Traycer (traycer_) wrote in het_bigbang,

Het Big Bang FAQs

Welcome to the Het Big Bang Challenge!!
It’s an opportunity for writers and artists to step up from any fandom, for any het pairing you want!

General Information

What is a Big Bang?
There are actually two portions of this Bang Challenge. The Big Bang and the Little Bang. There are many different types of big bangs, all varying slightly, but generally it is a process in which authors write long fics (20,000 words or longer for the BIG bang portion, or 10,000 words for the LITTLE big bang version) and artists make art for the pieces of work that exceed 20k. Then, on one singular shining day, we reveal all completed stories and artworks so that everybody goes blind from the overwhelming awesomeness. Simple in concept, right?

This bang challenge is centered around heterosexual (male/female) pairings from any fandom you can name. Everything preliminary for this bang challenge is hosted in this community, but on the reveal date, all contributions (art, stories, vids, fanmixes, etc.) will be hosted on AO3. Any het pairing, any fandom.

Why AO3?
A poll was taken in this community several years ago, and overwhelming numbers (90%) were comfortable with AO3. If you want to participate in this challenge, you have to sign up at A03. Apologies if that irks you. Mainly, we will be hosting the final stories on AO3 because: 1. It'll allow you guys to format your own fics and edit after the big bang goes live. 2. By using a Collection, I can ensure no one releases their fics early, and it goes up simultaneously. 3. If we post fics on LJ, it'll require multiple posts per fics, and organizing that for a single-moment reveal will be a headache. (Trust me on that.) and 4. Your mods don’t want to repeat the horrible experience they had in prior years with creating a website. Therefore, AO3 will be neat and simple. There will be plenty of time for those that do not have accounts on A03 to sign up. You can ask a friend for an invite code, or you can request from A03 here or at ao3_invitecodes.

We have started an Archive of Our Own collection that is identical to the ones listed in this post. A collection is a group of works collected together under one heading. Only the author of the work can add his/her story into this collection; so, you gotta upload your fic onto AO3, and then add it to the current year's collection. Here is the FAQ of AO3. Since this is a moderated collection, each work has to be approved by the Het Big Bang mods before it appears in the collection. Do not post your work anywhere else before the deadline! Do not publish your fic before the deadline!

Why is there no art for the little bang portion?
Because it’s the option for those writers within our ranks that want to participate in this challenge, without being held accountable to an artist to finish their work. It is the low-key, no mutual obligation option.

What kind of timeline will I be under?
Author Sign Ups - open till June 24th, 12:00 PM (NOON) EST
Mandatory Author Checkpoint - August 15th
Artist Claiming of Big Bang Stories - August 20th
Art and Fics Due - September 26th, 11:59 PM (Midnight) EST (here is a timezone converter)
Debut Date (DD) - October 1st

Why the delay between Arts/Fic submission and the Debut Date? Because, we had a few delays with artwork during the last big bang, and some of the stories submitted were not properly formatted. Therefore, we need time to find back up artists and to properly code fics. It is very, very important that if you sign up as an artist and claim a story, you submit on time because otherwise the entire big bang may be delayed.

Can I join this comm?
Absolutely! Feel free to join and watch the comm even if you aren't signing up; if you ARE signing up you need to join the comm ASAP. Some important reminders and post will be members locked.

Is there a support comm for this Big Bang?
Yep! There is a sister comm where participants can go for help and flailing. het_banghelp: a community for all your support needs. This is the place for all your hand-holding, sharing of fics snippets, and flailing. Like prior years, special writing and enabling events will be hosted on that comm, like Snippet Days and Block Writing Events. Use it however you deem necessary, as long as it's het_bigbang related. It's members-only and f-locked to only those that have officially signed up as authors/artists and betas/cheerleaders!

(Please note, we have gone through the entire member's list for our support comm, and emptied out all of last year’s participants. As soon as you sign up for the new challenge, you can request to join membership again.)

How do I sign up?


An AUTHOR, go here.
If you an ARTIST, please go here.
If you are offering to BETA READ, go here.

