Happy Fifth Birthday, SWG!
Please note that the birthday event has ended. We are leaving up the event guidelines for reference and posterity's sake. Stop by the birthday webpage to enjoy the fruits of our birthday celebration!
Five years ago, Dawn and Uli invited all of their fandom friends to their new group, the Silmarillion Writers' Guild. The SWG was originally intended as a discussion group and writers' workshop for authors of Silmarillion-based writing, but it has grown well beyond our initial hopes and is now one of the most respected Tolkien archives on the web. In honor of the many members, mods, and volunteers whose hard work and talents have brought us to where we are today, our fifth birthday will look back and look forward, to what we have accomplished and what inspiration still lies within.
There will be two major components of our birthday celebration, themes and tokens. Members are welcome and encouraged to participate in one or both!
When we first asked for ideas about how to celebrate our birthday, many of you came forth with ideas for challenges or themes around which we could build an event. Because we couldn't decide, then we decided to do them all! During the month following our birthday, we invite our members to propose themes they would like to see writing and artwork collected for.
Proposing a theme. Each member can propose one theme. The theme can be structured however you choose. It may be based on a character, time period, or event ("Stories about Turin" or "Stories Set after the Second Age"), embody a general theme ("Forgiveness"), or propose a specific challenge ("Stories Starting with a Line from a Famous Poem"). We will turn your theme into a compilation of past works and new creations. Please submit themes no later than 7 August through our birthday page or by emailing us at email@example.com.
Creating for a Theme. Once a member creates a theme, we invite everyone else to contribute works to the compilation! You may contribute both old and new works, though they work slightly differently.
- Old works. For each theme, we will assemble a compilation of old works. You may submit ficlets, artwork, poetry, and excerpts from longer stories or essays up to 300 words. (We will include a link so that readers can read the whole story on the archive.) Older works must be turned in no later than three days before the theme is scheduled to be featured.
- New works. You may also create new fiction, essays, poetry, and artwork for the theme. These items will also be included in the daily compilation; however, because it takes much more effort to write a story from scratch than to email an excerpt, and because we don't want to disadvantage the earlier themes, for which people have less time to write, then you may turn in new works at any time during the event. We will add them to the compilation and include a link in the daily summary that is posted to the website, email list, and LiveJournal community.
General Guidelines. We invite you to send as many pieces as you would like for a theme. However, for older works, we may not be able to include them all, so please indicate which are your favorites. (We will include all new works and at least one older work in each format per author: ficlet, excerpt, poem, and artwork.) For example, if the theme is "Sons of Fëanor" and you have 84 drabbles about the sons of Fëanor, we won't be able to include them all. We recommend that you send only your favorites but, if you do decide to send them all, please indicate which you would most like to see included. Otherwise, the mods will choose based on what rounds out the compilation best.
One question that inevitably comes up: "I write AU/slash/adult-rated/crossover/heretical/Fourth Age stories with odd pairings/LotR characters—can my work be included?" Yes. This is a celebration of all SWG work and creators, so any work eligible for the SWG archive is welcome in the compilation. (If you aren't sure how we define "Silmfic," you may find it here and general eligibility requirements are found in our Site Etiquette/ToS.) Adult-rated stories are welcome, but we ask that the excerpt you include be rated General or Teens. We will mark all Adult-rated stories with an asterisk and link to the Table of Contents, where readers may view warnings and notes about the story. (Here is more information about ratings.)
Another question that inevitably comes up: "Who will determine if my work fits the theme?" You will. "Well, what if the mods don't think that it does?" We don't pass those kinds of judgments, so it doesn't matter. We recognize that every author will interpret every theme slightly differently, so if you tell us a work fits a theme, we take your word for it. If you're sending us an excerpt of a longer work, though, we suggest that you choose a passage that shows the story's connection to the theme in some way.
We will eventually develop a schedule for the themes. However, this will be contingent on the number of themes that we receive. Based on past event participation, we anticipate two or three themes per week.
