Frequently Asked Questions/Frequently Sent Messages

I'm stuck and I don't know what to do!

Check out Developing, Refining, & Troubleshooting Ideas. You should find pretty much everything you need right there!

Is X a good idea for a story?

With very few exceptions, there's no such thing as a bad idea - just bad executions. Additionally, it's usually impossible to tell whether an idea is going to work well or not based on a simple description. One thing you can do is check out "Is This A Good Idea For My Story/Setting/Character?" - How To Answer This For Yourself!.

I want to do X in my story. How can I do it?

Usually, with sufficient research and attention to plausibility and internal consistency. For more help, take a look at "How Can/Should I Do This Thing With My Story/Setting/Character?" - How Figure It Out For Yourself! and see if that helps you solve your problem. If setting up a romance is what you're aiming for, also take a look at How To Build Up A Believable Romance.

Is my story/character too similar to X?

Generally, a creation is "too similar" to something else when it follows the same general patterns and formulas with few to no substantial divergences throughout. For more information, see Borrowing & Sharing Ideas In Fiction - When It's Okay, & When It Isn't.

I'm worried that my idea is too cliche. What can I do?

See "Help! I'm Worried That My Idea Is Too Cliche!" - What To Do When This Happens.

Can you help me come up with an original plot for my story?

Check out Genre, Plot, & Story Prompt Generators and Developing, Refining, & Troubleshooting Ideas. Otherwise, no.

How can I write a fearful/cowardly character as a protagonist?

Courage is not the absence of fear, but persevering despite fear. All a fearful character needs to do is work up the nerve to git 'er done even while being scared. Think about what it would take to motivate your fearful character to act despite being frightened.

Is my character a Mary Sue if...

Please see "Does My Character Work Okay?" - How To Tell For Yourself!

Are my character's powers OP?

Your character's powers are OP when they enable your character to solve every conflict with ease (thus preventing any sort of dramatic tension or suspense from developing), and/or when they render the talents and skills of other characters in the story unnecessary or worthless. For more information, see Tips & Ideas To Make Better & More Interesting Powers.

Will you be a beta reader for my story?

Nope, sorry.

Will you e-mail me?

I do not offer e-mail correspondence, sorry.

Do you have any resources on (insert something here)/Can you explain to me what (insert something here) is?

First, have you tried Googling it? A bunch of things people ask me for could easily be found in thirty seconds if they did a site search.

Still can't find what you're looking for? Then go ahead and drop me a message.

Have you read (famous old badfic)/(trollfic)?

I only have so many hours in a day to read badfic while still having time to do everything else, so I generally pick what I read based on whether it has the potential to give me something to write about. Due to ever-changing trends in pop culture as well as people becoming more aware that certain tropes and conventions tend to be obnoxious, old badfic can't give me a good picture of what kinds of things need addressed now. So no, I probably haven't read it, nor do I likely have any interest in reading it.

With regard to trollfics, the only thing they're good for is figuring out what their writers think badfic authors are doing, which is often quite different from what they're actually doing.

What do xe/xir mean? How do I pronounce them?

"Xe" and "xir" are gender-neutral pronouns. The X is pronounced like the letter Z.

Why do you use xe/xir instead of they/them?

For a long while, they/them kinda made me uncomfortable after listening to way too many conspiracy theorists and xenophobes lump everyone they didn't like into monoliths of they, so I was pretty thrilled to find pronouns that didn't remind me of that rhetoric. Also, I found it useful to avoid confusion when talking about multiple people at once.

These days, I use both depending on my mood or whatever I feel works better.They/them is fine for a lot of cases, though xe/xir is more convenient for random generators, where where using they could mean needing to write most of the content twice over to avoid grammatical snafus.

I put a character through the Mary Sue Test and disagree with the results!

Go here instead: "Does My Character Work Okay?" - How To Tell For Yourself!.

Someone I know has a character who seems to be a Mary Sue. How do I tell this person?

Don't tell them their character is a Mary Sue. See Basic Advice For Giving Useful Feedback To Creators for what to do instead.

May I submit content to

At this time, I only accept content from a few people I know fairly well. If you're looking for someplace to publish your content, you might look into Blogger or WordPress.

When did you make this site?

Sometime back in 2002, though it was a lot different then. started toward its modern form (random generators, articles, etc.) in early 2005.

Where does the site get its name?

From a geological feature - a springhole is a spot where water springs up from an underground source. There's apparently one near a house where I used to live when I was younger. (My parents would always tell me to stay away from it.) When I first made the site I wanted to name it something nice and nature-y, particularly with relation to the high desert where I grew up, so that's what I chose.

⚙ Privacy