Newsletter: April 2012

Table of Contents

SWG News

Back to Middle-earth Month 2012: A March to Remember!

This year's Back to Middle-earth Month exceeded our wildest expectations. With over 700 stories posted to the B2MeM community alone, the month of March has been hectic for writers, readers, and volunteers alike!

Although March is over, many B2MeM participants are still working on pieces created for the challenge. We encourage B2MeM participants to continue posting their B2MeM projects to the community throughout the year. We hope that readers will continue reading, commenting, and encouraging their fellow Tolkien fans there as well.

We have several post-B2MeM special days coming soon! First, we will host on the B2MeM community a Super-Duper Brag & Rec post. Here, we will encourage participants to recommend their favorite B2MeM pieces created by other authors and SSP (shamelessly self-promote) what they feel were their own best creations.

Later in the month, we will unveil the identities of the brilliant individuals who designed this year's 105 BINGO cards and the talented digital artists who brought those ideas to life. This year's selection of challenging and inspiring BINGO cards--and, therefore, the card creators--were what made this challenge such a success. In order to honor those who helped to build this year's challenge, we'll also be taking votes for and awarding prizes for your favorite cards.

Finally, the B2MeM mods are tackling the enormous task of making a master list of this year's B2MeM creations posted to the community and our site. With over 700 stories and works of art there, this may take a while to complete but will serve as an excellent reference once finished. Stay tuned for this and all of the above!

But most importantly of all, I (Dawn) want to thank the many volunteers who made this year's event happen. This was our biggest B2MeM yet in terms of participation, but it was also the biggest in terms of volunteers who played roles both large and small--but none insignificant--behind the scenes. B2MeM would not have happened without them. A challenge of this scope for about 90 participants takes literally dozens of hours each day to make happen. One or even a few people cannot do this on their own. We owe our volunteers for the success of this year's challenge!

A challenge without participants isn't much of a challenge, so one of the biggest tasks to start is getting the word out. Rhapsody, Erulisse, and Nath contributed their skills as digital artists to make banners and icons for this year's participants. Dwim, Linda Hoyland, Levade, oshun, and Mirach all helped get their word out beyond the SWG and MPTT communities. Both of these tasks are vital to ensuring that B2MeM reaches beyond the sponsoring communities; B2MeM always has, after all, been an event for the entire Tolkien fan community.

As noted above, this year's B2MeM would not have been nearly as much fun without the amazing array of 105 (105!!) BINGO cards to choose from. This year's card creators were Dwim, Independence1776, Himring, grey_gazania, Lyra, Dreamflower, Allie Meril, oshun, Elleth, Aliana, Pengolodh, Erulisse, Foxrafer, Celeritas, Beruthiel, Marta, Mirach, Linda Hoyland, Kenaz, havamahal, Tul, Angelica, Rhapsody, Altariel, Eärillë, CrackinAndProudOfIt, and Febobe. Many of the card creators made their own cards as well. In many cases, however, they sent the prompts to the mods and our talented graphic artists Rhapsody, Elleth, and grey_gazania turned them into BINGO cards that were quite often works of art themselves.

With about 90 participants and 105 cards, tracking who has claimed what cards and what needs to be done to turn a card request into a player page is a truly herculean effort. Angelica managed all of the administrative records and contacted participants to let them know the status of their requests. The resulting Google Document is scary-big--so big that it won't even open on my laptop anymore without a fuss--but her efforts kept everything running smoothly behind the scenes.

Dreamflower is to thank for the connection between BINGO and Bingo--Baggins that is--and for the idea of honoring the 75th anniversary of The Hobbit. She also created the backstory for this year's event.

In order to keep B2MeM accessible to participants using screen readers, a team of volunteers converted those 105 image cards into text-only cards. Thank you to Rhapsody, Angelica, Russandol, and Pearl Took for your efforts in keeping B2MeM accessible to all.

Rhapsody created the winners' ribbons and--with the help of her young son--was also our medium with Lady Probability, as she drew the BINGO numbers.

A handful of volunteer jobs required daily tasks throughout the month of March. First are our community tag-wranglers, who tagged posts there, making it possible to visit the community and find stories and art related to your favorite characters, genres, and challenges. Thank you to Independence1776 and Zdenka for their considerable efforts in this.