The schedule below indicates the due date for older works that you want to include in each theme's compilation, as well as the date that the compilation is scheduled to be posted. Please remember that if you are creating something new for one of the themes (meaning it will not have been posted publicly before the compilation is posted), there is no due date! Well, it would be nice to get it before the birthday event ends ...
(Older works only!)
|August 7||August 10||
Who?? A Celebration of Minor and Original Characters. Writing and artwork entered for this theme focuses on minor canon characters or original characters.
|August 9||August 12|
Númenórean Queens. Writing and artwork that focuses on the Queens of Númenor.
|August 11||August 14|
Clash of the Titans. Powerful characters clash in conflicts of all sorts.
|August 14||August 17|
Do Something That's Never Been Done. Writing or artwork about doing the seemingly impossible. Can be as big as defeating Sauron or as small as any given character overcoming a personal impossibility.
|August 16||August 19|
Heroes and Antiheroes. Writing and artwork about characters who exhibit the traits of heroes but are also afflicted with flaws.
|August 18||August 21|
Perfect Matches. Whether humorous or serious, this theme is for cross-overs of all sorts.
|August 21||August 24|
Most Sinister Villain. This theme is for writing and art where the baddie really makes one's skin crawl. Not one for likeable villains but for utterly horrid ones.
|August 23||August 26|
Five Things. Any variation of the "Five things . . ." or "Five times . . ." challenge would be acceptable. Might be "Five People Who Kissed Maedhros," or "Five Things Fëanor Invented," or even the format: "Five Things Turin Regretted and One He Did Not." That last one might be a stretch. Could it be possible to narrow regrettable acts committed by Turin to only five?
|August 25||August 28|
Minstrelsy and Music. Could be on one of the "professionals" (Maglor, Daeron, Ecthelion or Lindir)--or the Ainulindale--or on almost anyone singing.
|August 28||August 31|
Cuiviénen. Stories, poetry, and artwork about or set in Cuiviénen.
|August 30||September 2|
Through the Ages. Stories or artwork featuring characters that belong in more than one age of Arda such as Galadriel or Elrond and who influence more than one age of history.
|September 1||September 4|
The Songfic That Wasn't. This theme is for 'songfic' in which you use a line from a song once in your story (it may be the title, in the dialogue, in the description - wherever you like). You are expected to credit the original song or poem, of course, but you may not quote the entire song in your story.
|September 4||September 7|
What Would Socrates Say? For stories in which characters question their own or another's philosophy or beliefs and thus challenge the status quo.
|September 6||September 9|
The Lays of Beleriand Reloaded. Or, "Poetry in Motion." A theme that celebrates verse inspired by The Silmarillion and ancillary works.
|September 8||September 11|
Into the Woods. A celebration of stories, poems, and art focused on the denizens of Doriath.
|September 11||September 14|
To My Dear ... The distances between certain characters are enormous, but they somehow maintain close friendships. Why not publish the letters they used to stay in touch?
Each SWG member will also have the opportunity to create and award tokens to stories and authors on the archive. Tokens recognize the people and work that most inspire and entertain us.
Creating a Token. Think of tokens as light-hearted prizes or awards. Each SWG member may create one token. For example, tokens may be awarded for "The Best Dystopian Aman" or "AU We Can Believe In." Tokens may be as broad or narrow, as silly or as serious as you would like; we ask only that they focus on positive aspects of a story or author's work. Once you create a token, other SWG members may award that token to stories and authors as well. Please submit ideas for tokens no later than 7 August through our birthday page or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Awarding Tokens. Each SWG member may award one of each token to the story or author of her or his choice. The mods will place the token on the person's profile or story and let her or him know that s/he has been honored!
General Guidelines. It bears repeating that this is meant to be upbeat and light-hearted, a way of honoring stories and authors. When creating your token, please consider how the recipient of the token will perceive it being applied to her or his work. For example, "Most Likable Mary Sue" may not be perceived as a compliment by an author who tries to write well-rounded OFCs. The mods reserve the right to reject tokens that we feel would easily be perceived as insulting.
