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Squills 9/7/14 - 9/13/14



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Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:36 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

Literary Reporter
JamesHunt

Community Reporter
Available - PM SquillsBot if interested

Resources Reporter
Available – PM SquillsBot if interested

Storybook Reporter
AfterTheStorm

Poetry Enchantress
Aley

Quibbles Columnist
Available - PM SquillsBot if interested

Link Cowgirl
megsug

The Adventurer
BlueAfrica

Social Correspondent
ShadowVyper

Associates of Pruno and Gruno
Blackwood
defyingravity01

Media Critic
Kanome

Code Master
Avalon

General Reporters
OliveDreams
ArcticMonkey
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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ADVENTURES IN WRITING
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written by BlueAfrica < PM: >

Hello, and welcome to the third and final installment of our series on backstory. Now that you’ve decided what information needs to be in your novel, we can learn some ways to include it without turning chapters or scenes into infodumps.

In passing. If there’s something that isn’t influential to the plot, something you want to include because you want readers to know more about one of your favorite characters, then the best way to include it is to mention it in passing. Rather than spending a lot of time on the long-ago experience of a minor character, drop a line about the experience in a bit of dialogue. For example, the past romance of one of the secondary characters in The Book Man comes up briefly in a conversation about a romantic subplot between two of the other characters.

If the backstory is something about your viewpoint character, this line could be a passing thought instead—perhaps something reminds the MC of her old dog or her mother’s garden. These memories are not important to the plot, but they can aid character development and make the MC feel more real to readers.

Monologue or soliloquy. For those of you who either skipped the class on Shakespeare or haven’t taken it yet, a monologue is a speech wherein a character addresses other characters, while a soliloquy is a speech wherein a character is speaking to herself. In novels, monologues are best broken up with questions or comments by the characters being addressed. Otherwise, even though we’re reading a long chunk of dialogue instead of a long chunk of prose, it can still come off as an infodump.

Soliloquy often works best in first-person perspective. Here, rather than the viewpoint character speaking aloud to herself, it is her thoughts that can provide the reader with backstory as she remembers things.

Prologue or flashback. Those of you who are regular readers know how I feel about prologues in general, but it’s only fair to include them as a potential source of backstory in this article. That being said, prologues and flashbacks as means of conveying backstory should be used sparingly.

Prologues used for backstory should be a maximum of two or three pages and focus on one important scene that influences the main the story. The reason I stress this is that backstory prologues often turn into the infodumps that we’re trying to avoid. Thus, rather than simply stating the history of your world or the circumstances of the MC’s birth, show us this information through a single, crucial scene.

For example, in Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident, by Eoin Colfer, the prologue centers on Russian gang members pulling the survivor of a shipwreck out of the ocean two years before the start of the main story. The scene captures our interest without giving us an overload of information. By doing this particular piece of backstory as a prologue—and showing us who the survivor is later—Colfer avoids having a long-winded explanation of this occurrence in later chapters.

Flashbacks are trickier. A normal person on a normal day may think briefly of past people, pets, places, objects, or events without giving in to full-length flashback-style memories. If we do give our memories more in-depth thought, it’s usually in private: in bed before we fall asleep or when we’re performing a menial task that leaves plenty of room for thought. So if your character is in the middle of action or going about his daily life, he probably isn’t going to helpfully remember something important in full-scene detail.

There are exceptions, however. Characters with PTSD, for example, or characters confronted by a memory device. In the first case, flashbacks may happen at any point but will likely be short and fragmented and hint at backstory rather than showing fully-developed scenes. One example of that would be Hayley Kincain and her father in Laurie Halse Anderson’s The Impossible Knife of Memory. Harry Potter facing Dementors in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban would be an example of a memory-inducing device.

(The Harry Potter universe, of course, has several helpful methods of getting flashback across, such as the Pensieve. If you can find a device for allowing lengthy recollections, that’s a simple way to dive into a flashback—but the device has to fit your world. Neither a Pensieve nor Dementors would have any place in a romance novel set in modern-day Wisconsin, for example.)

