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For the past couple of months, I've been talking with a fellow, Erurainon, about a new project he and another fan are working on that I think is really cool and want to help them to get off the ground. In the happenstance way that things tend to happen to me in this fandom (since I rarely have the time to be proactive in my own involvement these days), I had helped a writer named Abby set up an account on Many Paths to Tread, and she asked if I would help her friend Erurainon, who was also interested in an account. In talking with the two of them, they mentioned that they are working on a Tolkien-based podcast with a primary focus on the Silmarillion fandom.

Naturally, my ears pricked up. For one, I have invested a rather considerable *ahem* amount of blood, sweat, and tears into the Silmarillion fandom. For another, podcasting is something that I have been excited about for some time now but lacked the time needed to learn what it would take to actually make a podcast and get one off of the group for the fandom. Other fandoms have been using podcasts and other forms of audio for some time now but, in the typically conservative way of the Tolkien fandom where new technology is concerned, with the exception of the Tolkien Podfic community on LJ, I've not seen podcasts/podfics really being used in this fandom.

I first offered up the SWG as a means to connect with other Silmarillion fans--Erurainon has been involved in the Tolkien community for a while but is rather new to the Silmarillion writing community--which is, of course, open to any Tolkien-based group with a few restrictions, but as we talked, he asked if I'd like to be involved with helping to create the podcasts. After getting an idea of what the goal of the project was, I jumped at the chance. (Although the SWG will help to promote other groups/projects with very few restrictions, I am much pickier, not wanting to support anything that denigrates writers/types of writing or seeks to promote a "correct" way of interpreting the texts.)

They have planned a two-fold approach to the podcast. One podcast format will be a sort of roundtable discussion about a featured Silmarillion-based story: first a reading of the story, then a discussion of it by participants in the group. The second format will progress through The Silmarillion chapter by chapter, with a group discussion of each. The project is very much in its early stages; I don't even have a central group or community to refer you to yet, being as Erurainon and I have been trying to piece together his and Abby's knowledge of podcasting with my knowledge of running fandom projects in the midst of overwhelmingly busy schedules for all of us. But I did want to put the project out there and see who might be interested in contributing to the podcasts.

Technology-wise, it's very easy to do. The discussions are held on Skype, which is a free Internet telephone service. You'd need access to a computer with a microphone and speakers; I bought a microphone for about $10 for podcasting/podfic purposes. Erurainon and I "Skyped" about the project, and it was easy to do and fun. If you want to do any audio editing (like if you want to record a podfic), you'd need audio editing software. I downloaded the free software Audacity, which it took me about an hour one evening to learn to use. (Tolkien Podfic links to these Audacity tutorials that I used.) Simply participating in a discussion as part of the podcast, however, would not require learning audio editing.

Anyone interesting in participating? This is in no way a commitment to anything; just an initial, "Yes, please let me know when you know more!" type of thing. :) Any questions, too, please do ask, and if I don't know the answer right now (being as we're still in the formative stages and haven't figured everything out yet), I'll do my best to find out. And if you know any other Silmfolk who might not see this message but might be interested, please do feel free to help me get the word out.

On Reviewing

Nov. 13th, 2011 01:34 pm
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
Reviewing (meaning leaving comments on stories) is one of the more anxiety-provoking and frustrating aspects of fandom participation, in my experience. I frequently see newbies lament that their stories aren't receiving comments; authors sometimes stop posting to or leave entirely from sites where they feel that their work isn't receiving adequate comments. I know few authors who haven't marveled (or lamented) over the discrepancy between their read count and review count and wonder what made those precious few readers decide to comment.

As an author, of course, I am interested in reviews because I like getting feedback on my work. As a site owner/moderator, I am also interested in reviews because I want the sites I'm involved in to feel like active, welcoming communities to those who choose to share their work there, and I know that a site where stories are answered with only silence will not thrive.

I have umpteen theories about what motivates reviewing and even more opinions on the issue. I'm going to resist stating them now because 1) I am more interested in seeing how others' experiences/opinions align or don't align with mine and 2) I don't have the time right now to give adequate attention to the discussion I know will ensue. I'd very much appreciate fannish types--whether you're an author, reader, or both--answering the poll below about reviewing. FYI, I have set the poll so that individual responses are not visible to all and sundry. (Dreamwidth won't let me set it so that even I can't see individual replies, else I'd do that; instead, I can only ask participants to trust that I'm not interested and won't be viewing individual responses.) Please do feel free to elaborate in the comments as much as you'd like! For the record, I'll likely be using this poll data and comments (with permission, if I mention individuals, of course) for a Heretic Loremaster post sometime in the near future.

