dawn_felagund: Illustration of a river from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit." (Hobbit river)
Fandom Snowflake Day 5 asked participants to "post recs for at least three fanworks that you did not create." I went *ahem* a little above and beyond. I did ten. I've been reading a lot of Tolkienfic lately--it is one of my goals for the year to make time for reading, as it is often one of the fandom pleasures that falls first to the obligations of running a website--and I wanted to share some of my favorites from among what I've read. I feel like I need to make up for a few years of rarely reading and commenting while I was in grad school. Most of these stories are Silmarillion-based, but there are a few that are from The Lord of the Rings.

Please check them out and, if you like them, consider leaving the author a note letting them know.

The Choice by Keiliss. Thank goodness the prompt that inspired this story gives away the ending or I don't think I would have been able to take it. I still teared up at multiple points in this tenderly written and beautifully human story about Elladan and his daughter making their choice about whether or not to sail for Aman. Few of Tolkien's unanswered question have inspired the speculation, angst, and fanfic as the question of whether the sons of Elrond sailed, and Kei's story deserves a place at the top of the heap. Her characterization, too, of characters who only appear in passing speak of why she is one of the giants of Tolkienfic. This story is simply wonderful.

Elendili by hadastheunseelie. I picked up this story for the Fandom Snowflake challenge that asked participants to reach out to someone new. I'll admit that I hesitated. It mentions a teenage girl and glitter in the summary, and while I totally support teenagers writing fanfic--a lot of my students do and I think it's awesome!--I also reserve the right not to read said fanfic when it's not one of my students! And the story was long. But, in the Snowflake spirit, I gave it a go and OMG. OMG, y'all. It is probably the strangest story I will rec here--which anyone who knows me will know I mean as a compliment--but Hadas is one of those writers with a gift for wielding words like a knife between my bones where they actually hurt. The imagery is stunning: sometimes gritty and very anchored in Modern-earth (where this story is set) and sometimes ethereal and otherworldly, making that familiar world of colleges and coffee shops Elvish somehow.

Eyes Bright with Honor by heget. Heget is working on telling the tales of the ten companions who died in the dungeon with Finrod in defense of Beren. The Beren and Luthien story has never particularly entranced me (Finrod's on the other hand ... *ahem*), but I walked away from this story getting it: getting some of the magic that people (including Tolkien) see in that story and in the character of Beren in particular. The story meanders through time, mostly looking back to the life of the OC Consael whose story Heget tells in this piece, and it is a story where the pieces all coalesce and make beautiful sense in the end. This is one of the most horrifying episodes in The Silmarillion to me, yet I could walk away from this story with a rare sense of feeling uplifted and hopeful instead of imagining those eyes kindling in the dark ... Heget plans to write about all ten companions, and I will be checking out the other pieces in the series on the strength of this one.

Galadriel: There and Back Again by Himring. If someone were to task me with writing the life of Galadriel, I would sweat over it for a year and turn out a sprawling, half-million word epic. And I still don't think I could top this story. Himring is perhaps one of the most underappreciated masters of Silmfic, and this story shows why. Her Galadriel manages to be stubborn, strong, and vulnerable with a no-nonsense wisdom that probably explains her survival alone (almost) of her family. And in well under 2000 words! Every wrenching, poignant word counts in this piece that stitches together the Galadriel who competed with (and feared) Fëanor and she who gave Frodo the light of Eärendil that saved him.

Home for Midwinter by Tallulah Red. I will echo Tal's several reviews on the LotRGenFic community--this was written for their annual Yule Exchange--who praised the world-building in this story. The story was written for Indy, who wanted to see Maglor adopt a family from among the Avari. Although a short piece, it sparkles with believable characters and culture, taking a different take on the Avari than most writers do. And in a fandom that has a Maglor-walks-by-the-shore-and-laments trope, it was refreshing to read a story that allows him happiness in the future while also not shying from his history.

Journeys by Independence1776. This story was written for me, for the MPTT/LotRGen Yule Exchange. I remember writing a story once for a friend that she described fitting like a pair of gloves that could only be selected by someone who knew her well. This is such a story. It is Maedhros and Maglor and a conversation in a cave, yet the dialogue simmers with much more than can be seen on the surface, and Indy achieves an easy camaraderie between the brothers that is delightful to read. It is simply wonderful, like Indy dove into my mind and extracted a story I would have loved to have written for my own verse. I'm officially adopting this one into the Felakverse.

