Challenge Suggestions

Reply to this post with suggestions regarding future challenges

— pairings, fandoms, tropes etc etc.



  1. Ladyholder McCaffrey

    Fast & Furious, Dom/Brian… Making it work in the face of seemingly having nothing in common.


  2. Trope suggestions: Courtship or courtship rituals, crossover/fusion with His Dark Materials (people have demons). Time Travel,

    Pairing suggestions: Rodney McKay/Tony DiNozzo (I think they’d be great together)

  3. laceandleather

    Supernatural additions to regular series? Like McKay is a vampire or Barton is a werewolf.
    I did enjoy the fandom specific one you ran, so maybe a fusion one like that? Write in fandom A but must be set in fandom B – like writing Avengers in the Discworld universe.

  4. fandom/AU/world swap – take character(s) from fandom A and place them in fandom B for … reasons. magical, rebirth, quest, wormhole, whatever

  5. I find writing short to be such a challenge, that adding very specific prompts/fandoms/pairings on top of it to be kind of brutal, so I’d vote for really broad themes like: Sentinel fusion, supernatural, HDM fusion, soul mates, case file


    fandom genre rather than specific fandom: Crime Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super Hero, Supernatural.

  6. I’m not playing along this time but Soulmark tropes. I mean you can still have gen with that if you want to explore platonic marks. I know we’ve done soulmates and immortal love fusion type things before so that makes it a bit of a repeat but the identifying marks, countdown clocks, timer watch things, threads of fate, names on wrists, first words, marks appearing the first time they touch, that sort of thing is always interesting to see all the different takes people come up with.

  7. Writing Hitsuzen

    “Forgotten” fandoms – the show or cartoon you were obsessed with as a kid or teenager, or that you loved but has very little fanfic available on the internet.

    For themes: unlikely families, crack crossovers, role reversals, post-apocalyptic, behind the scenes (like when the superheros go home, or the moments between the big fights), exotic locations, broken down in the back of beyond, or giving up everything for love/a cause.

    I also think that having a theme of picking a trope that you have never tried before would be a good way to expand skills.

  8. Just had an odd idea… if you decide to do Original fiction… we could look to see if there are any anthologies taking submissions the latter half of the year and see if the theme for them is viable?? Then people who did those challenges would have an avenue to submit them for publication.

    • That’s a good idea. Dreamspinner Press posts 4 calls for submissions a year at minimum. Two have a word count of 5-18k, though 20k has been seen. and two are Anth collections of 3k-12k. And if a story is at least 15k it can be submitted as a standalone novella withought requiring a submission call through their regular submissions. They specialize in gay romance. And their Teen/New Adult imprint, Harmony Ink does anything LGBT oriented.

      A few other indie presses have similar setups I think, but I’m not as familiar with them. Some of them also specialize while others take all comers. We can certainly find out the needed info with a bit of research though. This is just what I know off the top of my head. There’s Samhain, Less Than Three, and a bunch of others out there. And there was a new one that started up about a year ago, which has a decent reputation for treating authors well. That’s another factor to consider.

  9. Right now, all I really have are word prompts:

    War: eg. starting one, stopping one, living one, surviving one, a day in the life of, etc.
    Death eg: Death — person/concept, experiencing it, watching it, etc.
    Love eg: fall in, fall out, experience, a day in the life of having it, losing it, wanting it
    Survival eg., wilderness survival, surviving an attack, surviving a zombie horde, surviving your family
    Loss eg. friends, family, strangers, job, item, whatever
    Fate/Destiny: eg: want it, don’t want it, find it, fail at it, succeed at it, what do you do after?
    Life: eg slice of, construction of, creation myth, etc.
    Myth: eg. use of mythology, creation of mythology, etc.
    Fairy Tale: Which I suppose in its way is a trope, but seriously the creation of a new one is a fucking challenge, also twisted tales or fairy tales told from different POVs.

  10. What about Genderswap – Rule 63???

  11. I’m all in favour of fantasy/supernatural AUs of existing fandoms.
    That would also open it up to a wide range of interpretations, because it could be everything from vampires and werewolfs over soulmates to Harry Potter crossovers

  12. So all the cool ideas I came up with of the top of my head you have already with my fav, Mcshep (yahhh and thank you). Then I was rereading your fic What Might Have Been and figured there was room (if it was ok with you) for a Rodney time alteration challenge. For example what if Rodney was right and Sams idea to save Teal’c would blow up the mountain and he stoped it just in time. That could lead to an investigation of all Sams and the programs short cuts. Sam in Siberia not Rodney. Rodney is now leaft to clean up all the patches and short cuts. Paring could be anyone with Rodney or gen (even if Mcshep is my fave). If this idea is to restrictive than how about just a fan fic time alteration challenge. Then the fic could fix, avoid things in your fave shows, books, movies that really bug you like Danny (Hawaii 5-O) cheating with his ex. I am not a writer by a long shot and am just and am just happy to read all the awesome stuff you guys write.

  13. One more idea modern time Fandom crossover with fairy court (queen mab). Door portals or a parallel demention. For example the Ancients came from a group of exiled fay (powers where bound) and the quest for ascension actually started as a way to get home to there pocket demention (They whent in the worng door lol). Somehow some people from atlantis end up in the fairy dimention and could get their powers back (this may include imortality).

    Or a child is lost from fairy and is put in our world. Rodney whith his temper may be be related to queen mab. Could be fun.

  14. I know I just added a comment but I just realised what else would be fun:

    Instead of giving a common theme set a common point of departure like: (and I am stealing shamelessly from various stories I’ve read)

    Character A, after having been abroad/out of touch for years, returns to where Character B lives

    Character A comes to to meet/rescue/whatever Character B

    Character A is hired by Character B


    with either leaving it in such a vague format or deciding on a fandom/a character/more details

  15. How about a theme “Second chances”?

    You could leave it to authors to decide if someone is getting a chance to actually redo some part of their history (time travel or return to a younger body etc.) or if the life happens to open the door they believed was closed for them (reunion with “the one who got away”, invitation to return to a job/project/etc. they wish they never left….)

