Frequently Asked Questions

What options are available for joining Many Paths to Tread?

Many Paths to Tread is associated with the Yahoo! Group, LOTR_Community_GFIC and its sister group lotr_community. You are welcome to join one or all of these groups.

Which groups should I join?

Our archive, Many Paths to Tread, is an automated archive for sharing and commenting on Tolkien-based fan fiction. If you want to comment on the stories you read here, maintain a list of favorite stories and authors, or post stories of your own, you will have to join MPTT.

The Yahoo! Group, LOTR_Community_GFIC is a forum and email list for discussing writing and Tolkien's works. While the message archive is available to the public in read-only form, you must be a member of the group to participate in discussions. (Please see our Yahoo! FAQ for more information about how to sign up for this group and manage your message delivery settings.)

The lotr_community is a challenge community. Each month, a theme is posted, and members request an individual element to include in their challenge story. The challenge stories are all posted at the community, and will also be archived at Many Paths to Tread. You do not have to participate in the challenges, however, to be a member of the challenge community.

What are the posting requirements to share a story in Many Paths to Tread ?

We ask that members do their best to present their work in a coherent, professional manner. We understand that everyone makes mistakes, and we do not expect writers to become experts on grammar and usage, but--at the minimum--writing should be spellchecked and proofread for comprehension and grammar. Unless the writer has a good reason for doing otherwise, it should be organized into paragraphs and sentences--if prose--or into lines and stanzas if poetry. We do not require work to be reviewed or "beta'ed" but finding a good beta reader is a reasonable assurance that your work is in good shape for sharing on our site and community.

Stories must be based in the fictional writings of J.R.R. Tolkien. These would include The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and the various volumes of The History of Middle-earth. Although it has not so far arisen, it could also potentially include Tolkien's non-Arda fiction, such as Leaf by Niggle, Roverandom, Smith of Wooten-Major, etc.

We also accept stories based on Peter Jackson's film adaptation of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and crossovers with other fictional worlds as long as the characters and/or setting of Middle-earth play a major role in the story!

Do stories have to pass review to be included in the archive?


Does Many Paths to Tread accept work rated for adult audiences?

No. We consider Many Paths to Tread to be a "family friendly" site. Stories with the higher ratings of PG-13 and R are allowed, but come with a warning. Adult stories, or stories which would fall into the rating of NC-17, are not allowed. The highest rating we allow is R. If you are uncertain as to how to rate your story, please read our Ratings Guidelines.

How do I choose the correct ratings and warnings for my stories?

Please read the Ratings Guidelines first. Then, if you are still in any doubt whatsoever about your rating, please feel free to contact an admin for advice. It is always better to err on the safe side than to chance offending a parent or child.

What actions can I take if I feel that I am being harassed or "flamed" in Many Paths to Tread?

If you recieve a comment you find offensive, you may delete it yourself. If one person persists in making inflammatory comments to you, please let the admins know, and we will deal with it. We want to encourage positive feedback, and constructive criticism, but "flaming" will not be allowed.

If you are recieving frequent harassing remarks from one person, consider not deleting them until the mods have had a chance to see them. This will give us something to go on. A single "flame", however, may best be dealt with by you simply deleting it.

Are anonymous comments allowed on stories?

At this point in time, we are not allowing anonymous comments.

Can I delete my own comments on stories?

Yes. Each story contains a link to the comments on that story, formatted as [Reviews - X], where X is the number of comments on the story. Clicking either the word Reviews or the number will allow you to view all comments on the story.

Beneath each comment is a menu of options. Delete is one of those options. Simply click this link to delete the comment and choose Yes when asked if you wish to carry out this action.

Can I reply to my commenters?

Yes. Each story contains a link to the comments on that story, formatted as [Reviews - X], where X is the number of comments on the story. Clicking either the word Reviews or the number will allow you to view all comments on the story.

Beneath each comment is a menu of options. Respond is one of those options. Simply click this link to open up a block where you can write your response to the commenter. If the commenter has chosen to receive these responses in email, your reply will also be emailed to him or her.

