The Last Homely Herald: What is is it?
Our goal is simple: publish the Herald each month. The Last Homely Herald is the
newsletter of the Plaza Kingdom of Rivendell. It reports on the news of that kingdom, and
tries to be representative of the interests and activities of that kingdom.
The editors’ view of that kingdom strongly influences how we present it. With
Lae’s blessing, I added a “spin” to the paper: I present it as a
“chronicle” or account of the goings-on and interests of Rivendell’s
Elves, told from their perspective, and modelled on Bilbo’s Book in appearance. In
other words, we strongly encourage contributors to write from the point of view of
inhabitants of Middle-earth describing their “world”. However, we
recognize that the Kingdom of Rivendell is not entirely set in Tolkien’s
world, and that there are OOC aspects to the plaza which can only be reported in an OOC
The Threefold Goal of the Press
Being a bard, I believe the paper (and bards) serve three purposes. They must
inform the reader about the topic, not necessarily covering every aspect, but
covering enough to give the reader a basic understanding of it. Articles must
entertain a reader so she’ll keep reading. Ideally, articles also
inspire/teach the reader, not just telling her what is, but what could
be. That’s why I ask contributors to write as if they were in ME—
hoping to inspire them, and readers, to embrace more fully the ME environment.
What are we trying to cover?
- Current events in the Kingdom, including RPGs, important news, special events,
and current activities: this is the basic car. “Optionals and extras”
- IC stuff: interesting articles which bring to life Tolkien’s Elves, not only to
reflect the heart and soul of the kingdom as it is, but to steer people that way
- The creative talents of Rivendell’s members
- Other aspects of the plaza of interest or relevent to our members
- Things which will entertain our readers: humor, puzzles, games, etc
Who is our target audience?
First and foremost, the members of Rivendell. Secondly, the rest of the plaza: I am
constantly trying to explode the idea that Rivendell is a place where people are goofy and
“foo-foo”. Thirdly, newbies. The Herald can be a valuable road map for
them, explaining and attracting them to various kingdom activities.
Who are our writers?
Members of Rivendell. We seek 1) good writers familiar with the topics, so that we can get
well-written articles and 2) to represent our kingdom’s population and give
everyone a chance to contribute.
What do we look for in an article?
Something which “brings to life” the topic giving enough relevent
detail that even newbie readers can understand and visualize the activity or topic. Again,
my three goals are “informative, entertaining, inspiring”. We are
not looking for generic praise. We get a lot of “it’s really
neat” or “this is an interesting topic” or “everyone should
join!” filler that doesn’t, in fact, inform the reader, and is boring to read.
It’s like saying ROTK is “cool” instead of describing exactly what
about the battle scenes were astounding.
Finally, we treasure brevity, even if I don’t have it. One paragraph for monthly
reports, if at all possible, one to three for other things, more if absolutely necessary.
How much editing do we do, and/or what is unacceptable?
I rewrite sentences, cut chunks that are boring and uninformitive, fix capitalization and
grammar, and occasionally insert a bit of vital information that wasn’t there. I
probably shouldn’t do the latter. What’s unacceptable is raw material
lacking the content and information needed to cover the topic, since even rewriting
can’t fill in those holes. If it’s so badly-written we’d have to rewrite
most of it, that’s no good. If it looks like the author might be able to improve with
guidance, I email them back, otherwise I must decide whether the article is a “must
have”, in which case I farm it to someone I trust, or whether it’s
Many thanks to Tinw for the writeup.