Morton's Basics

Submission Guidelines

Alright, tourists, listen up! Each week Lemmy gets tons of submissions, but he doesn't have time to post all of them... he's only one Koopaling after all. That means some submissions have to be rejected, deleted, discarded, thrown away... whoops! There I go again. You don't want to have done a whole lot of work for nothing, so I've set out to lay down the basic rules. I can't really tell you what will make Lemmy choose one submission over another - that's subjective - but at least I can tell you the minimum requirements to even be considered.

This page will contain all the rules for submission eligibility, and will also contain special rules for each section that has them. Hopefully this will answer all your questions, but if it doesn't I hope you will Email me so I can get it straightened out and possibly add the answer to this page.

Before you get to the nasty stuff, why not indulge in some light reading on the subject? How to Cook Up a Lemmy's Land Submission, by Lord Seth.

1. Short and Simple: Here are some general things you need to know.

1A. Rules Change, and Have: Sometimes Lemmy changes the rules, usually to make it harder to get submissions through. This has become necessary because Lemmy now has more tourists submitting more stuff than ever before, yet he doesn't have more time to actually post said submissions. Because of this, many submissions that Lemmy would have accepted before are now considered unacceptable. For example, it used to be the case that a tourist could interview any character, but now tourists are only permitted to interview Mario-related characters.

Lemmy has sometimes been suckered into posting things by tourists who compared their own submission to others Lemmy had previously accepted, but Lemmy has been cracking down on this kind of reasoning, big time. This also means that you can't assume today's rules will be here tomorrow. It should be noted that Lemmy does not typically remove submissions that were accepted under previous guidelines.

1B. The Golden Rule: Rules are great, but they don't really apply to webmasters of huge and popular sites who put a ton of time into said site, free of charge. While Lemmy usually does his best to follow his own guidelines, he may occassionally reject a submission "just because". Don't get it through your head that Lemmy does this often or that he flips a coin to decide whether to post your submission; it's nothing like that. Regardless of Lemmy's reason or lack thereof for rejecting your submission, you must be prepared to accept it. If you disagree with his reasons he is usually quite willing to discuss them with you, and has been known to change his mind. Nevertheless, in the end it is entirely his choice whether or not your submission will be posted.

It should be noted that Lemmy will occassionally bend the rules a bit for really good submissions that fall slightly outside the lines.

2. Submission Requirements: The following things must be satisfied in order for Lemmy to post any submission. They are not listed in any particular order of importance; rather they are all equally important to your work being accepted, although not necessarily equally easy to fulfill.

2A. Mario Content: Some sites on the Internet consider themselves "Nintendo" sites or "video game" sites. Lemmy's Land is not one of them. Obviously any site featuring Mario is going to have tie-ins with Nintendo and video games in general, but Lemmy's Land is as exclusively Mario as a site can get. This means your submission must have a significant amount of Mario content, be it official characters, items, places, or themes. Make sure your work has some of these elements; lack of Mario content is probably the biggest reason why submissions are rejected.

Lemmy is not terribly fond of made up characters or characters from other games or TV shows (both of these groups go under "unofficial characters"), and he dislikes author insertions - when the author is in his own story - even more (unless the author is a Mario character, of course). Unofficial characters probably shouldn't be in the starring role of your submission, at least until Lemmy has gotten to know them through smaller roles in stories he has accepted. For a list of official characters, check Morton's Bios and Lemmy's List of Baddies, and if you're still not sure if a particular character qualifies, Email Lemmy!

The Mario content requirement applies to most every submission, but there are exceptions. Lemmy's Lines and Lemmy's HTML Guide are "extra sections" not necessarily Mario-related (especially the guide), and Lemmy's Reviews accepts write-ups for all games under certain conditions explained later on in this guide.

