The fanfic gift exchange by autistic people, for autistic people!
(Open, Moderated, Gift Exchange Challenge)
About The Autistic Exchange (Autistic_Exchange)
The Autistic Exchange is a fanfiction gift exchange by autistic people, for autistic people. Our aim is to encourage autistic people to write stories featuring their favourite canonically autistic or headcanoned autistic characters, and to receive a story featuring a desired autistic character in return!
We'd like to see more stories featuring autistic people here on AO3. We'd also like to encourage more diverse representations of autism and autistic people. We'd love to see autistic people of colour, autistic people with other disabilities, autistic women, queer autistic people, trans and non-binary autistic people, and more!
Updates will be posted to The Autistic Exchange tumblr.
15 June-June 24: Nominations
26 June: Sign-ups open at midnight, EST!
July 7: Sign-ups close (at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time)
10-12 July: Assignments go out
13 September: Stories due by midnight
26 September: Stories revealed (provided all participants have received a story)
30 September: Authors revealed
Do I have to be autistic to participate?
The Autistic Exchange is a fanfiction gift exchange for autistic people, by autistic people. As such, participants must be on on the spectrum. Questioning, self-diagnosed, and professionally diagnosed autistic people are all welcome and encouraged to participate!
Do I need an AO3 account to participate?
Yes. As matching is completed through AO3's automatic matching process, an account is required. If you do not have an account, our exchange has a few invitations we can offer; please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, letting us know that you need an invite in order to participate. :) Alternatively, you can request an invitation directly from AO3 here.
How many autistic characters must be in my story?
We ask that you write at least one main character in your story as autistic. However, we'd also really like to encourage you to write more characters than that as autistic, if you feel up to it. The more autistic characters, the merrier! :)
Do I have to write canonically autistic characters?
You can, but that's by no means the limit! Characters may be canonically autistic, you may headcanon them as autistic, or you may simply be interested in reading or writing an interpretation of the character as autistic.
Do I have to write a story about autism?
You don't have to, but you could! If you'd like, you could write about, for example, things like a character discovering they are autistic, telling friends and family they are autistic, etc. However, it's also entirely possible to write an autistic character, or characters, without writing a story about autism, or using a character's autism as a plot device. We'd love to see all the creative ways you can write autistic characters just being autistic people within their own universes! Treat autistic characters the way you would treat non-autistic characters: as real people with real lives (which of course you will, because you're autistic yourself!)
When are stories due?
Stories are due by 11:59 PM EST on 13 September, giving participants just over two months to complete their stories.
How long should my story be?
At least 1000 words.
Can I participate without joining the main challenge?
Absolutely! If you aren't able to participate in the main challenge, if you are uncomfortable doing so, or if you missed the regular sign-up period, you can volunteer to be one of our pitch hitters! (Please see this post for an explanation of pinch hitting.)
We are very much in need of pinch hitters! If you'd like to volunteer to be a pinch hitter, please e-mail email@example.com your AO3 username and a note indicating you'd like to be a pinch hitter. Thanks muchly! :)
1. Your story needs to feature at least one main character who is autistic. They can be undiagnosed, self-diagnosed, or professionally diagnosed. They can be diagnosed as a child or an adult. So long as they are on the spectrum!
As pointed out in the FAQ, we would love to encourage multiple autistic people in each story, if authors feel up to writing about more than one character; one main autistic character is, however, the minimum.
2. Your story should be at least 1000 words.
3. I’m sorry, but at this time, we are not accepting RPF fics.
4. Stories are due 13 September by 11:59 PM EST.
5. As this is a gift exchange for autistic people, by autistic people, all participants must fall on the autistic spectrum; self-diagnosed autistic people are welcome!