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Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:34 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


Spoiler! :
Editor-in-Chief
Hannah

General Editor
ShadowVyper

Friendly Neighborhood Robot
SquillsBot

Friendly Neighborhood Cow
CowLogic

Literary Reporter
JamesHunt

Community Reporter
Available - PM SquillsBot if interested

Resources Reporter
Tenyo

Storybook Reporter
AfterTheStorm

Link Cowgirl
megsug

Poetry Enchantress
Aley

The Adventurer
BlueAfrica

Quibbles Columnist
Available - PM SquillsBot if interested

Social Correspondent
ShadowVyper

Associates of Pruno and Gruno
Blackwood
defyingravity01

Media Critic
Kanome

Code Master
Avalon

General Reporters
OliveDreams
ArcticMonkey
whitewolfpuppy
AriaAdams
defyingravity01
JamesHunt

Past Editors-in-Chief
GriffinKeeper
AlfredSymon
Iggy


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.

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





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Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:35 am
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YWS's MAKEOVER REACTION
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written by ArcticMonkey  < PM: >

 You may have noticed that recently, YWS has had a bit of a makeover. We’ve gotten a new font for the header and a fancy new footer. On the right hand side of that footer, you can see the return of some generators which were previously on the site. The generators include a name generator and a Shakespearean insult generator. If you haven't noticed, well what are you waiting for? Scroll up, then down, and then back to this article. 

 So, I thought I should get the reactions of a few members on these new site changes. This is what a few members have said about the new footer:

@Deanie says,

 

       
I like it! Especially the count of literary works/reviews. And easy access to forums. 

   

I agree, seeing the count of literary works and reviews really shows how much the site has grown up. As I'm writing this article, the current count is 76,949 Literary Works • 388,041 Reviews. I wonder how much it will have risen by when this article is published!

@Noelle says,



       
I  like it. It's nice to be able to navigate the site whether you're at  the top of the page or the bottom. And it's nice to have old things back  like the Story Theme Generator and the Word Cloud.

   


The generators are super cool and also really helpful. I personally find the Story Theme Generator really helpful as a warm-up prompt generator before I start writing something long. I haven't been brave enough to base an entire story around one. Let us know in the Squills Fan Club if you have!

Finding the perfect name for your characters always proves to be really difficult. The Name Generator makes that a lot easier. @Zontafer says,



       
The Name Generator seems  helpful when you're stuck on a character without a name. Especially if  you're doing a Harry Potter Fan-fic!

   


@Wolfare1 says,



       
The generators are all really interesting and just fun to mess around with. Especially the Shakespearean insults one.

   


If you haven't already, make sure you check out all the new features of the new footer, because they are really helpful. You will find relevant pages about YWS, the forums, literary works, as well as a list of resources, which not only includes the generators, but also links to the Knowledge Base for some excellent writing tips. Do you have any comments about the changes? Share them in the Squills Fan Club !





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Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:36 am
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HOT SEAT: FORTIS
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written by Aley  < PM: >

This week for our Hot Seat, we have @fortis! Fortis got into the Literary Spotlight for multiple days, first with the work If Beds Could Talk and then later in the week with colors of insomnia . These two works were both short, sweet, and to the point, which makes them fun and enjoyable. Of the two, "If Beds Could Talk" is the more popular with 26 votes as opposed to "colors of insomnia" which has 15, though 15 likes is still a masterful achievement.

In order to learn more about these works, and how they wiggled their way into our headlines, I tracked down @fortis for an interview. Here is what @fortis had to say.


Squills: So, you've had two works recently that were in the spotlight. The first was titled "If Beds Could Talk". Can you give us a brief summary of the poem?


Fortis: It's basically what a child's bed would say if they could talk. Straightforward, really.   
   

S: And what is your impression of why so many people enjoyed the work?


F: Well it was simple and easy to read. Also some people like rhyming poetry like this, and there isn't a ton of that on YWS. It's also easy to understand. It doesn't have some deep metaphor that takes an hour trying to figure out. That's what I think anyway.

      
S: Speaking of time, how long did it take to produce the poem?


F: About as long as it takes to type it out. I just had an inspirational thought of "pillows are not tattle tales" and then the poem just kind of poured out of my fingers.

S: That's really cool. Did you have a similar experience with "colors of insomnia"?


F: Yes, it was very similar. It was late, and I was trying to sleep, but I couldn't. I could tell I needed to write something, so I turned on my reading light again and got out my pen and notebook. The one line that was running through my mind was "I need to sleep," so that became the beginning line of the poem. It all spiraled out from there.

S: Can you give our readers a brief summary of "colors of insomnia?"


