Those interested in writing an XMFC/DoFP fic or making XMFC/DoFP art for someone else and receiving some in exchange will sign up from September 28 to October 11. After sign-ups close, the mods will match participants based on their likes and requests and you'll have six weeks to work to fill your recipient's request. The works will then be posted anonymously for everyone to lavish with praise. On December 13th, the creators will be revealed and we'll all pat each other on the back for being super awesome.
Sounds great, right? I certainly think so! If you think so as well, read on for more information!
Sign-ups: September 28 - October 11
Assignments Out: October 18
Assignments Due: November 29
Archive Opens: December 6
Author/Artist Reveals: December 13
Assignments will go out on October 18, after which you'll have six weeks to work a present that fits your recipient's request. Once all assignments are in, we'll start the pinch hits going and posting will be the following week.
Excellent! I want to write a fic! How long does my fic have to be?
Just 1000 words! That's not long at all, right? There's no maximum, so feel free to write a 20,000 word epic if you so desire, as long as you can finish it by the deadline ;D
Can I do art instead of fic?
Yes! The types of art that are allowed are drawings/paintings/illustrations (digital or traditional) and vids. Fanmixes, icons, and manips are not accepted for the main challenge, but are accepted for Secret Mutant Madness. If you have an idea for another sort of art, you can email the mods at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll talk about it.
Wait, you say art is allowed? I don't want to receive art, I only want fic!
Then, I'm sorry, but Secret Mutant isn't for you. The last three years we've had some amazing artists participate and I'm sure the quality will be just as high this year.
What sort of requests are allowed?
Secret Mutant is open to all pairings! You can make four requests total. Three of them can be any pairings you like, but one of them must be gen. This is to ensure you can be matched. If three of your requests are for an obscure pairing only you write, it will be hard to match you with someone and we want to make sure you get an awesome present you enjoy.
You should also feel free to add comics, original trilogy, and other Marvel characters to your prompts, but remember that this is an XMFC trilogy-centric fest and all prompts should center on the characters from those two films :)
We're trying to keep prompts on the short-side, so if you have an epic idea for a crossover AU steampunk time travel fic, this might not be the place for it. Generally, we're asking for three prompts for up to three pairings and one gen prompt, but feel free to request AUs or sad fic or disgustingly happy fic or fic where everyone has wings or whatever floats your boat! We'll do our best to match you with someone who likes writing those things! Remember, though: writers might not be able to write to your specific prompt, though they'll write to your likes even if the specific scenario of the prompt doesn't speak to them.
What does that mean, "XMFC-trilogy"? Didn't Days of Future Past connect all of the movies?
It did, sort of! But the fandom for the first three movies doesn't not entirely overlap with the fandom that sprung up in the wake up XMFC. Many people who are currently in XMFC/DoFP fandom haven't even necessarily seen the first trilogy. It's all very messy and TPTB paid us no favors by convoluting the timeline so much (except, maybe, for erasing X3 from existence), so for the sake of this exchange, we're looking for fanworks that intersect specifically with X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days of Future Past. They can be AU or involve either timeline, but those films should be your starting point.
What if I only want to request one pairing?
Then you can fill out your three shippy requests for the same pairing :) Same goes for gen fic--if you only want gen fic, feel free to request four gen prompts!
Is there a way to get in touch with my gifter/recipient?
Gifters and recipients can't contact each other directly until the fest is over, but feel free to make a "Dear Secret Mutant" post on your LJ/DW/tumblr that outlines what you like and dislike a little more firmly. This is in no way a requirement, mind, but if you'd like to put one out there, we'll put a collection post on the LJ comm/exchange tumblr.
Does my work have to be ~*winter holiday themed?*~
Nope! If you want to request a Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Atheist Kids Get Presents Day themed fic, feel free! If you want a totally not-winter-themed present, go ahead and ask for it. Heck, you could ask for a summer story if you want. Don't feel confined!
