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Guidelines for Authors

Stories of Arda was created as an archive for stories based on and consistent with the world Tolkien created. It is meant to be a place to encourage and be encouraged by others who enjoy exploring this wonderful world.

The basic guidelines for stories are as follows:

  •  Fanfiction stories set in the universe of JRR Tolkien, with respect for his original work
  •  Rated G-R, no-slash or parodies of slash
  •  Entertaining and well-written stories created by people who take pride in their work
Stories not accepted on the site:
  • Slash or Femmeslash - for definitions see this basic definition and scroll through the terms here.
  • RPS (Real person stories) - particularly the actors appearing in LOTR
  • Crossovers
  • MST (Mystery Science Theater) - generally this takes someone else's story and inserts comments throughout it
  • Modern character insertion - Modern day people fall into Middle-Earth
  • Mary-Sue's - OFC's, even in romances with canon characters, are not automatically Mary-Sue's. But if she joins the Fellowship or requires you to seriously violate canon, steals lines from canon characters or changes the course of the story.....she is more than likely a Mary Sue. No Mary Sue parodies either, please.
  • General Silliness: the characters participating in game shows, in boxes, chat room discussions, tv shows, etc
  • MPreg (Male Pregnancy)
  • Stories with many spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes.
  • PWP "plot, what plot?": this acronym normally means the story is just smut, but all stories should have a plot. (or in the case of vignettes and other short works, at least a theme or idea clearly worked out).
  • Parodies - no mocking other people's stories, genres etc.

Guidance on subject matter

The guiding principles on subject matter should take into account 1) whether the subject existed in Middle-earth and 2) if it did, how it would have been dealt with or perceived by the peoples and cultures of that time.

Graphic or adult content

This site was created as a place where we hope parents would feel comfortable allowing their teenagers to read. Keeping that in mind, violence and sexual situations included in a story should serve a purpose, should not be gratuitous or the only plot, and should not exceed the 'R' rating. Scenes involving group sex, voyeurism or other adult themes are not allowed, no matter what the rating. Rape and torture should not be graphically described, and must not be the sole plot of the story.


Authors who wish to use sexuality as a theme should bear in mind Tolkien's own beliefs and values and the place of such a topic in his work. Sex as a subject must be treated within the limits of Tolkien's canon and clearly expressed views. Stories using sexual themes, including sexual violence and gratuitous discussion of sexual preferences, as the sole basis of the story or that do not reflect the society or characters as Tolkien wrote them will be removed.


If you wish to quote poems or parts of songs in your story, please confine the quoted material to the start or end of the story, rather than dispersing it throughout. 'Fair-use' laws do not usually allow for the complete reproduction of copyrighted works - as a guideline use no more than 10% of the full song. Remember to appropriately credit the poem or the song to the author, which means that in the case of a song you must know who owns the copyright. Consider the fact that people of all ages and nationalities read stories on this site and that most of them will therefore not know a song you cite. Your story must depend for its impact on your words and not those of the song. Please note that this guideline does not limit the use of Tolkien's own verse in the use of a story, nor does it mean that the characters in your story cannot sing or quote verse. Both of those situations are perfectly acceptable.


It matters. Stories on this site should reflect a respect for Tolkien's work, both the overriding themes as well as the events he wrote about. It is impossible to know everything in his world and occasional errors are fine, but all authors should make some attempt to research their stories and try to stay within canon. AU (Alternate Universe) stories that explore alternative versions of events are acceptable and are the favorites of many people, but the key to writing a good and plausible AU story is knowing what parts of Tolkien's work you are changing and the impact those changes will have on the story. Stories that distort the moral basis of Tolkien's world are not an acceptable form of AU.

It is not acceptable to slap a label of AU on a story to cover up mistakes, to avoid learning the facts, or to impose some modern topic into the story.


Movie-verse stories are very popular right now, and they are acceptable for the site. Please note in the summary of your story if it is movie-verse. Please also be very careful if you decide to write a 'gap-filler' for the movie, and you have not read the books. Quite often such stories contradict what is written in the books and end up looking like errors of carelessness to readers. The script writers for the movies knew the books well, knew what they were changing and why - just like any good AU writer should.

The movie is an AU version of Tolkien's works. Please do not write an AU of the movie. The books are to be used as the basic source of canon. If you have not read Tolkien, this is not a good place for your stories.

Drabbles and other short works

Items that are 500 words in length or less must be posted in a series, not as stand-alone stories. Authors will not be approved for posting privileges solely on the basis of drabbles or stories under 500 words.

Quoting copyrighted material

If you quote Tolkien or any other copyrighted material, please properly cite the reference and use no more than 10% (a max of 1000 words) of the material. Material in the public domain (see Resources for links regarding public domain) may be fully quoted, but please do so only when needed.

Responding to complaints and screening new authors:

A group of individuals who have volunteered their time to assist with the site will help screen new readers, review changes in guidelines and review stories for which complaints have been received. Any valid complaints against a story (such as plagiarism or inappropriate content) will be forwarded to the author and they will be asked to either edit their story or remove it from the site.

Note: Due to the escalating volume of stories with inappropriate content or not posted according to guidelines, the site owners reserve the right to simply delete the stories and/or revoke posting privileges. We have always contacted the author first and allowed them to remove or fix the content themselves, thereby saving their work. But we do not have time to police this site, and the intentional abuses are forcing us to make the guidelines and policies more stringent. If you are young, a first time offender,and a member in good standing in the community, chances are we will be very kind. If you're someone I've gone rounds with, you may just be deleted. You are forewarned.

Please consider joining the Yahoo Group Stories of Arda:

You may subscribe by emailing At this site you can ask questions, suggest improvements for this site, hook up with a beta reader, get opinions on your stories, and talk about writing.

Most of all, please keep in mind the goals of this site:

We hope that our members will:

  •  Enjoy themselves. This is site where people who love reading and writing LOTR fan fiction can indulge their hobby and have fun.
  •  Be good readers. If you read a story you like, send the writer a review. One of the goals of this site is to encourage writers, and nothing is more encouraging than a review from a reader.
  •  Aim to be entertaining writers. Tell a good tale that will amuse or stir or even teach your readers something
Thank you!

Revised 3/24/07