Challenge Rules

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These are the rules for the 2022 round of the Dean/Cas Big Bang. If you are unclear on any point, please contact the mods.  


The DCBB is open to participants of all experience levels. There are no prerequisites in order to sign up. Whether this is your first challenge or your twentieth, we’re happy to have you!

You must be at least 14 years old to participate in the DCBB. If you are under 18 years old at the time of registration, you may participate in the DCBB; however, underage artists may not claim fics containing explicit content, and underage writers may only write Teen- or Gen-rated fic.

Expectations for all participants

  • You must be registered for this challenge in order to submit drafts and post as part of the DCBB.
  • You are expected to read, understand, and adhere to the DCBB challenge rules. Failure to adhere to the challenge rules may result in disqualification from future rounds. If you do not understand something, it is your responsibility to contact the mods for clarification.
  • Although you will receive periodic reminder emails, it is your responsibility to be familiar with the challenge schedule and manage your time. We will not grant extensions except in cases of emergency such as a natural disaster.
  • You will meet all check-in points and submit drafts at the time they are requested.
  • You will communicate with your partner(s) and the moderators in a timely and professional manner.
  • You must have reliable internet and email access.
  • You must have the knowledge and equipment/materials to make your fic or art, and backup plans in place in the case of equipment or software failure.
  • No participant may offer services in exchange for payment or solicit donations/tips from other participants for any work they do as part of the DCBB. If a registered DCBB beta reader asks you to tip them in exchange for their services, please contact the moderators.
  • You will be paired with a partner through Art Claims and may not form your own teams. As is the spirit of challenges, you never know who you will be paired with. We ask that you be open and communicative with each other, and work together to make your posting date requests to avoid any conflict. At no point may you drop your team member and choose a new one on your own. If you are having trouble with your partner, please contact the mods for a solution.
  • Partners are required to contact each other within 48 hours of being assigned. There will be several mandatory check-in points throughout the challenge. Failure to keep in contact with your partner may result in being disqualified from the challenge and future rounds.
  • Finally, please exercise common sense. Your mods do the best they can to make sure this challenge runs smoothly. That's why we have so many rules. Unfortunately, many exist because people try to bend them. If a rule says you can't do X, don't try to find a loophole that allows it.

Author Requirements

  • Fics must be a minimum of 20,000 words. There is no maximum word count.
  • Your fic must be at least 80% complete with the remainder outlined to qualify for Art Claims.
  • Each author may write a maximum of one fic for this round. If you co-write, that fulfills your eligibility for the round. You may not submit a second fic as a solo author or as part of a second writing team.
  • If you are co-writing, each author must register individually. Do not sign up as a pair. We need each participant to agree to receive emails and declare their age. When you submit your rough draft for claims, you’ll select both of your names for the “Author(s)” field, which will link you together in our records.
  • Your work should be brand new for the challenge or a previously unpublished WIP, and no part of it may have been published prior to Art Claims (this includes sneak peeks on social media). If you are uncertain whether your WIP qualifies or have circumstances not outlined here, please email the moderators with details.  
  • Fics must be written in English. If you are multilingual and would like to publish the fic in other languages as translations of the original after the DCBB posting period is complete, that's very welcome!  
  • Drafts you submit must be typed. We will not accept photos of your notebook or your word that your handwritten manuscript meets our requirements.  
  • To ensure the anonymity of claims, please don’t reveal any details of what you’re working on publicly prior to claims. This includes discussing your fic in private groups that may include people who are not participants in this challenge. We have an author channel in the DC Server where you can discuss your fic. It is also perfectly fine to discuss privately one-on-one with your alpha or beta reader.
  • Finished fics should be posted to Archive of Our Own and remain publicly available for at least one year. There will be an official AO3 collection for this round and all fics are expected to be added. If you do not have an AO3 account, the moderators can help you set one up. If you decide to remove your affiliation with the fic at a later point, we would encourage you to consider orphaning the work rather than deleting it.
  • Your fic must be posted in its entirety on your posting date. Serial posting (posting a fic in parts over a period of time in order to increase visibility) is prohibited on any website.
  • Authors may not commission art for a fic written for the DCBB due to the team nature of the challenge, since this would be unfair to your artist. This includes asking artist friends to create illustrations or photo manipulations as a favor. Even if your team artist agrees, it is against the rules and we will disqualify you.
  • You may register as both an author and artist, but you may not make art for your own fic.

Fic content requirements and restrictions


All fiction genres welcome. All ratings welcome. AU (alternate universe) fics welcome. Real-person fiction (RPF), fusion fics (SPN universe fused with another fictional universe), and crossovers (SPN universe intersecting or crossing over into another fictional universe) are allowed.


You are allowed to use other books, movies, and TV shows as a basis for your fic, but make sure you're using the original as inspiration and creating a unique story. If you do base your fic on an existing work, you should disclose this in your author's note.

We have been asked whether fanfiction based on other fanworks is allowed. Since fanworks are created by fans for fans, not for profit, we would recommend asking permission from the creator first.


Fics must predominantly feature a relationship between Dean and Castiel (or Jensen and Misha). Dean/Other and Castiel/Other are permitted, but you shouldn’t expect your endgame Sam/Cas story to go over well with the audience this challenge normally attracts.

The relationship between Dean and Castiel (or Jensen and Misha) does not have to be romantic and/or sexual in nature; it may be portrayed as close friendship. If you plan to write RPF, we ask that you do not include the real-life children of the actors in your fiction.


You must tag/warn for any of AO3’s major archive warnings, including major character death (MCD), non-con, underage, and graphic violence.

