What is a Big Bang?
A Big Bang Challenge is one where you write a long fic (in this case, 15,000 words), which artists then create illustrations or fanmixes or vids for. When all is said and done, the goal is to have great long fic and art set in alternate universes. Win/win, yes?
What is an AU?
An alternate universe fanfic is one which takes place in a universe that is different from the canon universe. It may be the result of a divergence from canon (Daniel Jackson didn't ascend) or may cast the characters in a new universe (Harry Potter characters living in a non-magical Regency period).1
What is a fusion?
Fusions are fanfiction stories where characters from one fandom are placed in the universe or setting of another fandom as if they had always been there.2 These types of fics tend to fall into a murky area between AUs and crossover, but for the purpose of this challenge the story should be about the characters new to that universe. Want to retell the Star Wars story but using characters from The Sentinel instead? Great. Want to tell a story where Booth and the Jeffersonian squints have been recruited to be an SG-team? You should probably check out the crossover rules first.
Are crossovers allowed?
Yes, but we ask that you please limit your crossover to no more than three fandoms. All fandoms used in the crossover must be AU (Such as a Pretender/MacGyver crossover where Kyle didn't die and MacGyver stayed with the Phoenix Foundation because Pete offered Sam a job.).
My fic is set in a universe that's closely based on canon. How do I know if it's AU enough?
If you're writing in a canon-based AU, there needs to be a clear divergence from canon. Is the fic you're writing about how Kate didn't die and she and Gibbs finally get around to admitting that they have feelings for each other? Then there's a definite divergence from canon. Is the fic you're writing about how Stella's ex-husband from her disastrous, secret marriage when she was 21 has come back into her life? While there's nothing from CSI:NY canon that explicitly states that this is true, there's nothing that explicitly contradicts it, either.
My fic is a totally AU story about how Oceanic Flight 815 was actually a ship named the SS Oceanic that shipwrecked on an island in the late 1800s, but some of my main characters are going to be Original Characters (OCs). Is that okay?
We are fine with OCs, with a few stipulations. They can be the main characters, but don't have them to override all of the canon characters. Let us see the canon characters in the fic as well. Lost isn't Lost without Kate/Juliet/Sawyer/Sayid/Jin/Sun/Claire/H
Please also remember that an Original Character doesn't make a story AU just by their virtue of being present. Adding another agent to the NCIS fandom just means that you're giving a name to one of the 2,400 NCIS agents that the show hasn't gotten around to introducing to us. Adding a child to the fandom who happens to be Gibbs' child by Stephanie when we've been told he never had any other children than Kelly would be AU.
Finally, if you're using an Original Character, please starting thinking about the casting of that character early and gather images for your artist. We can't promise that your artist is going to create a manip including that character, but it'll be easier for them if they have a name, some pictures and maybe even a website with more pictures provided for them.
I have a story I've already written, and finished, that is set in an alternate universe. Can I write a sequel or another fic set in that same universe?
Of course! The alternate universe you use for this challenge doesn't have to be brand new. Sequels, prequels, or any other stories that are set in an alternate universe are welcome.
My story is XYZ, and the FAQs don't cover XYZ. What do I do?
Email us or comment here. We'll discuss it and get back to you.
When are the deadlines?
March 1, 2011 - On your mark, get set, GO! - Sign-ups and writing begins
April 1, 2011 - Writer sign-ups end
May 1, 2011 - Writer check in #1 (suggested word count 5K)
June 1, 2011 - Writer check in #2 (suggested word count 10K)
July 1, 2011 - Rough drafts and fic summaries due
July 5, 2011 - Artists/Mixers/Vidders claim fic summaries
July 25, 2011 - Claim posting date
August 5, 2011 - Final fic and art/mix/vids due
August 8, 2011 - Posting begins
Can I start posting my fic or art in my journal if I finish early?
No. We ask that you not post your fic or art prior to the deadline.
Okay, if I can't post it early, can I turn it in early?
If you're talking about your rough draft, the sooner you get it to us the more awesome you are in our books. We'll have people select their posting date for the final draft and art, so turning that in early is a no-go.
Okay, so we're selecting posting dates?
We will be putting up a schedule for selecting the dates for the works to be posted. Authors and artists should work together to select a date that works best for the both of them.
How do I post my finished fic/art?
When your posting date comes around, please post your entire fic/art to the community queue. If your fic is longer than the LJ character limit for a single post (and it probably will be), go ahead and break it into chapters or part, but post all of them to the community.
Can I sign up for more than one position?
You can sign up for multiple positions, however please keep your schedule and time commitments in mind. It's really easy to be all "YAY Big Bang!" and sign up to do everything, only to realize you don't have time for it all. Know your limits.
Is this going to be a yearly event?
We sure hope so! Ultimately it will depend on interest and participation during this first round, but we would love to see a second round next year.
Oh no! I think I'm in over my head!
If you've realized that you've overcommitted yourself, you have until the second check in date (March 2nd) to let us know that you're withdrawing from the Big Bang as an author. If you withdraw before the second check in, you're welcome to continue to participate in the Big Bang as a beta/artist.
Can I use the Big Bang to finish one of my WIPs?
We'll take WIPs that have less than 3K to them, as long as you add 15K during the writing session. Please let us know when you sign up that you'll be working on a WIP and where you're starting. If you had been posting your WIP as you wrote, we ask that you discontinue posting until after the story has gone live here.
