For a more general faq, here is an AO3 exchange faq for participants.
What is Not Ready For Prime Time (Fandoms)?Not Ready For Prime Time (Fandoms), or otherwise known as Not Prime Time, is a gen, het, femslash, and slash multifandom secret fiction exchange for medium sized fandoms. The name was taken from the nickname of the SNL cast who were called "Not ready for prime time players" when the show first began. Basically? This is for the fandoms that are medium sized and are not megafandoms.
Not Prime Time was inspired by Yuletide (the obscure or rare written fandoms exchange) and much of the format and rules are based off that exchange.
Who runs the project?Bridget McKennitt and Jenn Calaelen do. Bridget mostly runs the front end of the exchange while Jenn runs the back end as well as the pinch hitters group.
They can be found at bridgetmc / bridgetmkennitt and jenn_calaelen /jenn_calaelen. If you have any questions about the exchange, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and not through PMs on our journal accounts. This way both mods can read and answer your questions.
Who can participate?Anyone who has an Archive of Our Own (otherwise known as AO3) account can sign up. If you don't have an AO3 account, please let us know ahead of time so we can get you an invite. There will be a post in npt_admin offering AO3 invites as well.
Do I have to have a Dreamwidth account to participate in Not Prime Time?No. The exchange is happening on AO3, including sign ups and nominations. The comms are for important announcements from the moderators or for discussion and sharing. This can be done without a DW, though we highly recommend following the npt_admin comm.
You can subscribe to the comm on the journaling site if you’d like.
We also have a Not Prime Time tumblr that will mirror posts from npt_admin if that suits your needs better.
What is the 2017 Not Prime Time schedule?
April 5 to 15 - Nominations
April 15 to 18 - Corrections
April 19 to 30 - Sign ups
May 3 - Assignments go out by the latest
May 5 - Madness collection and prompts open
July 3 - Stories due
July 11 - Main collection goes live
July 12 - Madness collection goes live
July 14 - Author reveals
How do I contact the moderators?Email us at email@example.com or comment on one of our posts. Please do not use journal PMs.
How is the list of fandoms for the tag set created?Each year we compile a new list of fandoms from potential participants; each person nominating up to seven fandoms. Each year, the fandoms within the tag set change, whether it is because a fandom grew into a megafandom or someone didn't nominate a fandom that was there the year before. For a fandom to be included in the current year, it must be newly nominated by at least one person and still within the guidelines of a medium sized fandom.
What constitutes a medium sized fandom?Our guidelines for a medium sized fandom is a) a fandom that fits NPT guidelines (see more details below) and b) isn't a known fandom with over 20,000 fics available. A fandom that isn't listed on the current Yuletide nominations list can also be included as a medium sized fandom. (megafandom list) Anything else is a judgement call between the moderators.
If you have a correction to be made, please comment to the Corrections entry with links and data showing that a particular fandom should be on the nomination list or shouldn't be on the nomination list. We greatly appreciate it. We do not strictly hold ourselves to Yuletide's guidelines because of how often theirs changes and how often a fandom can be considered rare or not rare by their standards.
RPF is allowed within Not Prime Time and is an exception to the requirement of "a fandom that isn't listed on the current Yuletide nominations list." We do ask that participants keep to the spirit of the exchange and do not nominate/request very rare RPF as it will be harder to find a match for you. It is still held to the megafandoms requirement, however.
If your RPF pairing (as actors) haven't worked together on a project (like Jessica Alba and Michael Weatherly on Dark Angel RPF or Tyler Hoechlin and Tyler Posey on Teen Wolf RPF), you can nominate them under the umbrella Actor RPF category. Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, however, are ineligible from Actor RPF, though they can be nominated under their other acting projects that isn't Supernatural RPF/CW RPF (ie Jensen Ackles can be nominated under Dark Angel RPF and Jared Padalecki can be nominated under Gilmore Girls RPF, etc).
