing, and #2 be able to make an informed decision if you decide to incorporate into your work anyway.