This August, to celebrate Squall's birthday, we have decided to make his present one that's difficult for even him to return -a month-long Rinoa and Squall fandom challenge! (He truly is impossible to buy for... it tends to go badly for all parties involved.) Over the last decade many authors, artists, and even readers have drifted away from the fandom - it's only natural - people change, fandoms change, and things that you may have enjoyed in your free time might no longer be a priority.
Here's where the challenge starts! It's is not about bringing people back to the fandom to stay; this is simply about encouraging everyone to return to the roots of something we all enjoyed. It is also important to help the new authors/artists gain the confidence to post/draw/etc. We all had to start somewhere and for a lot of us it was in Final Fantasy VIII's little corner of the 'net.
Why Rinoa and Squall? Well, at one point, we were a close-knit group. Another reason? Romance was one of the most important aspects to FFVIII's designers - it remained a key, pivitol aspect through the entire game and to the franchise. To be clear - this challenge is about the relationship between Rinoa and Squall in a positive light. Yes, we easily can say that there were holes in the story, but that's what fan-created works do - give one a chance to explore.
We understand that everyone's tastes differ and there maybe interest in exploring other characters in the future. But for now, the "Where I Belong" challenge is designed with a single ideal - to explore the canon romance. We'll need help in spreading the word for the upcoming challenge.
Though you may think of this as a family or class reunion of sorts, we encourage everyone to take part. It doesn't matter if it's your first story/piece of art or your hundred and first - you are part of the challenge!
Again, this is open to all - writers, artists, icon makers, fanvid-ers, audio programs users, you name it, as long as it's Squall and Rinoa centric - we want to include it.
The following list has been taken from the Where I Belong forum at ffnet. We will update this entry and also its mirror at DW.
* Stories should be at least 2,500 words long.
* They can be chaptered, but should be posted as complete and not in-progress.
* Rinoa and Squall relationship need to be central to the plot.
* Entries must be posted between August 1st to August 31st to be included in the challenge.
* Genre doesn't matter - romance, comedy, drama, AU, or anything else (except death of Rinoa or Squall.) We want the relationship aspect to end on a positive note, but you can add as much angst and drama as you want to reach the end. It doesn't have to end in sunshine and bunnies, but we're trying to celebrate the strength of their relationship, we know there could be problems. *cough* Now I'm waiting for someone to literally end it with sunshine and bunnies… that could be quite entertaining… And slightly more Selphie-esque.
* Any rating goes! Just try to keep in the bounds of ffnet (*Note this has become more important than ever as ffnet has been removing stories, bios, and summaries that break the TOS). If you are posting the story to A03 – then pretty much like we said - anything goes.
* You may post a companion piece one-shot for a current fic of yours, but it must be completely stand-alone and not require any background knowledge of the said fic (we do encourage linking to your story at the end, however).
* Although the stories are not being written for reviews, we encourage that if you submit something that you read and comment on as many other entries as possible. This is about supporting other Rinoa/Squall writers past and present.We're like a dysfunctional family from around the globe!
* If you cannot write, no problem! We strongly encourage you to draw, make icons, podcasts, audio media, wallpapers, or fan vids. Whatever your talent is, we want to reflect on the past with Rinoa and Squall. (Kurse you Ultimecia)
* Because we want you to really think (and thinking is fun!) you can submit three stories and as many pieces of visual/audio media that you want. (This may totally be a ploy for me to get new Squall and Rinoa icons, but maybe it's not… time will tell!)
* If you do make icons, please do not use fan art without the artist's permission. We'd also like that you do give permission for people to use them as avatars as long as they give proper credit. It's a way to get your work out there. (Again, this is not so some of us will have more icons *cough*)
* Stories will be added to the C2 "Where I Belong" on ffnet or the collection on A03. You may post at both places; they will added at both.
* You may write in any language! We don't want to limit someone hesitant to write in English. We understand that often it is easier to comprehend what's written rather than the opposite. That is why native language doesn't matter; however, it may make it more difficult to receive feedback but, at the same, you could very well be encouraging others. We will gladly add any language to the C2. Personally, it would be great to get a variety of writers interested in the challenge.
* As far as art, there will be a master list on LJ, DW, and the Where I Belong ffnet forum. Also, they maybe uploaded to Facebook or Tumblr coummunites. I am trying to work something out where everything can also be archived at a single website. More information will come, but I wanted to give everyone time to start drawing or 'viding.'
* Art will have a home at Final Fantasy VIII-II Tetrius Veneficus Bellum website by PDestrucity – because of ffnets rules about linking, please click on his bio to get the page until we can figure something out. It's a great site with a ton of gifs, artwork, and information. There will be a special area for our challenge! Thank you Pete! You may still submit art and a story, so this is a great chance to cross-promote your work!
* For more information questions or concerns, feel free to contact us. On ffnet you can PM either Emerald-Latias, Ashbear, or Eternal Tiet or visit our new FFVIII forum, Where I Belong. On Live Journal, contact ashes_and_wings. Tumblr users can get any information from Emerald-Latias (username is written as emeraldlatias on there). Facebook users can go to the Ashbear page by Alessia Heartilly; we are inviting our Italian readers to be a part of this, so your story may be translated. If you don't have access to any of those, you can email me at ashbear at gmail dot com.
* When you upload your work for the challenge (written work must be marked complete and published dates must fall between the 1st to 30th) please use one of the above contacts to let us know. The main form of communication will most likely by the ffnet forum - more detailed information will follow, if needed. Also, if it has been 24 hours and your story was not added to the C2 or A03 collection, try contacting us again. Art information will be announced at a later date. Again, ffnet is probably the easiest form of communication, but we do not want to exclude anyone who does not have a fanfiction net account, nor do we expect you to make one. This is for everyone!
* Also, please pass this information to other writers/artists. Not everyone has the same followers, tastes, or fans and that is more than understandable. We are a small community but would love people to get together at least for the month of August to celebrate Squall and Rinoa!
* Most importantly, have fun! Remember we're here because we enjoy the relationship between Squall and Rinoa. Don't bash other characters or ships - we're all fans of Final Fantasy VIII and should respect each other. ('Cept Odine, he is an evil man who deserves to be punished for his crimes and his fashion sense, but I digress.)
...Wow, this really seems like a lot, but it really is easy! Please, think about being part of it!
Also current helpful links - (will be filling when possible)
Ashbear at Facebook
Emerald-Latias on Tumblr
Partner site - Final Fantasy VIII-II Tertius Veneficus Bellum
Dreamwith - Ashbear
Archive of Our Own (A03) Collection
FFNet "Where I Belong" - Community Forum
FFNet "Where I Belong" - C2
Additional info will be added as-needed - Think of this as a Squall/Rinoa-centric challenge month - something akin to a *very* mini NaNoWriMo or a Big Bang but has all-inclusive media. ;)