Theme: A Whole New World
Challenge: Write an AU using characters from the fandom of your choice (not a crossover or fusion)
Minimum Word Count: 50,000
Sign Up Dates: 10/1/2016-10/15/2016
Project File Due:10/25/2016
The challenge itself is an immersion challenge and that means your goal is to shape your characters around different circumstances. I chose to use fandom characters (instead of original) because not everyone is comfortable creating OCs and frankly one of the biggest issues I see in fandom comes from writers drastically changing a character’s circumstances and yet the characters themselves are unruffled by this.
For some on RT, the idea of creating a whole new world from scratch would be daunting and perhaps even demoralizing so it was decided that we would allow for a single fandom canon. In order to meet the challenge you have to IMMERSE your characters in this new fandom (no matter which fandom they came from originally) from birth. Shortly I’m going to put up the FAQ that Jilly worked up for you on the schedule page.
It boils down to this:
- Pick a favorite cast of characters (cherry pick others from whatever fandom you’d like if you must)
- Create a world for them to have been born in OR choose a different fandom to place them in.
- Write your bloody story.
Q: Can I write original fiction for this challenge?
A: No. This is a fandom challenge. To take recognizable characters and put them in a new world.
Q: Can I do an AU of my main character’s universe? Like take Criminal Minds as is and make it a shifter verse? Or a BDSM AU?
A: No. The point is to take your main character and put them in a new world. If you put Criminal Minds in Teen Wolf, the Teen Wolf characters can still be there, but the CM characters must be your focus. It’s about extrapolating how they would be in their new world. If you want to do a shifter!verse, pick a shifter fandom, or create your own world.
Q: Does it need to be a complete AU, or can we use elements from their word. For instance, if using Stargate: Atlantis characters, can we have a Stargate?
A: No. Your character’s original world does not exist. They’re in either a new fandom, OR in an AU of your making.
Q: Can it be a very similar world (parallel world), such as Harry Potter but James and Lily live or some other key element change?
A: No. That’s not “a whole new world.”
Q: How is it not a crossover if you are taking characters from one fandom and putting them in another?
A: For our purposes, a crossover would be using the world of two or more fandoms. You are limited to the world/canon of one fandom, or even no fandoms. You can use characters from as many fandoms as you wish, but your world is limited to ONE. All your characters MUST be born/live/die in the fandom you chose, or the original world you build.
Q: Does this mean my characters would lose universe-specific powers in the new world?
A: Yes. Jim Ellison would not be a sentinel. Harry Potter would likely not be magical (unless you set him in another magic reality). Bruce Banner would not be the Hulk. Tony Stark could still be a genius, but he would not be Iron Man.
Q: Can my character’s canon universe be a dream or hallucination and they wake up in the new world?
A: No. Your characters need to have no connection to anything from their original verse. You may choose to mirror some of their life experiences in their new verse, but it can’t be because they saw or remembered something from the original verse. You could choose to put Harry Potter in the Star Wars universe and have him neglected as a child. But Harry cannot have dreams of living in a cupboard at #4 Privet Drive.
Q: So I can take my characters and put them in Skyrim? Or in Labyrinth?
A: Yes. That’s the definition of the challenge. Provided they don’t KNOW that they’re from the original fandom. Skyrim/Labyrinth/whatever is where they were born. Their original canon no longer exists. This is not a dimension jump or a quantum leap anything like that.
Q: Can I use time travel to a new time for the AU?
A: No! Your character’s universe still exists. They know who they are, they’re just forward or backward in time. The point is they are BORN in a whole different world.
Q: Can it be set in the modern world?
A: Yes, of course. If you want to take the entire cast of Criminal Minds and set them in a modern military environment, that would meet the challenge.
Q: Can I use characters from more than one fandom?
A: Characters, yes. You can use any characters you like, but you get ONE world. If you choose Stargate as your world, you can use characters from anywhere, but Stargate is their new canon universe. This not dimensional travel. And non-Stargate characters have to be the focus. If you’re focused on Stargate characters in a Stargate AU, that is NOT the challenge.
Q: Can I use canon from more than one fandom?
A: No! One fandom to build your world on, or use original world building. That’s it. Minor caveat… if your fandom has multiple shows in the same universe, that’s still one fandom for our purposes. All the Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies and Agents of Shield are ONE fandom for this challenge. If that’s your world, you can then put your Blindspot cast in the Avengers and have Phil Coulson and Agents of Shield be around.
