Entry tags:

[admin post] Admin Post: "New Directions" Challenge Stories

SWG Challenge New Directions

Below is the list of stories submitted for the New Directions challenge. Please remember that while "late" entries do not receive a stamp, they are more than welcome on the archive, so if you're still working on this challenge--or haven't started it yet but want to--please carry on! Links on the list below go to the Table of Contents, where you can find author's notes and more information about the story. If you enjoy a story, please consider commenting and letting the author know.

Annael's Reunion by Kaylee Arafinwiel. After far too long, Annael of the Grey-elves reunites with one he thought lost.

For Those Who Hold a Silmaril In Their Hands by LadyBrooke. Erellont is young when Finrod leaves, and his uncle goes with him.

Legolas of Gondolin by Silver Trails. This is an introduction to my view of Legolas of Gondolin.

The Manly-Hearted Woman by oshun. This is a story of Haleth.

New Directions by hennethgalad. the friends of Eärendil, returning from Valinor
+ mystery guest...

Of Huor of the House of Hador by StarSpray. Six moments in the life of Huor son of Galdor.

Of Voronwe's Parents by Himring. Two vignettes featuring the parents of Voronwe of Gondolin.

A Second Chance by Grundy. "She whom he had loved was Amárië of the Vanyar, and she was not permitted to go with him into exile."

The Snakes and the Flowers by Lyra. A young Vanyarin poet makes some clever observations, the relevance of which only grows apparent in good time.

Sunset to Sunrise by Tyelca. A quiet night at home for Arien, Bearer of the Sun.




If you have not seen our current challenge, Just an Old-Fashioned Love Song, check it out! Fanworks for this one are due by 11 August 2017 to be eligible for a stamp.

As I am in the midst of the Mereth Aderthad, stamps will be later than usual this month. I will try to have them updated by the middle of next week. If there are any drastic changes to that timeline, I will let everyone know.
Entry tags:

[admin post] Admin Post: July 2017 Challenge: Just an Old-Fashioned Love Song

July 2017 SWG Challenge Just an Old-Fashioned Love SongDuring the month of July, fanworks creators around the world celebrate love. July has been reserved for honoring both the femslash and slash genres. Half of the world is sultry with summer heat, and half of the world seeks nearness and warmth to banish winter's chill.

For this month's challenge, you will use a popular love song as a prompt to inspire a fanwork about romantic or sexual love. You will choose your own prompt from the list of love songs below. More than one participant may choose the same song, and you may use any aspect of the song--the title, all or part of the lyrics, the mood or style of the music, or the music video--or any combination!--to inspire your response. You don't need to claim a prompt or comment or do anything but create your fanwork! Any pairing or poly relationship is acceptable for the challenge.

Our friends at Tolkien Femslash Week will be hosting their challenge as well, and as always, feel free to combine our challenge with your work for their challenge. If you do, please make a note in the summary or story notes so that we can award stamps accordingly.

Since I am a day late in posting the challenge, the due date for stamps will be 11 August 2017.. Late stories are always welcome but will not receive a stamp.

If you're new to our challenges, check out the full challenge guidelines here.

Prompts )
Entry tags:

July 2017 SWG Newsletter Posted!

The SWG's July 2017 Newsletter has been posted!

This month we encourage you to participate in our latest challenge. Based on our character biography collection, “New Directions” prompts all fandom writers and artists to create works about a character they’ve never written or drawn before. We also welcome two new members to SWG.

Our character biography for this month is Brodda, by Himring. As the Easterling who marries Aerin against her will, Brodda's story is suggestive of the Easterling people's political situation in Dor-lomin and reveals a character who, rather than serving as a loyal stooge to Morgoth, acts primarily out of self-interest.

Are you looking for something new to read? Our newsletter lists all the stories, essays, and poems added or updated on our SWG archive during the past month of June. If you are keen to know what is happening within the wider fandom world, our Around the World and Web section includes recent articles of interest, fandom events, and calls for papers.

As always, our newsletter is only possible through the contributions from a team of SWG volunteers.  Join me in thanking Himring, Elleth, Angelica, and Dawn for creating and compiling our
newsletter content this month.

Entry tags:

[admin post] Admin Post: Hero's Journey Challenge Stories

The Hero's Journey challenge closed yesterday. (When I say "closed," I mean that challenge entries posted going forward will not receive a stamp. If you are still working on your story, you're welcome to post it under the challenge! I'm still working on mine, in fact.) Here is the list of stories written for this challenge. If you check them out, please consider letting the author know if you like their work by leaving a comment. All links go to the Table of Contents, where you can view additional information about the story.

Before the Dawn by Grundy. Though all seems bright in Gondolin, Idril is troubled.

