What's a Big Bang?
This particular usage traces back to 2006, when some folks in the Harry/Draco corner of HP fandom invited a handful of authors to create H/D novels of at least 50,000 words. Since then, the idea has been adapted to various other pairings, fandoms, and characters. This one is centered on a few specific characters from the Marauder era, so all fics should be stories about one of those characters. (answer directly from HG Big Bang)
How will stories and art be posted?
Most of you have probably seen various Big Bang Challenges and every one of them posts the stories and art differently. In this challenge, you will be sending in your fic already formatted in a document to the mod email account (or your art as a .jpg, .png, or .gif file). We will then post it in this community (like in a fic exchange) under the mod account. Don't worry, all your information/notes will be posted with it. We won't be taking credit for all your hard work!
There will be posting schedule, so your completed fic will be posted on a certain day and then you can either cross-post it to other communities/your journal or you can repost it wherever you like. The fanfiction and art will be posted together at this community, but how you post it outside of the community is up to the author and the artist. This question will be further (and better) explained when this part of the challenge gets closer.
I'd like to sign up to write a story, but I want to know what I'm comitting to first!
When you first sign up, you are only committing to trying to write a story of at least 20,000 words by June 13, 2010. This first sign up is just to give the mods an idea of how many stories we'll have by the end of this challenge. When you sign up for a second time, you've finished your first draft of the story. At that point, you're committing to turning in a complete, beta-read story by the final deadline (August 27th) and allowing artists to illustrate scenes (of their choosing) from your story.
Who/what am I allowed to write about?
One of the following characters from the Marauder era: Sirius Black, Lily Evans, Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, James Potter, and Severus Snape. To find out more about these characters, check out the Witches, Wizards, and Beings section at the HP Lexicon.
At least one of these characters must be the main character in your story. This means you can write a general fic about the whole lot of them, or you can focus on just one of them, or you can put them in a pairing and write the romance you think went on/should have happened. (James/Lily, Sirius/Remus, Severus/Lily, Remus/Alice, Sirius/OC, and whatever other pairings you can come up with!) You are not limited to a certain time period, so you're more than welcome to write them during their years at Hogwarts, or later in life, or let one of them get their hands on a time turner and end up in another era!
How long does my story have to be?
The minimum word count for this challenge is 20,000 words. There is no maximum word count, though, so if you have an idea that ends up being 80,000 words long then run with it! But we do require that you have completed your fic. You cannot just send us the first 20,000 words of your fic.
What if my story ends up being 15,000 words?
First, we want to congratulate you, because 15,000 really is a lot of writing! But we're pretty strict when it comes to the word count and if you didn't read the 20,000 minimum, you cannot enter the second phase of the challenge, which is when the stories all receive accompanying art and beta services.
Can I use a story that I've already started?
That depends! If you have a story about one of the approved character(s) from the Marauder era that you've already started and it's just sitting on your hard drive, then we'll never know if it's a new or old piece of writing that you're using. But if you mean use a fic that you started and posted somewhere on the internet, then the answer is no (unless you make the posts that have been made public to the internet private until after the challenge). We want all of these fics to be unread by anyone but you, your beta(s), and possibly your artist.
Are any other limitations, other than the length?
Yes, there is one more. You are not allowed to write about minors under the age of 16 engaging in sexual activities. Also, you are not allowed to write about minors and adults engaging in sexual activities either. (e.g. Lily at age 17 and Edgar Bones at age 19 would not be allowed.) Please make sure you put the proper rating and warnings on your fic before submitting it.
Are you sure there aren't any other restrictions?
Nope, you're free to write whatever you want as long as you follow the rules! Any pairings that include at least one of the characters listed above, any ratings... anything goes, really! Warnings and summaries that are written by the authors will be included with all fics when they're posted, so no one will feel unprepared when they click on a link to read a story.
Can we write crossovers or threesomes?
Yes, but we'd like to mention a few things if this is the direction you plan on taking. If you write a crossover, you'll need to help us find you a beta and artist. If you write a threesome, please remember to keep your focus on at least one the characters from the Marauder era.
I don't think I'll be able to keep a fic going for that long.
Sure you can! Don't think we're going to just abandon you once the challenge starts. You won't be doing this alone! There is a special author community where you can post and receive encouragement or seek advice from your fellow writers. The mod in charge of authors (fallenmelody) will also be periodically posting helpful entries where you can do writing exercises and ask questions if you need assistance. We also recommend that if you're feeling like you won't be able to accomplish this without someone who is dedicated to help you, make sure that you sign up for a cheerleader! As silly as it sounds, they really will be able to cheer you on and help you get to the finish line.
I'm not a good enough writer to do a challenge like this, I'm never happy with my finished product, etc.
This is why you have a beta, one you can choose on your own or one that is assigned to you by the mods. All stories will be beta-read before they are ever posted, so don't worry about "not being good enough". All stories will be looked over by the mods or volunteers, so that we can catch anything seriously wrong with your fic and have you fix it before the finished product is posted.
Is co-writing allowed? My friend and I have an idea we're really excited about, and we would love to write it together!
Absolutely! All the same rules apply to authors that are co-writing, nothing special you need to know. If you want to co-write, but don't have any one to write with, let one of the mods know and we'll try to set you up with another writer that's interested.
I finished my story in the middle of April and now I'm bored! Can I write another one?
Yes, but only if you have your the first draft of your first story completely finished and ready to be turned in. If you finish your story early and have enough time to complete another, go for it! Just be sure to let one of the mods know so we can make sure an artist is up for the task and a beta is available for you!