The card stampers were not only the volunteers who updated the player page images every day; they were also cheerleaders, question-answerers, and the keepers of the confetti for when their participants won a BINGO. They also added new cards to player pages once the challenge had started, freeing me up to do other things. Thank you to Lyra, grey_gazania, Russandol, and Rhapsody for their tireless cheer, endless supply of virtual ink, and strong stamping hands. A special thanks to Olorime, whose invaluable administrative help at the beginning of the month kept me sane while juggling a double stamping load after one of our stampers had an emergency.

Finally, there is the moderation team, who do everything else that still needs doing after all of the above are done: Rhapsody, Angelica, Russandol, and Dreamflower. It is truly a pleasure to work with such an amazing moderation team.

If I have missed mentioning someone, please accept my apologies and assurances that it was not intentional; I have been keeping a handwritten acknowledgments list for months, and any ommission was likely a silly oversight. Please contact me and I'll correct the list so that you receive proper credit for your efforts.

Again, thank you to everyone who assisted with this year's B2MeM!

Library of Tirion: Open for Business Again

Yes, but only for a very short time since we are running short of authors and stories to include in the Library of Tirion section of our site. If you have remembered any story that you enjoyed when you read it back then or a favourite author who has left the fandom, email you suggestions to moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.orgor make your request via the Library of Tirion page on our site.

As a reminder, the Library of Tirion section of the archive is for authors who published stories prior to the SWG archive opening in 2007. For more information, see the Library of Tirion page. To enjoy the 44 stories we've collected so far, visit the Library of Tirion on our archive.

Additionally, if you are in contact with any of the following authors who remain unreachable for us, we would appreciate it if you asked them to contact us at

Philosopher at Large
Lady Peredhel
Le Chat Noir

International Poetry Month

April is [Inter]national Poetry Month! As in years past, we encourage our writers to share their Tolkien-inspired poetry on the archive this month. Not a poet? Why not check out one of the dozens of poems already posted on the SWG site?

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New at the Archive

Back to Middle-earth Month 2012

A Good Servant by talktob3cks [Teens] (286 words)
Summary: The evil servants of Celegorm reflect on their deeds at Doriath.

A Story of a Hound by Huinare [General] (4320 words, Incomplete)
Summary: This is going to be a somewhat irreverently-narrated tale concerning the origins and history of Huan. A B2MEM 2012 project.

A Strand of Hair by talktob3cks [General] (1054 words)
Summary: Gimli feels homesick after leaving Middle Earth with Legolas. He misses simple things like speaking Dwarvish and discussing cave delving. An expedition with Galadriel and Legolas might bring him the solace he seeks.

About Dwarves by Silver Trails [General] (487 words)
Summary: Nienna joins Aulë and Yavanna and together they watch the Dwarves and their cities.

About Men by Silver Trails [General](1899 words)
Summary: The Valar discuss about the nature of the Secondborn.

All Aflame by lindahoyland [Teens] (95 words)
Summary: Galadriel and Celeborn enjoy a romantic moment.

Atarinkë by Silver Trails [General] (521 words)
Summary: Curufin says good-bye to Nerdanel.

B2MeM '12 - I18 - Birth by Lyra [Teens] (628 words)
Summary: Written for the "Dwarves in the First Age" prompt, Durin the Deathless remembers coming to life and his maker Aulë, and for the "In a Manner of Speaking" prompt, "for pity's sake".

B2MeM '12 - I22 - The Sorrows of Young Daeron by Lyra [Teens] (328 words)
Summary: Written for the "Maglor in History" prompt, Sturm und Drang. Daeron is not happy with Maglor's response to the latest literary fad. Warning: Potential spoilers for Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther. Hey, fair is fair.

B2MeM '12 - O67 - As long as you need me by Lyra [Teens] ( words)
Summary: Written for three O67 prompts: "Silmarillion Fanon", Death of grief = fading; "Sons of Fëanor", Curufin and Nerdanel; "Women of Arda", Míriel. In the middle of the night, Nerdanel has to convince young Curufin that she is not going to follow the example of his grandmother.

