Current Challenge: Revolution
On Modern-earth, in many parts of the world, February is Black History Month, a reminder of how justice is often wrested and seized from the powerful through the courage and sacrifices of the oppressed.
The early ages of Arda are likewise defined by revolution. Ossë's rebellion against Ulmo. The return of the Noldor to Middle-earth. Barahir's outlaws. The Kings' Men and the Elf-friends of Númenor. Into the Third Age, the Gondorians rebelled against the cruel usurpation of Castamir. Then of course there are the individual revolutionaries of Arda: Fëanor, Andreth, Aredhel, Isildur, Ar-Pharazon. (And who could forget the ur-revolutionary Melkor?) Between the lines, many fans read resistance against dominating--even colonialist--cultures by the unsung peoples and heroes of Middle-earth.
For this month's challenge, participants will receive a quotation, artwork, speech, or song concerned with protest and revolution. Your final piece does not have to include a revolution or concern revolution in any way, but you should use some aspect of your prompt in the final story. While not required, participants are encouraged to include characters of color or from underrepresented cultural groups.
Writers, comment on our LiveJournal or Dreamwidth, send our tumblr an ask, or email us to receive your prompt. Please specify if you have a preference for the format of your prompt (song, speech, art, or quotation).
If you want to create a fanwork other than fiction, your challenge is to create a piece of protest art in any format that you choose.
Participation stamps are available for both creators and reviewers. To be eligible for this month's stamp as a creator, you must post your response to the SWG archive no later than March 10, 2017. Review challenges never expire; however, we ask that you email us if you need a reviewer stamp for a challenge that is more than two months old.
Challenges have been a part of the SWG since our group was formed in 2005. Before the archive, there were challenges. Before References or any special projects or B2MeM or any of the myriad things we've done over the last decade-plus, there were challenges. From 2005 through 2008, we offered at least one challenge every month. In 2009, we switched to a quarterly format. Challenges were always entirely self-directed: You did not have to sign up, post your work by a certain date, or meet any other requirements.
Beginning in January 2017, we instituted several changes to the SWG challenges. We reverted back to the monthly format. But more importantly, we also modified our participation rules to encourage participation from both authors and commenters. Please read the guidelines below to participate in our challenges. Participants--both authors and reviewers--will receive a small monthly prize for their participation.
Please note that every challenge that has ever been offered by the SWG will continue to remain on the site, available for perusal and use by creators of fanworks who are looking for inspiration. Even if the deadline is passed, you are welcome to use the challenges listed on our site. And reviews of past challenge stories are always welcome and always receive a reward for that month. Again, the guidelines below have full details.
How to Participate
- New challenges will be released monthly on the 15th. You can find the current challenge in the Challenge section of our website or listed in the sidebar under Current Challenges. The current challenge can also be found on our satellite groups on LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, and Tumblr.
- Challenges will need to be posted to the SWG archive by the 10th of the month in order to count as an official entry for that month's challenge. Make sure that you add your story to the challenge using the Challenges field on the story submission form:
- The only exception to Rule 2: If you want to respond to a challenge in a format that is not easily posted to our archive (e.g., art, craft, video), you may post your response to our LiveJournal or Dreamwidth communities. Please identify it as a challenge entry somewhere in your post. Formats that must be posted to the archive to count include fiction, nonfiction/essays, poetry, script/screenplay, podfic, and other audio.
- You are welcome to cross-post your work wherever you want, but at a minimum, it must be archived on our website.
- Works must be Silmfic, but any genre, rating, pairing, characters, or format are allowed. Works-in-progress are welcome.
- Challenge entries will now be promoted in a monthly links list posted in our newsletter and satellite groups. (If you don't want your work linked, all you need to do is drop us a note to let us know.)
- Challenge participants will receive a stamp for each challenge that they complete. In addition, if you review a challenge story, you will receive a stamp for participating as a reviewer. Unleash your inner philatelist because we will start a stamp collection for all participants that will be updated from month to month! We will email you at the email address you have registered with us with a link to your stamps when we create your collection for you.
- Review challenges have no due date. However, if you are reviewing a story posted more than two months ago, we appreciate if you email us and let us know that you need a stamp. Please note that review stamps are not available for specific challenges before January 2017, although reviewing challenge stories posted before that date will still count toward the total number of challenge stories you have reviewed.
FAQs: Frequently [Anticipated] Questions
What is the challenge format?
The format will vary from month to month. Some will be simple prompt challenges. Others? Let's just say we have some wild ideas up our moderator sleeves ...
I hate this month's format. What gives?
There will be a new format next month, so we hope there will be a little something to appeal to everyone. If a particular month's format doesn't appeal to you as a writer, we encourage you to aim for the reviewer prizes that month instead!
Does my response have to be fiction or can I write poetry or nonfiction instead?
Unless the challenge specifies a particular format, then you can write any format that you want. Responses in formats other than writing, such as art or podfic, are also welcome.
How should I post art and other multimedia responses?
Formats that are not yet easily archived on our site can be posted to our LiveJournal or Dreamwidth communities. Please make sure that you identify your response as a challenge entry somewhere in your post. Formats currently accepted on the archive are fiction, nonfiction/essays, poetry, script/screenplay, podfic, and other audio. All other formats may be posted to LiveJournal or Dreamwidth.
My story is probably going to be really long. So I have less than a month to finish?
No, all you need to do is to post the start of the story. You can have as long as you need to update and finish it.
How long do I have to wait before I can cross-post my story to other archives?
You don't have to wait. It's your story. It's yours to do with as you please, including cross-posting it wherever and whenever you want. The SWG doesn't even have to be the first site where you archive it, but you do have to archive it with us before the deadline if you want to collect a stamp for it.
I commented on a challenge story on another site. Does that count toward the review challenge?
No. All stories and comments must be on the SWG archive to count for the challenge and to receive a stamp.
My story's kind of a weird interpretation of a challenge. Will it still count?
It sure does. We're not going to be checking entries to see if they conform closely enough to what we think is a proper response to a prompt. We're all writers too and know that sometimes prompts can run away with their writers along roads less traveled.
I don't want my work linked on a particular site or at all. Can I still participate?
You certainly can. Just drop us an email letting us know your preferences. You can be left off of one month's links list, all links lists, or a links list for a particular site.
This prompt seems perfect for a LotR story or a story for another fandom. Does that count?
We only accept Silmfic on our archive, and a story must be posted to our archive to count for the official challenge, so no, it could not count if it's not Silmfic. However, you're free to use the challenges to write other Tolkien-based and other fandom stories. They just can't count officially for our challenge.
Can I suggest a challenge?
Absolutely! If you have an idea for a format or a particular prompt, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. If there's a format you loved and would like to see again, let us know!
Whom should I inform when I complete a challenge, either as an author or a reviewer?
You don't need to tell anyone. We'll be monitoring activity on that challenge on our site (which is part of the reason why challenge stories and comments must be posted to the SWG archive and not other sites or SWG satellites to count). However, if you're leaving a review on a challenge story that is more than two months old, letting us know with an email to email@example.com would be much appreciated.
Can I still use the challenges after the deadline has passed?
Absolutely! All of our challenges are archived on our site by date and alphabetically by name. We will not offer stamps for stories posted after the deadline, but we encourage people to use our challenges list as a hammer to smash writer's block or to take their creative work in new directions.