2B. Family Friendly: This is a big one, and of all the big rules this has probably changed the least over the years because Lemmy was pretty strict with this one to begin with. Lemmy's Land has an unwritten mission statement, and part of it is that all visitors should be able to access every area of the site without worry, in as much as this is possible. (At the moment, Lemmy's White Ice Castle is available only to users capable of loading Javascript.) What this means is that every submission must be viewable by all audiences. This also means that a disclaimer at the top of your submission is not acceptable, as that would still be content that not all tourists can view. Lemmy tries his best not to post or even link to any content that could be considered offensive, in order to keep Lemmy's Land a safe community for everyone.

There are three big rules to keep in mind when sending your submission:
-No excessive violence: Obviously a site where good battles evil is going to have a lot of fighting, but keep it clean. Mario's games are graphic, insofar as you can see Mario killing stuff, but you don't see any blood or anything like that. We shouldn't see it here either.
-No swearing: If it's even remotely a bad word, Lemmy won't accept it. If a character must curse, it can be blocked (example: **** or &^%*), but the meaning must remain unclear. If an intelligent reader (read: Lemmy) could still tell which curse word the author meant, it's unacceptable.
-No adult themes: An intimate evening between Lemmy and Wendy is probably not a good idea, and not just because Lemmy won't appreciate it.

If a submission has a few family friendly infractions - for example, an unblocked curse word - Lemmy will usually edit it to an acceptable condition. However, if such editing would significantly affect the story - say, there was a running gag based on that curse word - Lemmy will usually send it back to the author with suggestions on how to revise it. If a story is not even close to being acceptable under the family friendly guidelines, Lemmy tends to ignore that he ever got that Email. So don't bother sending something like that, ok? It won't help you win his favor.

2C. Original Work: Breaking this rule is probably the quickest way to get banned from Lemmy's Land, as three tourists have already found out. Simply put, you must yourself have made the submissions you send to Lemmy. This includes writing your own stories, sequencing your own midis, and creating your own pictures by drawing, painting, or scanning from a manual, and so on. If you submit something you didn't make, it will be considered stolen. This includes anything you take from a website, even if the website says you can take material from it. This also includes anything taken from a file-sharing network such as Kaazaa. The point is that, not only should you respect the true owner of given material, but you may not get a Koopaling vote simply for pulling something off the web.

Tourists who break this rule once will receive an official warning about stealing and will be placed on probation until they reply to the warning, during which time they will be unable to make submissions or earn Koopaling votes. Tourists who are caught stealing after the warning is acknowledged - even if the stolen material was submitted before the warning - will be banned from Lemmy's Land. Such tourists will be unable to make submissions ever again and forfeit their Koopaling votes. If you're ever not certain as to whether something counts as stealing, Email Lemmy! It counts as stealing even if you do so unwittingly.

Anyone who helps Lemmy spot stolen material will be rewarded with a Koopaling vote, so if you see anything that looks suspicious, please let Lemmy know. Please do not contact the author with accusations; if the submission is found somewhere else online, that author could have more than one name or someone else may have stolen the submission from Lemmy's Land. All tips regarding stolen material will be kept completely confidential.

Equally important, but far less likely to get you banned, is that your submission must include original ideas and concepts; it must bring something new to the table that is Lemmy's Land. What I mean is, your submission should include things that have not been seen on this site, or spin them in a different way. If the strong point of your submission is that Mario and Bowser join forces or Mario says "cheese" a lot, it may not be accepted because it's just not original, it doesn't really add anything worthwhile to the site. What will make or break this kind of story is what Mario and Bowser do while working together, or what Mario does while acting like an idiot; that's the kind of stuff that's going to have to be original. Also, differences from material in Lemmy's Land must be significant. Having Mario say "milk" instead of "cheese" every three words doesn't really solve the problem.

Lack of originality doesn't count as stealing, at least the kind that can get you banned, because it is easy to steal an idea without knowing it. You might not have seen the material that Lemmy deems as too similar to yours. Nonetheless, whether or not you have seen the submission in question you are responsible for creating original content. If you are worried that the submission you're planning may not be original enough, the best thing to do would probably be to Email Lemmy a summary of your work-to-be and get the ok from him. Of course you could also look at every Lemmy's Land submission... but that might take a little while, and by the time you're finished you may have forgotten your original idea.