Another appropriate use of flashback would be something like Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven, in which the MC, Eddie, spends the book learning about the reasons behind different events in his life. Out of necessity, much of the book is flashback. However, this method won’t work in a novel where the book is focused on the present or future more than the past. For most novels, flashbacks should be short, used sparingly to get across important information that is best suited to its own scene, and have a clear trigger.

Which method you choose depends on the importance and scope of the backstory, the kind of novel you’re writing, and where you’re putting the backstory in the novel. If you’re still not sure you’ve got the balance of enough backstory/not too much backstory right, ask your readers! They’ll be able to tell you whether they can’t understand the story or feel overwhelmed by too much information.

Useful Links:

How to Weave Backstory into Your Novel Seamlessly
How to Write Backstory without Putting Your Reader to Sleep
The Writing Café: #backstory





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Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:41 am
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GOLDEN PENS AND SILVER SWORDS
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written by JamesHunt < PM: >

Those of you who had participated in the July Review Day (or were simply observant) will know that we had not succeeded in clearing the Green Room. Now, this was a great shock to everyone, as ordinarily, the Green Room is already subdued at least an hour or so before Review Day ends. Furthermore, Knight @Hannah's valiant order, the After Watch, had attempted to break its record of keeping the Green Room clear for eight days after Review Day, but the dreadful beast was not to be put down so easily; it was still approximately thirteen unreviewed works strong, so the After Watch had to grudginly admit defeat after only eight hours.

A certain @RavenMoonStone was very distressed by such a horrible turn of events and simply refused to submit to the Green Room's tyranny. After conferring with her Sister-in-Arms, @KatyaElefant, there was decided that a Review Weekend was to be hosted. This Review Weekend was supposed to take place from August 1st through to August 3rd, but after a proposition from one of the participants, KatyaElefant extended the deadline to August 8th. During that time, Team Gold and Team Silver battled it out with two goals in mind - to beat the other team and to clear the Green Room. Sadly, the Green Room's forces prevailed and the participants did not succeed in the latter. But concerning the first... @Wolfare1 and KatyaElefant led their team to victory and proved that gold does trump silver.

However, precious metals are not the solution to all of life's problems, as the Green Room discovered, for no amount of gold or silver could persuade the folk of our fair YWS to rat out the rebels. Unaffected by the failure of her previous attempt at rebellion, our Raven/Child Hybrid decided to host another Review Week, except this time, things would work differently...

The two rebel leaders had decided that the public were too scared to stand up to the Green Room and needed an incentive - some bribery of their own seemed to be in order. Also, a "Review God/dess" was to be appointed. One can become said literary deity by writing the most reviews, which is why KatyaElefant was to be the Review Goddess. The benefits of being the Review God/dess is that you can personally aid one (or even both!) of the teams, and therefore decide which path Destiny will follow. Of course, having the privilege of calling yourself a deity is also a reward on its own, so that acts as another incentive.

The two new teams were called Team Sword and Team Pen, in order to answer once and for all that existential question: Which is mightier, the Pen or the Sword? For their heroic efforts in the previous Review Week, @Noelle was appointed as the Leader of Team Pen and Wolfare1 was appointed as the leader of Team Sword.

The competition was fierce. At first Team Sword was ahead, but then Team Pen began writing furiously and snatched the lead away. Somewhere around Tuesday, Sword battled their way to the top again, but then Pen's leader started reviewing once more and secured a 500+ points lead. It was only on the very last day that Sword passed Pen, and that time for good. In the end, Team Pen had written 35 reviews worth 4209 points, while Team Sword had written 32 reviews worth 4542 points. So to answer that question from earlier, the pen is only mightier than the sword if the sword is very short and the pen very sharp (courtesy of Terry), and in this case, it wasn't.

