June 2020 Newsletter Posted!

Our June newsletter has been posted!

You're still in good time to join our two-month "Archetype" challenge, a Matryoshka challenge based on the archetypes that pepper myths, legends, and literature found around the world.

Oshun presents her biography of Beren. Following up on our three-part biography of Lúthien Tinúviel, this month's biography of Beren discusses his early life, the evolution of his character in the legendarium, and his particular importance as a prototype for Aragorn and the small, simple heroes who would come to characterize Tolkien's later work.

Discover the fanworks that were updated or newly posted to the archive during the month of May in the New at the Archive section of the newsletter.

Around the World and Web offers you a compilation of articles of interest from the Tolkien fandom beyond the Silmarillion Writers’ Guild, and from the fandom world at large, as well as challenges, fandom events, conferences, calls for papers, and more.

Many thanks to Elleth, Dawn, Oshun and Angelica, our newsletter volunteers this month!
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May 2020 Challenge: Archetypes

SWG Challenge May 2020 Archetypes

This month's challenge is a Matryoshka challenge based on the archetypes that pepper myths, legends, and literature found around the world. (Please note that prompts are not specific to mythology. Any genre of fanwork can be created based on these prompts.)

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 start your story using the first prompt. You will open each subsequent prompt when you reach a predetermined milestone in your story. Your challenge is to incorporate each prompt into your story.

If you want to participate, please comment here with whether you would like a beginner (2 prompts), easy (3 prompts), medium (5 prompts), or difficult (7 prompts) challenge. If you want the prompts sent to an email address other than the one 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 a beginner, easy, medium, or difficult challenge. Each level has completely different prompts, so you may request more than one level if you want.

For fanworks other than fiction: Although we are a writers' group, we always encourage a variety fanworks in response to our challenges. If you want to make fanart or another type of fanwork for this challenge, you may use the prompts in the Matryoshka format (building on your fanwork with each new prompt) or you may use the prompts individually to create a series of fanworks (flash fanworks are fine for this) or you can open all of the prompts at once and create a fanwork that addresses all of them using either the prompt, the prompt title, or a mixture of both.

In order to receive a stamp for your fanwork, your response must be posted to the archive on or before 10 July 2020. Please note that because the Matryoshka is our most challenging challenge, we've allowed two months to complete your fanwork this year. We will begin our next challenge on June 15 as usual. For complete challenge guidelines, see the Challenges page on our website.

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Today Is Image Instadrabbling!

A little over a month ago, the SWG challenge mods were discussing our upcoming challenge and decided, with a little over a week to go before it started, to completely switch gears. We were supposed to run a challenge about women in leadership (don’t worry, it is coming in a few months, replacing the Olympics-themed challenge that has now been postponed to next year), but as we were listening to the discussions around our Discord server, we worried that we were missing the mark. Not surprisingly, the stress of the current situation meant that many people were short on energy or inspiration, and we didn’t think that piling on one more big challenge for people to want to do and feel guilty for missing was the answer. So we designed our Block Party, hoping to offer multiple points of entry for people who engage with Tolkien fanworks in various ways: readers, commenters, artists, and writers. Recognizing how many of us feel lonely right now, we also wanted to offer chances to socialize with each other.

Today marks the closing event for Block Party: Image Instadrabbling! Instadrabbling has a long history in online Tolkien fanfiction and is a favorite activity on our server. Traditionally, the prompts are four words chosen at random from the closest book at hand and the traditional response is a perfect 100-word drabble. Today, we add a twist: instead of four random words, we’re asking participants to bring an image as a prompt* (though you’re welcome to join us even if you don’t bring/offer a prompt!). And as always, we value creativity over conformity and welcome all Tolkien-based fanworks, not just writing and certainly not just drabbling!

*While images don’t have to be created for this event and don’t even have to be yours, please respect fan artists by not offering others’ artwork unless you have their permission or such use falls within the artists’ clearly stated usage guidelines. 

If you’d like to join us, join our Discord server here and scroll down to #image-instadrabbling in the SWG Events section. Again, we welcome all Tolkien fanworks creators and readers, including those who just want to join us to read and socialize! Rules and prompts will be pinned in the channel.

Usually, our challenge deadline for stamps is the 10th, the day the challenge ends, but given the rather unique nature of Block Party, I’m extending the deadline until May 15th. If you created a fanwork for Block Party, please make sure it is posted in the correct place on or before the 15th. (Here are the SWG challenge guidelines.) Likewise, if you completed a challenge that didn’t result in something you can post (such as a wishlist fill), please contact the mods to let us know on or before the 15th by emailing us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.

Block Party might be over after today, but we will continue to offer chances on our server to get together, tell stories and make art, and celebrate our love of Tolkien and each other. Watch this space for more!

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Image Instadrabbling Tomorrow!

Tomorrow, we will host the final event for our month-long Block Party: image instadrabbling. Instadrabbling is a long-running form of collaborative storytelling in the Tolkienfic fandom. Ordinarily, you get together with a bunch of friends on IM or chat, someone picks four words at random from the book nearest at hand, and everyone write a perfect drabble (exactly 100 words) using those four words.

We hold instadrabbling events occasionally on the SWG, but this time, we wanted to add a slightly different twist: Instead of four random words, the prompts would be an image.