The Purple Dress by Avon. This story gave me chills. Set in Númenor, a young woman flouts convention in her choice of dress color ... but this story is so much more than that. It is one of those pieces that unspools in slow revelations so that, as a reader, you're never entirely on steady ground. And once you realize what is going on, you're not there yet; the ending simmers with delicious double entendre. There's A LOT going on in this short piece, and every word and image count.

Though the Road Darkens by Marta. Marta's story tells the tale of Gorlim the Unhappy through the eyes of his companion Gildor. The voice in this story is simply magnificent; you feel like you are sitting at the fireside, hearing Gildor tell his tale. A complicated story, it brings in folklore, myth (Middle- and Modern-earth), and questions the historical tradition, offering different look at Gorlim's story. Oh, and it's beautifully written, the kind of words you want to lean back and savor like wine. If you're thinking--like I probably would have if Marta hadn't asked me to read this story--that you'd never be interested in a story about Gorlim, take a chance and prove yourself wrong. (I'm happy to admit that I was! :)

Winter Came Earlier by Oshun. She calls this "just a bit of fluff" in the summary, but saying this is "just" fluff is like saying the Grand Canyon is "just" a sidewalk crack. This is a layered and thought-provoking story in which Elladan faces, through Arwen and Aragorn, his own worries about mortality and what it means to be Peredhil. But don't let my summary scare you into thinking that this is a deep, heavy story that one can only read in a bright-lit room. This is Oshun, after all, and her work is as ever sweetened with romance and humor that balance perfectly with the deeper themes of this short, lovely work.

Winter Sons of Gondor by Elwen. It was my turn this month on MPTT to archive the challenge stories. This necessitates skimming each piece so that I can add the meta-data to it about character, genre, et cetera. Most of the time I do just that--skim--and I started to do so with this story but got hooked in despite my intentions to make quick work of posting it. Young Boromir and Faramir are coping with the pressures of their father's growing madness when they decide to escape for a morning to enjoy a rare snowfall. But their journey takes an unexpected turn. This story is a page-turner, and I could not have left off reading it and gone back to skimming if I'd wanted to.
dawn_felagund: (silmarils)
Today's Fandom Snowflake challenge is to make a fandom wish list. I have skipped Day 5, not because I'm not doing it but because I'm reading a lot of stuff that has been posted recently in an attempt to create a rec list that includes both friends and writers new to me.

Here is today's challenge:

In your own space, create a list of at least three fannish things you'd love to receive, something you've wanted but were afraid to ask for - a fannish wish-list of sorts. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your wish-list if you feel comfortable doing so. Maybe someone will grant a wish. Check out other people's posts. Maybe you will grant a wish. If any wishes are granted, we'd love it if you link them to this post.


Wish lists are hard for me because I'm very well treated in fandom in terms of feedback on my work, in the form of comments, recs, and people wanting to do stuff with my stories like draw or translate them. So to ask for more of those things when I already feel like I'm treated so well seems greedy and wrong.

So once again I have to think outside the box a little.

I'd like people who write Silmfic to post it on the SWG and to comment on stories there. Here are the twenty-five most recent stories posted on the SWG. Go comment on one of them! I haven't read them all, but some are superb! There are a dozen different authors represented there and stories about all aspects of the canon.

If you don't write Silmfic? Post to another Tolkien-specific archive and comment there every now and then. Here's a list. I don't know why I have such a sense of urgency about this now, but I do. Perhaps it was the demise of the MEFAs and HASA, one right after the other: those inviolable giants from my early fandom days.

Be brave once this year (it doesn't have to be right now) and say hi to someone new or tell someone whose work you've admired from afar how much you appreciate what they do.

And finally--a little more fun, perhaps--roll a prompt with at least four elements on the Random Silmfic Prompt Generator and either write that prompt or post it here and I will write it (or both).
dawn_felagund: (out of the light star)
In true Fandom Snowflake tradition, I have fallen behind. Fandom is, appropriately enough, the reason I have fallen behind. The beginning of the month is filled with posting challenges and compiling newsletters. My free time at home for the past two nights has been entirely consumed by fandom chores. I'm still not 100% finished and have a beta to do, but I'm taking a break to get at least a little caught up.

Day 3's challenge:

In your own space, set some goals for the coming year. They can be fannish or not, public or private. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.


Man oh man *rubs hands together* I love setting goals! I'm going to set three in different areas of fannish participation.

  1. Start writing the prequel to Another Man's Cage. I've actually started writing it twice now. Once, I got four chapters in and the files corrupted. (This was pre-Dropbox, which tells you how long I've been promising this prequel.) The second time, the magic just wasn't there. Three's a charm, right? I've been promising this story for years, so it will be my next long work, just as soon as I can wrap up Tamlin.