Q: Do I have to build an original world
A: No. You can choose a fandom world to bring your character(s) into. For instance, you could build a new society on another planet for your NCIS Sci-Fi AU, or set it in Star Trek.
Q: Can I use any fandom?
A: Think about the challenge and then answer the question. If you move your characters from the NCIS environment to the FBI, that’s not really meeting the challenge. Technically, it’s in the rules, but why would you write an AU that’s just another procedural crime drama? Bottom line is some fandoms have better world building for using as your backdrop. The point is to learn about world-building, not how-to-write-your-characters-in-almost-the-same-world.
Q: Can I do a fusion?
A: No, there are no fusions allowed in the challenge. You can use any fandom for your new ‘verse but you can’t snag bits of canon/fanon to create a new ‘verse and ignore the origin of the content.
Q: Can I do a Sentinel or His Dark Materials AU?
A: Sentinel – No. We do sentinel fusions every July. Save your elaborate Sentinel stories for when you can use more than one fandom! That said, you CAN take Jim and Blair and put them in a new world (they would, of course, no longer be sentinel and guide).
A2: HDM – His Dark Materials is a fandom. Of course you can set your characters down in that world.
Q: Can I use an existing AU of my own creation that I’ve used in another story?
A: No. Everyone will start on the same foot for this challenge.
Q: Can I write less than 50k?
A: That does not meet the challenge. That said, plot for 50k. If you don’t meet the goal, you didn’t meet the challenge. The sky will not fall. There is no penalty box—that’s for people who sign up, make Keira put in work, and never post a damn thing.
Q: Can I write more than 50k?
A: Yes, but try to plot what you can actually write in the challenge period. Life happens, but plan for a one-month challenge, not an ongoing monster fic.
Q: Can I do two shorter projects to meet the word count goal?
Q: Can I do RPF?
A: No. Real People are not “characters.” This is about fandom characters.
Q: How often do I have to post?
A: At least 2 times per week
Q: When do have to have up my first post?
A: By 11/4/2016
Q.Is there a minimum post length?
A. 1,000 words
Q.Can I start working on them now?
A. No, don’t be a cheater.
Q.Is there a limit to title length?
A. No, but don’t be fucking ridiculous either.
First: Pick the character or characters you want to work with.
Think: As much as this is a world-building challenge, it’s also about character development. Ask yourself some questions: How did this new world shape my character as a child? What were his/her life circumstances like? You have to go back to the beginning to figure out how these new universe rules impact your character and how they would be different, and what would be the same. You may need to go back and think about their whole family line, cultural norms, laws… so much impacts how a character develops.
Figure out what’s core to your character—what would they be in any universe—and then extrapolate how that core personality would evolve in a new world.
Then choose your approach. Read both so you understand the rules.
Approach #1 – The Road Most Traveled
Take your character or characters out of your fandom, it doesn’t exist any longer, and insert them into a different fandom. The second fandom is the only fandom canon that then exists. Ideally, your fandom would be some sort of departure from where you started. There’s not much point in taking the NCIS characters and putting them in the Las Vegas Crime Lab.
Approach #2 – Thinking Outside the Box
Take your character or characters and build an entirely new world for them. It’s 500 years in the future and they’re living on a planet with a military caste. Or they’re space pirates. Something completely different and new that you created.
Note about Crossovers: This is a single-fandom challenge, meaning the universe of no more than one fandom exists BUT you may have characters from other fandoms as long as that fandom universe isn’t mentioned.
Shows that share a universe are exceptions. So, for instance, Marvel Cinematic Universe and Agents of Shield share a canon. So if you’re setting Criminal Minds cast as members of the Avengers, Agents of Shield is on the table as far as canon goes, as well as the rest of the MCU franchise.
Similarly, the NCIS franchise/JAG/Hawaii Five-0 are all the same universe. The CSI franchise shares a universe. The Stargate Franchise shares a universe. And so on.
If you set NCIS characters in Stargate, ALL the Stargate shows are part of your new world, but NONE of the NCIS shows. Clear? But you’re welcome to have Aaron Hotchner be a team leader of another SG team. You can use the characters, not the shows.
