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Apparent age of magical characters

Chase Shivers

I know SOL has a prohibition against sexual scenes involving characters under 14. What about characters who 'appear' younger but are not 'normal'?

For instance, I have a character in a story on ASSTR who is a magical, ancient (actual age is clearly very old, though unspecified) hermaphroditic creature whose appearence in the story is in the form of a young (7ish) girl.

I'm assuming this, too, is not allowed, but I thought I'd ask fellow authors their thoughts on this. I'm not looking to circumvent the rules here, just to get an understanding in case I do decide to age the main female character in that series (she's 13, so aging her to 14 is not a big deal), and if I do, I'd have to address the scene involving this ancient but too-young appearing magical creature.

Thanks for any thoughts!

Lumpy

@Chase Shivers

Is that still a rule? Because, if so, there are a couple of fairly popular stories on here that seem to break that rule.

Daydreamz

@Chase Shivers

I guess my first thought is: if the creature's real age is unspecified, is it necessary to specify the apparent age? And what is the dramatic value of that appearance?

I've always assumed for my own purposes that the 14+ rule is to eliminate stories that appeal to a certain kind of reader. So if your character has that appeal, my guess is you're probably going to be caught by the rule.

But ultimately it's about control, so if your character is powerful, or at least not controlled, it may be okay. Just guessing though. It's subject that can be hard to thing straight about.

Arquillius

@Chase Shivers

I actually asked about something like this before. A character of mine was going to get amnesia, but would still retain her actual age. They told me... and I'm paraphrasing here "The age, both mentally and physically, must be at least 14."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Lumpy

Lumpy, yes, that's still a rule. It was necessitated by a change in Canadian law (where SOL resides), so it was beyond Lazeez's control. The existing stories were 'grandfathered', so they weren't affected, but new stories are.

Chase, you need to be careful. As they say, if it smell like a duck ... if you describe someone as a child, then for all practical purposed, it's a child.

However, if the main character (the one having sex) is older, and she encounters an older/younger character (who doesn't have sex onscreen), then I don't see any problem. Just be cautious about it.

The key is, the 'childlike' character can acknowledge the sex, but can't get involved in any sex acts.

Arquillius

@Lumpy

To point this out, the stories that were posted before a certain date are allowed to retain the earlier ages. Anything new has to meet the rules.

Crumbly Writer

@Arquillius

A character of mine was going to get amnesia, but would still retain her actual age. They told me... and I'm paraphrasing here "The age, both mentally and physically, must be at least 14."

If it walks like a slut, and quacks like a slut, then write about the mother duck instead.

richardshagrin

If its an alien, magical creature, it doesn't matter if its only one meter (39 inches) tall or weighs 20 kilograms (44 pounds). Even though both are childlike dimensions. If you have to mention its age, suggest it's five thousand years old. And don't post a picture that looks like a child. I don't know how important to the plot it's appearance might be. I think you might be able to get away with something descriptive like childlike innocence, but why take a chance?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

I don't know how important to the plot it's appearance might be. I think you might be able to get away with something descriptive like childlike innocence, but why take a chance?

It's the description which will sink you. If it 'sounds' like you're trying to cheat, it'll get yanked. If the plot isn't a ploy to write child sex stories, then you should be OK.

From the description, it sounds like he was going to use an 'older' character with a few younger characters to tell the story without relying on underaged sex to sell the story.

Invid Fan

@Chase Shivers

A certain writer spent a lot of time "testing" the age rule when it first took effect, submitting stories where aliens only LOOKED like seven year old girls and the like. Laz, when it came to his attention, asked if the guy was trying to get him fucking arrested and took the stories down.

Basically, don't do it on SOL. Keep it to ASSTR.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Invid Fan

Basically, don't do it on SOL. Keep it to ASSTR.

ASSTR has no restrictions on their stories. Since they're based in the U.S., there's a long history of failed attempts to censor fiction, so they're more reluctant to take action against established sites (though individual prosecutors still feel entitled to attack individual authors whenever they're looking to jump into politics).

Rather than sneaking something onto a site, place them where they'll be appreciated, and save your 'serious' fiction here (i.e. the stories more story based, though those exist on ASSTR too).

Chase Shivers

Thanks for the thoughts everyone. I definitely am not trying to get around the rules here. The story already exists, so it is written and published on ASSTR. It was just a question of porting it to SOL. The main female is easy enough (13-14), but I'd have to adjust the young-appearing magical character to make her fit the SOL restrictions. I'll see if I can address that in the future. Thanks again!

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Chase Shivers

The main female is easy enough (13-14), but I'd have to adjust the young-appearing magical character to make her fit the SOL restrictions.