I signed up last year, and then dropped out. Can I still sign up again?

Best way to contact a mod?
Your mods are going to be inundated with hundreds of comments from a dozen different posts, so the best way to make sure we actually see your question/comment/concern is to (a.) pm your mods, red_b_rackham or traycer_; (b.) email the mods at; or (c.) drop a note on this FAQ post.


What type of requirements are there for a writer?
There are two portions of the Bang Challenge for Writers! The Big Bang and the Little Bang.

The Big Bang is basically what we did last year: Your fic must be completed and at least 20,000 words long. Writers accomplishing this goal will get an artist assigned to them by the comm, and they will receive artwork for their story!

The Little Bang challenge is ditto to the above, but only at least 10,000 words long. There will be no assigned artists for these stories. (Authors can go out and find themselves an artist, if they want, but they MUST inform the mods that they have made these arrangements. Just so we can approve them for the collection submissions, when the time comes.)

All stories must focus on or revolve around a het pairing of your choosing, and mandatorily beta-read before the posting date. At the time of signing up for this, you need to know the following: a) what you think you'll be writing (fandom/pairing, prompt -- and yeah, you can change your mind later all the way until the Mandatory Author Checkpoint in August!); b) whether you are participating in the Big Bang challenge or the Little Bang challenge (and yes, you can change your mind later on, all the way up to the Mandatory Author Checkpoint in August.) c) whether you already have an A03 account, and if not, that you will be willing to acquire one before the submission deadline; d) give us your e-mail address; and e) then go to join het_bigbang AND friend the community. You *must* join and friend for updates; it's a requirement to participate in this challenge.

Define a qualified het pairing, please!
Any het pairing, any fandom. Crossovers, fusions crossovers, genderbender het and RPF (Real Person Fic) are all allowed. There may be more than one het pairing in the fic. There may be other secondary slash or femslash pairings within the fic, as long as a het pairing is the primary focus. Slash, threesomes or moresomes should NOT be your focus. But what if our fic is, like, more gen but with a hint of ship? Um, that probably doesn't qualify. We want a het pairing as a primary focus. We are not going to psychoanalyze how "shippy" the fic you're writing is, but please use your best judgment.

After much debate, it's been decided that Original Works based on your creations are allowed. All standard rules/procedures apply.

Can I sign up more than once as an author? I've got so many plotbunnies!
Yes, you can sign up as an author twice! Both times for the Big Bang, or both times for the Little Bang, or in both the Little Bang and the Big Bang! Your choice. However, it must be for stories centered around different pairings. (Same fandom is fine.) Don't sign up twice for the same pairing. You must sign up twice in the Author's sign up post with separate comments, so we are crystal clear that you are participating twice!

I don't know what to write! I've got so many ideas!
We're here to help! While you can change your plotbunny at any time, we're also offering a What Should I Write post to get help from others to help figure things out. You provide descriptions of up to five of your plotbunnies, and we put up a poll here to see what people are interested in. No obligation to go with the winner, but it might help you choose!

I've already been writing a het pairing story already. Can I use that?
Was it written for last year’s Het Big Bang/Little Bang and just never completed? If so, sure!

If not…. then for the Little Bang, you gotta start fresh. Sorry.

However, either way, for the Big Bang you are allowed to use a WIP in this big bang if it's less than 10k written. Ideally, your story should not have appeared anywhere on the net already, and if it hasn't been posted anywhere, you only have to reach the goal of 20k total. However, if you do already have a couple thousand words of it up somewhere public (at max, 10k), then we won't count that towards your total 20k requirement, and you must immediately take it off the internet completely for the duration of the challenge.

Can I write with someone else?
Yes, you may co-author your big bang if you want to.

Do I really have to have my fic be beta-read?
Yes. Dear Gods, yes. A beta reader is a person who reads another person's written work with a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story before the author posts it up. All participants must get their fiction beta’d by at least one person. Betareading is love, people! Check out the sign up post for volunteers who are willing to beta read.