    Theme is suitably broad to give authors plenty of space to get creative.

  16. lupinstargazer

    How about unusual crossovers? I once read a fantastic House M.D./Inuyasha crossover, off all things.
    Heck any real life show or movie crossed with an anime would be interesting.

  17. Trope suggestion – someone is keeping a secret

  18. One pairing I would love to see together is Tony DiNozzo/Rodney McKay.

    As for trope suggestions: Fate/Destiny, AU (Rodney never involved with Stargate and ends up working at the NCIS Forensics – can you imagine him and Abby working together??)

  19. Marlislash said something on FB the other day that kind of has me thinking. Why not focus on age? There’s so many fics out there that show love among the younger (young-ish) in fandom, why not shine a light on the older? Either by taking side characters (like Ducky in NCIS or Hammond in SG-1), or by setting the stage in fandoms a little in the future and having the ‘regular crews’ aged up?

  20. Divinity among us – Lady Magic walking about in the form of Luna, Deity moving among the people, Avatars of Divinity – could be something less serious like Gaiman’s Death, or Jesus and the Trickster in Kevin Heards Iron Druid books.

    I love the time travel/second chances trope because it has to be fairly delicately balanced but the crack versions are just as amusing, most of the time.

    For fandoms? Oh let’s play either huge fandoms or rare/small pairings – I love small fandoms like Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Houston Knights, Forever Knight (small-ish, anyways).

  21. As has been remarked, specifying the fandom may be restricting… my ‘range’ of fandoms is limited… I enjoy reading in a number of fandoms that I never would even attempt to write in. And while some of the fandoms mentioned are familiar, I don’t know enough and have to think hard before I would become involved… but I’d just totally opt out of that round and let others enjoy themselves.

    Theme/trope suggestions: a ‘fairy tale’ challenge; pretending to be in a relationship; saving the world; super power; if you were granted one wish

    Always interesting!

  22. I know it sounds odd but I would like to see some crosses or mixes with the Merry Gentry series by Laurelk K Hamilton. Not the actual characters but world she used. Vampaires have the right to vote in the states but still stake on sight in Europe. Hamilton built some pretty amazing worlds. I a lot of people don’t like her books but her world building was pretty amazing and just about any fandom could work in those worlds.

  23. I think it would be cool to pick existing worlds that have been built and find a way to put pairing or fandom in it.

  24. Oh. Hmm. Add the Cthulhu Mythos to *anything*. Seriously. It really should be the little black dress of crossovers.

    (I’d love to see a Cthulhu/My little pony crossover, problem is I don’t watch MLP and never did)

  25. I love the idea of Small Fandoms, Rare Pairings, or Unexpected Crossovers. They give the writers room to get creative, and the explore things that aren’t seen very often in Fanfic.

  26. What about a series of ‘what if’s’ – like…. what if Sirius revealed himself to Harry the night that Harry blew up his aunt, before the Knight Bus came along and took Harry with him into safety, somewhere out of England?

    OR….. What if Harry, right after the first potions lesson, his first year, had gone to Snape and apologized for whatever it was that he had done to make Snape dislike him & that caused Snape to completely re-think his attitude towards the boy?

    OR….. What if Dumbledore had ACTUALLY trained Harry in magic, like an apprentice, through all six years that he and Harry were together @ Hogwarts? My preference for pairings is ALWAYS Harry/Hermione, but I could see Harry/Luna or even Harry / Alicia

  27. I’m a reader that has enjoyed a lot of the stories that has come out of RT.
    Recently I’ve been re-listening to your story craft podfics. I find the subject very interesting and would love to write (but know my severe limitations with the craft).
    How about story craft challenges.
    – like taking a small previously written blerb/scene (previously posted or not) and expand it into a full short story.
    – taking a stalled story and working on it again, but from another prespective/narrative – short story or scene.
    – Previous work/idea and change the viewpoint (1st to 3rd person, narrator to 1st person, etc) or main character.
    – take a character and change them (gender, sexuality, etc) and how it effects the story.

    and maybe a crossover challenge- how would characters react if placed in the reality/world of another fandom.

  28. How about re-doing a fairy tale or fable of some sort with fandom characters? Hansel and Gretel in the Stargate universe. The little Mermaid at Hogwarts. The Six Swans in a CSI world ( Red Riding Hood in Criminal Minds. Lots of options and can be as literal or as supernatural as the author chooses.

  29. Karasuma Akane

    My only suggestion would be for everyone to try magical realism (like the Sherlock/Holmes fic called “Left”). I read that a while ago and my brain has been itching to read it again. Hmm… though I don’t think magical realism can be done in 10-20k. :\

  30. Two upstanding moral people meet, fall in love with each other but … they are both in serious relationships (or even married). What do they do?

    I don’t mean this in the sense of partner betrayal or the like. Rather quite the contrary. How do they face the revelation of their changed emotions? How do they react towards their partners and their newly found beloved? And yes, I do love a happy end …

  31. I’d really like to see a female empowerment theme. Maybe with “Mary Sues” *cough* OFCs *cough* or just highlighting canon female characters.

  32. I read a series by Tarlan,, that took SGA and fused it with a recency type romance. So perhaps some recency or harlequin type theme with whatever fandom or pairing the author wants.

  33. twisted sister

    A couple of thoughts. Fandom. Torchwood esp with lots of Jack/Ianto, kick ass Tosh and Gwen bashing.
    Fix its

    Sex rituals or magic

    Aliens made them do it


    Were or Shape shifters

    This maybe a toughie but taking a character you don’t like and trying to find a way to redeem themselves.

    Lastly a round robin. Maybe starting with a base fandom and writers crossing over as they see fit. Somehow in one of them I wound up with a NCIS Gibbs with Rafe from the Sentinel.

  34. Wasn’t there a discussion on Keira Radio about the July Challenge being the Fifty Deaths of Dorian Grey? The Fifty Times that Dorian Grey Died and the One… Wait he died in all Fifty.

