There are many different types of Big Bangs, in a number of fandoms, though as far as we can determine there has never been one in the Lord of the Rings fandom. A Big Bang is a challenge in which authors write long fics (20,000 words or more) over a period of a few months and artists make art for them.
We will soon make official sign-up posts for authors and one for artists. Later there will be one for betas and one for cheerleaders.
Author sign ups open: Jan. 17 to Jan. 24 (about a week) Beta and cheerleader sign ups: Jan 24 to Jan 28 Author Progress report due: April 11 to April 18 (Your progress will be used to assign the artists.) Artist sign ups open: April 21 to May 2 Artist match ups sent out: May 9 Art due: July 4 through July 8July 18 through July 22 Stories and art due in moderator’s queue: weekend of July 15 July 29 Stories and art revealed: on Monday July 18 August 1
(We may call for other progress reports during May and June.)
What other requirements are there?
You will be asked to join the lotrgficbigbang community, so that you will have access to the sign-up posts and announcements concerning the challenge, and so you can see the stories and art when it is revealed. You are not required to join our associated communities at lotr_community or the LOTR_COMMUNITY_GFIC on Yahoo! but you are welcome and encouraged to do so.
Also, all the stories and art will be posted at the Many Paths to Tread archive after the challenge is over, so you will have a membership there as well. All authors and artists will be given their information and password so they can edit their pages, and if you wish to do so, you may certainly join the archive prior to the end of the challenge.
Who/what am I allowed to write about?
Your story should be set within J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth legendarium, including The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin, Unfinished Tales and the various volumes of The History of Middle-earth, and should feature characters from those works, or original characters based in the settings of those works.
You may also set your story within the world of adaptations (e.g. movies, musicals or other adaptations) of these works, and feature characters from those adaptations.
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 and your story can be as long as you want it to be. It must be a completed story, however. Even if you have 20,000 words, if it is not complete it does not count.
What if my story ends up being less than 20,000 words?
The stories are supposed to be 20,000 words or more. However, we will not be hand-counting the stories. But if you get a word count of 19,963 words (in other words, very, very close) we will look at accepting it on a case by case basis.
Can I use a story that I've already started?
Only if it has never been publicly posted before. The story itself should be a new one in the sense of never being published. But if you have a bunny you’ve been working on stashed on your hard drive, that’s fine. And if you have posted a drabble or short vignette that you would like to use as a springboard for your longer story and include within it, that would be acceptable.
But this is not the place to finish up that half-posted WIP that’s been sitting on an archive for four years.
What other restrictions are there?
As this is a story for the LOTR GenFic Community, the story should be more or less family-friendly. Stories should remain within the ratings of G to PG-13. You may find more specific guidelines in the file on ratings, accessible from here.
Can we write AUs (Alternate Universes) or crossovers?
Yes, AUs are allowed.
Crossovers are also allowed so long as the main focus is on either Middle-earth or on a character or characters from Middle-earth.
Is co-writing allowed?
Yes. You will need to sign-up as a team, and let us know that you are writing together.
Do I have to have a beta?
A beta is not an absolute requirement, but it is strongly encouraged. You may find your own beta, or you may request one and we will match you up with a volunteer beta.
How long do I have to write my story?
The sign-ups begin in January and the reveal date is in July. So that is six months altogether. However, you will need to have made substantial progress on your story at the halfway mark in order to have an artist assigned to you. Actual dates may be seen in the schedule below.
How do I format the story?
Format your story for posting in LiveJournal, using the header provided below. Your story may be multi-chaptered, in which case, it may take multiple posts in order to post it all. Each post should also have a header, and you should provide links from chapter to chapter. If you need to know how to do this contact the mods.
Once your story has been completed, contact the mods, and we will get together with your artist to upload the art, and provide you with the code to embed the art in your post.
The story will be posted directly to this community.
What is an artist’s responsibility?
You will be responsible for creating at least one piece of art, based on the artist’s story. You may make more than one if you so desire.
We will be encouraging artists to create multiple works, but only one is a requirement of the challenge.
That said, we hope that artists will be open to working with more than one author, if we have more authors than artists.
What kind of art?
We mostly expect traditional art: drawings, paintings, photography and photomanips. Photographs of other sorts of art, such as sculpture, collages, needlework, or artifacts would also be acceptable. You may create a banner for the story, or a “cover” if you wish. We will also welcome fanvids if any are so inclined, though those must be based on the story in question.
If you would like to make a very non-traditional sort of art, please let us know what it is, and we will see if we can accommodate you.
Are there any restrictions on the art?
Yes. Art must be within the same rating guidelines as the stories. It has to be family friendly and work-safe. Imagine that your young child or your parents or your boss can see that art on the monitor over your shoulder, and plan your art around that restriction.
Absolutely NO nudity or children in sexual situations!
How long will I have?
As soon as authors let us know that they have made sufficient progress, we will assign the artists. You will have at least three months.
Can I make some art, and then get a story for it afterwards?
This will be an option allowed at the halfway point. Just let us know, and we’ll find someone to put your art in a story.
But you still will need to make at least one piece based on a story as well.
How will my art be posted?
There will be two options for posting. In the first, you may upload your own art to a hosting site (e.g. Photobucket, Flickr, etc. ) and then send the author the code to embed within the story post. (In the event that any are inclined to make vids, we encourage the use of this first option.)
The second option is to send the art to the mods, and we will upload it to a hosting site and send the code to the author.
What do I have to do as a beta?
A beta needs to have a good grasp of spelling and grammar, and a good idea of basic story mechanics, and confidence in that knowledge. A good understanding of canon is always a plus. You need to be willing to make your suggestions, but to understand that the writer may not always take your advice. We’d like some experienced betas, but even if you have never done so before, you might like to give it a try
You will be assigned to an author, who will send you her story for you to work on. The way in which this is done will be up to the two of you.
We will have a sign up post for betas, and will accept all volunteers. However, you may not get assigned, depending on how many authors we have.
What does a cheerleader do?
Just be there for your assigned author or authors, and/or artists, to give them encouragement when they get discouraged, perhaps brainstorm with them, or help them find the motivation when they hit a block.