You can have younger appearing characters, but they can't have sex. For that character, you'd want to remove (whitewash) the sex scenes, if you can.

Replies:   Chase Shivers
Chase Shivers

@Crumbly Writer

I know you can have young non-sex characters. The only reason I asked was because of the age restriction regarding sexual activities.

The scene with the young-appearing character includes sex with her, and it it a major part of that chapter. I'm not willing to scrap it just to publish the story here. I could, potentially, adjust her characteristics and apparent age, but I haven't decided on that yet.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
docholladay

The point is that if it appears wrong then it will probably be taken as wrong. Regardless of how it was intended to be considered by the writer or editors involved.

The site owners of any particular web site would probably be held responsible legally regardless of who posted the story. Only possible exceptions would be for stories posted before the Law was written and activated.

Probably better safe than sorry in my opinion as a reader.

Crumbly Writer

@Chase Shivers

The scene with the young-appearing character includes sex with her, and it it a major part of that chapter. I'm not willing to scrap it just to publish the story here.

I'm not suggesting you censor your work, but just like submitting to Finestories, you'll need to revise certain aspects of the story. You can set up the younger character as an antagonist, and then 'mention' the conflicts which occurred when they 'got together'. The meaning would be relatively clear, that they had sex, but you, the author, aren't actually describing the details of what happened.

Reworking stories to fit specific sites is a very interesting dance, as you've got to figure out what's allowed and what's frowned upon, and then find ways to work within that context.

richardshagrin

Adjusting what you write to editorial control, and adjusting what you have already written to fit what the editor of a major publishing house wants in order to get published is not new at all. It was the old reality. And long before that, what the editor of the newspaper wanted to publish your serial novel (Charles Dickens, etc.)

You probably don't want to agree but these are the Good Old Days for getting things you write out to the public. I admit in the older days you got paid, something, for going through the contortions. If you were good and lucky and had the right agent, and what you were willing to write found a market. There were published authors that didn't earn back their advance.

SOL and other sites (the Fine Stories site comes to mind, but there are others) do the best they can to make it possible/easy (pick one) to have a story posted and receive comments made by its fans (or detractors). I don't blame site managers for not wanting to go to jail, or be heavily fined, or shut down, or whatever creative evil censors backed by the force of law decide to impose.

I might be wrong, it happens a lot, but Lazeez is going possibly further than he should by using age 14. There are jurisdictions where 16 or 18 or 21 or "its all porn, put them under the jailhouse" are the rule. Based on Wizard I would move from Wyoming if I were a SOL author.

Dominion's Son

@richardshagrin

Based on Wizard I would move from Wyoming if I were a SOL author.


Based on the link to the story about his sentencing posted on the Late to the party thread by bondsman, his jail sentence had nothing to do with his stories.

He was in possession of real serious child porn. Not 17 or 16 or even 14, but prepubescent kids, genital shots, and pictures involving sex acts. He also had movies with the same kind of content.

He got stupid and tried to justify it as "research material" which is likely why he ended up pleading no contest.

Replies:   richardshagrin  tppm
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

You probably don't want to agree but these are the Good Old Days for getting things you write out to the public.

Not at all. Now, virtually anyone can get their story published. Those who only have one story to tell won't be taken very seriously, while those who refine their skills will (hopefully) do better.

However, it's changed the marketplace. With hundreds of thousands of new authors (thousands of new books are published every single day), it's becoming increasingly difficult to make a living as an author. Indie publishers drop prices, publishing houses cut pay rates and fire their quality control people, and readers have too many authors to identify the decent new authors.

Still, we'll have to work out this new system, figuring out how to make a living at it. The author of "The Martian" is the latest Indie Author to make it into the big time (he started, like us, posting for free on a public story site). His book will be a major Hollywood movie in another couple months. Sadly, most Indie authors are lucky to sell 50 copies!

He was in possession of real serious child porn.

D.S., the way these laws have been written, you can be convicted for having a single picture of someone who looks 18 but is actually only 16. There's no 'common sense' clause in ANY of these new laws. There's no '17 years is better than 3' or '1 or 5 might be a mistake, 20 or 1,000 is criminal' clause.

On your other point, like most people, he likely ended up pleading 'no contest' simply because he couldn't afford to pay qualified lawyers for the years it takes to resolve a criminal complaint. You can't assume everyone who's convicted is actually guilty of anything! (Most are, but there are gaping holes in the criminal justice system!)

richardshagrin

@Dominion's Son

He didn't take any pictures or molest any children. His major mistake was in representing himself. A reasonably good lawyer likely could have gotten a much better deal than no federal charges. No matter what the pictures showed, they were digital information on a computer. He needed to password protect the thing and have it delete itself when the password wasn't used. Judges in Wyoming seem to have been a lot more punitive than say a judge in Hollywood, California. Or one of the other homes of the porn industry say, San Francisco. Six to Nine years is a long time for having ones and zeros in computer files.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

the way these laws have been written, you can be convicted for having a single picture of someone who looks 18 but is actually only 16.


