Newsletter: July 2011

Table of Contents

SWG News

Season of Writing Dangerously--Match-ups, Cheerleaders, and Burning Questions Answered!

We've begun the process of matching up participants and cheerleaders for the Season of Writing Dangerously, so very soon we will announce the match-ups so you can start working together. It's not too late to sign up for either role! For more information, please see our Season of Writing Dangerously page.

We are coming up a bit short on cheerleaders, so we'd like to remind and encourage folks in particular to sign up as cheerleaders! Especially if you're signed up as an author/artist and want a cheerleader to help you with your own progress, we will do our best to match you up with another participant so that you can remind and encourage each other over the next three months.

What do cheerleaders do? You will work with your assigned author/artist to determine what cheerleading entails. Obviously, you will work at your own comfort level and within your own time constraints. Ideas for for what cheerleaders might do include reminding participants completing challenge prompts about due dates, checking in with participants about progress, sending encouraging notes, brainstorming for ideas to break through a writer's block, or meeting on chat while working on a piece to help and encourage each other. Some cheerleaders might be comfortable acting in more of a beta role or in reading and offering comments on drafts. You and your assigned author/artist should work out the details of what works best for both of you. Sign up on our LiveJournal page or contact us with your information.

Over the past few days, we've received a couple of questions that we thought were worth sharing with the group as a whole, since usually for each person who asks, five people are wondering.

Can I continue to use my usual beta or writer's group for support, even if I've requested a cheerleader?

Absolutely! This event serves only to provide a source of motivation to make progress on those never-quite-done projects or to start working on new ideas for stories and art. You don't have to keep your project under wraps or share it only with your cheerleader. We encourage participants to use all of the support available to them!

Do I have to post my project publicly or share it with the mods in order to get credit for it?

You do not. As with B2MeM and other events where we offer awards for reaching a goal, we rely on the honor system. If you say that you've met your goal, that's good enough for us!

Library of Tirion--Help Contacting Authors

Since the project of the Library of Tirion was launched, we’ve received encouraging responses from the authors we’ve contacted. There are unfortunately a number of authors who most likely never received our emails. If by any chance you are in touch with any of these people, could you let them know that we are most interested in getting in contact with them? They can reach us at

Cloaked Eagle
Philosopher at Large
Lady Peredhel

New in References: "Masculinity in Tolkien" by Esteliel

Tolkien is often criticized for his simplistic, knight-in-shining-armor heroes. This series of essays will argue that heroism and masculinity in Tolkien's works are not premised on this, but on love and loyalty. Masculinity in Tolkien in the first in a series of essays based on Esteliel's master's thesis that she has kindly agreed to share on the SWG.

Welcome Newcomers! and a Reminder about What Exactly We Mean When We Say "Silmfic"

After the news that the LotR Fanfiction archive has undergone a sudden and troubling ownership change, many LotRFF authors are looking for new homes for their writing. We welcome any LotRFF refugees who want to archive their Silmfic with us and remind you to check out our Yellow Pages for a list of other archives that accept all sorts of Tolkien-based writing.

Some authors may be looking at the SWG as a home for their writing who didn't consider posting with us before, so now seems a good time to offer up one of our periodic reminders of exactly what we mean when we say we're an archive for Silmarillion-based writing or Silmfic. I often call this our MFAQ--Most Frequently Asked Question--and much of the correspondence that our mods receive concerns whether or not a particular piece of writing is "Silmarillion enough" for our archive. In the four years of this archive's existence, I've learned that we almost always define "Silmfic" more broadly than most people suppose we do. In those four years, we've never asked an author to remove a story because it didn't meet our criteria of Silmfic.

We are liberal in our definition of Silmfic because The Silmarillion and its related works do not stand apart from Tolkien's other works, like The Lord of the Rings. His connected mythology means that stories will often incorporate elements from The Silmarillion, LotR, and other books that Tolkien has written. We not only recognize that but celebrate it.

I didn't establish the SWG because I disliked LotR stories or because I thought that Silmarillion stories needed to be separate from LotR stories. I founded the SWG because, at the time, Silmarillion authors were scattered among several large Tolkien archives and finding a Silmarillion-based story to read required scrolling through scores of LotR movie!verse stories and visiting multiple websites. It seemed the Tolkien community could use a place for authors who wanted to write about his mythology beyond LotR, and so I started the SWG.