As always, we are loose on the rules around instadrabbling. Not a writer? Come sketch, sew, work on research or meta, build a playlist ... whatever form of fannish expression makes you happy in that moment! Love to write but hate drabbles? Then write something else! Use the prompts to add to a WIP, make a short story, or write a poem. All Tolkien-based fanworks are welcome!

I will be online around 10 AM EST tomorrow, but I always encourage others who are online before me to get started early if they want. I will post an invite tomorrow to our Discord server for those who would like to join. If you’d like to come join us now, just email the mod team at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org for an invite.

Please bring a favorite image as a prompt! (Though you’re welcome to participate even if you don’t do this. :) Artists, we’d especially love you to bring some of your favorite or thought-provoking pieces, if you’d like to see some fanworks made around your art.


May 2020 Newsletter Posted!

Our May newsletter has been posted!

We are excited to introduce a new occasional column by Lindariel: "Celebration Day", dedicated this month of May to the Gondolindrim festival Nost-na-Lothion.

You still have a few days to join our "Block Party" challenge which hopes to help you connect during the lockdown. And we extend our warm welcome to our latest new joiners.

Dawn Felagund presents her biography of Estë. She is the goddess who sleeps through The Silmarillion--or is she? Her character illustrates both the potential and ultimate shortcomings of so many female characters in Tolkien's legendarium.

Looking for new reads? Head towards our New at the Archive section, where you fill find the list of all Silmarillion-based fanworksr added or updated in our archive during April.

Last but not least, stay tuned to what's happening in the fandom and beyond--don't miss Around the World and Web, which brings to you a hand-picked selection of links to articles of interest, fandom events, and announcements beyond the Silmarillion Writers’ Guild.

Many thanks to our team of newsletter volunteers: Elleth, Angelica, Lindariel, and Dawn. We all hope you enjoy it.
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May 3 Block Party Prompt: Potpourri Day!

Today was originally our Team Storytelling reveal party. However, it quickly became apparent to the teams involved that we wanted more than one week to work our magic. We're in the process of rescheduling, which means no new prompt for today. However, since prompts are not limited to the day they are posted, today becomes the perfect potpourri day to work on any prompt or project you want! Prompts are on our Block Party page.

I also want to offer a heads-up and reminder that next Sunday, May 10, will be our closing event: image instadrabbling on our Discord server! If you've instadrabbled with us before, you know that the prompt is usually four words chosen at random from the book nearest at hand. This time, we're asking participants to bring an image with them to offer as a prompt. (Don't worry if you don't have time or forget--all are welcome!) Of course, we'd love our artists to bring some of their work if they'd be interested in seeing shortfic written about it, but any image is welcome. As usual, we'll have a NSFW channel available as well. The fanfic book club will be running also, so instadrabbling will be a very casual event: jump in and join when you can!

I will post an invite to our Discord server on the day of instadrabbling but, as always, if you want to join us before then, please do! Email moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org for an invite.

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May 2 Block Party Prompt: Hiding in Plain Sight

Today's Block Party prompt is Hiding in Plain Sight: We all know Galadriel and Fëanor, but there are many characters who get far less screen time. Create or comment on a fanwork featuring a rare character.

As we've done in the past, we're defining a rare character as one who has five or fewer stories on our archive. There is a list of those characters on the Block Party page, and I will post it as well below the jump.

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April 29, 30, and May 1 Block Party Prompts

So I've been a total slacker in getting prompts posted. (Actually, I've been the exact opposite of a slacker--busy with work, milking goats, and bottle-feeding kids--but I've been slacking on my to-do list for Block Party.) I'm going to roll up the past three days' worth of prompts into one post! Remember that prompts can be done at any time, not only on the day they’re assigned.

Wishlist Wednesday: Work on a project for someone's wishlist!

Thursday: Together & By Ourselves: Beginning in late March, the Poetry Foundation ran a twelve-day series of poems that captured varying perspectives on hope, solitude, and communal spirit. For the final day of Poetry Month, choose a poem from the Poetry Foundation’s "Together and By Ourselves" series and use all or part of that poem as inspiration for a fanwork. Poems are linked on the Block Party page.

Feedback Friday: Leave feedback on a fanwork with no feedback yet. (Which I will also point out satisfies a few wishes on the wishlist! Double-dipping is totally permitted!)

Also I want to note that we'll be pushing the Team Storytelling reveal to some as-yet-undetermined time in the future.

As always, all prompts, guidelines, etc etc can be found on our Block Party page!

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April 27 & 28 Block Party: Meta Monday and Tuesday Try

Here's two days' worth of prompts since I missed posting yesterday's--didn't even remember that I forgot until I was in bed last night! :laughing:

Meta Monday: Create a piece of meta! Whether your favourite headcanon, a family tree or a whole essay, anything nonfiction counts.

Tuesday Try: Strike out a new direction - read or create in a genre you’ve never done before.

Since prompts don't have to be done on the day their posted, you can do them whenever! Likewise, if you've already completed one before it was posted--yes, it counts!

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Today is our Fanfiction Book Club!

We will be discussing stories on our Discord server all day today. Come join us and scroll down to the #fanfiction-book-club channel to join the discussion. You do not have to be signed up--all are welcome!

The schedule can be found on our Block Party page. Having now read almost every story on the list, it is a wonderful variety of thought-provoking and well-craft stories. That same link also has some guiding questions if you need some direction in how to talk about stories in a discussion like this.