Companions on a Quest by oshun.

The Crownless Queen by Tyelca. She is a Queen without a crown and he is a shining opportunity. Or, how Ungoliant and Melkor poisoned the Trees and stole the Silmarils.

A Day in the Life by hennethgalad. The youth of Glorfindel in Valinor. (Additional installments in this story can be found here: The Hero's Journey 2 | 3 | 4 | 5)

A Hero of the Day by Robinka. Just an ordinary day out there on the Northern Marches of Doriath. Or maybe not so much…? Featuring your tall, strong, and handsome, not to mention favorite, wardens and some surprises.

In the Darkest Days by LadyBrooke. Elu has gone to Valinor with Finwë and Ingwë, and those left behind are forced to make up for their absences, no matter how young the ones left behind are or if they have to find their own families.

Let Us Sing Together by StarSpray. There are strange things dwelling in the forests of Eriador.

One Woman's Journey by Lyra. From the bliss of Valinor to the turbulent shores of Middle-earth, the life of Galadriel never gets boring.

Safety Net by Fernstrike. The year is 502 of the First Age. Doriath has already seen the Shadow seeping into its borders - and for Oropher, one of Thingol's chief counsels, it will not be long before it pierces into the vibrant heart of the realm.

A Tale of Two Lirillos by Kaylee Arafinwiel. Lirillo the prince and Lirillo the Maia - an adventure of Alqualonde's youngest prince, coming of age during a time after the Trees, just before the sun and moon. Will the grandson of Olwe prove a match for Ulmo's servant, or will the Maia be up to the task of shepherding his young namesake into this new world intact?

Water Music by Ysilme. As he walks, water is bringing back memories.




I'm interested to know if you all liked this challenge format? This was the first time I've ever used this format. I know I learned from the experience, if we do it again: 1) Don't allow just one month to complete this challenge. 2) Make the prompts sets have different prompts because people will ask for multiple sets. 3) Be clearer on word count expectations, when they exist. If you participated, what did you like and what would you change? If you didn't participate, what would have to change about the challenge to make it something you might want to try?

Perhaps most importantly: Should we do it again next year?

I will be working on stamp collections tonight and tomorrow. If Tuesday arrives and your is not correct, please let me know. If you have commented on a 2017 challenge entry for Strength & Beauty or earlier, please let me know so that I can award you your stamp, as I am not monitoring those challenges any longer.

Finally, remember that our New Directions challenge is currently underway:

This month, we challenge our authors and artists to attempt creating a fanwork about a character they've never written or drawn before, using one of the best resources on the SWG website: our character biography collection. From our list of character biographies, choose someone that you do not know much about or have not written/drawn before. Read the character biography and create a fanwork about that character.


Fanworks must be posted by July 15 to receive the stamp for this one.
Entry tags:

[admin post] Admin Post: SWG Challenge: New Directions (June 17-July 15)

SWG Challenge New Directions

Writing challenges are ostensibly about pushing ourselves to take creative risks that we might not otherwise take. In fan fiction, this includes writing about characters whom we are normally content to forget are even in the book.

This month, we challenge our authors and artists to attempt creating a fanwork about a character they've never written or drawn before, using one of the best resources on the SWG website: our character biography collection. From our list of character biographies, choose someone that you do not know much about or have not written/drawn before. Read the character biography and create a fanwork about that character. (Helpful hint: We have no way of knowing if you read more than one biography before choosing your character!)

While you're exploring the biography collection, we encourage you to let our biography writers know in a comment if you enjoy their work. Biographies take hours to days to research and write and often do not garner the kinds of attention and comments that stories do. So let's show our biography writers some love for the valuable work they do for our group!

Fanworks must be posted by July 15 to be eligible for this month's creator stamp. Review challenges never expire, but if you are commenting on a 2017 story for the Strength and Beauty challenge or earlier, please let me know through a comment here or an email to moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org so that I can give you your stamps.

I will try to update stamp collections within the next week. Also remember that the Hero's Journey challenge deadline has been extended to June 24. Full challenge guidelines can be found on the SWG site.
Entry tags:

[admin post] Admin Post: Hero's Journey Matryoshka Challenge Deadline Extension to June 24

SWG May Challenge Hero's Journey Matryoshka ChallengeOver the past few weeks, as I've been hearing chatter about the current SWG challenge, I hear numerous people who want to try it but aren't sure they're going to make the current deadline. This is the first time we've done a challenge like this, and it's very much been a learning experience. And it actually is a fairly challenging challenge! :) Given all of that, I've decided to extend the deadline to receive stamps two weeks, to June 24. Stories posted by June 24 will receive a creator stamp.

