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[personal profile] jinkyo
In your own space, create a list of at least three fannish things you'd love to receive, something you've wanted but were afraid to ask for - a fannish wish-list of sorts. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your wish-list if you feel comfortable doing so. Maybe someone will grant a wish. Check out other people's posts. Maybe you will grant a wish. If any wishes are granted, we'd love it if you link them to this post.

1. I would love a knowledgeable and patient person to explain to me how fic exchanges like Yuletide and
[community profile] chocolateboxcomm work. So far, I've taken part in very easy to understand type exchanges: I make a post, I list my likes/dislikes, a mod matches me with someone and I write. Tagsets, nominations....I don't know, I still don't understand how these latger exchanges work or how to participate in them.

2. Fan art for fic is always nice.

3. Podfic of fic would also be wonderful.

Date: 2016-01-02 11:42 pm (UTC)
muccamukk: Telya standing in the forest. (SGA: Forest Woman)
From: [personal profile] muccamukk
I would be happy to explain exchanges to you. Comments here okay, or do you want to e-mail?

Date: 2016-01-03 12:30 am (UTC)
muccamukk: Lt Bush looking through his spy glass, which reflects back stars. (HH: I See Stars)
From: [personal profile] muccamukk
Okay, here goes. Chocolate Box is indeed the same. The reason it's the same is that it runs on the AO3 matching engine, and the main thing to realise is that the answer to most questions involving "Why" will always be "because that's how the matching engine works!"

So we'll start there. In Ye Old Days, fests worked like so: Everyone made a list of things they wanted and a list of things they could offer, and the mods by hand would go through and assign people to each other. This required much time and considerable whisky, and was more or less impossible if there were more than about twenty variables (like pairings, fandoms, or genres) because it was a giant jigsaw puzzle where most of the pieces were the same, and no one knew what the picture was.

Now there's a computer program that can do that for you, and there was much rejoicing, and hopefully less turning to drink, but you still have to set things up so that it can process the data.

So the first thing that has to happen as the mod sets up a pool of variables to choose from. This is called "The Tag Set" and it's a list of all fandoms that will be allowed in this fest. To set up that list, there's a period where people can nominate fandoms. For chocolate box, that's already happened, so you have to choose something from this list: http://archiveofourown.org/tag_sets/1055

If you'd gotten in on it last week, you could have suggested your own fandoms, but fortunately it's a pretty big list, so hopefully you can find something you're into.

Under fandoms, people have also nominated relationships (yuletide people nominate characters). They are either / for a romantic relationship, or & for a non-romantic one. For example, someone has nominated both Vala Mal Doran/Teal'c AND Vala Mal Doran & Teal'c, because they're interested in both sexy times and friendship.

So the first thing I usually do is go through the tag set and make a list of things I'm interested in either writing or getting stories or art about. I usually make a long list, and then pare it down.

For example, this is my long list for chocolate box as of right now:


Books of the Raksura - Martha Wells
Ember & Moon (Raksura)
Stone & Moon (Raksura)
Chime/Jade/Moon (Raksura)
Chime/Moon (Raksura)
Ember/Pearl (Raksura)
Jade/Moon (Raksura)

The Lord of the Rings - All Media Types
Arwen & Gilraen
Finduilas & Boromir & Faramir (LOTR-book)
Éomer/Lothíriel
Éowyn/Lothíriel
Gimli/Legolas Greenleaf (LotR)

DCU (Comics)
Beatriz da Costa/Tora Olafsdotter (DCU)
Michael Carter/Ted Kord (DCU)

Marvel 616
Carol Danvers & Jessica Jones (616)
Carol Danvers/Jessica Drew (616)
Carol Danvers/Jessica Jones (616)
Carol Danvers/Wanda Maximoff (616)
Helen Cobb & Carol Danvers (616)
Helen Cobb & Natasha Romanova (616)
Helen Cobb/Natasha Romanova (616)

Jupiter Ascending (2015)
Jupiter Jones & Diomika Tsing
Jupiter Jones/Caine Wise
Kiza Apini & Jupiter Jones
Stinger Apini & Caine Wise
Stinger Apini/Aleksa Jones
Stinger Apini/Caine Wise