Incidentally, stealing content from Lemmy's Land and putting it on your site will get you instantly banished, because you'll have wronged two people at once: the original author and Lemmy himself. You won't receive a warning, you'll just be banned, because any reasonable person would already know this is wrong. But, here it is in writing anyway. Don't do it.

2D. Size Sensitive: Like an island, Lemmy's Land is not limitless. The site has an account limit and a monthly bandwidth limit - that is, how much material can be downloaded during a month. In addition, some tourists may have difficulty viewing large submissions, which could become a problem for the mission statement I discussed during the family friendly sections. If your submission is over 100 kilobytes, it must be especially good - that is, better than it would have to be if it were under 100 kilobytes - in order to be allocated that much space; the larger it is, the better it must be. If your submission is over a meg (1,000 kilobytes), you can pretty much expect it to be rejected unless it is groundbreakingly good or you and Lemmy have made previous arrangements.

The size sensitive requirement applies mostly to graphic submissions - that is, submissions to the Art Museum, Funnies, or Photos. Text-based submissions over 100 kilobytes are more likely to have a problem with the time sensitive requirement (see next section), as they're already going to have to be quite good for Lemmy to edit so much stuff. Additionally, Lemmy is aware that computer applications for Lemmy's Games may be quite large and difficult to make, and will likely cut some slack with games' filesize. (Online Games only, of course, a text-based Game shouldn't be so large.)

2E: Time Sensitive: As I noted in the rules change section, Lemmy doesn't have time to post every submission he receives. This goes double and moreso for especially long submissions - say, that 50-page Fun Fiction you've been working on for months, which will surely take hours to edit. Lemmy usually handles submissions in the order he receives them, but a very long submission may have to wait until he has some extra time so that other submissions don't have to wait an extra update before being posted. If a submission is too impossibly long, it could be rejected on the spot. Be reasonable, ok?

If you do have a long submission, one thing you can do is send it in installments. Submissions are much less daunting in small pieces. If you must send your submission all at once - perhaps it is best seen as a whole - try to do so early in the week, not Friday just before the update. Also, be polite and don't send those other, smaller submissions you've been working on in addition to that huge thing... it won't help your case. You might also tell Lemmy that you don't expect him to have your huge submission ready by the next update. In short, be nice to Lemmy and he'll be nice back.

2F: High Quality: Back when Lemmy's Land opened, Lemmy was desperate for submissions to fill his site and would accept nearly anything that didn't break the other rules too horribly. As the number of accepted submissions have increased into the hundreds, however, Lemmy has become more and more interested in the submissions' quality. No longer is putting a Mario character in the starring role of a clean story enough; now your submission must actually be decent.

This is the hardest category to fulfill because a lot of it is subjective. But don't worry: if your submission fails here, Lemmy will tell you what you can do to make it better, and usually it's not much. Lemmy also likes to challenge authors who he think can do better, even if their submission is already acceptable. You won't know whether you're being challenged or your submission is unacceptable as is, however, so it is usually not a good idea to refuse Lemmy's advice. Yes, if you were being challenged to improve an already acceptable submision, he'll still post it, but it'll cost you Cool Points... whatever those are.

3. Specific Requirements: While the above guidelines apply to all submissions to varying degrees, some rules apply only to submissions of certain types. These rules are detailed below.

3A. Fun Fiction vs Scribble: Of all the sections, these two are probably the most similar. In fact, many of the earliest Fun Fics would be Scribbles if the section had existed at the time - so be careful using any one Fun Fiction as an example of what a Fun Fic should be like. Below I will explain how Lemmy decides which section to put a story in, but first, let me just say that a Fun Fiction is not necessarily better than a Scribble; they are just different. Tourists sometime become disappointed if their story doesn't "make it" into Fun Fiction, but this should not be the case: plenty of Scribbles are better than plenty of Fun Fics and vice versa.

