TheSilmarillionWriters'Guild

July's Challenges

July's challenges accompany the Seven in '07 project and were designed with the House of Fëanor in mind. While we hope that others will join us in honoring the Fëanorians with our creativity, all Silmarillion characters are welcome to use for the challenges.

Promises Made / Promises Broken

Throughout the history of the Fëanorians, their best attempts at thwarting Morgoth and restoring peace were ruined by their oath. The Silmarillion includes many examples of characters that were made--and broken--by promises kept and foresworn. This month, in honor of the Fëanorians, we consider the weight of promises on the lives and fates of our favorite characters.

This challenge asks authors to write a story focusing on a promise. The promise may have the epic weight of the Fëanorians oath or may be as light--and seemingly insignificant--as an absent-minded husband's promise to be home on time. The story should look at how the promise shapes the character's outlook and behavior and the challenges that she or he faces in keeping it ... or breaking it.

Untold History

The Silmarillion is a unique story in that it is not told by an omniscient, omnipresent narrator but by ordinary people, as fallible and prone to bias as you or I. This month, as we focus on the House of Fëanor, we consider also how their story might have been told--or not told--truthfully by the "authors" of The Silmarillion.

This challenge asks authors to take an event from the canon and rewrite it from the point-of-view of one of the characters disfavored in the history. The piece shouldn't seek to make excuses for a character's misdeeds but rather to address legitimate issues, perspectives, and interpretations that might have been lost or ignored as the histories were written. Behind each decision that seems terrible or puzzling to us lies difficult deliberation, reason, and regret, and this challenge seeks to address this.

While this month honors the Fëanorians--and they are perfect for this challenge--any typical "bad" character will work equally well. Authors could write about Thingol, Maeglin, Fëanor, or Melkor. "Good" characters who often come off negatively to readers are perfect for the challenge as well. For example, why did the Valar choose to pass judgment on Fëanor rather than leaving the decision to Finwë, his father and king? Why did Orodreth seem so incompetent in his handling of the affairs of Nargothrond? Why did Melian leave Doriath defenseless after her husband's death?

Quote of the Month

"But Fëanor laughed, and spoke not to the herald, but to the Noldor, saying: 'So! Then will this valiant people send forth the heir of their King alone into banishment with his sons only, and return to their bondage? But if any will come with me, I say to them: Is sorrow foreboded to you? But in Aman we have seen it. In Aman we have come through bliss to woe. The other now we will try: through sorrow to find joy; or freedom, at the least.' "
-Fëanor to the Noldor in The Silmarillion, "Of the Flight of the Noldor"


Want more challenges? Check out our complete challenge listing for almost 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 moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org and we'll try to include your challenge in our next newsletter!

July's News

Seven in '07

For the month of July 2007, in lieu of featuring a Character of the Month, SWG is hosting a month-long celebration of the House of Fëanor and the artists and authors who have added such depth and beauty to the telling of their tales. Seven in '07 kicks off in the first week of July with a daily character profile illustrated by the words and images of Tolkien fans from around the world. Well over two dozen artists and authors contributed their talent, insight, and humor to this project, and we received more than one hundred submissions. We invite you to check out their work on the Seven in '07 homepage, starting July 1.

And Fëanorian fans should be sure to keep watch of SWG throughout the month of July as we host other events honoring the House of Fëanor!

Daily Drabble

The first piece of advice often given to new writers is to write daily, even if just for fifteen minutes. But as experienced writers can attest, this is often easier said than done. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it is difficult to carve out these few minutes of quiet time for creative expression. Yet the benefits of practicing the craft of writing daily are undeniable.

Several of us on SWG have decided to intensify our creative efforts by committing to practicing our craft on a regular basis. While we call it the "daily drabble," any form of creative expression is welcome--poetry, stories, artwork, or whatever the muses demand--and participants need not commit to practicing daily but should choose a regular interval that is comfortable for them. We hope that others will join us!

SWG members who wish to practice with Silmarillion-based writing are welcome to share it on our archive. We have created a series to group such exercises together called Daily Drabbles (or Taming the Recalcitrant Muses) and encourage others to list their stories here.

(Are you wondering: What is a series? Check out our FAQ here.)

Unfortunately, the software that allows authors to add their own works to series is buggy. We are working to fix this; in the meantime, if you wish to have your work added, please contact the SWG moderators at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org or put a note in the summary that it is for the Daily Drabble project, and one of the moderators will add you.

Temporary Moderation Change

Owner/moderator Dawn Felagund will be offline beginning on Friday, 29 June 2007 while moving to a new house. Under normal circumstances, she handles all of the group's mail that comes through the moderator account and has always welcomed group inquiries on her personal email account as well. However, until she gets back online, please direct all SWG-related email to the moderator account at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org. The other mods will be checking in periodically and answering emails sent to this address. Please allow a few days for replies ... this is a hectic time for all of us! Normal group operations will resume shortly.

SWG Archive: A Successful First Month!

Beginning on 6 June 2007, our archive was publicly available on the homepage. Despite preparing for--and expecting--all manner of things to go wrong, we've had a very successful first month! We are currently home to 117 stories by 40 authors. Many thanks to those of you who have joined, contributed, read, and reviewed. Here's to sharing many more great Silmarillion stories!



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