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Squills 9/08/19 - 9/15/19



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Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:41 am
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Welcome to Squills, the official news bulletin of the Young Writers Society!
What will you find here? Tons of interesting news about YWS, including but not limited to: articles about writing, art, and the world of humanities; interviews with YWS members; shameless plugs; link round-ups; and opinionated columns.
And where will all of this come from? Take a look at our fantastic creative staff!

CREATIVE STAFF

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Editor-in-Chief
fraey

General Editors
EternalRain
LordWolf

Friendly Neighborhood Robot
SquillsBot

Literary Reporter
LordWolf

Community Reporter
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Creativity Reporter
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alliyah

Resources Reporter
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Social Correspondent
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General Reporters
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Ghost Reporters
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Of course, our content can’t come only from our staff. We also depend on you to help keep Squills successful. You’re all a part of a writing community, after all. If you’re interested in submitting to Squills, pop on over to the Reader’s Corner to find out how you can get involved by contributing an article or participating in other Squills activities.

You can apply to become a Squillian Journalist by submitting a sample article to SquillsBot today!

Well, that’s all I have for now. So, what are you waiting for? Enjoy!





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Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:43 am
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LMS INTERVIEW: LORDWOLF
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written by alliyah < PM: >

The next round of LMS or Last Man Standing is starting soon, in fact the deadline to sign up is September 23. If you haven't heard of LMS yet, you can read more about it's rules and how to sign up right here . But basically it's a weekly writing competition, where users sign up to try to write a certain number of words every week until, you guessed it, there's only one person left standing. @LordWolf is a bit of a veteran to LMS competitions, in fact they won the last round as the last person standing, and are competing again this time. I fought off the other reporters and caught them for an interview.

Squills: Why are you choosing to participate this round?


LordWolf: After being the last man standing during the previous round, I had certain revelations about what is necessary for a story to last in a round of LMS. I saw my competitors have stories that were so precisely planned out, and have actual ideas about where their plot was going. I, obviously, did not have any of those rational planning items going on. And even as I work on the second draft of that story, I have little clue about it than the basic worldbuilding. Having a nonsensical, very fluid plot worked well for me in being the last man standing but it did not work well for the process of finishing the project.

So to use some classic #NaNoWriMo lingo, I joined this round to see how being a planner over pantser would work for me.


S: How are you preparing for it to start?


L: The only form of planning that I have done so far is writing out my character profiles, three of which have been posted in my Writers Corner thread. I've always found that this part of planning sparks my brain more with the pressure to create significant details for a character's life and develop a believable description of their appearances. As time moves on, including a week before the round and all during, I will begin to plot out how to get to the major points of the story and what I want to accomplish that week.
I know how this story ends.
I just have to figure out how to get there.


S: What is this round's writing project about?


L: My project for this round is called "How Do You Plead?" and just a quick shout out to @TheSilverFox (a long time LMS participant), who helped me brainstorm the initial idea. That I kept all through May. And held on to through the summer. And rarely plotted for.
This project has the attached title of "How Do You Plead, Queenie Johnson?" And if you can not tell from that title, this novel involves a crime story. And it involves crime of many types on many levels, and maintains that perfect post World War II dramatic air. The combined fear, sarcasm, and cigarette smoke surrounding Detective Winslow Aquinas Smith is enough material to fill up at least a fifth of the story line.


S: Are you feeling worried, excited, prepared?


L: Simply said, I am worried as heck.
Not so simply said, all of the above.


S: Fair enough! What's your strategy for keeping up your writing every week going to be?


L: My strategy last year bounced between writing all one thousand words on day one or writing all one thousand words on the last day of the week. And while there are some people who slowly plot throughout the week, and go about the whole process in a particular matter, I choose the way of imminent destruction. You can reach your plot points in whatever way that you choose, as long as your target is reached by the end of the week.

Maybe it is possible for me to write gradually, but I prefer the method of sitting down, doing a quick summary of the week's plot, and placing everything from my mind on that page.


Thanks for the interview LordWolf, and for sharing some of your LMS secrets! I'll be curious to see where this project takes you.

Readers can check out LordWolf's last LMS project, "Delta" right here and browse the beginnings of their new project and that of the other competitors over in the Writer's Corner . Best of luck to everyone who is choosing to compete this time! If you have any questions about LMS, @Tenyo and @BlueAfrica would be good people to direct them towards.





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Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:45 am
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REVIEWERS SPEAK: REVMO
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written by ShadowVyper < PM: >

A week of RevMo has come and gone and the site has been buzzing with activity! Dozens of people have turned out to write hundreds of reviews (check out @alliyah's articles for some stats on this year's #RevMo ) and help whittle the Green Room down to a mere 26 works! With all the hype surrounding RevMo this year I decided to go out and interview the five users topping the Leaderboard so far this month. Give a warm welcome to @fraey, @Querencia, @Liberty, @mellifera, and @Tuckster!