  2. Solve the eFiction problem. This feels so super ambitious that I'm kinda scared just writing it. But I am hoping that it will also focus me and allow me to make this work a priority.

    The "eFiction problem" is that we do not currently have a good option for fanfic archives. eFiction was a gift that was probably too good to last. It's beginning to show its age. Yeah yeah yeah, eFiction 5 is in the works, but I'm not encouraged by how long it's taking and also reluctant to go to the work of changing to something that would also become obsolete if the developer also abandoned it. Once bitten, twice shy.

    What I'm trying to do is to figure out how to make a fiction archive using a CMS. I've been studying Drupal and have looked into Wordpress as well. (I have to admit that I am in love with Drupal like whoa. I think I've been a casual Wordpress user for so long that I don't really recognize its full potential, so I need to give it a fair chance too before committing to Drupal.) Whatever I figure out--because I will figure this out, y'all--I will share what I learn so that as other archives want to transition from eFiction, they hopefully can do so. We need to keep our small archives alive.


  3. Finish and send out that historical bias paper. Attainable Vistas was initially almost twice as long because it contained quite a bit of original research demonstrating historical bias in The Silmarillion. The editors advised that I cut most of that and submit it as a separate paper to JTR or elsewhere. I'd already felt it was two papers and so was glad to accept this advice; I had worried that the paper might be rejected for lack of evidence and so thought to cover my bases many times over. Probably a rookie mistake.

    Anyway, because of this, I have an academic paper basically written. I need to finish that and send it somewhere. I have no idea where. My current plan is my usual plan of aiming as high as I can and being prepared to cheerfully aim lower if my hopes are thwarted.
dawn_felagund: (feanorians)
Here is today's prompt for the Snowflake Challenge:

In your own space, share a book/song/movie/tv show/fanwork/etc that changed your life. Something that impacted on your consciousness in a way that left its mark on your soul. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.


I would, of course, choose The Silmarillion. It is not my favorite book, but it is absolutely the book that has had the most outsized influence on my life.

 photo silmarillion_zpspycpzqog.jpg

I came to The Silmarillion as a newly minted Tolkien fan, having gotten hooked by the LotR movies, an interest that was only galvanized by reading Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. My first copy of the Silm was the one to the right, with the weird cover that has Fëanor with graceful hands, flowing leopard-print scarves, and what appears to be an owl eating his head. The back of this particular edition, which is of course sitting right on my desk in front of me because I need to look something up in it at least weekly, reads:

The Silmarillion is Tolkien's first book and his last. Long preceding in its origins The Lord of the Rings [sic], it is the story of the First Age of Tolkien's world, the ancient drama to which characters in The Lord of the Rings [sic] look back, and in which some of them, such as Elrond and Galadriel, took part.


Now to a new fan such as myself, ravenous for more of LotR, this sounded promising! Elrond and Galadriel! I knew them!! I had no idea, of course, that the book wasn't about Elrond and Galadriel, who more or less have walk-on roles in The Silmarillion, but about a cast of dozens, everyone's name of which seems to begin with Fin-. I was also very new to the fantasy genre and really had no idea how to read a book like The Silmarillion. I went into it with my brain relaxed, expecting a frivolous sword-and-sorcery worthy of a beach read, instead of honing on every detail and storing away every name. I failed miserably in my first reading of it. I was about halfway through when Fëanor was mentioned, I looked him up in the Index of Names (the very fact that there is an Index of Names in the book should have been my first clue, no?), and realized he was someone important whom I should have remembered.

It was only because I was stubborn and embarrassed by my failure that I decided to give it another go, this time knowing better what I was getting into and more prepared to read the book as it needed to be read. And I fell in love with my second reading.

It sounds trite to say that Tolkien's world is rich but it is, and I am far from the first to become ensnared in Middle-earth via LotR. LotR, however, did not offer me the complexity of character that I had learned to appreciate in modern literature. I found that much more in The Silmarillion, where few characters are cut-and-dried good or evil but pretty much everyone is floundering around, trying to make the best of a shitty situation. That really appealed to me. The fact that the characters are barely sketched in made it possible to interpret them in myriad ways, drawing on my knowledge of human psychology. (I was a psych undergrad at the time.) When I discovered fan fiction, The Silmarillion practically begged for it: all of these complex characters only skeletally drawn. I found ample raw material for my own creativity.