B2MeM '12 - N41 - Fatal Errors by Lyra [Teens] (346 words)
Summary: Written for the "Sons of Fëanor" prompt, "the cruel servants of Celegorm..."Two of Celegorm's servants face Maedhros, who is Not Amused.

B2MeM '12 - O72 - The Lands of their Fathers by Lyra [Teens] (101 words)
Summary: Written for the "Dwarves in the First Age" prompt, Awakening of the seven Fathers of the Dwarves. The Elves aren't the only ones who fill the early world with music... A drabble according to OOW.

Brittle by talktob3cks [Teens](2407 words)
Summary: The ice of the Helcaraxe grants no mercy. Aredhel refuses to let Turgon drown in sorrow after Elenwe dies. But it is hard for Aredhel to give comfort when she is avoiding her own grief.

Eregion: The Writhen Pool by pandemonium_213 [Adult] (10288 words, Incomplete)
Summary: When the Istyari of Second Age Ost-in-Edhil deny a young master smith a place in an important — and guarded — new initiative to be taken up by the Gwaith-i-Mírdain, she struggles to make her mark in the man's realm of the forges. An opportunity arrives when the smith is offered a commission that will present challenges of both the mind and heart. Bits and pieces of B2MeM 2012 incorporated therein.

Finwë's Crown by Silver Trails [General] (2111 words, Incomplete)
Summary: Maedhros and his brothers after Fëanor is killed in battle.

First-Time Experience by wind rider [General] (864 words)
Summary: There was always a first time for everything and everyone. Kía of Belegost and her special orange cloth and the smell of orcs in the air, for instance.

For the Sake of Alliance by wind rider [General] (985 words)
Summary: Voldemort really, really, really wished to know what the prophecy between him and the brat Potter contained, but he was not getting closer to solving it after a year of research and obscure attempts. But now he had just discovered a very old manuscript that might bring the answer to his problem. Bellatrix Lestrange, his faithful servant, was going to hand him a very sought-after ally – or else.

~ Fragments of Fate and Fire ~ by Spiced Wine [Adult]† (16453 words, Incomplete)
Summary: This will be a collection of smaller ficlets and 'attempts' at images in response to The Silmarillion Writers Guild Back To Middle-earth Month 2011 and 2012. Rather than put them separately, I'll post them all together. I hope to use the prompts to write snippets, gapfillers or to flesh out events within my Dark Prince/Arc of Fire 'verse. All will be Silmarillion-based, but not necessarily set during that time period. Everything will mesh with my 'verse, so will be completely meaningless to almost every-one, sorry.

Grief by Gwenniel [General] (1252 words)
Summary: It may seem that Kanafinwë Macalaurë was never one to follow in the footsteps of his father. Yet he is bound to his father just like his brothers: not only because of fate, but also out of love.

Gryffindor Traits by wind rider [General] (1768 words)
Summary: “Don’t trust any talking something if you don’t know where it keeps its mind.” – But Harry had indeed been more Gryffindorish than most . . . . Routing around his family vault after the victory against Voldemort, he found a talking metal shard and chatted with it. He got too cozy, in fact, that he did not realise where the sneaky shard was bringing him. And in another place and another era, Túrin son of Húrin got harassed mercilessly by a particular green-eyed, black-hired young man.

He is dead by Silver Trails [Adult] (257 words)
Summary: Celegorm's servants search for the Silmaril, and for vengeance after his death.

I Choose... by wind rider [General] (2038 words)
Summary: His siblings have much to say about the local king’s decision to band their tongue from speech in the land, but Ingoldo is grateful only on the mere fact that they are still allowed to dwell in the said land. How to tell them, though?

Immortality by wind rider [General] (382 words)
Summary: Was the view on life and death different between the Firstborn and Secondborn? What did the Firstborn think of Eru’s “gift” to the Secondborn? – Deep in Nargothrond, a particular Elf was wrestling with these questions and more upon the death of his first Mannish friend.

In a High Place by wind rider [General] (1337 words)
Summary: Everything is relative in the world, including superiority, purity of blood and safety. Too bad the Malfoy patriarch does not realise it sooner. Being thrown down from high places – literally or figuratively – hurts, much.

