dawn_felagund (dawn_felagund) wrote in silwritersguild,

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Our Fifth Birthday!

The SWG is turning five at the end of the month! Because we are always looking for excuses to celebrate the creativity of our talented membership, then we asked everyone for ideas for how we could celebrate this milestone. You all generated lots of ideas, so we asked for feedback on favorites, intending to poll the group about what everyone wanted to do. However, we were able to fit all of the favorite ideas into a single event, so that's what we did. Thank you again to everyone who shared ideas and feedback on ideas!

Five years ago, Dawn and Uli invited all of their fandom friends to their new group, the Silmarillion Writers' Guild. The SWG was originally intended as a discussion group and writers' workshop for authors of Silmarillion-based writing, but it has grown well beyond our initial hopes and is now one of the most respected Tolkien archives on the web. In honor of the many members, mods, and volunteers whose hard work and talents have brought us to where we are today, our fifth birthday will look back and look forward, to what we have accomplished and what inspiration still lies within.

There will be two major components of our birthday celebration, themes and tokens. Members are welcome and encouraged to participate in one or both!


When we first asked for ideas about how to celebrate our birthday, many of you came forth with ideas for challenges or themes around which we could build an event. Because we couldn't decide, then we decided to do them all! During the month following our birthday, we invite our members to propose themes they would like to see writing and artwork collected for.

Proposing a theme. Each member can propose one theme. The theme can be structured however you choose. It may be based on a character, time period, or event ("Stories about Turin" or "Stories Set after the Second Age"), embody a general theme ("Forgiveness"), or propose a specific challenge ("Stories Starting with a Line from a Famous Poem"). We will turn your theme into a compilation of past works and new creations. Please submit themes no later than 7 August through our birthday page or by emailing us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.

Creating for a Theme. Once a member creates a theme, we invite everyone else to contribute works to the compilation! You may contribute both old and new works, though they work slightly differently.

  • Old works. For each theme, we will assemble a compilation of old works. You may submit ficlets, artwork, poetry, and excerpts from longer stories or essays up to 300 words. (We will include a link so that readers can read the whole story on the archive.) Older works must be turned in no later than three days before the theme is scheduled to be featured.
  • New works. You may also create new fiction, essays, poetry, and artwork for the theme. These items will also be included in the daily compilation; however, because it takes much more effort to write a story from scratch than to email an excerpt, and because we don't want to disadvantage the earlier themes, for which people have less time to write, then you may turn in new works at any time during the event. We will add them to the compilation and include a link in the daily summary that is posted to the website, email list, and LiveJournal community.

General Guidelines. We invite you to send as many pieces as you would like for a theme. However, for older works, we may not be able to include them all, so please indicate which are your favorites. (We will include all new works and at least one older work in each format per author: ficlet, excerpt, poem, and artwork.) For example, if the theme is "Sons of Fëanor" and you have 84 drabbles about the sons of Fëanor, we won't be able to include them all. We recommend that you send only your favorites but, if you do decide to send them all, please indicate which you would most like to see included. Otherwise, the mods will choose based on what rounds out the compilation best.

One question that inevitably comes up: "I write AU/slash/adult-rated/crossover/heretical/Fourth Age stories with odd pairings/LotR characters--can my work be included?" Yes. This is a celebration of all SWG work and creators, so any work eligible for the SWG archive is welcome in the compilation. (If you aren't sure how we define "Silmfic," you may find it here and general eligibility requirements are found in our Site Etiquette/ToS.) Adult-rated stories are welcome, but we ask that the excerpt you include be rated General or Teens. We will mark all Adult-rated stories with an asterisk and link to the Table of Contents, where readers may view warnings and notes about the story. (Here is more information about ratings.)

Another question that inevitably comes up: "Who will determine if my work fits the theme?" You will. "Well, what if the mods don't think that it does?" We don't pass those kinds of judgments, so it doesn't matter. We recognize that every author will interpret every theme slightly differently, so if you tell us a work fits a theme, we take your word for it. If you're sending us an excerpt of a longer work, though, we suggest that you choose a passage that shows the story's connection to the theme in some way.

We will eventually develop a schedule for the themes. However, this will be contingent on the number of themes that we receive. Based on past event participation, we anticipate two or three themes per week.


Each SWG member will also have the opportunity to create and award tokens to stories and authors on the archive. Tokens recognize the people and work that most inspire and entertain us.

Creating a Token. Think of tokens as light-hearted prizes or awards. Each SWG member may create one token. For example, tokens may be awarded for "The Best Dystopian Aman" or "AU We Can Believe In." Tokens may be as broad or narrow, as silly or as serious as you would like; we ask only that they focus on positive aspects of a story or author's work. Once you create a token, other SWG members may award that token to stories and authors as well. Please submit ideas for tokens no later than 7 August through our birthday page or by emailing us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.

Awarding Tokens. Each SWG member may award one of each token to the story or author of her or his choice. The mods will place the token on the person's profile or story and let her or him know that s/he has been honored!

General Guidelines. It bears repeating that this is meant to be upbeat and light-hearted, a way of honoring stories and authors. When creating your token, please consider how the recipient of the token will perceive it being applied to her or his work. For example, "Most Likable Mary Sue" may not be perceived as a compliment by an author who tries to write well-rounded OFCs. The mods reserve the right to reject tokens that we feel would easily be perceived as insulting.

Each token will have a corresponding icon to display on the profile or story that it has been awarded to. Token creators are welcome to create their own icons, or we will create one for you. Token icons must be 100 by 100 pixels in size and in JPG, GIF, or PNG formats. All icons must be suitable for all audiences.

Please visit our birthday page to send in your ideas!

Tags: birthday
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