This will crosspost to LiveJournal, as it always does. I'd appreciate if you'd reply to the poll in one place only! :)

Poll! )

An Experiment

Oct. 15th, 2011 04:16 pm
dawn_felagund: Skeleton embracing young girl (Default)
Over on [personal profile] heartofoshun's journal, Oshun, [personal profile] pandemonium_213, and I have been talking about the experience that is posting to Fanfiction.net. I haven't posted there in years. Once upon a time, the ability to reach a very broad audience (who might not be inclined to read on a Silm-only archive like the SWG or even a Tolkien-only archive like MPTT or HASA) appealed to me. I quickly discovered, though, that I found the company of those of us nerdy enough to want Silm- and Tolkien-only archives more enjoyable than the company of those who have written 13 stories in 13 different fandoms without ever having an interest in exploring a community that focuses on just one of those fandoms. That's probably snobbish of me, but that's been my experience.

Although I haven't posted on ff.net in years, I have left up the stories that I had already posted, so I occasionally still get reviews on them. The reviews I get have the unfortunate effect of reminding me why I don't still post on ff.net. Most of them are sweet and encouraging, but then there are those that are so boneheaded as to make me want to drive my head through the monitor, which is not how I like to spend my admittedly limited "fun time" these days. Read more... )
So I go away for a week--less than a week!--and our normally tranquil corner of the fandom Interwebz explodes with the news that the large and well-known Tolkien fanfic site LotR Fanfiction (lack of link intentional) has not only been sold but sold to an owner who hopes to turn a profit on the site by hopping onto the social media bandwagon. People are understandably distraught and pissed off. The site apparently went offline without notice; on one of the mailing lists to which I belong, a site mod reported that even the moderators were unaware of the change in ownership or that the site was being taken down temporarily while it changed hands. [personal profile] esteliel has written an excellent post that sleuths out some of the darker intentions behind this Keith Mander fellow's interest in LotRFF.

Opinions? Of course I have opinions! )
Because I think too much about such things, the other day I found myself pondering beta readers. Before I go any further, I would like to invite those of you who are willing to give me some thoughts in a poll:

[Poll #1068195]

Now for Some Rambling from Dawn )
Lately, I've been thinking a lot about canon. Canon and writing and fandom. I've come to believe that canon and I have quite an ambivalent relationship. Because it's likely to be rambly and possibly incoherent, the rest goes behind the cut.

In Which Dawn Considers Canon, More in the Social Sense than the Definitive Sense )
[livejournal.com profile] juno_magic, [livejournal.com profile] jael_beruthiel, and I have embraced our smugness. Juno has even made banners for us, and we are considering a real S.M.U.G. Award...for those who are helpful in the fandom.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I know that some people felt that I overreacted or simply do not care to hear about my escapades...out of respect for you all, the rest goes under the cut.

On Cowards and the Smug Authors Who Blog Them )
As most of you know, I despise online drama, particularly drama related to fan fiction. It's ridiculous. This is a hobby, and there is no reason for people's lives to be ruined, for there to be tears and death threats made about fan fiction.

In keeping with this, I have always taken care not to mention names when discussing individuals behaving negatively in the fanfic community in my LiveJournal posts. Likewise, I generally f-lock material that might start a "flame war" or any sort of drama with these individuals. The fact remains that this is a hobby for me. I have a family, a job, a life, and a budding writing career that are all more important than raising my blood pressure and, most importantly, wasting my time than some idiot's personal beef with my fan fiction.

However, things have escalated to the point where I would like to make a sort of "FYI" to others who participate in the Tolkien fanfic community, particularly moderators of groups, archives, and communities. Most of you have been well aware of this individual for some time now, but as I said, things have escalated to an unacceptable level.

That I must waste a perfectly good Sunday afternoon, fit for writing or working on my website, is dismaying in itself but such is life, I guess. :)

The Quick 'n' Dirty )
I am posting this because I want a public record of how I define and interpret canon that I can easily link in my stories.

I considered back-dating it to preserve flist space but then decided that some of my flist might actually be interested in it.

Of course, these are my ideas. I am not saying that all writers need to abide by my particular methodology nor am I making any claims of superiority. This is simply my attempt to explain how I interpret canon so that those readers who are interested in such things can easily access it without miles of author's notes (of which I am generally not fond) that repeat themselves from story to story.

The Canon According to Dawn Felagund )
Because I am a geek and wonder about the numerical breakdown of such things.... 8^B

Last time there was a bit of an issue with this so just a reminder: You do not have to answer all of the questions in order to play. So if none of the answers describe your feelings or you just don't want to answer, go ahead and click "Submit Poll"; the questions you do answer will be submitted to the totals.

This is just for fun, so no pressure. If you have ideas for future questions, let me know. (Jenni, I didn't forget yours; I'll put it on the next one!) The past poll and its results can be viewed here

Click to Play! )
I was thinking today that it'd be interesting to survey my flist on fanficcy things. Why? Well, blame that fact that I am a stats geek and I like to see things broken down into numbers.

This is just for fun. Why? 'Cause I'm curious!

I'm open to suggestions for other interesting questions. I pay for this poll thingy, so I might as well have fun with it.

[Poll #734167]
I've been wondering about this for some time, having stumbled into conversations with fellow fanficcers about how much of their online life they are willing to admit to in their "real" life: To what extent do you share your fandom life with people off of the Internet? By "people," this could be friends, family, spouses, significant others, coworkers, the unassuming public at large...anyone. Does anyone with whom you associate exclusively in offline life know what you get up to online?