What happens if I can't write that much by the posting deadline?
First, relax and don't panic! You've got until September for finishing this baby off! For writers, this is not a reciprocal challenge, so I'm not going to go chasing after you with a big giant stick if you drop out. It's hard to write this much fic on a deadline! I understand! Don't stress yourself; fandom is meant to be fun. Usually in these things, at least half of the writers drop out. That's expected. But please, please, please - if you need to drop out of this challenge, drop your mod a quick note.

Another note: If you fall short of the word count, don't panic. Do not sign up with the *intent* of writing anything short of a minimum word count, but if you fall a little short, just contact your mod and we'll try to work something out if we can.

Wait, what is this I see about a Mandatory check-in later on? What's that about?
The mandatory check-in for authors is scheduled on August 15th. All authors must participate, or they will be kicked out of the challenge. Authors must firmly declare whether they are in the Little Bang or the Big Bang.

If they are in the Little Bang, they complete a comm poll and identify their fic’s fandom/pairing(s). (No changing your selections after this point!)

If they are in the Big Bang Challenge, they complete a comm poll, identify their fic's fandom/pairing(s), and they will submit three small snippets (up to 500 words each) of their work to the Mods. The Mods will then hunt down artists for those stories. (No changing your selections after this point!)

What if I am determined to be in the Big Bang portion at the time of the Mandatory Check-in, but then fall short of 20k? Can I still submit my story for the Little Bang portion?
Keep in mind that your story will have already been assigned to an Artist after the Mandatory Check-in. You have committed yourself to a 20k fic at that point, just like your Artist has committed themselves to you. If you fall a little short in your story, we can be forgiving. But if you flagrantly ignore the 20k word count, that will be a problem. Talk to us about it, but just – don’t do this? Okay? Please? It’ll be insult to your artist and all the other participants in this challenge.

Can I have contact with my artist?
We will provide you with contact information once an artist is committed to you. From there, you can contact them to find out more about their interests. We would like to encourage you to be in contact with them and to share and collaborate, but ONLY in fun. The artist is under no obligation to work directly with you. Ultimately, what they create for your fic is their creation, just like how they cannot dictate what you write for your fanfiction. But we all want everyone to be happy with what they get and what they create, so I hope this remains a happy, fun, friendly experience.

What if I hate my artist and/or dislike the artwork that is done for my fanfiction?
Um, the politest way I can honestly word this is: get over yourself. Please leave a friendly comment, even if you don't like it, because your artist put a lot of work into crafting something for you. Give thanks, and be on your merry way.


How do I know what I'm making art for?
After the writers have their mandatory check-in on August 15th, we'll make a claims post listing fandoms and pairings. In this post, we'll also include the story summary and any warnings the author gives. You can choose which fic you'd like to create art for, and then that person's fic will get crossed off the list. Author's names will not be attached to their fanfics on this post; the artist's claims will be done blind that way. This is done to even the playing field, so that an artist may claim a fanfic based on the summary/pairing/fandom, rather than the popularity of the writer. (Though by no means is the author prohibited at any point from telling people which fandom/pairing/story is theirs. I imagine that in any case, we'll be able to have a great number of educated guesses for authors based on the pairing/fandom alone. That's fine. We're just trying to make the artists' claims post less about favoring popular authors, and more about showcasing the merits of the story.)

What are the requirements for art?
You can make whatever kind of art you feel like, in whichever medium. Drawing, painting, digital, manips, vids, fanmix, anything you can think of. We just ask that you put some time into it, as our authors have put major effort into their story. You are required to make a minimum of ONE piece of art for the story you claim. MORE IS BETTER. We love more! We want more! But, based on feedback from prior year’s artists, we only have a requirement of one piece of artwork.

Make it nice, put some effort into it!

How do I sign up and/or claim an artwork?
You can sign up to be an artist now, but claims will happen much later, on August 20th, after writers have had their mandatory check in. Claims are done on a first come, first serve basis. We will be putting up a members-locked post and the artists will reply to it with the story they claim to do art for (so make sure you are a member of the community!).

Sign ups for artists will remain open until all fanfics get claimed!

