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Art Claims

What do you mean by claims?

Claims is the process through which artists and authors are paired. Artists will have about a week to review summary information provided by our authors for all fics written for this round. The claims process is anonymous, which means the artists have no idea who wrote which fic. On claims day, artists submit their top 10 choices and are matched with their first available fic. When matches are confirmed, the mods will email each team to introduce partners to each other. It's a long weekend but a lot of fun!

For an overview of the entire claims process, please keep reading!

Preparing for claims

Authors, your rough drafts must be at least 80% complete based on your projected final wordcount, with remaining scenes outlined, in order to be eligible for claims. What we want to prevent is anyone going through to art claims that isn't on track to be finished by the end of the challenge.

Each draft will be checked with great enthusiasm by your loving mods! In addition to visually scanning each one, we’ll divide your current wordcount by your estimated final wordcount to make sure you meet the 80% draft requirement.

Projected final wordcount Minimum required for claims
20,000 16,000
25,000 20,000
30,000 24,000
35,000 28,000
40,000 32,000

What file formats will you accept? What if I didn't type my draft yet?

  • We will accept DOC, DOCX, and RTF file formats. You can also send us a view-only link to a Google Doc.
  • Please do not submit chapters as individual documents. We would really appreciate it if you would merge them into a single file for this check-in. Submitting your outline as a separate document is fine.
  • Drafts and outlines must be typed. We will not accept photos of your notebook or your claim that a handwritten manuscript meets our requirements.

Does my fic have to be beta read before claims?

No. Drafts can be submitted for artist claims prior to being read by a beta, but they should represent your best effort at spelling, grammar, and storytelling. In the event that a draft is simply unreadable, we reserve the right to reject it. This is extremely rare, but we cannot put forward to claims a draft which an artist cannot read.

If you're at all concerned about your submission, please contact the mods before claims start so we can assist you.

How do I estimate my final wordcount?

Do your best to estimate based on the number of scenes remaining and the length of other fics you may have written. Any unwritten portions in the story must be outlined before you submit the draft, which will probably help you to guess at how long it will be once it's finished. Ask yourself, if you had to assign a percentage to your draft right now, how finished it is?

Do notes, outlines, and/or glossaries count toward the 20k minimum or 80% for drafts?

Notes, outlines, and supporting information do not count toward the 20k minimum required for the DCBB and will not be counted toward the 80% due for claims.

How detailed does my outline need to be?

We just need to know that you have a plan for your fic. Your outline can be a few bullet points listing the purpose of each remaining scene.

What fic information do I need to submit for claims?

When you submit your rough draft, you'll also be asked to supply the following information. Those marked with a * will be shown to artists during claims exactly as you provide it.

  • Title - If you haven't named your fic yet, that's okay - this is for our internal use at this point
  • Pairings* - You need to disclose any and all ships, including past and background relationships - no surprises for artists
  • Rating* - General, Teen, Mature, or Explicit
  • Content warnings* - If your fic contains any of the major archive warnings for AO3, you must list them here, along with any other warnings you would like to disclose. This section is for CONTENT WARNINGS ONLY, not general tags you would use when posting to AO3 or as another summary of the entire fic. See more about our warnings policies. If while reviewing your fic we find content that needs a warning but didn't receive one, we'll add the warning on your behalf as a note from the mods. If you include something that should be a tag, not a warning, we will email you to ask you to move it to the additional tags field, where it will count towards your limit of five, potentially necessitating removing another.
  • Additional tags* - You will have a space for five additional tags of five words or fewer. We wish we didn’t have to quantify this, but artists have a lot to read over to make their decisions, and we don’t want to overwhelm them. You can use this space to disclose details that are not content warnings but don’t flow with your summary or count as visual elements.
  • Summary* - 200 words or fewer. Give an overview of the plot. Don't be afraid to spoil the details of your fic here. This will only be shown to artists, and they need to know what they're getting themselves into. That said, do not feel obligated to use all 200 words. Can you sum up your fic in one sentence? Awesome. You can also include general tags here, but they'll be considered part of your 200 words.
  • Visual elements* - 100 words or fewer. What are some interesting scenes/details an artist might like to draw for your fic? This is a great place to drop the setting (a battle-torn spaceship) and stand-out details (the characters wear military-style uniforms with helmets). You can also mention specific scenes, like the epic space battle you've been plotting for months. Careful, though. This is not a to-do list for your artist. They don't have to illustrate anything you write here. See this FAQ.
  • Current wordcount
  • Estimated final wordcount*
  • A link to Google Docs or a file (DOC, DOCX, or RTF formats only) containing your rough draft

Please double check your entries before you submit them. We won't fix any typos!

What should be in my claims summary?