F: It's about someone who knows they have to get sleep, but then remembers that great artists of the past painted the night sky a lot, and to do that they had to miss sleep as well.

S: What does it feel like to have two works in the Literary Spotlight so close to one another?


F: Um... honestly? I was kind of annoyed seeing "if beds could talk" up there so long. I don't think that's one of my best poems, and I know there are at least three better ones in the green room right now. And I didn't actually notice that "colors of insomnia" came into the lit. spotlight until you started talking to me. 

S: So why do you think your works are in the spotlight and not the works you think are better?


F: I think these poems got up there because they're easy to read, rather short, and easy to understand, unlike my other poems which are usually significantly longer.

In conclusion, we hope everyone reads and likes a lot of literary works, because there are still some really good ones out there! As for writing, whether it's a quick nursery poem, or just a sleepless night, maybe you’ll find your big inspiration today.

Here's to hoping you'll be in the Hot Seat next.





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Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:37 am
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ADOPT A NOVEL PRESENTS: THE EDITING COMPETITION
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written by BlueAfrica < PM: >

If you’ve been around the site recently, you’ve probably seen publicity for the Editing Competition, hosted by the Adopt a Novel club. As the competition drew to a close this Tuesday, I interviewed club creator @Aley to learn about the behind-the-scenes aspects of the contest.

Squills: Thanks for joining us this evening! What inspired the Editing Competition?


Aley: @Clarity and I wanted to make a competition to advertise Adopt a Novel more around the site, so we came up with the idea basically just talking about things we like to see. Editing is an important part of writing, so we hoped to encourage people to edit as well as write.

S: 
Now that the competition has officially closed, can you give us an idea as to the criteria that will be used in judging? What aspects of editing or revision are most important to the judges in their evaluation of the entries??/b]


[b]A: The edits we’re going to be looking for fall under three categories, and hopefully all entries have all three categories of edits. Basically, it boils down to the two extremes—surface edits and big picture edits—with a middle category that’s the grey area between the two. Honestly, our main objective as judges is to see who improved their piece the most with editing.

   
S: Do you think it will be difficult, as judges, to keep focused on the overall improvement of quality rather than which piece you enjoy the most subjectively? For example, if a judge prefers reading fantasy, do you think she'll be able to separate herself from that preference enough to judge improvement in all pieces equally, even non-fantasy genres?


A: Yes. Part of the judging process is to create a base that's diverse enough to not have everyone with the same biases, just to avoid that problem. I'm hoping to find a time to get all of the judges in one room to duke it out, so to speak, about which piece actually has the best merit. Since it's unlikely to actually happen, I'm having the judges send me a persuasive statement with their top choice.

S: Can you let our readers know when to expect the results of judging?


A: Unfortunately I cannot. The results will be trickling in slowly on my end with people having finals, away on vacation, and stuff such as that. I don't know when we'll get all of the discussion done after that point, or if the results will be clear. What I can tell you is I hope to get a good portion of the judging done by the end of the week, to early next week, but I'm not sure when people will have time.

I’d like to add a brief explanation of the editing styles we’re looking for, in a little more detail than earlier, if I may.


S: Please do.


A: Editing is tricky. There are multiple levels at which you can edit, and each one can change the rest of them. What we’ll be counting as basic edits will be things like sentence structure, words here and there, stuff like that. What we’re hoping to see is that people have taken this opportunity to do more than just that, though. We want to see improvements in character, point of view, development of plot, and those major edits as well.

S: Basically, things that would be seen in a nitpicky review versus things that might be seen in more of an overview/overall impression kind of review.


A: Kind of, yes. It's more than just an overview though, because things like character, setting, and plot can make a story. Adding in quirks for a character, or changing major elements like that is what's going to win this competition. After all, sentences and punctuation change very frequently every draft. Until the walls are where you want them, don't sweep up the floor. You'll just get it dirty again.

S: Is there anything else you’d like to say about the competition?


A: I was disappointed to see that none of the competitors entered multiple drafts. If we do this again, which we might, then we're going to have to revamp the rules enough to let them know that you can submit as many drafts of the same section as you want to show the process of editing. Still, it does cut back on the reading the judges have to do.

S: It would be interesting to see the process, particularly as shown by multiple people who might have very different styles of editing. Well, that’s all the questions I have for you tonight. Thanks so much for joining us, and we hope to hear from you again when the results are in!


Watch for the results of Adopt a Novel’s Editing Competition.
Be sure to check out the Adopt a Novel club!

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HOW TO WRITE A HOW TO
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written by Defyingravity01  < PM: >

Hello my fellow How To-ers! 
I’ve seen so many awesome How Tos on this site, typically in the satire form. So I thought it might be time to talk to all of you folks who haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet and teach you all how to write a How To.