True but not relevant to Wizards case since the many pictures he had were of prepubescent kids.

richardshagrin
Updated:

More reason not to live in Wyoming and have anything at all objectionable to Mrs. Grundy on your computer. Or anywhere else you might be charged with controlling. And hope the police who search your house don't bring drugs or guns or anything else objectionable to plant under your bed.

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, and if they want to get you, they can. This used to be a free country. Register Republican, go to a church you can stand, pay your taxes and other bills even when the meter is crooked, and hope to die before it gets worse.

Did I mention I was a pessimist?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

He didn't take any pictures or molest any children.


Doesn't matter, simple possession is illegal. My point is that his stories have nothing to do with it.

A reasonably good lawyer likely could have gotten a much better deal than no federal charges.


I rather doubt it. Given the number of images and movies mentioned in the news story, I rather doubt that there was much of a deal to be had.

Judges in Wyoming seem to have been a lot more punitive than say a judge in Hollywood, California.


Perhaps true, I don't know, but if true it may well have been a factor in the feds deciding not to prosecute. Not that I think it's just, but he could have gotten a much longer sentence from the feds.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

On your other point, like most people, he likely ended up pleading 'no contest' simply because he couldn't afford to pay qualified lawyers for the years it takes to resolve a criminal complaint.


I'm the last person to think someone is guilty just because they were convicted. However in this case, when he told the investigators it was "research material" he effectively confessed. There is no research defense in the child porn laws.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

And hope the police who search your house don't bring drugs or guns or anything else objectionable to plant under your bed.

That's especially true with child porn. All it takes is a single image and a jury with a couple mothers, and no one will hear any more. Planting a couple images on a CD you've ripped apart to discover 'deleted files' is easy enough and impossible to validate.

I agree, his defense was ... misguided, but I have yet to observe a single reasonably written child-porn law.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I have yet to observe a single reasonably written child-porn law.


I would agree with that, but I would hope that we could agree that sexually explicit pictures or movies showing real prepubescent kids are way out of line and can reasonably be prohibited.

richardshagrin

@Dominions Son

At one time, in my parent's home there were pictures in an album of me as a baby, and I was naked. I am reasonably sure, because I saw them my wife's parents had similar pictures of her. Should we dig up their bodies and punish them for child porn? AH you say, but those were not sexual situations. I have heard of pictures of sons and daughters taking baths together when quite young. And the possibility of photographs as evidence. At what point is such a picture evidence of criminal behavior?

Not every act Mrs. Grundy dislikes is criminal. Its difficult to write a reasonable law that doesn't criminalize behavior reasonable people would think available to a citizen of a relatively free country. The golden rule in lots of situations is mind your own business. I won't look in your bedroom if you won't look in mine.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I would hope that we could agree that sexually explicit pictures or movies showing real prepubescent kids are way out of line and can reasonably be prohibited.

I agree, but I always get nervous when everyone starts shouting the exact same thing. It almost always means that some minority is getting screwed!

It's one thing to state a problem, but when you pass legislation that can mean anything at all, and that is impossible to defend against, it's guaranteed to be abused.

I don't mind Lazeez getting rid of the kiddie-porn, as it's raised the quality of the stories on the site, but every time I hear about a child-porn conviction, I quake in fear about what was truly involved.

How about we write a tale about magical creatures who can magically adjust the ages of characters having sex in stories?

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

but when you pass legislation that can mean anything at all, and that is impossible to defend against, it's guaranteed to be abused.


Very true, and we have way too many laws like that now. The feds recently got a conviction against an individual under the Sarbanes Oxley law that was supposed to be reform on corporate record keeping / governance against an individual for clearing their browser history. (Yes, it was another child porn investigation).

"legislation that can mean anything at all" seems to be the only thing Congress is capable of producing anymore.

richardshagrin

Where in the constitution as amended does it give congress the power to make laws about child pornography? There are supreme court decisions that gave them the right to legislate about interstate commerce. If the porn occurred and was recorded in California and the website was in California and viewed in California would Federal Law have jurisdiction? The answer is "Of Course, the criminal act needs to be stopped." Welcome to the real world where if Mrs. Grundy and her friends think you are a criminal, and there is any law at all the prosecutor can use to charge you, you will be punished as a criminal.

