Creative fanworks challenge for The Sentinel fandom

Welcome, and an overview for those new to the Big Bang

Signups have only been open for a few days and I’m thrilled to see so many new people joining our big bang! (Or are some of you former participants with new usernames?)

Welcome, all, and I hope you have fun with the big bang.

I thought I should give you a brief overview for those who haven’t joined Sentinel Big Bang before, as we do things slightly differently from other fandom big bangs.

First, our minimum wordcount for written works is 10,000 words, and that can be made up of a single piece (fiction or non-fiction) or multiple pieces unified by a theme. Most people write fiction and most write a single story, but we do it this way to make the big bang as inclusive as possible, to welcome as many Sentinel writers as want to join in. You can see the kind of projects we’ve had in the past in the challenge archive. 10,000 words can sound like a lot, I know. But we also have a longer writing period than most big bangs, from March through to the beginning of September. 10,000 words is 2,000 words a month. Or 500 words a week. Or 100 words a day with two days off per week. Is that so hard? Who can’t write 100 words a day?

During the writing period, the big bang community (on Livejournal, YahooGroups and our website) is a support community for you, the writer, which you can use or not as suits you. During March, the mods can match you up with a ‘cheerleader’ if you want one. A cheerleader acts as a first reader for your project: she’ll encourage you to keep going, help you out if you get stuck and generally support you while you work. She is not a beta reader, but some cheerleaders will do that, too, if you want.

Once a month during the writing period, the mods post a ‘checkpoint’. The checkpoints tell you how far along you should be if you are aiming to write a steady 2k per month, and are an opportunity for you to share your progress and get help and encouragement from the rest of the community. Checkpoints are completely optional. If you don’t find them useful, you can ignore them. But many of our writers do, and it really is a good way to ask for that little bit of extra help you need.

As we get closer to the deadline, the mods will remind you of the support available, should you need it. After you send in your finished project, in September, the artists get their turn. We will do our best to make sure that every project is matched with an artist, who will create something to accompany or illustrate the project. The artist is expected to keep you informed about the artwork and to show you the finished art, but is not obliged to take your suggestions into account. Some artists like to work closely with writers; others prefer to work without that input – it’s the artist’s choice.

Finally, in November, story posting begins. All big bang stories are posted first by the mods, on the Sentinel Big Bang website. We do it this way to get a sort of ‘house style’ for postings, and we’ll also supply e-reader compatible versions of each project. Both writers and artists, if they meet all of the deadlines, have a chance to approve the final ‘look’ of the project before it goes live. Once each project is posted, and not before, you are free to post your work in all the other places you usually post. We prefer it if you wait until posting is over for all stories, but if you can’t wait, the go-live date for your project is the day you can start cross-posting.

That’s it – the basic overview of how our big bang works. You can find much more information on the Sentinel Big Bang website, and as always, just ask the mods if you have any questions or if you need help at any time.

Welcome again, and enjoy the Sentinel Big Bang!


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