Sapphic Summer – July – September
Theme: Femslash pairing (see main page for more info)
Posting Date: The entire theme period.
- Minimum and maximum word counts are set by your other challenges. If you’re writing for this theme only, please use a 3,000 minimum.
- Any fandom or original fiction (no RPF).
- No limit on the number of stories.
- Only previously unpublished works qualify. (See note in FAQ about limited RT exception)
Note: We reserve the right not to link to a story if you write chan, RPF, or fail to warn properly for common trigger content (rape, murder, domestic violence, major character death, incest, etc).
Q. When do I sign up?
A. There are no signups for this challenge, only a fixed posting period.
Q. Will the themes change from year to year?
A. No, it’s a yearly thematic overlay challenge. You can write for the theme alone or couple it with another challenge.
Q. When can I post?
A. Any time during the posting period listed with each quarterly challenge, though you may have a specific posting date defined by your other challenge. However, it still must be within our quarterly window to qualify to submit your link. (If we’re talking a day or two outside the posting window based on the other challenge parameters, please use the contact form to let us know and see if we can work something out.)
Q. Can I post a work in progress?
A. No. Only completed works will be accepted during the posting period.
Q. Can I use a work already published?
Q. Can I use a work I’ve written for a different challenge if it meets the requirements and posting dates?
A. Yes! In fact, we expect it. This is not a sign-up challenge, it’s more a creativity challenge to push your own limits, and then we’ll have a nice collection of stories at the end. So, carry on and double up. (Triple up, quad up… if you can get five challenges under one story, you’re a master.)
Q. Can I use a Rough Trade project (past, present, or future)?
A. Past project? No, probably not. Not unless it’s just in the immediate past and it’s within the current quarter! In general, Rough Trade might be hard to make work. You need to submit a completed work to this challenge, and it needs to be a new work, even if it’s for another challenge. That’s going to be hard to make work with Rough Trade, but it is possible. For instance, you could write it in April for April RT and the Spring Every Season Challenge, and as long as you finalized the story and posted it somewhere before the end of June, you’d be okay. If you failed to do both in the same 3 month window, it wouldn’t qualify for Every Season.
Q. Can I write more than one story?
A. Yes. As many as you want.
Q. Does it have to be a main character?
A. Yes. (Yes, yes, yes.) Can’t give this answer enough emphasis. Diversity is often done in mainstream media through secondary and tertiary characters. That’s tokenism at its finest. Your main character needs to fit the challenge parameters. If you have more than one main character, for instance, a romantic pairing, then at least one of the two needs to meet the challenge criteria.
Q. Why are the themes confined to a single quarter?
A. To provide structure and discipline for those who need it. But, also, it would be confusing as fuck to have overlapping themes.
Q. Can I post my work before the posting period of each quarter?
A. The list will be the people who posted during the (very broad) 3-month posting window. Works published ahead of that will not count. Again, if your other challenge has you posting on the last day of the prior quarter and your story would qualify for the next quarter theme, get in touch with us so we can at least consider the issue. Do not contact us unless the situation is actually on the horizon. We’re not interested in giving you a blanket, corner-case exception in the event that you might someday run into this obscure situation.
Q. If I have a work in progress that has never been published that fits the theme, can I use that?
A. Absolutely, look at you already owning the hell out of this challenge. However, the rule about it being complete must still be followed. Finish your WIP and post it during the right posting window, and it will count.
Q. Will there be an AO3 collection?
A. Yes. We’ll provide a link to the collection when people begin posting their links to our submission page.
Q. Can I discuss my fics publicly?
A. Do what is comfortable for you. You might find that you don’t want those kinds of expectations from others or whatever. The choice is yours. Also, consider your other challenges. They might have secrecy rules. For instances, QB stories all post in June, which is the Q2 theme for gender and sexuality expressions outside of the binary. If you write a QB story that fits the theme, you’ll implicitly have some secrecy rules on you for a large part of the challenge. Make sure your other challenge rules are met!
Q. Why are you using the term Character of Color for Q4 rather than BIPOC?
A. Keira and Jilly carefully considered terminology used for every aspect of the challenge, and we don’t claim that we got it “right,” but we tried our best to be sensitive to the issues in what is, honestly, an ever-changing lexicon. We remain open to updating the language used for this challenge when needed. In terms of BIPOC, Upon much reading and consideration, we decided that the use of the term BIPOC, when applied to a fiction writing challenge, would inherently be insensitive. So we decided not to do it, and rather use the older term “characters of color.” Our decision was based upon much reading and thought, and this article perhaps best and most clearly explains why we chose not to use the acronym BIPOC in relation to To Every Season. It was a choice made out of an abundance of respect and sensitivity to the topics discussed in the vox article. That said, we certainly encourage every participant’s ongoing self-education and awareness on matters related to gender, sexuality, and racial justice. This, however, is a writing challenge. It’s our job to put forth the challenge with as much sensitivity to the subject matter as possible, and it’s your job to educate yourself and make your choices based on reliable information, not our personal opinions.