I will still post the new challenge on June 15, as scheduled, so there will be a slight overlap with two challenges going on, but I think we can handle that.

All this said, late challenge entries are always welcome, so please don't feel like if you miss the new deadline, you can't post your story as part of the challenge; however, late entries do not receive a stamp. (And this isn't me trying to be punitive or create a sense of urgency but trying to save my sanity! :) Review challenges never expire, though if you review a story for Revolution (February 2017) or earlier, please let me know so I can give you your stamps.

It's definitely not too late to request prompts for this month's challenge, especially in light of the deadline extension. You can read more about our current challenge and how it works, and learn how to request your prompts, here.
Entry tags:

June 2017 SWG Newsletter Posted!

The SWG's June 2017 Newsletter has been posted!

This month we bring you an update on the survey about the new LiveJournal Terms of service, and on the import of our SWG LJ community toDreamwidth, and we welcome three new members to SWG. If you haven’t seen it yet, have a look at our latest challenge, “The Hero's Journey Matryoshka Challenge”.

Our character biography for this month is Erellont, by Oshun. As one of only three companions of Eärendil to venture into the West, Erellont receives only passing mention in The Silmarillion, but his character is open to inference and poses unanswered questions.

Are you looking for something new to read? Our newsletter lists all the stories, essays, and poems added or updated on our SWG archive during the past month of May. To keep up to date with the wider fandom world, our Around the World and Web section includes recent articles of interest as well as fandom news and events.

As always, our newsletter is only possible through the contributions from a team of SWG volunteers.  Join me in thanking Oshun, Elleth, Angelica, and Dawn for creating and compiling our newsletter content this month.
Entry tags:

[admin post] Admin Post: Friendly Reminder about Dreamwidth Import

If you have content on our LiveJournal community [livejournal.com profile] silwritersguild, and if you are aware that we have imported the content of the LJ community to Dreamwidth, please comment here. If your LJ name is different from your DW name, please include it.

(If you commented on my last post, you don't need to comment again. I have your name recorded on my trusty sticky-note pad!)

This would be a huge help to us, since we will need to contact everyone who has posted to our LJ community to alert them of the import. If we know you know about it, you save us from having to privately contact you! :)

If you need to learn more about it, the decision about the Dreamwidth import is explained here, as well as how to contact us if you don't want your community posts on Dreamwidth.

However, commenting now does not mean that you agree or consent or like our decision ... just that you know we've imported your work. You still have every right to tell us to take it down, and we will. You're just helping us out by not making us contact you to tell you something you already know about.

Thanks to everyone who has commented so far and in advance to all you lovely people who are getting ready to comment right now! :)
Entry tags:

[admin post] Admin Post: The LiveJournal ToS and Dreamwidth Import

At the end of April, I requested member input on two questions related to our LiveJournal community: 1) Should we comply with the troubling new Terms of Service or refuse to do so, even at the possible risk of losing our LJ community? 2) What, if any, backup of this community should we make on Dreamwidth? (Read the original LJ post here; read it in our newsletter here.)

My comoderators and I had discussed these questions already and were uncomfortable with complying with the new ToS, which essentially forced us to lock the community as "adults only" because our community includes slash fiction and discussion of slash/LGBTQ+ issues. We do not feel that stories and discussions about LGBTQ+ people are "adult," nor do we believe that they are harmful to children, and we do not think that, in the year 2017, it is a reasonable request to label them as such. It flies in the face of our group's values to insist that some of our members' sexual orientations and gender identities are somehow "harmful" and needing to be locked away. It is also contrary to foundational SWG policy and values to require authors to lock their content from certain users--in this case, minors.

However, since we are potentially jeopardizing this community in refusing to comply with the ToS, it did not seem fair to make that decision without member input. The SWG is not democratically run, but we do value our members' input and try to honor it whenever possible.

We posed the two questions via an anonymous survey on Google Forms. Fifty-four people responded. Based on the results of the survey, 44% of participants supported not following the new ToS. 4% felt we should comply only if LJ insisted that we must. 37% felt that we should comply. 15% offered other ideas or variations on the choices:

  • 6% did not want to comply but only if the community was backed up to Dreamwidth first.

  • 2% felt we should comply only as a last resort.

  • 4% felt that we should comply (and offered additional explanation as to why).

  • 4% didn't know.


(Please note that percentages are rounded and so do not add up to 100%.)

Survey data, therefore, shows a slight majority preference for not complying with the new ToS. Coupled with a strong moderator preference for this course of action, this is how we will proceed. Obviously, we hope that LJ will not attempt to enforce the ToS and our community can continue to exist as it has for more than twelve years now. But we're prepared to accept the consequences if they decide to take a hard line on the new rules.

