Back to Middle-earth Month
|Name:||Back to Middle-earth Month|
|Date(s):||2006 – present|
|Moderator(s):||Zhie, Lferion, Kaylee, Shadow, others|
|Type:||fanfiction and fanart challenge|
|Associated Community:||B2MEM on Spring Into Arda|
2021+ B2MEM Collections on AO3
B2MeM - 2020 AO3 Collection
|URL:||History of B2MEM on Spring Into Arda|
SWG Special Projects (2008-2012) (past link)
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
"Back to Middle-earth Month" (or B2MeM, as it is affectionately known) is an annual "holiday" for the Tolkien fandom held during the month of March. Begun in 2006 after the release of the final Lord of the Rings movie, its initial purpose was to maintain interest in a fandom that had grown exponentially with the release of the movie trilogy.
Back to Middle-earth Month usually consists of a challenge designed to inspire fan writers and fan artists to create fanworks for The Silmarillion, The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit fandom. Every year, the challenge takes a different guise.
The Silmarillion Writers' Guild participated in that first B2MeM and has hosted a different event every year up through 2020. In 2009, SWG was joined by the LotR Genfic Community, and "our two groups are joined again in 2010 and welcome all in the Tolkien fandom to join us!"  In 2012, Arda Inspired joined SWG and LotRGfic/MPTT. In the summer of 2017, B2MeM moved to Dreamwidth. 2020 was the final year of SWG taking the lead. In 2021, Spring Into Arda was founded and took leadership of B2MEM events from 2021 to the present.
B2MeM Support is an unofficial, affiliated community on LiveJournal for venting, squeeing, chatting, finding a beta, etc. The support community now also exists on Dreamwidth and will be more active than the LJ comm.
The original challenge was simply to pick a day of the week and post something about Middle-earth on that day: fic, art, quotes, why you love Middle-earth, etc. There was no organized effort to coordinate the event across groups.
The SWG participated in a general way.
There-n-back's challenge involved challenging people to write something involving characters not mentioned in the Tale of the Years on that specific date. Participants were explicitly invited to post on several Tolkien archives.
Waymeet's B2MeM challenge involved discussions on themed topics.
There was no organized effort to coordinate the event across groups.
Middle-earth News challenged people with the original challenge, this time with the title "Celebrate Middle-earth Month."
The SWG's challenge involved quotes.
There-n-back's challenge involved "The Alphabet of Middle-earth," where the alphabet was used for prompts.
There was no organized effort to coordinate the event across groups.
Middle-earth News once again challenged people with "Celebrate Middle-earth Month."
SWG's The Circles of the World considers the many different events that take place on Arda in the context of what inspires us as fans.
This is the first year groups coordinated.
For 2009's B2MeM, SWG and MPTT challenged our authors and artists with a daily prompt to take their creativity in new directions.
In 2010, B2MeM participants embarked on an adventure to determine the fate of the world during the Last Battle.
This year we invite you to travel! The Silmarillion Writers’ Guild has teamed up with Many Paths to Tread to host Passport to Middle-earth: a month-long holiday visiting our favourite places in Middle-earth. Every day, the tour will stop in a new location and, with it will come a new challenge to tempt your muses. We invite you to create a response for one, some, or all of our daily challenges! Once you've completed a challenge, you will receive a stamp from that location for your passport.
2012's B2MeM was the largest hosted to date, with 88 participants signed on to play. The Silmarillion Writers' Guild and Many Paths to Tread were also joined by Arda Inspired as a sponsoring community. Participants in the 2012 challenge selected from over 100 different BINGO cards, also created by participants. Cards were themed and included challenges in the card spaces. A new BINGO number was called daily, and participants had two days to complete and report any challenges. When participants completed and reported a challenge, they received a stamp on the relevant card.
This was the first year that the LiveJournal community was used, in order for creators from all the participating groups to gather in one location.
Middle-earth is full of hunters. The Vala Oromë found the first people of Middle-earth while hunting, and hunters have remained central to the stories since. Whether hunting for an Arkenstone or a band of Orcs or for truth and justice, Tolkien’s world is full of hunts for things both physical and metaphorical. Back-to-Middle-earth Month Scavenger Hunt: Expedition in the Abecedarium seeks to encourage creativity in the Tolkien fandom through a “quote scavenger hunt” that participants will use as inspiration for stories, art, meta, and other creative responses.