Your story summary for art claims doesn’t need to be the same summary you will use for posting. In fact, since the goal of the claims summary is to get someone to want to collaborate with you rather than read the story, people frequently find it helpful to write a specialized summary just for art claims. Given the 200-word limit for your summary in claims, you don’t want to be vague or coy about plot details; you may want to include things you would otherwise consider ‘spoilers’ in order to give the artists the best impression of your story as a whole. These summaries won’t be publicly accessible or connected to your story once claims are completed.

How do I decide what to put in my summary vs. tags vs. warnings vs. visual elements?

Your summary should tell artists what happens in the story- think of it mostly in terms of plot. The warnings field is to protect artists from claiming a story that might upset them- in addition to the four major archive warnings, which MUST be warned for here, consider including other story elements that readers/artists might wish to avoid for their own comfort or safety. Your visual elements should give artists a sense of the feel of the story- the setting, key scenes, aesthetics, or repeated imagery, for example. You may use the additional tags field for other details that don’t belong in any of the above categories.

If you are unsure of what information to place where, you may ask for help in the DCBB-Authors room of our Discord server or contact the mods.

Sample Claims Summary

To give you a better idea of what this looks like, here is an example of a claims summary from a previous year:

Title: Save the Drake!

Pairings: Dean Winchester/Castiel Novak minor Charlie Bradbury/Gilda Past Dean Winchester/Lisa Braeden

Rating: Explicit

Content warnings: no warnings apply

Additional tags: two person love triangle, online relationship, friends to lovers, mechanic dean

Summary: (117/200 words)

Encouraged by his best friend Meg to create more connections in his life, Cas jumps into an online discussion surrounding the closing of The Drake, an independent and historic theater in his neighborhood. The confidence Cas gains with his new online friend helps him be less awkward around the guy in his building that he likes: Dean Winchester. It?s not like Dean Winchester needs help meeting people, but a hasty decision to comment on a local news article leads him to make a virtual connection. It's a new sort of relationship for Dean, but soon the two of them are chatting all day long. He only wishes getting to know his downstairs neighbor Cas was this simple.

Visual elements: (82/100 words)

Dean and Cas both live in an old downtown apartment building and sit messaging each other from their respective apartments during a heatwave. The theater is an elaborate art deco style design and Dean has a fond memory of his mother taking him there and lifting him up to drink from the water fountain. They both hang out at a local coffee shop. When they meet at the rally, Dean is holding his sign over his head for Cas to find him.

Current wordcount: 17600

Estimated final wordcount: 22000

Can I skip claims and just post my fic at the end of the challenge?

Due to the size of the DCBB, we can't accommodate solo author posting for this challenge.

How do claims work?

Registered artists will have a week to review summary information for the available fics, and to select their top 10 fics from that list. Fics will be stripped of titles and assigned an ID number that will be used for claims. Summaries will be presented in a filterable gallery format.

Registered artists enjoy a 24-hour priority claims window. The evening before claims, we will email all registered artists a link to a Google form, which will open the following morning at 12pm ET. That form will have 12 fields and ask for the artist’s name, email address, and the 10 fics they are most interested in. You’ll enter the ID number for that fic. There will be one field for each fic choice, so you will have to copy/paste 12 times OR type quickly. You cannot make edits once you submit or submit another set of claims unless you are contacted by the mods.

If there are fics remaining, at 12pm ET on Sunday, claims will open to the public. Registered artists will have an opportunity to claim a second fic, if they like, and unregistered artists may claim something that is still available. If there are still fics remaining, we will open a 3rd round at 3pm ET on Sunday for artists who would like to claim an additional fic.

Claims are first come, first served and may not be emailed to us in advance. We need the timestamp to determine the order received. If you are not able to be present for claims, you may ask someone to act as a proxy for you (meaning they fill out the form and submit it on your behalf). The mods cannot do this for you; please choose a friend you trust to be prompt and accurate.

You will be assigned the first available fic in your list. If none of your 10 choices are available, we will email asking you to submit a new form with your next 10 choices.

How will I know if I've been claimed?

We will send an introductory email to each team that contains contact information for both partners. Authors will have the ability to choose whether they wish to be alerted as soon as they are matched with an artist during claims, or whether they wish to wait until the end of the process. If the author chooses to wait, they will not receive any emails until all stories have been claimed, likely 36-48 hours after claims open. The artist will receive an immediate email confirming the details of their successful claim, but no contact information for the author until the introduction email goes out at the close of the claims period.

Will every author be matched with an artist?

That's the goal! If you turn in a rough draft of your fic that meets the requirements, you will be paired with an artist. Every author is matched with one artist. In the past, many of our artists have graciously volunteered to make art for 2, 3, and even 4 different fics. We also have pinch-hit artists standing by in the event that any of our artists are unable to complete the challenge, for any reason.

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