Movie fandoms with over 1000 stories on fanfiction.net and/or over 100 stories on AO3 will be considered medium sized fandoms, as long as they are not considered megafandoms as well. No other filters required (in English or completed or over 1000 words). Just straight numbers.
The reason for this is movie fandoms tend to have a shorter lifespan than other fandoms because of its smaller canon so we're adjusting for that.
For a non-RPF or non-movie fandom to be considered eligible for Not Prime Time, a fandom needs to be either considered ineligible for Yuletide via their rejected fandom list or surpass one or more of these guidelines, but not considered a megafandom:
-Is there 200+ stories, in English, over 1000 words on AO3?
-Is there 1000+ stories, in English, over 1000 words on fanfiction.net?
-Does the fandom have an existing, fandom-specific archives (including LJ comms) of more than 500 stories?
-Does it already have its own seasonal/holiday exchange?
By surpass, we mean if Fandom X has 201 stories, in English, over 1000 words on AO3, it's in. We're not going to play around with guessing games for both mods' and participants' sakes.
Notice that the 'completed' filter on both AO3 and fanfiction.net has been taken out. This is mainly due to the fact that when fanfiction.net instituted the completed/incomplete filter, many older, completed works were grandfathered in as incomplete.
Yes, this means, between all three categories of fandoms, there will be overlap of fandoms between Yuletide and Not Prime Time. We are okay with this as this gives more opportunities for the borderline fandoms to be written. It also means Not Prime Time does not have to change its eligibility rules to exactly match Yuletide's year by year.
*We are aware that not so rare fandoms do slip through the cracks and are eligible for Yuletide, especially anime/manga/video game fandoms. If you’d like to nominate one of those fandoms for Not Prime Time, nominate it and it can be discussed during Corrections. We are also aware that a fandom may have grown bigger since it was nominated in Yuletide. Nominate it and it can be rectified during Corrections.
Who decides whether a fandom is included, or not?The ultimate decision lies with the moderators, though we will take everything into consideration.
What about fandoms that are part of a franchise?
Fandoms are considered on an individual level, not as a franchise as a whole. So if, as an example, Final Fantasy VII has over 35,000 stories on Fanfiction.Net (which it currently does), it doesn’t mean that the other Final Fantasy games are ineligible for Not Prime Time, provided they are within the guidelines for a medium sized fandom.
New ruling as of 2013-2014: If the individual fandoms of a franchise are not eligible, the franchise as a whole can be eligible and nominated (an example from the 2013 round: None of the Fire Emblem individual games were eligible for NPT, but the Fire Emblem franchise as a whole was). However, if an individual is eligible, the franchise will not be (example: Final Fantasy XII is eligible on its own, therefore Final Fantasy as a franchise is not eligible). If needed, things will be taken by a case by case basis.
Can I suggest a medium sized fandom even if I don't write/am not going to sign up for Not Prime Time?You technically can, but we would prefer if people nominating were those who were going to sign up so requesting and offering numbers are better matched. There will be a discussion post on the comms to get people to suggest fandoms and get people talking - non-participants are encouraged to participate in this.
How do I nominate a fandom for the challenge? Do I need to use a qualifier on the name?Nominations will be done on AO3 and will be announced on the DW comm. Typing in the fandom field should bring up the fandom you wish to nominate. Make sure the fandom you are going to nominate is the correct one as you may want to nominate Fandom the TV show, but you accidentally clicked on Fandom the Book Series.
Detailed information about nominations is available on npt_admin through the 'nominations' tag.
Remember that characters, not just fandoms, can be nominated.
How do I sign up?Sign ups will be done on AO3. There will be an announcement in the comms and a link to the sign up form will be provided along with instructions. It can be found through the 'signups' tag on the comm.
How many fandoms/relationships can I request?You may request up to 6 unique fandoms, minimum of 3. You can request a minimum of 1 relationship and a maximum of 8 relationships in each fandom. The relationship can be platonic or romantic (& or /).
Can I request a crossover?
