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May 2021 Challenge: Book by Its Cover

SWG Challenge May 2021 Book by Its Cover

Were you ever told, as a child, not to judge a book by its cover? Well, this month, we're telling you to throw that advice away!

This month's prompts will be book covers: gorgeous, cringey, perplexing, and everything in between. You can use any element of the book cover to create a fanwork. If you'd like to receive a prompt for this month's challenge, comment here or comment on our Dreamwidth, send us an ask on Tumblr, or email us at

As the prompts are old book covers, their default form is as an image. If you would prefer a description instead, please let us know when you request your prompt.

In order to receive a stamp for your fanwork, your response must be posted to the archive on or before 10 June 2021. For complete challenge guidelines, see the Challenges page on our website.

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Site Reopening Ribbon-Cutting This Weekend

SWG Ribbon-Cutting CelebrationAfter eight months of work, we are thrilled to officially welcome the SWG site back to the Internet with a ribbon-cutting party. In an effort to welcome our international member base, we will be holding two events on our Discord server. All are welcome, and you can join our Discord here.

Our first event will be held today, at 23:00/11PM UTC. (Find this in your timezone.) We'll start with a dedication and a whole heap of acknowledgements to the many hands and minds that have made this endeavor possible. Then raise a glass of your beverage of choice as we toast another 15 years (and beyond!) of the SWG!

Next, we'll read our fanworks and excerpts from Tolkien around the themes of renewal and moving toward the future. You can sign up here to read, jump in during the open mic time, or simply listen along.

We'll wrap up the event with an instadrabbling session: gathering to create fanworks based on prompts related to our theme and sharing (and squeeing over them) in real time.

Sunday, we'll do it again at 15:00/3PM UTC. (Find this in your timezone.)

Full information and the programs for both events can be found on the website here.
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Site Reopening Ribbon-Cutting Celebration

SWG Official Ribbon-Cutting Celebration

We are thrilled to announce the completion of our new website--the first step forward in building a more vibrant and inclusive community for Tolkien fans to enjoy. In celebration of this watershed moment for our group, we will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 24 and 25, featuring a live reading and instadrabbling session! There will be two sessions, timed to welcome as many of our members from around the world as we can.

Saturday, April 24, 23:00/11PM UTC (find this in my timezone)
Sunday, April 25, 15:00/3PM UTC (find this in my timezone)

The celebration will be held on the SWG's Discord server. (Not a member of our Discord server but want to join? See below!)

Live Reading

We'll kick off the event with a tribute and toast to the new site, then hand the mic to our members to share readings of ficlets, poems, and excerpts from Tolkien to mark the occasion.

  • If you're reading a poem or ficlet, please read only a work you have authored.

  • Selections should focus on the broad themes of renewal and looking toward the future.

  • Please choose a selection that can be read in five minutes or less.

If you want to read, complete this form. You can read at one or both sessions. At this time, we're asking for one selection per reader, but if you'd be interested in reading more, let us know in the Notes field on the form. If we have room, we will add you in! Once you've signed up, you'll hear from a moderator within the next week to confirm your reading time.

Just want to listen in? Listeners are more than welcome! Join our Discord server or look for a link on the date of the event to join in. We will also record the reading* so that those unable to attend can listen later.

* Participants can opt out of the recording; just check the appropriate box on the form above.


Instadrabbling is a long-running Tolkien fanfiction tradition carried on for at least the better part of two decades. Traditionally, a group gathers on a chat server, one participant offers four words chosen at random from the closest book at hand, and all participants create a perfect drabble using those four words, post their work, and squee and celebrate!

For this event, in an effort to welcome as many participants as we can, our expectations are considerably looser. Prompts will focus on the theme of renewal. Prompts can be anything at all: a quote, an image, a video clip, a song, a passage from Tolkien ... even the traditional four-word prompt! Participants are welcome to bring a prompt or simply create using the prompts offered by others.

All fanworks are welcome. While the tradition is a perfect 100-word drabble, if that's too short? (Too long??) Write something else! Write a poem or a short story. Don't write? Do a sketch using the prompts, work on a cosplay project, make a playlist--any and all creativity is welcome!

Participants are also welcome who don't want to create fanworks of their own but want to enjoy those made by others and join in the conversation. Join our Discord server or look for a link on the date of the event to join in.

How to Join Our Discord Server

If you're an SWG member, log in to the site and scroll to the bottom, where you'll find a link to our Discord server. If you're not a member of our site yet (do you want to be??), contact our mod team or leave a comment here, and we'll send you an invite.

We'll also post invite links on our site and social media that can be used at the time of the events to join in.

Ribbon image credit: Brett Croft (modified by Dawn Felagund under license terms)

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April 2021 Challenge: Queens of the Quill

SWG Challenge April 2021 Queens of the Quill

April is poetry month and Legendarium Ladies April, so in the spirit of both, this month's prompts will be poems by women writers. If you'd like to receive a prompt for this month's challenge, comment here, comment on our Dreamwidth, send us an ask on Tumblr, or email us at Some of our poetic prompts are about heavier topics. If you'd rather avoid these (or any particular topic), just let us know in your request!

