As we welcome a new year and say goodbye to 2006, it always seems a fitting time to consider our past successes and goals in the coming months. When I started SWG almost two years ago, I never imagined that we would grow to where we are now--and certainly not so quickly! The skills, talents, and enthusiasm of this group never ceases to amaze me.

And so I thank you all for another year of success, of knowledge gained and stories shared and friendships forged. May 2007 be similarly inspired!

At the same time, it is a good time to consider our path through 2007. My co-moderators and I--as well as a group of member-volunteers--continue to make progress on the website. The group is still relatively small, and I am still very unskilled as a webmaster, so progress is slow, but we're getting there! I hope to have more tangible results to offer everyone in the near future. We are close to unveiling our reference section, followed shortly by our writer's workshop and hopefully--not long after--the story archive. This promises to be an exciting year for SWG!

For those looking to get involved this year, I am always in need of volunteers, especially in the weeks to come. Simply drop me a line or leave me a comment on this post.

Once again, I thank everyone for their support and diligence in 2006. May the muses smile upon you in 2007!
Dawn Felagund

January's Challenges


In all of fiction but especially the fantasy genre, heroes are of the utmost importance. Our stories are filled with them: from those who take noble stands in great battles to those who make a quieter difference at home. Those with the strength to change the world for the better fill the greatest tales of truth and fantasy alike.

So, in honor of these people and characters, we dedicate this month's challenge to the study of heroes. And not just the sort to stand up to the Dark Lord alone--though Fingolfin is more than welcome too!--but all sorts of heroes: the unlikely, unsung, and accidental, those who have been forgotten or perhaps were never noticed at all, who made their worlds a better place.

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.

“Many times Morgoth essayed to smite him, and each time Fingolfin leaped away, as a lightning shoots from under a dark cloud; and he wounded Morgoth with seven wounds, and seven times Morgoth gave a cry of anguish, whereat the hosts of Angband fell upon their faces in dismay, and the cries echoed in the Northlands.”
-The Silmarillion, “Of the Ruin of Beleriand and the Fall of Fingolfin”

Character of the Month: Fingolfin

A month dedicated to the heroes in our stories should by rights belong to Fingolfin, who faced first the Grinding Ice and then single combat with Morgoth. Yet as our stories often reveal, Fingolfin is a character of some intrigue: the disfavored half-brother of Fëanor who provoked him and yet stood at his side at the rebellion; one who also lost his father and left behind a wife; another Noldorin king who perished because of his bravery--or foolishness. His is the story of a second-born son rising to serve as a King and ideal for his people.

Feel free to recommend (in a comment to this post) exceptional stories about Fingolfin. Also, as he is honored this month, old and new stories of your own are welcome in the community as challenge entries.

News and Announcements

Reference Readers Are Needed

I posted last month that we needed reference readers but wanted to repeat the announcement for those who may have missed December's newsletter. We are beginning to build the Reference section of our website and will likely begin by collecting exceptional essays on Tolkien's canon and writing. While the fiction archive will not require reviews for inclusion, discussion with my co-mods has shown that we think it is best if we do include some form of review system before including essays in our Reference section. Because we intend for these to be used in conducting research for stories and projects, they should be close to canon, well written, and have original sources properly cited. As such, we have decided that a greater deal of control over what appears in our Reference library is necessary.

We would like to ask interested members to help us with this. We are seeking to build a staff of reference readers: members willing to read the essays that people wish to include in the Reference section and check them for canon correctness. You do not need to be a canon expert in order to serve on our Reference staff. All we ask is that you have an interest in reading and learning more about Tolkien's canon, be open-minded to exploring new ideas, and have reasonable access to the original sources upon which essays will likely be based. All reviews of essays will be overseen by me (Dawn Felagund) and the other moderators.

If you think that you would be interested in this, please email me or leave your contact information in a comment to this post. We are still working on how the exact system will work, but I will contact you with details as soon as they are available. Thanks to those of you who expressed your interest last month! I've made note of this and will be contacting everyone shortly as we begin to unveil our Reference section.

If you have essays that you might be interested in seeing in our Reference section, details will be available shortly on how to submit them to our site.

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