Creative fanworks challenge for The Sentinel fandom

Big Bang Rules


In 2017 we are back to running a single big bang, beginning in March and posting in November.

Taking Part

There are five ways to take part: you can be a writer, an artist, a cheerleader, a beta-reader and, of course, a reader. No reason you can’t be all of these!

Writers can submit up to two projects, or three projects if one or more is co-written with another writer. Artists can claim up to two projects, but we assign projects based on the number of writers we have, so while all artists who submit a claim will be guaranteed one to work with, we don’t guarantee more (but might need some artists to do more than two, if they can).

A Cheerleader acts as a “first reader” for a writer and helps her through the writing process by encouraging and generally being positive. A cheerleader might also be a beta reader, but that job is slightly different. A Beta reader’s job is to be critical: she checks the finished story for mistakes, whether that’s spelling errors or plot holes, and helps the writer to make it better.


Definition of a “project”: A big bang “project” is a written fanwork of at least 10,000 words. It can be a single work or a collection of linked works. It can be fiction, non-fiction or a combination of the two. Fiction projects may have any kind of plot and any (or no) pairing. Gen, het, slash, it doesn’t matter. It just has to be a written Sentinel fanwork.

Each project will be matched with a fan artist who will take the project and produce a creative work to accompany or illustrate the work. “Art” has a similarly broad definition – it can mean traditional fan art but for big bang purposes “art” covers any fan work that is not the written word (and can be posted online). The end result is a fest showcasing the creative talents of Sentinel fandom for everyone to enjoy!

Rules for Writers

You are signing up to write one (1) Sentinel-related written project. You may submit up to two (2) projects – you only need to sign up once unless one of your sign-ups is for a co-written project (please see the FAQ for more information about this).

Your project must be a stand-alone work. If you want to write an addition to an ongoing series or a sequel to something you have already written, it must be possible for a reader to enjoy your Big Bang entry without knowing anything about the previous work. You can use a “Previously on…” style introduction to satisfy this rule if you cannot make the story stand alone.

Your project should be new, written specifically for the big bang. However, you may submit a work you have already started if:

  • Once the Big Bang opens for signups, you may not post any part of the story you will submit.
  • You write at least 7,000 new words and at least double the length of whatever you have previously posted publicly. (In other words, if you’ve already posted 10,000 words of it, you must add at least that much to qualify for the Big Bang. If you’ve already posted 3,000 words or less, you only need to meet the 10,000 minimum to qualify.)

General project rules

  1. Each finished project must be at least 10,000 words. There is no upper limit.
  2. Projects may be gen, het or slash-focussed.
  3. Finished projects must be beta-read. You will be expected to credit your beta in your final submission. If stories are submitted which appear not to have been beta-read (e.g. full of spelling errors or sentences that make no sense), the mods reserve the right to reject such submissions.
  4. Real-Person Fiction is not allowed.
  5. Explicit sex scenes involving under-age characters are not allowed. Under-age for this purpose means under 18. Sexuality involving under age characters (e.g. kissing, fade-to-black) will be accepted, just no porn.
  6. Crossovers are allowed but crossover stories must be at least 50% focussed on Sentinel characters. That is, a “sentinels and guides” story with no characters recognisable from The Sentinel would not be accepted. A crossover without Jim and Blair, but focussed on one or more of the Sentinel supporting characters would be okay.
  7. Writer sign ups will open in March and will close in August.
  8. Final copies of written projects must be submitted in early September and must be in line with the submission guidelines. Extensions to the deadline may be given but must be requested at least a day before the deadline. (Please see the schedule for exact dates.)
  9. Final submissions are final. The mods will not accept corrections or amendments once the final draft has been checked and accepted. This applies even if you submit early or ahead of your extension, so please ensure you are happy with your work before you hit ‘send’. There will be no exceptions to this rule.

Rules for Artists

  1. You are signing up to create at least one piece of artwork to illustrate a Sentinel-related written project.
  2. “Art” for the purpose of the Big Bang means any creative fanwork that can be posted online and is not the written word. In other words, this covers not just pictures but also animations, vids, music, podficcing or any combination of multimedia.
  3. Because this is an international challenge, to protect both the mods and everyone taking part, sexually-explicit artworks featuring characters that appear to be under-age are not allowed. Under-age for this purpose means under 18. If your style of artwork is one that makes characters appear very young e.g. chibis or some anime-styles, please keep your artwork within the “PG” range. Implied sexuality is okay, just no nudity. If your characters look 18 or older, there are no such restrictions on content.
  4. Artist sign ups will open in March and will close on the first day of art claims.
  5. Artist claims will take place in September and assignments will be confirmed at the end of claims week.
  6. Rough drafts of artwork must be submitted two weeks after claims are confirmed and must conform to the submission guidelines. There will be no extensions to this deadline.
  7. Final copies of artworks must be submitted by the deadline date in October and must conform to the submission guidelines. Extensions to the final deadline may be given but must be requested at least a day before the deadline. (Please see the schedule for exact dates.)
  8. Final submissions are final. The mods will not accept corrections or amendments once the final draft has been checked and accepted. This applies even if you submit early or ahead of your extension, so please ensure you are happy with your work before you hit ‘send’. There will be no exceptions to this rule.


Any writer participating in the Big Bang can request the help of a cheerleader, but there’s no obligation to take part in this element of the challenge. If you sign up as a cheerleader, this means:

  1. You’ll be signing up to partner with a writer who has indicated she needs someone to help her stay enthusiastic or help her brainstorm ideas or reassure her that her work-in-progress doesn’t suck.
  2. Cheerleaders are not expected to be beta-readers, that’s a separate role. You can beta, of course, if you and your writer work out a mutual agreement, but your role as a cheerleader is to help keep your writer’s spirits and enthusiasm high while they are working on their project. Sometimes that’s not compatible with being a beta, because Beta Readers should be constructively critical.
  3. Writers who want a cheerleader will comment on the request post. You’ll be able to look over the comments and reply to offer your services as cheerleader.
  4. You may volunteer to cheerlead for more than one project, if you feel that you can provide full attention to more than one!

Additional Rules

  1. There will be “checkpoints” posted in our Livejournal community and Yahoo mailing list which we strongly encourage everyone to join in. Artists and writers will be asked to post about their progress, and everyone else can help encourage them, commiserate with those who need it, share the joy of success and generally get all excited about the fandom-fest to come.
  2. You can sign up as both an artist and a writer, but you cannot create an artwork for your own project.
  3. You can sign up to create up to three projects (within the rules above), however if there are more writers than there are artists, only one project per writer may be accepted for artist claims. If there are more artists than writers, artists will only be able to claim one project to illustrate.