The next issue concerned backup to our Dreamwidth community. We've had a community on Dreamwidth since 2011, but it is little used aside for admin posts. 87% of survey participants felt that we should import posts from the LiveJournal community to the Dreamwidth community at the same access level (i.e., public or members-only). While a few people preferred access levels to be stricter (i.e., members-only or mods-only), and a few people shared other approaches to consider, no one opposed a Dreamwidth import outright.

Given this strong preference for a full import, I imported the LiveJournal community (both posts and comments) to Dreamwidth tonight.

In the weeks to come, we will be reaching out to members who posted to LiveJournal and are not aware of this import. Anyone who does not wish to have their content posted to Dreamwidth can let us know, and we will delete their posts from the Dreamwidth community. You can let us know by commenting on the LJ post about this subject or sending me a private message on LJ, using the account your content on our community is found under. There is no deadline for doing this, so if you're not sure how you feel yet or find this a year or five years after the import, we are still willing to delete your content, if that is your preference.

If you have content on our LiveJournal community, and you have read this post and understand that we have imported all content to Dreamwidth, please comment here to let us know so that we do not contact you about the import. If your LJ name is different from your DW name, please include this information.

As always, questions are welcome on this post as well, or at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.
Entry tags:

[admin post] Admin Post: May 2017 Challenge: The Hero's Journey Matryoshka Challenge

SWG May Challenge Hero's Journey Matryoshka ChallengeThis month's challenge is a Matryoshka challenge based on the theme of the hero's journey archetype, in honor of the upcoming volume Beren and Lúthien (which will hopefully be published before the challenge closes). Your story does not have to be about heroes, journeys, Beren and Lúthien, or follow the archetype, but prompts will be loosely inspired by it.

How a Matryoshka Challenge Works


Matryoshka dolls, also known as Russian nesting dolls, are hollow figurines that contain progressively smaller figurines inside each level. For this challenge, you will be sent several prompts via email. You will use these prompts to create one fanwork. You will start your story using the first prompt. You will open each subsequent prompt only when you reach a predetermined milestone in your story. (The milestones will be clearly stated in each prompt.) Your challenge is to incorporate each prompt into your story as you write, figuring out how to creatively work in a tricky prompt or (if you're brave!) being willing to take the story in a new direction to fit the prompt.

Again, you can write any story you want to fit the prompts! It doesn't have to be about the hero's journey. The challenge is to use them all, in order, in one story.

How to Participate


If you want to participate, please comment here with whether you would like an easy (3 prompts), medium (5 prompts), or difficult (7 prompts) challenge. If you want the prompts sent to an email other than that which you have registered with the SWG site, please let us know that as well. (Comments are screened.) You may also email us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org with whether you would like an easy, medium, or difficult challenge.

This is probably our most experimental challenge on this year's schedule. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, and that's fine. If your eyes are crossing and head spinning just thinking about it, rest assured that next month's will be much more sedate.

Challenge stories are due on the SWG archive by June 10 in order to be eligible for a stamp. As always, late responses are welcome but will not receive a stamp.




Stamp Collection Update: I made headway on the stamp collections this weekend but did not finish them. I'm going to make my best effort to do so this week. If you wake up Saturday morning and your stamp collection is not updated or is incorrect, you can let me know then. If anything changes, I will post here about it.

Also, the banners, which I make, are always free for the taking, no credit necessary, and feel free to link to the image on the SWG site.
Entry tags:

May 2017 Challenge: The Hero's Journey Matryoshka Challenge

SWG May Challenge Hero's Journey Matryoshka ChallengeThis month's challenge is a Matryoshka challenge based on the theme of the hero's journey archetype, in honor of the upcoming volume Beren and Lúthien (which will hopefully be published before the challenge closes). Your story does not have to be about heroes, journeys, Beren and Lúthien, or follow the archetype, but prompts will be loosely inspired by it.

How a Matryoshka Challenge Works


Matryoshka dolls, also known as Russian nesting dolls, are hollow figurines that contain progressively smaller figurines inside each level. For this challenge, you will be sent several prompts via email. You will use these prompts to create one fanwork. You will start your story using the first prompt. You will open each subsequent prompt only when you reach a predetermined milestone in your story. (The milestones will be clearly stated in each prompt.) Your challenge is to incorporate each prompt into your story as you write, figuring out how to creatively work in a tricky prompt or (if you're brave!) being willing to take the story in a new direction to fit the prompt.

Again, you can write any story you want to fit the prompts! It doesn't have to be about the hero's journey. The challenge is to use them all, in order, in one story.

How to Participate


If you want to participate, please comment here with whether you would like an easy (3 prompts), medium (5 prompts), or difficult (7 prompts) challenge. If you want the prompts sent to an email other than that which you have registered with the SWG site, please let us know that as well. (Comments are screened.) You may also email us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org with whether you would like an easy, medium, or difficult challenge.

