Welcome to the second edition of the Ratings Guide! We've seen a lot of confusion in the past about what rating a particular work should be based on grey areas in the rules or poorly worded guidelines. Hopefully this second attempt will get things going smoothly.



Everyone:
- An occasional "light" swear word (like hell or damn) here or there is fine.
- Mild violence that isn't the main focus of your story.
- Everything that isn't listed in the following categories below belongs here.
- The TV series The Simpsons is a great example to draw from if you're looking to compare your work to an established program for anyone.

Teen:
- Frequent use of mild language and isolated use of explicit language. If your parents would be disappointed in you for saying it, but not horrified, it'd fit here. Just use your judgement.
- Mild but persistent descriptive violence. This means that a large part of your story is focused on violent interactions between the characters.
- References to illicit drugs or criminal activity.
- References to sexual activity, but not depictions of it. Anything past "second base" should be labeled mature.
- Mild descriptions of the "on screen" death of a character. Death by violence is accepted in this category as long as it's not too crazy.
- The TV series Family Guy is a great example to draw from if you're looking to compare your work to an established teen rated program.

Mature:
- Frequent use of explicit language.
- Detailed description of violence, gore, maiming, murder or death in another grisly fashion.
- Detailed depictions of sexual activity.
- Detailed descriptions of the use of illicit drugs or alcohol.
- The TV series South Park is a great example to draw from if you're looking to compare your work to an established mature-like program.

Other notes:
- If a specific chapter of your story deviates from the rating you chose for your story, place a warning next to it in your table of contents (if you have one) as well as before the chapter itself.
- If your story deviates from the rating you originally chose for an extended period of time and you plan to continue like so, please change your rating tag accordingly.
- When in doubt about where your story falls, go for the higher rating. If you're still in doubt, don't be afraid to ask questions.
- If something in your story that you're concerned about is unlisted in these guidelines, speak up! The ratings guide can always be improved.

Still confused?:
- If you are still confused about what would qualify, here are some examples to base your classification on: