WHITE COLLAR BIG BANG RULES, SCHEDULE, AND FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
NOTE: These Rules/Schedule/FAQ supersede the FAQ found here.
If you see the legend "NFR7" in these rules, that means that there is a change that is "New For Round 7".
What is a big bang? A big bang is a challenge where fan fiction authors commit to writing stories in excess of a specified word count, usually more than ten thousand words. In addition, each author will have an artist who will create art for that fic.
How do I sign up? When sign-ups start, two sign up posts will go up. One for authors and one for artists. You can sign up as an artist and as an author, but you can't claim your own fic to create art unless it remains unclaimed for more than ten days. If you are an author who already has an artist lined up, please note that in your sign up post.
Do I need a LiveJournal account to take part? A LiveJournal account will be needed to make the community post to the White Collar Big Bang community at the scheduled time of posting, so one member of the team will need to have one. If neither person in a team has a LiveJournal account go ahead and send the post information to the mods and we will post it to on the teams’ behalf. Authors and artists are welcome to sign up with other accounts as long as a valid email address is provided so we can have contact with you.
Schedule for White Collar Big Bang – Round Seven:
Sign Ups Open for Authors and Artists: May 1 Author Check In (not mandatory): July 1 Sign-Ups Closed: August September 1 Last Day for Author Drop-Out: August September 1 Author Rough Drafts Due (mandatory): August September 1 Author Summaries Due: August September 10 Summaries Posted for Artist Selection: August September 15 Artist Selection: August September 20, continues for ten days Authors may claim their own unclaimed stories for art:August September 30 Posting Date Selection: September October 15 Challenge Closes, Finished Fics and Art Due: October November 1 Posting Starts: October November 15 Posting Ends: Depending on the number of stories to be posted, approximately the first week in December
What type of requirements are there for a fic? Starting with Round Five, the White Collar Big Bang Challenge has been divided into three tiers:
● Mini Bang: 7,500 Words Minimum ● Big Bang: 10,000 Words Minimum ● Super Big Bang: 20,000 Words Minimum
If you sign up for a Mini Bang and end up going Super Big Bang, that’s fine. If you sign up for a Super Big Bang and find that your muse only allows you to write a Mini Bang, that’s fine, too. There are no penalties or deadlines for scaling up or scaling back. We want authors to be challenged, not stressed.
I've already been writing a fic, can I use that one? Yes, as long as it hasn’t been published anywhere as a work in progress. If you have a published WiP plot bunny that’s eating your brain and you HAVE to write that story, please contact the mods.
What if I want to expand on a completed fic I’ve already published? Sequels and continuations are different from works in progress. If you have to incorporate part of an already-published story into your Big Bang, you need to add at least the minimum amount of new words to that story.
What genres/warnings are allowed? You may write a White Collar story for whichever genre of fic you choose, at whatever rating you want (Gen to PWP). The only exception to this is that this challenge excludes RPS/RPF. There is a detailed section below on Warnings that provides further clarification.
Can I write with someone else? Co-writing is allowed and there is no “surcharge” or extra words required for having a co-writer.
Will my fic be archived anywhere? No, where the story is posted will be up to you, the author. The only caveat to that is that your initially posted story cannot be on your tumblr.
Does my fic have to be complete when I submit it the “final draft”?, Can I post my story as a WIP (it’s not done)? No, as said above, stories have to be completed at the time of posting. We do allow stories to be posted as a part of an author’s existing series or ‘verse, as long as they are able to stand on their own. If you are having trouble completing your story in time please let us know and we will try to work with you. We would rather arrange for a delayed posting date than have an incomplete fic posted. However, if we find out an author posted an incomplete work while leading us to believe it was complete, that author will not be allowed to participate in the next round of the challenge.
I’ve written an epic, can I post over a period of days? We recognize that many authors in the White Collar fandom embrace the epic format (which is why we’ve added the Super Big Bang Challenge) and posting a multi-part fic on a single day can be stressful. If and when your story exceeds the 20,000 word mark and wish to post over consecutive days, please let the mods know.
The rule of thumb is that stories should be kept under wraps until the assigned posting date, but if you need three or four days to post, you can start posting on day you are assigned and continue posting on your journal until the story is complete. Your post on the White Collar Big Bang Comm should be a Master Post with the art and links to all of the parts of the story, which you should update as those parts go live.