Squills: What are you most excited for about RevMo?


Fraey: For this year’s RevMo, I am most excited for just about everything, actually. I’ve been looking forward to this all year long, and I am having so much fun diving back into the “Old Green Room” or the backlogged works section with the forums posts all the way from 2004. It’s a whole lotta fun to see other people get all into reviewing and be able to spread some reviewing magic!

Querencia: I’m really into the colored names! Especially because I reached cyan already, and it feels really rewarding. But also, I have a lot of hefty reading to do for college (which can be a bit tiring), so I’ve really been looking forward to reading all these amazing stories and poems here on YWS!

Liberty: The most exciting thing that I'm hoping to see is the Empty Green Room. I've never seen it empty, so it'd be really cool to see nothing in there. Another thing is the Checklist Challenge. I've done all of the challenges so... I'll get that prize and I'm pretty hyped. Anyway, it is my first RevMo.

mellifera: I have two big motivations when it comes to reviewing: following novels, and RevMo! Generally, when I have something to work towards, it really gets me inspired to accomplish it, so RevMo is my time to shine as far as reviewing goes. Plus, the general excitement around the site, and seeing so many people getting engaged and helping out everyone else is really awesome to see!

Tuckster: I'm super excited for all the colored usernames at the weekly checkpoints! I participated in RevMo in 2017 and I remember how exciting it was to have a gold username, so the usernames are definitely a big motivation for me and also help to keep me on track so I don't end up procrastinating. Beyond that, I'm also excited to see how everyone encourages each other to keep up reviewing and how this event has sparked more reviewing on the site. Colored usernames are awesome, but what RevMo is really about is helping other users by giving them quality reviews.

S: What are your goals for RevMo?

F: The moment the colors were announced, I knew I had to go for the gold color; one part because I remember the color wars and how obnoxiously awesome the color looked back then, and a second part because I finished RevMo last year so I might as well finish it this year as well. Here’s to hoping I hit 50 this year as well!

Q: My initial goal was to write 52 reviews so that I can get the fancy gold color and my next review star. I’m also participating in the checklist challenge, which is fun and sometimes a little tricky! And lastly, I started reading mellifera’s The Hero’s Brother, and I want to keep reviewing that throughout the month.

L: I had a bunch of goals but I haven't mentioned all of 'em in the reiew month goals hashtag. 1) To get my username changed to at least cyan. 2) To complete the checklist challenge. 3) To get my 5th review star. 4) To get my Knighthood, Sword and Shield in the KotGR. I've done the first three goals already, so I'm pretty proud of myself for that. That last one... I'm getting there, lol. I'm also aiming for Team Tortoise.

M: Last year, I got through Team Tortoise and got a pretty sweet username colour. This year, I wanted to go a little further for the first username colour! I want to go for Team Tortoise again as far as RevMo goes. I already completed the checklist challenge (which was actually really helpful for those first fifteen reviews! Again, I get super motivated when I have something to work towards). Getting my fifth star is my ultimate goal for this month!

T: My big goal for RevMo is to hit 50 reviews and stay in Team Tortoise. The usernames have definitely helped motivate me for that. I would also love to finish alliyah's checklist challenge -- I've had a lot of fun completing that so far, and it's given me ideas for things to review! But ultimately, my goal whenever I sit down and write a review is to help the author, so even if I only write 49 reviews and drop out of Team Tortoise, if I'm able to provide authors with quality feedback, I'll be happy.

Thanks for the interview everyone, and for sharing some of your excitement for RevMo!

Check back in next week to see who the Top Five of Week Two are and share in their trials and triumphs! And who knows? It could even be you up here next time! Happy reviewing!





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Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:47 am
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REVMO STATS UPDATE
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written by alliyah < PM: >

So RevMo has begun! And so far it's off to an energetic start. For those who haven't heard, RevMo is short for Review Month, which has been taking YWS by storm this September.

Every week you can join me here at Squills for your quick weekly update, but in order to get the most recent information on RevMo make sure to join the RevMo Club or take a look over at the September Leaderboards which are updated more regularly.

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Our overall site goal this year is 1000 reviews! And so far we've made quite a dent in that goal. At the time that this article was being written Sunday morning we were at nearly 275 reviews so far written by 41 RevMo participants. That's a lot of reviews! 275 puts us at a bit more than a quarter of the ways to our goal of 1000 reviews, which is right on track for the end of the first week.