    Me I have mine more than half way plotted, using a favorite pairing.

    I mean it’s not like John Sheppard couldn’t take the piece of garbage down, I’m sure Rodney would help him plan OR Rodney could plan for a piece of equipment to blow up or a helicopter/plane/car. Cadman would help.

    Jack and Daniel well they have access to Asgard beaming technology the possibilities… Stargates, spacegates, black holes.

    Kirk would just walk up and phase him ‘oh was that set to kill’ and ‘beam me up Scotty’
    Spock could make him believe he’s a grub crawling on the ground.

    Harry and Hermoine could lock him in a room with Umbridge and the Weasel… that would not be pretty. Let alone use magic on him.

    Gibbs he’s a Marine sniper

    And then there are the Avengers Ironman/Captain American, Thor! Oh The Hulk!

    Endless possibilities. Endless fandoms.

  35. Another theme that might be interesting is fairy tales.

  36. How about a fanfic inspired by a song or album.

  37. Personally I could never get enough Soulmates, we could hit that well like three more times and I would be good with it.

    Fate marks would be fun. We talked about it on FarmBunnies, I think. Not soulmate fate marks but like life even fate marks and what that would mean.

    Suggestion 3, minionified Highlander fusions. Like take randomly selected character A (Jack O’Neill, John Sheppard or Kennex, Stiles, Rodney McKay, whoever) and make them a highlander-type immortal. How does THAT change the story? Bonus option Character B is a pre-Immortal Character A has to teach The Game.

    • Oh, yes, I think Highlander was the Little Black Dress of fandom before The Sentinel was. I used to love Highlander/Buffy (well, technically, I loved Immortal Xander).

  38. Ooh! Take a character with the same first name, put them in the spot of another character with that name and see what happens. Jack Harkness for Jack O’Neill, John Sheppard for John Kennex.

    Let’s go ahead and add the option to substitute people from their original verse into established roles in their new verse. So for example, taking John Sheppard as John Kennex, Ronon would fill in for Dorian, Rodney McKay for Valarie Stahl, Weir could be Maldonado, Teyla as Anna, and Bates as Richard Paul.

  39. I could see Gibbs and team in the Anita Blake verse as cops. That could give you your supernatural cross with the non supernatural or maybe the Southern Vampire series by Charlene Harris.

  40. What about a world building challenge for the writers? So they can try something new or different. You could use one common theme for it like the sky is purple or something like that. Then as a second part of the challenge you have be able to fit your pairing or fandom in that world but in a realistic way.

  41. I have really enjoyed a couple of stories in past challenges where a story was told from one perspective and then retold from another. It’s got me wondering what the talented writers that explore their craft here would make of taking a very short story or even just a scene and rewrting it from the perspective of every character participating within it, even if that participation is of observer, the narrator or neutral scene setting being optional.
    Would the reader be left with a complete story just from the way each charater’s voice is told?
    Would the reader be left with a greater understanding or appreciation of problems facing investigators etc when trying to piece together an incident, or just how different people with their different hang-ups and life experiances preceive the samething and how it affects them.
    I’m not a writer, so I don’t know if this idea is even feasible. I did wonder though if a writer had an unfinished story that they where having trouble with (or even just an idea they’re not sure how to develope), if just taking one scene and playing with it in this way, would it help or am I just showing my ignorance?

    • I don’t think you’re ‘showing your ignorance’ at all, actually. That’s a trick I’ve used before when I’ve been stuck in a story and it can help (doesn’t always, but sometimes). And doing it definitely can be a challenge, so… ;-)

  42. There’s always the mistaken identity/undercover/character in disguise trope.

    • Seconded! Maybe for a future challenge? Because I really like that trope.

      There’s also a version in superhero fandoms called ‘cape porn’ or ‘identity porn’ which is the spandex version of Cinderella, with two people plus their secret identities having multiple complicated love triangles. Lots of fun to play with. :)

  43. How about in Criminal Minds, NCIS, Bones, Hawii 5-0 or CSI you take a main character and make them the bad guy.

    Example: in Criminal Minds Hotch or Reid has a psychotic break and becomes the Unsub and the team has to try to stop him, but being one of the best profilers they have a hard time and Hotch or Reid keep taunting them.

    NCIS, its Gibbs or Tony

    Bones, Seeley or Sweets (could be and AU or earlier season)

    Hawaii 5-0 Danny or McGarret

    CSI, Grissom or Nick.

  44. Coffee Shop AU
    Mythical Creatures AU (centaurs, dryad/nymph, dragons, etc.)
    Alternate Meeting AU (literally ran into you at a mall, fender bender, etc.)

  45. Redemption or Annihilation: Redeem a villain or make a hero a villain.
    End of the world and post apocalypse: Zombies, aliens, plagues, oh my!
    Time Loops: “You’re going to do this til you get it right.” -Fate

  46. 1. Death of a major character; sometimes I just like to be moved to tears when reading.

    2. His dark Materials fusion – I find the concept of daemons fascinating

    3. HP with Father/Son Themes – fiction where Harry is adopted/mentored/guided by an adult

    4. Oh, and I second the were and/or shifter fics…

  47. greywolfthewanderer

    my favourite trope is After The Apocalypse… it’s another one that can go into almost any universe. maybe for a future challenge?

    looking forward to reading the current ones!!

  48. How about conversations? Have a mini challenge that focus’s on dialogue or inner musings of a character. You could choose three fandoms and over a week post three one shots. Might be a tad too short though.

  49. For future challenges, what about an Outsider or Supporting Cast POV challenge?

    For example: A set up with a visiting alien, like ‘Mork’ or ‘Earth Girls Are Easy’. Or the CSI or NCIS teams from the perspective of one of the guest stars. Or Kirk/Spock as seen by the Enterprise crew. Or a main character and their shenanigans, as seen by their sibling or parent.. John Watson’s Afghanistan tour from the messages he sent back to his family in England. That sort of thing.