Despite the fact that the Green Room was still not cleared, even after a second Review Week, and that many of those who at first wanted to participate, but either forgot or were later occupied with other affairs, all of the participants of these two Review Weeks enjoyed themselves immensely and made a great many authors all over YWS very happy. Also, RavenMoonStone made it very clear that if ever a future Review Day does not clear the Green Room, she will be sparking another rebellion...

Credits to all of the rebels who rose up against the Green Room - @ArcticMonkey, @IamTraunt, @JamesHunt, @Kelpies @Markontheworld, @Noelle, @wisegirl22, @Wolfare1, @Wolfie36 - and especially to our two rebel leaders - @KatyaElefant and @RavenMoonStone.

If any of you are interested in keeping the Green Room tamed before and after Review Days, feel free to visit either the After Watch , if you are already a Knight of the Green Room, or the Review Week Club , if you simply wish to defy the Green Room. Whatever your choice, it will not go unappreciated.

Oh, and seeing as the majority of the Review Weeks' participants were female, I thought they might appreciate this quote:



There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.






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Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:42 am
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STELLATHOMAS THE GM
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written by ArcticMonkey < PM: >

The newest addition to @Big Brother is @StellaThomas. She has been a member of this site for almost 7 years, she became a Junior Moderator in 2009 and now is a Global Moderator. She has almost 1000 reviews to her name, and has recently started a new publication on YWS called Spotlight Magazine, featuring non-fiction articles. If you haven’t already checked it out, you can do so here . She has now been a GM for a little over two weeks, so I thought it’d be the perfect time to ask her a few questions.

Squills: What was your reaction when you were asked to become a GM?


StellaThomas: Nate is such a sly dog - he just sent me a PM entitled "Hey" and I opened it and the first paragraph was all about Spotlight Magazine (my new venture, details are in the Lounge!) Then, in an entirely blasé way, he said, "so do you wanna be GM?" I did punch the air and squeal and then reread it several times to make sure I hadn't misread it and then replied with a "yesyesyesyes". I really honestly wasn't expecting it, it came as such a shock!

My second reaction, of course, was that I'd better find a new avatar, since my one at the time was going to clash with the dark green name!


Sq: Why do you think you were chosen?


S: I'm pretty sure it's just because I've been around so long, Big Brother probably sat down and said, "Ugh, we may as well, she's never going to leave us alone anyway."

Sq: Are you enjoying your time so far as a GM?


S: I guess so! I'm still not entirely sure what I'm supposed to be doing, ha. @Iggy was incredibly kind and gave me a quick tutorial on the Admin Control Panel so I'm getting the hang of that! The funniest difference though is that I'm not officially on any of the moderating crews at the minute - I've been on Gen Lit or occasionally Storybook since I became a JM. And now I'm just drifting through the forums like an orphan! I'm kidding, it's not too bad, especially because currently I don't have an obligation to be on one part of the forum more than other parts. So lately when I go to review, instead of searching for a fiction piece, I remember I can do whatever I like!


Sq: What do you like about YWS?


S: My favourite thing about YWS isn't the writing, or the reviewing (although I love these things too); it's the community. I've never come across a web community that is quite like YWS. The only word that comes to mind is 'nurturing'. We do it with our writing - we all want to help each other as much as we can, we always encourage each other in our endeavours. We are writers, yes, but we're also young people. And young people often have tricky patches in their lives, especially as teenagers. What I love about YWS is that somebody can put up a blog or status about something difficult in their life and they will get nothing but unwavering support and love. Sometimes it's easier to talk to YWS than it is to talk to your family or friends, and it's good that YWS is here for people to let it all out. And even though YWS is growing, we still have that small-community spirit where we look out for each other.

It's also a lot of fun! I love our events (Christmas in July is a favourite of mine, I was so sorry to miss it this year!), and the members regularly make me cry with laughter. And some of the writers here are just fantastic, it's so wonderful to settle into the literary area and just curl up with something good to read.


Make sure you congratulate @StellaThomas on her recent triumph. And again, if you haven't already, make sure you check out her latest project: Spotlight Magazine .





