Guidelines for starting a Discussion Group of The Mythopoeic Society (1996)

Guidelines for starting a Discussion Group of
The Mythopoeic Society

The following are suggestions based on the experiences of some established Discussion Groups (DG’s).

Getting Started:

The key is to advertise! Make up flyers telling about your DG and put them in libraries, stores, schools, etc. The flyer should attract the attention of fantasy and Tolkien enthusiasts. Slogans like “COME AND JOIN US IN MIDDLE-EARTH!” are good. Be sure to give a name, address and phone number, as well as the date of your first meeting, and the topic if you have one. Send in your group’s name, location, and any meeting information to the Mythopoeic Society ahead of time so that we may help send people your way.


A general fantasy topic, such as “Dragons” or a popular book like The Hobbit, is best for a first meeting. After that, topics are usually chosen by a vote of your members. Always try to choose a book that can be found and read before the next meeting. It is best to discuss The Lord of the Rings in sections or thematically. There should be a moderator for each meeting to help keep the discussion running smoothly. Some DG’s have the same moderator for all meetings; others alternate among the members, or bring in special guest moderators. Some groups elect a secretary who writes up meeting reports and sends these and meeting dates and locations to Mythprint, and/or the Discussion Group Secretary. A refreshment fund treasurer may be chosen as well, although each group decides what sort of organization and officers it will have. Traditionally, monthly meetings have been held in members’ homes, but some groups have also been successful in meeting in library or school rooms.
Basic regulations:

We request that your DG does not use our name for political, commercial or profit-making ventures, since we are a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. We are not responsible for the actions, activities, funds or debts of any DG.

*Discussion Topics are up to you, though if you are not interested in discussing the Inklings (J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams) and/or fantasy literature as a core, perhaps you are affiliating with the wrong Society?

*Your Name is also your choice, though we request that you pick a name not currently used by another active DG, at least for use in the Society (in Mythprint or Mything Persons, or at Mythcon, for example).
Group benefits:

*Free publication of meeting information and other activities in Mythprint. Please send this information at least two months in advance of the actual activity date (see Mythprint for deadlines).

*Referrals. The Society will refer any interested people in your area to you.

*Listings. The Society will list your group and contact address, along with other active DGs and clubs in the Directory (Mything Persons) and in its Activity Calendar inMythprint. and its WorldWideWeb homepages.

*Use of the Mythopoeic Society name as a sponsor in your advertising.

*The right to display a Banner of your choice (and making) at Mythcons and other Mythopoeic activities. Carrying and displaying a banner in the Opening Ceremonies and Procession at Mythcon is a tradition for the Discussion Groups at Mythcons.

*Becoming part of an international network of “mythopoeic” friends and groups, for support and counsel.

The Mythopoeic Society, P.O. Box 6707, Altadena, CA 91001 USA.

adapted 9/86 from Lisa Cowan’s ’79 update to Sherwood Smith’s original. rev. 3/96. –ddl