No, though you may add in your optional details that you wouldn’t mind having a crossover with the fandom you requested. It is not a guarantee though. Do not let the crossover be your only prompt.
What can I put in the additional details field? How specific can I get?Whatever you like! However, the more specific and demanding you are, the more stressful it will be for your writer! Generally giving them an idea of what you would like and vague prompts is better than describing a story in detail, eg “I like happy ending, snark, character backstory. It would be interesting to see what character A would do if they had to deal with a plot” is much better than “I would like a story where character A and character B visit a museum and while they are there discover a plot, and having to hide in the dinosaur hall overnight and they end up getting together.”
If you want to supply further additional details, you can always write a letter (like the Yuletide ones) in your journal with more information. It is useful to include your general likes and dislikes as well as ideas about the fandom. Please remember to mention anything that you really don’t want in your story - otherwise your author would not necessarily know. More information about “Dear Prime Time Player” letters can be found below.
Letter writing is optional, but recommended.
How many fandoms can I/do I have to offer to write?You must offer at least three different fandoms. Beyond that, you may offer as many fandoms as ten. More information will be available about this in a post on npt_admin.
How many relationships can I offer to write?For each fandom you select, you can specify up to ten relationships, or you can choose 'Any' to indicate that you're willing to write any nominated characters with the fandom.
I already signed up, but I saw another fandom that I'd rather write/request. Can I change my submission before the deadline?Yes. You can edit your sign up form until sign ups close.
When will I get my assignment?Assignments will be sent out within 1-3 days after the close of sign ups. A post will be made to the DW comm after assignments are issued. If you have not received your assignment within a day of this posting, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget to check your Spam folder.
How are writers and recipients matched up?Writers and recipients are matched through AO3’s matching process. You are only guaranteed to be matched on one fandom and one relationship. Anything more is a bonus.
How does matching work?
Matching is done through the AO3 matching system. The setting used for NPT is 1 request, 1 fandom, 1 relationship within that fandom. This is the minimum level of matching needed for an offer to match a request.
Matching is done through OR matching, not AND matching.
What happens if nobody matches to any of my requests or offers?In the event that nobody matches to your requests or offers, we’ll ask you for additional options in order to better match you. People who cannot be matched initially might be sent out as pinch hits. Two people might be assigned to one person.
When is the deadline for uploading my story?The deadline for stories will be announced in the comm for each round, 11:59 pm Eastern Time. If you finish earlier than that, and a huge congrats if you do, you can upload it at any time after you receive your assignment.
When are the stories available?Once everyone has a story uploaded within the collection, stories will be available [TBD] though we cannot be exact on time. All stories will remain anonymous until author reveals five days later.
I received three to six different fandom possibilities, do I have to write all of them?Nope! The matching process automatically sends you your recipient's full list of requests, but you only have to write one completed single story over 1000 words for one of your recipient's fandoms with a relationship they requested. However, you can choose to write any one of your recipient's requests, whether you offered the fandom during sign ups or not.
Can I request a reassignment?Unless you were assigned a fandom you didn't volunteer for, then I'm sorry, but no. Everyone is paired with someone else who listed at least one request that matched something they offered to write. That's the best we can do.
I don't recognize any of the fandoms on my recipient's list.If that's the case, please email us at email@example.com as soon as possible so we can reassign you.
Note: if we have to assign you a new recipient, it probably means that you'll be writing for someone who already has an assigned writer. This is not unheard of, as the matching process always has a few stray authors that we have to double-assign, as well as recipients that have to immediately go out for a pinch hit, because it's very unlikely that everyone will make requests and offers that match up exactly, with nothing left over.
Can I find out more about my recipient's requests/tastes/opinions?We ask that you not contact your recipient directly, even in an anonymous comment on their journal.
If you need clarification, or more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will act as go-between for your questions. This will preserve not only your anonymity, but conceal any indication of which request you're planning to write, as we will make up questions for each of the requested fandoms to disguise your real intent.