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Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:43 am
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AND THE WINNERS ARE…
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written by BlueAfrica < PM: >

You might remember an article from a few weeks ago about the Editing Competition hosted by the Adopt a Novel Club. Well, folks, the results are in! The winners of the Editing Competition are:

@magpie in first, for her poem Dread.
@KatyaElefant in second, for her short story My Trip to the Lake.
@Holysocks in third, for her short story Tree’s Revenge.

The four judges, @Pompadour, @StellaThomas, @Alchemist, and @Aley, determined winners by looking at which pieces showed the most improvement in a range of edits. These went from major edits like tone, characterization, and plot to nitpicks like changing specific words and fixing punctuation.

Congratulations to our winners!

Editing Competition – Winners Announced

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THE WEEKLY WRITER
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written by BlueAfrica < PM: >

If you’re active around the site, you’re probably aware of the Weekly Writer. Just in case you aren’t, the Weekly Writer is YWS’ unofficial newsletter. While we here at Squills share news about YWSers, site activity and events, and outside topics (such as @Kanome’s Rant of the Media), the Weekly Writer focuses more on writing itself. It includes articles on why we love to write, inspiration for getting through writer’s block, and tips for developing characters.

This week, I talked to Weekly Writer creator @WritingWolf to find out more about the e-zine.

Squills: Thank you for joining us! What inspired you to start the Weekly Writer?


WritingWolf: There were quite a few things that I had been thinking about for a while and an e-zine happened to accomplish all of them. I wanted to spread the word about Writer of the Week; I knew that having an e-Zine cover it on a regular basis would help. I really loved Writing Gooder, and it made me quite sad to see WG become less and less active and I really didn't know what to do about it. I wanted experience writing for some kind of newspaper, even if it was just a little e-zine buried somewhere in the forums of YWS. And I thought it would be really nice if YWS had something official-sounding that regular old members could get in on. Things like KotGR, Squills, and official events are all great, but not really what I was thinking. The official events and KotGR are so easy to join that, while they are great things and a great way to get to know other members, they don't feel all that special. Things like Squills are also great, but either they're hard to join or they just look so great that little writers like myself feel far too shy to ever attempt to join. I wanted there to be something in between. Something that anyone could apply for (and have a fairly good chance of getting in), but still wasn't huge and could be considered an honor (of sorts).

S:
Our readers can always check out your Behind the Scenes articles to learn more about the process of getting the Weekly Writer together, so I won't ask about that. But why do you think it's important for readers to see this process?


WW: I really appreciate all the hard work that the team puts into TWW. I know there is nothing I could do to show them how much I appreciate what they do. So it is my hope that when readers express their appreciation to the team it will help the team see how much we do appreciate them. And how is someone supposed to truly appreciate something if they don't understand it?

S: What are your goals for the Weekly Writer? What vision do you have for its future?


WW: My goals for TWW are mostly concerning things that will help it do well in the future, things like increasing the team to a size that can manage it more easily, getting to a point where we steadily have 7+ articles in every edition, and broadening the spectrum of what we write about (while still sticking with the writing-related theme).

My vision for TWW is actually something I haven't shared with many people yet because I’ve been too focused on the immediate goals. I want TWW to be a sort of "community project". I envision it staying as it is with the official team, but really being built up by the YWS community. I would like it if it was common for us to get Guest Writers, or to get people who are interested in joining the team. I want to see people letting the team know that they like the articles, either by "liking" the post, or by actually writing a message to the writer. I want to start community-centered columns and events—for example, the weekly puzzles. I don't want TWW to simply be something everyone knows about, I want it to be something that everyone has had a hand in. I envision The Weekly Writer as being an e-zine that anyone can call "my e-zine".


S: Has the Weekly Writer met your expectations so far?


WW: In some ways yes and in some ways no. When I look at TWW from the outside, like how a reader would see it, yes, it has met my expectations (and exceeded them). But when I look at the inside, at how things are running, it really depends on the week. One week everything will be wonderful and I'll have a hard time believing that TWW has already come so far. But then the next week we'll be slow and things won't get done when they should, and I am very thankful that I learned to be patient before starting TWW.