This is probably our most experimental challenge on this year's schedule. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, and that's fine. If your eyes are crossing and head spinning just thinking about it, rest assured that next month's will be much more sedate.

Challenge stories are due on the SWG archive by June 10 in order to be eligible for a stamp. As always, late responses are welcome but will not receive a stamp.




Stamp Collection Update: I made headway on the stamp collections this weekend but did not finish them. I'm going to make my best effort to do so this week. If you wake up Saturday morning and your stamp collection is not updated or is incorrect, you can let me know then. If anything changes, I will post here about it.

Also, the banners, which I make, are always free for the taking, no credit necessary, and feel free to link to the image on the SWG site.
Entry tags:

[admin post] Admin Post: Last Call for Survey Responses about the silwritersguild LiveJournal

On Tuesday, I will be closing the survey about how to handle the [livejournal.com profile] silwritersguild LiveJournal community and using the results to discuss with my comods how we want to proceed. If you have not taken it yet and want to, please take the survey here.

In light of LJ's new and draconian Terms of Serve, we are seeking member input on whether we should comply with the ToS, and whether (and how) we should back up the community on Dreamwidth. (Please note that we are not considering shutting down the LJ community but whether we're willing to risk LJ suspending our account by not complying with a ToS that defies important values of the SWG.)

If you'd like to read more on the decision and why we're making it, see this post.

If you'd like to know why the mods are willing to let this community close rather than comply with the ToS, my thoughts on that are here. (Hint: It has less to do with access by minors and more to do with marking content containing LGBTQ+ characters as "adult.")

Thank you to everyone who has shared responses with us so far.
Entry tags:

Last Call for Survey Responses about the silwritersguild LiveJournal

On Tuesday, I will be closing the survey about how to handle the [livejournal.com profile] silwritersguild LiveJournal community and using the results to discuss with my comods how we want to proceed. If you have not taken it yet and want to, please take the survey here.

In light of LJ's new and draconian Terms of Serve, we are seeking member input on whether we should comply with the ToS, and whether (and how) we should back up the community on Dreamwidth. (Please note that we are not considering shutting down the LJ community but whether we're willing to risk LJ suspending our account by not complying with a ToS that defies important values of the SWG.)

If you'd like to read more on the decision and why we're making it, see this post.

If you'd like to know why the mods are willing to let this community close rather than comply with the ToS, my thoughts on that are here. (Hint: It has less to do with access by minors and more to do with marking content containing LGBTQ+ characters as "adult.")

Thank you to everyone who has shared responses with us so far.
Entry tags:

[admin post] Admin Post: "Women's Sceptre" Challenge Entries

SWG Women's Sceptre Challenge Click for Entries

Yesterday, our Women's Sceptre challenge closed with fifteen stories and poems! (And I know a few late ones are on their way ... in part because one of them is mine! :) Go check them out, and if you enjoy the author's work, please consider leaving them a comment letting them know. Here are the challenge entries for this month; links go to the Table of Contents.

both the Seen and the Unseen by hennethgalad. Melian takes Galadriel on a farewell trip.

The Decadent Queen by Scribe of Mirrormere. Tar-Anducal and Alcarin remember Tar-Vanimeldë differently.

An Education in Stone by Erulisse. Nerdanel is given a commission - present a sculptural work to the people of Valinor that will feature images of the Valar. But as an artist, she must remain true to her personal vision. What does that vision convey to the people and to the Valar who are depicted through her carved stone?

Excession by hennethgalad. Celeborn falls under the shadow, and is drawn back to the light by Galadriel.

First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by oshun. Fëanáro remembers Nerdanel. A story of redemption. If you do not like Fëanor, you will probably not want to read it.

Flight Through The Dark by Tyelca. In the form of a swan Elwing flies over the Sea, carrying a Silmaril and looking for her husband.

Her Father's Daughter by Grundy. Findis was the only one who stayed.

I Will Wait by Lotrfan. Turgon, after the Fall of Gondolin.

Jewel of Hope by Linda Hoyland. Galadriel muses on the past and finds hope for the future.

Like a Shooting Star by StarSpray. For into darkness fell his star
In Mordor, where the shadows are

Looking Up by Lyra. Andreth muses on the present, the past, and a potential future.

Love and Trust by Silver Trails. Telpelindë wants to leave Aman and find Curufin and Celebrimbor.

Never Shall I See The Place by LadyBrooke. Never shall I see the place,
Where Enel woke and Enelyë roamed.
A poem of a Sindar/Silvan elf in Valinor.