What happens if the number of authors doesn't match up with the number of artists or mixers?
We will do several rounds of claiming so that EVERY fic has an artist. In the event that fics outnumber artists, we will allow artists to make a second claim.

Can I have contact with my author?
We will provide you with contact information once you have committed to an author. From there, June you can contact them to find out more about their interests. We would like to encourage you to be in contact with them and to share and collaborate, but ONLY in fun. You are under no obligation to work directly with the author. Ultimately, what you create for your artwork is your creation, just like how you cannot dictate what the author writes for their fanfiction. But we all want everyone to be happy with what they get and what they create, so we hope this remains a happy, fun, friendly experience.

Also, if your writer does not complete his/her story by the due date, but you've completed your artwork, go ahead and submit it and I'll showcase it on AO3 anyway. You deserve recognition for your hard work!

What if I cannot create the fanart by the deadline?
Think very, very hard before claiming a story! Because there is a person who is expecting some fanart for their work and we'll have to hunt down a back-up artist to take your place, if you end up dropping out. If you can't create the fanworks, tell us as soon as humanly possible. I want everything to go live at once, on October 1st. Finding artists is hard enough with a decent timeline, but finding backups are a nightmare, so for this reason, if an artist drops out at the last second (within the last 10 days of the deadline), then they will be banned from participating in future bang challenges here.


What kind of timeline will I be under?
Author Sign Ups - open till June 24th, 12:00 PM (NOON) EST
Mandatory Author Checkpoint - August 15th
Artist Claiming of Big Bang Stories - August 20th
Art and Fics Due - September 26th, 11:59 PM (Midnight) EST (here is a timezone converter)
Debut Date (DD) - October 1st

What's the Author’s mandatory checkpoint?
This one is mandatory check-in for authors; Authors firmly declare whether they are Big Bang or Little Bang participants. If you’re going for a Big Bang, you get assigned an artist. (More info above in the Writer’s Requirement section.)

Will artists get checkpoints?
We will be making sure everyone's on the right track and are able to finish their art before the deadline, but these checkpoints will be less formal, as there is no word count for a piece of art.

Are there going to be any extensions?
No. Extensions for final fic and art submissions will not be granted. We totally understand RL circumstances happen, we really do. But unfortunately, we have deadlines in place for a reason and extensions are unfair to everyone who completed them on time (also the mods just about melted down one year in the final days of the Bang due to trying to accommodate many people and we simply cannot do it that way again XD). We will not accept submissions beyond September 26th (the submission deadline).


Where do we post our completed fics?
We are using AO3 collections, with the reveal date of August 31st. You can post your fics anywhere else you like, just don’t post them up anywhere before the Debut Date. Again, there is plenty of time for those that do not have accounts on A03 to sign up. You can ask a friend for an invite code, or you can request from A03 here or at ao3_invitecodes. If you are unfamiliar with it, here is the FAQ of AO3. Do not publish your fic for everyone to see at AO3. Instead, submit it to our current year's collection. Only the author of a work can add it to a collection, and then the mods approve it and we’ll reveal it on the Debut Date.

Because we experienced some glitches with A03 collections, we are also asking you to drop an email to thehetbigbang (at) when you submit your work to A03, with the following information:

Email Subject Line: (Fic or Art Submission. YOUR NAME.)

AO3 Name/LJ Name: (both)
Artwork or Fic: (artwork for "Title of Fic, by Author") or (Fic: "Title, rating, and word count. Big Bang or Little Bang.")
Summary: (if applicable.)

Further Posting guidelines below.

[How to Post to an AO3 Collection]
1. Sign up for A03. You can check ask a friend for an invite code, or you can request from A03 here or at ao3_invitecodes

2. DO NOT POST YOUR FICS/ARTS SO THAT THE GENERAL PUBLIC CAN SEE THEM. Double check after posting to make sure it doesn't get posted to the general audience. If it does, delete the work and start over. Instead, you need to allow the mods to collect your fic/arts so that we can reveal everything together on October 1st. Go to the current Het Big Bang Collection, and click on the "Post to Collection" button in the top right corner. The collection is currently open, moderated and unrevealed.