By the same token, though, we encourage the following:
1) Try not to make every request themed to the same holiday. Keep in mind that even though you may LOVE the holiday season, you might be matched with someone who does not celebrate the same holidays that you do
2) Please keep in mind the religious diversity of the XMFC characters. While Christmas especially may seem like a secular holiday in some regions, its roots remain in a religion to which not all X-Men characters belong. Erik and Kitty, in particular, are canonically Jewish. You can absolutely write a story with a holiday theme! All we ask is that you be sensitive to this fact as you do it :)
What if I have to drop out after the last day for drop outs?
There's no penalty! If you can't finish your assignment for whatever reason, don't worry about it! Things happen, we understand :) But we'd appreciate it if you let us know as soon as possible so we can get a pinch-hitter lined up for you.
I dropped out last year. Can I still participate this year?
Yes, you can :) We understand that things come up, especially around this time of year, so we're not barring anyone from the challenge based on participation. The more, the merrier!
I'm interested in participating, but I don't have an AO3 account!
That's not a question, but we'll let it slide. I have AO3 invites. If you need one, please comment here with your email address or email email@example.com to request one.
Ooo, my recipient's prompt fits in really well with a work in progress I've already started posting. Can I just write them a new chapter of that?
Sorry, but no. The stories for Secret Mutant need to be new. You can't dedicate your WiP to them or add a chapter to a longer fic to fulfill your end of the exchange.
I have a really good idea based on one of my recipient's prompts, but it's too long to finish in time!
Sorry again, but we ask that you please come up with a truncated version or write something else. All stories submitted for Secret Mutant must be complete. We've had some trouble with that in the past. You can still write your epic idea, but you'll have to do it in your own time. If you submit a story that's not complete, you will be defaulted from the challenge and a pinch-hitter will be found to replace you.
I'm almost done and the deadline is in an hour, but I don't think I can make it! Can I have an extension?
I'm sorry, but this year there will be no extensions. AO3 will automatically default anyone who doesn't have their gift uploaded by 11:59pm EST on November 29th. If your gift truly is only a few hours away from being complete, contact a mod at firstname.lastname@example.org, but chances are we'll still assign a pinch-hitter and your recipient will be lucky enough to get two gifts.
Also, if you really want to finish but feel like you need a few more days, you can always default and upload your complete product to Secret Mutant Madness!
I think I might be able to pinch-hit if there's a need. Can I sign up for that somewhere?
Yes you can! Once sign-ups open, there will be a Pinch-Hitter sign-up! Watch this space :)
This all sounds great! But I have a question you didn't answer!
Feel free to ask in the comments of the LJ comm or to email the mods at email@example.com.
1. Don't be a jerk. The number one rule for all fic fests, I feel. Remember you are making a present for someone else and someone is making one for you, so please be courteous both to your recipient and to your gifter.
2. Building on that, no character bashing, please. For anyone. Don't request it and please don't write it.
3. If you purposely write a story/make a picture that is intended as malicious towards your recipient, you'll be be banned and a pinch-hitter will be called in.
4. Moving away from the jerky rules, fic length is a minimum of 1000 words. Feel free to write more, if you wish!
5. You can request up to four things but one of them MUST be gen.
6. Your story MUST be complete. No works in progress, no prologues to a longer fic, no chapters of a larger story.
7. Gifts must be in by 11:59PM EST on November 29th. Anyone who does not have a gift uploaded by that time will be automatically defaulted and the assignment will be given to a pinch-hitter.
8. The exchange is anonymous, so please don't reveal who you're writing for until it's officially revealed on AO3!
9. Understandably, then, don't post your fic/art elsewhere until after the reveal, at which point you should feel free to post it wherever you'd like!
And that's that! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! Otherwise you can sign-up here!
Click here for a sign-up tutorial if you've never signed up for an AO3 challenge before!
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Click here to sign-up to pinch-hit!
Click here to link to your Dear Secret Mutant letter!