Dear members and friends of SWG,

Every January, I like to look back at what we've accomplished during the last year at SWG and, every year, I have reason to be proud. Our group is not only home to many talented writers and artists and thoughtful researchers but is also a place to have fun and a community where members show tremendous support of each other. Having been in my share of online communities (as I am sure many of you have as well), I can attest to the fact that what we have in SWG is rare, and I am grateful every day to have gotten the chance to know all of you.

But this year, we have accomplished even more than usual. Looking back ten years from now, 2007 may well remain the most important year in the history of SWG. When I first dreamed up this group almost three years ago--wondering why there was no home for the Internet's myriad talented Silmarillion authors--I remember thinking that I would be happy if I got ten people interested in what I wanted to do with SWG; ten people to support, entertain, and learn from each other. My aims were not high and my goal was simple: I wanted a friendly place where Silmarillion fans could share their knowledge and creativity. The direction that the group took after that mattered little, so long as there was passion, fun, and friendship.

Three years ago, if I had known where the group would be today, I would not have believed it. My aim to find ten friendly people who wanted to chat and write about The Silmarillion has grown considerably. 2007 saw, most importantly, the introduction of our website and fiction archive, the only Silmarillion-only archive on the Web, to the best of my knowledge. In a little over six months, thirty-five authors have written more than 250 Silmarillion stories, and that number grows every day. But 2007 has brought us more than just the archive. In July, we celebrated the creativity inspired by the House of Fëanor with the Seven in '07 project, and in September, we honored the thirty-year anniversary of The Silmarillion by challenging our authors to come up with a fresh new story for our first writing contest.

Yes, 2007 will be a hard year to beat. But so long as we remain creative and curious, then every year will make SWG a fun and valuable place to be. (And the moderators are already working on their to-do list for 2008!) So while we might never unveil anything quite as exciting as the archive ever again, then I can't help but to look forward to many years yet with some of the most talented, thoughtful, and friendly people I know online, and I hope that all of you continue to join me.

My best wishes to all for a New Year full of joy and inspiration,

Dawn Felagund
Silmarillion Writers' Guild owner and moderator

January's Challenges

Ankle Biters

This month, we imagine our favorite characters as children. Whether silly, fluffy, playful, or profound, stories about characters' childhoods are a common fan fiction sub-genre.

What lessons learned in childhood shaped what a character would become? Characters like Túrin, Elwing, and Fëanor had canon childhood experiences that determined, in part, who they would become as adults. Other characters may have been children during major historical events; for example, Celebrimbor quite likely was a child during the Darkening of Valinor, the Kinslaying at Alqualondë, and the Noldorin exile. How did these events shape these characters' fates?

Or maybe you want something lighter: the time a character got punished for a bad deed or learned something fun about the world, the arrival of a new sibling, a character's first word ... the possibilities are endless! Let's look back to a time in history where much remained to be determined, when even the most tragic characters experienced the joy of discovery and innocence.

Quote of the Month

The host of Morgoth came over the northern hills where the height was greatest and the watch least vigilant, and it came at night upon a time of festival, when all the people of Gondolin were upon the walls to await the rising sun, and sing their songs at its uplifting; for the morrow was the great feast that they named the Gates of Summer. But the red light mounted the hills in the north and not in the east ...
-The Silmarillion, "Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin"

Want more challenges? Check out our complete challenge listing for more than two 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!

January's News

Archive RSS Feed Now Available on LiveJournal

Want to get SWG archive updates on your LiveJournal friends' page? Now you can! We've set up an RSS feed on LiveJournal that will inform subscribers whenever a new story is added to or updated on the archive.

Visit the swg_archive profile page to add swg_archive to your friends' page or check out the swg_archive journal to view the last fifteen stories updated right on LiveJournal! Many thanks to Rhapsody for setting this up for us.

New FAQ Available: Using Images on SWG

While SWG is primarily a writers' group, we are also lucky to count numerous talented artists among us. As such, we have always allowed--and encouraged--the use of images to enhance stories. However, so that using the archive can be a pleasant experience for everyone, we've put together an FAQ on what constitutes appropriate use of images on our site, as well as some tips on how to use images with your stories without annoying your readers. The new FAQ topic can be found here. Have a question? Check out all of our FAQ topics here or email us at!

Coming next month, we will post a new FAQ on using RSS feeds to get to-the-minute updates on the archive.

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