Big Bang, Baby Challenge

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Name: Big Bang, Baby
Date(s): 2005, 2007, 2008
Founder: shaggirl, Reena, Aja
Type: Big Bang challenge
Fandom: Harry Potter
Associated Community: big_bang_hd on LiveJournal, Archived version (defunct)
big_bang_hd on Dreamwidth (imported)
URL: Big Bang, Baby Challenge Archive (original website)
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The banner for the first round of the Big Bang, Baby Challenge in 2005

The Big Bang, Baby Challenge was an invitation-only Harry/Draco challenge created in 2005 by shaggirl, Reena, and Aja to remedy "a perceived lack of canon-based novel-length H/D fics in the wake of The Order of the Phoenix."[1] The stated goal of the first challenge was:

To write the definitive post-OoTP Harry/Draco fic, where the boys remain boys; and keep their wands, their fists, and of course their cocks, in evidence. No sudden shifts of character, no selective back-story editing, no excuses! Just raw, real, and uncut-- the ultimate Harry vs. Draco showdown.[2]

Big Bang, Baby is the origin of the name and style of the Big Bang type of fic/art exchanges. However, its format is somewhat different from later big bangs.

Some History

In 2012 interview, Aja said:

I don't think any of us were prepared for the Big Bang. (laughs) Because we—essentially the other two creators of the challenge came to me, shaggirl and Reena and they both said to me, "We want to do this challenge and we want you to do it with us," and I was like, Okay! Essentially, they wanted to focus on fan art. And one of the things we've had issues with as a trio is letting go of the idea, because we specifically structured our Big Bang around the idea of illustrated fan art for these epic long sagas of Harry/Draco and their violent passion for each other.


It was always supposed to be 50,000 words, no limits—I mean, no—no exceptions. We actually have kicked a couple—we kicked a couple people out of our challenge because they didn't meet the word requirement. And now we're just like, Enh. (laughs) Even if they got—. We had one guy get—he had like, I don't know—he was like two-thirds of the way done, but it was like the day of, and we thought he had no chance finishing, so we just ditched him. He's very angry, he's still very angry with us. But that was just how—. I mean as mods, we were trying to be like very very strict about the word limit so that the artists wouldn't feel like they had been let down.[3]

And then we had to be very strict about you know, how many, how many pieces of art every illustrator—every illustrator did, because we wanted the people who had written you know, 50,000 words of fic to feel like they had actually had gotten, you know, at least two pieces of art per. I think we actually bumped it to three pieces of art, or tried to, because we were really really concerned that people, you know, feel like had actually illustrated art for their stories and not just like one really crappy piece of art done in a hurry. So we really really tried to focus on the art, and we tried to focus on, sort of, rewarding the artists for rewarding the fan writers with this gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous art that we all really loved. And the artists were wonderful. We really had great artists the whole time we did the challenge.[4]

We actually had—we had a couple of issues every year we ran it with ourselves as moderators, just in terms of primarily getting the website up and running. And the last year that we ran it—(laughs) actually, both of my other moderators came to me on the same day and tried to quit. (laughs) And I was like, Um, no! Because we don't have a website coded yet! And it was always about—. Essentially, the moderator that we essentially depended on to design the website was always very slow and would kind of go in to this—. She would freak out and kind of go into this, like, paralysis where she would just not do anything. And we'd essentially have to wait until the very, very last minute, and then yell at her a lot and get her to do it. And then I'd have to go in and frantically code everything, and it was just a nightmare. Especially cause you're coding these giant, giant fics. So that's one thing that really hurt us as a challenge, was that we coded everything by hand, manually, and every year we tried to make it look really nice. And I think we did a decent job, but our—our moderator that designed everything would get these fits of wanting to go in and redesign everything. So we'd come and we'd like find that our entire homepage looked different, and that the original art that we'd commissioned to go on the homepage was gone and—and we're still actually—we never did straighten that out because (laughs) we kept e-mailing her and being like, Can you put the art back please? and she just never did. So, obviously this is why we never did a fourth Big Bang. We got to, we got to the first round, and then we did the second round, and then the third round almost didn't happen and then we fell apart during it and, like, barely refrained from hating each other after it was all over.[5]

The Art

From the 2012 interview with Aja:

I just wish [other Big Bangs] wouldn't do away with the idea of illustrated art, because to me the fact that you could get beautifully-done art that people really spent time on, and the fact that you always had that month in between, like that month after you submitted your fic and at least a month after that for people to draw. Like, that, to me was always super important, and we really really tried to get artists who would really be true to the spirit, and we had wonderful artists. Like the last year, just looking at the list, we had one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven artists for eight fics. So—and those were the artists that actually you know, didn't flake out and didn't drop out. So we had close to thirty artists selected because we just wanted to work with the best, and I feel like it cheapens it when you can just, you know, basically Photoshop something. And I know people, a lot of people think that Photoshopping is art and it's—it's photo manipulation and a lot of it's beautiful, but a lot of it isn't. And I—. We also all, we already—. We always chose our artists. We didn't make it so you could just sign up, we were very—. Like, we would make spreadsheets and we would haggle. We would start haggling for months in advance over which artist we wanted, and we had this very, like, strict system that never changed that we could each get like two artists we each picked. Like the first years, two artists and we each got a wild card. So, we would haggle over our two artists each for like, days, and weeks, and months and then at the end everyone would throw in their wild card, like the one that they had to have like no matter what. So, um—so yeah. And it evolved over the years but we were very—. We always wanted to pick the rtists that we worked with because we were very cared very much about the art.[6]