This will bring you to the normal template where you submit your fic/artwork. In the first block, you fill out all the tags: fandom, warnings, ratings, characters, pairings, additional tags, etc.
In the second block, you fill out the preface information, including title, summary, and author's notes.

2a. For Artist: your summary line should include your author's name and the title of their story (if you know it).

3. In the third block, for "Associations," make sure the line for "Post to Collections/Challenges" lists the current year's challenge.

3A. For Artists: the next line, "Gift this work to:" should be filled out as well. Artist, you know your Author's A03 name, which should have been provided to you through your emails. If for some reason it was not, please contact your authors and get this name from them. Fill in the "Gift this work to:" line with your author's name. That will link your artwork to them. After the submissions have gone live on the Debut Date, we would like you to go back and edit your submission to add in a link to the specific story you created your artwork for. But until the entire big bang goes public, the main way you'll attach your artwork to the piece will be by identifying the author through gifting.
When you finally get the chance to link to the story, edit your submission and use the HTLM coding: <*a href="INSERT THE URL HERE">Title, by Author. (Remove the *) You can put this in your author's note or summary.

3b. For Authors: After the submissions have gone live on the Debut Date, we would need you to go back and edit your submission to add in a link to the specific artwork that was created for your story. You don't have to "Gift this work to:" to the artist, but it would be neat if you wanted to do so.
When you finally get the chance to link to the artwork, edit your submission and use the HTLM coding: <*a href="INSERT THE URL HERE">Title, by Artist. (Remove the *) You can put this in your author's note or summary.

4. Formatting and coding guidelines are important.

4a. For Artists: AO3 video embeds are working from Youtube, Vimeo,, Dailymotion, Viddler, Metacafe and 4shared. So if you have a video, you upload it to Youtube for example, and then embed into an AO3 post.

For images like artwork and icons and banners and cover art, use the *img src="INSERT YOUR URL HERE" HTML coding (remove the *). You can first upload your images at Tinypic or photobucket or a similar image hosting website, and then make an A03 post with the HTML coding.

5. Submit your fic/artwork.

You need to make sure when you hit "Post" that you see this text at the top of the resulting page:

"This work is part of an ongoing challenge and will be revealed soon! You can find details here: Het Big/Little Bang Challenge 2018" (or the current year)

6. Now, your fic should NOT be displayed to the general audience. It might not even show up on your dash, but fear not. You can still edit, add new chapters, mess around with it to your heart's content.

We, the mods, unfortunately do not have access to your story. We cannot tell if it is properly formatted or not. THIS IS FRUSTRATING, but there's nothing we can do about it. We can only see your name. All works are titled "Mystery Works" until we reveal the entire big bang. So, please make sure your own fic is properly formatted.

If you need to edit your fic, login and go to your dashboard. Go to the "Edit Works" button in the top right corner. From there, you can edit your works.

A03 will require you to format a header with all regular information on it.

Remember to properly tag your works, including appropriate warnings.

[A03 Coding Guidelines]

Both HTML and Rich Text are supported, and you can edit/delete, have multiple chapters, etc…

1. The Rich Text Editor lets you add formatting, links and pictures to text without using HTML tags. It also has an option for pasting from Word which will preserve some of your Word formatting, although please note that this is buggy. The Rich Text Editor is only available for your work text.

2. The HTML editor allows you to change the look of your text with HTML tags. It can be used in any place you can submit text, although some fields permit only a small subsection of allowed tags. You can see a full list of the allowed HTML on the Archive FAQ, but the standard HTML tags is as follows: b, big, blockquote, br, caption, center, datetime, div, dl, dt, em, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, height, hr, href, i, img, ins, small, span, src, strike, strong, sub, sup, table, u, and more.

Also, a few years ago, anr was a saint and provided you with a post that explained "how to format a fic for posting in less than 30 seconds no matter the story length or amount of formatting" trick.

