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a queer and pleasant danger
big bang: stats and graphs 
2nd-Sep-2011 01:30 pm
Big Bang is over for another year, with the masterlist of entries posted here. It's the fifth year of the spn_j2_bigbang which started in 2007. Five years is a long time in fandom!

In five years, 908 entries – stories and art – have been part of the challenge. If this event took place in the real world, it would be considered a literary event of huge significance – seriously the creativity of fandom I awesome. I cannot give enough praise to the wendy and thehighwaywoman. They run the Big Bang with such grace that it appears effortless, yet the level of organisation (and diplomacy) required to manage an event this size is huge. They deserve much appreciation and love.

Last year I did some metas on fanfic in Supernatural fandom "What we write" and also an analysis of what had been produced in the first four years of the Big Bang. Well any good nerd abhors an incomplete data set, so I've updated the stats (with graphs!) to include this years output.

The Big Bang is a very specific subset of fanfic. It is long form fic which must be over 20,000 words: the average story length is actually around 40,000 words. I don't have figures on the average length of a fanfic, but based on some dodgy sampling and a guess I'd say less than 10,000 words.

There were 243 stories and artworks posted as part of this year's Big Bang. This was down from 2010's 278 stories. I think the main factor affecting this was probably the proliferation of other big bang challenges in the fandom – there are now ten other big bang style challenges in our fandom! Check out the great list wendy has compiled of these and Big Bangs in other fandoms here We can also see the shifting numbers of SPN and RPF fic.

The graph above shows this as the relative percentages each makes up of total stories. From my previous work, we know that overall canon based fic makes up around 80% of stories with RPF making up only 20%. This has shifted a bit over time, and for 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, RPF made up 30% of fic.

The Big Bang started with SPN stories in the majority, and this swung around to RPF stories dominating, and this year it was a 50/50 split. I am not sure I have a theory to explain this. Any suggestions?

Of the 122 RPF stories this year, 8 featured pairings other than J2 and there was one gen story.

Unsurprisingly within SPN fic, slash is the dominant genre, although as is typical of SPN fic overall, there is a significant Gen component, with these stories making up from 21 to 33% of stories. This is actually pretty reflective of the proportion of Gen fic in SPN fandom, although it was decreased in the last couple of years, not in absolute numbers but as a percentage of all SPN fic, as the arrival and huge popularity of Dean/Castiel fic swelled the ranks of slash.

When we start to break the categories down a bit further, we see a definite increase in the variety of fics.

This graph shows actual numbers of stories rather than percentages, and illustrates the rise in diversity in the last couple of years. This obviously reflects the rise in secondary recurring characters on the show since season 4.

There were 19 Dean/Cas stories in 2010, and 15 this year. This category is obviously heavily influenced by the deancasbigbang which started very successfully last year, and this year has over 50 stories and artwork due to be posted staring on October 3.

I haven't repeated all the analysis I did last time, such as genres within RPF, as for some of that I need to wait for the completion of the tagging of the 2011 stories on delicious. However from those tagged so far I did have to pic out some of my favourite fic warnings. These included warnings for:

• abuse.of.the.scots.language
• Serious!jensen
• Mentions of het
• Everyone relies on Misha
• Naked Misha
• Supernatural elements
• Winged!jensen
• Unlicensed therapy

And of course Chad!

No warnings for JDM - however hopefully there were some surprise appearances.

2nd-Sep-2011 03:44 am (UTC)
Very interesting. I have nothing especially intelligent to comment about any of it (cela va sans dire), but it's fascinating nonetheless. (Serious!Jensen is a warning? Good to know).

Perhaps a slight decrease in RPS thanks to the boys getting married? I don't know, just throwing that out there. Wouldn't stop *me* writing or reading J2, but perhaps for a few people, they needed the RL situation to be less defined to allow the fantasies to flourish? (Doesn't bother me either way because I regard it all as AU/move roles for them).

Thanks for doing this; very interesting stuff, hon.
2nd-Sep-2011 03:50 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed! I want to try and hunt out some stats on other fandom Big Bnags to look at their stats too.

There's no indication that RPF overall has decreased in popularity in the fandom at large. This slight shift seems specific to Big Bang, and may be more to do with more SPN being written over the last couple of years.
2nd-Sep-2011 03:46 am (UTC)
Thank you! This is endlessly fascinating. I wonder did J2 marrying Gen&Danneel & not cohabiting push down the J2 numbers?
2nd-Sep-2011 03:52 am (UTC)
My pleasure!

There's no indication that RPF overall has decreased in popularity in the fandom at large. This slight shift seems specific to Big Bang, and may be more to do with more SPN being written over the last couple of years. Certainly overall in fandom and in Big Bang there's been a shift over time from non-Au to AU RPF but that happened well before the boys were married.
2nd-Sep-2011 04:48 am (UTC)
Wow! Thanks for compiling this it is really interesting to see. Hee, I love warnings for Chad! :D
2nd-Sep-2011 06:15 am (UTC)
It is fascinating! And I am glad to see Chad is still standard as a warning.
2nd-Sep-2011 05:03 am (UTC)
How interesting! I have over 100 of them bookmarked, and I thought that was a lot. LOL

I don't know what it takes to get a call to pinch hit for the BB. I signed up this year, but I guess I did it wrong (I can't imagine that nobody'd want me. LOL)
2nd-Sep-2011 06:14 am (UTC)
I've read less than 20 this year - so many to still enjoy!

from my observations, there are v. few drop outs after the claiming, so i think there's little call for pinch hitters. Of course if I was writing, I would've murdered my artist just so I could work with you ;D

