This year we are trying something new. Instead of striking out the prompts as people use them, simply choose your prompt and claim it, but we will leave it for others to claim as well. In addition, you are not limited to just one prompt. You may claim as many as you like; we do ask that you put each claim in a separate comment, as it will help us keep track of things better. If you want to, you may claim a prompt, finish it and then claim another. You may also comment to say if you are finishing up a story from previous challenges.
In addition, we are adding the Yule Fic Exchange prompts this year to give you even more to choose from!
Your stories will be due in the moderator's queue by Friday, January 22, and will be unlocked on Monday, January 25. Please tag your story "month: 2016 January" and "challenge: potluck" Please remember to use the following header template (also found on the community profile page), and to put the name of your story and your name in the subject line.
To claim your prompts, please leave a comment to this post. If you have any questions, please comment here or e-mail the mods at email@example.com.
Prompts are behind the cut:
February 15 is International Fanworks Day! In honor of the day, your challenge this month is to write a story about something that someone in Middle-earth might be a fan of. For example, does Maglor have a problem with fangirls? Does Aragorn have a weakness for First Age poetry? Do famous hobbit cooks have a following? Do some people of Minas Tirith make up stories about the Royal Family? Or any other sort of fannish scenario you can think of. Prompts will be based on your source, so if you comment, please indicate if you are going to base the story in The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings or some other book by Tolkien, or an adaptation of his work such as the movies. Your prompt will be a character from that work; you do not need to feature the character in your story, but he/she should at least be mentioned.
The Hobbit (book or movie)
The Hobbit (movie)
The Lord of the Rings (book or movie)
42.The Witch-king of Angmar
The Lord of the Rings (book only)
50.Any of the Valar
57.Any of Feanor's sons
Because your mods are working on Back-to-Middle-earth-Month in March, we are going to do something a little different for the upcoming month: we will be incorporating b2mem into the March Challenge!
Choose a prompt from b2mem
Prompts from last year's Back-to-Middle-earth month are still available at the community! Pick whichever one you want and comment here with it.
The April Challenge will have the theme "Lyrical Love". The twist is that it can be any sort of love except romantic love. It can be love for a family member, a friend, an object, a place or an idea or anything else--but not for a romantic relationship! In honor of the fact that April is National Poetry Month, we are asking the participants to try their hand at a short poem! Your prompt will be a type of short poem. No form will be longer than 15 lines, and most will be shorter.
Here are the leftover poetical forms:
A Clerihew (or clerihew) is a very specific kind of short humorous verse, typically with the following properties: It is biographical and usually whimsical, showing the subject from an unusual point of view; but it is hardly ever satirical, abusive or obscene; It has four lines of irregular length (for comic effect); The first line consists solely (or almost solely) of a well-known person's name.
The purpose is to go from the subject at the top of the diamond to another totally different (and sometimes opposite) subject at the bottom. A seven line poem, shaped like a diamond.
Line 1: Winter = 1 NOUN-A
Line 2: Rainy, cold = 2 ADJECTIVES-A
Line 3: Skiing, skating, sledding = 3 GERUNDS-A (verb + -ing)
Line 4: Mountains, wind, breeze, ocean = 2 NOUNS-A + 2 NOUNS-B
Line 5: Swimming, surfing, scuba diving = 3 GERUNDS-B (verb + -ing)
Line 6: Sunny, hot = 2 ADJECTIVES-B
Line 7: Summer = 1 NOUN-B
An identical rhyme on every line, common in Latin and Arabic. "aaaaa..."
A stanza or poem consisting of four lines. In the basic form, Lines 2 and 4 must rhyme while having a similar number of syllables.
Lyric poems that are 14 lines that usually have one or more conventional rhyme schemes.
The May Challenge will have the theme "Adolescent Angst". Stories should feature an adolescent going through the difficulties of passing from childhood to youth. Prompts for the challenge will be a particular difficulty common to adolescents, to be mentioned somewhere in the story.
69.Misunderstanding with a friend
70.Quarrel with friends
71.Worry about appearance
72.Fear of being unpopular
The June Challenge will have the theme "Wisdom". Stories should focus on some aspect of that topic: you can show a character having or lacking wisdom, something to do with the nature of wisdom, or musings on a character considered to be wise, or anything else to do with the topic. Prompts for the challenge will be a proverb; the proverb can be quoted in the story, used as a title, or just used as inspiration.
Here are the leftover proverbs:
73.Old friends and old wine are best.
74.The best of friends must part.
75.There is no better looking-glass than an old friend.
76.Grow angry slowly; there's plenty of time.
77.A good thing is all the sweeter when won with pain.
78.While there's life there's hope, and need of vittles.
79.You can't unscramble a scrambled egg.
80.Keep your mouth shut and your eyes open.
81.No wise man ever wishes to be younger.
82.If you see something you like, take it and make it better.
83.Curiosity killed the cat; Satisfaction brought it back.
84.It's no use closing the stable door, after the horse has bolted.
85.A wise man doesn't need advice, and a fool won't take it.
86.All that is gold does not glitter.
87.All that glitters is not gold.
It's July, and that means it's time for our annual Fixed-Length-Ficlet Challenge! The July Challenge will have will have the theme "Arrivals and Departures". Stories can reflect either an arrival or a departure or both. The element will be a number between 101 and 400. Interested authors can reply to this announcement and claim a number. No one will be allowed to have a number previously claimed. Whatever number is chosen will be the word count for your ficlet-- if you choose 237 your story must have exactly 237 words!
To do this one, just comment with your chosen word-count.