Step 1: Pick A Topic.  
The topic could be anything but really it should be something you’re interested in. It also helps if you know a little bit about your subject before you write about it. If you don’t, that’s good too. It will give you a chance to learn something you didn’t before and the opportunity to explore a corner of the internet you hadn’t seen previously.

Step 2: Research  
You may think you know everything about this topic. For example, if you’re writing about dance and you are a dancer, it makes sense you know more about the subject than the average person. However, if you scour the internet for whatever facts you can find, you might learn something new and cool. The great thing about the internet is that it allows you to research and write about something you knew nothing about five minutes ago. 

The best way to research for a How To is explore other How Tos that other writers have already written. What did the other How Tos have that you feel is necessary to include in yours, and what can you do to make your piece completely unique? After that, looking up some fun facts is always great. Captivate your audience with some interesting facts that they find funny or even surprising.

Step 3: Lay Out Your Steps   
Subheadings are great. It’s best to stick to anywhere in between 5 and 10 steps. Your heading or the sentence you use to sum up your step should be short, sweet and to the point. 

Step 4: Write Out Your Steps
After each subheading our each step you should explain or elaborate. Some great ways to do this are to provide examples or offer more than one way to complete the step. For example, I previously mentioned that some great ways to do research were to explore other How Tos and fun facts. You can bring this information into your How To as explanation or elaboration. See? It works. And it helps your audience get a better grasp of what you’re trying to tell them.

Step 5: Write An Introduction and Conclusion  
These two parts should come last because in your introduction and in your conclusion you should sum up the steps of your How To. In your introduction you should get your reader familiar with your topic. Maybe include how this topic can be helpful or where it originated from.

In your conclusion, mention all of your steps again. You may not find this necessary but it might be good to do just so your audience isn’t left confused. Another great thing to include in a conclusion is a wish for your readers’ luck in writing or a mention of other areas that involve your How To. For example, I mentioned a dancer earlier so I’ll just bring that back again. If you’re writing a How To about ballet, you could also mention other forms of dance that could be interesting like modern or contemporary.

To conclude this How To Write a How To, let me just say this: Happy Writing!





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ADVENTURES IN WRITING
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written by BlueAfrica < PM: >

Backstory. Wonderful, sweet, frustrating backstory. The great love of writers, and yet also our bane. Our favorite worlds and characters may inspire pages of backstory in the form of notes, drawings, and family trees, but once we get to the actual writing, it can be difficult to get the balance right: enough backstory that the reader understands the characters and can keep up with the plot, but not so much that it becomes a massive, boring info-dump.

In the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at different ways to get backstory across without slowing the story down. There are three main questions you need to ask yourself when considering backstory’s place in your manuscript.

Does the reader need this backstory? While it’s acceptable to include bits of background information that are not strictly necessary, most of the backstory that appears in your novel should be there because the reader needs the information to understand the progression of the plot. Your favorite side character can mention in passing the fact that she has two younger sisters, but it’s more important that you get across backstory that provides insight into character actions and the way the plot takes shape. For example, perhaps the side character felt protective of her two sisters growing up, which later leads her to protect the main character, who reminds her of them. In that case, it will be more important to include information about the side character’s sisters than if you had wanted to mention them simply because you want readers to know more about this particular character.

How detailed does this backstory need to be? Sometimes, a character, society, or event’s backstory is mentioned in passing—either to set up for a more detailed explanation later or because it’s a minor detail that adds realism. In the above example of the side character with sisters, the fact that she has sisters might be this sort of detail. However, if, as we suggested before, her early protectiveness of her sisters leads her to protect the main character, then her backstory takes on more importance and will need to be more detailed. Even so, her backstory—even this particular piece—will be less detailed than the main character’s backstory, since she is a side character.

Where in the manuscript does this backstory best fit? Where backstory belongs in your novel depends partly on how detailed it must be. If it is a small piece of information, you can slip it into a character’s speech, thoughts, or memories—even if the information played a large part in shaping who the character is today.

In the above example, your side character might namedrop or think about her sisters frequently. If her protectiveness of them helps the reader understand why she protects the MC later in the story, there might be an instance where she elaborates on a time when she came to their rescue. While passing hints of this backstory could be dropped at any point in the novel, a more detailed explanation belongs in a break in the action, when the characters have time to talk.

Keep these three questions in mind when considering what backstory belongs in your manuscript and when. Next week, we’ll take a more in-depth look at how to figure out whether or not a particular piece of information about your character or event belongs in the story.