I really don't like having my work criticized, especially by someone I don't know! Can't I just skip the whole beta-reading part? Or what if I don't agree with her suggestions? Do I just ignore them?
Then we have a big problem, because all stories must be beta-read or they won't be posted here and you'll be disqualified. Before you decide to ignore your beta's advice (which we do not recommend), make sure you listen to everything s/he says and really consider it. We want you to know that the mods (with a bunch of volunteers) will be reading all of the stories before they are posted. If any major problems present themselves, we'll give the story back to you and ask to have another beta read it over.
Tell me how I should format this darn thing, so I can send it in!
We couldn't explain it any better than the girls over at HG Big Bang, so here are the instructions they provided:
Send it as an attached file rather than text in the body of email, definitely. You don't want to make us fix the formatting of 20,000 words after gmail gets done with them. .txt, .rtf, .doc, and .docx files all work.
Use html for the italics rather than simply using ctrl-i or the italics button in your word-processing software. We could in principle convert, but wow would I rather not x 20K x 100 people. Ditto boldface and underlines.
--Brief html primer if you need it: In your text, you just type
DO NOT use Word html (the thing in Word that saves as html).
Do send a single email, probably with the fic as a single file (a zip/rar with multiple chapters would be okay), though it you want the fic in chapters, you could also send them as separate files clearly labeled, like, brittsbigbang1.doc, brittsbigbang2.doc, etc. There is no requirement for things to be broken into chapters.
Font won't really matter. Well, no, I suppose font will matter in the sense that if you use, like, Curlz, we'll laugh and send it back, asking you to fix it.
The header information (title, summary, rating, etc) has not been decided on yet. More information on that will be edited into this section later on in the challenge and posted in another entry to the community when the deadline gets closer.
I'm turning in my story and the word count it 19,782. It's so close! Does it still qualify?
These will be looked at on a case-by-case basis. Some of you might by a little bit short of 20,000 and we will most likely accept it. Or maybe you're past the word count, but not quite finished with your story. If that's the case, we'll do our best work with you so that you can still participate in the second phase of the challenge.
What am I committing to when I sign up as an artist?
You are committing to creating at least one piece of art (but more is encouraged) based on the rough draft of a story written by one of the authors in this community by the August 27th deadline. You can also create a piece of art during the author's rough draft period. Then an author can write a short story based on your art during the revising period! (This idea is credited to hermionebigbang's brilliant mods.)
I don't want to make art for someone's story. I just want to do my own art and have someone write for it!
Sorry, but if you want to do that part, you have to create art for someone's story, too. Getting a story to go with your art is part of the reward for putting all your hard work in art that makes someone else's story even better! :)
What kind of art are we talking about here?
We're hoping for the more traditional kind of art (drawing, painting, photography, etc), but we are allowing graphic art separately. Banners are great for the beginning of a story, but we also want artists that illustrate at least one particular scene in each fic. The types of graphic art we allow are banners, manipulations, soundtracks, videos, and things of that nature. Wallpapers and icons are also accepted, but not encourage. We also want to mention that we want the art to be good quality. We won't accept stick figures that took you 10 seconds to draw. We reserve the right to reject art or ask for revisions if we feel that it looks as if little to no effort was put into it.
Like most big bang challenges, we're hoping that we will have one piece of traditional art and one piece of graphic art for each story. So, if you know of any artists looking for something fun to participate in, send them in the direction of this community! We know that finding artists is going to be our biggest struggle, so gather your artist friends and bribe them into signing up. ;)
What if I'm not inspired by the story I'm assigned?
Well, we will do our best not to let this happen, but if it does, make sure you contact one the mod in charge of art, moonstruck_t. She will do her best to help you get inspired or possibly switch your assignment with another artist that is feeling uninspired by their assignment (or is just nice enough to switch with you).
More details on creating art during phase one and then having someone write a short story inspired by it in phase two, please!
During the first phase (when authors are writing the rough draft of their 20,000-word fic), artists are welcome to create a piece of art. There are no requirements for it. Artists will then turn that in when authors turn in their rough drafts! Then, during the second phase when artists are creating art for the longer fics, authors will write a short story to accompany the art that was created during the first phase of the challenge. It will then be posted on the last posting day in mid-September.
As a cheerleader, what do I have to do?
All you have to do is make yourself available through comments, email, or IM to the author(s) you have been assigned to, and cheer them through the tough days (brainstorming, no inspiration, etc). Cheerleading is mostly providing your authors with emotional support! The writing process can be quite stressful and they need all the help they can get.
Is betaing part of my job as a cheerleader?
No, not unless you want it to be!
I just want to be a beta. I don't want to do any of that cheering nonsense.
That's fine! We have sign-ups just for betas where you can let us know how many authors your willing to beta for, what your strengths/weaknesses are, and any other information you want to provide us with.
I'd like to be a beta, but I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings!
Being a beta means noticing problems and helping the authors fix them. You need to point out grammar/spelling mistakes, plot holes, characterization flaws, and problems with canon that weren't intentional. If you're not comfortable with doing that, beta-reading probably isn't for you.
Who are your affiliates? Will you affiliate with my community?
Our affiliates are dl_ldws, everyfandomfest, thelittlebang, and pansy_bigbang along with all of the Big Bang communities linked on our profile. You're more than welcome to affiliate with us! Just leave a comment on one of the mod posts and we'll add you to this section of our FAQ asap.