The mods won’t be overly picky about formatting. I'd prefer for all dividers and scene breaks to use <*hr> (remove the *) which creates a horizontal line that serves perfectly as a scene break. However, that’s optional. You choose your own way to format.

Other optional suggestions, just for uniformity sake:
How do I do Chapter Titles: Bold 'em.
How do I timestamp and do locations: Italicize the dates and locations.
How do I do subtitle stuff: Italicize it.

There is only one major fail regarding format, and that has to do with paragraphs breaks.
There must be a full line break between paragraphs.

Example of doing it wrong:

Chapter One: The Invasion
March 6, 2005 - The City of Atlantis
Elizabeth ducked quickly behind a console and attempted to catch her breath. A flush of pink colored her cheeks and a thin sheen of sweat had appeared on her brow. If the situation weren't so dire, John would have been turned on. As it was, however, he couldn't give it much thought as he had to focus on the batch of Ancient zombies that were slowly staggering in through the Stargate.
"At least they can't run," he offered lamely.
Elizabeth spared him a glare. "Why can't they run?" "I don't know." John shrugged. "But they never seem to run. They always lurch. Maybe when they're brought back to life they don't get knees?"

Example of doing it right:

Chapter Two: Ancient Ex-Girlfriends
Yes, They're Zombies Too

Elizabeth peeked around the consol. "Oh, my god," she breathed. "Is that--"

"Chaya?!" John squeaked.

"Talk about creepy ex-girlfriends." Rodney scrunched his nose. "She doesn't look good in green."

John cringed and crouched down lower. "Do you think she's their leader?"

Elizabeth looked thoughtful. "Well, this may be better for us." She narrowed her eyes at John. "We can give them you in trade for a cease fire--" Something caught her attention behind John and she broke off. "No, wait. Look to the left! That's... oh, god, John. That's Teer!"

John and Rodney stared in disbelief. "Damn you, Kirk!" Rodney groused, and hit John upside the head. "We're going to be killed by a legion of your dead ex-girlfriends!"

"Okay, everybody calm down," John soothed. "Let's not overreact and go blaming--"

"Hey, look, your ex-wife!"

Grammar and Spelling fail: If your fic doesn't look beta'ed, I will call you on it, which will create an AWKWARD situation for both of us. Having a beta is a REQUIREMENT. Grammar, spelling, proper paragraph structure, etc… these are all REQUIREMENTS. You need to give your beta ample opportunity to go over your fic for mistakes and edits, so remember to factor that into your deadline. Don't have a beta? Check out our beta reader sign up post!

Can I post it to my journal a few days early to show my friends? No. The first time you show your fic for this big bang must be on Debut Day (October 1st), on this comm. Mods will handle the revealing details. There will be more posts on that to come. Once the Big Bang website goes live, feel free to post your stuff wherever.


Beta readers - Please comment in the beta readers sign up and state the following: what pairing(s)/fandom(s) you like, what your strengths are as a beta reader, and what kind of turn around someone can probably expect from you. Also, leave an e-mail address that will be good for the next few months. *g* Most people will already have their own beta reader, but hey, maybe they want to try someone new.

Advertising this Big Bang - We need people to volunteer to pimp this Big Bang around on appropriate comms! SPREAD THE WORD. Tell different fandoms, tell flisters, go on Tumblr and other websites, SPREAD THE GLORIOUSNESS.


You can find a bunch of banners and linkback buttons and icons HERE.

Don’t hesitate to take advantage of our What Should I Write? polling options if you're wavering on what to write.

There will be comm chats scheduled throughout the challenge. Stay tuned for timings/dates.

Also, we will continue the
Random Stories/Artworks of the Day, where after the Debut Date, we’ll post about one to two random stories and their artworks every day, until we run through the entire selection.

And last, regarding options to download fic or doing some type of customized e-reader. AO3 has a download option. Lucky us.

I think that covers everything! Any questions, let me know. Otherwise, well.

Sign up, already!

Standard disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their public respective owners. No money is being made from this project. No copyright infringement is intended. Plagiarism will not be tolerated in any way, shape or form.
Tags: !admin

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