Alternate Universe Exchange 2017

Comic multiple planets

The first Alternate Universe Exchange!

For all your 'what if?' needs.

(Closed, Unmoderated, Gift Exchange Challenge)

About Alternate Universe Exchange 2017 (AUExchange2017)

Active since:
Tag Set:
Assignments Due:
Mon 04 Sep 2017 11:59PM CDT
Signed up:
  • Sumi,
  • Alexandria (heartfullofelves),
  • thedevilchicken,
  • shopfront,
  • tielan,
  • DesertVixen,
  • VampirePaladin,
  • VanaTuivana,
  • Doranwen,
  • failsafe,
  • starianprincess,
  • Ultra,
  • TwoMenAndAGuava (drakkynfyre47),
  • silveradept,
  • heeroluva,
  • debirlfan,
  • Netgirl_y2k,
  • Gehayi,
  • weakinteraction,
  • lah_mrh
  • Meatball42,
  • dreamiflame,
  • afinch,
  • Rosencrantz,
  • oneiriad,
  • Snacky,
  • Novatti,
  • flipflop_diva,
  • rosecake,
  • Missy



When does this exchange run?


All times in CST/Central


Nomination Period: June 22nd, Thursday to July 1st, Saturday 11:59pm
Sign Ups: July 5th, Wednesday to July 16th, Sunday 11:59 pm
Assignments out by: July 19th, Wednesday
Deadline: September 4th, Monday 11:59 pm
Archive Goes Live: Sept 10th, Sunday [no earlier than 8:59 am, may be later]
Anon Period Ends: Sept 17th, Sunday [no earlier than 8:59 am, may be later]


Table of Contents:

  1. Welcome
  2. How it works
  3. General questions
  4. Nominations
  5. Handling Related Fandoms and Media

This fic exchange is for:

  • What ifs
  • Alternate universes
  • Canon divergence
  • Elseworlds

Alternate Universes come under a lot of different names - this is an exchange to let your imagination go wild.


Who's in charge?


Please contact the mods with any problems at (email)! NOT via journal messaging, or any other means.


Where is this?


Stage 1: Nominate (if you want to) during the Nomination Period (Nomination FAQ here).
Stage 2: Sign-ups will open up on AO3 and you will choose which fandoms and AUs you want stories for, and which you want to write.
Stage 3: You will be assigned a recipient.
Stage 4: You write a story for the recipient and anyone else you want to.
Stage 5: You post your story and everyone is happy.
Stage 6: Everyone reads the stories and is even more happy.

Who can participate?

Anyone with an AO3 account (if you haven't got one, please contact a mod!) is welcome! We have a community on Dreamwidth where you can talk about the exchange, post an exchange letter, and find or offer to be a beta reader, if you want. Sign-ups, assignments, and posting will be done through AO3.


How do nominations and matching work?

You can nominate 1-6 Fandoms, 0-6 Characters/Relationships per fandom, and 0-6 AUs per fandom. See a more detailed nominations guide below.

Then, during sign ups, you will request and offer:

  • Fandoms: 3-10 requests, 4-10 offers
  • Characters/Relationships: 1-20 per fandom Note: this has been changed from the original 2-10
  • AUs: 2-20 per fandom

You may request and/or offer a fandom more than once. However, you must include a minimum of 4 unique fandoms in your requests and a minimum of 4 unique fandoms in your offers.

Any is NOT an option in this exchange due to its nature.

You will then be matched with someone who has offered what you requested and vice versa.

You will be matched on:

  • 1 Fandom
  • 1 AU
  • 1 Character/Relationship

At least one of the prompts in your assignment should be for a fandom, an AU tag, and a character or relationship you offered - this is what you matched on. If there is nothing in common between what you offered and what your recipient requested, please contact the mods at immediately.


Make sure to include your ao3 name in the email!


Note: You can write any of your recipient's requests - you are not limited to just the one you matched on.

Letters? Sign-up form?

When you sign up at AO3, there'll be a field for additional details. You can include all sorts of things in there - plots you like, tropes you're into, prompts, things that give you the heebies! Use it as much as you like!

A letter is essentially the same thing: a letter (you can fill this with what you like, don't like, and ideas for your gift!) to your author (posted in your lj/dw/tumblr/blog/etc) that contains everything you want them to know. Neither prompts nor a letter are required, but they can make things a lot easier on your author! Give it a try.

IMPORTANT: If you have any major Do Not Wants, you have to include them in your sign up. Otherwise they will not be enforced.

You can find the community letter posts on Dreamwidth under the Letters tag.


Okay, so I don't like my assignment. Can I get a new one?


