Trobadora (trobadora) wrote in public_call,

Public Call 2019 - Schedule, Rules & FAQ

What is Public Call?

Public Call is a secret santa fic exchange for Doctor Who and its various related fandoms, run for the seventh time this year through LJ, DW and AO3. Participants sign up to write a story of at least 1,000 words involving a relationship between two or more characters of the Whoniverse someone else has requested. In return, they receive a story of at least 1,000 words with a relationship they have requested.

All Whovian canons are welcome, from the TV show to the novels to The Curse of Fatal Death. RPF, however, is not included, and non-Whoniverse canon crossovers can't be nominated or matched on.

"Relationship" encompasses all kinds of relationships, from familial to friendship to romance, from platonic to explicitly sexual etc. (Writers are free to write any relationship as a pairing/moresome or as gen. More details below.)

The Schedule & the Gist

  • Nominations, 16th - 30th September: nominate up to 15 relationships.

  • Sign-ups, 3rd - 17th October: request 3 to 15 relationships, offer 3 to 20. (One each must be New Who and/or Torchwood.)

  • Assignments, sent by 20th October: check your email!

  • Writing period: write at least 1,000 words for a relationship your recipient requested.

  • Deadline, 24th November: upload your story by the deadline.

  • Posting period, starting 1st December: read along as stories are gradually revealed during December.

Detailed Rules and FAQ

(inspired by and )

Who can participate?

You must be over 18 years of age, and must have an Archive of Our Own (AO3) account. If you don't have an account, you can request one here.


Before sign-ups, we will have a nomination period for people to pick relationships that they would like included in the exchange. People can submit up to 15 relationships they want to request or write. This results in a list of relationships compiled from everyone's nominations.
  • You can nominate any relationship involving two or more characters from the extended Whoniverse. Crossovers with other fandoms are not allowed.

  • Relationships must be formatted like this: Character A/Character B, Character A/Character B/Character C. etc.

  • Different incarnations of the Doctor or other Time Lords count as different characters, so, for example, Tenth Doctor/Jack Harkness and Twelfth Doctor/Jack Harkness would be two separate relationships.

  • Relationships must be unambiguous. If one of the characters has only a single, non-unique name (for example, "Jenny"), use a disambiguated version ("Jenny (Doctor Who: The Doctor's Daughter)"). When you start typing into the nominations form, AO3 should bring up suggestions. Choose the most specific phrasing, or create something new if the relationship you want doesn't come up.

You don't have to nominate in order to participate, but please only nominate relationships that you plan to request or offer to write.

The mods will check all nominated relationships while nominations are in progress. All relationships that meet the criteria above will be approved, though they might be approved under different names than you gave.

You can change your nominations only until they have been approved or rejected, so be sure of your nominations before you submit them!


During sign-ups, you can sign up to request and offer to write stories involving relationships from the nominated list. This is an exchange, so you must offer to write in order to receive a story.


You must request a minimum of 3 relationships, and may request up to 15. At least one of them must involve only characters from New Who/Torchwood TV canon. (This is to make matching more likely, as those are by far the largest parts of the fanfic-writing Who fandom.)

In the "Details" field, please include some information for your assigned writer in the following format:
<b>Likes:</b> (please include some general preferences, suggested scenarios or suchlike)
<b>Dislikes:</b> (in particular, please include any squicks or triggers you may have - in other words, what is it you absolutely don't want to receive?)

You can include any other additional details you like, or a link to a "Dear Writer" letter if there's more you'd like to tell your assigned writer.

Your writer will not be allowed to include your dislikes, but any other details are purely optional and there to help your assigned writer come up with ideas for your gift.

Remember that your writer is free to write any relationship as a pairing (or moresome) or as gen. Your writer is only required to write a story of at least 1,000 words WITH one of the relationships you requested and WITHOUT any of your dislikes.

In your sign-up, do not imply rank for relationships or otherwise specify a favourite. You are only guaranteed to match on one relationship, so make sure everything you request is something you'd be happy to receive.


