You guys are off to a great official start! If you haven’t already started writing, you have 55 DAYS to get your fic completed, which breaks down as a minimum of 273 words a day. Still very doable, even if you haven’t begun yet.

Have some chapters already together and need a beta? We have several betas signed up as well and ready to take on your project!

You can view the promised list of willing beta authors here!

There are only a few people now, but we expect the number to grow as the challenge goes along. For that, though, we need you to sign up! If you think being a beta reader is something you’d enjoy, then don’t hesitate and help a fellow author out. You can sign up as a beta even if you’re already participating as an author or an artist, or even if you’re not participating at all. You can find the sign-up form here.

The same thing also applies to pinch-hitters! If you’d like to do art for this challenge but are signed up as an author, being a pinch-hitter is a great way how to get to do some art as well. Or if you’re an artist who wants to do art for more than one fic - pinch-hitting is the solution! You can sign up to be a pinch-hitter here.

And for the authors who are busy at work, we only have one message: YOU CAN DO IT! And we’re here to help you get there! Good luck to everyone who has signed up so far, and remember- authors have until April 29th to decide if they’d like to participate.





This is not a drill or an April Fools’ joke! The moment you’ve been waiting for is here! The promised day has finally arrived, pun intended!


Don’t forget to read the Rules and Schedule before you sign up, so that you are up to date on everything. And if you have any questions, don’t be afraid tocontact us!

Authors’ sign-ups are open until April 30th 2016.

Artists’ sign-ups are open until May 26th 2016.

Beta readers and pinch-hitters’ sign-ups are open throughout the entire run of the challenge.

And now, without further ado…



First Timers (Artists)

I remember the excitement (and anxiety) of my first big bang. I was an artist, and had no idea what to expect.  Would my author like my art style? Could I capture the scene as they’d imagined it? What if they didn’t like it?

For artists, the Big Bang is a whole different ball game.  You’re given a piece of work that you have to make come alive in a very special way, and it can definitely be a daunting task, particularly if you’re assigned a really great story or an author you really admire.  In marking our one week mark before sign ups, here’s a list of tips that might be helpful for first artists who are participating in their first Big Bang fest.

  • When you get your author assignment, you should have a discussion about the story you’re illustrating. If you’ve read through the draft and have a few ideas on what you’d like to draw or manipulate into existence, that’s wonderful!  Share your ideas with your author!  If you’re at a loss and can’t really decide on any scenes, asking your author for help might be in order.  Settle on what scenes are going to be illustrated before even cracking open your art program.  Things to consider when deciding are…

  • How many illustrations do you feel you can create within the time frame? With some stories, you only have time to do the minimum- a sketchy scene that goes well with the fic but requires little time or effort (because life is often demanding of our precious time: work, school, social life).  If you’re the type of person that knows you’re gonna procrastinate to the very last second, you might want to do only the required two pieces and call it a day.  But if you’re on top of things and have the time, feel free to do more, and more detailed- which brings me to the next point…

  • How detailed do you want your art to be? Now, when you’re thinking about this, keep in mind your author is creating a massive fic, 15,000 words long at the minimum!  And some go longer than that! Putting your best work with their best work is best for a great presentation.  Stick figures with a detailed and involving fic is insulting, not mention incredibly rude. Of course, no one’s expecting lifelike realness, and no one’s expecting spot on copies of the anime art. Authors expect nothing more and nothing less than an effort to the best of your ability.

  • Stay in contact with your author. Nothing is more frustrating and nerve-wracking as an author than an artist that shows up once and never checks in.  Did they drop out?  Are they even working on anything?  Don’t be afraid to share rough sketches with your author to be sure you’re both getting what you’re expecting.  They have shared their rough draft with you, it’s only kind to keep them updated as you go along.  A quick preview can save tons of disappointment later.


  • Feel free to send them along to your author so they can place the art where it belongs in the fic. DO NOT POST THEM ONLINE UNTIL POSTING OPENS. This is something that can get you and your author in some serious trouble. (I made this mistake once, trust me)

  • Once posting opens, feel free to post them anywhere and everywhere, and link back to the posted fic so that your followers and fans can get the context for the artwork you created!

  • AUTHORS WILL NOT BE PAYING YOU FOR THESE WORKS OF ART. ANYONE CHARGING FOR ART WILL BE IMMEDIATELY DISQUALIFIED AND BANNED FROM FUTURE ROUNDS WITH US.* This should go without saying, but it doesn’t matter if you’re a routinely paid fan artist that sells art at cons or just a hobby artist. This is not an opportunity for you to make money.

THINGS TO REMEMBER: Your art must be either an original work of art, or if you will be participating as a graphic editor, made using OFFICIAL FMA artwork to manipulate into illustrations. YOU CANNOT USE OTHER PEOPLE’S FAN ART FOR THIS FEST. Not even if you have permission.  It has to be art from screencaps from either series, any of the video games, movies, OVAs, or the official art books or promotional images.