Unless the assignment you received does not match anything you offered, assignments are final. Please just do your best to fulfill what you are assigned, remember Optional Details Are Optional (ODAO), and to heed the Do Not Wants (DNW). If you cannot fulfill your assignment, default as soon as you realize to make it easier to find a new writer.

I cannot change your assignment once assignments are out. Please default if you are unable to write your story.

My story has problems! What do I do?

It's okay! You can edit your story well after you've posted it until the collection goes live! We ask that once the collection goes live you make only minor edits and that the story you've uploaded is the version you want your recipient to see.

It also helps to get a beta to look at the story beforehand to check for grammar and spelling issues, among other things. We will be putting up a beta post under the beta tag!

What if I can't do the story I'm assigned?

Please default if you absolutely cannot write your story. You can default by going to your AO3 profile and going to the assignments page and hitting the default button.

This allows us to assign a Pinch Hitter to your recipient in a timely manner.

However, don't let this discourage you from writing treats for other participants! If your writer doesn't also default and posts a story for you, please comment!

Don't be embarrassed. Sometimes a story just doesn't happen, and comments are the lifeblood of writers.

If you have defaulted, and your author defaults, you will not be assigned a new author.

My recipient listed other fandoms I'm into that I didn't sign up for. What if I want to write them?

You can write any fandom your recipient has requested in order to fulfill the assignment.

My recipient is into a lot of fandoms that they talk about elsewhere that wasn't in their sign up. Could I write one of those instead?

Not instead - but possibly as well as, if they like crossovers. Your story must include one of the combinations of fandom, character/relationship and AU requested by your recipient, and can contain others only if your recipient has agreed that they like that idea in their letter or sign-up, or via a mod (do NOT contact them yourself!).

Does it have to be beta'd?

We'd appreciate it if it was, but it's not a rule.

Can I request a crossover?

You can suggest one in your letter, but your writer is not obligated to do that. Optional details are optional.

Can I ask my recipient for more details?

Please do not contact your recipient directly, even anon. You can tell us if their letter is still locked or somesuch and we'll see what we can do.

Do I have to write exactly what they asked for?

Optional is optional. You're only required to write one of the fandoms your recipient requested, with one of the AUs and one of the characters or relationships they requested in it. But if your recipient has included in their additional details a list of things they hate (Do Not Wants or DNWs), do not write those into the story.

My story isn't 1000 words. Can I still post it?

If this is your assignment, you will be considered as having dropped out. If this is a treat, yes you can. Treats don't have to be 1000 words.

The exchange is live, but I never got a story. Where is it?

Tell us immediately that it's missing so we can find out why.*

*If you have defaulted, you are no longer guaranteed a gift. Your writer may default and we will not reassign you to a new writer once you've defaulted and that is a possible reason you have not received a story.


How secret is this?

You'll be anonymous until author reveals! Check the schedule for when that is. Don't let your recipient find out who you are until then!

I really love this other person who is NOT my recipient's prompts and I think I can do theirs AND my assignment. Can I do that?

Go for it! It'd be a nice treat for them! ALSO you may end up being able to take them on as a pinch hit (watch the PINCH HIT tag), so keep an eye out for that once assignments go out.

I hate my story. What do I do?

Please be kind to your author, they tried their best. We do not condone rude comments to authors.

If you mean the one you wrote, I think that's normal and you should take a few minutes to think about the various ways you're a cool person.


How many nominations do we get?

The rule is 666. You get:

6 Fandoms

  • Murder She Wrote (TV)

6 Characters/Relationships per fandom, placed under CHARACTERS

  • Relationship: Jessica Fletcher/Dr. Seth Hazlitt (Murder She Wrote)
  • Relationship: Jessica Fletcher & Grady Fletcher (Murder She Wrote)
  • Jessica Fletcher (Murder She Wrote)

Note: your characters and relationships DO NOT have to be canonical tags on AO3! This means you don't have to choose a suggestions from the drop-down list - just type what you want to nominate into the box and then hit Tab or Enter.

Please make sure that your character and relationship tags are unique to the fandom in which you're nominating them. Basically: instead of Relationship: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark, try specifying, e.g. Relationship: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark (Marvel Adventures: Avengers).

The relationships you nominate can either be shippy (use / between the characters) or platonic (use & between the characters). For example, you can nominate Relationship: Harry & Hermione & Ron (Harry Potter - J K Rowling) in order to get (or offer to write) a story that uses all three characters but does not ship them in any combination.

6 AUs per fandom, which you will enter under RELATIONSHIPS

  • AU: Jessica is the grim reaper (Murder She Wrote)
  • AU: Murder in SPAAACE (Murder She Wrote)

Please remember to insert the name of the fandom in brackets after the AU.