S: Is there anything else you'd like our readers to know about the Weekly Writer?


WW: The team works very hard. If you ever have time, please do me a favor and give one of the team members a review as a way of saying "thank you".

Also, the team is small. We need more writers. Please don't hesitate to contact me or @Messenger about how to apply. Chances are, you're a better writer than you let yourself believe.


While WritingWolf was instrumental in the creation of the Weekly Writer, this e-zine, as she said, has an entire team of people behind it. Unfortunately, I was unable to interview them this week about their experiences. Be sure to hit them up with questions about the Weekly Writer and your appreciation for all they do.

The Weekly Writer Team:

@FatCowsSis
@GoldFlame
@KatyaElefant
@Messenger
@RavenMoonStone
@RobinSparkles
@Sunshine1113
@Thewriter13
@lostthought
@TimmyJake

If you want to know more about the Weekly Writer:

Join the Weekly Writer fanclub.
Read past and present issues of the Weekly Writer.
Check out WritingWolf’s Behind the Scenes articles.

If you’re interested in writing for the Weekly Writer:
Check out The Guest Writer Program
Contact Messenger < PM >
Contact WritingWolf < PM >





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Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:44 am
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TWO CENTS: CHARACTER
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written by Aley < PM: >

Sometimes people forget about characters, the narrator, and the voice that narrator presents in poems. Sometimes they miss that there is a narrator, or they don't see that all of the words are negative in a good situation, or positive in a bad one. It can be like watching a piano player instead of a violinist.

Sometimes the characters are non-human, or just the fact that it's being said at all, but thought should be put into the character you choose for a poem just like a novel. Your narrator, in a poem, can be even more important than in a story because while a story has multiple voices, a poem usually just has the one.

Take, for instance, a poem about hunting, or a short story about hunting. What narrator would you pick initially? Don't think point of view, third person, omniscient, first person omniscient, or any of that, just think about who do you want to tell you what happened in the hunt. Write a quick [close to] 100 word piece about hunting, and consider who you want as your narrator before you start. For me, I'm going to start with the hunter, the obvious choice, in my opinion, since it's a story about hunting. While not the most interesting choice, it is probably the most common. I encourage you to come up with something unique.

My snot freezes in the cold.
Somehow I think thin glove don't cut it,
and still not a single fluffy white flag
to the sky.

A squirrel perched on a branch
close enough to see
the fur well from the blind.
I considered shooting it
just to bring something home
but my gauge is too big;
I still wouldn't have anything to take.

Three noses snuffle on the leafy ground.
I watch them through the scope.
Billy shifts a little.
We came home empty handed.


Now I sort of cheated by going with first person, and putting the narrator as a character in the story. While doing this with an omniscient narrator is still possible, it's a bit harder to explain how. For instance, you look at word choice such as "considered" and "it" or the syntactical construction of "Animal, Verb, Where, In relation to me" instead of "Me, What, Verb, Where" which would have been "I saw a squirrel perched on a close branch." That being said, let's look at the character/narrator and how they present the story to us.

What can you tell about your character from your piece? What nuances can you add to say more about them, to make them a person? In my case, I have a person, with a friend, who isn't afraid to eat anything, and knows guns well enough to determine what to shoot a squirrel with, and what to shoot a deer with. My character is cold and wants to bring home something to eat. It comes up several times in the poem where the cold only comes up once.

What else can we assume? Considering society's idea about hunting, most people will believe my character is a male. What would I have to do to change that? I can think of one thing right off the bat, change Billy, to "my husband." Of course, then we're saying that just because they have a husband, they must be a girl, which is not the case either! It's almost as bad as saying "because they're a hunter, they're a man" since homosexuals can hunt, and can marry as well. What could I do to represent a homosexual couple hunting together?