Can I privately contact another Many Paths to Tread author?

Yes, each profile has a CONTACT link that will open up an email form. The member's email address is not revealed. It basically works like a PM system.

I have a lot of drabbles that I would like to post on the site. Should I post them all together in a single story or each as an individual story?

We do not require that all shorter stories be collected as a single story, though you are certainly free to do so if you like. Instead, we encourage you to use the "Series" option to collect stories of a similar theme or style.

What is the difference between a story and a series?

A story is a collection of chapters.

A series is a collection of stories.

A series may include stories by a single author or by multiple authors. Series may also be set so that only the author that creates it can add stories, or it can be set so that anyone may add to the series.

Series are useful for an author to collect all works in a particular story arc or concerning a single theme.

The character that I want is not on the drop-down menu. Can I have a character added to this list?

Yes. You will see on the drop-down a "character" named "ADMIN: New character needed". If you select that as a "character," an Admin will get in touch with you to find out which character you need. This will only apply to canon characters. We will not add Original Characters. Instead, you may select the option "Original Character Male" or "Original Character Female". If your OC is well known because you feature him/her, then you may mention the name in the summary.

The character lists are linked to the category that you choose for your story. For example, choosing "Silmarillion" as a category will populate the character list you can choose from with characters from The Silmarillion. Often, choosing the main source of your story as a category will populate the character list with the character you need.

Can we include images in our stories? What are the guidelines for using images on Many Paths to Tread?

Yes, you may include images. Banners or images that will appear on the summary are limited to no more than 150 pixels on a side and images that will appear in the body of the story are limited to 350 pixels on a side. Another option is to use "thumbnails" for images within a story, which readers can click on to see a larger version, or to include links which will lead to a picture stored on another site.

I am working on dial-up or a slow connection, and the site is taking a really long time to load. Is there a solution for that?

Yes. While our primary "skin"--or layout--is very image-intensive and will take a while to load on slower connections, we also offer a skin designed especially for users on dial-up or slower connections.

To change the skin that displays when you are logged into the site, click on the My Account link at the top-right corner of the page. This will open a list of options. Click the link to Edit Preferences. You will see a drop-down box label "Skin." From this list, choose Ainulindale, which is the low-bandwidth skin for the site, and click the Submit button at the bottom of the page. You will need to navigate to a new page to see the skin change take effect.

Will I be notified by email when I receive a comment on my story or an author replies to my comment?

You have a choice whether or not to receive email notifications when you receive a new comment on your story or an author replies to a comment that you've left. To start, this is automatically set to OFF, meaning that you will not be contacted unless you choose to be.

To change these settings, click on the My Account link and choose Edit Preferences. The first and second items on this page are, respectively, checkboxes to be notified by email of new comments on your stories and to be notified by email of author replies to comments you've left. Simply check the boxes if you want to receive email replies and click the Submit button at the bottom of the page.

Do I need to join the GFIC LiveJournal Community to read, post, and make comments on entries?

No. You may read and comment on any of the Challenge stories that are posted, and you may also request an element in any of the Challenges. However, only the mods may make announcement posts, or non-Challenge posts.

How do I join the GFIC LiveJournal Community?

If you have an LJ, simply friend the community lotr_community, and ask for membership. The mods will approve your membership. It's that simple.

If you do not have an LJ, you will have to set one up to become part of the LJ community.

How do I participate in the Monthly Challenges?

Simply watch the list for the announcement of each month's Challenge. If the theme appeals to you, comment on the announcement and ask for your element. If you have never participated in one of the challenges before, or it has been some time since you participated, you will need to give an email address to which your element may be sent.

When your story is finished, post it to lotr_community using the guidelines on the community's profile page. The story will not appear immediately, but will be put into the moderator's queue until the reveal date, at which time the mods will unlock your story to public view.

The Theme and Dates for each current challenge will be posted on the Archive's Calendar and also on Upcoming events. You may also check out past challenges either at lotr_community or on the Challenge page of the Archive. All stories are posted first at lotr_community, and then later here on Many Paths to Tread as a Series.