  50. slade/oliver from arrow or
    oliver actually a merlyn not his sister

  51. I would dearly love to see what would happen if Highlander was the LBD.

  52. OK, I’m trying to concentrate on what would best serve to help the writers to hone their craft, rather than what I want to read, which is not the point of the site (much as we all benefit).

    So, things that might help someone stretch as a writer:

    1) As mentioned above, outsider POV.
    2) Actually, first-person POV of anyone – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that here.
    3) Epistolary format, mail or email – I actually hate to read these, but it’s definitely a different way of thinking/writing.
    4) Combine 2 & 3 – diary format.
    5) Mystery. Most fics here could best be described as either romance or action – mystery would be a departure.
    6) Same story, 2 viewpoints.
    7) Dialog only – no non-dialog text longer than “he said/she answered”.

    More plot-based suggestions:
    a) genderswap (as in, someone changes gender during the story, not “they’ve always been the other gender”)
    b) new acquired disability – coping with (blind, deaf, amputation, paralyzed, etc.)
    c) someone turns invisible
    d) someone is unexpectedly resurrected
    e) time travel
    f) Groundhog Day
    g) bodyswap

    And, as one request purely for myself, I also (like RavynOwl above) would love to see Highlander fusion fic.

  53. Ok, I know that this has been used alot in the past. But it hasn’t been used recently.

    What about the Halloween episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer where everyone becomes their Halloween costumes. That opens alot of crossover potential.

  54. Oh, I thought of another one! An unreliable narrator! That could give rise to all kinds of plot devices and other things – possession, influence of alien substances, mental illness, magical influence… It might end up with a lot of outsider POV, too.

  55. I’m going to go with one semi-outside the box and one way outside the box/comfort zone of most writers.

    First one is age oriented. Younger/Older. Have some kind of serious age gap between the pairing *shrugs* It doesn’t have to be necessarily romantic, but that can work as well .

    The second is the ‘darker side’ idea. We’ve all seen fics where the bad guys loose. It’s almost a common thread no matter what the fandom. What if they don’t loose? What if instead of the good guy winning, even if he/she/they are dealt a harsh hand, they instead don’t win out in the end? What if the ‘villain’ wins the day and takes over, or captures the hero and… any number of possible dark endings *shrugs* I’ve had a few fics go that way, sometimes the mind has some truly dark corners and we need to venture there or to relief stress in a ‘safe’ way by doing something like that?

  56. Major character injury/disability?

    What if one of the main characters is blind/deaf/missing a limb/has a debilitating mental illness/etc?
    How would that change their lives/perspectives/etc?

  57. A Looking Glass AU challenge.

    Take the concept of a show or book and reverse it.

    Example: X-files: Mulder is actually an alien, using his cover in the FBI to hide evidence of an alien invasion.

    SPN: Mary lived instead of John

    Harry Potter: Dumbledor is a dark wizard manipulating everyone into thinking that Tom Riddle is the true threat. When he is simply Albus’ puppet.

  58. A challenge where the story must begin and end with the same sentence. Either one provided or one that the author chose….

  59. How ’bout betrayal and thrown in prison and coming out completely badass and seriously angsty

  60. If there’s another round where the authors write three smaller stories, we could do different types of AUs. Like, complete AUs (coffeeshop, spies, etc), partial AUs (everything is the same EXCEPT character A has special abilities, or there are vampires, whatever. A lot of tropes like soulmates or werewolves would probably fit in here), canon divergence (character A did/didn’t do something that changed the course of events of the story somehow), or any sort of other AU. I can’t think of any more right now, but I’m sure there are plenty. Additionally, these categories could easily work for a full 50k fic as well.

    I know it’s hard for me to write for extremely specific prompts, so this could be a good way to give authors a lot of different options. I haven’t participated as an author yet, but I’m planning on starting this next round! Thanks to everyone for creating such a great community.

  61. Other pairings – specifically from two different universes/fandoms/shows/movies/etc.

    Psychic powers (along the lines of Kay Hooper’s novels): unlimited possibilities of powers, though not everyone has them. Anything from clairvoyance, premonitions, empathy, dreamwalking, etc.

  62. Maybe in the future do a crossover with Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey – I think a lot of shows/movies/stories could work with this really well.

  63. Returning: The main character has left for ** reason, comes back with their head clear and a new perspective.

  64. Thought the looking glass – Alice in Wonderland. Characters out of their depths because the circumstances are so different than what there used to either literally ( world change) or due to people around them (craziness of others)

  65. How about a plot subversion? A hero shown from a point of view where they are basically seen as a villain (or at least antihero) or an antagonist is seen as a protagonist while the events are as close to canon as possible.
    For example Robin Hood who is a hero would be a villain to a guardsman who is trying to support his family and whose friends were killed by the archer.

  66. Crossover of your favorite fandom into a HP AU. Voldemort’s war has exposed the magical world to all Muggles. Reactions. Finding out a team member is magical. Example: NCIS Dealing with the government and military’s reactions the team learns Gibbs is a wizard (how often does he apparate behind Tony?). Who would help, hinder, etc. Does not have to include the HP characters other than as a mention of that war. Criminal Minds…how many unsubs might have been wizards?

  67. Bodyswap fic, works in many different ransoms and is fun for exploring different character perspectives.

  68. I like to play muse from time to time, so:

    Addams Family Fusion, possibly LBD
    Magnificent Bastard Trope, ’cause they’re awesome

    And always add in the snarky banter please, I adore it.

  69. I made this suggestion over on RT Facebook but I should have put it here:

    Transposing fandoms – a character from one fandom goes into another e.g. Winchesters (Supernatural) become BAU agents (Criminal Minds), Hotch & Reid (Criminal Minds) go to Atlantis etc

    I’ve had a quick look through this list and I’ve found that Rowaine on 8th May 2015 made the same suggestion and I said it was a great idea!

    I still think it’s a great idea!


  70. How about the characters living in a different time. I know there is a great universe where the Magnificent 7 are modern day ATF agents and one NCIS one where Gibbs is a Roman Centurian. How about the Sentinnel set in the Wild West or the Criminal Minds team at Scotland Yard investigating Jack the Ripper?