A Queen for the Fourth Age by Kaylee Arafinwiel. Elessar’s great-great-granddaughter is set to become the Two Kingdoms’ first queen. After all, she was firstborn, before her twin brother – the Princess’ Champion. But there may be trouble ahead...

We Cry the Same Tears by just_jenni. The three most important people in Aredhel's life try to come to terms with her death.

Words by Himring. A short extra scene in the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth: Finrod and Andreth discuss matters of language.




Housekeeping Things
I really dislike having to make these kinds of decrees. They make me feel too much like I'm at my day job as a middle-school teacher. But I was disturbed by something I learned this past month, so decree I shall.

Folks. The purpose of the reviewer stamps is to encourage people to talk to authors whose work they enjoy. It's too easy to read and click off to the next thing, so if a little graphic encourages us to talk to each other, then I think it's worthwhile.

But that purpose is ruined when people comment to authors that they are only reviewing for a stamp.

This is not a widespread behavior (I hope!), but I know that it happened to one of our authors last month, and so I'm putting it out there in official, moderatorly, make-no-mistake-about-it terms that this is unacceptable, and if it happens again, then that reviewer voids ALL review stamps for that month.

Speaking of stamps, I will hopefully get all stamp books updated this coming weekend. However, as some of you know, I am hosting a Mereth Aderthad this summer, and with the event's website just opened a few days ago, I have been busy with (and prioritizing) that. When I post the new challenge on Monday, I will update as far as progress on stamps goes.

Speaking of new challenges, our next one is coming on Monday, May 15. This one is one of our more experimental formats, but it is partly in honor of the forthcoming Beren and Luthien book, and I hope a few of you will take our dare and try it out. (If you absolutely detest next month's format, no worries--we'll be back to something more usual in June.)

And finally, I want to extend a huge thank-you again to [personal profile] oloriel, who made ALL of the beautiful Women's Sceptre stamps for this month.
Entry tags:

"Women's Sceptre" Challenge Entries

SWG Women's Sceptre Challenge Click for Entries

Yesterday, our Women's Sceptre challenge closed with fifteen sixteen stories and poems! (And I know a few late ones are on their way ... in part because one of them is mine! :) Go check them out, and if you enjoy the author's work, please consider leaving them a comment letting them know. Here are the challenge entries for this month; links go to the Table of Contents.

both the Seen and the Unseen by hennethgalad. Melian takes Galadriel on a farewell trip.

The Decadent Queen by Scribe of Mirrormere. Tar-Anducal and Alcarin remember Tar-Vanimeldë differently.

An Education in Stone by Erulisse. Nerdanel is given a commission - present a sculptural work to the people of Valinor that will feature images of the Valar. But as an artist, she must remain true to her personal vision. What does that vision convey to the people and to the Valar who are depicted through her carved stone?

Excession by hennethgalad. Celeborn falls under the shadow, and is drawn back to the light by Galadriel.

First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by oshun. Fëanáro remembers Nerdanel. A story of redemption. If you do not like Fëanor, you will probably not want to read it.

Flight Through The Dark by Tyelca. In the form of a swan Elwing flies over the Sea, carrying a Silmaril and looking for her husband.

Her Father's Daughter by Grundy. Findis was the only one who stayed.

I Will Wait by Lotrfan. Turgon, after the Fall of Gondolin.

Jewel of Hope by Linda Hoyland. Galadriel muses on the past and finds hope for the future.

Like a Shooting Star by StarSpray. For into darkness fell his star
In Mordor, where the shadows are

Looking Up by Lyra. Andreth muses on the present, the past, and a potential future.

Love and Trust by Silver Trails. Telpelindë wants to leave Aman and find Curufin and Celebrimbor.

Never Shall I See The Place by LadyBrooke. Never shall I see the place,
Where Enel woke and Enelyë roamed.
A poem of a Sindar/Silvan elf in Valinor.

A Queen for the Fourth Age by Kaylee Arafinwiel. Elessar’s great-great-granddaughter is set to become the Two Kingdoms’ first queen. After all, she was firstborn, before her twin brother – the Princess’ Champion. But there may be trouble ahead...

We Cry the Same Tears by just_jenni. The three most important people in Aredhel's life try to come to terms with her death.

Words by Himring. A short extra scene in the Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth: Finrod and Andreth discuss matters of language.




Housekeeping Things
I really dislike having to make these kinds of decrees. They make me feel too much like I'm at my day job as a middle-school teacher. But I was disturbed by something I learned this past month, so decree I shall.

Folks. The purpose of the reviewer stamps is to encourage people to talk to authors whose work they enjoy. It's too easy to read and click off to the next thing, so if a little graphic encourages us to talk to each other, then I think it's worthwhile.