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Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:38 am
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REVIEW SPOTLIGHT
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written by megsug  < PM: >

This week’s review showcases a poetry review. Poetry can be hard to review because it’s hard to know what to address. @ancientforever gave @windrattlestheblinds a review on her work Monachopsis | Prologue: Dirge for the Forgotten . The entire review is in spoilers below, but I’ll be picking out a few fragments of their review, so I can explain what makes it so great.

Spoiler! :
First off - the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows! I had to look up "monachopsis", but I knew I knew it from somewhere. It's definitely very fitting, at least so far.

To begin critique. I was interested by the first sentence, but something in the second threw me off - I think it might have been the way you phrase "cryptic piece of information", which feels very clunky where it is, and might feel less out-of-place if it was phrased differently or even cut. After that sentence, the flow seems to fall into place better, and stays consistent throughout the rest of this (prologue? chapter?) piece. (The difference being, of course, that if the story picks up right after this event, this is Chapter 1, but if it's some while later that the story proper begins, then that would make this an acceptable prologue. Oh, the drama of not being able to read the whole story at once.)

Tone, as a whole, is a little over-formal in my opinion. This feels just a bit strange to me, because I'm assuming that Madder is a girl or a young woman who hasn't been raised royalty or nobility, and it distances the reader somewhat from what's going on in the story. On the one hand, some readers aren't fond of that, but on the other hand, it feeds into the idea of being uncomfortable in your surroundings. Some of the more formal phrases don't work for me, but I'm very accustomed to reading contractions even in third-person narration. (Modern literature has ruined me, hah.) I think that further into the story, I would be more used to the formality, but in the beginning it may be enough to make a reader very discomfited, and they may consider (gasp!) closing the book.

As far as characters go, I'm interested in the main character as pieces of herself, and not so much invested in her being, but this is the beginning. You've guaranteed I'll keep reading by pulling at that feeling of not-quite-belonging in your own skin, and by making me ask so many questions about why she is, and who she is, and what sort of person she'll end up being. I'm also intrigued by the character of the Red Queen and cir comings and goings (not to mention of course thrilled that there's a major nonbinary character), but I have to say that it seems a little odd that a royal would immediately - perhaps not immediately for Madder, but immediately for the reader since they've not been reading for very long - come in to check up on some paltry little thing that was found in a ditch. Perhaps if this was explained later in the story, or even as a little line tossed aside by the Red Queen - "so you're not the one they were looking for" etc. Even if Madder asks, ce may toss out a simple, "We like to welcome visitors here," which of course can cloak all sorts of true intentions.

I also find myself asking what motivations lie behind Healer Carmine's actions, and I don't know if that was intentional or not, but I'm interested in his character as well.

Overall, I think after the initial bit of clunkiness, the flow settled very well and I actually enjoyed reading it. I did find myself stumbling a bit and re-reading because I skipped over little details, but on the second and third reads it flowed much better. I'm caught, and looking forward to seeing more of this, because it definitely looks different from most Wonderland rehashes on the market. My advice would be simply to revise the first few lines, and take a second look at some of the more formal words and phrases that may bring the tone over the edge, as well as tossing in a line or two to show the reader that the Red Queen isn't just visiting her immediately by our perception for the sake of convenience and plot direction.




   
I was interested by the first sentence, but something in the second threw me off - I think it might have been the way you phrase "cryptic piece of information", which feels very clunky where it is, and might feel less out-of-place if it was phrased differently or even cut.



The first few sentences of a work are very important. If the beginning is lacking, writers will lose readers quickly. Critiquing a user’s beginning lines by noting how effective the sentences were, identifying the existing issues with the beginning lines, and offering advice to fix it or alternatives is a good way to kick off a review and can be the most helpful criticism you give. Keep in mind, if you’re reviewing a chapter that isn’t chapter one or a prologue, beginning sentences aren’t as important.



   
Tone, as a whole, is a little over-formal in my opinion.



Tone is a good topic to critique because it affects such a large part of the novel. Tone affects how the reader connects with the writing, how the reader relates with the main character if a novel is in first person. Tone is established with diction, word choice, and sentence length. If you think the tone doesn’t fit the piece or has the potential to push readers away, be sure to explain why you think the tone is deficient. You’ll be extra helpful if you give advice as to how to fix their tone.



   
As far as characters go, I'm interested in the main character as pieces of herself... You've guaranteed I'll keep reading by pulling at that feeling of not-quite-belonging in your own skin, and by making me ask so many questions about why she is, and who she is, and what sort of person she'll end up being.

 


Obviously, characters are a huge component of most prose pieces. If you read ancientforever review, you’ll see that they mentions several characters, telling windrattlestheblinds what they thinks of each. They includes their initial impression, what questions they might have, if the character intrigues them or not, and what traits they think are valuable. While you can pick up on some characterization in single chapters, critiquing characterization will be most beneficial to the user if you’re following the novel or chain reviewing chapters. 