  71. I have always enjoyed the “family of choice ” concept. The theme wouldn’t make an entire story (unless the author was trying for a Lifetime movie (probably a tear jerker,) ) but a sub plot involving adopted family could be wonderful.

  72. I’ve always been excited to read a really good crossover fiction that brings two fandoms together almost perfectly.
    Supernatural/Criminal Minds, Harry Potter/Adams Family, NCIS/Hawaii 5-0 are just some examples. Storylines that could be feasible for wither show/book depending on the characters point of view.

  73. Always like seeing Hermione from Harry Potter take the starring role, and thought that her dormmates never get any character building. So instead of the men having all the fun, why not the girls shine along with some girl-on-girl romance…? After all, whats more challenging then giving Lavender Brown a developed personality

  74. How about a long lost realitive challenge. Original Charecter or crossover enters the work as some sort of family connection to the main charecter.

  75. Sentinels from outer space.

    An fandom or fandoms crossover in an S&G universe where Earth produces a significantly larger amount of Guides than Sentinels. With a basic plot line of there being other human or human like civilization(s) out there amongst the stars with the opposite situation who then discover earth.

    Hope the idea doesn’t sound too corny =)

  76. How about a crossover with SGA. I’m sure most fandoms have characters that have a skill that would be useful in Atlantis.

  77. One of the previous posters pointed out that Rough Trade is supposed to train the authors’ skills, not simply give the fans a bit of sugar, so:

    I think it would be a real challenge for an author to have to balance out a super powered character – or OC. A real game-breaker type individual, like an angel, or major witch, world leader, or a dragon. I don’t know how an author could make the story interesting, without having Superman fix the problem with one flex of his mighty thews. (I wonder what thews are.)

  78. What about a Steampunk AU. It could be adapted to different fandom and also fused with other AU.

  79. Another one occurred to me – historical. Either a historical AU, or time travel to a very different historical period (i.e., not your own lifetime or your parents). That should be sufficiently flexible to allow people to do all kinds of things.

  80. Nimue of the North

    These last few days I’ve been thinking along the lines of: a crossover between one fandom that has no real contradiction to our normal reality and one heavily built around SciFi or fantasy elements (can but doesn’t have to include a time difference between the fandoms). I think the different choices of fandoms and approaches would be really interesting, as there are various ways to balance and facilitate such a crossover. To provide a true challenge, this could likely be combined with other suggestions.

  81. Here’s a thought for a challenge that hasn’t been brought up.

    Forbidden Love.

    Maybe a priest of one god falls in love with a follower of his god’s eternal enemy. A king falling for an assassin. Or even one of the Avengers falls for someone in HYDRA.

    I’m just pulling examples out of thin air but you get the general idea.

  82. I was rewatching Versailles and i had an idea, a all royaulties AU.
    Imagine if Prince Sheppard is the leader of Atlantis.
    Or Tony Stark being a Lord, Gibbs being the King of the Colombia district and marry the Prince of Baltimore Tony Dinozzo etc…
    I don’t mean a dyspotian society, i mean a kingdom like Monaco where the princes, princesses work too.

  83. Just a suggestion: The Main Character left (because they’re fed up, pissed off, had enough, kidnapped, went for an interdimensional stroll … for whatever reason). And the challenge story is their return, and how the cannon characters/story arc unfolds because of his/her dissapearance and the reaction to his/her return. :)

  84. Here’s a second suggestion (Ladies & Gentlemen please don’t throw things at me ‘cos I like smut too) What if the Main Protagonist is Asexual? eg.

    1. NCIS: Tony Dinozzo
    All the alphabet soup agencies know that Tony is the best at undercover work, however, no one know’s that the “Ladies Man” pick up any girl he wants, is just another cover, a mask, learned behaviour.

    2. Harry Potter: Harry Potter
    Molly’s trying to prostitute her daughter for his money & titles; Dumbledore is trying to sell him via Marriage Contracts, Sirius just wants to get him Laid. Harry just wants to be left alone…

    3. SG1: Jack O’Neil
    Sam looks at him with doe eyes, Daniel makes “Helpful” suggestions, Teal’c is well T’ealc. The thing is Jack would die for any of his team mates, he just doesn’t want to sleep with them.

  85. Challenge Suggestion: Transformation

    It is very broad. It can refer to:

    – physical change (getting wings, becoming a creature, getting pregnant, puberty, gender change, etc)

    – mental change (overcoming depression, breaking a mind block, repressed memories, telepathy, understanding life, etc)

    – lifestyle change (leaving school, becoming a parent, new relationship, new job, coming out, etc)

    – and more

  86. Challenge Suggestion: Transformation

    It is very broad. It can refer to:

    – physical change (getting wings, becoming a creature, getting pregnant, puberty, gender change, etc)

    – mental change (overcoming depression, getting telepathy, repressed memories, understanding of life, etc)

    – life change (getting married, having a family, getting a new job, leaving school, coming out, etc)

    – and lots of others

  87. keepcalmloveseverus

    I’m a fan of a recent trope that’s evolved from tumblr, where soul mates have their partner’s first words somewhere on their skin. It can lead to some embarrassment or family expectations that make for interesting stories!

  88. Nimue of the North

    Okay, not sure if something like this has been mentioned before but it’s been bouncing around my head:

    Clash of cultures with a personal relationship caught in the middle – anything from two real cultures over crossovers with noticable differences to individual AUs like Xanthe did in “General and Doctor Sheppard”. The personal relationship wouldn’t have to be romantic but could be about things like family dynamics or oath-based connections or whatever.

    Second mind bouncing ball:

    Convenience – some decision or arrangement is based on convenience rather than conviction or emotion and how do thinge develop from there.

  89. How about a ‘Scapegoat or Red Herring’ challenge.

    Can be a domestic issue, being accused of cheating in a relationship. Being framed for a crime. A fluff piece about being accused of stealing the last cookie.