In Dreams, To Whom I Never Have by wind rider [General] (4612 words, Incomplete)
Summary: Sometimes the dream that comes true is more horrifying than the dream itself, and living the said dream is even worse. A seven-year-old Ginny Weasley experiences that first-hand. But perhaps, there will still be a silver-lining even in the worst situation?

It is Done by Silver Trails [General] (539 words)
Summary: Maglor speaks with Elrond for the last time.

Like a Shadow of Shifting Silver by Kimberleighe [Teens] (11408 words, Incomplete)
Summary: The backstory to Waiting for the Thunder. A story of Anairë and Fingolfin.

Longer than the Road by wind rider [General] (382 words)
Summary: They left her side, she waited. They killed, shaming her, she forgave them. They might never come back to her, but she would take all that she had. She would wait until beyond the world’s breaking, because a mother’s love is longer than the road.

Meal by wind rider [Teens] (108 words)
Summary: ”The Master tells us to kill them, but I see only good meal.” – What the Master wanted, he got it. What the Warg wanted, he got it too.

Memories of Winter by wind rider [General] (565 words)
Summary: They saw the ice crystals, she saw the devouring ice maws. They saw the snow-drift, she saw how it could suffocate and drown. They saw the dancing snowflakes, she saw the beating and wailing blizzard. They laughed, she cried; because there was no laughter in Helkaraxë.

Metamorphosis by Agelast [Teens] (347 words)
Summary: She had only a moment to learn how to fly.

My Captain and My King by oshun [General] (437 words)
Summary: A biased account of the leadership qualities of Maedhros written by a die-hard supporter. Some might call this piece the epitome of the literary form of the unreliable narrator. Perhaps it is not. This is one follower's reflections upon Maedhros, but The Silmarillion is filled with events in the life of Maedhros. One may draw their own conclusions, but one would do well to remember that history is written by the victors.

My Life by Silver Trails [Adult] (7686 words)
Summary: Maglor speaks about his life to different companions.

Not Too Bad by wind rider [General] (109 words)
Summary: Everything had changed, and not necessarily for the better. Not even the very look of their new settlement was familiar to his sight and soul, but Lindarion was not about to complain – not too much anyway. He still got most of his family intact, and it was all that really mattered.

Of Night and Light and The Half-light by oshun [General] (1523 words, Incomplete)
Summary: This is a place for my short contributions or graphics for Back-to-Middle-earth Month 2012. The title is from "He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven" by William Butler Yeats. Some are serious and some are silly.

Quick to anger by Silver Trails [Teens] (349 words)
Summary: They say Caranthir is quick to anger...

Peace-Breakers by wind rider [General] (897 words)
Summary: What did the inhabitants of Tol Eressëa think of the impending arrival of a ship they were excited and fearful about in equal measures? Had Elves forgotten about mortals they had fought together in the War of Wrath? Had they forgiven those mortals who boldly attempted to claim Aman for themselves just because of selfish greed?

Reunion by Silver Trails [Teens] (847 words)
Summary: Maitimo goes to Ingwë's court to speak with Findekáno.

Sanctuary by wind rider [General] (2219 words)
Summary: Huan just wants to guard his mistress and guide her to his master. Sirius just wants to see his godson again and probably catch some particular rat. But how if they meet somewhere in the middle?

Shrouded by wind rider [General] (514 words)
Summary: Lake Mithrim – it is dreary, covered by mists most of the times, but someone still loves it. And then there are two…

Sonnet- Maedhros to Fingon by avi17 [General] (103 words)
Summary: For B2MeM 2012. Prompts- "Grief," "Childhood Sweethearts," and "Unconditional Love."

Sparks by Independence1776 [Teens] (873 words, Incomplete)
Summary: Short stories set at any point in the RAFA 'verse, from the Years of the Trees to RAFA itself. Updates will be random and each story will have a separate rating. Chapter 1: For Pity's Sake-- Nerdanel receives the news Maglor has returned from Middle-earth. Rated General.