But that purpose is ruined when people comment to authors that they are only reviewing for a stamp.

This is not a widespread behavior (I hope!), but I know that it happened to one of our authors last month, and so I'm putting it out there in official, moderatorly, make-no-mistake-about-it terms that this is unacceptable, and if it happens again, then that reviewer voids ALL review stamps for that month.

Speaking of stamps, I will hopefully get all stamp books updated this coming weekend. However, as some of you know, I am hosting a Mereth Aderthad this summer, and with the event's website just opened a few days ago, I have been busy with (and prioritizing) that. When I post the new challenge on Monday, I will update as far as progress on stamps goes.

Speaking of new challenges, our next one is coming on Monday, May 15. This one is one of our more experimental formats, but it is partly in honor of the forthcoming Beren and Luthien book, and I hope a few of you will take our dare and try it out. (If you absolutely detest next month's format, no worries--we'll be back to something more usual in June.)

And finally, I want to extend a huge thank-you again to [livejournal.com profile] oloriel, who made ALL of the beautiful Women's Sceptre stamps for this month.
Entry tags:

[admin post] Admin Post: Woman's Sceptre Challenge Entries Due May 10

Silmarillion Writers Guild Womans Sceptre Challenge April 15 through May 10

"Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison."
~ Mary Wollstonecraft


This is a friendly reminder that Woman's Sceptre challenge responses must be posted to the SWG archive by May 10 to be eligible for a stamp. Late posts are welcome but will not receive stamps.

Read the challenge entries that have been posted so far here and please let the authors know if you enjoy their work!

If you wish to participate in this month's challenge, leave a comment on our Dreamwidth, our LiveJournal, drop us an ask on our tumblr, or email us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.
Entry tags:

[admin post] Admin Post: May 2017 Newsletter Posted

The SWG's May 2017 Newsletter has been posted!

This month we invite you to participate in a survey regarding the new LiveJournal Terms of service, that directly impact our SWG community on their site. We tempt you once more with latest challenge "A Woman’s Sceptre" and welcome our April new joiners.

Our character biography for this month is (First Age) Barahir, by Oshun. In many ways embodies he the unrelenting and inescapable tragedy that plagues The Silmarillion. But through his son Beren and a legacy that passes through to the Third Age, Barahir also fits into Tolkien's essential concept of eucatastrophe.

Keen to read something new? Our newsletter lists all the stories, essays, and poems added or updated on our SWG archive during the past month of April. To keep up to date with the wider fandom world, our Around the World and Web section includes recent articles of interest, fandom events, and calls for papers.

As always, many hands and minds go into making our newsletter possible. Thanks this month go to Oshun, Elleth, Angelica, and Dawn for creating and compiling our newsletter content.
Entry tags:

Woman's Sceptre Challenge Entries Due May 10

Silmarillion Writers Guild Womans Sceptre Challenge April 15 through May 10

"Taught from their infancy that beauty is woman's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison."
~ Mary Wollstonecraft


This is a friendly reminder that Woman's Sceptre challenge responses must be posted to the SWG archive by May 10 to be eligible for a stamp. Late posts are welcome but will not receive stamps.

Read the challenge entries that have been posted so far here and please let the authors know if you enjoy their work!

If you wish to participate in this month's challenge, leave a comment on our Dreamwidth, our LiveJournal, drop us an ask on our tumblr, or email us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.
Entry tags:

May 2017 Newsletter Posted!

The SWG's May 2017 Newsletter has been posted!

This month we invite you to participate in a survey regarding the new LiveJournal Terms of service, that directly impact our SWG community on their site. We tempt you once more with latest challenge “A woman’s Sceptre2 and welcome our April new joiners.

Our character biography for this month is (First Age) Barahir, by Oshun. In many ways embodies he the unrelenting and inescapable tragedy that plagues The Silmarillion. But through his son Beren and a legacy that passes through to the Third Age, Barahir also fits into Tolkien's essential concept of eucatastrophe.

Keen to read something new? Our newsletter lists all the stories, essays, and poems added or updated on our SWG archive during the past month of April. To keep up to date with the wider fandom world, our Around the World and Web section includes recent articles of interest, fandom events, and calls for papers.

As always, many hands and minds go into making our newsletter possible. Thanks this month go to Oshun, Elleth, Angelica, and Dawn for creating and compiling our newsletter content.
Entry tags:

[admin post] Admin Post: Changes to LiveJournal's ToS and How That Impacts Our Community

The SWG has maintained a community on LiveJournal since 2005. As most of you have probably heard by now, LiveJournal--which was purchased by the Russian company SUP several years ago and moved its servers to Russia earlier this year--has changed its Terms of Service in some pretty major and disturbing ways. Many of these changes are directly contrary to the values of the SWG.