If you're wondering why Lemmy awards two votes for a Fun Fiction and just one for a Scribble, it's because Fun Fiction is the section Lemmy's Land was built around. Strictly speaking, all the other sections are just extra stuff, as good as their respective submissions may be. In addition, Fun Fiction usually take longer to write than Scribbles, thus the extra vote.

Character Development: In a Fun Fiction, the main character will likely undergo some sort of change, or a change from the past will be described; this change usually allows the character to be seen in a whole new light. In Scribbles characters usually leave the story the same way in which they entered it, with little or no change in their personality.

Official vs Unofficial Characters: In a Fun Fiction, all or nearly all of the characters are probably official Mario characters. If there is an unofficial character, it is probably well explained and developed, said character is probably the author's creation and not from another game or show, and the unofficial characters will be in the minority. A Scribble is more likely to have unofficial characters, especially those from other games or shows, just floating through. Of course, the author of a Scribble must be careful to meet the Mario content requirement.

Style: A Fun Fiction will probably have a definite start, perhaps an introduction, and an end, perhaps a conclusion. A Scribble may just happen on the spot and then stop, just an odd occurance, but the events of a Fun Fiction will probably be explained better. As a result, a Fun Fiction is likely to be longer than a Scribble, but length in and of itself is not one of the factors used in determining where to place a story. The story in a Fun Fiction will probably be coherent, and it will probably be viewed as something that could have happened in a Mario game or show. Scribbles may be confusing and very strange, not something you would expect to see in any game. The writing style of a Fun Fiction can usually be considered slightly more advanced as well.

Character Accuracy: Barring a reasonable amount of character development, characters in a Fun Fiction will probably act like they do in the games and shows. Scribble characters may act in any manner (as long as it doesn't violate the family friendly guidelines), regardless of how they might normally act. For example, Toad might curse in a Scribble (blocked out of course) but probably not in a Fun Fiction, as that would usually clash with his character.

3B: Interviews: Only official Mario characters may be interviewed. Lemmy may accept an Interview of an unofficial character seen in stories or a prominent tourist, but only if you have made arrangements beforehand. Additionally, Interviews are supposed to teach us about the interviewee (character being interviewed); as such, Interviews should include at least four good questions asked and answered. Good questions are those that teach us things we probably didn't know before, and also are relevant. "What games were you in?" probably doesn't count as a good question because tourists may already know that - especially if the question already appeared in another Interview. Neither does "Do you like wedding cake?", because probably no one cares. If your Interview has more than one interviewee, there must be enough information about all of them!

Tourists can interview characters that have been interviewed by other tourists, but a given tourist can only interview a given character once unless special arrangements are made with Lemmy. In the past Lemmy would put Interviews that didn't meet these guidelines into Scribbles, but not any more. So don't ask him about it.

3C. Larry's Bios: Previously called Larry's Tourist Bios before Lemmy's Bios was shuffled into my section, many tourists mistakenly came to believe that the section was for bios about tourists. This is not the case. Larry's Bios is for tourists to introduce the characters they have already introduced elsewhere. For example, if you wrote a story containing a new character and Lemmy accepted it, you might then want to write a bio so tourists can know more about said character. You are also welcome to write your own interpretation of the official characters, if you don't agree with the bios I wrote.

Larry's bios is only for characters who already appear in Lemmy's Land. Your new character must appear in an accepted submission before he is eligible for a bio.

Larry's Bios is only for official Mario characters and unofficial characters introduced by tourists. While characters from other games and shows are also considered unofficial and may have appeared in Lemmy's Land, they are not eligible for a bio. So don't try writing one for Sonic, ok?

3D: Mysteries and Quizzies: Lemmy cannot post a Mystery or quiz question without the answers. If you wish to allow Lemmy a chance to deduce the answers on his own you may send the answers in a separate Email, but you must be able to produce the answers on request. Mysteries and Quizzies will not be accepted until the answers have been received and, if necessary, discussed. If a Mystery or Quizzie answer is later proved wrong, the author may be charged a Koopaling vote at Lemmy's discretion, so doublecheck your answers!