    The protagonist is determined to reveal the truth.

  90. I like challenges where it’s an abstract picture, a line of poetry, or a broad idea.


    Something like:

    “I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas”




    One of Ursala Abresch’s works like this one:


    So something evocative but allowing for any fandom / pairing / story.


    OR an even more broad challenge like “The Muse Challenge. In your project file include the song, picture, poem, or artwork that you used as an inspiration for your story.”

  91. Challenge Sugesstion: Kill Your Darlings

    As Stephen King once said – “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

    The challenge basically is to write your main character either having a great time or the worst time but the story must end with their death i feel this would be a great challenge as i have never seen the main character of a fanfic actually die and be gone forever

  92. Challenge Suggestion : “Building With Worn Out Tools”


    The theme is that your main character or pairing are at the end of their rope and yet they still pick themselves up to continue on :Be it fighting the good fight against war, dark lords, government officials, meddling mothers or just doing the work necessary to keep a relationship going. ETC

    The point is that even  though the character can be bone weary of a situation or life itself they still continue on. A perseverance through hardship. I think a challenge of writing a person in a difficult situation can help bring focus on character development and ensuring that they are fully fleshed out.

    This suggestion was inspired by two lyrics from the band ‘Brand New’ from their song “Sowing Season”

    Is it in you now
    To watch the things you gave your life to broken
    Stoop and build them up with worn out tools?

    And take all that you have
    And turn it into something you were missing
    Somebody threw that brick and shattered all your plans

  93. Challenge Suggestion: Triangles


    The writers could interpret this a number of ways:


    == One character is being courted by two and has to choose one — classic romantic triangle

    == Three characters all getting together in a polyamorous triad

    == A character (or a romantic pairing) dealing with an external plotline that forces them to make a decision between two options/solutions/etc.

    == A timetravel fic, similar to several done this month, where the character(s) have lived through one branch which turned out badly, and travelled back in time to try a different branch

    == The character(s) have to answer to two (or three — however you want to look at your triangle) authorities and try to keep them both happy, balance their actions, etc.

    == The character(s) have to try to achieve two (or three) goals at once.


    Basically however the writers choose to interpret it. It brings up some interesting situations, while allowing for a lot of latitude and creativity.

  94. Apocalypse, Romance in the midst of.


    You choose the nature of disaster, but it must be a serious disruption of the world we know.  Either a previous established relationship or not.

    This would be a good excuse for multiple fandoms.  Or multiple fandoms could be against the rules.

  95. Time travel

    Psychic powers

    Hidden talents 

    Secret identity/ super hero

    Ground Hog Day scenario

    Disability – a main character has a disability. Blind deaf paralysed autistic TBI PTSD mute dyslexia epilepsy etc. The effect Ableism has and how they over come it. Essentially kicking prejudice’s ass

  96. Nimue of the North

    Content idea: Anticipation  for something good, something bad, omens, prophecies, the anticipated thing coming to pass or not, moving on afterwards… Lots of ways to twist that.

    structural idea: Original Character – write a fanfic (crossovers, fusion etc included, just at least one recognisable fandom) but your main character must be an original. So many of you create wonderful original characters for your fan fics but they kind of naturally end up playing second fiddle, I’d like to see them shine.

  97. Wow. Started just browsing but WOW!

    Unusual pairing – look at how different pairing etc forces character to evolve/respond differently from canon

    Further to suggestion from above re Laurell K Hamilton world, what about urban fantasy i.e. the Charles de Lint type, where things are just a little bit ‘other’.

  98. -Groundhog Day

    -Switched genders. Authors must write a fic where the main character(s) has always been then opposite gender and how it has affected her/his life compared to canon. How would Tony Stark’s life be different if he had been a girl? What about Hermione Granger? What would she be like if she had been born as a boy?


    -Asexual, bisexual, lesbian, pansexual etc. main character or love interest and the exploration what that means for them or their partner. It’s a bit different nowadays, but writers often tend to write their characters either as straight, gay or straight until they fall for the One who is opposite gender. And that’s absolutely fine, but this could be a great way for the authors to really try to get an understanding of other sexualities and how to write them.

    -A superhero and/or anti-hero challenge. (Enough said!)


  99. CHALLENGE TYPE: Relationships


    There are many different kinds of relationship, not just romantic or sexual! I propose either a challenge to write a story focusing on  how a relationship can change and grow over time, for example from friends to lovers, or from lovers to parents of a child, or ANY change from one sort of relationship to another. EXAMPLE: Harry and Draco, from school rivals to friendly enemies to friends=with-benefits to romantic.


    Alternatively, this could also be a challenge for multiple shorter, connected stories; to write a set of two or three stories on different stages of relationships, or different generations focusing on a different kind of relationship each. EXAMPLE A: Story 1, Harry and Ron, early Hogwarts, as friends; Story 2, Goblet of Fire, Harry crushing on Cedric; Story 3, after Hogwarts, Harry dating Draco. EXAMPLE B: Story 1,  James and Lilly, dating; Story 2, Harry and Ginny, married; Story three, focusing on James, Al, and Lilly + Harry & Ginny secondary, parents and children.

  100. “Going native”


    How things change when a main charakter “goes native” . Like John(SGA) marry Teyla /or has a child with her. Or maybe mpreg with Ronon or Hallings child. How react everyone to this what are the consequeses?

  101. twisted sister

    This is crack but had to throw it in. Rodney McKay touches an artifact that makes him travel various fan universes in order berate the idiots there.

  102. Involvement of “deity”, whether it be interference, advice, actual faith or parental unit(s).  Pantheon of your choice, of course.

  103. What about a character story change ? I loved when Jilly mixed NCIS with the Avengers and basically took him from one world where he wasn’t treated well and put him in one where he would be and he got a hot boyfriend out of the deal. This so needs to happen to Stiles in Teen Wolf.

