About Their Love Was Real: a Destiel & Saileen Fanworks Challenge (TheirLoveWasReal)

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Welcome to the #TheirLoveWasReal fanworks challenge!

For this challenge we want to see all kinds of fanworks Destiel and Saileen shippers are capable of! This challenge is meant to celebrate and spread positivity about these characters and the love they feel for each other with what fans do best: transformative works. For 8 days (Feb. 13th - Feb. 20th), we'll give you a prompt to fuel your creativity, which you can then share with the rest of the fandom. Each prompt day will come with an inspiration post that we hope will lead to all kinds of amazing fanworks being created and shared -- and we do mean all kinds: fic, art, manips, vids, mixes, you made it? We want to see it, be it canon or alternate universe, go wild.

You can also get inspired by the works done by fellow fans! See something posted in the #TheirLoveWasReal challenge tag that you love? Reach out and write you fic, make your art, do your remix in honor of it! Collaboration is what fans do best, so let’s work together to inspire, encourage, hype, and create!

The last day for submissions will be February 27th, so if you miss a prompt day, don’t worry! We ask that you stick to posting works that fit the prompt of the day, but between the 21st and the 27th, you can post anytime for any prompt.

Need a little more encouragement? As you all may know, the Castiel/Dean Winchester tag on AO3 is nearing the 100k mark, which no other ship has passed yet. In fact, as of right now (Feb. 8, 2pm CST) the tag has a total of 95,145 works, and we think we can help push that number closer to 100k with all new fic, art, fanmixes, and all the archive was made to hold. Meanwhile, the Eileen Leahy/Sam Winchester tag has a total of 2,311 works, so it could use more love! Let’s get those tags bubbling with activity ❤

Prompt Schedule:
Feb 13th: Carry On (canon-verse only)
Feb 14th: Discovery
Feb 15th: Liminal Space
Feb 16th: Noir
Feb 17th: Steampunk
Feb 18th: The Sea
Feb 19th: Myth
Feb 20th: Road Trips

Click the badges below to see the inspiration post for each prompt:



How do I submit my work?


Glad you asked! We’re asking people to do two things:

Post their work on tumblr, tagged #TheirLoveWasReal, and mentioning our blog.

Post their work to AO3 with the #TheirLoveWasReal tag, then add it to this collection.


What’s the difference between this challenge and the Twitter trend?


Technically, they are all part of the same event. The Twitter trend is like the opening ceremony, and day 0 of the challenge. As such, you can participate in the Twitter trend by sharing any and all works you have, old or new (tweeting links to tumblr or ao3, for instance). To participate in the challenge proper, you should follow the submission guidelines stated in the rules section, and post/submit new works that fit our day 0 prompt: Carry On.


Is there a minimum of maximum length for submitted fics?


Fics should be at least 500 words, but can be a long as you like.


Do you accept WIPs?


Yes, we do! If you have an idea that would span multiple chapters or is simply longer than you could write before the challenge ends, feel free to post and submit only the first chapter or part.


Can I submit an old work to this challenge?


No, we ask that you only submit works that you have never posted on AO3 before.


I don’t write fic or draw fanart, can I still submit my fanwork?


Absolutely! You can post whatever kind of fanwork you want, so long as its the type of thing you can post on AO3. Here are the guidelines from the Archive itself:

You can post fanworks that consist of text, images, video, or audio files, or any combination of these. You can also post Spotify and 8Tracks playlists.

Currently, the Archive is only able to host text. Other file types need to be hosted on an external website. You can then use HTML to embed the externally hosted file in an Archive post. You can also post a link to the site where the file is hosted.

So, even if you made non-digital art, we still want to see it! Made a collage or a model? Take a picture and submit it! Have a super cool fanmix about Destiel pirates and Saileen solving crime? Submit that too!


I saw an amazing work done by another fan, and I want to submit something based on it, can I do that?


If you approached the original artist/writer/mixer/vidder and got their consent, then yes, you can. In fact, we encourage it!


Can I add someone else's work to the collection




Are podfics and fic remixes allowed?


If you have the consent of the original writer, go right ahead.


Can I submit more than one work for each prompt?




Do I have to submit a work for every prompt?


Only if you want to.


Can I submit different types of work, i.e., both fic and art?




I want to make gifsets for the challenge, can I submit those?


We’re not sure how well gifsets translate to AO3, but go ahead and post them on tumblr. If AO3 lets you post them here, too, go right ahead with your cool self.



Fanwork Eligibility
Submitted works to this collection will only be accepted if:
1. they belong to you;
2. they have never been posted to the archive before;
3. they are related to any of the 8 prompts given in the Introduction section;
4. have destiel and/or saileen as the main pairings.

Prompt Filling
The prompts are kept on vaguer terms rather than offering specific tropes, so that you have the freedom to explore what the prompt means or can mean. The prompts were designed to allow creative free reign, so long as the created works remain related to the spirit of the prompts. With that in mind, all prompts, with the exception of the canonverse-only Carry On prompt, may be set in either the canon Supernatural universe or in AUs. For prompts that seem historical, like Noir, you may also set them in any time period, so long as it remains true to the conventions of the prompt (think Sin City as a modern Noir, for example).