laurel (sailorhathor) wrote in fc_smorgasbord,

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Rules and FAQ's

1. Claiming Characters and Fandoms

A character or pairing within a fandom can be claimed by more than one person at a time. If you claim one character or a pairing/group, that character or pairing/group must be used or referenced in some way in every story. If you claim General Series, you can use whatever characters from that fandom that you want in each story.

The only exception to this rule is that if someone has claimed their own Original Universe, you cannot also claim and write in that universe unless you have the creator's permission. (Such as, let's say, if someone creates their own vampire story with their original characters, you cannot write in that specific universe unless you get their permission. You also cannot use someone else's original character without their permission.) You'd think this would be common knowledge, but...

The following types of claims are allowed: Single characters, pairings, threesomes, moresomes, non-romantic groups/friendships/families, General Series, Alternate Universes, Real Person Fic, slash, het, Original Characters/Universes, Canon Character/OC, Incest pairings, odd pairings/groups (a character and their car, character and their beloved pet, character and their bad habit, etc.), cross-overs, cross-over pairings, shows or book series that have different characters and stories in each episode (like The Twilight Zone, Fear Itself, Goosebumps, etc.), combination claims (some stories are friendship and some are romantic, for example), and more (if there's anything left!). Any story can use OC's and canon pairings with those OC's if necessary, but your claim must be used/referenced somehow. It is also possible to choose more than one fandom (Multi-fandom) for the same table as long as you are taking on 30 or more prompts (see #3 for more info).

Once you stake your claim, wait until I have replied to you before you begin posting. I want to add you to the Master List. You will receive your tags when you post your first story.

To clarify further what you can do with the tables of this community, you can:

- Claim any table as a whole.
- Pick and choose, mix and match, all the prompts you like from ANY table and combine them into one table with 10, 20, 30, 50, 75, or 100 prompts. For example, you can have Buffet Table #1 prompts and Nature 101 prompts on the same 30 prompt table, whatever you want as long as it fits the basic structure. These combined tables will be known as Buffet tables. (Buffet tables of 10 or 20 prompts cannot have any Writer's Choice prompts. A Buffet table of 30 prompts or more can have up to 5 Writer's Choice, if you choose.)
- If you want a table of some number that is not included in the pre-made Buffet HTML (for example, 65, 120, 45, etc), you can do that, but you'll have to modify the HTML yourself. (It shouldn't be too hard; just use the existing HTML as a guide.) You must claim a minimum of 10.

2. How many things can I claim at the same time?

I honestly don't care how many claims you make at once, but please be realistic and only make claims you think you can/will actually finish. It's sort of irritating to have abandoned claims on the list.

3. Can I post fics that I wrote before I signed up for the challenge?

It depends. If you build your own Buffet Table/Song Lyrics Table, you will be choosing 10, 20, 30, 50, 75, or 100 prompts. If you are taking on 10 or 20 prompts, your claim must be for one fandom (although crossovers are still allowed) and all of the stories must be new (written since you joined this community). If you choose 30 or more prompts, your claim can be multi-fandom, and up to 25% of those stories can be old ones you wrote before you joined. (For those who are bad with math, 30 stories = 8 can be old, 50 stories = 13 can be old, 75 stories = 19 can be old, and 100 stories = 25 can be old.)

If you claim the 12 Steps table as is, all stories must be new and your claim must concern only one fandom (although crossovers are allowed).
Imported #2-7: All stories must be new and your claim can concern only one fandom (x-overs are allowed). (This would be unless you claimed at least three of these tables and combined them, then the bigger table rules would apply.)
Claiming Buffet Table #1 as a whole: 91 stories can be old.
Claiming Buffet Table #2 as a whole: 21 stories can be old.
Claiming Buffet Table #3 as a whole: 53 stories can be old.
Claiming Buffet Table #4 as a whole: 76 stories can be old.
Claiming Imported Table #1: Lime as a whole: 13 stories can be old.
Claiming Imported Table #8 as a whole: 10 stories can be old.
Claiming Imported Table #9 as a whole: 25 stories can be old.
Claiming Imported Table #10 as a whole: 10 stories can be old.
Claiming Imported Table #11 as a whole: 10 stories can be old.
Claiming any of Imported Tables #12-29 as a whole: 13 stories per table can be old.
The sacred_20 tables (Imported #30-33) do not have enough prompts for any stories to be old (unless you claim more than one and combine them for the same claim).
Claiming Reasons People Have Sex Table as a whole: 50 stories can be old.
Claiming 108 Defilements as a whole: 27 stories can be old.
Claiming Confucius Say... as a whole: 25 stories can be old.
Claiming Aesop's Fables as a whole: 25 stories can be old.
Claiming Nature 101 as a whole: 26 stories can be old.
Claiming 101 Ways to Die as a whole: 26 stories can be old.
Claiming Simpsons Quotes as a whole: 25 stories can be old.
Claiming Worth a Thousand Words #1 as a whole: 13 stories can be old.
Claiming Schoolhouse Rock #1 as a whole: 50 stories can be old.
Claiming Schoolhouse Rock #2 as a whole: 50 stories can be old.
Claiming Schoolhouse Rock #3 as a whole: 50 stories can be old.
Claiming Schoolhouse Rock #4 as a whole: 50 stories can be old.
Claiming Texts from Last Night as a whole: 91 stories can be old.