This year's Back to Middle-earth Month event will involve putting together a compilation of writing and art related to the theme "Four Seasons of Middle-earth." Each day during the month of March, we will post a selection of stories, poetry, and artwork created in response to prompts related to this year's theme.
There will eventually be an ebook of the compilation available.
At Back to Middle-earth Month 2015: Tharbad’s Greenway Spring Faire (the Middle-earth Marketplace for all you need), writers, artists, and other creators of fanworks are invited to challenge each other to create fanworks during the month of March! Because this is a spring faire, you will spend and earn farthings as you participate throughout the month by posting challenge prompts, claiming challenge prompts, and leaving reviews for other participants.
Memories: As we begin our second decade of Back to Middle-earth Month, we're looking back and celebrating our first ten years. All prompt from all ten years are available for use; the prompts from years with daily prompt components will also be posted on their respective days in March. There are no sign-ups, no claims, and no deadlines.
Night and Day: This year's B2MeM will present prompts for fanworks on a gameboard. Participants can choose any path on the board that appeals to them and use the prompts to make fanworks with the goal of reaching the center of the board before the end of the month. This is a self-challenge, not a competition. There are paths available for participants who want to work on a fanwork every day, as well as those who want to spend March crafting just one or a few pieces. As always, all creators of Tolkien-based fanworks are welcome, and fanworks from all Ages, about all characters, and of all ratings and genres are welcome on the B2MeM community.
In the summer of 2017, due to the new LiveJournal TOS, the moderators polled the community about where they would prefer to B2MeM to be hosted. A significant majority preferred Dreamwidth. On August 1, the LJ community was closed to posting fanworks, imported to Dreamwidth, and became a mod-only mirror. The Dreamwidth community became the new home for B2MeM.
Music of the Waters: We’re running a 31 x 31 x 16 challenge this year themed to music and water. 31 prompts have been posted in mid February for participants who prefer more time to create. Another set of prompts will be posted in March. The March prompts are divided into two categories—fanwork and comment. The fanwork prompts will be posted daily; the comment prompts every other day. Fanwork prompts are for the creation of any type of fanwork. Comment prompts are for leaving feedback on Tolkien-based fanworks, whether written for B2MeM or not.
This year, we’re running a modified version of our previous bingo challenge. There are no deadlines or stamping this year. From January 13-January 31, you may submit bingo cards. Signing up for what cards you'll play with will begin on February 15. There is no deadline for choosing what cards you'll play with (yes, that means you can still sign up in March).
Our theme this year is "Endings and Beginnings." We are offering both a prompt generator for those who wish to start creating now (though please wait to post until March begins!) as well as daily prompts posted in March for those who like that particular format.
Though we chose the theme in December, it is certainly fitting due to Christopher Tolkien's recent passing. But it is with heavy hearts that we inform you of the reason for this year's theme: this is b2mem's final year. It will have had a good, enthusiastic, nine year run. Sadly, all things must come to an end.
BUT! Back to Middle-earth Month itself will not come to an end. B2MeM started off as a multi-group activity, with each group doing its own thing (as evidenced by this very article). We don't have a monopoly on the concept—it wasn't ours to begin with! If people want to keep on with B2MeM in the future, we welcome and encourage it.
In 2021, a B2MEM event is being offered as part of a new springtime celebration, Spring Into Arda, which will begin March 1st and run through the end of June. B2MEM, as traditionally observed, runs from March 1st through March 31st, but as always, prompts never expire and encouragement is offered to continue and pick up prompts beyond the end of March. The theme of the 2021 event held here is 'The Silmarillion' -- however, that is just to say that the daily prompts are based around the content of 'The Silmarillion'. Each day, there is at least one general prompt, and there are 24 bingo cards of other assorted prompts, too!
B2MEM 2022's theme is Mathom Marketplace! In the Michel Delving Market, Hobbits (and big folk alike) can offer ‘prompts for sale’ for ‘prompts for trade’. Shoppers (participants) at the Mathom Marketplace earn mathoms when they offer up prompts for sale, which can be ‘spent’ to acquire prompts from others (or their own!)
- Middle-earth News newsletter Volume 17, Issue 19. (Accessed April 16, 2015.)
- Back to Middle-earth Month 2011: Passport to Middle-earth. (Accessed May 13, 2011.)
- The unofficial B2MeM support community.(Accessed April 17, 2015.)
- "Future of B2MeM on LJ" poll results. (Accessed August 1, 2017.)