Dominions Son

@richardshagrin

Where in the constitution as amended does it give congress the power to make laws about child pornography? There are supreme court decisions that gave them the right to legislate about interstate commerce.


Interesting question. I am aware of cases where both federal and state child porn laws were upheld against 1A challenges. I am not aware if anyone has even made an enumerated powers challenge against the federal child porn law.

Welcome to the real world where if Mrs. Grundy and her friends think you are a criminal, and there is any law at all the prosecutor can use to charge you, you will be punished as a criminal.


Yes, but that's nothing new. It's been like that for at least half a century.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@richardshagrin


If the porn occurred and was recorded in California and the website was in California and viewed in California would Federal Law have jurisdiction?


Probably

http://www.justice.gov/criminal-ceos/citizens-guide-us-federal-law-child-pornography

Technically, the offense needs to occur in interstate commerce for federal jurisdiction to attach. However, the current opinion is that it is enough for the tools used (the computer used to view the images) once traveled in interstate commerce. Which means that if the internet was involved, they can try to claim jurisdiction.

Yes, I know that sounds silly, but the DOJ has used that same kinds of reasoning in drug cases where the drugs were produced and sold locally. "You transported your drugs in a car which you bought locally, but was manufactured in another state."

Unfortunately so far the courts seem to be letting them get away with this kind of reasoning.

Invid Fan

At least nobody here is advocating writing about home made clocks.

Dominions Son

@Invid Fan

For this site, there is an extra letter in the last word of your comment.

Arquillius

@Invid Fan

why's there an L in there, that should be written C.O.C.K.S.... wait... you can homemake those now?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Arquillius

C.O.C.K.S.... wait... you can homemake those now?


only wooden or plastic ones, unless you want to wait about 18 years for a home grown one.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

only wooden or plastic ones


Silicon, rubber, plaster, wax, clay, ice, metal, stone...

There's all kinds of materials you could use.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

Silicon, rubber, plaster, wax, clay, ice, metal, stone...

Freezer-burn. Yoch!

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Freezer-burn. Yoch!


I have seen ice dildos mentioned in a couple of stories.

tppm

@Dominion's Son

He got stupid and tried to justify it as "research material" which is likely why he ended up pleading no contest.


He got stupid and had some on a thumb drive at work.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@tppm

He got stupid and had some on a thumb drive at work.


That isn't mentioned in the article that bondsman linked to in the other thread. I take it you are suggesting that that is how he got caught?

Replies:   tppm
tppm

@Dominions Son

He got stupid and had some on a thumb drive at work.

That isn't mentioned in the article that bondsman linked to in the other thread. I take it you are suggesting that that is how he got caught?


That was what was posted at the time of his arrest, when (I think it was) Denny posted an explanation as to why he wouldn't be finishing Russel Housington's Wynter stories (as had been arranged when Russel found out he was dying), after all, or his own, of course.

Replies:   bondsman
bondsman

@tppm

Perhaps not the best place to post this but since the topic has spread and this post gets the closest to what I'm going to say...

As I recall the whole thing arose because he was working as a night "auditor" or "clerk" at a motel. The owner or managers office had been declared "off limits" to him. He apparently was using the computer in that office to read, or to write his stories on the thumb drive mentioned. He forgot and left in in the office (It's unclear to me this long after the fact whether it was still in the machine or not.) Again apparently, the next day someone who worked in that office discovered the thumb drive, saw what was on it, (What specifically that was is not clear to me at this point.) and called the police.

I think the rest of the story is pretty clear except for several "why" questions that I doubt will ever be answered because they go to the motivations of individuals.

Kim Little

I think I mentioned this on the old Google forum, but a good friend of mine landed a gig with a major translator/publisher of "erotic" Japanese video games. A large part of his job involved the localisation of the supporting materials (translating game box, documentation, writing up marketing materials, etc).

I asked him what the work was like, was there anything particularly challenging. He said "Trying to come up with yet another reason why the characters you are trying to bone look 10 years old but totally just look that way, when in reality they are actually a 450 year old witch under a terrible curse." Apparently you can only go to the witch well-spring so many times. There's also diseases, deformities and petite builds.

Ergh...

Perv Otaku

I have seen various arguments on various sites about underage character rules, and various people construct various scenarios to "technically" get around the rules. You've got your 12 year old that was turned into a vampire 200 years ago, your alien that is adult for her species but resembles a human child, your android woman that looks like an adult human but was built 3 years ago.

The best advice I ever observed on the matter is to ask what age of an actress would you have to hire to play her in a movie. That's pretty much all that counts, because we are not talking about technical age, we are talking about depictions that play to a pedophile fetish.

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