Can I write a crossover or fusion story? Of course, bearing in mind that if you do a crossover, that your fic center more on the White Collar then the crossed-over fandom. For example, if you write a White Collar/Supernatural fic, the entire fic cannot be about Sam and Dean fighting demons and in the last thousand words, Peter arrives to deal with the cleanup. White Collar characters have to have the primary role in the plot of any crossover fic.
Like crossovers, fusions are allowed. Fusions have the characters of one fandom replace the characters of another, or the characters are set in another story’s universe. An example of a fusion would be the White Collar characters set in the Star Wars universe – Peter is a bounty hunter chasing Neal Caffrey and his short, hairless Wookie companion, Mozzie, across the galaxy. Or Peter is a Jedi Knight and Neal is his Padewan. The opportunities for fusions are endless.
But not without limitation. Because White Collar is very much a character-driven show, for this challenge, fusions where the story focuses non-White Collar characters are set in the White Collar universe are not allowed. For example, a Star Trek fusion story where you substitute Spock for Peter Burke and Jim Kirk for Neal Caffrey would not be allowed because the fandom is about the characters as much as the setting (although your mods would be very happy to read that story otherwise).
Also, please keep in mind that there is no way to guarantee potential artists will know the crossed over fandom. We will do our best to see that every story gets artwork, but the preferred fandoms of our artist is out of the mods control, and if that prompt goes unfilled, the author assumes that risk.
NFR7I have a few ideas for the same 'verse, but none of them will be very long, can I write an interconnected series of stories?: Yes. If you have a collection of ideas in a 'verse, and they are vignettes or interconnected, but not part of a single continuous narrative arc, and you can link them together, this will qualify for a big bang, provided the collection meets the minimum word count.
What are the requirements for art? Artists are expected to make at least one new piece of art: a drawing or digital manip or picspam or fan mix or fan vid to reflect the author’s story. If you are creating a fan mix, your mix must consist of at least ten songs, plus a CD cover. Fan vids should be at least sixty seconds.
What if I'm already working with a writer? : That's fine. You should sign up anyway and your writer should note that the work already has an artist.
What is allowed – how explicit can I get? All ratings are allowed, all pairings are allows, but your artwork should reflect your chosen author’s preferences and story.
What happens if the number of artists doesn’t match up with the number of authors? We will do several rounds of claiming so that EVERY story has art in the event that fan fiction outnumbers the number of signed up artists. After the first ten days of art claims, authors will be allowed to select their own stories for artwork
Will my art be archived anywhere? No. As with the stories, artists will be responsible for where they decided to upload and post the final version of their art.
What's a check in? They're something to give you a feel on where a typical author should or could be at in their creation process. They are used for encouragement and motivation only.
What are the writing rough draft requirements? At the rough draft point, stories should be 75% of the challenge minimum word count:
● Mini Bang: 5,625 of 7,500 words ● Big Bang: 7,500 of 10,000 words ● Super Big Bang: 15,000 of 20,000 words
Authors will be given five (5) days to check in. If you cannot make this timeframe please let us know in advance.
What if I don’t want art or if I plan on doing my own art? We do know that some Big Bang challenges are a lot more relaxed about this – that the sole point of having a rough draft turned in is to prove that you have art-ready fic and won’t take up an artist’s time if you can’t complete the challenge.
For this round, which is the first time we’re specifically allowing authors to claim their own stories after a set amount of time, we are still going to insist on a rough draft turn in. Remember, you can always scale back to a Mini Bang and your rough draft requirements are 5,625 words.
We will chase you for your rough drafts. You will have five days to submit your rough drafts and we will reach out to you if we don’t hear from you. If 48 hours pass and you don’t reply to our contacts, we will mark you as a default. At this point, defaulting will have no ramifications on future participation, since an artist hasn’t committed to creating art for your fic.
Of course, if you then contact us and tell us that external forces kept you from replying, we will work with you to see that you get back on track.
I am an author, how should I submit my rough draft? Please email your mods at email@example.com with your draft story as an attachment in .doc format only.