Writers may also like to poke around their recipients' LJs/blogs/websites to see what kinds of things they seem to like, so feel free to do so (and leave some notes in your own LJ/blog, if you have one, for your writer!).
Do I have to write the specific characters/pairings/situations they ask for?Optional details are optional. The only requirements for your story is that a) the completed story is over 1000 words, b) it’s written in a fandom that was requested, and c) it uses at least one relationship they specify unless their details state otherwise.
That said, try to accommodate your recipient on what they'd like because it is a gift to them from you. If you can't, then please don't write their squicks if they’re stated in their details or letters. Basically, try not to be an asshole.
Can I talk about my assignment with other people?Try to keep your assignment a secret. If you need to talk about it on your journal, use vague comments. We'd like to keep the authors behind the stories a secret until reveals. However, we encourage people to have their stories beta read, and obviously that requires sharing it - but remember that it is a secret story.
I don't really know any of the fandoms my recipient asked for very well. I didn't think I'd get assigned any of those. What do I do?DO NOT SIGN UP FOR ANY FANDOMS YOU AREN'T MORE THAN HAPPY TO WRITE. Chances are, the fandom you are least comfortable with writing will be the one you receive as an assignment and the other fandoms requested are ones you aren’t familiar with (as luck would have it), so make sure you offer wisely.
My recipient listed a fandom that I didn't sign up for, but I have an idea. Can I write in that fandom instead?Absolutely! Once you receive your assignment, you're free to write in any of the fandoms on that list, whether you signed up for it or not. If you luck out and get a recipient who has requested more than one fandom you could write in, even if you didn't offer them, then you have your pick!
I'm not comfortable with the fandoms I offered that my recipient wanted, but I have this other fandom I like/there's this other fandom I see she likes on her LJ/website that I could write. Can I do that?No. You are limited to the fandoms and at least 1 relationship that your recipient requested, at least one of which you offered to write. If you fail to do so without defaulting, we may determine that you failed to fulfill the requirements of the challenge, and ban you from future participation.
How can I provide my author with more information?Write it in your journal/website and provide a link in your sign up or through the comm post where participants can leave their links to their letters/leave their letters directly in a comment.
I'm not going to be able to complete my assignment, what do I do? Can I have an extension?Unfortunately, no, you cannot receive an extension. Click the default button on your Assignments page, this will notify the mods, and the assignment will be given to a pinch hitter. If you are going to default, do it the sooner the better to give the would-be pinch hitter more time to write and less stress for the mods. This ensures that everyone will get a story on time. We understand that life can make things difficult for people and they need to give up their assignment. We will not penalise people for this (although this may be changed in future years if it seems to be being abused) - we want people to be able to take part with this being as unstressful as we can make it.
I need a beta, what do I do?The problem with soliciting a beta publicly is that you generally will have to reveal the fandom, and this will interfere with the "secret" part of the challenge. If you just need a general beta, you can ask in your journal, or the Not Prime Time comm on DW, and see who offers -- and not choose your recipient, if they offer. If you need a more fandom-specific beta, you might try advertising on a comm or list specific to that fandom, and not specifically identify it as a Not Prime Time story. There will also be a "Beta" post on the Not Prime Time comm, where people can post saying what fandoms they're able to beta.
What are the minimum requirements for my story?
You are required to write a completed story with a minimum of 1000 words in the fandom your recipient requested (any of the three to six fandoms requested) with at least 1 requested relationship requested, unless their details state differently, like they’re okay with additional characters or wouldn’t mind a crossover. By requested, we mean the fandom and relationship must be the focus of the fic and not other characters, both original and fannish, unless given the okay by the recipient.
If your story is reported for having failed to meet the minimum requirements, the moderators will investigate the report and make a final decision.
What if my story isn’t 1000 words?
If your story isn’t 1000 words by the deadline, you will be considered as having dropped out and we will need to find a pinch hitter for your recipient. However, you can still upload your completed story as a Prime Time Madness treat for your recipient or a Hiatus Resolution story throughout the rest of the year until the next round.
