The main bulk of the HSWC is made up by two Main Rounds and one Collab Round. There are also several Bonus Rounds that run throughout the event.
All rounds (whether Main, Collab, or Bonus) present a prompt to the community. Teams and participants then do their best to fulfill the prompt challenge.
There are two main rounds. Each main round has its own Dreamwidth community where teams will post their round submissions.
This is how main rounds generally go:
- The round prompt is released! Excitement abounds!
- Team members flex their creativity and create awesome content based on the prompt.
- Each team member may create whatever they wish to fulfill the prompt and represent their ship. Teammates may also work collaboratively to create Main Round entries, but it is not required.
- Each team decides which entry they want to represent them.
- The round closes, and everyone gets to enjoy the delicious new content!
Everyone votes on their favorite submissions!
The results are posted, points are awarded, and the whole thing starts all over again!
A round's theme should inspire the work (for example as a theme or plot device), but it doesn't have to be an intense focus of the work. We need to see the influence, but you don’t have to beat us over the head with it. (Unless of course you want to!)
All submissions must be created new for the challenge. No fan-created content is allowed that has not been made by members of your team specifically in response to the prompt. Mainstream creative content is fine (e.g. popular music, well-known art pieces, Homestuck panels or its soundtrack, Paradox Space comics), but not fanart, fan music, etc.
For example, you can create a parody of a song on the radio but you cannot use an already-existing fan song in your entry, and you cannot take someone else’s fanart and use it to make a graphics set or a fanvideo unless said art was made by someone on your team specifically for that round. You can, however, make videos and graphics out of canon artwork, fanwork made by your teammates for the round (not older work they have lying around, that's not okay!), and well-known art like the Mona Lisa. This is largely to ensure that the original content in your entry is clearly identifiable as distinct from the borrowed content.
In a similar vein, you cannot build off of an already-existing AU such Aquariumstuck or Hemostuck. You can use general AU ideas, such as a mermaid AU or a bloodswap AU, as long as you do not take from any specific, already-existing work that uses that AU setting. Crossovers with other fandoms are allowed but not recommended, as they require knowledge of titles which other participants may not be familiar with.
All work for the HSWC must be made exclusively by that team. You cannot ask people outside of your team for help (with the exception of cosplay, which may use an outside photographer; more info at Round Media Limitations).
Although team members may create many works in response to a main round prompt, each team may only submit one cohesive entry to each main round. Round entries can be multimedia, and can be created by multiple team members, though neither is required. For example, a five member team could create five (or more!) individual entries for the prompt; two members could work on one entry and the other three could work on a second; all five could work on a single entry; or any combination thereof. However, no matter how many works the team creates, only one entry can be sent to represent the team in the round.
After (not before) the round's voting is complete you may post unused round entries anywhere you want, such as tumblr or our Archive Of Our Own collection. For more information, read the HSWC Anonymity Policy.
Your team's entry must focus on the ship you are representing, though there may be mentions of other ships, and even mentions of your team's characters being in other ships (gotta fill those quadrants, after all).
Do not post your HSWC main round creations publicly (i.e., on tumblr, AO3, etc.) until voting ends, whether or not they are chosen as part of the team submission. For more information, read the HSWC Anonymity Policy.
See Scoring for how main rounds are scored.
Go to Round Work Guidelines for information on how round prompts and fills are formatted.
Go to Disqualifications to see what could get your main round entry disqualified from final vote.
Go to Round Media Limitations to see the main rounds' work limits.
The Collaborative Round is an extravaganza of togetherness and creativity! It lasts for the entire HSWC, opening one week before Main Round One and closing in August. Generally, all the notes mentioned in the Main Rounds section also apply here (entries must be created new for the challenge, etc.). There are only two notable changes:
Though there are work guidelines, the collab round entry has absolutely no work limits. Teams can do anything they want without restriction, as long as it fulfills the collab round's prompt. Go crazy!
As you may expect from the collaborative round, it's expected that every active member of your team contribute to the round entry. If your team has suffered heavily from Vanished Participant Syndrome and you only have two members left, that's okay, do your best! As long as everyone on your team contributes somehow—brainstorming, creation, proofreading/quality control, whatever!—you're properly fulfilling the spirit of the collab round. (The main rounds allow team collaboration, but it isn't required like it is for the collab round.)
The Collab Round entry is meant to be a team's showcase piece to demonstrate the true glory of their ship. Get out there and show us what you've got!
This is the biggest round, and it has the greatest rewards! Go to Scoring to see how the Collab Round is scored.
Go to Round Work Guidelines to learn how to format your collab round entry.