How do I join the Yahoo Group?

It’s easy. Simply visit our Homepage at this link and click on the button “Join this Group.”

You’ll be asked to write a little blurb about why you’d like to join and you will be directed to choose the type of email account you’d like from the listing on the page. The Moderators will receive your request shortly and validate your membership, and it usually doesn’t take more than a day. You’ll receive an email confirming your membership and containing information to guide you in getting started. We’d appreciate it if you’d visit the Homepage, introduce yourself to your fellow members, and take a look around at the many things our group has to offer, including Files filled with helpful information, Stories for your enjoyment, Links to LOTR related sites, Information for Authors, Photo albums with tons of pictures, Messages from the membership, Polls, and more! You will also find the email URL’s for the moderators, as well as a handy link to our Challenge Site on LJ!

Do I have to receive emails from the LOTR GFIC Yahoo Group if I join?

No, not unless you choose to do so. When you set up your membership you will be asked if you’d like to receive Individual Emails, a Daily Digest, Special Messages from the Mods, or nothing at all. You may also choose the format for your email: “Fully Featured” or “Traditional” and you can view a sample of each before deciding. Remember, you can always access all the group information simply by visiting the Homepage.

How do I change my email delivery settings?

At the top of the group Homepage, just above the heading LOTR GFIC, you will find the words “Edit Membership” beside your email address. Click on this and you’ll be taken to an area where you can edit your email and choices of message delivery.

How do I search for old messages in the Yahoo Group?

If you have the message number you can simply type that into the “Message #” box and you will be taken directly to that post. If you don’t know the number of the message you can type in some key words in the box marked “Search” located on any of the message pages. It works like any basic search engine on your computer.

What is your policy on off-topic (OT) messages on the Yahoo Group?

At the GFIC group, we consider our fellow members our friends. Therefore, it’s natural some OT conversation will spring up from time to time. We ask that members mark such messages as “OT” and use some discretion in keeping them to a minimum.

Am I allowed to promote my group on the LOTR GFIC Yahoo Group?

Possibly! The moderators request that you approach one of us first and tell us about the group you wish to promote on our site. Usually anything that is LOTR related is fine. However, we would like to be made aware of the content of any group you wish to share with our members beforehand. The nature of the GFIC group is general-rated fanfic and we may not be comfortable in allowing the promotion of sites that are far outside of our group’s basic philosophy, regardless of its relationship to LOTR.

May I promote/SSP my stories on the LOTR GFIC Yahoo Group?

The GFIC group welcomes your stories for our members to enjoy and provide you with feedback! Please, just remember to post only those stories that are appropriate to our group’s guidelines. Our Yahoo Group rating is G, PG, and PG13 ONLY! This archive is the only place our writers are permitted to place their R rated stories.

Do you allow--and should I make--an introduction post?

We encourage new members to introduce themselves! Please feel free to jump right into the conversation. We are a friendly and supportive place.

What's your policy on sharing adult-rated material and having adult-rated discussions?

As mentioned here earlier, the GFIC group does NOT ALLOW any adult rated material whatsoever! We ask that you keep all topics LOTR-centric and ratings appropriate! There are plenty of other places to have those types of discussions.

I just made my first post to the LOTR GFIC Yahoo Group. Why isn't it showing up right away?

Sometimes the posting doesn’t show up right away due to high volume use of Yahoo members. In addition, the first post of a new member to the GFIC group is always moderated. After you have posted for the first time, the restriction is removed. If a mod isn’t immediately available to approve your post it will not show up until we do.

Are my posts to the Yahoo Group visible to the public? Do I have to be a member of the Yahoo Group to read and participate in discussions there?

Only the posts that are currently on the Homepage are visible to the public. These can be seen by anyone visiting our group before requesting membership. You must be a member in order to access anything beyond whatever is showing on the Homepage. Otherwise, you will not be able to read the posts or participate in any discussion.

Have a question that you don't see here? Please feel free to contact us at any time at