Here are the APA rules. They're pretty straightforward, and I last revised them in March of 2002. These have been much simplified over the years.
I assume you've joined (or are considering joining) an APA in order to write. If writing is your goal, then you damned well had better write. If you do not write, you will never write. A trite an aphorism as that may seem, it is nevertheless true and is the biggest pitfall aspiring writers fall into.
The basic point is this: forget about trying to write the perfect story. You will never succeed if that's your goal. Assuming you manage to put anything down on the page -- and that's a big assumption under these conditions! -- you will wind up spending most of your time trying to revise and will have precious little left over actually for writing. Buck up, put your pen to the page, and start writing. Don't worry about perfection; worry about actually writing.
That said, the minimum expected member contribution is two 650-word pieces every three months. The vignettes that lead off most of the chapters in Dream Pod 9's Heavy Gear books are only 650 words long. Write two of those every three months and you'll be on track.
(For comparison, if you plan to become a professional writer, you should be able to write about 500 words in an hour.)
A big part of writing is getting feedback; it's about the only way you'll ever improve. As part of a community of writers, you are expected to provide useful feedback to your peers on their contributions, and they are expected to do the same for you. It won't always be pleasant, either.
The minimum expected member peer review activity is one article every month. It's for your benefit as much as for the subject of your review.
I'm a member of a society that, like many modern societies, purports to take freedom of speech quite seriously. Pretty much anything goes here, with the following caveats:
First, it's gotta be related to Heavy Gear, even if only just barely. Material for any other Dream Pod 9 setting is perfectly acceptable, too, provided it doesn't already have a more appropriate APA outlet. Jovian Chronicles, for example, has APAWorks. I think Tribe 8 has an APA, too. Those two settings are not appropriate for APAGear. Gear Krieg, on the other hand, has no such outlet (of which I'm aware), so Gear Krieg stuff is fine.
Second, our host, mecha.com, might have objections to some kinds of material in order to limit its liability. This has never come up before, and I don't really expect it to come up in the future.
Third, freedom does not give you license to act irresponsibly. You ought to be able to determine for yourself what's appropriate and what's not; it's a touchy subject, though. My basic feelings on the issue are that one's personal creativity should not be limited by others' senses of morality, as long as the line between fantasy and reality is clearly understood by you, the creator of your work. (However, antagonizing those who support us is not a good idea.)
When you've got an article ready to submit (two every three months, remember), send it to I don't care if it's an attachment or just text you typed into the message -- whatever works. Do not, under any circumstances, send the submission to any other address you might happen to have for me. I use the dmanager address to flag submissions so that I don't lose them; if you send it to some other address, I might inadvertantly misplace it.
Also, if the distribution manager ever changes, the address will get routed to the new guy, and you won't have to do anything different.
Do not try to do your own HTML.
Do not format your text with italics and bold face and whatnot. (See the document Submission Guidelines for more information.)
For the love of god, make sure your name and the title of the article is in the actual document itself. I rename articles when I save them from my mailer, and if your title is not in the article or appears only in the e-mail message itself, I'll be very cross.
So, you want to join us in our endeavor to become better writers and to enrich the Heavy Gear universe with our mad writing skillz? Drop me a line expressing your interest at (email address removed). We can always use more people who are actively interested in this project.
That's the catch, though. You gotta be actively interested in this. It's no actual skin off our backs if you join up and never say a god damned word, but it is kind of rude and annoying, and I've grown weary of it. Here's what we're gonna do:
You're gonna send me a message.
I'm gonna ignore it, but I will keep it on hand.
Three or four weeks later, you're gonna send me a second message reminding me that you tried to get in touch with me three or four weeks ago about joining.
I won't ignore that.
It sounds sort of crazy, but I'm serious. If you can't be bothered to follow up on a request to join us, I can't take seriously your committment as an active participant in this project.
Also, use your real name, not some kewl l33t alias. You're publishing your own copyrighted material with us, and if I or someone else can't trace it back to a real human being in a few simple steps, forget it. Also, my experience is that people who use aliases are far less likely to contribute actively -- or, indeed at all -- to this project. It's sad but absolutely true. I think Candyman is the only one of us with an alias who ever got off his ass and wrote more than a single article.
Heavy Gear is © 2002, Dream Pod 9, Inc. All rights reserved. APAGear is not affiliated with Dream Pod 9 in any way. Submitted material remains the property of the creator.