The August Challenge will once again have the theme "Nonfiction." You will not receive an element for this challenge; rather, we encourage all members to submit essays, research articles, and other nonfictional works related to Tolkien's legendarium. You are free to choose your own topic!
To do this challenge, just comment with the phrase "non-fiction".
The September Challenge will have the theme "The Great Feast". Stories will be a Recipe!fic and should include preparing for or attending a feast for a special occasion and also include a recipe for one of the dishes mentioned in the story. Prompts for the challenge will be a non-food word related to parties and celebrations.
The October Challenge will have the theme "Animal Friends". Stories will be about animals/pets. Prompts for the challenge will be starter sentences.
Here are the unused story starters:
96.“If only I had a penny for every time I’ve heard that,” said _______.
97.As the clouds rolled in and the skyline darkened, the ground began to shake. _________ looked around frantically for the nearest shelter.
98.She (he) knew something lurked amongst the trees, even before the low growl confirmed it.
99.The distant barking stopped, briefly, and then started again taking on a frantic pitch.
100.The pair stared into the cave opening; a distant, steady dripping was the only sound.
101.There was a legend about the old well in the garden. ________ struggled to recall it as he slowly picked his way through the tall grass.
102.“My brother always said it was better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.”
103.The sword felt heavier than he remembered it.
104.My grandfather always said where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
105.Poking around carefully beneath the bed he found the journal quickly, and then curled up on the couch with the tortoiseshell kitten.
The November Challenge will have the theme of “Nostalgia”. It's a drabble challenge, and you may enter a drabble (100 words), drabble-and-a-half (150 words), double drabble (200 words), or triple drabble (300 words). Word count must be exact. Your drabble should have someone feeling nostalgic for something. Your prompt will be a random word.
These were the prompts for the December Yule Fic Exchange. All of them were claimed and written for the Exchange. For the first time we have decided to put these out in the potluck, for anyone to choose.
112.Finduilas (and Denethor, if you'd like) prepare for Yule. Faramir is three. Bittersweet or happy, your call. :)
113.Elladan and Elrohir in the wilderness. They can be fighting or tracking Orcs, or maybe just traveling to far lands.
114.I would like a story with Gandalf celebrating Yule/Midwinter/whatever for the first time - either his first time with a certain people, or his first time at all.
It doesn't matter who he's with - Elves, Men, Dwarves, Hobbits, even other Ainur - or which of his many names he's using, though I'd prefer the name be accurate to the people he's staying with, unless there's reason for it not to be.
He could even be telling the story in flashback to someone else. It's up to you.
113.I'd love a fic about a Yule with Bilbo, maybe his first one after he returns from his Adventure, or a year or two later. Book-verse, please.
114.Idril, Aredhel and Meleth solve a winter-themed mystery in Gondolin.
115.Something about Christmas or Yule celebrations in either the Shire, Gondor, or Rohan.
116.Any Fellowship members celebrating Yule or having a wintry adventure.
117.I would like a story featuring either Boromir or Faramir as he searches for the perfect gift for his brother. The event can be any occasion -- birthday, Yule, a special honoring event, or just because brothers give each other gifts from time to time.
118.I'm insatiable when it comes to Cormallen fic for any character(s); fics about what life in the West might be like for Sam, Frodo, Bilbo, and/or Gimli, or the Elves’ perceptions of them; Third Age hobbit tales that are fluffy and loving (gentle hurt/comfortcomfortcomfort is always appreciated); and tales about Big Folks interacting with hobbits. Extra hugs for good food, good cheer, and a happy ending.
119.I would love a gift involving the family 'Ur (Bombur, Bofur and Bifur) from the Hobbit. Maybe how Bifur took care of Bombur and Bofur growing up. Or the aftermath of Bifur's injury. Daily struggles (and joys) the family 'Ur go through as your average dwarves. BONUSES: Any Aus, hurt/comfort, angst, humor, dark. DON'S: Genderbending, 1st person pov, 2nd person pov, character hopping, crack. Thanks!
120.An Avar navigates through darkness and bitter winter storms, among other dangers, to find and rescue their missing sibling.
121.Maglor in Imladris. Scenes with Elrond and his family would be nice. Endless love if Aragorn is included.
122.I would like a story about Idril, during any time period. Drama and/or politics would be an added bonus!
123.Gandalf finds himself spending Yule in the Great Smials as Gerontius's guest, and is ambushed by a number of the Old Took's grandchildren demanding stories and other entertainment.
124.I’d love something where Maglor overwinters in Imladris by Elrond’s invitation. Involving the Solstice would be welcome but is not required. Bonus points for emotional hurt/comfort.
125.Gondor, a look at a month in Boromir's life. Secrets and lies, a forbidden relationship, trying to be the person his father expects him to be? Slash would be welcome but not essential. A winter setting would be great.
126.I would like a sweet fluffy story about Maglor and Elrond at any point in their lives.
127.I would love to read something set in the First or Second Age with friendship between Elves and Dwarves, with members of the different groups learning something from each other (it could be languages, smithcraft, their traditions and stories, or something else).
128..I'd like a Celebrimbor story set in Second Age or afterwards. Friendship with Dwarves, relations (good or bad) with other Elves of note, Annatar/Sauron, Halls of Mandos, divergent AU/time-travel in which he or his spirit get to meet someone from Third Age, reembodiment - anything goes. Something shippy (of any sort) and original characters are okay, but I'd prefer it if the fic wasn't 100% romance and please no non-canonical side ships.
We hope there we'll have a lot of participants for this year's Potluck Challenge!