A note to the Sherlock Holmes fans. If you’re going to use SH as your new world, you get ONE Sherlock Holmes world. Sherlock, Elementary, RDJr movie-verse, or something else straight from ACD.
Examples of Thematic AUs:
- Alternate Earth
- Future Earth
- This is NOT your fandom set five years in the future. Could be post-apocalyptic, dystopian, Sci-Fi, etc as long as the original fandom canon does not exist.
- Examples, have your characters be elves in LotR, or an original fantasy setting.
- Science Fiction
- Examples would be something like Supernatural characters as Jedi/Sith. Or Lucifer is a Betazoid (stop laughing).
- Example: Your characters are ghost hunters, or perhaps a psychic AU (this could also be considered alternate Earth)
- Example: Your characters are shifters, vampires, witches, zombies, etc.
- You can use your own unique world building or pick an existing fandom that meets the supernatural criteria and insert your characters in it. Example: The NCIS team are a hunter coalition in the Supernatural fandom.
- Example: could be anything from real historical periods, like Victorian, to a historically-based fandom you bring your characters into.
- Unique magical world-building, or bring your characters into an existing magical fandom (again, when you bring Stargate Characters into Harry Potter World Building, there is NO MORE STARGATE)
- Gaming AUs
- Your characters exist in the video game world. A common example would be Halo—Perhaps your Hawaii Five-0 Characters are Spartans
- Example: Blindspot cast is a SEAL team.
- Example: Gibbs is the coach of a football team, Tony is quarterback… etc.
- High School/College
- Your characters set in a college or high school environment.
- Unique superhero world building, or move your Buffy characters into the Avengers universe (in this example, Buffy would NOT be a slayer, because your universe rules are Avengers rules, not Buffy rules).
- Alternate Humans
- X-Men AU, other mutant AU, etc.
A few AU examples:
- Ancient Rome/Ancient Greece
- Dystopian Future
- Space Opera
- This merits special mention. Soulmate AUs are usually written so they don’t change a show’s canon or characters overmuch. This is not the challenge.
Common Fandoms used for AUs (this is not a complete list):
- Harry Potter
- Sentinels are Known
- Though this is a very common AU, there is NO Sentinel AUs for November. Save them for July.
- His Dark Materials
- You would be placing your characters in the HDM world, not using HDM concepts in another fandom. That’s a fusion, and it’s not what this challenge is about.
- LotR/The Hobbit
- Sherlock Holmes
- Star Trek
- Star Wars
- Another one that deserves special mention. Taking Tony and sending him afloat on Atlantis does NOT meet the challenge. If you’re doing NCIS characters set in Stargate, they were always in the Stargate Universe. Perhaps Gibbs is a team lead, and Tony a munitions expert. Kate is an anthropologist and McGee a field medic.
- How would your characters be different raised and educated differently? This is the challenge!
- Mortal Kombat
- Call of Duty
- World of Warcraft
- The Stand
- Marvel Cinematic Universe
- Anime Fandoms
Specific Fandom Examples
- If John and Rodney are in the Supernatual fandom — the stargate doesn’t exist and they kick demon ass.
- If Stiles works for the FBI as a profiler then he might be able to find Beacon Hills on a map if he tried hard but he’d have no idea why he’d want to go there.
*If Sam and Dean are on Atlantis — they’ve never hunted for a demon in their life and their dad is a lawyer (or something) and Castiel is easily the hottest doctor on the whole city as far as Dean is concerned.
- You could take your All-Star Fandom Team ™ and repopulate the entire Atlantis Expedition. Aaron Hotchner is the Expedition Leader, Colonel Derek Morgan is the head of the Military. Dr. House is (still an asshole) and the CMO, and Dr. Reid is the CSO. Garcia is the head of information science and she’s really the boss but no one else knows. Back on Earth, Steve McGarrett is leading SG1 and blowing up shit and making enemies. He’s got this foolishly curious kid on his team named Stiles who keeps getting kidnapped.
Note: If you are inspired by examples above, you may be able to adopt an idea. Leave a comment.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT THE SIGN UP SHEET. A FEW RULES BEFORE YOU ASK QUESTION:
- Read every single bit of this page.
- Do not ask me a question that has already been answered in the FAQ. You’re not special and there are no exceptions.
- Questions should be asked on the forum thread.