First and foremost, the new ToS obligates us to mark content that is "adult" according to Russian standards (where the recent Beauty and the Beast film was given the equivalent of an NC-17 rating for a few seconds of two men dancing together):

9.1.3. Mark Content estimated by Russian legislation as inappropriate for children (0 −18) as "adult material" by using Service functions.


Now those of you who have been around for a while might remember that SixApart (the U.S.-based company that owned LJ before selling it to SUP) tried something similar with respect to adult content. Journals/communities or posts marked as "Adult" cannot be accessed by minors (and anonymous users must verify their age to access them). The difference is that 6A did not require users label content as adult. They reserved the right for the Abuse team to apply such a label if content was flagged. (Which I also didn't agree with but was several shades less bothersome than this rule, since the 6A rule came with no penalty.)

This one does:

10.3. The Administration shall not verify the compliance of Content and/or Users’ actions with the terms and conditions hereof and with the applicable laws; however, it reserves the right at its own discretion or upon the request received from the competent authority and/or the substantiated request by another entity without User’s prior notice, marked Content as an "adult material", take measures specified in clause 2.5 hereof and restrict the access to Blog/Community for certain Users.

2.5 Users breach hereunder may cause termination of his/her access to his/her Account or deletion of such an Account as well as full or partial deletion of the Content or suspension thereto without prior notice.


10.3 wields badly translated and garbled English grammar like a champ and is therefore hard to understand, but it seems to state that reports of "adult content" on a journal or community now allows LJ to delete that post or the entire journal/community.

This violates our values in two major ways. First of all, we have always trusted our members to decide for themselves what content they are comfortable reading. Likewise, we trust parents to decide what their minor children are mature enough to read. As such, while we provide authors the opportunity to rate or attach warnings to their work (or to label the work clearly if they prefer not to rate and/or warn), we have never restricted access to content based on our or anyone else's judgment of what is "appropriate" for a particular user to read.

Secondly and more importantly, we have never rated slash or femslash higher than gen or het works. And given Russia's dismal record on LGBTQ+ issues, to comply with their law, I can only presume that anything containing homosexual relationships would have to be marked as adult content, even if it contained no sexual content. As a mod team, this is deeply offensive to us and runs contrary to our values as a group that recognized the value and contributions of all of its writers and recognizes the dignity of all human beings, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Since we would not hold writers or stories with LGBTQ+ characters to different standards than we hold writers of heterosexual characters, this essentially forces us to label the entire LJ community as Adult.

My inclination as the founder and owner of this group is to refuse to follow the new ToS. It flies in the face of our group's values and, indeed, part of the reason the SWG even exists (considering the homophobic atmosphere in Tolkien fandom when the SWG was formed and my commitment to welcoming all Silmarillion stories, regardless of pairing, equally). However, this means that the posts or the entire community could be deleted, which is not a decision lightly undertaken.

This opens an additional question of what to do with the content on our LJ community. Our LiveJournal community (along with our Yahoo! Group) is the oldest SWG space. It is older than the website. It contains invaluable history from the early years of the SWG, as well as fanworks that may not be found anywhere else.

The SWG has maintained a Dreamwidth community for some time now. We decided, however, when we set up this community not to import LiveJournal posts into it. It seemed a violation of our members' rights to post their work on another site without their consent. Of course, at the time, our community did not face the threat of deletion. The circumstances have changed quite a bit.

Given the changes to the LJ ToS, we as a group have important decisions to make concerning this community. The mod team decided this was something that needed to be discussed and decided on by all SWG members and friends who wish to offer an opinion. After all, this is your community as much as it is ours.

We have two questions to settle:

1. Are we willing to comply with the new ToS, which would require labeling our entire community as "Adult" and would restrict access to our community by minors?

2. What, if anything, do we want to do as far as importing posts on this community to a backup on Dreamwidth? (Please note that users who do not want their posts on Dreamwidth could opt out of this, or contact us to delete their posts on DW at any time.)

Let me also be very clear about what we are not doing. We are not proposing to shut down our LiveJournal community. We are not encouraging use of the DW community over the LJ community by users who prefer LJ. Many people prefer LJ, and we hope to continue to offer a space here for those users.

Please take a moment to fill out a brief survey on these issues related to the new LiveJournal ToS. Both SWG members and non-members are welcome to participate, and you do not need to use the LJ community to participate. There is a space on the survey form for additional comments related to this issue.

If you have questions or would prefer to offer your feedback over email, you can reach our moderator team at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org. Comments are open here as well.

We will collect survey data on May 15, 2017, so please participate before then. We'll post a reminder here and on our website and other satellites as that date approaches.