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Formatting Stories Tutorial by Staff

Format: One-shot
Chapters: 2
Word Count: 2,818

Rating: 12+
Warnings: No Warnings

Genres: General
Characters: OtherCanon

First Published: 05/06/2012
Last Chapter: 05/07/2012
Last Updated: 05/07/2013

This tutorial was written by staff to provide authors with some quick formatting tips and how-tos, including proper formatting for dialogue and paragraphs, bold/italic/centering, how to copy/paste to avoid extra space between paragraphs, and how to include proper citations for song lyrics, quotes, etc.

Chapter 2: Including Proper Citations

Here at HPFF, we don't differentiate between material that is legally copyrighted and material that is not. All material you use in your story that you did not create yourself needs to be cited. Fortunately, (almost) everything need to know about how to include a proper citation (according to HPFF standards) is included in this tutorial.

Lots of common things require a citation. Song lyrics, lines from a movie, poem or play, quotes from a book, a character from a novel: these are just a few of the things you might include in your story that you personally did not write/create. For example, say you wanted to use the following quote in your story:

-- Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

You did not write this sentence. J.K. Rowling did. You would need to include the following type of citation in your story in order to use this quote:

-- Quote from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling, page 1

Let’s try a movie quote:

-- It does not do to dwell on dreams, Harry, and forget to live.

Again, you didn’t write this so it needs a citation. In this case, that would include the movie title and (at least one of the) production companies:

-- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Warner Bros Entertainment, Inc

Song lyrics are another common inclusion that require a citation. In the case of song lyrics, you must include the title of the song and the name of the artist who released it. Example:

A well I bless my soul, What’s wrong with me?
I’m itching like a man on a fuzzy tree

Citation: Elvis Presley, All Shook Up

Not all the things that need a citation will be in “quote format.” For example, if you write a crossover and include elements from another book series, you will need to include a citation. Here's an example of the type of citatino you might include if you were writing a  Hunger Games crossover. Remember, even if you don't use any direct quotes, you still need a citation (ie., title and author)

-- Some characters/ideas in this story are taken directly from Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games series.

Note: We do not require a citation for general Harry Potter material due to citations included at the bottom of each page of this website. HOWEVER, specific quotes do still need specific citations, as does the following...

Paraphrasing. Does one of your characters recount the details of Harry, Ron and Hermione’s escape from Gringotts? Or how Harry rescued Ron from the Black Lake in Goblet of Fire? You didn’t create those plots/scenesm so if you provide more than a passing mention of them, you need to include a citation. An example of how that might look:

-- Harry’s description to Ginny of how he escaped from Gringotts is based on Chapter 26 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

Not all citable matieral will be in the body of your story. If you include a quote in your story or chapter summary, that needs to be cited. If you use the name of a song or poem as your story title, that needs to be cited too.

Where you include your citation is (mostly) up to you. Some people prefer to put it in an author’s note at the start or end of a chapter. Some prefer to place it right after the quote (ie., directly in the story). Sometimes it might be best placed in your story or chapter summary if, for example, all your chapter titles are quotes from a single song. In this case, you could include a single citation (title and artist) in your story summary so as not to repeat the same citation in every chapter. It’s up to you. You can’t, however, just have your character give the citation. For example:

-- “A well I bless my soul, what’s wrong with me? I’m itching like a man on a fuzzy tree,” sang Hermione, reciting the lyrics to All Shook Up by Elvis Presley.

This is NOT a proper citation. This is part of your story. You could rewrite it as the following, which would be fine:

-- “A well I bless my soul, what’s wrong with me? I’m itching like a man on a fuzzy tree,” sang Hermione. (lyrics borrowed from the song All Shook Up by Elvis Presley)

Or just include the credit in your author's note.

Not EVERYTHING can be included in your story just because you included a citation. You can’t use more than 3-4 lines of quotes material, no matter how many citations you include. You can’t, for legal reasons, use Disney material. For more information on copyrighted material and disallowed content, please refer to the Site Rules.

And remember, phrases like: If you recognize it, it’s not mine or I didn’t write this are NEVER sufficient citations.