Example of how a nomination may look on AO3:


What is eligible as an AU?

Well, there's multiple kinds of Alternate Universes. But anything that significantly changes the universe will be accepted, from what-ifs and canon divergence to complete setting changes.

Here's some examples of what constitutes an AU! Please note you must put AU: in front when nominating.


    Canon Divergence/Timeline Alteration/What If?
  • AU: Mary Jane Watson is bitten by the radioactive spider (Marvel Comics)
  • AU: Palpatine, Anakin, and Obi-Wan die in the starship crash at the start of Revenge of the Sith (Star Wars Canon)
  • AU: Ash Ketchum Arrives In Time To Get A Normal Starter (Pokemon Anime)
  • AU: Jake Sisko goes into Starfleet (Star Trek Original Timeline)
  • AU: Toy Story But Woody Is Deliberately Sold At The Garage Sale (Toy Story)
  • Different Setting/Huge Change/Elseworlds
  • AU: It's the X-Women, not X-Men (Marvel Comics)
  • AU: CSI: But Everyone Is Cowboys (CSI Franchise)
  • AU: French Revolutionary Coffeeshop AU (Battlestar Galactica)
  • AU: Really A TV Show (Sailor Moon Manga)
  • AU: Complete Universe Sex Swap (Yuri on Ice!!)
  • AU: Steampunk Universe (How To Train Your Dragon Movies)

You don’t personally have to nominate character/relationship or AU tags for a fandom. But any fandom that does not have at least 2 AUs and 1 character or relationship nominated for it will be removed at the end of nominations.

How will you be handling related fandoms such as Lord of the Rings/Silmarillion or Star Wars?

Since AUs should have access to the full cast of universes, we ask that you nominate franchises as one unit (CSI Franchise, Fast and the Furious Movies, Neverending Story Movies).

Here's how we'd like to handle MegaFranchises, with suggested tags (please note that since the tags are not what gets canonized, all we need is for the tags to be clear what they're referring to. Please use the archive tags when posting) We've been discovering some of these cause errors when nominating - use the closest thing that works and we'll sort it out:

  • Star Wars: For the movies, cartoons, and other currently 'canon' Star Wars material, please use: Star Wars - Canon. For the rest that was declared Legends by the company, please use: Star Wars - Legends
  • Marvel: MCU and TV, Marvel Comics
  • DC: DC Cinematic Universe, DC TV (Arrowverse) for the Arrow/Flash/LoT stuff, DC Comics THIS SECTION HAS BEEN UPDATED
  • Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit Movies as Middle-earth Movie Canon, and Lord of the Rings/Silmarillion/The Hobbit/Children of Hurin/Unfinished Tales/The Histories should be Middle-earth Book Canon to cut down on size. (If you wish to nominate Ralph Bakshi's Hobbit, you have to do that on its own)
  • Star Trek: Shows/Movies/Books: Star Trek Original Timeline, Reboot Movies/Materials: Star Trek Alternate Timeline
  • X-Men Movie Franchise and Deadpool Franchise will be combined into X-Men/Deadpool Movie Franchise Please tag your character/relationship with the part of canon you want to request: e.g. Jean Grey (Alternate Timeline); Relationship: Charles Xavier/Erik Lehnsherr (Original Timeline); Wade Wilson (Deadpool)/Scott Summers (Original Timeline)
  • Other superhero movies should be nominated by their individual movie/movie series

How will you be handling canon AUs?r

You can specify canon AUs in your AU tags. However, so that the works are not just a continuation of something that is canonical, the AU tags must include some other change to the universe. IE: it's the mirrorverse but something specifically happens that didn't happen in the mirrorverse.


Star Trek Original Timeline
AU: Mirror Universe Timeline: Tribbles lead to the downfall of the klingons

Marvel Comics
AU: The What If Where Magda Doesn't Die But It DOESN'T All Go To Shit For Magneto

DC Comics
AU: Alternate Timeline Where Huntress Is Batman and Catwoman's Daughter But Mixed With The Normal Timeline



Marvel Comics
AU: 1602

Star Trek Original Timeline
AU: Mirror Universe

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
AU: Wishverse


Please look at the tag set! Are there any tags that don't make sense to you? Please ask about them! If you can't tell what the nominator wanted, ask now, and we can discuss a tag that ensures everyone's on the same page. We know that if people interpret a tag very differently, sadness can ensue.


If you have any questions about your franchise or character's canon, please comment or toss us an email at!

FAQ UPDATED 5 July 2017