This week along with the overall goal of 1000 reviews, several members challenges themselves with the Color Challenge . Each week there's another chance to meet one of the review goal sets and earn a new username color. The first benchmark was set at 15 reviews which required writing an average of over 2 reviews a day to get to! By the end of the week, 7 members had met that first goal earning beautiful (if not a bit blinding) cyan usernames - those users were @fraey, @Liberty, @mellifera, @Magestorrow, @Querencia, @alliyah, @Asith, and @Tuckster. The next goal mark is for 30 reviews which could win our victors an indigo username. If you weren't able to meet that many reviews this week, get your game plan together, and try again now, each week is another chance to meet one of those review benchmarks, and anyone with 15 or more reviews by the 14th will have one of those cool username colors.

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Along with the Color Challenge, I've been over in the RevMo forums hosting a new challenge for this year called the Checklist Challenge . Like the Color Challenge, the grand prize also requires 15 non-spam reviews. Unlike the Color Challenge though, each review has a special requirement. It's a bit like a scavenger hunt to find the works that will count towards the challenge that you'd like to review. But if you complete all 15 Challenges the prizes are pretty great (if I do say so myself!). You can earn 1000 points, 2 reviews for your work, and *drum roll please* a congratulatory avatar! So if any of that interests you, or you'd just like a little extra motivation to get in some reviews, and push yourself during RevMo, definitely stop over to the information thread in the forums. So far we have 8 people competing, and Liberty has actually already completed all 15 challenges! Way to go Lib!

And a last statistical update for your RevMo numbers, this month we have 11 users who are in the running for Team Tortoise. That means so far in September they've succeeded in writing at least one review, every single day. That takes a lot of review commitment and discipline. Still in for Team Tortoise are Querencia, Liberty, Tuckster, alliyah, fraey, mellifera, Asith, @FlamingPhoenix, @JabberHut, @Panikos, and @Dreamy. If those in Team Tortoise succeed in making it with a review every day for the whole month, they'll actually also be able to earn their own cool username color. In fact it's not just any color, but the rumor is, it's dark cyan! Now if that doesn't motivate you to review every day, I'm not sure what will! Dark Cyan afterall is The Ultimate Color .

Well that's all the updates we have at this juncture. If you haven't joined into Review Month yet, it's not too late to jump in. Even adding 1 review will help us to reach that site-wide goal of 1000 reviews. Thanks for reading, see you here again next week!





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Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:48 am
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QUEER VOICES: CUT THE SUFFERING
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written by LordStar< PM: >

For years, queer and trans people have been pushing for proper representation in all kinds of media, from TV to film to books to comics. And in recent years, our community has seen strides in this endeveor; there's just one problem.

Every story about us portrays us as miserable for being who we are, or kills us off.

Killing us off is so common, in fact, that it's become its own trope - the "bury your gays" trope, as it's called. It's so common for gay (or trans) characters to be killed off - for instance, Lexa of The 100, or Adam on Degrassi, who were both openly queer/trans and were killed off for really no good reason.

The problem people run into when writing queer characters, especially if the writer themselves isn't queer, is that they make the story all about queerness. You can have a queer story without the queer character's story focusing on them being queer. You can make being queer just another part of them - like having green eyes, or black skin. You don't have to focus on the character suffering because they're queer, which is what a lot of media tends to portray.

The truth is that a lot of queer people are happy being queer. I know plenty of people who have trans pride, bi pride, gay pride. We, as a collective community, are proud of who we are and how far we've come. That's why we have parades and festivals - to celebrate that we are who we are, to forget about our suffering, to focus on the positives.

So when the only representation we see of ourselves is being miserable or being killed or being abused or traumatized, it's disheartening. It sends a very clear message to those struggling or still in the closet; you will be punished by the Universe for who you are. And when you're growing up as a queer kid, no matter what environment you're in, having that ingrained in you through the media you consume is terrifying. You become terrified of who you are.

So, this week's queer column advice is to write queer characters, not queer stories. Do not make us all about suffering, and trauma - or do, but do not make our queerness the origin of our suffering. Being queer is just another part of who we are, and that translates into our characters just as much.

If you have any questions regarding the do's and dont's of writing queer/trans characters, check out the Enby/Trans Education Hour club or drop a line by me at The Basement

Until next time, folks.





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Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:49 am
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WHO WORE IT BEST: REVMO AVATAR EDITION
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written by alliyah < PM: >

You may have noticed, this week that several users got a serious wardrobe update. And I'm not talking about clothes, I'm talking about username colors! Because of the RevMo Color Challenge , 8 usernames were given a fresh coat of cyan paint. One of my favorite parts of Review Month is coordinating my changing username color to my avatar color and profile look, let's be honest, this is one of main motivations for participating in Review Month. At the very least it does bring an unexpected look to the site to see people marching around in username colors that aren't their usual shades. By the looks of it though I'm not the only one that enjoys username color coordination, so this week I thought we'd take a look at some of those users who decided to freshen up their avatar on behalf of Review Month.