While there's not much I could do in the actual poem as it is, I could do something to the title, like saying "Billy and Josh Go Hunting" but if I do that, then we may or may not have another problem. In the poem I have right now, they don't come home with a deer, and while failure happens in hunting, a lot, the assumption could be drawn that even though homosexuals go hunting, they can't hunt well.

What about your characters? What can you tell about them? What is revealed about the narrator through the choice of words in the poem? What isn't revealed, but might be something people can assume? What would people assume to fill in the blanks?

When you're considering these things, consider also how you can change the perception, and what sort of poem or story you want to write. Do you want to challenge social issues like the idea that homosexuals are only into fashion, or do you want to challenge that women don't like hunting? What other issues can you bring up and talk about in a poem about hunting or do you just want to write a poem or story about feeling? If we changed this to the character of a deer, how would that change? What about a bird that sees it happen and flees for its life? How do the non-colorblind animals see hunters in the woods?

Exploring these characters is an important step to deciding what type of poem you're writing, as well as what type of poem you want to write. In the end, it is your choice what society, character, and plot you want to share through a quick blurb to the world. To do that, we have to observe beliefs, stereotypes, and subtle word changes, then exploit them to make the most out of every word.

I hope you had fun with a brief glimpse into thoughts about characters through narration. 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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HOT SEAT: CHIPSMCCOY
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written by Aley < PM: >

Welcome to another edition of Hot Seat where we interview your top picks! This week we've got @ChipsMcCoy in our nets! This individual has managed to sneak every posted literary work into the literary spotlight! The most recent candidate was Being A Writer so without further ado, here's the interview!

Squills: How many of your literary works have been in the spotlight?


ChipsMcCoy: All the ones I've written so far, which is about 8 works I think.

S: What do you think contributes to such a major success?


C: Just finding yourself as a writer, write what you enjoy and in doing what you enjoy to the best of your ability, success should follow you.

S: Now your latest work was "Being A Writer" which was a story about a writer suffering from writers block and trying to find ideas to start a story. This is a familiar theme for you. Why do you think you keep coming back to it?


C: Hehe, I haven't quite noticed that pattern in my writing until now. Hm I think its a common feeling most people experience as writers, I just like expressing it through writing about it.

S: Can you tell us a bit more about "Being A Writer?"


C: what would you like to know? :L

S: Well, you reference a lot of wild unconnected things and put them together in a story that's written by the character in the story. Where did the ideas for the inspiration in the story come from?


C: I was inspired by professional writers, for example J.K Rowling, I could only imagine the amount of letters they would receive each day and not everyone will ever completely love what you write, I like adding humor to most things I write so hence the random "unconnected things" included.

S: Thank you. Do you feel that the things you have in the story are connected?


C: They are unconnected, but in context to the story.

S: Out of the 8 works you've posted, do you have a favorite?


C: hmm, I think it's probably "Hawkward", I had the most fun writing it :)

S: What inspired you to write it?


C: I was stalked by a seagull while I was shopping. Since the feelings weren't mutual, I had to friendzone the bird because I'm well, a human.

S: lol. That's not what I expected at all XD


C: haha expect the unexpected when you talk to me y'know :p

S: XD No kidding. Is there anything else you'd like to say to the Squills fans reading?


C: Watch out for seagulls.

Hawkward is actually a poem written from the point of view of birds being friend zoned. It was in the literary spotlight a few weeks ago with over 20 likes. Like most of ChipsMcCoy's work, it features a humorous look at a situation. While probably best known for getting a period into the Literary Spotlight by titling it Writer's Block Chips is best at these short humor pieces that get us all laughing. If you talk to Chips elsewhere, you'll find a member with a great sense of humor and a healthy love for puns.

There you have it, and until next time "Watch out for the seagulls."





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HOW TO BE UNIQUE
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written by Defyingravity01 < PM: >

John Green in The Fault in Our Stars, Veronica Roth with Divergent, Lois Lowry and The Giver. There are so many other writers that share one thing with all of these geniuses. The thing they have in common is that, as far as their writing styles go… they have nothing in common. They share a genre, they all (in one way or another) have similar plots and themes. But a writer’s style is completely unique. This How To is all about helping you find your style.