Strange Apparition by wind rider [General] (520 words)
Summary: Maedhros built his fortress in Himring very well, and he was proud of it. But he had never considered to shield it against magic… Fortunately – or not? – the intruder was just a strange, benevolent-looking old man.

Súlimëo Quentar: March Stories by Elleth [Teens] (12846 words, Incomplete)
Summary: A collection of Elleth's 2012 B2MeM Bingo fics.

Sundry Apocrypha by Huinare [General] (818 words)
Summary: Here be where I shall anthologize ficlets that are somewhat AU or otherwise "off."

The Bearer of Light by Dawn Felagund [Teens](2679 words)
Summary: Fëanor has been summoned from exile by the Valar to attend a feast on Taniquetil and with the expectation that he bring the Silmarils. His refusal to bring the Silmarils reveals the growing madness of his House and the forebodes disastrous events to come.

The Flower Market by oshun [Adult] (500 words)
Summary: Maedhros as a callow youth during the years of the Noontide of Valinor, with a girl! Yes! That kind of thing really happened to him. Read Dawn Felagund’s Another Man’s Cage. Also my humble thanks to Christina Rossetti for writing “Goblin Market,” from which I stole my inspiration and a couple of words.

The Greatest of All by wind rider [General] (529 words)
Summary: ”People always talk about the Powers they have met here, greater or lesser. I don’t think they will call my friend great though, just because his particular affinity and his less-than-perfect look. But he is, to me.” – Fire attracts fire, and water attracts water, but one day an insubstancial bit of water actually saved somebody from a raging fire.

The Highest Power by wind rider [Teens] (735 words)
Summary: What was the place of the Valar in Fëanáro’s life after he had been exiled to Formenos? What of Eru, whom others of the Firstborn seemed to only remember when joining in the most sacred act of marriage?

The Highest Priority by wind rider [General] (282 words)
Summary: Elwing had choice between a single and double jewels. She chose the single jewel – because the silmaril was the highest priority.

The Intruder by wind rider [General](298 words)
Summary: How if Melkor got another undesired visitor aside from Beren and Luthien? How if the strange “creature” was even more undesirable than the former lord of Dorthonion and the daughter of pitiful Melyanna?

The muddled last thoughts of one Gelmir of Nargothrond by Huinare [Adult]† (2680 words)
Summary: Gelmir, on his way to the incident that shall spark the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, reflects on the circumstances that brought him to this point.

The Proposal by lindahoyland [General] (100 words)
Summary: Nerdanel has a suitor.

This Dull Flame, This Crooked Heart by Agelast [Teens](2680 words)
Summary: If there’s one family you don’t want to marry into, it’s this one...

To Save Family by wind rider [General] (1225 words)
Summary: An elusive pale-eyed, pale-haired anomaly intruded his stronghold one day, and Makalaurë could never let go of him. Sadly, the day they talked was the day they parted. Their goals were the same, and yet it was what separated them in the end.

The Sun by Silver Trails [Teens] (489 words)
Summary: Tyelkormo thinks about the new lights in the sky, and remembers Írissë.

Too White, Too Dark by wind rider [General] (1176 words)
Summary: Not everything can be fended off by the powers of the Elven Rings, as the inhabitants of Imladris unwittingly attested one particularly-gloomy day in the Fell Winter of 2911. All white, all dark – and memories which should have been buried resurfaced again, memories of a long-ago time in a place more vicious and ruthless than even the raging storm itself.

Trust and Secrets by wind rider [General] (2630 words)
Summary: What might be hidden in a set of caves? What might be hidden in one’s mind? And what did a young escort get to do with it all? – Finrod went to the caves of Narog to explore and map out the area, and Elu Thingol only gave him one single escort who was just barely the age of majority. But perhaps, there was something deeper than even the deepest cave there?

Waiting for the Thunder by Kimberleighe [General] (1258 words)
Summary: A lost moment between husband and wife after the Darkening of Valinor.

We of Far Lands by wind rider [General] (1425 words)
Summary: Black hair, grey eyes, but not a Noldo? Finrod could not choose between disbelief, denial, and curiosity when a time-traveller with “magic” came for an unexpected visit to his unfinished underground city. Balan and his people were not the first Secondborn he met, after all…

Worse Than Bad by wind rider [Teens] (216 words)
Summary: Nothing was recogniseable, even the people he had once known. But still, Lindarion did not wish to give up on everything – not yet, not until he was taken himself, even though he was not terribly fond of this land.