Stories on our site should be strongly informed by or connected to The Silmarillion and related works (such as early drafts and related essays in The History of Middle-earth). Generally, we advise authors that their story should feature a character, time period, event, race, or place from The Silmarillion or draw heavily from a source related to The Silmarillion. This means that our archive includes stories that feature Hobbits and Aragorn, stories set in the modern era or the Third Age, and stories about original characters. As always, all genres, ratings, and pairings are welcome, and we encourage writers of all ability levels to share their work with us.

If you're still not sure if your work is a good fit for our site, we encourage you to check out our FAQ on how we define Silmfic. Still not sure? Contact us and send a summary or a link to your story, and we'll do our best to help out.

Minor Change to Site Etiquette/ToS

A discrepancy between our Site Etiquette/ToS and our rating and warning policy has been brought to our attention, and we have adjusted the Site Etiquette/ToS to reflect the fact that Teen- as well as Adult-rated stories must include warnings to justify the rating.

Site Redesign

We are still taking suggestions for the planned redesign of our site which will be undertaken during the summer. If you have any ideas, don’t hesitate to contact us at or leave a comment on our LJ entry about the site redesign.

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New at the Archive

Completed Works

A Rose By Any Other Name by pandemonium_213 [Teens] (21875 words)
Summary: On a hot summer afternoon, Glorfindel visits Elrond at his estate in Kortirion province of Tol Eressëa. Elrond's longtime friend brings word from Gilfanon: invitations to a party in celebration of the blooming of one of Gilfanon's favorite roses; the Vanyarin ambassador and his retinue have been invited as special guests. Gilfanon also sends peculiar garments that he has specifically instructed Elrond and Glorfindel to wear. Elrond is wary. He remembers all too well that escapade with Gilfanon in the desert of Valinor, but his inner imp of adventure inspires him, and Elrond experiences a night to remember. Cameo appearances by Erestor and Mablung. A bit risqué, a little bawdy, so let's rate this Teen/PG13.

Burning Bright by by Keiliss [Adult] (59288 words)
Summary: The outbreak of war in Eregion and the hiding of the Rings of Power as experienced by a musician, a lord with an agenda set beyond the sea, an exiled princess and an elf with an uneasy conscience. Cameos by Durin the Deathless and Annatar, the Giver of not always welcome Gifts. Final two chapters posted, Book One is complete.

Fair and Foul by DrummerWench [General] (4118 words)
Summary: Here's a tale for the "With a Bit of Fairy Dust" Challenge. It's part of my ongoing series "Fairy Tales of Middle-earth", which can be found here. I hope you enjoy it!

In Time, Stronger than Silima by Himring [Adult] (1890 words)
Summary: In Mandos, Namo wrestles with the temptation to cast Maedhros into the Outer Darkness. With a vignette of Finrod and Celegorm and a couple of thoughts on Luthien.

Works in Progress

Ambarussa by Silver Trails [Adult]
Summary: Did Amras really die when Fëanor and his sons burned the ships in Losgar?.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 15, Chapter 16 and Chapter 17.

Beneath the Sickle's Swing by Clodia [Teens]
Summary: A collection of drabbles found in the ruins of Utumno during the years of Melkor's captivity, written for (probably) various tolkien_weekly challenges.
Chapters added this month: Those Unhappy Ones, The Hideous Race and After the Manner.

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

Elegy for Númenor - Volume 1: Journey to Umbar by elfscribe [Adult] †
Summary: Chronicles the last days of Númenor from the time Sauron "surrenders" to Ar-Pharazôn to the fall of the empire. Love, lust, greed, betrayal, fate, and heroism all combine into an epic story with many characters.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 23 - A Crow in Swan's Plumage, Chapter 24 - Keeping Faith and Chapter 25 - Trials.

Evelyn: The First Age and Valinor by Caunedhiel [Adult]
Summary: ‘I had a normal life once...’ At the beginning of the First Age the Elves of Beleriand rejoiced; Kin long sundered returned home. Yet all was not as it seemed. The real reasons for the return of the Noldor were kept hidden among themselves. The Enemy, known among the returning elves as Morgoth stirred in the iron hell of Angband. Wars were fought and lost. Many Kingdoms were founded; some rose to glory, though in the end all fell in blood and fire. Thrown into the chaos of Arda Marred, Evelyn must adapt to a world not her own. Arda is a dangerous place in which to be vulnerable.
Chapters added this month: 1. A New Begining , 2. Moon Rise and Marble Floors and 3. Far From Home.

Full of Wisdom and Perfect in Beauty by Gadira † [Adult]
Summary: The History of the Downfall, from Ar-Sakalthôr´s accession to Ar-Pharazôn´s Armada. Long saga. (Rating for possible future transgressions).
Chapters added this month: Land of Shadows and The Jewel of Númenor.