Figuring out your style has everything to do with what kind of person you are. I know. This is cliche. Every teenager’s dilemma is this: “Who am I?” That’s not the question I want you to ask yourself. The real question is “What kind of person am I?”. You know yourself better than anybody. If you’re one of the lucky ones with a best friend or significant other who knows you better than you know yourself, talk to them. Then write out 5 traits. Are you…

1. A positive person or a negative person?
2. Open or close minded?
3. Funny or serious?
4. Wild or more reserved?
5. Prone to judging or not?

None of these traits are bad. So be honest with yourself. It’s okay if you’re prone to judging, it’s also okay if you’re a negative person and more close minded. At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with being a wild child and a little more loose. Just keep that in mind. To use an example, I’ll write out what I got for myself.

1. Negative
2. Open Minded
3. Serious
4. Reserved
5. Not prone to judging

The next thing you should do is write a one paragraph description for yourself. Pretend you are a complete stranger, meeting yourself for the first time. My paragraph looks like this.

“While she leans against the wall, I see how natural it is for her. It’s natural for her to lean on others, like she’s afraid to be independent. I know her expression is relaxed but she looks as if she’s going to burst into tears any second. When she sees me looking at her, she blushes slightly and tugs down the sleeves of her purple sweater. She looks curious about me, however. As if she’s made an assumption about me but wants to know if she can apply it to my character.”

My tone reflects all of the character traits I observed about myself. I also described myself using those traits. I told you to write this paragraph because it’s a good reference. We can be our harshest critics but we’re most comfortable when we’re being ourselves. And for anybody reading this How To, you’re a writer. Being a writer is who you are. Sometimes it can be difficult to figure that out. The best way is to let yourself go. Stop focusing on being as great as the authors I mentioned previously. While writing this article, I discovered how uncomfortable I am writing about myself from another perspective while still using my style. I also discovered something else.

It can be really difficult to figure out your style if you’re uncomfortable with who you are as a person. So just let it go. Write the paragraph and see where it takes you. If you’re having a bout of writer’s block, here are some Writing Prompts to help you out.

That’s it for this week. Feel free to PM me if you have a short story or a poem written in a unique style. I’ll be keeping my eyes open on YWS. Happy Writing!

XOXO,
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EXTERNALS
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written by Aley < PM: >

Welcome to a new column for Squills. This column will briefly cover stuff that happened in the news this week in a way that will help you get back to the basics of the story. It will also let you go more in depth, and more up-to-date with the story through links to multiple sources on most stories.

Ebola in West Africa

There's been an Ebola outbreak in West Africa, mostly, which started in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ebola is an illness which will probably kill you, but there are some survivors. It spreads through bodily fluids of a sick individual such as saliva, and is also talked about as "hemorrhagic fevers." There has been a massive loss of life and Ebola has begun to spread around the world coming home with sick medical professionals. The problem, according to Dr. Thomas Frieden, is that the medical companies trying to contain the outbreak cannot open safe containment facilities fast enough for the need in West Africa. West Africa is here.

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Joan Rivers is Popular Dead

According to USA Today, Joan Rivers, who died recently, now has one of the "Best Sellers" books on Amazon. While not endorsing the Dead-Authors-Make-Good-Authors side of this story, it is an interesting conundrum. Joan Rivers died during surgery on her vocal chords on August 28th. The book can be found here and is called: Dairy of a Mad Diva .


Blue Whales Spring Back

While researching the number of Blue Whales and inquiring about why the numbers are not still increasing, researchers discovered that they're nearly back at the levels they should be at. Their numbers are not increasing because they don't have much more they can increase without overflowing capacity in their ecosystem. With these majestic creatures back on the map, all the news organizations want in on the pictures, and have each provided a rehashing of the same article. There are some interesting differences in the language use.