Some people, I know, share it with anyone who will listen. Others, their own spouses would know their usernames and have no idea why "Library of Moria" shows up so many times on wifey's Internet history.

So what's your story?

This question has been romping around in my brain for some months now. It is something that I always meant to ask but that quickly got lost in my other musings about fandom and online life. What inspired me to ask today is twofold.

First, my lovely friend and co-perv [livejournal.com profile] ann_arien posted a link to an article about the "slash subculture" called Frodo & Sam Get It On. Since I first stumbled into the slash community purely with a social psychological interest (I swear! but I'm not vouching for why I've stuck around >:^] ), these sorts of articles interest me.

Secondly, today is my one-year anniversary in the Tolkien fandom.

I read fanfic before this and even had a Pit of Voles account, exclusively to comment on other people's writing. But this day last year, I got my LiveJournal. I started planning SWG. I joined up a whole plethora of groups and archives to see what went on beneath the surface of this fandom, beneath the finished stories that I hungered to read. I even began to entertain the notion of publishing my own story, Another Man's Cage, at some point. And no one knew. Bobby knew, I believe, that his wife got up to reading fan fiction. But he certainly didn't know that I was becoming immersed in it, nor the sorts of things that I read, nor that I was writing a fanfic novel. Why? Was I ashamed? A little, yes. I still (foolishly) believed fan fiction to be a dirty habit, a bizarre addiction of sorts. It wasn't "real" writing and online friends weren't "real" friends.

But today.... )

So I'm very interested to hear your answers. And I would like to thank all of you for a great year. It's been more than I could have hoped for!
Recently, I have been batting around the idea of submitting one of my short stories for archive review at HASA. So why is this a big deal? Just do it, right, Dawn?

The problem is that I have always made such a big loud noise about how I don't agree with processes that claim to judge what is "quality" fiction, something that is made even worse online, where even "blind" submissions are often easily recognized as belonging to a certain author and therefore prone (in my opinion) to greater bias than a review by true strangers.

More Blathering on This Subject )

But if you'd rather give me your opinion anonymously (and just because they're fun and I'm paying for the ability to use them), here's a poll:

[Poll #669291]

Now that it's 3 o'clock and I've done my blathering for the day, I will stop procrastinating and do some writing.
A little less than two weeks ago, I won a bet with my husband centered on a hockey game. My prize? Bobby had to read one of my Silmarillion stories...of my choice.

However, I have decided to give the choice to you all, my friends. I asked for nominations about a week ago, and this list reflects the nominations as well as my own votes.

So how shall we torment Bobby?

[Poll #645543]

If You're Interested, Here Are Story Links and Summaries.... )

Oh, and write-in votes are allowed. If you didn't nominate one and don't see it here, write it in. Who knows, maybe it'll get enough support to win!
A few months ago, I posted a chapter I'd been dreading to AMC. Dreading? Why? Because it went beyond the realm of "slight AU" in which I usually play and did something flat-out awful and extreme to a canon character. Granted, it is never said that this flat-out, extreme treatment of such a character didn't exist...but I think we all agree that it was mostly my twisted imagination.

In AMC, the loremaster Rumil of Tirion is a survivor of Angband who was mutilated horribly by Melkor, both deafened and muted, leading him to design the Sarati as a means to communicate. I thought that I'd be skewered by readers for this little non-canon spin, but the chapter actually provoked some of the best discussions of any of my AMC chapters.

Still, I was quite surprised when, a few nights ago, [livejournal.com profile] tuxedo_elf IMed me to ask if she could borrow Rumil. Not her usual adorable Lorien Rumil but my angsty mutilated one.

She showed me the resulting story today, and I must say that I thoroughly love it. It expounds on the tragedy of his story but ends with hope and leaves me loving his character all the more. If Tux isn't on your flist, I encourage you to check out her story, "A Gilded Cage".

And thanks, Tux, for writing such a wonderful story! :)
Gakked from...just about everyone.

Fanfiction Meme )
I've been hearing a lot of chatter lately, first about the MEFAs and now about the Mithril Awards. I'm just...confused by all this. My intent is not to offend anyone; I realize that I have award admins on my f-list, and I value your contribution to the Tolkien writing community as much as any other's. And to my friends who have won awards, you know that I am proud of you. But the award didn't tell me anything that I didn't already know.

I'm Just Puzzled (warning for rambling) )
Today has so far been a depressing day for me, and so I am compensating by becoming momentarily lost in a dilemma I have discovered that has absolutely no bearing on real life. Friends are losing friends (and pets--my condolensces to you, Juno) and my boss and I just had a long discussion about the state of the United States. Another hurricane is brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. I am pissed off at a group of friends right now for behaving in a heathenish, inconsiderate manner. I tried to do a flip jump on foot last night, in my parents' driveway, and got a sharp pain in the knee of my landing leg...the problems range from petty to profound, and so I am doing what any good writer does: losing myself in unreality.

Attitudes about Finwë and Miriel, Their Choices, and Their Impact on Fëanor )

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