You have a life to live by Silver Trails [Adult] (704 words)
Summary: Maglor speaks with Methos about Pu Yi.

Completed Works

Into Darkness Fell by Kimberleighe [General] (5097 words)
Summary: Idhreniel shares the secret of the stars beyond Varda's creation, and recounts some of the fallen.

Justice and Death by Gwenniel [General] (11572 words)
Summary: There are Oaths that need to be fulfilled, there are quests that cannot be avoided. Caranthir knows that a sooner or later he and his brothers have to go to Doriath to regain the Silmaril.

Plague Comes to Dol Guldur by Uvatha the Horseman (15002 words)
Summary: When the Great Plague reaches Dol Guldur, Sauron thinks he can't catch it. He is wrong.

Spark by spark (the frost fires kindle). by Urloth [General] (1748 words)
Summary: Of Fëanáro's coming into the world and what Handenésë saw.

The Forging of the Ring by Uvatha the Horseman [General] (13004 words)
Summary: Sauron forges the Ring.

The Loneliness of the Fishermouse by Clodia [Teens] (4368 words)
Summary: In 2509, Celebrían wife of Elrond was journeying to Lórien... the rest, everyone knows. But this isn't about her. Not really. What remains for the bereaved but need and anger?

The Night the Sea Came In by Keiliss [Teens] (10057 words)
Summary: After Beleriand is broken and drowned, the elves on Balar have little choice but to set out in search of a safe haven. Prophecy by Galadriel, leadership by Gil-galad and Cirdan, music by Lindir, off-screen lunacy by Erestor and Gildor. Written for My Slashy Valentine 2012

Works in Progress

Almaren by Silver Trails [Adult]
Summary: The events after the Spring of Arda, seen through the eyes of three Valar and an Oarni
Chapters added this month: Chapter 7 and Chapter 8.

Chasing Mirages by Russandol [Adult] †
Summary: A 'what if' tale of darkness, light, love and betrayal over the Ages of Eä.
Chapters added this month: Ñorthus, Grief and Downfallen.

Of Anbor And Azruphel by gamil-zirak [Adult] †
Summary: A tale of romance between a wild man of Middle earth and a lady of Numenor, told with the epic backdrop of the last 2 years of Numenor. A study in the politics and relations of the time. Hope you enjoy it!
Chapters added this month: The Rothgimil.

The Fall of Doriath by gamil-zirak [General]
Summary:This is an attempt at writing an account of the destruction of Doriath by the Sons of Feanor. It shall include the battle and aftermath. Hope you enjoy it..
Chapters added this month: The Sons Of Feanor and Ravenne.

The Starlit Sky by Maglor Makalaure [General]
Summary: The story of the sons of Elwing, from the time they were captured to the time they were released. Told from Elrond's point of view.
Chapters added this month: Chapter Three, Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six and Chapter Seven.

The Swan's Song by Kimberleighe [General]
Summary: In which the tale of Thorondun and Alphiril is told.
Chapter added this month: Part Five.

Short Works

Sacrifice by Adlanth [General] (620 words)
Summary: To go into the West, Eärendil and Elwing must lose everything.

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Gothmog and Draugluin


“Gothmog and Draugluin” follows the antics of two Tolkienian icons who were not all about smiting and devouring but had fun, too. Little Gothmog lives in Thangorodrim with his mom (Ulbandi Fluithuin) and dad (Melkor, Black Foe of the World). Melkor’s right-hand man and Gothmog’s babysitter -- Professor Thû ("I'm not a babysitter. I'm an observer!") -- makes appearances, too.

Gothmog and Draugluin also share this space with “Stinky Pete” Mêshûgganâscar, Maia of Mandos, and his pals.

Pandemonium_213 issues the standard disclaimer that Gothmog, Draugluin, Melkor, Ulbandi, Professor Thû, all the Elf dudes, Stinky Pete and his Maiarin pals, their Valarin bosses and whoever else shows up are the property of the Tolkien estate, and that this irreverent comic strip is drawn (badly) for fun and games but not for profit.