The title of your email should read: YOUR LJ USER NAME - Story - TITLE (even if just working)
Your draft post should contain the following (cut and paste into your email):
What should the author's final draft look like? You are expected to turn in a draft that meets the minimum challenge word count when the challenge period closes, but you will have until your posting date to finish your story. So, if the challenge closes on September 1st, and your posting date is two weeks after that, we expect you to have sent in a story that is mostly complete, but we also realize that those two weeks can mean everything to a writer working on a deadline. What we don’t want is to hear that you plan to write your entire story between the challenge close date and your posting date.
What if I need an extension? We will be granting extensions on a case-by-case basis for fics and art. We would hope, however, that you use the checkpoints and all your available creating and writing time to its fullest. If you do need an extension, please contact the mods or email the community - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who will be posting to the community? Generally, the author posts but if the author doesn’t have an LJ account and the artist does, the artist may post on the author’s behalf.
How will I know what day to post? Two weeks before the challenge closes, a posting date selection post will go up. This will be the time to alert the mods that you have a 20K plus fic and would like to post over several consecutive days.
Does my fic need to be beta read?, Where can I find beta readers? We strongly encourage every author to have at least one other person read the story for basic spelling and grammatical errors. After the non-mandatory check in, but before the rough drafts are due, we will put up a post where people can offer and ask for beta reading services.
What should my post to the community look like? The White Collar Big Bang Community post should contain the story header (in the format provided below), plus a preview of the art, no larger than 500 pixels wide, The story header for the Community Post must contain a summary, all appropriate warnings (there will be more about warnings when we get to posting time) and links to the full version of the art and the accompanying fic. You can link back to your own LJ, DeviantArt, DW, IJ, etc. so long as your post remains unlocked.
If your artwork preview is Not Safe For Work (NSFW) or has explicit elements, you will need to put it under a cut.
Your community post will need to contain the following information>
Can I post it to my journal/AO3 a few days early to show my friends? No, the first time you post this must be on your reveal day. You can post snippets it to the support community for feedback or show select friends in advance. We prefer works aren’t posting to your journals or AO3 until the signed date of posting (if they can’t be locked for your eyes only) but do understand that coordinated times between a team can be difficult. Just let us know if you need to post your work a day or so early because of this.
I am posting an epic, how do I do that? Back when you picked your date selection post, we asked you to alert us that you'll need a few days to post all the parts of your story (so, we're expecting that you did this). If you need three or four days to post, you can start posting on day you are assigned and continue posting on your journal until the story is complete. Your post on the White Collar Big Bang Comm should be a Master Post with the art and links to all of the parts of the story, which you should update as those parts go live.
To be fair to all writers, if you are posting over several days, each part of your fic should be no less than 9k, including your header (to take into account LJ’s maximum per-post requirements). Except for the final post, posting stories in smaller increments is actively discouraged.
I’m an artist, where can I upload my art? There are several free resources such as Sendspace, or Mediafire that can be used for large files. Tinypic is recommended for images or .gif files, along with Photobucket and Imgur. You can also use the public folder on Dropbox, as well as various other places. Most people have their preferred hosting sites but if you need help finding one feel free to ask!
What if I fail to post on my assigned posting date? The heavens will turn black at noon. Frogs and lizards will fall like rain from the sky. Blood will seep from the eyes of every garden gnome statue in the world.
No, seriously. If you miss your posting day, you will post on the next available free slot (i.e., the next day were there aren’t four fics scheduled to post).
YOU DO NOT GET TO WAIT UNTIL THE END OF THE POSTING PERIOD TO POST.
(Sorry, but that’s just a free pass for bad planning.)
If you still don’t post on your reassigned day, you’re out. Of course, you can always finish your fic and with your artist’s consent, use the artwork, but your fic will not be part of the year’s challenge. Also, you’re out for the next round.
We are not hard hearted or rigidly wedded to a pre-determined posting date. If you realize AFTER you’ve selected your posting date and before it is your posting date that you can’t make it, contact the mods ASAP and we’ll slot you into a more doable date. Come on, we’re adults and this is supposed to be fun for everyone. Tell us you need an extension and we’ll accommodate you as much as we can. Don’t tell us and face the consequences.
How does White Collar Big Bang define "warning"? The White Collar Big Bang strictly defines a warning as a potential trigger, as commonly recognized in fandom. Warnings are used to notify community members of content containing potential triggers so that individuals can avoid reading/viewing something they would view as harmful to themselves.