Can I write more than one fic?
You may write up to two stories, including as a co-author. This means you can write two by yourself, co-author on two, or write one yourself and co-author one at the same time.
Does my fic need to be have a beta read it?
Yes. We will be putting up a post for people to volunteer to be part of a pool of betas for the challenge to draw upon if you need help in finding a beta.
What if I don't meet the check in word requirements?
They aren't hard and fast requirements. We aren't going to kick you out if you only have 3K at the first check in. (We may, however, ask how everything is going and if you need help/a cheerleader/etc.) They're there to give you ideas of where you should ideally be at that point in time. If your style is to plot and plan and research for months before cranking out 15K in one week's time, you're probably going to do fine if you miss a checkpoint (though, again, we will check on how you're doing). If you're an author who can spend 30 minutes agonizing over a word, you probably want to use them to keep on track.
We won't advertise who did and didn't meet the checkpoint goals; the comments to the post will be screened and everyone will be filling out the same form. Ideally we would like everyone to be within 1K at the first check in and within 2K at the second. But really, we just want to know that everyone is still with us and working on their fics.
What if I don't end up with exactly 15K?
We aren't going to kick you out if you're close but not quite there, or if you go over. If you've finished your story and have barely reached 10K, then there might be a problem. :(
Can I use my own beta?
Sure. We're putting together a beta pool for those who don't have a beta for this challenge. But if you have a beta you normally work with, feel free to ask them instead.
Why do I have to send in a summary of my story? Can't that wait until I post it?
We ask that you send in a story summary by March 30th so that artists/fanmixers/vidders may have some information about your project. This doesn't need to be the summary you end up using when you post your fanfiction, but something representative of the story you're creating, including pairings and warnings. They'll be using that summary to select the story they're going to work with.
Can I give my artist direction on the art?
You can give a small amount of direction in your illustration draft by suggesting scenes that might be good to illustrate, as well as discuss the story and art with the artist. That doesn't mean, however, that the artist has to illustrate the scenes you want. While writing is ultimately up to the author, the art is ultimately up to the artist.
What do I do when I'm finished?
When you've finished your rough draft, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org with your author sign-up name in the subject. Then pat yourself on the back. :D
When you've finished your final draft, email it to us and work with your artist to decide on what posting date works best for you. Then post your fic to the community on that day. And pat yourself on the back and have a nice tall drink of your choice. ;)
What kind of mediums can I use?
We're using art (and artist) as a general term for anything from wallpapers to banners to icons to headers to fanmixes to videos. You can hand draw something, create digital art, put together a music collection or make a video. If you're not certain if your preferred medium qualifies, contact us and ask.
Is there a size limit on art/mixes/vids?
For art, we would like at least two pieces of art of any size as long as it is a size that can be posted. (One of these may be an icon if you'd wish.) Let common sense guide you: the authors have been working on these fics for quite some time. If it's something you manage to complete in just a half an hour, it probably won't count. For mixes we'd like for there to be at least eight songs and cover art. Vids and/or trailers are suggested to be at least one minute long.
How will I know what story I'm going to create some art/a fanmix/a vid for?
We will be collecting summaries from the authors on March 30th. These will then be posted anonymously (on April 1st) so that artists may select which story they'll illustrate from that list. You will get to decide what you story you make art for.
Do I have to host my art?
We have hosting space for things like banners, headers, wallpapers, etc, if you need help with hosting. For mixes, please upload to Megaupload or Mediafire, as those are the most stable hosts. Youtube or Vimeo can be used by vidders for hosting. And if you have webspace where you can host your work, that is an option as well. But don't think you need to get webspace just for this challenge, we can help get you set up.
May I sign up as an artist for more than one fic?
We would like for you to send your first finished (or mostly finished, sometimes you just continue to poke at something until the last minute and we understand this) piece to us, but after that feel free to sign up for a second. There will be space on the sign-up form for you to indicate that you're interested in doing art for more than one fic.
What do I do when I'm finished?
Email us at email@example.com with either the art (if you want us to host it) or the link to where it is hosted. Please put your artist sign-up name in the subject and the sign-up name of the author you're working with. Work with your author to select a posting date, posted and pat yourself on the back! And have a nice tall glass of your beverage of choice.
Do I have to beta both spelling/grammar and content?
Do whatever you're most comfortable with. If you can do both that's great! There will be space on the form for you to list fandoms you're familiar enough with to serve as a content beta. Or if you're up for betaing in an unfamiliar fandom, you can put that on there as well and stick with just a spelling and grammar beta for that story.
How do I contact an author?
Authors will make contact with you. The purpose of the beta pool is to have a resource available to authors who are in need of a beta.
What's a cheerleader?
Sometimes authors get a little stuck on what they're working on and just need someone pull out the pom-poms and give them a little encouragement. You might end up helping with a brainstorming session, making suggestions, or reading scenes. You will not be expected to serve as beta readers, though you are welcome to sign up to be a member of the beta pool available to authors.
1 --Fanlore. Alternate Universe Updated September 12, 2009. Accessed September 25, 2009.
2 --Fanlore. Fusion. Updated November 9, 2008. Accessed September 25, 2009.
Updated 03/01/2011 (to add round 2 dates).