Gothmog and Draugluin by Pandemonium_213

Click to view full-sized.

Read comments on this comic | Leave a comment on this comic
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Current Challenge

Just Say It with a Gift!

In Tolkien’s legendarium there is a lot of gifting happening, including in The Silmarillion. The gift-giving in The Silmarillion does not always have a generosity behind it. Take Sauron, for example, who named himself Annatar, the Lord of Gifts. Then there is Ilúvatar himself who bestowed gifts on the Ainur, who at their turn bestowed gifts upon the Elves. There are gifts of freedom which is bestowed on the Secondborn or gifts as atonement, such as when Maedhros gifted horses to Fingolfin. Weapons appear to be a much-gifted item as well.

We would like to challenge you to write about gift-giving (be it material or immaterial) by your characters or perhaps to write about traditions of gift-giving amongst the people who lived during the ages represented in The Silmarillion. What motive would they have to bestow this on others? What would they consider the greatest gift they ever received or which one disappointed them the most?

Challenges Revisited: To Be Free

Freedom means many things to different people. It has been the cause of wars and underlies dreams of peace. Many of the greatest works of literature discuss freedom in one way or another.

J.R.R. Tolkien's books are no exception. Freedom is a theme throughout his works and is often a primary motive for his characters. For this challenge, we ask you to show a character working to achieve freedom. While the actions of major characters like Fëanor and Lúthien might come first to mind, your story need not focus on epic quests for liberty but may also focus on small, everyday attempts to win freedom.

Quote of the Month

Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire.
- Epictetus

Want more challenges? Check out our complete challenge listing for more than three years' worth of challenges to inspire your writing!

Have an idea for a challenge? Some of our most popular challenges have been created by you, the members of SWG! If you have a plotbunny gnawing at your ankle, a favorite quote, or a favorite character that you think might inspire others as well, please send an email to and we'll try to include your challenge in our next newsletter!

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Around the World and Web

April Fools

Do you want to tickle your muse? Or maybe you are looking for a fun writing challenge, but the NaNoWriMo intimidates you? Then April Fools might be just the thing for you. Starting the 1st of April, it's a writing challenge that lasts throughout month, is similar to Nanowrimo, but lets you choose your own goal.

The forums are already open for the eighth year of April Fools. When you register on the forum, go to the State Your Goal thread, which is where you publicly announce how much you intend to write during April. Unlike Nanowrimo, you can pick your own goal, and you can work on anything – previously started work, new pieces, any genre, any format, and best of all, school work and work writing count in your total! Interested? Do read the FAQ here!

LotR Genfic Community: April Challenge--The Beauty of Arda

The April Challenge will have the theme "The Beauty of Arda". In honor of April as Poetry Month, your challenge will be a poem. Elements for the challenge will be a pair of rhyming words, HOWEVER, you do not have to write a rhyming poem unless you want to; just use the words as you see fit. If you would like to participate, please see this post. Stories will be due in the queue on April 14th with a reveal date of April 16th. Late stories are always welcome!

Teitho: April Challenge--Candles

For this month's theme we are focusing on "Candles". Remember that you can now submit both stories and pictures in answer to the Teitho themes. You can enter just one of the categories, or both. Since we are posting this theme later than usual, the deadline is April 27th. The Teitho website has more information.

Inklings Podcast: Participants Needed!

We are trying to establish a Silmarillion-centric podcast, and we need participants! There will be two formats for the podcast. One will discuss chapters of The Silmarillion, while the other format will include a reading of and discussion of a Silmarillion-based fanwork. Dawn has more details about the project on her LiveJournal. Never podcasted before? Don't worry--it's easy! All you'll need to get started is a computer capable of playing sound, a microphone, and a free Skype account.

Project moderators so far are Erurainon, Abby, and Dawn Felagund. While the project is still in its formative stages, we are hoping to record our first podcast in the New Year and are interested in finding out who is interested so that we can collect email addresses and Skype numbers and plan the first podcast! Please comment on Dawn's podcast post or drop her a line at if you're interested in participating or have any questions.

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