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Story Ratings
How do you go about selecting a proper rating (G-NC-17) for your story? I'm currently writing a short story that hovers somewhere between PG-13 and R, but I'm never sure if I'm rating my story correctly. How do you judge the violence/language/sexual content of each rating, especially when they hover somewhere around the line between the ratings?
As I understand it:

PG-13: VERY brief and easy-to-miss nudity, no more than one swear word, some scary bits, very minor violence, no sex. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins spawned this rating for "nothing really explicit/violent but it could be traumatic for some kids."
R: Possible violence, a bit of swearing or nudity, non-explicit sensual content. People may have sex but there are tasteful fades to black, and/or it's vague. No descriptions of intimate body parts, no spurting. ;)
NC-17: Violence, swearing, drugs, frontal nudity, explicit sexual content. According to the Wikipedia entry, if a penis appears, it's NC-17.

I'm not sure where the line is drawn with violence between R and NC-17, but apparently the difference in sexual scenes is that one pussyfoots around exactly what's going on or treats it delicately, and the other is frank, straightforward, detailed.
An additional note: PG-13 can have one instance of "one of the harsher sexually derived words, though only as an expletive"*, but no more before getting bumped up to an R.

I tend to have problems with the violence side of things, especially when writing about carnivores. For example, I've rated all my Ecco the Dolphin stories as 'G' so far, but a few of them involve predatory behaviors (Dolphins eating fish, orcas eating smaller dolphins, the Vortex eating each other). I've kept them at a G rating because all the predatory events are 'off camera', so to speak; the orcas never actually eat anybody in the one story, there's just discussion about it, and the other two events are described so vaguely I think they're about the equivalent of showing someone's shadow getting chomped by someone else's shadow in film.

Still, I get slightly paranoid at times that I'll one day get an e-mail/review to the effect of "ZOMG my baby read about dolphins eating fishies and they were traumatized you sicko!" But, then again, I have a pretty vivid imagination.

(*The MPAA's website. The detailed descriptions of the ratings are here: http://www.mpaa.org/FlmRat_Ratings.asp )