Babylon 5
Marcus Cole/Stephen Franklin
Susan Ivanova/Talia Winters

Doctor Who & Related Fandoms
Eighth Doctor/River Song
Ninth Doctor/Jack Harkness/Rose Tyler

Jessica Jones (TV)
Jessica Jones & Patricia Walker (Jessica Jones TV)
Jessica Jones/Luke Cage/Patricia Walker (Jessica Jones TV)
Jessica Jones/Patricia Walker (Jessica Jones TV)
Luke Cage/Jessica Jones (Jessica Jones TV)

Sinbad (TV)
Nala & Rina
Rina & Tiger
Safia & Taryn
Safia/Taryn
Nala/Rina
Rina/Tiger


After you've done that, you can make a list of things you want stories about, and things you think you're interested in writing.

It's important at this point to look at the requirements for the fest. Usually to make the matching process work, you have to ask for at least so many fandoms, but no more than a certain number (too few and no one will match, too many and the matching engine will get bogged down). The requirements for chocolate box are that you have to ask for between three and ten fandoms, and offer to write between four and ten fandoms. They don't have to be the same requests as offers. I might ask for Musketeers, Sinbad and Raksura and offer Les Mis, Sinbad, Stargate and LotR, for example.

Once you've picked your fandoms, you should pick your relationships. You can request between one and twenty relationships per fandom, but you have to offer between two and twenty relationships. So if you have a fandom where you only ship one thing, or there's only one thing you care about in the tag set, you may not want to offer it. For example, if the ONLY Stargate pairing you care about is John/Telya, and you don't want it as gen, and you don't want anything else, you won't be able to offer Stargate, because you have to offer two things. You can, however, still REQUEST John/Teyla, because you only have to ask for one pairing per fandom.

Are you with me so far?
Edited Date: 2016-01-03 12:34 am (UTC)

Date: 2016-01-03 01:05 am (UTC)
muccamukk: BA leans on a table, with a sketch of an engine in the background. (A-Team: Engineer)
From: [personal profile] muccamukk
Excellent.

Okay, so the next thing you want to do is sort out what you're offering and asking for based on the long list. I usually make two lists in word, so I can keep track of things. I also like to look at the sign up summary to see if people are asking for things I haven't thought of. That's here: http://archiveofourown.org/collections/chocolatebox2015/signups/summary and shows how many people are asking for and offering which fandoms. It doesn't say what relationships, but you can always check that via the request summary.

I could be like, oh, right, Babylon 5, that's a cool fandom, and check the tag set to see what relationships are nominated, and be either \o/ Susan/Talia or Boo! No pairings involving Jeff.

Don't worry if no one is offing/requesting your fandoms yet. It's only second day of sign ups, and that changes all the time. It updates hourly.

Anyway, once you've made your mind up, you go to the sign up form and start filling it out. Write the fandom in, then pick the characters from the drop down list that will load after that (if they don't show up in the drop down, but you're sure they're in the tag set, you can c/p them in, sometimes AO3 has a bug).

In this exchange you can request art, fic or both, which is cool. Those are the ticky boxes in the next field. Then after that you can link to your letter (if you have one), and maybe add some prompts for fic, or general likes and dislikes in the field below. It's not a bad idea to check out the request summary to see what other people are doing, if you're not sure what to write. http://archiveofourown.org/collections/chocolatebox2015/requests

Once you've done your requests, you can start adding offers, which works pretty much the same. You will notice a button that says "any." That means you're offering to write ANY relationship in the tag set. Do not click that unless you're really sure you want to be matched on anything at all.

So you've filled out your form, you might want to write a letter to your author or artist about what kind of story or picture you'd like. I've found the best way to do this is include general lists of things you like and don't like (but don't be rude about what you don't like, as someone else might like them, and you don't want to bash their fave), and then specific prompts for each relationship you requested.

Dear Chocolate Box Author/Artist

Thanks for making me a gift! Here are some ideas for you.

Fic likes: Romance, soulbonding, amnesia, unrequited love, stories about people finding love against the odds, a/b/o.

Art likes: Comics, bright colourful art, action scenes.

Fic Dislikes: character death, gore, curtainfic.