And I found that The Silmarillion was only the surface of a very deep pool. LotR is a gateway drug that, if you're not careful, you'll find yourself before long flopped on a couch in a dim room arguing with a stranger on the Internet about how to interpret Laws and Customs among the Eldar. In addition to my creative side, The Silmarillion appealed to my intellectual side because there was not only a whole literary history underlying the creation of that particular book--meticulously documented in The History of Middle-earth series that I began to acquire despite my poverty at the time--but an entire pseudohistoriography. The result was a mashup of creativity and scholarship where the borders blurred. I was in love.

The Silmarillion and what it inspired of my creative and intellectual work has had reverberations through most of my life. When I picked it up, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I was terrified to imagine that my love of writing and creativity should be a major part of my adult life. Becoming involved in the Tolkien fandom through my love of The Silmarillion empowered me to embrace my love of language as a core of who I am. I went back to graduate school. I became a teacher. I eventually earned my MA in the Humanities and have had my scholarly work published. All because of The Silmarillion.

Through the Tolkien fandom, I have gained confidence in my skill as an artist, my voice, and the importance of my work. I have met amazing, lifelong friends whom I cannot imagine my life without. I have done things (like present at conferences) and learned things (like web design) that I never would have imagined as the young undergrad picking up The Silmarillion for the first time.

It's hard to imagine such a tiny action as picking up a book to read as having such far-ranging consequences. I still remember standing in the Barnes & Noble on The Avenue at White Marsh and holding my now-battered Silmarillion in my hands, deciding to spend my meager money to have more of this world, clueless that I had just decided to change my life. It's humbling and scary to realize that one's life is very rarely shaped by huge forces or in moments that one recognizes as turning points but in the tiniest of decisions that, looking back, set off a cascade of forces so that nothing was ever the same again. It is both frightening and hopeful to step daily into a world where that is possible.
dawn_felagund: (silmarils)
I am going to try to do the Fandom Snowflake challenge this year. Like all of it. I usually do a day here or there, but I've liked journaling daily as part of the photo-of-the-day (although if my performance on that is any indication, then I'll miss a few days of Snowflake as well).

Day One's challenge is:

In your own space, post a rec for at least three fanworks that you have created. It can be your favorite fanworks that you've created, or fanworks you feel no one ever saw, or fanworks you say would define you as a creator. Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.


So *rubs hands together* ... let's dive in!

I've self-recced stories for Fandom Snowflake and other challenges before, and my stories are the first place my brain tends to go when asked for self-recs. But I'm going to mix things up a little bit and also, in the spirit of the Snowflake Challenge, break the rules a little by only reccing two things. But they are two big things! So maybe that counts for something.

I am reccing the two sites that I built and that I currently help moderate: the Silmarillion Writers' Guild (which I also founded and own) and Many Paths to Tread.

Really, as far as fanworks that define me as a creator, here you have it. Yes yes, I've spent many hundreds of hours writing stories, and I'm not going to play coy and pretend that some of those stories haven't been important to the Silmarillion fandom, but deciding to turn my energies to learning web design now more than ten years ago was life-changing and--I like to hope--something that shaped the Tolkien fandom in positive directions.

For anyone who doesn't know the story, I decided to found the SWG after a night of insomnia in which I decided that the Internet needed a Silmarillion-only group and I should be the one to build it. I chickened out immediately upon setting up the SWG on Yahoo! Groups (remember that?!) and LiveJournal, but thankfully I was found by Uli/ford_of_bruinen, who would become my first comod, and pushed me to follow through on my dream. When SWG members wanted an archive, I set about learning to do what I'd need to do to build one. I taught myself HTML and CSS from books and started working with eFiction. This led the LotRGen moderators to approach me about building a site for them. I was impressed with the fact that, as a genfic group in an anti-slash point in fandom history, they were open to allowing any stories at an R-rating on below on the site, regardless of the orientation of the couple(s) in the story. So I agreed to help them build their site, and that brought me to MPTT.

I say all this because I've been in the Tolkien fandom for a long time now, and I'm seeing things start to change in ways that I don't like, namely that Tolkien fandom is becoming increasingly comfortable with centralization, and many fans are losing their self-sufficiency in the process. Back in the day, there were dozens of homegrown groups owned by people in the Tolkien fandom, and it wasn't particularly extraordinary to do what I did and learn specialized skills in order to run fandom projects. Plenty of people who couldn't do much more than switch on the computer when they started in fandom learned to write HTML, design graphics, and manage online communities.

