April's Challenges

Back to Nature

Nature is ever-present in Tolkien's works, from the obvious interventions of Yavanna and Oromë to the untold struggles of a tribe of mortal Men journeying into Beleriand. Few are the characters who are not asked to interact with nature at some point over the course of The Silmarillion. This month's challenge asks you to consider conflicts with nature--both overt and symbolic--and characters' relationships with that which is natural in their world.

What are some struggles individuals and groups have with nature, with plants, animals, geography, or weather? What about those with a special relationship with natural forces? Consider the various locations upon Arda--for example, Valinor, Himring, Doriath: What symbols are present in the natural environments of these places that highlight the conflicts that take place there?

If you have ideas for compelling story hooks for this challenge or know of any good examples of stories that satisfy this challenge (either your own or someone else's), please feel free to share them in a comment or in a post to the group.

The Quote of the Month Challenge

The Quote of the Month challenge asks you to write based on the themes and thoughts the quote inspires or about the event in which the quote occurred. You may write in any format--poem, story, essay, or drabble--with any characters, genre, or rating.

“The Light failed; but the Darkness that followed was more than loss of light. In that hour was made a Darkness that seemed not lack but a thing with being of its own: for it was indeed made out by malice out of Light, and it had power to pierce the eye, and to enter heart and mind, and strangle the very will."
-The Silmarillion, “Of the Darkening of Valinor”

News and Announcements

The SWG Archive Site

The site is making steady progress. The layout was completed in February, and most of the content was written in March. The main site--excluding the archive and forums--will be tested on free webspace sometime within the next month so that members can visit and test the site and give me feedback before it is launched under our domain, hopefully sometime this summer.

Over the next month, I will be beginning research on the archive and forum portions of the site. Several members have already provided me with valuable input about this. Anyone else with knowledge or interest in fiction archives and PHP should feel free to contact me with ideas and suggestions; I appreciate any help!

Our site will also serve as a home for our writer's workshop and our references. References will pertain to everything from Tolkien's canon to writers' resources to online fandom...please let me know if you have any ideas or contributions for our reference section!

The SWG site will represent our group and will hopefully make SWG a more fun, effective community than we can be with a LiveJournal and mailing list alone. I cannot emphasize enough how much I appreciate member input, from the smallest of suggestions to the most extensive volunteer efforts. If you have any ideas for our site or skills that might be useful, please drop me an email! No suggestion is too silly; no amount of help is too small.

To those who have already contributed advice, help, ideas...or merely put up with my griping and whining: Thank you!

For those members interested in becoming involved in the development of our site and archive, please sign up for Yahoo! discussion group or email me.

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