J.R.R. Tolkien wrote a fair amount in The Lord of the Rings universe—over 500,000 words in the initial trilogy, another 225,000 between The Silmarillion and The Hobbit, and more besides. Those numbers aren’t anything to sneeze at, but two LoTR fanfic writers have sailed right past that word count and currently have a 5.6-million-word story on Archive of Our Own that, according to the writers, still has a least a couple million words to go.
Slate recently interviewed the two authors—Stevie Barry and AnnEllspethRaven—about how their collaboration started and what their epic fanfic tale is all about.
Their shared tale is called At the Edge of Lasg’len, and focuses on the original character Earlene, a human from contemporary times who travels to Ireland and ends up entangled with Tolkien’s Wood Elves. Barry was writing her own Hobbit fanfics when she connected with Ann, who had read one of her stories. At first Barry just provided Ann some help with “accent or dialogue,” but the two soon began collaborating in earnest, with Barry working on the human characters and Ann focusing on the elven parts of the story.
The two have been writing Lasg’len for more than five years, and the story is currently one of the longest on Archive of Our Own. It wasn’t and isn’t Ann and Barry’s intent to create the longest fanfic, however—their focus is on continuing to post their episodic installments and to complete their arc, which is to writing an ending to Ainulindalë, Tolkien’s song of creation that he wrote about in The Silmarillion.