  104. Nimue of the North

    Not sure this is feasible but it’s been rattling around my brain so here it goes:

    The Path Also Taken

    Write a story up to a point of decision, either one your character makes or one that inflicts them considerably. The decision should arise from the plot, don’t just randomly have someone move abroad or not. Both options should appear equally possible at that point (or equally impossible if you like things more angsty).

    Then write both plots that grow out of the two options. Both have to differ from the strict canon (obviously, at least throw in a pairing or something) but they might end in the same/a similar place.

  105. MIRROR, MIRROR” Take a page from Star Trek, with or without the character crossover.

  106. Write a story devoid of sex scenes. There can be romance, but the focus must be on the plot not the relationship.

  107. Phoenix_rising

    Everyone seems to love the character of Tony DiNozzo, so how about a Little Black Dress challenge with Tony being the dress?  Any fandom, any situation, as long as Tony DiNozzo is the main character in the story.

    For example:  fandom: Supernatural.  A shape shifter takes on Tony’s appearance, doing several very visible crimes with Tony being blamed.  His only hope is the infamous Winchester brothers.  Cue romance between Tony and Sam.

  108. Write a story where the goal is to redeem a character that you generally detest.



  109. What about a post apocalypse challenge. Any kind of post apocalypse that you are comfortable with and rebuild a little piece of the world with your choice of pairing and fandom. I would personally like to see what Harry Potter or Jack O’Neill would do. No time travel, soul sending, or messages into the past. It would be straight up post apocalypse and the survivors of it.

  110. I may have to browse here the next time I need a plot idea!

    Okay, I’m all about characters and their interactions so… 1st) focus on a single character with changed circumstances. female instead of male (or the reverse), different race/ethnicity/religion, different sexual orientation; born blind/deaf etc. Basically, there are a lot of primary characters who are in privileged positions (oh look, another straight white male as a lead character! Let’s give him daddy issues!) so, how would they be changed in if they had seen different circumstances.

    2) Focus/emphasis on the reality of being gay/bisexual/pansexual/trans/asexual. We love our slash here, and there is often a mention or a moment of acknowledgement of the difficulty people face — like a bisexual Tony DiNozzo who says nothing because being a gay cop is dangerous. There are stories out there about extreme circumstances, like gay bashing and hate crimes — which are certainly a reality — but what about the day-to-day? The small moments of bigotry, the quiet acceptance, rejection by relatives and finding allies and your own community.

  111. How about Rebellion as a theme? The characters can rebel against a government, a society, a culture, a norm, their families, ect.

    Or a Fairy Tale fusion? Take characters from a fandom, or create your own, and add fairy tale elements, like magic, fairies, elves, mermaids, dragons, ect.

  112. I have two different suggestions for challenge ideas:


    1. Identifying Tattoos – I read a Kirk/Bones story where everyone was born with their own unique tattoo on their ankle and when you fell in love the other persons tattoo would show up on your body somewhere. Even after the relationship ended and you no longer loved that person the tattoo stayed. If you loved someone their tattoo would show up on you but if they didn’t love you then your tattoo wouldn’t show up on them. A person could have many other tattoos on them, a few tattoos or no tattoos.


    2. Time travel / younger self – a person or persons goes back in time to their younger body with all their memories of the future.

  113. Okay, I got this idea from the newspaper comics:

    Why not write it like Snoopy?  A few months ago, Peanuts re-ran the short series where “World Famous Novelist” Snoopy writes his first novel, and they listed a section in each strip for a week.  I thought they’d make great chapter headers for just about any fandom or trope, so—Write it like Snoopy!!  Here are the sections:

    It was a dark and stormy night.

    Suddenly a shot rang out!

    A maid screamed.

    A door slammed.

    Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon.

    As he touched her hand, she sighed…

    And they lived happily ever after.

    There ya go–seven “chapters” that anyone can play with.  Anyway, I thought it would be cute.

  114. Everyone is born with a blue bonding mark (not soulmate), this mark at anytime in your life can randomly turn red, once it is red you have 24hrs – 1 month (you pick) to place your mark on another persons mark (you bond for life and can’t be separated) or die.


    Thought it would be interesting (eg. the amount of trouble dinozzo or mckay or sandberg or potter gets into and/or kidnapped etc)

  115. Take a hero and turn him or her into an anti-hero or straight up villain.

    Paranormal or Fantasy AU (take any NON Fantasy/Paranormal fandom and re-imagine it).


  116. Sentinel/Guide as music artists

    Writing songs or singing in perfect harmony because of their bond

    Professional career skyrocketing to success whilst their emotional bond going downhill

    Wondering whether or not going seperate ways in their professional career or else

    Song fiction?

  117. Second suggestion:

    Crossover the villain

    Choose villain(s) from one fandom and cross him/her/they over to another fandom.

    It might be by only crossover the villain, the character and use him instead in an already existing plot in the new fandom (example instead of The reaper attacking Hotchner in Criminal Minds, it could be Red John from The Mentalist who do it)
    It might be by using the plot already involving the villain and cross it over the new fandom (example instead of NCIS who was set about catching The Port-to-Port killer, it could have been the Criminal Minds profilers).

  118. In her Radio Shows Keira has said a few times that she writes character driven fic.
    I find my stories tend to be plot driven.

    How about having to write the opposite of what you usually write – Plot or Character? Or have two challenges within one – one plot driven fic, one character driven fic 15 or 20k each? I’d love to get practice in each.

  119. I have a less thematic suggestion, but more of a narrative challenge for authors: the non-linear plot.

    This challenge would allow authors to play with to play with their narrative voices, experiment with prolepsis and analepsis (or anal pepsis as autocorrect suggested!).