For the DCBB, we define major character death (MCD) to mean that Dean and/or Cas is permanently dead OR that a reader could reasonably believe one or both are dead when the fic ends. Tagging for "temporary MCD" or "perceived MCD" is okay in cases where Dean and/or Cas is dead but resurrected, or another character believes Dean and/or Cas has died.

You may not choose to withhold a major archive warning from a fic posted as part of the DCBB. We STRONGLY recommend using the built-in warning system when posting. If you do not wish to do so, you must select the option “Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings” and use a regular tag OR disclose the information in your author’s note. If you feel the info would spoil the fic, a solution is to say, “This fic contains content that will upset or disturb readers. I feel it is a spoiler, but for those of you who need to know the contents, you can check the author’s note at the end of the work” with a link to the end notes. You may not use the “No Archive Warnings Apply” option if you are choosing to warn in this manner.

You may not withhold a major archive warning from your Art Claims information.


Fics that are part of a series or existing universe are permitted; however, we encourage you to write something that can function as a standalone.

Cliffhangers are not permitted in the DCBB. If you submit a draft that ends with a cliffhanger, it will be rejected.


All fics must be beta read and represent your best effort at storytelling and grammar. You can use any beta reader of your choosing; they do not need to be registered for the DCBB. We'll also have a list of beta readers available to you later in the challenge.

You will not be assigned a beta reader as a part of this challenge. It's ultimately up to you to find someone to work with. We do have a Beta reader list that you can request.

If you work with a beta reader prior to Art Claims who is registered as an artist for this round of the DCBB, please let the moderators know before we begin the claims process. We'll make arrangements so that artist won't be able to claim your fic.


While it’s not prohibited, we urge you to exercise your best judgment if you plan to write a fic that takes place during a real-life historic tragedy. We’d also suggest you tag it “references to a real life event” or something similar so readers are informed.


All characters engaged in sexual activity or sexualized situations must be at least 16 years old. This includes but is not limited to sexualized situations with an underage character such as hand holding, cuddling, kissing, and romanticized grooming of a child. Fics featuring 16- and 17-year-olds engaged in sexual activity must be labeled as underage, especially if their partners are 18 years old or older.

If your story includes a past history of sexual abuse involving an underage character, you should tag appropriately and NO graphic mentions are allowed of the actual act.

We understand that, historically, certain underage situations may have been common and not taboo during the time period of your story, but our participants include parents, teachers, and community leaders and we don't want anyone to have any issues with their home life due to the content of a story in this challenge. Thank you for your understanding.

Artist Requirements

  • Artists will create at least 2 pieces of art per fic claimed. You are free to create more than the minimum number of required pieces at your discretion.
  • Artists are welcome to make a promotional banner for your team's masterpost and separators/icons for your author to use, but they won’t count toward the minimum of 2 pieces.
  • Art may be an original illustration or a photo manipulation.
  • All materials and styles of art are welcome, including traditional and digital.
  • Art should be a minimum of 540px wide if it will be posted to tumblr, but the final size and orientation are up to the artist.
  • Photo manipulations must be more than simple filter application and involve significant changes to the photographs that result in a unique image. A simple collage will not be accepted.
  • Artists are encouraged to work with an art beta, just as authors work with beta readers. This is someone who can give you feedback and help polish your final work. Your fellow artists are a great resource for this.
  • Art can be embedded in the fic (if the author permits it), posted to the artist’s website of choice, or both. Where art is hosted is at the artist’s discretion.
  • Posted art should remain publicly available for at least one year. If you decide to remove your affiliation with the work at a later point, please consider providing your author with the files so they can continue to be displayed.
  • You may register as both an author and artist, but you may not make art for your own fic.

 Dropping out of the challenge and penalties

If you can't complete the DCBB, please send us an email and we'll remove you from our mailing list. Be aware there may be penalties depending on when you drop out (please see below).

Do not use social media to announce drops, since we don’t want your partner finding out that way.

If you have already gone through claims and need to drop, please contact the mods immediately so we can arrange for pinch hitters. You must contact your author or artist directly to let them know you're dropping out. Please know that you may not be eligible to participate in the next round of the DCBB or its affiliates if you drop post-claims for anything less than an emergency.

In the event that an artist drops out of the challenge before posting occurs, the moderator team will work to find a pinch hit artist for their author. If an author drops, artists will be offered the opportunity to post their art on their original posting date.

In the event of an emergency, please contact the mods as soon as it is reasonably possible and safe for you to do so. We will work with you in any way we can.


There are penalties for dropping out of the DCBB past some checkpoints and for certain behavior

  • There is no penalty if you notify the moderators that you need to drop out before the art claims process begins. The last day to drop as an author without penalty is Friday, August 5th 2022 at 11:59PM ET.
  • If you drop out as an author after summaries have been sent to artists OR as an artist after you’ve claimed a fic to illustrate, you will not be eligible for the next round of the DCBB and may be disqualified from the next round of affiliated challenges as well.
  • If you miss a check-in point or fail to submit a draft when it is due, you will be immediately dropped from the current round and face the same penalties as a normal drop.
    • If you are an artist whose author has been reassigned to a pinch-hit artist because you missed check-in, you may only re-enter the challenge if both the author and pinch-hitter agree to transfer the fic back to you.
  • If you lie to the moderators or to your partner, or if you break the rules about serial posting, the anonymity of claims, or commissions, you will not be eligible to participate in future rounds of the DCBB or its affiliates.
  • Participants who routinely demonstrate a lack of consideration or respect for other participants or the moderators may not be eligible to participate in future rounds.
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