3E: Reviews: Lemmy will accept a Review of any game, on any system, because it didn't make sense to have Reviews of just Mario games: nearly all the scores would be high. To avoid being swamped by non-Mario content, however, Lemmy will only accept one non-Mario Review per tourist per week. Additional non-Mario Reviews will be held or discarded at Lemmy's discretion.

All Reviews should include a discussion of the graphics, sound, gameplay, and fun factor, as well as anything else pertinent to the game in question. Non-Mario Reviews should include some background information, such as the game's system and storyline, since tourists are less likely to be familar with these games. It is acceptable to review games regardless of their rating, so long as the Review itself is family friendly; however, if the game is not rated E for Everyone or something similar, your Review must say so. In the case of a computer game, please include the system requirements.

Discussions should be well-informed. Don't base your opinion on a few minutes in the store or a few hours at home. You must have played a significant portion of the game before reviewing. While not required, ideally you should complete the game and wait a week or two, as first impressions are likely to fade, allowing for a more objective discussion. Each category should be defended by evidence. If you gave graphics a 6 out of 10, explain where those 4 points went and those 6 points came from. Also, a word to the wise: if all your categories have a perfect score, you didn't write a good Review.

Previews are not acceptable. Reviews of video game software are acceptable. Obviously different categories will be in order, but a brief discussion of some of the relevant games will probably be appropriate. Reviews for other media should be discussed with Lemmy prior to your writing the submission.

3F: Incomplete Submissions: The guidelines for currently unfinished submissions are a bit more strict than for other submissions. This is because when Lemmy posts the first part of said submissions, he is almost committed to posting the remaining parts when he receives them, even though he has not seen these parts. Of course Lemmy can and will reject submission continuations, but doing so gets sticky because it often results in a permanently incomplete story the beginning of which tourists have already seen and may have liked. Therefore, Lemmy accepts incomplete submissions with the implicit assumption that he will accept the rest.

Doing so, however, is an act of faith. There is no guarantee that the remaining parts of the submission will be as good as the first. As a result, the first segment of an incomplete submission must have sufficiently high quality such that Lemmy judges the submission as a whole will have enough quality even if the author's work starts to drop off. In addition, the first segment must be long enough so that Lemmy can guess where the submission is leading. For example, an incomplete Fun Fiction should already have its main plot laid out. Also, Lemmy must have reason to believe that the submission will someday be completed. If an author has never made a complete submission or already has incomplete submissions posted, Lemmy may refuse to accept an incomplete work.

In truth, these guidelines are only likely to matter for certain text-based submissions, like Fun Fiction, Drawing Board Creations, and Scribbles. Incomplete submissions for other sections may not be acceptable because it is difficult to evaluate where they are going without seeing the whole thing. For example, a comic for the Funnies often has its punchline in the last panel; if the last panel is not included, the submission may not look promising. Nevertheless, these general rules do apply to all sections, though good luck getting in an incomplete Masterpiece for the Art Museum.

4. Submission Odds and Ends: If I didn't say it up there, I might say it down here. I say a lot, you know.

4A. Accepted Filetypes: Sad to say, Lemmy is not able to open every kind of file imaginable. If he can't open your submission, he can't post it. In addition, some things Lemmy is able to view may be automatically ineligible if Lemmy feels that many tourists will not be able to view them or if there are other concerns. Below are the filetypes that Lemmy freely accepts. If you know in advance you will be making a submission that must be sent in some other format, you should ask Lemmy whether this will be acceptable.

For text-based submissions, accepted attachments include doc, txt, rtf, in order of preference. You can also paste your script into the Email itself; this is preferred as long as you are not using special formatting such as italics or colors. If you are, stick with doc.

Accepted attachments for graphic submissions include gif and jpg, which are preferred, as well as bmp, png, and tif. The latter bunch will be converted to gif if accepted. Please do not embed pictures in a Microsoft Word file. They are very difficult to extract. It makes Lemmy mad.

Audio submissions should be limited to the mid or wav filetypes.