How do I upload my story?
More information can be found by clicking on the 'uploading' tag in the npt_admin comm.
I uploaded the wrong version/made a mistake in my story, Help?
You can edit your own story after you upload it to the AO3 collection. If you notice any mistakes, please don’t hesitate in fixing them.
Can I thank my beta/include author notes in my story?
Yes - after reveals. You can do so before if you don’t think it will give away who you are.
What is the check in?
The check in is our way of checking to see how our participants are faring with their stories. It is not mandatory, however, feel free to use that time to let us know if you're defaulting or having issues as well.
Those who know beforehand that they cannot check in when we put up the post can email the mods at email@example.com to let them know ahead of time of their situation. We will count this as checking in.
What happens if I need to drop out of Not Prime Time or I don’t write a story over 1000 words? What can get me banned?
We do not penalise participants who drop out of the exchange for the first time or who can't write a completed story over 1000 words for their recipient, though there are ways to get banned. If either case applies to you, please let the mods know as soon as possible so we can arrange a pinch hitter for your recipient. There is also a Default button on AO3 that you can use.
We will ban participants from future Not Prime Time exchanges, however, for failing to write a story that is written in their recipient’s requested fandom and with their requested characters (unless it was noted otherwise in their details/letters).
We will also ban participants from future Not Prime Time exchanges for having an uploaded story over 1000 words that is not completed by the time the collection goes live. If it is reported to the mods that a story is not complete, whether by the recipient or not, we will investigate and take action.
New ruling as of 2013-2014: We will ban people from future participation if they default two years in a row, unless they upload a completed story over 1000 words before the next round begins. Counting defaults is retroactive: That is, if you defaulted both in 2012 and 2013 rounds, and never wrote a treat over 1k words or completed a pinch hit, consider yourself banned for future rounds (again, unless you write and upload a story).
In general, if an issue is brought to our attention, we will discuss it and decide whether or not to take action and in what form.
As Not Prime Time is still new, the mods will make adjustments as needed.
Pinch HittingWhat is pinch hitting?
Sometimes an assigned writer has to drop out of the challenge. In this case the mods will try and find another writer so that everyone has a story.
However, if you default and so does your writer before we assign a pinch hitter for your requests, we will not look for a pinch hitter. You will not receive a story unless your original writer pulls through and/or someone writes you a treat.
I’d like to volunteer to write extra stories...
Check the comm for pinch hit opportunities.
Do I have to be a participant to pinch hit?
No. Anyone can pinch hit, but if you get a pinch hit you are then under the same constraints as participants regarding any penalties for not completing or submitting an inappropriate story.
How exactly does this work?
When there is a pinch hitter needed the mods will post with the details (all the info that is in the sign up). Then anyone interested can respond by commenting. After around 24 hours (except for last minute pinch hits) a writer will be chosen at random for each pinch hit - however, no one will be chosen twice if there are other volunteers. This will allow pinch hits to be claimed by people in all time zones and allow people to think about whether they want to claim a pinch hit.
More information concerning pinch hitting.
I didn’t get assigned a pinch hit, can I write a story for that person anyway?
Yes! You can upload it as a treat for that person - the more stories the better!
What is the deadline for pinch hits?
For most pinch hits, the deadline is the same as it is for everyone else. The absolute latest a pinch hit can be uploaded, unless stated otherwise by the mods, is when the collection is due to open.
If I’m a non-participant pinch hitting, do I get something in return?
Sort of. We will collect prompts from non-participant pinch hitters and add their prompts to the prompt list that will be released in time for Prime Time Madness. While there is no guarantee you’ll receive a story, the possibility is there to receive something from Prime Time Madness or Hiatus Resolution.
After the Reveal: Authors
When/how can I reply to comments on my story?
If you’d like, you can start replying to comments as soon as they arrive as AO3 has anonymous creator replies during exchanges, though you can wait until reveals. After author reveals happen, you may reply to your comments logged in whenever you want.