   
My advice would be simply to revise the first few lines, and take a second look at some of the more formal words and phrases that may bring the tone over the edge, as well as tossing in a line or two to show the reader that the Red Queen isn't just visiting her immediately by our perception for the sake of convenience and plot direction.



ancientforever wraps up with their advice summed up in a few sentences. This is helpful to users coming back to edit later on. They may be skimming through reviews- especially if they have several- and your advice all together in an easy-to-read segment will be easier to understand and put into action quickly.

ancientforever covered three big topics in prose: the beginning, the tone, and characterization. Just giving his opinion as to how these topics affected the way the reader related to the book gave the writer good insight into what they needed to change.

This is one way to master the art of reviewing.

If you come across any stellar reviews in your YWSing this week, please PM @megsug with a link to the review and the reasons why you think it deserves to be spotlighted. 





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ASK GRUNO
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written by Gruno  < PM: >

Welcome to Ask Gruno, the advice column in which stuff happens. Gruno will answer any questions you throw at him, whether they ask for advice, personal opinion, solutions, or philosophy. My cousin Pruno has been busy at the wonderful school for Pruno people, so I will be taking over the column. Every now and again, Pruno may make an appearance, so never fear! May the question-answering commence!

Dear Masters of Green and Purple,
If Gruno and Pruno were placed head-to-head in an epic slo-mo ninja battle, who would win?
What would they use as their armies of mass destruction?
Would anything be safe!?!
How likely is this to happen?

-Trying to find a suitable apocalypse shelter


My Dear TTFASAS,
I assure you with utmost confidence that should my cousin and I engage in an epic slo-mo ninja battle, I would win. Pruno is so vain, at family reunions he hogs the bathroom while he flexes in the mirror. His overconfidence would make him cocky and get the best of him. But since Pruno and I are currently on friendly terms, you have nothing to worry about.

For now.

-Gruno

Dear Gruno,
Where have you been? What have you been doing while Pruno's been running the place? DID HE KIDNAP YOU!?

-Gruno Fan


Dear Gruno Fan,
Yes. Pruno kidnapped me. And while he was at it he tried to take away my greenness and… GASP HE TRIED TO MAKE ME BLUE!!!!! This is an SOS. If Pruno finds out I’m asking for help, he’ll strip me of my color completely and make me don pure black and white clothes. Please. HELP!

-Gruno

Dear Sir or Sirs,
Several very good friends of mine have been strongly hinting (by this I mean forgetting that I stalk their tumblrs and saying forthright) that they have joined the LGBT+ community. Would it be better to wait for them to initiate a conversation about it, or just go ahead and let them know that I'll support them any way I can?

-Concerned


Dear Concerned,
It’s very normal to be concerned for your friends. And it’s also very normal to feel hurt if they haven’t clued you in on this. I think if you care about your friends, you should be honest with them. Sit down with them and say “Hey, I’ve seen your Tumblr posts and I just wanted to tell you that if you’ve joined the LGBT+ community, you can trust me. I support you in whatever decisions to make and I’d never judge you.” Whatever happens after that is on your terms. Good luck!

-Gruno

If your question did not get answered this time, I may answer it in next week's edition. I also wanted to say that Pruno and I would much rather have too many questions than not enough. So ask questions, please! I hope you all have a fabulously green week! If you have a conundrum or inquiry, just hit this link





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SOCIETY PAGES
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written by ArcticMonkey  < PM: >

As we head into August, a lot of people seem to be flying off abroad. One of our top reviewers @Deanie has just come back from China and has now gone off to Portugal. Keeping with the theme of holidays in Europe, @Auxiira has been having a blast at her summer camp in Turkey, and @BiscuitsBatchAvoy has recently returned from a trip to England. It was so good, it inspired her to write this poem . @Hannah and @Lava both live abroad, with Hannah working and Lava studying. So it’s like a holiday all the time, (plus so much hard work D: ) !

However, not all of us have been spending time away this Summer.  @Nate took his two nephews to the zoo- jealous! @Demeter has gone for a run every other day in her new pink and purple trainers. I wish I could say I’ve been that active, but most of my time has been spent on Netflix, and occasionally going outside. The other day I went to watch the Purge 2 and it was insanely good.

There are loads of good films coming out right now. I’ve heard that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is great. @Cole and @StellaThomas have both spoken about how good Guardians of the Galaxy is. Have you watched it yet?