Any valid filetype can be sent in a zip file. But you should only send a zip if the submission is very large, as it constitutes an additional step on Lemmy's end. Be especially wary of doing this when sending graphics, which are usually very easy to deal with otherwise.

If your text-based submission includes italics or other special styles, rather than encode them into doc format, you could also use text symbols as long as you tell Lemmy what they mean. For example, you might write [i]this text is italicized[i] in your script, as long as you tell Lemmy what [i] means. This is helpful to Lemmy because when he copies stories into his standard editor, any embedded coding is lost, so he would need to read through the original version and try to spot each instance of special text, which can be difficult. An alternative is to copy the story into a different editor, but that one creates a ton of garbage HTML Lemmy would rather not deal with. If you're doing a lot of fancy stuff with your text then leave it as is in a doc and Lemmy will handle it.

4B. Revisions: From time to time, you might feel the urge to revise a submission. It might be because Lemmy rejected the earlier version, or maybe he posted it but you thought of something you wanted to change on your own or through Lemmy's suggestions. If this happens, you are welcome to send in a revised version of your submission.

For revisions to something that was rejected, the change should be substantial, or else the submission will be likely to be rejected for the same reason as before. If Lemmy can't spot anything different on a quick readthrough, he will often automatically reject the revision unless he has reason to believe his original decision may have been unfair.

Revisions to accepted submissions will usually be posted, but Lemmy might refuse to do so if he feels the revision is significantly worse than the original, and he will certainly refuse if the revision is something he would not have accepted in the first place. If you are displeased with Lemmy's choice not to post your revision, you might consider the next subsection.

Revisions usually are given a lower priority than new submissions, so please be patient when you send one. If the submission is text-based, you can significantly speed up the process by color-coding your revised script. For example, you might put any new or changed text in blue, while text you want removed might appear in red. This makes the process of posting your revision much easier because Lemmy won't have to edit the entire piece again or scan the work and hope he catches the revisions. He'll probably ask you to do this anyway if your submission is very long, so you might as well get in the habit of it. You won't have to bother if the revision overhauls the entire script; then it will just be easiest for Lemmy to edit the piece again anyway.

If the revision is not on your end but Lemmy's - that is, Lemmy made a mistake that was fine in your script, such as a typo in his own editing or losing track of one of your italics - Email him and let him know where the error is. He takes care of this sort of thing pretty quickly, I am led to understand.

4C. Removing Submissions: Lemmy hates when this happens, but it has occurred from time to time that a tourist will want their submissions removed from the site. This can be done because you retain ownership of your submissions. If you want some or all of your submissions removed from the site, simply Email Lemmy and it should be done by the next update.

Please note that you will lose the Koopaling votes you had earned for submissions you ask to have removed. If you are a Super Koopa and end up back below 25 votes, you might lose your promoted status, at Lemmy's discretion.

Please also note that a request to remove submissions applies automatically only to full-page submissions, such as Interviews, Funnies, or Drawing Board Creations. Minor submissions, such as items for Bowser's Chest or bogeys for the List of Baddies, aside from being difficult for Lemmy to find, are usually not considered the property of the tourist who first spotted them because that tourist would not have invented the item or bogey, but would only have sent in information pertaining to them. If you want your minor submissions removed, you must make your desire explicit ("I want all my submissions removed, including the ones in List of Baddies"), and your request may be denied if Lemmy feels it is unreasonable.

On very rare occassions, Lemmy may decide to remove a submission on his own. This could happen if the submission in question no longer meets the current guidelines, or if, due to some error or change, the submission is missing a major component or is wildly out of context. (This has occured the most in the quiz section: the answer guides for some of the quizzes were lost, making it impossible for Lemmy to respond to test-takers.) Authors will not usually be charged Koopalings votes when their submissions are removed for these reasons.

If you are reading this paragraph, you probably struggled through all of my rubric. I thank you for doing so, and apologize for your having to read something so not funny. I hope this guide will make the submitting process easier... now you should know what to expect. Now get out there and use what you learned!

Do you like talking as much as I do? Email me!
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