Go to Disqualifications to see what could get your collab round entry disqualified from final vote.
Round Work Guidelines
Because this event is open to fans of a wide variety of ages and backgrounds, we want to make sure that HSWC is a safe and accessible place for all. As such, main and collab round entries must fill out the following info block in its entirety at the top of their post:
TITLE: --The title of the work--
SHIP: --The name of your team's ship--
RATING: --A rating for the work, from G, T, M, or E--
CHARACTERS: --Characters that appear in the work--
SIDE PAIRINGS: --Other ships that appear in the work--
MAJOR TAGS: --Here you will list any of the Major Content Tags that apply to your work. If none apply, state NONE. If you do not wish to tag certain elements of the work to keep from spoiling your work, you must put the phrase TAGS OMITTED in this section.--
ADDITIONAL TAGS: --If your work contains other elements you feel should be noted, feel free to list them here. You may also use additional tags to help summarize your work or entice readers. As with Major Tags above, you can choose to say TAGS OMITTED or NONE.--
SUMMARY: --A brief summary of the work.--
WORK COUNT: --An overview of your work: word count, art count, length of audio/video files, average game playtime, etc. This allows participants to gauge how much time they will have to devote to your entry.--
SCRIPT: --Games, choose-your-own-adventure-style and other multiple-page written entries, voice acting, music, video, etc. must include a link to a single-page full script or the entry will not be eligible for that round's final vote. If your entry uses images embedded in a game, video, or otherwise hard-to-access format, please include a list of the image's filenames at the end of your script.--
If you are using the HTML code layout to create your post, here is a code box for your copy-and-pasting convenience.
After the info block, you must place your round entry behind a cut when posting it to the main round comm. There are two ways of doing this:
If you are using HTML view, use <cut> before the main body of your entry, and </cut> after you’re done posting it.
If you are using Rich Text view, click right above where your entry starts, and then hit the button on the sidebar that is highlighted in blue in this screenshot.
G: General Audiences - "This content is suitable for anyone: kids, teenagers, sensitive people."
T: Teen And Up Audiences - "The content may be inappropriate for audiences under 13."
M: Mature - "This is for content with adult themes (sex, violence, etc.) that isn't as graphic as explicit-rated content."
E: Explicit - "This is for porn, graphic violence, etc."
You must put all of your work directly into your submission post whenever possible. Writing should be posted directly to the comm and art/photos/video/etc. should be embedded in the post. However, if you must link to an off-DW entry (e.g., a game, a fic that is too long to fit onto a single DW post, a choose-your-own-adventure-style entry, an MSPA fanventure, a website, etc.), you might include a few safe-for-work previews, samples, or screenshots in your entry post along with your link. It's more eye-catching and gives people a better idea of what they're getting into.
You can use any hosting service for your entries and entry scripts, as long as it doesn't require a sign-up to view, is safe for work, doesn't break anonymity, and doesn't include flashing images (such as ads). Imgur is a highly recommended and anonymous image hosting service, for example. Hosting your entry on an anonymous google doc, DW, or tumblr expressly made for that purpose is fine; hosting it on a team member's tumblr or AO3 account is not.
If your entry uses images embedded in a game, video, or otherwise hard-to-access format that might be hard for the mods to count, please provide a list of the image's filenames. You can add it to the end of your script if you'd like, or on its own if you're not providing a script.
If you're submitting a game, you should seriously consider including a video walkthrough of your entry. That way, people who have trouble loading or playing your game can still get an idea of what your entry is like.
If you're having trouble imagining what your round entry post should look like, check out HSWC 2013's collab round for examples.
You must get your entry's work in before the deadline. If you submit it after the deadline, you'll receive round participation points but you'll be disqualified from the final vote. (Changes to the voting system as of HSWC 2014 have rendered it impossible to add late entries once voting begins.)
We discourage editing your round submission after it's posted because it puts your team at a disadvantage: people may have already read/viewed your team’s entry and made their voting decision, and thus would not see your new content. However, if you do wish to edit your entry, you must edit the current post before voting opens for that round. Never delete and resubmit your round entry.
If you are submitting photos of a tangible object (like a cake or plushie), please try to make sure they are decently clear/well-lit! We won't be doing image/color correction for you, and it isn't our fault if people can't make out what your submission is. Also, we suggest but do not require that you submit 3-5 photos of whatever it is from different angles, just so we can get a better look at it! (Multiple photos of the same object for clarity purposes count as a single image with relation to media limits.)
Round Media Limitations
The Homestuck Shipping World Cup implements these length restrictions on entries:
Writing: 1,000 (min) to 4,000 (max) words.
This includes pesterlog names.