We know that some writers don’t feel that warnings are necessary. We’ve seen arguments made that published books don’t come with warnings, but that’s a different animal all together. First of all, books in book stores (whether on-line or brick and mortar) are classified by category. Horror is not kept in the same section as light romance. Furthermore, traditional publishers have been including warning in both e-books and paper books for the past few years. Some are fairly light-hearted; others are very specific to the extreme content of the story.
Suffice it to say, your mods most strenuously believe that warning are an essential part of the compact between the fan fiction writer and reader. All fic published for the White Collar Big Bang challenge must contain a warning statement. If your story’s content contain any content that matches the mandatory warnings listed below, you must include a warning (subject to the spoiler/warning policy below).
What is the difference between a kink and a warning? One person’s kink may be another’s trigger, and vice-versa. Our intent with the inclusion of "warnings" is not to kink shame. Rather, it is intended to give our community members and readers the necessary information to judge if a work could be triggering for them.
What are White Collar Big Bang's mandatory warnings?
Consent: non-con/non-con reference, dub-con, mindwipe, mind control Other consent issues: incest (including incest play), underage/underage reference, bestiality, necrophilia, somnophilia (if consent is debatable). Death, Grieving, Loss: character death, suicide/attempted suicide, severe or terminal illness, euthanasia, miscarriage/stillbirth/abortion, imminent future death, cannibalism Violence: torture/torture reference, painplay, bloodplay, knife/swordplay, whipping, other graphic violence Restraint: asphyxiation, bondage, slavery, kidnapping (yes, even though kidnapping is a common trope in White Collar canon, please warn for it). Abuse/Self-harm: self-harm, child abuse/child abuse reference, domestic abuse, animal abuse, addiction, food and body issues
The only exception to the requirement to warn is if the warning is a spoiler for a major plot point. Please see the section below on how to handle this.
Suggested topics where the author may (but is not required) to include warnings: ● Intoxication ● Spanking ● Marking/Scarring ● Homophobia/Racism/other isms ● Sleep sex (if consent is debatable) ● Authority Figures (if consent is debatable) ● Infidelity
What should I NOT include in warnings?
1) Do not use warnings for squicks or judgment calls (e.g. OOC characterization) 2) Do not use warnings to list other kinks/perversities. 3) Do not list characters as warnings. 4) Do not list het, slash, femslash, etc. in warnings.
If you have any questions about what to include in your warnings, please contact us at email@example.com you post.
What if a warning is a spoiler? If you believe that posting a warning will reveal an essential part of your story (i.e., a major character dies in the end), you have two options:
1 - You can include, in bold text, the phrase: “Author Choses Not To Include Warnings, Please See Entry Tags on AUTHOR NAME’s Master Post (link to post).”
If you go that route, you MUST, without fail, include tags that encompass any of the mandatory warning items listed above. The mods will be checking for this.
2 – You can hide your warning text behind a color block, using this HTML code:
Authors may also modify this if they feel that warnings may in fact be triggering themselves.
For Readers . It is up to the reader/viewer to review the warnings (or take heed that the author has specifically chosen NOT to warn) and other content notes to determine if something contained therein is a trigger. Please do not request that a writer or artist edit their warnings with content not explicitly listed as a White Collar Big Bang mandatory warning list.
It also falls to you to be aware of your comments in response to a fan work. Let’s all give our authors and artists the benefit of the doubt that they didn’t intentionally leave something out of the warnings and content notes. Just as we ask authors to contact the mods if they have questions about what to include in their warnings and content notes, we ask that readers to contact the mods if you believe a work is missing a warning.
How will I contact my artist/author? We will provide the artists and authors with contact information once claims have been made and accepted. From there it is up to the artist to communicate with the author and create artwork that fit the story. Authors are also free to contact the artist that claims their art as soon as the claim is confirmed by a mod.
Contact can be done over email/LJ PM/chat/twitter/tumblr – really whatever works for you both! As long as contact is made and maintained.
I haven’t heard from my author/artist in a while, what should I do? Please let us know and we will try to reestablish contact with them on your behalf! For artists, if an author does not respond to our messages (both by email/PM/etc) we will then look into arranging a pinch hitter for your art.
If you are having any problems with another participant in this challenge please bring it to us so that we can mediate. We expect all participants to be courteous to each other both on a personal level and a creative level. Please make sure you are especially courteous to your partner and that if you have any conflicts with them bring it to us first!
If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask them in a PM or by email