Of course, if you'd like to fill your entire table with new stories, that's okay too!

A "new" story is any story you haven't finished when you make your claim, including multi-chapter stories. So, even if you've already written a bunch of chapters, as long as that story isn't finished, you can use it.

If you are posting a bunch of old stories at once, please be courteous to the other community members and do not spam their friend's page. Either post links to all the stories in one post with a LJ-cut, or post only 2-3 stories/chapters per day.

Please keep in mind that I'm eventually going to update the Memories with all posts, and LJ Memories only allows 5 categories to be applied to each post. So, if you post, say, six stories representing six different fandoms in one post, I will only be able to Mem by five of those fandoms. (There doesn't seem to be a limit on the number of tags per post, though.) When you post lots of stories at once, you may want to limit it to only a few stories per post unless those stories only concern one or two fandoms.

4. How long do my fics have to be?

They have to be at least 100 words, but otherwise they can be as long as you want.

5. Which pairings and ratings are allowed?

All pairings, genres, and ratings from G to NC-17 are allowed. Just please make sure to use the right rating and warn people appropriately for adult/objectionable content.

6. Are there any deadlines?

No, none at all. Really, you can take as long as you want to complete your claim(s).

7. Can I post fics that I've written for this challenge elsewhere?

Yes, you can. It's totally your work, after all. It also works in reverse order - if you write a story for another challenge/Big Bang, it's totally okay to use it to fill a prompt/some prompts here.

8. If more than one person can claim the same thing, doesn't that make it less special?

Perhaps. But more often than not, what I see happen is a person claims something, they write a few stories for it or forget about it completely, and then drop it. Some other poor writer sits and waits... and waits... and waits... and finally loses interest from waiting so long for the first person to finish the claim they want. It's a system that just doesn't work well and causes bad feelings. Let's face it, fanfic takes a back seat to Real Life, and because of this, many people will take a long time to finish their claims. I want you to tackle your claims while you're still excited about them.

If you want to feel special, remember that you get an author tag, and no one else has that tag. When people click on it, they only see YOUR stories. :)

9. How central does the prompt have to be in my fic?

Basically, you can just use it for inspiration. Your story should be about the prompt, suggest the prompt, contain the prompt, or discuss the prompt in some manner. There needs to be a bit more than just a mention of the word in your story. Feel free to interpret prompts creatively.

10. What do I do when I've completed all my fics?

When you've completed all your fics, send an email to so I can give you a shiny banner to post wherever you want. You can also request your banner by replying to this post. Once I've confirmed that your claim is finished, you will be declared a Big Swedish Meatball and your name will be added to the Hall of Fame. Bork bork bork!

11. Are fic collaborations allowed?

Yes, but there are some limitations to this:

- Collaborations are limit 2 authors. (Unless... see below)
- You must write for the same claim. Two people work on all stories together, where both contribute to each story. (This also includes Role-Play scenarios converted into story form.) (Unless... see below)
- If you are both working on one table, you cannot have one person write half the stories and the other write the other half; both writers must contribute to every story. (Unless... see below)

If you want to do the half and half scenario, each writer should claim one table of at least 10 prompts (so, two separate tables with different prompts on them) and then each writer fill their own table, building on the same universe. This is how you can do collaborations of more than two authors as well - each author claim and fill their own table.