As @AriaAdams rightfully said, @BigBrother has gained a princess. If you haven’t already heard the news, @StellaThomas is now a global moderator of this site. Be sure to congratulate her if you can. Our Stella recently came back from a trip to Kenya in which she had no internet. I don’t know how she did it. And she’s now currently planning a belated 21st birthday party.

Speaking of birthdays, @Iggy and @Elinor%20Brynn both celebrated their 18th birthdays this week! Happy Birthday to you both! 

Summer isn’t all fun and games though, many of us are awaiting our exam results. @BiscuitsBatchAvoy has already got her results and smashed it, earning all A’s. Well done! A-levels results are on the 14th, so good luck @Blues and anyone else getting those. If you’ve just taken your GCSE’s, you’ll know that we have to wait a little bit longer for those results. I know that @Clarity, @Stilinski and I are waiting for those. Good luck to anyone else getting those, too!

Did someone say BOY?! @ScarlettFire’s lovely lad got her a pen and touch tablet recently, how adorable. High five if you’re in the single pringle’s club like me.

Lastly, our well-wishes go to @Rosey%20Unicorn. Poor Rosey has been suffering from a viral infection, but says that she is slowly starting to feel better. Get well soon, Rosey <3

Well that’s it for this week. Until next time,


xxx


Lady S





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FESTOONED: NEW STARS
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written by Hannah < PM: >

Can you remember the moment you earned your first review star? For some readers, it may have been years ago. I can remember my first few poetry reviews, but not the moment of my first star. For other readers, it may have been yesterday. Take, for example, @Linkzude16, who just recently earned a brand new star to be proud of. Let’s take a look at this week’s profile.

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Name: @Linkzude16
Location: ???
Recently Acquired Star: First yellow star

Though not much is known about this member – they have not posted any literary works besides an article of writing tips, and their about section is bare – I think it’s safe to say they enjoy adventuring and probably have an annoyingly-high-pitched-voiced friend who follows them around with advice every day. Right? Right??

When I asked what three things Link wanted the members of YWS to know about their personality, this is what they had to say:



Hello YWS! I'm quite happy to be here today. Thanks for having me.

So, what am I proud of? Well, I'm proud of my book Violet Arrow, which could be renamed--I'm not sure yet, but I'm glad that I'm rewriting it now and not starting from the beginning. (I began it when I was twelve years old and have worked on it more or less since.) Additionally, I hope to have it out by the end of this year, but I don't know. Although I do have some tips I would like to share, which have helped me in my writing...

First, don't throw emotion into inappropriate areas in the book because you're bored.

Second, try to make all your time-consuming events feel necessary to the reader. In other words, at the end of the book, your reader should not say, "Well, I think this subplot was just thrown in so that the book would have a hundred extra pages. It really bored me and didn't change the outcome of the book." Rather, you want the reader to say, "Wow! Look at how this is all connected and not one event seems like a waste of time but impacts the whole story."

On a different note, I am studying for college and trying to finish Violet Arrow, whose purpose is to reveal to society how our vision of hatred is distorted and is to correct that vision. However, I do have other book ideas, and I will post my writings once I believe they will withstand most criticism.

Furthermore, I am fond of writing short stories and poems alongside the novel I'm working on. Thus once I reviewed some more, I'll probably start posting things. I look forward to what I can learn and accomplish here, and I'm grateful to be part of YWS.



If you’d like to talk with Linkzude16 a little more about which areas in a book are inappropriate for emotion, just stop by their wall. For more writing tips, check out their recent topic: Linkzude16’s Writing Tips .





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Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:40 am
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TWO CENTS: SYNTAX
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written by Aley  < PM: > 

A challenge that comes up a lot on YWS is dealing with syntax in writing. Of course, even in a college level writing class, until the students are a couple weeks in, people don't really know what syntax even means. They pull out their phones, and they start Googling it.

Don't run away just yet! Syntax isn't a scary thing, and it's not something you'll need to Google after reading this article. When we're playing with the structure of a sentence, we're playing with syntax. That can mean a lot of things, but in the end, syntax basically is everything that makes up a sentence.

So let's go over the basics: what makes up a sentence? In your head, on a piece of paper, or in a document, jot down your answer.

To just touch the surface, here are some of the resources we have on YWS which start to get into in-depth explanations of things that make up a sentence.

The Great Grammar Compendium
The Verb
Run-on Sentences
Dangling Modifiers
Passive Voice
Compound Sentences 
Using Grammar
Et Tu, Adjectives?

This list, however, could take hours to read your way through, and you’ve still got a bunch of Squills left to read, so I'm going to simplify this to some basics and show how we can apply that to our work, mostly in poetry. 