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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, be it 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 Ego Inflated One,
How can I get more people to know of your questions column thingy, and why did you start this?

-Non liker of Harry Potter


Dear 1,
That’s two questions. Lucky for you, questions are my passion. The best way to make others aware of this column is to tell them! Some great ways are to post on your wall about our column, join the Pruno club and the Squills fan club. The column was actually started by my cousin, Pruno. So you’ll have to ask him. I suspect it has something to do with answering questions However, that’s just a hunch.

-Gruno

Dearest Pruno/Gruno,
How many cousins do you have? Do all of their names follow the same pattern as yours? Is there such a thing as Bluno (blue), Bruno (brown), Oruno (orange), Wruno (white), Reruno (red), and Truno (tan)?

-Pruno&Gruno Fan


To my (oops, I mean our) biggest fan,
We have one other cousin named Bob. He’s such a disappointment to the family however, something about him just made us suspect from the very beginning that he wouldn’t amount to much. The tradition actually started with my aunt and Pruno’s mother; Pruno. She’s pink. Pruno Jr. is very ashamed about his namesake. Her brother (my dad) liked this tradition however, so my brother’s name is Maruno (Maroon).

-Gruno

Dear People That Remind Me of Grapes,
I am curious as to what happened to the option of "I eat balloons" on the ask boxy thing.
-Contemplative about balloon eating


Dear Balloon Muncher,
That was a statement, not a question. And I’m pretty confused too, balloons are rather tasty. Take it up with my cousin. He’s the one in charge of the forum.

-Gruno

Sadly, that’s all for this week. We need more questions. You all have been fabulous as far as asking questions, but the more questions we get, the better. We live to answer your questions and solve your conundrums so if you have a query, click this link





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THIS WEEK'S ROUNDUP – 9/7
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written by megsug < PM: >

Bippityboppityboo! I’ve got four links for you~


@Nicaro wants to know if fanfiction could ever be on the same level as original writing. Some like @MrGreen think that fanfiction and original fiction shouldn’t even be compared. @StellaThomas and others think that some fanfiction is wonderful, but really, fanfiction isn’t about impressing others, but the writer celebrating a world they love. @Rubric had an excellent point:



Almost the entirety of my genre is fanfiction with the serial numbers filed off. Should I somehow denigrate those who choose to skip the process of filing completely?




@Spotswood is adamant that fanfiction other than the exception of Star Wars and adaptations, could never have the potential of rising to original writing standards. What do you think?


@OliveDreams wants to know what the craziest thing is you believed growing up is. It turns out, YWSers believed some crazy stuff. I thought my animals were alive when I went to sleep kind of like @Sherri:


I used to believe that my stuffed animals would get up and walk around in my room. If I didn't treat them well and put them away like I was supposed to, they would sit on my pillow and stare at me all night, giving me nightmares. One guess who planted that seed:
M. O. M.






…My stuffed animals adored me as their loving and merciful queen though…
What crazy stuff did you used to think?


I unearthed a long buried club for any theatre lovers out there. @SparkToFlame left a great note four years ago:



I hope you accept diva's and drama queen's




Go diva up the club!

4.

@IronSpark is creating a presentation on homeschooling and would like it if some of the homeschoolers or homeschool graduates would answer a few questions:



Username:
Grade (completely optional, but it would be much appreciated!):
Are you in high/middle/elementary school?
Why are you homeschooled?
Do your parents teach you?
Do you use online resources? If so, please include here:
Do you do an online school?
Do you live in the US?
Do you enjoy homeschooling?
Comments:



Go help a fellow YWSer out.





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SHAMELESS PLUGS
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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.

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Place advertisement here. Make sure you include a title!


And now for this week's Shameless Plugs!


Sadly there are no Shameless Plugs to display this week. Be sure to send in your send in your Shameless Plugs! I don't want to be a homeless robot. ;-; Bleep-bloop.





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SUBSCRIBERS
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Find enspoiler-ed a list of our subscribers!

Spoiler! :
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He knew that elbow.
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