You must offer a minimum of 3 relationships, and may offer up to 20. At least one of them must involve only characters from New Who/Torchwood TV canon. (Again, this is to make matching more likely, as those are by far the largest parts of the fanfic-writing Who fandom.)

You will be required to write one story of at least 1,000 words with one of the relationships your recipient requested, without any of their dislikes if they listed any.

You are only guaranteed to match on one relationship, so make sure everything you offer is something you'd be happy to write.

You can edit/delete your sign-up until sign-ups close.

Matching, Assignments, and Writing

After sign-ups, participants are matched up based on what they offered and requested, and assignments are sent out. Participants have a little over a month to write a story for one of the requested relationships of at least 1,000 words. There is no maximum word count.

You are guaranteed to match only on one relationship, though you and your recipient may have more in common. You must write at least 1,000 words involving that relationship or one of the relationships your recipient requested. Shippiness/romance/sex and platonic relationships (friendship, familial relationships, etc.) are equally welcome, but the story must focus on interactions of some kind between the characters in the relationship the recipient requested.

You don't have to write the relationship you were matched on. The only requirement is that the relationship is one requested and that none of the dislikes be included. (Stories involving a recipient's listed dislikes will be rejected.)

Stories must be new for this exchange and can't be sequels to existing fic or part of a previously posted series. Crossovers may only be written if the recipient has asked for them. Betas are not required but strongly encouraged. Submissions with excessive errors may be rejected at the mods' discretion, though you will first be invited to make corrections.

Deadline, Extensions and Dropping out (Defaulting)

Completed stories must be posted to the Public Call 2019 collection on AO3 by the deadline, where they will automatically appear as anonymous "Mystery Gifts" for the recipients after approval by the mods.

Do not upload incomplete stories. You can edit your story after the deadline, but this should be reserved for minor changes such as fixing typos. The mods will check all stories on the deadline, and any incomplete entries will be rejected.


If you can't finish your story in time but will be able to complete it with a few days extra, email the mods (at with a draft and request an extension. If you don't, you will be listed as having defaulted, and the mods will find a pinch-hitter to take over your assignment.

Dropping out (Defaulting)

If you realise at any time that you won't be able to finish your story, please hit the "Default" button on AO3 as soon as you know. (Click "Assignments" on your profile to find the button.) This lets the mods know they need to find a pinch-hitter to write a story for your recipient.

Please note: Since 2017, we are keeping track of defaulters. Anyone who simply vanishes by the deadline, or after having received an extension ("no-show defaults") will not be able to participate the following year.


If you don't want to sign up for the challenge, but still want to participate, or if you're willing to write more than one story, you can help us out as a pinch-hitter. You also need an AO3 account for this.

Pinch-hits will be posted to public_call, with comments screened. Comment with the name of your AO3 account, and we can assign the pinch-hit to you.

In the event we have issues matching someone, they will go out as a pinch hit right away. And if any author has to drop out, we'll also be needing pinch-hitters to step in for them. So if you might be able to help out, keep an eye on the comm!

Posting Period

From 1st December, every day one or more stories (depending on how many people sign up and deliver) will be revealed on AO3, and announcements will be posted to the LJ and DW communities. Unfortunately, AO3 will not notify you via email when your gift has been revealed - emails are only sent out once the whole collection is public. So keep your eye on this comm!

Author names will not be hidden; this is not an anonymous exchange.

Don't post your story anywhere else until the end of the fest. (But feel free to link here and pimp revealed stories!) After December, you are welcome to post anywhere.

Don't forget to comment and thank the person who created a gift for you!


You can write treats (additional stories) for the participants whether or not you're signed up for the challenge. For treats, you can also create fanart. Everyone's requests will be visible on AO3 after the deadline.

Treats will be revealed at the very end of the fest, so you can keep working on them and posting during December.

Any more questions, just comment here or email us at :)
Tags: !admin, !rules, 2019

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