- Poetry can be less than 1,000 words but no longer than 4,000 words. If poetry is part of a larger piece, the entire piece must conform to the min/max word limit. (You can't have 4,000 words of fic and then 300 words of poetry; you will be considered over the limit.)
- Multi-chaptered works are fine, as long as they are not works-in-progress or incomplete.
Art (without words): 20 images.
Combination Art/Writing Entries (any work that includes both, including comics and games): up to 1,000 words and 20 images, OR up to 4,000 words and 5 images.
Comics: Each comic panel counts as a single image.
Games: As long as the base image is the same, small modifications to an image (such as different poses/expressions for a talksprite) will count as an animation of a single image instead of each frame counting as a separate image.
- Using the same exact image more than once still counts as one image for the limit. You cannot edit or modify the image in any way except cropping. If you do, it counts as a second image for the word count.
- Example: "image01.png," even if used multiple times in your entry, still counts as one single image towards the limit. "image01-crop.png" and "image01.png" also count together as one image for your team's count. Doing anything else to the image counts as two (or more) images towards the limit.
- Any visible text in your entry counts toward the word limit, including trollian/pesterchum handles.
- If your entry text is in any way difficult to read, embedded in an image or game, spread across multiple pages, not screen-reader accessible, etc., you must include a link to a script with your entry.
Gifs/animations included in a larger work (such as a game, fic or comic): 20 seconds in total.
- GIFs must be one single image that is animated in some way. The base of the image must remain the same, with minor modifications (in addition to sprite animations, this would also include things like crops or pan-and-scan type animations). Otherwise it will count as separate images. For flash animations, etc., please refer to the video/audio limits.
Video/Audio: 4 minutes max runtime (this applies for both animated and live-action video, as well as music and voice acting).
- While you are required to include a link to your piece's script/lyrics, you have no word limit (because there's only so much you can do in four minutes, really).
Cosplay: Costumes should be made/assembled at least 50% new for the challenge. You cannot reuse costumes from round to round, though you can use up to 50% of a previous round's cosplay for the basis of a new one.
- Cosplay shoots may NOT feature people who are not on your team. It is acceptable to use an outside photographer, but all pieces of the cosplay must be made by teammates, everyone in the photos must be teammates, and all manipulation/editing of the images must be done by teammates. If it is not geographically possible for teammates to meet up to cosplay together, some possible options are to have one person in the shot and imply the ship through framing/prop choices, or you can have one person play both parts (or two people cosplaying remotely) and photoshop the images together.
You can combine media types: for example you can have 4,000 words and 5 images, two of which are cosplay photos, one which is a photo of a sculpture, one a static illustration, and one a gif. However, each individual piece of media must conform to its specific limitations.
If a main round entry exceeds any of these limitations in any medium by less than or equal to 5%, it will be penalized 50 points. If it exceeds the limitation by more than 5%, the entry will also be disqualified from advancing to the final vote. For more information, see the Disqualifications section.
The Collab Round has no hard work limits. Go wild. If you want a guideline for how long your entry should be at maximum, double all the main round work limitations (for example, 8,000 words/10 images). If you go over them, though, there's no penalty.
Your main/collab round entry will be accepted to the round, but not eligible to move on to final vote if:
- Your entry is late/submtitted after the round deadline.
You edit your submitted entry after voting opens.
- You delete and resubmit your entry.
- You do not include a single-page full-length script with your game, choose-your-own-adventure, text embedded in images, voice acting/music, video/animation, etc. entry (where applicable; obviously if you have no words a script is not necessary, and fanfics that fit in a single post do not require additional scripts). Scripts should also include a list of image filenames used, when applicable. When in doubt, include a script + image list with your entry.
Your entry is not behind a cut.
- Your entry is a work-in-progress/incomplete.
(MAIN ROUNDS ONLY) Your entry is 5% over the work cap in any medium.
- For example: the word maximum is 4,000 words. 5% over that is 200 words. Therefore, entries with 4,001-4,200 words will be penalized 50 points, but still eligible to advance onto final vote. Entries with 4,201+ words will not be eligible for final vote, but the team will still receive participation points.
- This applies to all mediums. If an entry includes audio or video and the recording goes 5% over the time limit, then the entry is disqualified from final vote. If a team is using the 1,000 word/20 image limit and submits 21 images, they are within 5% and will incur a 50 point penalty. If they use 22+ images, they will be over the 5% cap and disqualified from final vote.
Bonus rounds are there for MAXIMUM FUN! Like sweet candy in between meals, bonus rounds are short, more direct challenges in which teams get to take a break from longer, focused works to earn extra points by creating stuff for other ships. Anyone can participate as long as they’re on a team (and that includes Team Noir).