You must provide TWO original drawn works or FOUR manipulated illustrations at the bare minimum.

Granted, artists are going to be pretty bored until the end of May.  But while you’re resting up and doing your carpal stretches in preparation for your assignments, you can take the time to organize any drawing reference pics you have (for example, I’m terrible at hands and feet and have multiple reference pics saved into easy to access places), create a playlist to help inspire you, get some fragrant candles to encourage calm creativity- basically ready your space to get to work.  Authors aren’t done with their fics while you’re working either, they’ll be making changes and polishing their stories with their betas.

Pinch hitters, or artists who pick up the slack when other artists have to drop out suddenly, will be notified if there’s a need for them. In some cases there will be some art already finished, other cases you’ll need to provide all of the art. We’ll be keeping everyone informed as the fest progresses so that pinch hitters are well aware of the situations as they arise.

If you’re coming to this Big Bang with no prior experience, this list may seem very daunting.  But it really does work out to be a lot of fun, and you’ll walk away with lots of new friends and fans.  And as always, feel free to ask questions, that’s what the mods are here for!  Many of us have participated as both artists and authors, so don’t be scared to ask!

*Authors submitting to the 2016 FMABB WILL NOT be paying for illustrations. If the author decides to write a sequel OUTSIDE of the FMABB and desires the same artist for the sequel, the artist can charge for illustrations.  As sequels are not allowed in the FMABB, there would be no infraction on the rules at that point.



First Timers (Authors)

The first time I signed up to write for the FMABB, it was a reverse big bang, where the artist went first and the author wrote a 20k fic around the artwork.  I participated as both an artist and an author (and my author bailed on me!) and I had the best time writing for the fest!  The fic I wrote? It turned into a trilogy that spanned over three years in the making and is my longest work to date- a total of nearly 250,000 words, over twenty original characters, and dozens of illustrations- all spawned from one piece of art that barely had a background.

If you’ve never written for any Big Bang before, it can seem like an incredibly intimidating event.  You’re expected to write at least 15,000 words and it has to be complete (not betaed however) and submitted in a relatively short amount of time.  But trust me, you can do this!  Let’s take a look at some ways to help get you from a blank page to submitting your first draft on time.

  • YOU SHOULD ALREADY BE WRITING.  If you’re not writing, you’re only slowing yourself down in the long run.  Haven’t started yet?  If you start right now today, you have SEVENTY DAYS to write 15,000 words. That’s only 215 words a day!  Five to ten minutes of your time!  So start writing right now if you haven’t yet begun.

  • Don’t feel like you have to stop at 15,000 words.  If you get on a roll and seem to fly through the word count, keep going!  There have been fics submitted well past the minimum count before.  So long as you can submit that completed, rough draft on May 26th, the rest is up to you.

  • Treat your artist with respect! Your partner is allowed to illustrate your story as they see fit and feel is best - that’s their part of the challenge. You, as an author, can offer suggestions or ask your artist for a certain scene to be illustrated, but remember that the artist is allowed to say no. The artist is not your fanart-creating slave - the challenge should be fun for both parties. Authors are granted a very wide berth creatively-wise; the artists should be given the same freedom.

  • While the artists are busy creating their half of the fest, you’re going to be working with your beta and making this fic ultra polished and super magnificent. It’s important to realize that when a beta makes suggestions, they’re doing so to make sure you submit a perfect piece- not to mock your writing or take over your vision.  Most betas will carefully comb your work for grammar and punctuation, flow of paragraphs and sentences, and occasionally offer insight if a character strays into the land of “OOC”.  In the end, you make the changes you’re comfortable with, because it’s your story.

  • Communication is key! All of us have different responsibilities in life, we live in varying time zones, and our time management differs greatly. If your artist doesn’t reply to you within an hour, or even a day, that’s okay - they are working hard on the challenge as well. However, the communication between the author and the artist should be functional at least - if you feel like your partner is not responding to you for suspiciously long time, don’t be afraid to contact the mods.


If you’re lucky enough to get your fic polished and ready to post before August 22nd, sit back and take a well deserved break!  Join the mods in cheerleading the remaining participants!  You might check in with your artist and offer some words of support and encouragement while you give your fingers a break.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, ask a mod!  We’re here to help and many of us have entered as both artist and author, so don’t be afraid to ask.


*Authors submitting to the 2016 FMABB WILL NOT be paying for illustrations. If the author decides to write a sequel OUTSIDE of the FMABB and desires the same artist for the sequel, the artist can charge for illustrations.  As sequels are not allowed in the FMABB, there would be no infraction on the rules at that point.



With THREE WEEKS before sign ups, let's talk about BETAS!

What is a beta?  A beta is fanfic jargon for ‘editor’.  A good beta will read every rough draft an author writes (and subsequent drafts) and go over them with a fine tooth comb, catching spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, as well as offer insight into how to make sentences and paragraphs flow better, and even offer suggestions if an author gets stuck on a particular plot point.  What makes a beta different from an editor is that betas can usually tell you if the characters you’re writing are out of character, and that’s a huge deal in fan fiction.

