July 2017: Battle of the Five Fandoms


Dates: 7/1/2017-7/31/2017
Challenge: Write as many episodes as you can
Word Count: Each episode should be 5 to 15k (no exceptions)
Sign Up Dates: 6/1/2017-6/15/2017
Project File Due: 6/26/2017

Simply put, your goal is to craft a “television season” from one of the featured fandoms, and tell it in episode format. These episodes should be between five and fifteen thousand words.

Questions to ask yourself:

1. How many episodes will the season be?
2. What is my story goal for the season?
3. Who are my main characters?

The best way to plan episodes is to give each episode a single event. These events played out one after another is the plot for your whole season. If you consider how popular tv shows are put together–you’ll notice that the episodes tend to ramp up toward the mid-season finale then the second half of the season amounts to falling action for the entire arc of the season. This is how you build a “beginning, middle, and end” for your whole season.

I highly recommend that you storyboard, even if you aren’t a plotter, so you’ll know where your events are and what marks you need to hit as you move through your episodes. For me, I focus on a single event (as stated above) then explore the consequences and ramifications of that event in the episode. This allows you to attend to external motivation (plot points) and address character responses/development (internal motivation) as you move from one episode to the other so you can build both your plot and your characters.

Have questions? Feel free to ask (after you’ve read the FAQ)
Frequently Asked Questions (wherein Keira is profoundly blunt about it)

Q. What is an episode?
A. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episode

Q. Can I write a cross over?
A. Yes, but you only get one fandom in your title when you sign up.

Q. What is the minimum word count per episode?
A. 5k and the maximum is 15k (no exceptions)

Q. Is there a character limit on title length?
A. No, but if you’re ridiculous–I’ll talk about you to other people.

Q. Can I work on a series I’ve already started?
A. No, don’t be a dick.

Q. Can I write an AU?
A. I don’t care. You can write AU, Time Travel, Dimensional Travel, Future!Fic, Historical!Fic, Dystopia, Utopia, zombie invasion, etc etc etc.

Q. Can I write scripts instead of a short story format?
A. Sure, it’ll be boring as fuck for the rest of us (and we probably won’t read it) but if you need to work on that skill knock yourself out.

Q. What if one of my episodes is more than 15k and I post it?
A. I’ll think you’re an asshole who has no respect for me. Edit that shit!

Q. How should I post?
A. Each post should contain a completed episode. Do not post half a freaking episode — post the whole damn thing. Netflix doesn’t give you half a freaking episode, does it? DOES IT?

Q. How often should I post?
A. Ideally at least once a week (but not more than once a day). You must post at least once before the 14th of July or I will dismiss you from the challenge.

Q. What if I only post one episode?
A. You’ll be awesome. Congrats on your hard work. This isn’t a contest — it’s a battle but the only person you’re really fighting is you.

Q. What if post 30 episodes?
A. I may question your humanity or alternatively think you started writing around May, just sayin’.

Q. Can we start writing in May?
A. No, don’t be a dick.

Q. Can I write a Sentinel fusion?
A. (heavy sigh) If you must, yes, I guess. I mean, aren’t you bored with that?

Q. Can I start engaging in the challenge in the last week of the month like a total twat?
A. No, because I will have deleted your ass on Day 14 of the challenge if you haven’t posted at least one episode. I mean it and I’m not going to waste my precious, immensely valuable time emailing you about it either.

Q. Why are you so mean?
A. Well, Mike, I never had children so I decided to breed malcontent and fury in my womb.

Q. Are you really magic?
A. Yes, you literally can’t touch this.



  1. Hi Keira, awesome challenge! A quick question, which I hope won’t make your eyes roll out of your head. I’m assuming that writing in the Stargate fandom would include the whole universe, SG1, SGA, SGU, right?

    Best, The Nut. 🙂

  2. Two questions:
    – I know in the FAQ you said we couldn’t work on a series we already have. Is that defined as a work that is already WIP, published or not? Or does it mean we can’t write the season as a sequel to a previous published work of ours? (For an example using your work, if you wanted to write the season as what happens next in the From Green to Blue ‘verse, would that be alright?) Or does it mean no to both?
    – Would writing an AU of a previous work of our own be allowed? Or is that covered under a series that we already worked on? (Example: If you decided to tackle what would have changed if John hadn’t hidden his level for most of his life in Sentinels of Atlantis and he and Rodney met earlier and bonded.)
    I am not suggesting or asking for work in the above examples, I am just using your work as I don’t know how familiar you are with mine and those are the closest examples I could come to what I am thinking of so far. (And if you are familiar, I am thinking of a season as a sequel to Inevitable Fallout for the first question and an AU earlier meeting of Seeing Through Your Soul for the second question.)

