Ficathon

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Synonyms: Thing-a-Thon, thingathon
See also: challenge, gift exchange, fest
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Contents

A ficathon is a challenge in which each participant is assigned to write fanfic based on another participant's request.

Sometimes stories are posted anonymously for a period of time, after which the authors are revealed. Other ficathons do not keep the authors' identities a secret after stories are posted.

If such a challenge allows participants to offer and request various types of fanworks (such as fanart or icons) and not just fanfic, it is usually called a Thing-a-Thon or just exchange, as e.g. the Trek Exchange community.

Fan Opinion

coffeeandink wrote: "Ficathons ought, theoretically, to be able to encourage experimentation as well as stifle it; but so much is dependent on the writer's initiative. And I don't know whether readers of ficathon material are *looking* for experimentation. My own personal experience (given the statistically unreliable sampling of two entire fic challenges) is that one person was deeply unhappy with experimentation and one person was delighted with it." [1]

Pros

musesfool wrote: "As someone who's running a challenge and has run and participated in one or more in the past, I think they can certainly spur creativity and jolt people into writing things they never planned or thought of." [2]

sophia helix wrote: "I for one would never say anything about a non-writer complaining about ficathons -- I'd be too busy applauding. :) Seriously, it's a trend, like reality programming, that I keep thinking is going to burn itself out and yet, inexplicably has grown in popularity." [3]

franzeska wrote: "The third [ficathon story I wrote] was another Christmas exchange thing, and the story got me a few weird comments and lots of (possibly deserved) flaming, but I got to stalk the recipient's lj, and I was fairly pleased with my final product... I'm currently writing vampire porn for a friend. Writing to one's friend's tastes can be liberating if one gets in a bit of a rut. It feels quite different from some ficathons I've seen and very much like the Christmas fic exchanges." [4]

copracat wrote: "Ficathons (and challenges)... I use as inspiration. All the ficathons I've been involved with have called with the lure of several sirens before I cave and join in. They catalyse floating thoughts and ideas and or provide a boot up the arse for a stalled story." [5]

Cons

musesfool wrote :"I keep meaning to do a post on how ficathons are just... urgh. People spend so much time writing fic for challenges, to other people's specs, that they aren't writing their own stories for their own enjoyment quite as much anymore, and I find that a little sad." [6]

cathexys wrote: "...i miss all the writers whiling away on long plotty sexy fics...everyone's busy writing snippets to fulfill one assignment or another!... for me it really is the quantity of stories that are often produced under stress and often are not the writers at their best (and i'm not talking about divine muses here but simply writing something you want to writer rather than must write)." [7]

musesfool wrote: "I think many people overcommit in a flurry of "Ooh, that sounds good" and then either bail or produce shoddy work and the other participants - especially if it's a fic exchange, which many ficathons are, at base - are left hanging (witness me writing seven Remix pinch hit stories. That's not fair to me, or to the people whose stories I remixed on the fly, even if a couple of them luckily turned out really well). So you get hurt feelings and jadedness, on top of lots of wacky fic that isn't really suiting the writer or the majority of readers. It's the constant running of them in myriad fandoms, and people just signing up for ficathon after ficathon without producing anything not challenge related, that niggles at me." [8]

Ficathon Communities

There are several livejournal communities where new ficathons can be announced.

  • multificathon -- "A community to pimp any kind of ficathon you can think of."
  • seasonsficcings -- "Season's Ficcings is a community with two purposes: to provide a master list of as many holiday fanfic exchanges as possible, and to give people the opportunity to promote their exchanges."
  • _challenged_ -- "_Challenged_ is meant to be a multi-fandom, fanfiction ficathon tracking service"
  • hp_ficathons -- "If you are running a challenge, a fest or a ficathon in the HP fandom - however formal or informal, however large or small, for art/fiction/essays - feel free to make your announcements here."

References

  1. three years, three months, and 1,188 entries later, page one; Archive page one (2004)
  2. three years, three months, and 1,188 entries later, page one; Archive page one (2004)
  3. three years, three months, and 1,188 entries later, page one; Archive page one (2004)
  4. three years, three months, and 1,188 entries later, page one; Archive page one (2004)
  5. three years, three months, and 1,188 entries later, page one; Archive page one (2004)
  6. three years, three months, and 1,188 entries later, page one; Archive page one (2004)
  7. three years, three months, and 1,188 entries later, page one; Archive page one (2004)
  8. three years, three months, and 1,188 entries later, page one; Archive page one (2004)
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