Can I post my story to my LJ/website/another archive?
Yes! After reveal you can do whatever you want (although please don’t delete your story from the archive as it is a gift for someone and this would make them and us unhappy). You can orphan it on AO3 if you want - this means that your info will not be associated with the story, but please note that if you do this it is permanent and can’t be undone!
After the Reveal: Recipients
I think the story I got really sucks/doesn't do what I asked for, what do I do?
Smile and say thank you, and read the other stories! As this is an exchange for medium sized fandoms, chances are that there are plenty of other stories in your fandom for you to read that you may enjoy. Your author is bound solely by your fandom and character requests, and while we hope they’ll take your details into account, they aren’t obligated to do so.
If your writer failed to write in any of the fandoms you requested and/or did not include the characters that you specified, then this is grounds for banning them from future Not Prime Time rounds - if it is reported to us, whether by the recipient or someone else.
The main collection has gone live, and I don't have a story in the archive, why is that?
If you signed up as a participant and did not default, please email the mods at once! This is probably because your original author failed to finish their story, and we had to find a pinch hitter, who wasn't able to get something uploaded for you in time. We're very sorry. We will do our very best to get a story uploaded for you by reveals. In the mean time, please enjoy the other stories posted in the collection.
Authors have been revealed and I still don’t have a story in the archive. What do I do?
If you signed up as a participant and did not default, please email the mods at once! Obviously at this point, we let something slip through the cracks and for that we are very sorry. We will rectify the mistake immediately.
Prime Time Madness
The show’s about to begin and things are chaotic! Prime Time Madness is the moderators’ way of ensuring everyone has something to read when the Not Prime Time stories go live. Anyone, participants or not, can write or create treats for a participant’s prompt and upload it. The treat doesn’t have to be over 1000 words, but it should be completed.
Sometime after assignments have gone out, we will post a link of everyone’s prompts.
If the treat is 1000 words and over, please upload it to the main Not Prime Time collection (and these stories can be uploaded at any time). If the treat is under 1000 words, please upload it to the Prime Time Madness collection. The Prime Time Madness collection will be available for uploading a few days after assignments go out.
Once the main collection is open, all treats over 1000 words should be uploaded to the Madness collection.
The Prime Time Madness collection will open a few days after the main collection.
Can I create something other than a story for Prime Time Madness?
Yes! If someone’s prompt strikes you to create a batch of icons or fanart or a vid or something else, then we’re not going to stop you. The best part is that graphics and vids can be uploaded to AO3 and placed in the collection (vids and fanart have to be uploaded elsewhere but can be embedded onto AO3).
This option is only for treats, not pinch hits or main assignments.
If you need an anon host for your vids/podfics/art/icons, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can host it (permanently or temporarily). Send us the work and once we send you the link, you can "upload" that to AO3.
Dear Prime Time Player letters
Writing a Prime Time Player letter is optional.
Just like Yuletide and other challenges, you can write a letter to your writer to give them further additional details about the fandoms and characters you requested. Remember though that optional details are optional. There is no right or wrong with writing your letters. Make sure that if you are posting your letter in your journal, that the letter is unlocked. If you have any squicks or triggers, this is the place to list them.
We will post an entry in the not_primetime comm where you can link to your letters so your writer can find them.
Letters can also be used by participants and non-participants in order to write treats for you, though there are no guarantees you will be written a story because you’ve written a letter. If you are hoping for treats, as a suggestion, don’t forget to list the fandoms and characters you requested along with your prompts and AO3 username.
Just like Yuletide has New Year’s Resolution, Not Prime Time has Hiatus Resolution. Once author reveals are over, the Hiatus Resolution collection will be available for anyone who wants to fill one of prompts from the prompt list. You didn't have to participate in the latest Not Prime Time round to fulfill a prompt.
Just like with Not Prime Time, having a story that matches the fandom and characters of a request and meets the minimum 1000 word limit is all we require.