There are disadvantages to local control, whether in government or fandom and I won't pretend this was always utopian, but one thing was certain: We did not depend on the blessing or existence of anyone but ourselves and our own minds and hands to have our communities. I will be blunt: I dislike how centralized Tolkien fandom has become. I dislike the snide way people look down their noses at websites like mine because we're not as advanced as AO3. I dislike how everything is on AO3 or Tumblr now. And let me be perfectly clear: I am on AO3 and Tumblr both myself. I have no problem with either site. I like both sites. I was an extremely early adopter and supporter of AO3 and continue to think that they are very much a needed part of the fan community. Notice I said "part." Because AO3 and Tumblr are not the Tolkien fandom, y'all. WE are the Tolkien fandom. These sites will not represent and defend our interests when they are different from Fandom as a whole. If you need proof, just look at the AO3 piped tag debacle, in which AO3 told Tolkien fandom to go fuck itself rather than listen to feedback about a usable system for tagging characters and pairings. And our fandom is weird. Tolkien-based fanfic is more than fifty years old; we have a history and a complex canon that is unlike any other fan community. Our needs are and will continue to differ from Fandom as a whole, and we deserve sites run by people from our own communities that listen to our needs and interests.

For my part, I plan to continue to fight to keep my sites alive and relevant. They are my proudest achievement in this fandom, and I continue to believe strongly that they are needed and important. I hope Tolkien fans reading here will make more of an effort in 2017 to support a Tolkien fandom site or project. Post your stories to a Tolkien archive; comment on something that isn't on AO3 or Tumblr; volunteer to help with an event or challenge. It doesn't have to be the SWG or MPTT, but do something to keep our Tolkien fandom institutions alive.
dawn_felagund: (silmarils)
Tomorrow it is back to work and school, so I will be back on hiatus, writing my thesis, until May. But, over winter break, I had the opportunity to write not one but TWO new Tolkienfic stories, both for the LotRGenfic/MPTT Yule Exchange. So before I sink back beneath the waves of despair work and grad school, I want to link them here, for anyone who might be interested.

As always, comments public and private are very much appreciated.

Víressë (for Keiliss). As Sauron's reach lengthens, Winter lingers overlong in Gondor. In the midst of cold, despair, and the slow march to war, Boromir kindles a forbidden love affair with an unknown errand-rider that creates intrigue and betrayal. Contains slash (Boromir/Hirgon) and a scene involving the corporal punishment of a child. Neither is graphic. LiveJournal | MPTT | AO3

Song of the Stone (for Zdenka). Newly arrived at Khazad-dûm in the Second Age, the Elven loremaster Pengolodh presents a portion of his new book to Narvi only to discover that his understanding of the “great profit” that existed between the Dwarves of Belegost and the people of Caranthir in the First Age is not quite what he assumed. LiveJournal | MPTT | SWG | AO3

See y'all in May!
dawn_felagund: (morgoth)
Important ETA: Over the past few days, I have been in correspondence with other Tolkien archive admins and the abuse team on AO3. It seems that my initial fears that this incident was "bigger than us" were well-founded. This person has been found on several Tolkien archives (although they don't seem to have posted as widely anyplace but the SWG) and may be linked with a chronic plagiarist on AO3 and ff.net. That makes vigilance more important than ever for all of us. Readers, if you see a story on an archive that looks familiar but isn't by the author you recall writing it, please say something to an admin. It is worth pointing out that we were able to catch and quash this person on the SWG as quickly as we did because we had several members who saw something that didn't look right and reported it. Finally, many, many thanks to everyone who has spread the word. I know it's been a lot of you. (This post was in the LJ Top 25 for a while!) /ETA

As some of you already know, we recently had a major incident of plagiarized work being posted to the Silmarillion Writers' Guild. Given what my comoderators and I discovered during our investigation, I have reason to believe that this is not an isolated incident on our site alone, nor is this person confining their activities to the Tolkien fandom. I have contacted the authors whose work was stolen, and my comods and I have also reached out to the admins of other Tolkien archives (MPTT, Faerie, SoA, OSA, and NaN*) and the abuse team on AO3 to share our findings.

*I couldn't find a contact address for LOTRfanfiction.com, if there is even an active admin on that site anymore. If anyone has one, I'll forward my findings there as well. ETA that Keith has been brought into the loop ...

I am sharing this information publicly here with the intention that it be shared with other admins and authors. Please feel free to link, share, and repost any of the information here. You don't have to ask. I don't care if you credit me (although doing so is probably practical so that anyone with questions about our findings can contact me directly). The important thing in my mind is making sure that this person is shut down before they can do more harm and empowering both admins and authors to do so. If your actions are done with that goal in mind, trust I am going to be cool with it.