Edited at 2011-09-02 06:14 am (UTC)
2nd-Sep-2011 05:05 am (UTC)
That is super-cool. (Except for the warnings, which...well, let's just leave that be, shall we?) Every time I see someone in fandom bitching about one thing or another in SPN fandom and/or fic (which is pretty much daily, TBH), I think about graphs like this, and how they illustrate that we are a diverse fandom, with something out there for everyone. It's a shame that sometimes, people fail to recognize that, being all bound up in their various agendas, as people are wont to be.
2nd-Sep-2011 06:19 am (UTC)
Thank you!!! I think we can be pretty crap at celebrating our awesomeness. Maybe because I am always looking at fandom's achievements to document for the Super Wiki I have a bit more of a birds-eye view of all the wonder we do.
2nd-Sep-2011 11:12 am (UTC)
Statistics! HNNNGGGG. This is awesome. What a big, crazy, diverse fandom we are.
3rd-Sep-2011 04:11 am (UTC)
We certainly are!
2nd-Sep-2011 12:49 pm (UTC)
You are amazing, as always! ♥
3rd-Sep-2011 04:11 am (UTC)
*g* my pleasure.
2nd-Sep-2011 07:52 pm (UTC)
This was awesome! Thanks for compiling this! (I laughed at the "everyone relies on Misha" warning. :P)
3rd-Sep-2011 04:11 am (UTC)
some of the warnings are hilarious (and some are..bizarre)
3rd-Sep-2011 04:01 am (UTC)
The bigbangbigbang is tiny compared to this (but has the best comm name ever). We have 22 fics this year; I don't know how many we had last year because I only got into the fandom in January.

I love your pretty graphs. I am very pro-graph.
3rd-Sep-2011 04:10 am (UTC)
Thank you! And that is the perfect name!

I love analysing what we write, and I wish more fandoms would draw graphs! For example I think SPN has a much higher percentage of Gen fic than many fandoms, but it is hard to find good data sets for comparison.
3rd-Sep-2011 12:12 pm (UTC)
COMPLETELY awesome. :D *would be a data geek if I knew how but appreciates it in others*
3rd-Sep-2011 01:14 pm (UTC)
So glad you liked it!
3rd-Sep-2011 12:53 pm (UTC)
WOW!!! I love shiny graphs...and I'm kinda proud that I'm included in this years stats!! The trend is interesting and I'm surprised about the 50/50 split between RPF and SPN this year but I guess it's hard to see a pattern from normal posting comms...I thought there would be more Spn!!

*hugz*...thanx for sharing this!
3rd-Sep-2011 01:17 pm (UTC)
I think for some writers RPF AU can be a more accessible form esp for writing novel length fics, which is why we see generally more longer challenges dominated by RPF whereas overall in fandom its in the minority. but that's just a theory!
3rd-Sep-2011 01:05 pm (UTC)
Interesting. Perhaps the smaller number of J2 fics is due in some part to Dean/Cas popularity? I've always figured the reason J2 was so popular was because some just hated the incest so they wrote RPF instead. But Cas, not to mention Gabriel and a few other intriguing male characters who have come along in the last few years give the boys some possible SPN action without the incest.

Or perhaps the opposite -- after all the boys have been through, what's a little incest in the mix? :>

Anyway, thanks for doing this. I really enjoyed seeing the breakdowns.
3rd-Sep-2011 01:21 pm (UTC)
The work I did last year in "What we write"showed that the emergence of Dean/Cas fic was additive on the fandom rather than substitutive. Which is not to say that some RPF writers didn't start writing Dean/Cas, but they didn't stop writing RPF.

If anything the influence on the number of RPF are more likely to be the large number of other RPF-centric fic challenges that are around.
3rd-Sep-2011 01:26 pm (UTC)
WOW... great breakdown of the challenge in numbers and graphs... very interesting development (we're the big social experiment *lol*) Concerning theories on the fluctuation of RPF vs. SPN fics, well, the thing that comes to mind is that 2008/2009 was the season the boys moved in with each other causing an explosion of both rumor and fic of the J2 variety, it's not farfetched that this would show up in the bb-stats as well. Especially since it's also season four which prominently featured the other side of the coin, that is the breakdown of the relationship between Sam and Dean. I think the scores levelled out over marriages and season-six mending (or soulless mindfuckery) to a more balanced pitch...
Any thoughts?
3rd-Sep-2011 01:40 pm (UTC)
Most (like >95%) of RPF in the Big Bang is AU, so I don't think their real life situation has a big effect. In fact overall in fandom AU RPF has dominated since late 2007, although there was some resurgence of domestic shmoop in mid2008 when they moved in together.

I think its very hard to know the influence of canon on fic - however the stats show Sam/Dean and Gen fic has continued increasing at a a pretty even pace over time and Dean/Cas obv added to the quantum of SPN fic from late 2008 onwards.
3rd-Sep-2011 01:30 pm (UTC)
This is all kinds of awesome! I mean, seriously, it's so interesting to see the changes in the fandom. And the stats.....you killed me with them. Seriously.
3rd-Sep-2011 03:24 pm (UTC)
Great! I always loved this kind of comperations.
And about the other BBs in our lovely fandom: there are 20 currently, that I avere of. http://bigbangindex.livejournal.com/profile
And this is only for the (most) just SPN BBs. There's tons of other BBs who are allow SPN fics.
3rd-Sep-2011 04:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that list although some of those - although big bangish in that they have fic and art - have a word limit of only 1500 words, so I don't think they are in direct competition as far as long form fic goes - at least for writers, they may well affect artist involvement. But i love the huge diversity!

Edited at 2011-09-03 04:33 pm (UTC)
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