November's Challenges


As a group predominantly peopled by writers and artists, we understand as well as any the power of inspiration. This month's challenge turns to consider inspiration.

Your characters inspire you--but what inspires them? For this month's challenge, we ask our writers to consider what inspires their characters to act and create. The Silmarillion is full of creative geniuses and heroes alike. What drove them to the deeds that shaped the history of the early ages of Arda? Perhaps it was a person: a spouse, a sibling, a teacher. Or maybe it was an event that allowed them to realize their potential to influence the course of history. Or maybe it was something darker: jealousy, lust, or a desire for power.

The story might consider the moment of inspiration, or it might consider the repercussions of the actions or creation inspired. Are you looking for ideas? The Silmarillion is full of artists; what inspired the greatest (or even unknown!) creations of people like Celebrimbor, Daeron, Fëanor, Aulë, Sauron, Varda, and Nerdanel? What inspired characters like Beleg, Morwen, Húrin, and Glorfindel to the heroic actions that they took? What inspired the unique outlooks of characters like Melkor, Thingol, Túrin, and Finarfin to the rather unique outlooks they had when compared to the rest of their people?

The possibilities are boundless so, in the end, what inspires you?

Quote of the Month

For Fëanor was driven by the fire of his own heart only, working ever swiftly and alone; and he asked the aid and sought the counsel of none that dwelt in Aman, great or small, save only and for a little while of Nerdanel the wise, his wife.

The Silmarillion, "Of Fëanor and the Unchaining of Melkor"

Character of the Month

The Character of the Month biography is on break for the month of November. Check back with us in December for a biography on Elwing!

In the meanwhile, we encourage you to check out past character profiles and, if you want a head start on December, to consider some of our archived stories on Elwing.

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!

November's News

October was a slow month for us as all of our active site moderators were forced from Arda back to Earth to deal with various real-life issues. We have been busy discussing new ideas and events for 2009, though, so watch this space for updates!

Around the World and Web

Middle-earth Fanfiction Awards--Just One Month Left!

MEFA participants should be aware that voting for the 2008 Middle-earth Fanfiction Awards (MEFAs) will close on November 30, just over a month away. If you have already started voting: please remember that you need to edit any of your already-entered votes by that same date. Draft reviews must be changed over to hidden or final status or they won't be counted; hidden reviews will automatically be displayed, so you need to change them to draft if you don't want this to happen. We'd love to have as many participants as we can get. If you're already a member, log in to our voting website and start reviewing. If you'd like to be a member but aren't you can sign up by joining the MEFAwards Yahoo group. If you forgot your password or need any other help signing up or logging in, just email Marta at

Why not review your first story this week? There's still time to get involved and vote for some of your favorite stories, but now is the time to get involved! The sooner you start, the more great stories you can read and review.

Also, please keep in mind that the MEFA day is based on GMT. That means you must enter all votes by 11:59 PM, GMT on November 30. For reference, that's Nov. 30, 7 PM in US Eastern timezone.

Teitho Challenge

At Teitho, the challenge for November is Disguised. Write a story in which the characters are under disguise or appearing as someone they are not! The challenge will end November 25th. If you want to participate, head over to the website to see all further info.

A Long Expected Contest

Results are in for ALEC's first contest topic, "Don't Tell Men, I Don't Want to Know." Winners are announced and banners available on the ALEC LiveJournal community. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who participated such a great batch of stories to read through October!

Please see the ALEC Yahoo! group for more information on how to participate in the contest.

Exploring Tolkien: Online Tolkien Course

Cardiff University is offering an on-line course taught in 10 weekly units by Dr Dimitra Fimi. The course will run three times during the 2008-2009 academic year, starting on 6 October 2008, 19 January 2009 and 27 April 2009 respectively.

The students will be able to explore Tolkien’s Middle-earth from their home, in their own time. They will examine the vast mythology behind The Lord of the Rings and gain a thorough knowledge of Tolkien’s fiction and its creation by focusing on The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and The Children of Húrin. For more information, see the announcement on

Fanlore Wiki Beta Test

The Organization for Transformative Works has launched the beta test of their fandom wiki, Fanlore. Fanlore is a multi-authored site for, about and by fans and fan communities that create and consume fanworks. Fanlore is currently in Beta stage and welcomes comments and concerns from users. Anyone may register on the Fanlore wiki and begin editing and adding pages immediately.

National Novel-Writing Month and National Blog-Posting Month

November has been designated the official month for prolific productivity in many forms. National Novel-Writing Month--popularly known as NaNoWriMo--is entering its 10th season with the goal of encouraging writers to write 50,000 words of a novel in one month. Also taking place again is National Blog-Posting Month (of course, NaBloPoMo) with its goal of writing one blog post each month. Are you up to the challenge? Visit each group's site to learn more.

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.

Would you like to see your group or event featured on Around the World and Web? See our Promotions Page for more details or email us at

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