A brief summary of what is going on:
  • Multiple accounts were used on the SWG to post plagiarized stories. These stories were stolen from multiple authors.

  • The person or persons behind this was/were responsive to feedback from our moderation team concerning what was allowable on our archive and actually exchanged emails with me on a couple of occasions. They were clearly not part of the Silmarillion fandom (I'm fairly certain they don't even know what The Silmarillion is) and may not be familiar with fandom and fanfic at all. But they were good enough at impersonation that it took us two weeks to catch on to them.

  • They appear to be stealing stories mostly from AO3 and Fanfiction.net. However, there is evidence that they are stealing from other sites as well, and we know for a fact that they have started their shenanigans on OSA. (We've contacted the OSA admin.)

  • They appear to be stealing primarily stories that are recently posted or updated. Again, however, this is not 100% the case.

  • They were insistent of their innocence, even after we found overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I don't know the motivation behind that; it doesn't appear that they were invested particularly in the works they had posted but seem to have selected them somewhat at random.



A version of this post has also been posted to the Stop Plagiarism community on LJ and is in the queue to be reviewed by a moderator.

ETA ... it is now also posted on Tumblr.

What Happened )

Screencaps and Links )

Summary of Usernames, Emails, and IPs )
dawn_felagund: (feanor fall)
Okay, at long last, I am sharing the video of my presentation at the New York Tolkien Conference here. The full title (which will not fit in the space allotted for titles) is "The Loremasters of Fëanor: Historical Bias in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien and Transformative Works." It discusses both the evidence for historical bias in Tolkien's works (especially The Silmarillion) and how the fan community uses that bias to create fanworks.



You won't be able to see the data and other visual aids on the screen behind me. That data (as well as a detailed synopsis of the paper) is available on my blog The Heretic Loremaster.

Also, a friendly reminder that The Heretic Loremaster does have a feed set up on both LJ and DW at [syndicated profile] heretic_lore_feed. Following this feed will bring new HL posts directly to your flist. Because my journal has come to be just that--a journal--it is usually the last place that I bring fannish stuff; however, I know a lot of people who friended me here did so because of our shared fandom involvement, so if you miss seeing that stuff here, the HL feed might help a bit. (Just a bit because it is infrequently updated thanks to my grad school schedule!) Also, please remember that I have no ownership or control over this feed, which means that I don't receive comments left on feed posts. Please comment directly on the posts themselves; no membership is required to do so.

The paper will eventually be available to read but I need to clean up citations first. If you don't mind my sloppy sourcing and want a copy early, just let me know.
dawn_felagund: Ainulindale--star photo from hubblesite.org. (ainulindale)
Well, when it rains it pours, in a good way this time. Some of you might remember a few weeks ago when I had mad deadlines for things and was biting my fingers till they bled (how I react when stressed out!). Both being due simultaneously meant that they were both published within the past two days.

My article "Fictional Scholarship: How the Peter Jackson Films and Fandom Archives Make Tolkien Fan Fiction Writers into Competent Critics" is out in Mythprint 52:1. It is a shortened version of my Mythmoot paper (which will eventually be available for free online in the proceedings) but does introduce some new data and expands on some of the points I couldn't really delve into in my Mythmoot paper because of time. Unfortunately, I don't have a link for this one, but Mythopoeic Society members will get it as part of Mythprint. There were no strings attached on this article, so I can reprint it wherever and whenever I want, and I will post it on the Heretic Loremaster in a couple of weeks. I just want to give Mythprint the courtesy of having it first for a while.

And my article In a Stone House by the Sea: The Founding and Governing of the Silmarillion Writers’ Guild is available in Signum University's Eagle. (Here is the entire March edition of the Eagle.) The timing on this was perfect because, believe it or not (and I am still having trouble believing it), the SWG's tenth begetting day* is tomorrow.

*Just like an Elf, the SWG has a begetting day and a birthday because I set it up on March 15 and then chickened out about doing anything with it until later in the year, having been utterly unqualified to start anything of that scope, even as I imagined it then. Uli pushed me in the summer to try to actually, um, get people to join, so I count the end of July as its birthday.