Every two weeks, a new bonus round will open. Each bonus round will have its own main prompt, which will be explained in the post for the bonus round, but most bonus rounds will follow the same basic form:
- Members can submit prompts as comments to the bonus round post. These prompts consist of something relating to our bonus round challenge plus a single ship.
- Other members come along and fill those prompts. You can fill as many or as few prompts as you like until the two weeks are up!
After a bonus round ends, new comments will be temporarily screened while the mods count up the points. Then the round will be opened again to prompts and fills, though entries to that bonus round won't receive points anymore.
Also see Scoring for how bonus rounds are scored.
Go to Bonus Round Work Guidelines for information on what counts as a prompt or fill, and how bonus round prompts and fills are formatted.
Bonus Round Work Guidelines
Works should follow the criteria laid out for Main Round entries (all fanwork must be new for the round, crossovers are allowed, etc.) with a few additional notes:
You can submit prompts and fills for any ship imaginable, not just those represented in the HSWC, and you can submit and fill as many prompts as you want (though you may only receive points for some of them; see Scoring).
- All fanwork types are accepted for bonus rounds, including multimedia fills.
- You can only fill each prompt once.
You can prompt and fill for any ship that isn't your own. Team Jade <3 Kanaya participants cannot prompt or fill for Jade <3 Kanaya during bonus rounds, but they can prompt and fill for any other ship, including Jade/Kanaya in other quadrants (spades, diamonds, etc.), ships like Jade <3 Kanaya <3 Vriska, Jadesprite <3 Kanaya, and Alpha!Jade <3 Kanaya (but not Grimbark!Jade <3 Kanaya because that's still beta Jade).
- Team Abstrata, Team Noir, and Themed Teams can fill and prompt for any ship.
- There may be rounds where this rule is removed; read each bonus round post to double-check.
- You cannot fill your teammates' prompts. (Team Noir is exempt from this rule.)
- You cannot fill your own prompts.
- If teammates collaborate on a bonus round fill, the team will receive points for a single fill (no matter how many people worked on it).
- Multiple people can fill the same prompt.
- You can prompt and fill for leprechaun ships.
- If you are on a ship team, Abstrata, or a Themed team, your prompts and fills gain points for your own team, regardless of the ship you are creating for.
- Team Noir members don't earn points through their prompts and fills—only fun!
You can cross-post your bonus round fills wherever and whenever you want (we recommend our AO3 collection).
Fills must be at least 400 words long, or an equivalent amount of work in other mediums (e.g., 400 px by 400 px or an equivalent area for art fills). Poetry must be at least 14 lines long. (There isn't a word minimum for poetry because we're trusting you not to abuse it; play nice.) There is no max work cap.
Please link to visual NSFW fills and very high-resolution images instead of posting them directly to the bonus round, as you cannot use cuts in comments. You may include a small safe-for-work image thumbnail if you would like to give a preview. Written NSFW fills should be posted directly to the bonus round and be clearly tagged.
If your fill is too long to fit in a single comment, submit the second, third, etc. parts of the fill as a reply to the first part of the fill, either replacing the subject line with something like “CONTINUED” or “Part 2 of X” or making sure that the “Re:” is present. This is so that it's obvious that this is a reply/continuation of your fill and that you aren’t attempting to sneak in a second fill for your team.
Format your comment in one of the following ways. Posts not using this format will be understood to be unofficial discussion posts, regardless of what they contain.
Comment Subject: PROMPT: TEAM [YOUR SHIP]
- Replace [YOUR SHIP] with the name of the team you belong to, without brackets
Place the prompt's ship in the first bolded line of the comment
You must include a ship in your prompt. You can use special symbols for quadrants (♥ ♠ ♣ ♦). You can use a slash (/) to indicate that you don't care which quadrant the fill is about, or an ampersand (&) to indicate a non-romantic relationship. You can include character specifics (e.g., "Grimdark!Rose," "Dreambubble!Feferi.").
Prompts that do not contain some information about a ship will be removed. Prompts that say “Any ship” or “I don’t have a ship in mind, but…” or ask for single-character gen are not appropriate.
Comment Subject: FILL: TEAM [YOUR SHIP], [RATING]
- Replace YOUR SHIP with the name of the team you belong to, without brackets (including Abstrata/Themed teams and Noir)
Use standardized ship format or your team will not receive points
Replace RATING with the rating of your fill, G - E, as explained in the Round Work Guidelines
Place applicable Major Content Tags in the first line of the comment when applicable
Place your fill's word count in the second line of the comment, when applicable