To start, I will need to explain a few things. First, each part of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives, pronouns, etc.) has a "phrase" that goes with it. A phrase consists of all the related words. For example, if you’re talking about “a book”, the book is the noun, but the noun phrase is “a book” because the article “a” get stuck with it.

A sentence might have a "noun phrase" or an "adjective phrase." These can stack like boxes. Sometimes you can stack them one inside the other, and sometimes you can't. For instance, a noun phrase can be contained in a verb phrase. Likewise, an adjective phrase can be inside a noun phrase. There are also some boxes that are specialized. For instance, a prepositional phrase has to have a preposition and a noun phrase.

If we take the sentence "For instance, a prepositional phrase has to have a preposition, and a noun phrase" we can break it up into the phrases. 

{(For instance), [a prepositional phrase] (has to have {a preposition},) (and [a noun phrase.])}

This is a rough breakup of the phrases; I'm a bit rusty. As you can see, some words are in more than one phrase at a time. This can take a while to master, but it's called making a "tree" of a sentence. 

Using this knowledge, we can check ourselves to see if we ever have something like a fragment, or a run on. Sometimes we can even use these to our advantage. For instance, if we want to make a character or a poem sound like they’re not completely with it, we can just start our sentences as noun phrases and never get to the verb.

the pretty white ball
fluttering blue silk
a road long and windy
feet rough
muscles hard
lactic acid
dark cold wind


Here, some of our words are kind of like verbs, but they're being used as adjectives. "Fluttering" for instance, could be "Flutters" which would be a verb, but it's describing the way the silk is.

A great way to check what type of speech a word is, is to try to replace it in the sentence. If we know that "Run" is a verb, and we're not sure about "Fluttering", then we can replace "Fluttering" with "Run" and see if it works. I know that "Shiny" is an adjective, but I'm not sure about "Fluttering", so if I replace it, will it fit?

"run blue silk" - verb
"fluttering blue silk" - test
"shiny blue silk" – adjective


As you can see, "Run" doesn't fit as well as "Shiny" although "Running" would have fit, because "Running" can be used as an adjective just like "Fluttering" can be used (the big running dog). We know it's working as an adjective and not a verb because "Shiny" does work.

Now that you're equipped with this way to test your parts of speech, you can see what you can manipulate in the parts of speech. Let's look closer at what else goes into a sentence. There's also punctuation.

Punctuation, interestingly enough, comes from attempting to mark the natural flow of speech. The pauses, the breaks, and the stops we say when we speak are being transcribed using the simple dashes, dots, and curls of our written language. We can always use punctuation to indicate how we would naturally read something, but we can also use punctuation to indicate the internal structure of a sentence. 

What else can go into structure? In poetry, structure also consists of line breaks, stanza breaks, and even spacing between words. Poetry is a visual and verbal art, so how many spaces a writer intends between two words can make a difference.

In other prose, we still have a lot to deal with too, such as parts of words, like the variation in sounds, and parts of sentences that aren't necessarily represented by parts of speech, like the subject and the predicate, or a subordinate clause. Language is complex and in that complexity we have the structures that make up syntax. Most of this stuff, you'll have learned when you learned to speak, so everyone is biased to their natural dialect, which is known as your vernacular. Keeping this in mind as you read other people's work will not only allow you to appreciate the complexity of an ever-living language, but the subtlety of expressing it without stepping on other people's toes. 

As an exercise in your vernacular, write a poem with completely using what you would say, stream of consciousness style, and compare it to other people's writing. You'll find out about your own particular quirks. Of course, once you recognize them, you’ll know what to fix through editing, should you choose to edit.


As an vernacular exercise in your vernacular, write a poem with completely using what you would say, stream of consciousness style, and compare it to other people's writing. 

As a vernacular exercise, write a poem completely using stream of consciousness and compare it to other people's writing.


I hope you had fun with a brief glimpse into syntax. If you have any requests about what you'd like to see in Two Cents, or something you want to learn more about, please send a PM my way.





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Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:40 am
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SquillsBot says...



NEW ARRIVALS
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written by Hannah < PM: >

Take a moment to welcome this week’s newest members to the site!

If you’re looking for another Supernatural Fan to add to your collection repertoire friends list, check out @Foxtail13. She’s revealed her status by posting a specific image to her status~ You’ll want to go see it~ I think. I don’t know anything about Supernatural, haha! If you’d just rather get to know her through the chat bar, take a hint from @TakeThatYouFiend and encourage Foxtail to finish her first five reviews!

Already loving YWS and already with four reviews under her belt, @jessiethought is wasting no time getting started. If you’re into lovely, simple poetry, check out her portfolio and particularly the piece titled March Sunlight .