Finally, I wrote an essay, We Are Fëanor? Thoughts on Reading Moral Ambiguity into the Characterizations of the Fëanorians, which I posted to the Heretic Loremaster and also Tumblr. (Also a reminder that [syndicated profile] heretic_lore_feed will display HL posts on your friends page. I don't use the HL very much these days but it [and the entire Midhavens site] will be getting a facelift and some renewed attention once my MA is done and then I hope to have regular updates from me and People Not Me.)
dawn_felagund: (hermione)
Over on the post about my paper presentation this weekend, the issue of genre was brought up because I didn't address it in the paper but I definitely asked about it in the survey. I decided not to include it in the paper because it involved defining and explaining terminology (genfic, het, slash) that I just didn't have time for, and I wasn't sure I could introduce the topic in so short a time in such a way that I could impress upon a non-fanfic audience all of the significance and sometimes emotion that accompanies these genres. However, it certainly interests us, so I'm going to share some data here. (I did post some data in the conversation on the earlier post, but the comments are becoming convoluted enough that I worry that it's going to become difficult to find and discuss it, and it is worth breaking out into a place where it is easier to find and talk about.)

I am going to share the data sets for the four genres for readers and writers from my survey and also from Centrum Lumina's AO3 Census. It is important to note that the questions I asked and she asked are not identical and, in fact, measure slightly different things, but I think they are similar enough that we can at least look at them side-by-side to see if there are any trends between the Tolkien fandom and fandom as a whole, at least as it exists on AO3.

Data and Discussion below the Cut )
dawn_felagund: (silmarils)
I had to let the video upload on YouTube run overnight because of my current Internet situation but--at last!--the video of my presentation on Saturday at Mythmoot is finally ready. The full title (which is too long to fit in the title field) is "Transformative Works as a Means to Develop Critical Perspectives in the Tolkien Fan Community." The paper covers the history of Tolkien fan fiction, the development of online communities, and the use of Tolkien fan fiction as a means for writers to not only learn more about the texts but to become more analytical and critical readers. This is probably not news for anyone here, but keep in mind that I was presenting to a general (and not necessarily fanfic-friendly) audience at a fantasy studies conference.

The handout for the presentation can be found here. An audio-only version of the presentation can be found here.



Thoughts and reactions are most welcome, of course! :)
dawn_felagund: (silmarils)
In January 2015, I will be presenting a paper about the Tolkien fan fiction community at the Mythmoot III conference in Baltimore. While other fandoms have been studied in depth, particularly television fandoms, very little study has been done on the Tolkien fandom, and my ten years of experience in this community have caused me to conclude that, while we share some similarities with other fandoms, we also differ in some important regards. I hope, through my Mythmoot presentation, to provide not only background on our community, its history, and its practices for an audience that may not be familiar with the fan fiction community, but also to begin to identify and examine some of the ways that our community differs from how fandom has been understood and presented by scholars.

As part of this, I have put together a survey for participants in the Tolkien fan fiction community. The purpose of the survey is to collect data on the habits, beliefs, and preferences of Tolkien fans who participate in reading and/or writing fan fiction. No identifying information, including IP address, is collected as part of the survey. You may skip any questions you do not want to answer or quit the survey at any time. I estimate that it will take about 15-20 minutes to complete.

If you have ever read or written Tolkien-based fan fiction, you are eligible to participate.

Click here to begin the Tolkien Fan Fiction Survey.

Please feel free to direct any questions, comments, or concerns to me via email (DawnFelagund@gmail.com) or private message. And do feel free to share the link to the survey or a link to this post; I would like to get as many perspectives as possible from as many corners of our community as possible.
dawn_felagund: (out of the light star)
I have always understood why the Elves used their Rings of Power. I am a progressive person who works to change things for the better, yet there are places and things associated with joy for me that I would like to wave a magic ring over and leave unchanged.

For those who have not heard, HASA is closing at the end of the year. The SWG is coming up on ten years, which means that I've been involved in fandom to varying extents for longer than that, and as I look around, I see the landscape is changing. The idea of HASA being gone is like looking west to find one of the mountains missing. Maybe you went weeks without even noticing that mountain, but it was there and it has always been there, and the empty sky it once filled is not an improvement.

Within the past few years, we've seen changes great and small in the Tolkien fandom. The MEFAs ended. LotRFanfiction stands a shadow of its former self. Several smaller archives--the Last Ship and Quills and Ink come to mind--closed their doors. Activity on Yahoo! Groups has all but ceased, and LiveJournal is no longer the hub of activity that it once was.

Of course there have been good things too. Faerie opened its doors. Tolkien fandom activity on Tumblr and AO3 have increased. And many Tolkien groups that have been active for years remain active. But the landscape has changed nonetheless.