Art dislikes: Portraits, hyper-realistic pencil art.

Books of the Raksura - Martha Wells
Ember & Moon: story ideas here, art ideas here.
Stone & Moon: ditto

The Lord of the Rings - All Media Types
Arwen & Gilraen
Finduilas & Boromir & Faramir

and so on


Obviously, your formatting should be nicer. As that's a crap job. You can look at links in the letter post for better ones.

Anyway, letters are optional, but I really like them because it's fun to read other people's letters, and I have often offered something because someone has made a cool request for it. And people write treats based off them, which is cool. Plus it's just generally a really good idea to give your author an idea of what you want, because what if they get writers block? They can go to your letter for ideas! Plus, they're not telepathic, and have no way of knowing that you don't like gore, and might with every good intention in the world draw you something that would squick you the hell out.

So you sign up, and that's done, and the mod closes the sign ups, and runs the matching engine.

There may be a few hang ups because sometimes people aren't offering anything people are requesting. So then the mod has to e-mail them and see what they want to do, and blah blah matching can take a while.

However, you will eventually get an e-mail saying what your assignment is. This will also show up in your AO3 sidebar under "Assignments" so it's handy to find.

You can then write your story, and post it to the AO3 collection. You do this by going to the assignments page, and clicking fulfil, then filling out the rest of the AO3 posting page as normal. Meantime, someone will hopefully have done the same for you!

If you want, you can write the person more than one story, or write other people stories! Or go story mad! But you are only required to write one story of at least 300 words, that is about one of the relationships your recip requested. It doesn't even have to be the one you matched on.

Then on a given date, often delayed, the mod will open the archive, and you will get the story written for you (you'll get an e-mail about this, too), and you can read all the other stories, and there is much rejoicing. A week after that, the authors are revealed, and then you're allowed to crosspost.

I think that covers pretty well everything? Happy to answer additional questions.

Date: 2016-01-03 06:16 am (UTC)
silveradept: A kodama with a trombone. The trombone is playing music, even though it is held in a rest position (Default)
From: [personal profile] silveradept
That was incredibly helpful, thank you, says the fluttering by snowflake.

Date: 2016-01-03 02:55 pm (UTC)
muccamukk: Porthos laughing victoriously. (Musketeers: I Win!)
From: [personal profile] muccamukk
Excellent! I love fests, but I realise that as much as AO3 has made them wonderfully simple for mods, it's pretty complicated for first time participants.

Date: 2016-01-03 02:56 pm (UTC)
muccamukk: Nala smiling. (Sinbad: Smile)
From: [personal profile] muccamukk
That's so great. I hope that you have fun with chocolate box, and all the other fests too.

Date: 2016-01-19 06:18 pm (UTC)
twinsarein: (AngstyClark)
From: [personal profile] twinsarein
Wow! This has been a godsend to find. I've long avoided Yuletide because I just didn't understand how it worked. I only learned about this Chocolate Box one, yesterday. I probably would have avoided it, too. It all just seemed so complicated, just to sign up for a challenge and write a story for someone.

Thank you for taking the time to explain so thoroughly. I know how long it must have taken, even knowing the process as well as you seem to. I had resolved to try Yuletide the next time it came around, but I'm not sure I would have stuck to it. I'm more likely to do both of these when they open again, now.

Date: 2016-01-19 07:49 pm (UTC)
muccamukk: Lt Bush salutes ironically. (HH: Salute)
From: [personal profile] muccamukk
You're welcome. I'm really glad you found it helpful. I'd say fests are more complicated than they need to be, but that really is what it takes for matching to work. It can be pretty intimidating for new folks though.

There's lots of other fests too. Chocolate Box, Every Woman and Trick or Treat are fun ones to start on because they have low requirements, but there's all kinds of other too. I run a femslash one over the fall, and there's a rare pairing one, and a smut one, and one for really tiny wee fandoms.

Check out [community profile] fandomcalendar for what's running right now (apparently nothing, now that I look, but I think there will be more over the next month or so).

Date: 2016-01-03 09:47 pm (UTC)
lexigent: The word "lexigent" written on a background image of a stack of books (Default)
From: [personal profile] lexigent
Yay come play with us at chocolatebox :)

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