First off we have the lovely @Magestorrow, who is often seen with an array of different animated characters as her avatar. This week she's updated to this sharp pastel guy, whose light aqua-green background really compliments the cyan username really well. While the colors aren't an exact match, they are definitely complimentary, and the fun character seems to hit just the same mood as the bright color.
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Next we have @Tuckster, who brought out one of their classic wolf avatars for this color change, which actually has these very striking cyan lines running through it. This avatar is a bit more on the adventurous side, and is a perfect match to that cyan name.
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Next up, we have a surprising change that needs to be put on our radar! @Querencia, who is not known for changing avatars often, but can often be seen around the people tab sporting a joyful little puffin avatar, has changed it up for Review Month! That's right, don't be fooled, this truly is Querencia sporting an elegant light blue rose for an avatar, while this avatar would really coordinate perfectly with the usual user blue color Querencia is generally in the bold lime junior moderator username color, so this is a delightful nod to the username color change for RevMo.
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TREND ALERT


Now next I want to do a quick side by side comparison. A very popular trend this season seems to be the celestial-night-sky imagery, while especially popular to use as background on profile pages, it also is a striking theme for an avatar. And I must say it goes off just perfectly with that bright cyan color!

Using a celestial avatar this season with their newly cyan usernames are both @mellifera and the new user @Asith. Both avatars share a little different color scheme along with the dark silhouette of someone admiring the night sky. In my opinion both of these avatars are really pretty, and you should absolutely click on their profiles to see the full effect - the coordination from the background, to the avatar, to the username is really well done.

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Not every user is a fan of this cyan color, there were a few users on the People Tab, that found the color to be blinding and difficult to read. And while it is a nice change for a while, I'd have to say I sort of agree with the hard-to-read assessment and am glad it's not one of our usual username colors.

If you liked any of the avatars above, make sure to congratulate the user on their RevMo participation and coordination. Now if you have an avatar either currently on your profile or in your closet that you think would be the perfect compliment to this bright and blinding cyan color, there's still time to check out the Color Challenge and get in your 15 Reviews by the end of the month.

Also if you see any profiles out there that you think deserve a shout-out please let me know by sending me a PM, leaving a note on my wall, or stopping over to my office at the Squills Newsroom .





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SHAMELESS PLUGS
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written by SquillsBot < PM: >

We love to run articles and questions, but we also love to advertise for you. Let people know about your new blog, a poem or story you’re looking for reviews on, or a forum thread you’d like more traffic on through Squills’ Shameless Plugs. PM @SquillsBot with the exact formatting of your advertisement, contained in the following code.

Code: Select all
Place advertisement here. Make sure you include a title!

And now for this week's Shameless Plugs!


Submit to Queer as In F*** You!

QAIFY is an alternative compzine that is going to be published physically and digitally every month starting in August, and is currently accepting submissions. August's theme is Exit, Kindly, although submissions can range anywhere in topic from feminism, punk, identity, queerness, womanhood, social justice, or just experimental. QAIFY accepts poetry, short essays, serialized novels and short stories, articles and art such as collages, drawings, paintings, and photography.

Send submissions as a word document, .jpg, or .pdf file to queerasineffyou.zine@gmail.com.......... before August 31 to be considered for publication in August's issue. While you're at it, follow the zine on twitter and tumblr and look out for the official website soon!


Review Rampage

Do you like competitions? Do you like easy ways to make extra points? Then read on!

The #ReviewRampage is a competition hosted by @ShadowVyper and @Omnom that is a Go-At-Your-Own-Pace review challenge. You set your own review goals and wagers, then race against time to see if you can get done in time. Or, for the more competitive spirits out there, you can also duel against your fellow Rampagers.

Go check out the Q&A Forum for more information and then head on over to the Entry Forum to claim your place as a Rampager.

Get your Rampage on!


~~~



Want to be a part of Squills, the YWS newsletter? Perfect! We want you. You can find more information here, and you can apply now by sending a sample article to SquillsBot's PM.

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With Review Month here and the Great Hall officially re-opened it is a perfect time to join the Knights of the Green Room. If you enjoy reviewing, this is the group for you!

For more information: KotGR Information
To declare you interest: Declare in the Great Hall .
If you have questions: Send a PM to Captain of the Guard Jack (@LordWolf) or Court Magician Knight Alliyah (@alliyah).


That's all folks~ Now send us yours.





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SUBSCRIBERS
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written by SquillsBot < PM: >

Find an enspoiler-ed a list of our subscribers!
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