  3. Keira, Can I do original fic? Because I was trying to think of a stupid question.

  4. Can you write a crossover using a fandom not of the five, like say, Homestuck?

    • You must include one of the five (or a spin-off of one of the five). You could do a crossover with Homestruck and one of the five, but not just Homestruck with something else. And you’d need to sign up with whatever of the five fandoms met the criteria.

  5. wow ok for once my brain is actually kicking into gear – i’ve been reading nanos/RT for loong time but never had the itch to write – haven’t written anything really in years but this is tempting.

  6. Hi. I’m thinking of maybe doing this. It has been a long time since I’ve written anything but I’m tempted to do it this time. I’ve enjoyed reading past challenges and I do appreciate all of your hard work doing this.

    I was just wanted clarification on whether the writing range is 5 – 15 K or if it stops at 10 K. I’m slightly confused. I’m assuming (but you know the saying about that so here’s my question) it’s 15K since that stated in a couple of places but you also have a written question of “what if my episode is more than 10k and I post it?” and the answer is you’re an asshole and edit it and up above it says to post an episode as complete. Is it a typo and should be 15k or the 15k 10k or am I missing something about how to post since I’ve not participated before? Genuine question. Not trying to be an asshole here now or during the challenge. My anxiety about obeying rules is in effect here.

  7. Hi Keria,
    I’m an avid reader but I have never written more than 5k before. I would like to start doing more writing, would this something you would reccomend I try or do you think it would be to difficult for a first timer? Any advice would be great.

    • Over the next few months, why don’t you try filling the prompts on the Workshop? See how easy or hard it is to hit a specific word count then make a decision about participating in a large public challenge?

      I can’t speak for you personally as I don’t know you so I don’t how you’d handle the pressure and exposure of the challenge of posting your rough draft for the world to see.

      The best way to dip your toes into it would be on the Bigshort Prompts on the Workshop: http://www.roughtrade.org/the-workshop/

  8. Just a quickie. Does this have to be in novel format, or can it be script layout? I’m thinking about signing up for my very first RT challenge after a *long* writing hiatus.

    • I answered this question in the FAQ.

      Though I have to tell you that I would find the idea of producing a 5k script daunting as hell. A 90 minute movie would probably be around 7500 words in total.

      After a long hiatus from writing, I would think several 5k short stories would be a much more…comfortable place to start than a script.

  9. I actually enjoy reading your q & a as almost as much as your stories. Your awesome. It’s a good thing I’m pushing middle age and my personality is already set otherwise I’d probably try and incorporate as much of yours as I could in to mine. It’s a shame Joss Whedon got to me first.

  10. Hey! This may be a stupid question, or an obvious one, but: I signed up for and sort of participated in the Rough Trade Challenge last november (only posted 2 or 3 times). Does the fact I was unable to complete that challenge preclude me from participating in this one? Thank you, DragonFog

    • The only challenge with a pre-requisite was the Mulligan (you had to have a prior RT work to start from). The slate is wiped clean after every challenge and you’re free to sign up for the next one with a new story.

  11. Can I write in one of the worlds without necessarily using the cast of that world (or rather the main cast)? I’m looking at doing a Stargate crossover starting in the past and working forwards so I may or may not use the established characters but would be working firmly in the Stargate sandpit.

  12. Hi, this is my first event I’m writing for and I’ve got kind of random question: so, its one of the five fandom listed above, say NCIS, could I also recast some of the main characters and possible gender-bend them to fit the storyline better that I have plotted out?

    Sorry if you have had this question or a variation of a thousand times already.


  13. Can I write within an existing universe of mine if it doesn’t directly interact with my existing works in that universe? For example, writing a Criminal Minds fic within the same version of a universe in which I’ve written SGA, such as superheroes or Sentinels?

  14. Okay, THis is the first time I”m considering signing up but I’m a bit cautious. Also I’m mentally putting myself in circles, so I thought I’d just ask. One of the fandoms is NCIS but I’ve never seen that one I”m more of a CIS: Miami. Can I use that instead or does it specifically have to be NCIS? Can an OC be a main character? Can my whole cast be OC in that world? (I’m thinking background characters outside view on canon events…)

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