March's Challenges

Within the Pages of Lore

March is Back to Middle-earth Month, when we all remember what inspired us to become part of this fandom in the first place.

But one of the most fun aspects of fandom is discovering new interests and inspirations. At times, we as writers can get caught in a rut of writing about the same characters, events, races, and eras. This month, we challenge all of our authors to try something new.

Interested? Get your Silmarillion off of the shelf. Close your eyes--but finish reading these instructions first! Now let your book fall open at random. Put your finger down on the page.

Open your eyes and copy the sentence on which your finger lies.

Your challenge is to write a story using that quote. The quote can form the basis of the story. It can be the first line, or you can use it as a line somewhere within the story. You might find yourself researching and reading stories about a subject you'd never really considered before, and if this is the case, then the challenge has worked for you!

Quote of the Month

Yet the making of things is in my heart from my own making by thee; and the child of little understanding that makes a play of the deeds of his father may do so without thought of mockery, but because he is the son of his father.
-The Silmarillion, "Of Aulë and Yavanna"

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!

March's News

Back to Middle-earth Month: The Circles of the World

March is Back to Middle-earth Month, an annual holiday started to remember how and why we all got involved in the Tolkien fandom. Every year, SWG puts together a project to honor not only Tolkien's works but the creativity of the fans who continue his vision.

This year's theme--The Circles of the World--considers the many different events that take place on Arda in the context of what inspires us as fans. We asked Silmarillion authors, poets, and artists to send in their work along with a few words of what their work, and their participation in this fandom, means to them, and, as usual, we've received an overwhelming response. We've received more than fifty pieces of writing and artwork, creative work that shows yet again the skill and imagination of the members of this fandom.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout the month of March, we will release another set of this work, each fitting a different theme. Be sure to check our site regularly to find both work from your favorite authors and artists and, hopefully, to discover a couple of new ones!

Back to Middle-earth Month 2008 Posting Schedule

Keep watch of our Circles of the World homepage: each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, we will unlock a new set of stories, poems, and artwork!

March 3. Beginnings: birth
March 5. Beginnings: creation
March 7. Beginnings: discovery
March 10. Conflict: war
March 12. Conflict: betrayal
March 14. Conflict: rivalry
March 17. Relationships: love
March 19. Relationships: friendship
March 21. Relationships: allegiance
March 24. Endings: death
March 26. Endings: downfall
March 28. Endings: parting
March 31. Fate

New FAQ: Text-selection Problem in Internet Explorer 6

A few months ago, we were confronted with a strange problem on our archive: a review reply was displaying a miniature version of the website within it. The problem was easily corrected by an admin, and we assumed it was just a one-in-a-million accident, and, while we briefed all of the archive admins on how to fix the problem if it happened again, I don't think any of us expected that it would.

Then, a few months later, it did, to a different author.

This prompted us to investigate the cause of problem, and we traced it to a bug in Internet Explorer 6. Some users may have noticed that they have trouble highlighting text on our site, particularly within the archive. While annoying at worst when trying to quote for reviews and replies, this bug was also causing the problem with the review replies that we were experiencing when users were accidentally copying sections of HTML code while trying to highlight passages of text within stories and reviews.

Unfortunately, because the problem lies with a very popular browser and not with our coding, there is nothing that we can do to fix it. However, we did put our heads together, consulted with some other web designers, and did a bit of research to come up with some strategies to help users of IE6 continue to use our site with minimal inconvenience. Our FAQ on the subject is available here. And we'd also like to remind all of our members that, if you notice anything strange about the site, please do not hesitate to let us know. If your review replies are displaying strangely, it takes us only a couple of moments to fix the problem. Simply email us at and we'll do our best to solve your problem!

Around the World and Web

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