If you really like doing fic collaborations and often have multiple co-writers, it is okay to make a claim here. You are the common denominator every story has - you write for every story, right? So make your claim, and be sure to credit your co-writer for each story (you should get their permission to pimp the story out here as well). This could be another way to post RPG-play converted to story form that has been written by multiple participants - if you contribute to each RP scenario that you'll be posting, then you could make a claim with it here. However, make sure you have everyone's permission to do so, and credit everybody. ("Credit" can mean pointing us in the direction of the journal where the RPG takes place/collaborative stories are posted, as long as all the writers/players are okay with that.)

If you often write with other people in some way, there is probably a way to make it work for a claim here. Just reply to this post with your scenario and I'll tell you how it can be done if you're not sure how to do it.

12. Do I have to fill the prompts in order?

No, not unless you want to.

13. Can one story fit more than one prompt?

No. The exception to this rule would be if you claimed more than one table for one claim. Like, let's say you claimed Alec of "Dark Angel" for two different Buffet Tables. Your story could fit one prompt from each table, just not the same table. The prompts have to be different. I have found that it is far more challenging to make a story fit more than one prompt anyway, so, fun!

Multi-chaptered stories fall under their own rules:

14. What if I'm writing a long, multi-chaptered story? Can each chapter be used for a different prompt?

Yes, as long as each chapter you are using to fill a prompt is at least 100 words. One prompt per chapter. (Unless you claim more than one table. See #13.)

15. So I could write, say, a 10-chapter story, with each 100+ word chapter filling one prompt?


16. But I cannot fill two prompts from the same table with one chapter?

Right, you cannot. See #13.

17. Can I fill a prompt with a random chapter from a story I'm working on?


18. I can also write one story with, say, three chapters filling three prompts, and another story with seven chapters filling seven prompts, and so on?

By George, I think you've got it! ;)

19. Should I Friend's Lock my posts? Can I disable comments?

Please don't. Please don't as well. They only make my job as a mod more difficult.

20. Can I link to Friend's Locked posts in my own journal?

No, please don't. Your stories need to be available to everyone to read. I also will not link to any Flocked claim table posts on the master list.

If you've got a story that would normally be posted to a friend's locked journal, and you want to link to it in accordance with fulfilling this challenge, here's what you can do instead: Post the story directly to this community. Put it behind a LJ-cut. If the story is adult in nature, you can also Flag it. How Flagging works. The same goes for your prompt table; if your journal is all friend's locked, you can post the table to this comm behind a LJ-cut.

21. Do I have to post my stories (or links to those stories) that fulfill the prompts to the community in order to complete the challenge?

Yes, that's the point. When you tell me you've completed your challenge, I must find all stories/chapters (or links to those stories) posted to the community for that claim before I will declare you finished. Each story must be at least 100 words in order for you to pass as well. I won't declare you finished and make you a banner unless you meet at least these two criteria.

22. If I post a story directly to the comm instead of linking to it elsewhere, should I use a LJ-cut? If that story is rated R or NC-17, should I take advantage of LJ's flagging system and mark it Adult Concepts or Explicit Adult Content?

Yes and yes, I would appreciate it if you would. How to make a LJ-cut. How Flagging works. LJ-cuts are required, Flagging is not. (Flagging is just appreciated.)

23. Can we fill prompts with art/manips?

No, sorry. We're just going to stick with fanfic for now.

24. Okay, I'm ready to post! What now?

Post a link to your story using this header:


or one like it.

25. What if I want to do a Buffet Table with more than 100 prompts? What then?

Make more than one claim. Like, if you want to do 130 prompts, make a 100 prompt table and a 30 prompt table. If you want to take on 300 prompts, claim three 100 prompt tables. Or, if you're skilled with HTML, combine them all into one table. I know what it's like to need a huge prompt table monkey on your back. So claim to your heart's content!

26. Can I post stories that are not in English?

Yes. Please post your header in English, though, and identify what language the story is in. That way, people can use online translators to read the story if they need to. :)

27. How do tags work again?

You get your tags when you post your first story. This is because a lot of people make a claim and then completely forget about it. Poor, lonely, forgotten tags with no posts to point to. If I (the mod) wait until you post your first story before I create your tags, then there are no pathetic orphan tags hanging out there in space. Yay!

