If you find yourself with a burning desire to write or want to light that desire again, here are a few challenging plots to spark your inspiration.
A Canonical Bamf Story
In The Lost Road there is an interesting tidbit about Ælfwine of England. Show us his story.
A Different Fellowship
Nine members in the Company of the Ring, but not the nine members that set out from Rivendell. Elrond bars Merry and Pippin from joining the Fellowship and sends them home to Hobbiton to warn the Hobbits of the coming danger. Two characters must take their place, and they will be of Elrond's household. Show me who is chosen and why. Show me the Hobbit's reaction to Merry and Pippin's return and ill news. Show me how the plot changes with different characters in the Fellowship. Will Gandalf become white? Will Boromir die? Will Saruman be over-thrown? Will Aragorn become king? Will the Fellowship succeed?
In the Unfinished Tales, there's an interesting snippet about a Noldorin Elf named Enerdhil living in Gondolin.
There was in Gondolin a jewel-smith named Enerdhil, the greatest of that craft among the Noldor after the death of Fëanor. Enerdhil loved all green things that grew, and his greatest joy was to see the sunlight through the leaves of the trees. And it came into his heart to make a jewel within which the clear light of the sun should be imprisoned, but the jewel should be green as leaves. And he made this thing, and even the Noldor marveled at it. For it is said that those who looked through this stone saw that were withered or burned healed again or as they were in the grace of their youth, and that the hands of one who held it brought to all that they touched healing from hurt.(Unfinished Tales 248-51)
Show me this jewel-smith's life, from a childhood in Valinor, to banishment in Gondolin, to his making of the Elessar, to his death in the fall of Gondolin.
First there were Nine; then there were Eight; then there were Nine again.
Galadriel and Celeborn look upon the dwindled Fellowship and say, "There needs to be another to fulfill the number nine." So, Galadriel chooses a mighty, ambitious, Noldorin warrior and instructs him to watch over the Fellowship and more importantly, to watch over the One Ring. His ambition and desire to do his duty makes him easy pray for the One Ring, which makes him believe that Galadriel wants him to collect the One Ring and bring it back to Galadriel for safe-keeping. What happens next?
The Forgotten Queen
In the Unfinished Tales there is an intriguing snippet about a forgotten Queen of Gondor:
Even the story of Queen Berúthiel does exist, however, if only in a very 'primitive' outline, in one part illegible. She was a nefarious, solitary, and loveless wife of Tarannon, the twelfth King of Gondor (Third Age 830-913) and first of the 'Ship-kings', who took the crown in the name of Falastur 'Lord of the Coasts', and was the first childless king (The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, i, ii, and iv). Berúthiel lived in the King's House in Osgiliath, hating the sounds and smells of the sea and the house that Tarannon built below Pelargir 'upon arches whose feet stood deep in the wide waters of Ethir Anduin'; she hated all making, all colours and elaborate adornment, wearing only black and silver and living in bare chambers, and the garden of the house in Osgiliath were filled with tormented sculptures beneath cypresses and yews. She had nine black cats and one white, her slaves, with whom she conversed, or read their memories, setting them to discover all of the dark secrets of Gondor, so that she knew those things 'that men wished most to keep hidden', setting the white cat to spy upon the black and tormenting them. No man in Gondor dared touch them; all were afraid of them and cursed when they saw them pass. What follows is almost wholly illegible in the unique manuscript, except for the ending, which states that her name was erased from the Book of Kings ('but the memory of men is not wholly shut in books, and the cats of Queen Berúthiel never passed wholly out of men's speech.'), and that King Tarannon had her set on a ship alone with her cats and set adrift on the sea before a north wind. The ship was last seen flying past Umbar under a sickle moon, with a cat at the masthead and another as a figurehead on the prow.(Unfinished Tales 401-2)
Show me her story; from her childhood to the time she married King Tarannon to her sad departure. Help us get to know this cold, lost Queen.
Frodo the Nazgûl and the Ten Walkers
The ringwraith stabs Frodo but doesn't miss his heart. Sam manages to get the Ring to safety, but Frodo now is the Tenth wraith. Sam takes the quest. Show me who joins the fellowship to fulfill the number ten; (remember, now you have two places to fill) show me how the plot of the story changes; show me the hobbits' reaction to the loss of Frodo; show me the change Frodo goes through as he becomes a slave of Sauron.
A Gondorian Success Story
A young man, named Damrod, who lives on the streets of Gondor as a beggar and a pickpocket answers the cry to war and becomes a soldier. Show me Gondor's low-life, show me his struggles and growth as a responsible citizen of Gondor; show me how he pulls his life from the gutter to become one of the guards of Frodo and Sam during their stay in Heneth Annûn.
A Good Dragon
Dragons are Maiar that chose to serve Morgoth, and they occupy powerful bodies made for the destruction of Morgoth's enemies. As a Maia can choose his or her master, what if a Maia switches sides again? Why would the Maia make this choice? Show me how he or she comes to this conclusion, how he or she re-enters the song of the Valar, if he or she succeeds or is cast into the void.
There are more Half-elves than the children of Lúthien and Beren, Tuor and Idril, and Aragorn and Arwen. There is also a romance of the Silvan Elf, Mithrellas and a Númenorian Man, Imrazôr.
Mithrellas was part of a group of Elf maids accompanying Nimrodel when they got lost in the woods near the coast. Imrazôr sheltered them and fell in love with Mithrellas. The maids traveled on, but Mithrellas stayed behind and married Imrazôr. After she had two mortal children, a boy named Galador and a girl named Gilmith, she realized that they would all die and leave her in utter loneliness. She slipped away from them one night and ran far away, to lie beneath a tree and die in her despair. Show me that story.
Watch-Stone, The Faithful Stone
In the Unfinished Tales, there is an interesting section on the Drúedain. They can make statues so lifelike that they can be mistaken for real people. They are also able to put a bit of themselves into these stones to make them act as real guards, able to physically defend a house. Unfortunately, what harms the watch-stone harms the watch-stone's maker. Show me a story about one such watch-stone.