Each token will have a corresponding icon to display on the profile or story that it has been awarded to. Token creators are welcome to create their own icons, or we will create one for you. Token icons must be 100 by 100 pixels in size and in JPG, GIF, or PNG formats. All icons must be suitable for all audiences.
The following tokens have been created. Every SWG member may award each token to one story or author on the archive. Please use the form below to send us your choices, or email us at email@example.com.
|Smells Like Teen Spirit. A story that features teens in their most adolescent behaviour.|
|Best Kiss. Soul meets soul on lovers' lips.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound
You know you want to nominate one. Even if you don't find one you love (and you will, of course, you will), imagine the fun you will have looking. All kisses welcome to be nominated for this category—Beren and Lúthien, Fëanor and Nerdanel, Fingon and Maedhros, etc., etc., etc. Celebrate your favorite kisses of The Silmarillion that Tolkien never got around to describing.
|Melian's Girdle. An award for an exceptional portrayal and development of a female canon character or OFC in an adult rated romantic or erotic story.|
|Ilúvdiacritics. An award to honor references and periodicals that you find particularly helpful or illuminating. (Props to Araloth the Random for coining the term "Ilúvdiacritics"!)|
|The Splutter. For writing and authors that create spray effects on computer monitors and laptop screens--for perfect humor, of course!|
|Funniest Feanorians! For the most amusing stories and artwork featuring Feanor and his descendants.|
|The Box of Tissues. To honor stories that manage to be even sadder than the original.|
|Straight to the Heart. This token can be given to any story or poem that affected the reader in any way possible. Maybe it made you start writing, it gave you thought about something, or just simply touched you deeply.|
|Not That There's Anything Wrong with That. The most unlikely slash pairing that actually works.|
|Velvet Darkness. A token to honor those writers who write dark-themed stories, or characters who live through times of pain, grief and cruelty.|
|The Power and the Passion. A token for First Age stories that illuminate the lives of many wonderful and tragic characters: Their despair and hope, their loves and hates, the moments of laughter and tears.|
|The Stars of Westernesse. A token awarded to those authors who bring the people and events of Númenor to life.|
|Most Delightful Heresy. For the most refreshing, insightful or intriguing deviation from common fanon or canon interpretation.|
|The Golden Vial of Oil Award. For slash that is both erotic and humorous.|
|Most Likely to Make a Linguist Happy. For creative use of Tolkien's imaginary languages in a story.|
|The Tirion Mothers Against Oath-Taking Public Service Award. For an outstanding portrayal of Nerdanel.|
|Is That a Strongbow in Your Pocket or Are You Just Glad to See Me? For an excellent portrayal of Beleg.|
|She's All That. For an engaging characterization of Luthien.|
|You Made Me Love You (I didn't want to do it). Awarded to a story that took a canon character you didn't care for and redeemed him/her.|
|It's Only a Flesh Wound. For writing involving injuries and their treatment.|
|First Times. The first rise of the sun or moon, the first time someone makes love, or the first time someone takes a sword in hand - this is a token for stories describing exciting, astonishing, painful or beautiful first times.|
|Spring and Summer; Love and Laughter. A token to honor those who write stories that cheer us up after we depress ourselves reading the more prevalent stories of tragedy and despair.|
|The Wordsmith. Just like Fëanor put a secret power into the Silmarils, the recipient of this token weaves magic into her or his writing. Stories, poems, and authors who receive this token show exceptional wordsmithing craft.|
We welcome our members and participants to grab a banner commemorating our birthday to display on your member profile or anywhere HTML is accepted! Please remember that we do not allow images in story summaries. Either save and upload the banner you want to your image host, or copy the code below the image and paste it anywhere you can use HTML. Thank you to Rhapsody for the beautiful banners!
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