I will tag your first entry within a few days of its posting with all necessary tags, but you should tag all subsequent posts. Tags benefit you - they lead people to your stories. I will make sure every post has at least an author tag. But the other tags are your responsibility after your first post. Please don't give me extra work to do - learn to tag your own entries!

To clarify, the fact that I will make sure every post has an author tag does not mean that you shouldn't do this tagging yourself! If an author tag has been made for you, you should use it for all your posts after that first post. It's an extremely helpful and necessary tag.

Author tag: author: sailorhathor
Fandom tag: supernatural

Please do not put in the body of your post, "Can I get a tag for ________?" (It kind of annoys me, since I've made it clear here that some tags will not be created until you put up your first post.) When I see your post, I will make all necessary tags for it that do not already exist. You can make this easy for me by clearly stating your claim in the post. If I can't tell what fandom you're posting for, guess what? You don't get a tag for it. ;) You should not substitute the "can I get a tag for" nag instead. :P

28. If people can choose whatever prompts they want, doesn't that make it a less challenging challenge? I mean, most people will pick only prompts they like, not ones that might be hard for them.

I understand this point, but I disagree with the logic of it because of what I've observed with other fanfic challenges. What usually happens is people will ignore the prompts that don't inspire them. They will either never finish their table because they simply can't think of anything to write for those prompts, or they'll slap together something boring and hastily written just to fill them. Where's the fun in that?

I'd rather that people only write stories they are excited to write. That will only happen if the prompts inspire them. That's why you are given a choice. If you want to do a more structured table, we've got those. If you want to choose all your prompts, we've got tables like that too.

29. Can I just make up my own prompt table out of my head?

Er, no. If you're going to do that, you don't need this community to do it. :D However, you can submit your prompt table for consideration by replying to this post! (Or the Drop Off Your Tables post.) Then, not only you can use it, but everyone.

30. What's a smorgasbord?

It's the Swedish word for a buffet, where many different dishes are laid out on a table for diners to choose from. Kind of like a potluck supper in the USA.

31. So what does "Bork bork bork!" mean?

It's something the Swedish Chef from "The Muppet Show" says a lot. :D Smorgasbord, Swedish, bork? (It's okay for me to make that joke! I'm part Swedish. ;D)

32. Isn't it sort of contradictory to write fanfic stories based on prompts to cure a fanfic challenge addiction?

It's a joke, son, you missed it! Went right past ya! ;)

33. What does the fc in fc_smorgasbord stand for?

Fanfic Challenge. :)

34. What if I claim my table, and then a new one goes up that I like more? Can I switch?

If you have not started your original table, you can switch, just let me know. If you did start it, you can either finish it and make a claim with the new table as well, or turn your table into a Buffet table by replacing the prompts you don't want anymore with the new prompts you do like.

35. Do I need to choose all the Buffet prompts I want before I make my claim?

No, just let me know how many prompts you think you want when you make your claim. However, you must choose all your prompts before you post any stories.

36. I've posted my table but there are no borders around it. What gives?

Some journal styles won't show the borders around tables, for some reason. Something with their specific HTML interferes with the border HTML. But it's not a problem; the most important thing is that we can see the rest - the prompts. :)

However, if it bothers you enough to want to fix it, sunstreakerslut provided this helpful tip:

Add the following to the Custom CSS via the Customize Journal Style link -

.asset-body table, .asset-body td { border: 1px solid #000000; }

Once you go into the Customize area and click the link that says you want to Customize your Theme, you'll see a link that says Custom CSS. Enter the text supplied above in the box and Save the changes.

37. When I tried to post my claim, my comment was marked as "suspicious" (spam). Does that mean you won't get it/approve it?

No, I still get those comments and as long as they are an actual claim, I approve them. There's been so much of the spam comment BS over the last few years that I had to do everything I could to make sure spammers can't comment here (as did LJ), and this results in some legitimate comments getting marked as spam. I can tell the difference, though, so don't worry. ;)

Final Points to Cover:

- More than one person can claim the same thing at one time. Therefore, if you are dropping your claim, it's not necessary to say, "I don't want to hold the claim up for someone else who might want it! *dramatic self-sacrificing hand to forehead*" Just drop it already. It's okay. ^_^
- You get your tags when you post your first story.
-To Serve Man is a cookbook.

Should you have any more questions, please feel free to comment to this post. If one of these rules confuses you or you'd like to (politely) question why it is what it is, reply to this post.

Tags: faqs, rules

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