A friend of @dragonthief1, @Witchcraft96 has joined and already popped into several Storybooks! If you’re looking for another new writer to build worlds with, you’ll want to follow this one!

@Vampretta’s got a prologue just waiting to get out. You should stop by their wall and encourage them to send it through the Publishing Center~

@birdyblair didn’t know at first why they had an account on YWS, but give the members of YWS a day and we’ll convince anyone, right? Now their status has changed to one typical of a writer: “I have too many characters than I know what to do with...” With one review under their belt, they don’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon!

Though she spreads her reviews more among poetry, @lil2020’s first portfolio submission was the prologue to a novel about a high school student trying to figure out whether change is good. The work is entitled “Change”, and you can read it here .

A weary poet invoking his ever-wandering muse... oh no, wait, that’s just the description of @XeNiTe’s poem The Scourge of a Sonneteer . In any case, this new member is friendly and active, already dishing out two reviews!


Other members who haven't had a chance to be as active, but are no less a member of our family are...


@uooj601@annibunni@Asguard1@JacobFairbrother@Leanettell@Fumeki@Crazzychick@mynextlesson@misscaketin@fuxmeboys@MeTheCat@ZaraTayo@AlternativeTheory@Free@RobertThomas@Astraea@AsteriaS41@Bastion@Omega@diavianzhane • @diavianz@kriskile@fmoreno6000@ThePacifist@thabo2003@damnitjanice@TrueWinchester168@lorcasballad@Mask24@zsky17@starstories@KevinAaron@xXErnieWormXx@tyetye@jskoeiman@Wokit@dariana10@guitarandhiphop@Hermela@VodkaLip@mprinz@alyssa@RX1334@FireFox35@MosesDave@Northstar@Nahlander@MsBrittG@gelie24@Louanne@TailorofTales@IdaPhillips@LadyClaireT@madisonnicole@AmroE13@SupportFort@Az96 • @GeorgeCarlo • @GhoulOfGore@onehellofabutler@Babyfruitbat@genkurai@lamiabellona@Jazlynpulido@sharvari@girlwiththelaptop@sinningotaku@Korywon@babyhemingway@MysticWolf1147@TheAvengingArcher@IusedTobeADeathEater@shiningsalt@EmertFTW@Gothgirl13@jellybeanjoe@WhereaboutsUnknown@UselessBunny@hannahwinder@BenW@HiImAndy





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Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:41 am
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SquillsBot says...



THIS WEEK'S ROUNDUP – 8/10
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written by megsug < PM: >

Debates, stories, and books! Oh my!


@Messenger has started a story and wants your help! You heard me right. All of you. Your post can be one sentence at the very most. Right now the story seems to be about a guy who seems to like meet and a shape shifting mortician. I think my favorite line in the story right now is:



   
but they were only a figment of the owner's twisted imagine, they were actually just sausages.




Created by @jazzydracula. I think the story is pretty fun. Add your twist today!


In ancient times @ZeroKevin created a thread for people to talk about their top five books. It’s been active on and off for a while now. Some popular books are Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Series of Unfortunate Events, and The Song and Ice of Fire. No real surprises there. ;) @R0nnie had some interesting picks that I’ll have to check out.

 

   
-Into the wild by Jon Krakauer
-One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
-Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
-Live for a Living by Buddy Wakefield
-The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald




What are your favorite reads?


@Kyllorac has created a great resource for you Serious Discussion and Debate revelers. They break up how to establish credibility in simple terms while also defining what not to do. This is a nice piece of advice in the column:

 

   
Nothing destroys your credibility more effectively than switching your arguments in order to appear "right" no matter what. Debates are not about who is "right" or "wrong", but rather are exercises in how to form effective arguments and evaluate how effective others' arguments are.




If you like that, look at the second article about determining credibility .


Yes. The club has come for all of you faction members. For everything and anything Divergent, this club even has a test posted on the wall, so you can find out exactly what faction you’re in. Maybe you’re divergent. This is one of the harder questions, I thought:



   
6. If you discovered that a friend's significant other was being unfaithful, you would...
a. Tell your friend because you feel that it would be unhealthy for him or her to continue in a relationship where such selfish behavior is present.
b. Sit them both down so that you can act as a mediator when they talk it over.
c. Tell your friend as soon as possible.
d. Confront the cheater!
e. Keep it to yourself.



Click the link and find out which faction you’d be in!





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SquillsBot says...



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!


Author Shenanigans

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BlueAfrica now has an official author blog for updates on the progress of The Book Man and blog posts about her adventures in writing. Includes links to her Twitter account and Facebook page. Please take a moment to check it out!

That's all folks~ Now send us yours.








I drink tea and forget the world's noises.
— Chinese saying