In honor of Legendarium Ladies April, we encourage participants to combine our challenge with LLA prompts, and we will have a special stamp for fanworks that do. Please make sure your story notes indicate the LLA prompt(s) you completed for your fanwork if you want to receive this stamp. You may use any past LLA prompts.

In order to receive a stamp for your fanwork, your response must be posted to the archive on or before 10 May 2021. For complete challenge guidelines, see the Challenges page on our website.

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New Member Registration Error

ETA: The registration form is fixed! /ETA

When we unveiled the new site the other day, we didn't realize that the new member registration form would play nicely with the module we use to send email alerts. (I mean, who would??) As a result, if you tried to set up a new account, you got an error.

If you'd like to set up an account with us, please use this registration form.

Eventually, we will go a day without any surprises from the new site! For now, thanks to everyone for your patience while we endure the last round of growing pains!
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Official Website Reopening!

I am thrilled to announce that the Silmarillion Writers' Guild website has reopened after migrating to our new software! You can still find us at, and we always welcome new members.

In 2019, an upgrade on our web server through our aging archive software into disarray. Faced with the choice of rebuilding the site with new software or watching our site slowly die, as our software became increasingly obsolete, we chose to rebuild. And here we are now, with a new site that we hope will offer new and better features than our old archive.

We also hope to expand the site, especially to different types of fanworks. We've started by creating parity between written fanworks and audio fanworks and series, which were treated differently on our old site. We'll be adding other types of fanworks in the months to come.

This is an important turning point for the SWG, and we're elated to have made it this far! Watch this space for the announcement of an official ribbon-cutting event in the next couple of weeks!
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SWG Site Goes to Read-Only Tomorrow!

Friendly reminder that the SWG archive will be going to read-only tomorrow and will be going briefly dark sometime in the next few days while we take down the old site and move over the new site.

While we will be forcing all accounts to log out, if you happen to go to the site and discover you can still edit your work, DON'T. We will be going to read-only while we do the final migration of content. Anything added after tonight will not be moved to the new site.

As always, questions are welcome in the comments or at We are very excited to unveil the new site soon!
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Important News about the SWG Site/Archive

As some of you might remember, in August 2019, we woke up to an upgrade of our host's software (a good thing!) and, subsequently, discovered that our aging archive software no longer worked with the most up-to-date versions of PHP (a not-good thing!). We had the choice to accept the slow death of the archive or rebuild using new software. We chose the latter.

After eight months of work on that rebuild, we are finally ready to open the new site. This coming week, we plan to complete the final steps to migrate the new site onto our domain. As a result, the current site will go to read-only on Wednesday, March 31, and will go offline shortly thereafter. We anticipate--maybe hope is a better word?--that we will only need to keep the site down for about 48 hours while we make backups, migrate the last of the content from the old site to the new, and finally, move the rebuilt site onto our domain.

As always, questions are welcome in the comments, and our inbox is always open at

March 2021 Newsletter Posted!

Our March newsletter has been posted!

Exciting news about our site rebuild. You are invited to participate in this month's "Time of Bliss" challenge, which will hope to inspire you with prompts based on quotes from joyful or happy times in "The Silmarillion" text. We welcome the latest new joiners at the SWG archive.

This month we feature Celebrían, by Grundy, as the Character of the Month biography. Celebrían is one of the legion of women in the legendarium whose status suggests she should play a more prominent role in the narrative than she does. This month's biography sifts through the many mentions of Celebrían in various sources to provide a picture of this important--if canonically neglected--woman.

You can browse all the newly posted and updated fanworks in our archive at the New at the Archive section of the newsletter. In Around the World and Web you will discover a compilation of articles of interest and events from the Tolkien fandom beyond the Silmarillion Writers' Guild, and from the fandom world at large, as well as challenges, conferences, calls for papers, and more.

Many thanks to our team of newsletter volunteers: Elleth, Angelica, and Dawn. We all hope you enjoy this edition.
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February 2021 Challenge: Times of Bliss

SWG Challenge February 2021 Times of BlissAs winter crawls onward in this northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere simmers in the height of summer, and as the global pandemic approaches its year mark, it can be tempting to turn to despondency and despair. However, if there were ever an author to remind us of how even the darkest times can point toward better days ahead, it is Tolkien.

In honor of this essential theme in his work and the trying times we're in, this month's prompts will be quotes from joyful or happy times in the text. Note that your fanwork does not have to be joyful or happy (or about the event, characters, or time period in the prompt). As in years past, because February is Black History Month, we encourage stories about characters of color and will have a special stamp for such fanworks.

If you'd like to receive a prompt for this month's challenge, comment here or email us at

In order to receive a stamp for your fanwork, your response must be posted to the archive on or before 10 March 2021. For complete challenge guidelines, see the Challenges page on our website.