This month's HASA How-to will explain some of the terms used in the Challenges section at HASA.
How do I...
... use Challenges (pt. 1)?
In this How-to you will learn what some words that are used in the Challenges section mean.
First, a brief description of the Challenges section. This is where the various Challenges issued by HASA members over the years are kept, and it contains several things:
- The text descriptions of all Challenges (Open Challenges, Closed Challenges)
- Any stories that have been written in response to the Challenge
- A way for authors to add more entries to an open Challenge
- An archive of closed Challenges (those whose time limit has run out)
- The Nuzgûl Hutch
- The Oliphaunt Pen
- Category and Keyword searches
- A link to the Challenge Forums
What is a Challenge?
Challenges are ideas for fics that people have presented to the group at large. Any HASA member can create a Challenge. This prospective Challenge must get a minimum of three people who say they will try to write a story for it. These are called 'pledges.' If at least three pledges are obtained, then the idea becomes a Challenge.
Most Challenges start life as Nuzgûl.
What is a Nuzgûl?
Nuzgûl are what many fandoms call 'plot bunnies.' They are ideas for writing a fic and they look sweet and harmless until they sink their long fangs into you and refuse to let go. If three people post stories for a Nuzgûl, it becomes a Challenge.
The name 'nuzgûl' comes from The Official Fan-fiction University of Middle-earth (OFUM), written by Miss Cam, in which of Middle-earth terms produce new creatures. Among them were the Nuzgûl. HASA has been overrun with them ever since, a plague or a blessing, depending on your viewpoint. Beware the bite of the undead plotbunny.
What is the Nuzgûl Hutch?
The Hutch is where you can drop off or pick up Nuzgûl. Any Challenge that doesn't find three stories before its deadline will live in the Hutch until five stories are attached to it. When there are three stories, the Nuzgûl becomes a Challenge.
After an author writes the story inspired by the Nuzgûl, the creature is said to be "defanged." Be warned, however, they do occasionally bite twice.
What is an Oliphaunt?
I stump round and round
Never lie on the ground
Not even to die
Oliphaunt am I,
Biggest of all,
Huge, old, and tall.
If ever you'd met me
You wouldn't forget me.
An Oliphaunt is a Challenge that is 'too big to die'. When a Challenge with at least three stories attached passes its closing date, it is honorably retired. If authors still wish to write stories for that Challenge, an Oliphaunt is created from the original Challenge. It lumbers along, picking up more stories as it goes. Not all Challenges become Oliphaunts because not all continue to attract stories.
What is the Oliphaunt Pen?
The home of the Oliphaunt, where old, successful Challenges go. Members may continue to adopt Oliphaunts and write stories for them which will be associated with the Oliphaunt but not shown with the original Challenge. The Oliphaunt is so named because after getting all those entries as a Challenge, it just keeps lumbering on. Feel free to root around in the Oliphaunt pen for some great story ideas.
What is a Placeholder?
A placeholder is an entry indicating that the author intends to write a story for a Challenge, but has not yet written the story.
To enter a placeholder, simply click "accept" on the Challenge of your choice, and use the drop-down menu to select "Challenge Placeholder," the first choice in the story drop-down list. In your "My Stuff" section, you will see a placeholder for the Challenge. You may later edit this entry from "My Stuff" when you have a story, or you may drop it if you decide not to continue in the Challenge.
What is a Prompt?
A prompt is the Challenge description, the starting point for any entry into the Challenge.
The purpose of the description is to prompt authors to enter and write a story for the Challenge. Well written prompts tell what the Challenge is for, how it came about and what the author needs to do to participate.