In Darkness Bound by Fiondil [Teens]
Summary: In the aftermath of the Darkening, three kings search for meaning in the midst of tragedy. One seeks absolution; another, vengeance, while the third merely endeavors to salvage what he can from the disaster and protect his people from future harm. All may find what they are looking for, though not necessarily in the way they expect, for, as always, the Valar have their own agenda. 
Chapters added this month: Chapter 79: Ilmarin, Chapter 80: Debate and Decisions, Chapter 81: Abdication and Acquiescence, Chapter 82: Ranyar, Chapter 83: Judgment, Chapter 84: Pityahuan, Chapter 85: Rebellion, Chapter 86: Arafinwë in the Chapel of Stars and Chapter 87: On the Road West.

The Book of Short Tales by Lyra [General] (10157 words) Incomplete
Summary: A place to store short ficlets and challenge responses that don't really warrant being archived on their own.
Chapter added this month: B2MeM '10 - Different Terms, B2MeM '10 - The Simple Truth and *Random - The Children of Alqualondë

THE GREAT TALES OF BELERIAND vol 2 by Chilled in Hithlum [General]
Summary: I had some difficulty deciding where to end the first volume, but I had as a jumping off point the sojourn of Hurin and Huor in Gondolin and the knowledge that they acquired there regarding the lore of the Eldar. This presents an opporturnity to delve into the past, as it where, and look deeper at some of the main protagonists in the form of back-story. Although it is not my intention to completely slow down this tale with a SHADOW OF THE PAST volume and I still don't quite know yet how I can contrive this to the reader's and my own satisfaction. However, the main thrust of this volume that is set 'in the present' will follow the arc of Hurin coming into his inheritance as Lord of Dor-Lomin and other events beside (eg. The Fall of Barahir.)
Chapter added this month: Chapter 5.

The Singer's Girl by Lady MSM [Teens]
Summary: Andril didn't mean to get involved in all this, really. Is it her fault that an exiled prince and his family are living two miles away from her village? And is it her fault she's got a weakness for talkative, musical boys? A sort of romantic dramedy..
Chapters added this month: Chapter 10 and Chapter 11.

To Gaze Upon Stars by Caunedhiel [General]
Summary: The Elves are a well documented species. You can find many, many stories ranging from the shining beginning of the first age to the unwritten regions of the fourth. From their youth in the age of Trees and in Valinor until they came again to the shores of Middle-earth. But, what you don't find are many written in their very beginning, before the Valar and before Valinor. When they opened their eyes for the first time. This story is set in that time before time, when Elves first wandered the starlit land of Middle-earth...
Chapters added this month: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6 and Chapter 7.

You Live Your Life in the Shadow of the Mountain by darthfingon [Teens]
Summary: At the end of the First Age, religious feuds and civil unrest threaten Valmar and Tirion. A 'What-If' AU.
Chapter added this month: White and Gold.

Short Works

For the Ladies by Erulisse [General] (106 words)
Summary: A question is posed when Erestor observes Glorfindel’s wife teaching their daughter how to plait her hair. A drabble written in response to TW prompt “plait”.

Helcaraxë by Erulisse [General] (105 words)
Summary: In response to Tolkien Weekly’s prompt “part” a quick look at a long journey across the Helcaraxë with Turukáno, Elenwë and Itarillë. A turning moment for Turukáno, and one of the most grief-laden moments of his life. A true drabble.

Making Colored Light by Erulisse [General] (954 words)
Summary: A grandchild of Fëanor finds her niche in his forge. Winner of Honorable Mention in ALEC April 2011.

Mother and Friend by Erulisse [General] (738 words)
Summary: In the days of their youth, Huan's rescue turns into a lifelong friendship and a family legend. A story for ALEC - winner of 2nd place, May 2011.

Passing the Test by Erulisse [General] (106 words)
Summary: Returning to a place that she used to love, Helyanwë experiences doubt. Written for Tolkien Weekly's drabble challenge "condition".

Promises by grey_gazania [General] (330 words)
Summary: After the Kinslaying at Alqualondë and the burning of the swanships, Fingon makes a promise. Years later, he makes a second one.

The Deepest Cut by Erulisse [General] (105 words)
Summary: Some decisions cut deeply. A response to Tolkien Weekly Challenge prompt “cut”

The Dower of Dol Amroth by Dwimordene [General] (759 words)
Summary: Once upon a time, Dol Amroth was elven land. So how did "Dol Amroth" come to name a city ruled by Princes of Men? Imrazor receives an unusual gift.