  120. AU Naruto fic.
    Pairing: Sarutobi Asuma/Nara Shikamaru
    A story about Sarutobi Asuma, CEO and Dom accepting a challenge from his CFO, fellow Dom and friend Hatake Kakashi (who finally after alot of pursuing got together with his secretary and sub Umino Iruka) of getting into the pants of the brilliant but really disinterested in doing anything new hire in IT and sub Nara Shikamaru.
    The fact that Shikamaru is a sub can be found out by stumbling on one another in a BDSM club in which Shikamaru just doesn’t find anyone interesting enough to do anything till a certain someone walks in, they have fun and that certain someone turns out to be his new boss.
    Frankly the whole CEO/new hire dynamic, can be Coach/player, professor/student or T.A., senior/junior college students but somehow roomates, whatever as long as Asuma is always older and Shikamaru younger (an age difference of at least 6 years, hey Shika is a genius so he can be a junior or something when Asuma is a graduate or whatever)….
    Spankings are a must as well as floggings and the use of crops, cuffs, spreader bars, vibrators, dildos, plugs, sounds since this is BDSM, no humiliation, no puppy play (or any kind of animal play), no sharing/gangbangs (the two of them are enough), no watersports or blood letting, knives, or canes. I’m all for Daddy kink if done correctly…. I think that’s it

  121. Write the story of a minor character. Why did they do what they did in the original. This means the writer has to follow the actual story line. For example, a writer can’t take a minor character from Harry Potter and have them kill Voldemort or join the horcrux hunt.

  122. “Ripples” AU challenge- take a specific, pivotal canon event (or what you think should have been a pivotal event), change it, and work through the ripple effects.

    “Lawless” AU: Take your favourite law-abiding or law-enforcing character and turn him or her into a criminal (thief, mob-boss, serial killer, etc.). Up to the author if they want to go for a “Robin Hood” type criminal or a straight-up bad guy.

  123. Villains

    Every good story needs some sort of stressor, weather it’s the environment, an ongoing disaster, or an enemy. Often, an enemy is at least involved.

    There are all kinds of enemies, from the casual rival to the madman responsible for the zombie apocalypse – for this challenge, whatever kind of enemy you prefer, let’s humanize them a little. Don’t have your villain just be an enemy in the background! Give him personality, motivations, a goal! They don’t have to be nice, but they should be real. Not all real people are nice or have friendly goals, after all, and sometimes, even with the best of intentions, things just go wrong. If that’s not to your taste, well, even madmen can have plans and goals.

    So write a story that introduces us to our villain, not just the hero.

  124. Take your chosen fandom and remove a central character – they were never there, or they died before they could have any impact etc. So as an example – in Harry Potter it could be Harry, or Dumbledore, or even Tom Riddle. What would the HP world be like without them in it? Of if they up and shuffled off the mortal coil before the start of the story, for instance if Dumbledore stopped Grindelwald but died before Harry was born. And perhaps in Teen Wolf it wasn’t that Scott was never bitten, it was that Scott was never even there. Or Peter died in the fire. Or Gerard was killed while his children were still young. And so on and so forth.
    Another suggestion, Wingfic! Either everyone has wings or your main character all of a sudden has wings, you choose. But someone has wings. Could be any kind of wings, so long as they’re functional. Wings! I love wingfic.

  125. How about writing about the antagonist? Whether it be a character you personally make the villain our the actual villain (I.e. Dumbledore or Voldemort)

    Maybe using the thought that nobody believes themselves the bad guy, we’re all the good guys in our own minds?

  126. World swap! A two – story challenge

    Eg Stargate in Harry Potter world, followed by Harry Potter in Stargate-verse – either as AUs or dimension – shifts

  127. Gender swap for all characters

  128. Oh, one more – “24” style. All action takes place in a 24-hour period (or slightly more if you’re on Atlantis or another planet).

  129. Huh, I posted twice, but only the second took. Oops. To repeat:

    A fanfiction-only challenge: Post-canon. Write a story that takes place after all canon events (so far), and is completely compliant. (Because I hate it, I would allow ignoring the HP epilogue, or any epilogue that happens after a major time gap. That’s fair). It would probably work best as a July challenge, so ongoing network series at least would be on hiatus – it would be hard to ignore/avoid new episodes during an April or November challenge.

    And, to bookend that idea, pre-canon: write a story (this one would probably be easier as a short story challenge) that takes place prior to canon events without contradicting anything. Prequels are hard to write, when the end result is set in stone. It’s truly a challenge.

  130. Survival: Whether its zombies, war, natural disasters or other situations, they all affect or change people. Write a story where the story is not only about their antagonist but also about a situation that they cannot change or leave. They can only survive until they are rescued or ultimately there is no rescue. I can see this as either the person collapsing under the strain or learning and being truer to themselves.

  131. My idea for a challenge: a sequel to an existing work (of our own, of course, not someone else’s). Since most of us have at least one sequel in progress, the challenge could be to write a certain amount of words or to finish it.

  132. I would love an OC challenge. There are several repeater-OCs authors have that I would love to read about. Like fuck Harry, gimme Armand Dearing’s story (And example, not a demand) and I want to try to make OCs that complex and interesting but writing focused on OCs gets a shitty wrap so like, I don’t. But if it were part of a challenge, I think it would be less weird? More empowering? Good practice for OFic? IDK, I think it would be fun.

  133. Since it’s something covered in the podcast a lot, and that many people have trouble with – the For Want of a Nail trope ( ) which is all about the ripples which you change something. One small change at the beginning, completely different ending, and works in any fandom (admittedly, probably not the challenge for original fic). And those are so fun to read.

  134. Original character – some people need some practice with developing their own characters. So, an OC as the main character, the love interest, or a really important (and present) secondary character – like police partner, roommate, etc. They should be in at least half the scenes, maybe? Enough to really have to develop them.

  135. Have people base their fic around commonly misused words in fanfic…for example: Hermione worked as the Liaison for Sentimental (sentient) Beings.

  136. I have no idea if this is still being looked at but I would love to see someone do this.
    Take a Plot/case/scene from one fandom and rewrite it for a different fandom. i.e. Take a plot from, say, Numb3rs and rewrite it for NCIS or Criminal Minds. It doesn’t even have to be a whole episode, it could be just the “case” that gets used while a character story is going on. And if a crossover story is being written, just don’t use a story idea from any of the fandoms being crossed. Really make it fun and see if anyone can guess which fandom the original plot/case came from.

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