Having a beta look at a fic gives an author the opportunity to share polished work that doesn’t look as if it’s been scribbled down and quickly posted.  As an author myself, it really helped me learn how to be a better writer in general.  I used to have problems switching POV and tenses a lot until a beta worked with me to help me know when I was making those mistakes.  When it came to fan fiction, it helped me learn how to keep certain characters in character (like Sesshomaru from InuYasha for example…  Man, I had a hell of a time with him!).  If you were to look back through my fics, you can tell the point I started using a beta, because my stories got so much better overall.

For the first time, the FMA Big Bang is going to be holding beta sign ups in addition to author and artist sign ups.

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Sign-ups are ONE MONTH AWAY!!

Have you been thinking about what you'd like to write?  Have you already started?  In either case, April 1st is fast approaching and the mods are gearing up for a fantastic round!  We'll be posting a little more frequently as our opening day gets closer, so keep your eyes peeled!  In the meantime, enjoy a few motivational and helpful hints we've posted to Tumblr.
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Exciting news!

This round (and possibly all future rounds depending on our success), we will be partnering with the tumblr blog fmabigbang!  We will be teaming up to post across both websites to increase readership and participation, and ultimately celebrate our love for writing and creating art for the Fullmetal Alchemist universe.

So what does that mean for our participants here on LJ?
Basically, you'll do what you've done in the past- check here (or on tumblr) for schedules, updates, anything pertaining to what's going on.  When it comes time to post your works, you'll post either the entire fic here (formatted and with art inside and in the right spots) or AO3 or whatever host site you choose, then I will submit that post to the tumblr side of things where it will be posted for all of tumblr to see and enjoy.  Once that blog post has been made, I will link it up to your LJ post here, so you can keep track of how many likes and reblogs you're getting on tumblr, without actually having to have a tumblr account.  For those of you who don't have a tumblr and have no plans of getting one, the number of notes on a post is how many people are liking and sharing your story, kind of like how facebook keeps track of shares and likes.

Even though this is going to be across both LJ and tumblr, you do not need to have a tumblr account.
When all participants have posted, I will gather all the links up and make a master post, that way we can all see everyone's hard work.  You won't have to go to tumblr at all if you don't want to.  The link to your story's tumblr post is only so you can see how far your tale is going over there.

There will be some changes to the rules. I'm not anticipating anything too major.  As of right now there are only two set in stone: NO CROSSOVERS, CHARACTERS MUST BE OVER AGE 15 FOR SEXY TIMES.

All that being said, let me get you a schedule of upcoming dates.

April 1, 2016- AUTHOR and ARTIST sign ups OPEN
April 30, 2016- AUTHOR sign ups CLOSED
May 26, 2016- ARTIST sign ups CLOSED, Rough Drafts DUE
May 27, 2016- Summaries posted for preview
May 28-31 2016- Artist claims
June 1, 2016- Claims masterpost
July 14 2016- Check-ins
August 19, 2016- Art DUE
August 22, 2016- POSTING BEGINS
September 4, 2016-

As always, some dates can be extended but others CANNOT. As we always have more authors than artists, the author sign ups WILL BE CLOSED on April 30th, NO EXCEPTIONS.  Rough drafts received after May 26 may not get an artist.  It's important to follow the timeline so everyone can have a great experience.


Get those creative juices flowing and we'll keep you updated along the way!
fierce quiet

FMA Big Bang 2015: "Sleeping in the Fire"

Title: Sleeping in the Fire
Author: Sonja Jade
Artist: HitanTenshi
Beta: cornerofmadness, bay115
Series/Version: Brotherhood, Sorcery AU
Word Count: ~22,000
Summary: Young Roy Mustang travels to the city of Bolton, where a Gen. Raven governs over the citizens. In exchange for saving his life with a kind of magic that can only be taught by skilled sorcerers, Gen. Raven promises to do what he can to get Roy apprenticed to his personal magician, Berthold Hawkeye. While at first, it appears that Master Hawkeye doesn't care much for Roy, that all changes once he proves his intentions by dedicating himself to his studies and mastering the art of sorcery. When Master Kimblee, the King's personal magician and overseer of the Journeyman level sorcerers, comes to collect any philosopher's stones Master Hawkeye may have, Roy is insulted by his behavior and casts a spell on him. Things go quickly downhill for the entire household after that. What happens afterward will chill your blood and break your heart. Find out what happens when magic is used for both good and evil, and why you should always leave the dead in their graves.
Warnings: Major character death, violence
Characters: Roy Mustang, Riza and Berthold Hawkeye, Zolf Kimblee, Gen. Raven, Madame Christmas, Isaac MacDougal, Hayate
Author's Notes: Inspired by a song of the same name by the band called W.A.S.P. If you like 80's hair bands, it's worth a listen.

Link to AO3