Crow Song by Adonnen Estenniel [General] (80 words)
Summary: Sauron is seduced by a singer.

The Hildor by Odinsbard [General] (1721 words)
Summary: An original story based on the Ardaen Mythology, set in the more southern parts of West Beleriand: A young man from a southern city below Taur-im-Duinath travels northward to said Forest often on long travels; this time, makes an unexpected encounter with a mysterious Wisard, who was sent to redeem the Men of the South from Morgoth's Tyranny, and the young man (called 'the Hildor') has been chosen by the Gods to lead this rebellion! Written in blank verse.

Library of Tirion

Naming the Stones by Deborah Judge [General] (5004 words)
Summary: Elrond and Galadriel remember the First Age, the Silmarils, and the guilt of their people..

The Difference Between a Seagull and a Phoenix by Lipstick [General] (1474 words)
Summary: Maedhros lives, and my is he bitter and twisted. That's about it for plot really, more of a character study or perhaps more accurately character assassination.
First published: March 18, 2003.

Through the Darkness Unescapable by Valiniel (60726 words)
Summary: The Alkallabeth was written as a history, but histories rarely reveal the whole truth. What was the truth behind the life of Tar Miriel, last queen of Numenor?
First published April 10, 2004.

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Current Challenge

The Exchange Student

If someone from our time were to be an exchange student somewhere in Middle-earth during the First Age, what would they learn and what would others learn from them? Or what if a student from some race, grouping or clan were sent to a different one for a cultural exchange? Would the student have ideas about what to expect that ended up differently? Would there be any cultural misunderstandings? Also, would the experience be different depending on who the student was because of their gender, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, personality, etc?

Create a piece written from the exchange student's perspective. The person in question doesn't necessarily have to come from our time, but it could also be a Belegost dwarf sent to Lake Helevorn to learn more about Noldorin traditions, or a Numenorean scholar spending time at the court of Gil-Galad in Lindon, to learn more about Elven cultures.

This challenge has been suggested by Daewen. Thank you Daewen!

Challenges Revisited: Heroes

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.

Quote of the Month

Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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

New Tolkien Archive: Faerie

Check out the new Tolkien archive Faerie, which welcomes all genres, ratings, and pairings of stories, poetry, and non-fiction related to the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien!

LotR Genfic Community

Our July Challenge is a Fixed-Length-Ficlet Challenge. The Theme will be "Summertime Blues", and authors should include "blue" of some kind in the story. All the stories will be Fixed-Length Ficlets. The element will be a number between 101 and 400. Interested authors can reply to this announcement and claim a number. No one will be allowed to have a number previously claimed. Whatever number is chosen will be the word count for the ficlet. Stories will be due the weekend of Friday,July 15, and will be revealed on Monday, July 18. Please see this post for more information on how to sign up.

Teitho: July Challenge--Trees

The theme for July is Trees ... In Tolkien's world, the old legends echo strongly, and trees have an important role, far beyond their value for wood, fruit and shade--from the Two Trees, Ents, Old Man Willow to the White Tree of Gondor, they were the givers of light, conscious beings, symbols ...

The deadline for this challenge is July 25th. The Teitho website has more information.

A Long Expected Contest (ALEC): July Challenge--MidSummer Frolicks

The July challenge is "MidSummer Frolicks". How do the various peoples of Middle-earth--the elves, the dwarves, the men, the wizards, the orcs--handle the hot weather and the desire to recreate that comes with the season? Entries are due July 25. Please see the ALEC website for more information.

Middle-earth Fanfiction Awards

The Middle-earth Fanfiction Awards are up and running! Nomination season has closed and the approved stories are in the process of being assigned to the final award categories. On August 1st the voting season begins and reviews will be visible on the web site from then on. See the MEFA website to vote for your favorite stories and find more information on how to get involved.

LotR Fanfiction Ownership Change

Authors who have posted their work to the archive at should be aware that the site has undergone an ownership change. Since the announcement of the change, the chatter and news about it has been pretty tumultuous, and as I write this newsletter, the owner and Adora, the former site owner, state that "All previous plans are on hold." Nonetheless, members of the site may wish to follow future developments. The following posts and pages have more information on the change: News Page
LOTR and Twilight Fan Fiction Archives Bought - For Profit by the Organization for Transformative Works by Esteliel

Around the World and Web is provided for our members to inform them of events in the larger Tolkien community. SWG is not affiliated with and does not endorse the groups that we feature in Around the World and Web, and we are not responsible for content on sites outside of our own. Please use discretion and caution when visiting unfamiliar sites on the Internet.

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