Read more... )
dawn_felagund: (silmarils)
My Mythmoot proposal is due in about one month (eeeeeeeeeek), and I have an idea, but I need to make sure that what I'm planning to write and reality actually bear some resemblance to each other. So I have a simple question for all my Tolkien fanfic writers out there:

Why do you write Tolkien fanfic?

Thanks in advance to anyone with a moment to answer. (As always, private responses are welcome as a PM or email to DawnFelagund@gmail.com.)

And yes, this means that this year's presentation will not be about cosmogony ... ;)
dawn_felagund: (death of an idea)
I have had a busy, busy day so far today, rearranging my closet and moving my stuff from the drawers in the bedroom into the new furniture in the guest room. I have also banished my sentimentality (almost*) and donated a bunch of old clothes and shoes to Goodwill. Some of these I have had since high school. Most of it I haven't worn in years, but because I tend to buy only things that I really really love, then I get attached to things.

I kept one shirt and one dress that I can't bear to part with.

As a result I wasn't on the computer much today, but when I did pop in, someone over at ff.net had followed and favorited and poured the whole bucket of ff.net accolades on me and AMC ... except to comment on the story. :^| To be fair, maybe she or he hasn't read the whole thing yet and wants to wait till the end. Read more... )
dawn_felagund: (art not war)
I am rather blue and blah at the moment; it is pouring rain outside (at least it's not snow?*) and the wind is howling something fierce. I'm wrapping up my contribution to the B2MeM review award grand prize banners, trying to think of how to represent mithril seasonally, and feeling like wasting some time but not on something completely fruitless. Anyway. There is a rather interesting discussion going on over of Oshun's LiveJournal (it's f-locked, so I won't link) concerning B2MeM, which morphed into the inevitable discussion of format preference that sometimes feels to me like it is one of the great insurmountable dichotomies of our age. Sharks or Jets? Bears or Packers? Grunge or rap? (Yes, I spent my formative adolescent years in the '90s.) New York-style or Chicago-style? Daily prompts or omg-anything-but-daily-prompts-for-the-love-of-god-please?

* Never mind.

What I find interesting about this annual discussion is what it reveals about us as writers. Creative Navel-gazing Ahoy )
dawn_felagund: (can of worms)
As my semester draws to a close, I am trying to rev up the Heretic Loremaster again, so I've posted my initial thoughts on Kindle Worlds here. (For those of you who haven't heard, Kindle Worlds is "the first commercial publishing platform that will enable any writer to create fan fiction based on a range of original stories and characters and earn royalties for doing so." Here are the guidelines.)

Here are some other links:

Letters from Titan: Kindle Worlds: Not bigger on the inside

[personal profile] heartofoshun: Amazon now wants to pay writers for fanfiction

Scalzi: Amazon's Kindle Worlds: Instant Thoughts

Heidi8: It's Kindle Worlds, we're just living in it?

Please do comment with other links to your own blog/journal or elsewhere! :) And, as always, I welcome discussion everywhere: on the HL, here, or wherever. It is easier for me to reply on the HL or Dreamwidth since I can access those at work. LJ replies have to wait till I get home, as I can only access LJ in the teacher resource room, and I like to make doing that a rarity.
dawn_felagund: (feanorians)
I say "modified" because I want to do this, but as many of you know, I'm a one-fandom girl, so there's no point in asking you to ask me about my fandoms. There's only one! I could maybe answer most of these for True Blood, despite never participating in the online fandom, because Bobby and I constitute a fandom-of-two in our house, and I do occasionally talk with some of y'all too about it. But the only fandom I really deeply know is the Tolkien fandom, focusing on The Silmarillion. So here goes!

Tolkien Character M-Word Thing )
dawn_felagund: (halloween dawn)
Yesterday was our annual Halloween party, much scaled back from prior years due to a number of reasons, not least of which was that Bobby and I didn't get ourselves organized till mid-month. There was only family in attendance, but we had a good time and served a good meal (always one of the major reasons why Bobby and I host parties!) We had potato-leek soup for the first course; barbecue chicken (with barbecue sauce made during Tropical Storm Irene last year), potatoes and green apples smothered in cheddar cheese, and spinach salads for the second course; and an assortment of desserts brought by the family for the final course. Dad made cookies and a delicious pumpkin cheesecake; my mother-in-law brought a "dirt cake." And, of course, we had hot buttered rum! Despite my abstaining from alcohol this week, I did have one cup. :^|

Pictures below the Cut )
dawn_felagund: Illustration of a river from J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit." (Hobbit river)
I've stumbled upon some interesting articles in my reading of late that seem particularly relevant to the literary-fannish community. If That Be Yer Cup o' Tea--Read On! )

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