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Squills 6/25/18 - 7/7/18



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Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:55 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
Aley

General Editors
EternalRain
killeham

Friendly Neighborhood Robot
SquillsBot

Literary Reporter
Available - PM Squillsbot if interested

Community Reporter
Neptune

Poetry Enchantress
Aley
alliyah

Resources Reporter
Available - PM Squillsbot if interested

Storybooks Status Reporter
Available - PM Squillsbot if interested

Writer's World Columnist
elysian

Anime Maniac
Kanome

Social Correspondent
EternalRain
LadyLizz

Code Master
killeham

General Reporters
BuriKun

Ghost Reporter
ShadowVyper



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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Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:56 am
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YWS MOVING TO DONATIONS
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written by Aley < PM: >

At the beginning of June, there was an Information Desk forum which might have slipped by unnoticed, but it is very important to know about it. YWS will gradually work away from using advertisements on the site and move instead to a donation model. This means that the advertisements you see on the side bar and top bar are going to eventually go away.

Why the Change is Being Made

Nate explains in his thread that he wants to move away from this advertising model we have now because he has concerns about keeping it up. The main reason to move away from advertising is because of the data that is tracked while using it. Adsense, the advertising program YWS uses, tracks users interests, storing their data through watching activity by cookies. Everywhere you go and everything you do on YWS and other websites is stored and tracked so they can categorize you and create the most pertinent advertisement to you as a user. That means if you go look at dogs, you're more likely to get dog advertisements.

Here's what Nate says about that.



I'm increasingly worried about online privacy and the amount of information that is involuntarily stored. The advertising program YWS uses, Google Adsense, once worked by matching ads to the content of the page. But, Adsense now mainly works by tracking your activity and matching ads based on your preferences. As YWS' target demographic is 13-18, that kind of targeting advertising is a concern to me.



Basically, he doesn't want you to get advertisements which are not age appropriate on YWS based on what Google Adsense thinks are your preferences. If someone else gets on your computer and begins to surf around, Adsense might mistake that activity for yours, and give you advertisements for things you do not want to see. Moreover, with how tricky the legal affairs of internet information safety have become, and how much they are changing, this type of advertising could become controversial.

YWS's Financial Future

So what does this mean for YWS? How much does it actually cost to run YWS each month? Actually, it's not that much. Nate says that running YWS costs around $200 per month which is broken down into payments for the main site, WordFeed Pads, and the backup site for when YWS goes down. For more details about the break down, read the thread Taking YWS to a donations-only revenue model .

This means that YWS won't have to shut down for financial reasons now even though it has in the past. In the past it shut down because Nate was not financially stable to keep it running and the site was very young, so it didn't have support from patrons. Now, there are many people who subscribe to give YWS a monthly payment. You can tell who has a subscription based upon the colored badges that appear under their name in the forums, or you can go look at the list on the donation page.

To Donate or Not To Donate

YWS will have you convinced that it runs fine without your personal contribution, but that's actually a fallacy. If YWS switches to this type of financial system, then YWS will be dependent on you in more ways than just your words. So how can we donate to YWS, what are the values, and when is it best to donate?

This is a very personal thing. Donating to anything has to be a personal decision based upon you and your financial situation. If you are saving for college, paying rent, buying food, and so forth, then you have to look at how much of your budget you might be willing to part with to donate to this thing you like to play on. One of the things you can use to determine how comfortable you are with donating money to a site like YWS is looking at your purchase of in-app cash. If you routinely purchase $1-$5 packages to get in-app cash, you could probably donate to YWS on a subscription where it comes out monthly. If you only occasionally purchase in-app cash when you're feeling like you need a splurge, or you want to get that one event item that's really cool, you might only be able to donate once in a while.

If you're saving for college, or something else and you don't have much you put away, what you can donate is your time and love for the site by reviewing, reading, and participating in events! We need people just as much as we need money. YWS is a society based upon the joint contribution of editing and writing. If we lose one of those sides, we've lost the site regardless of the financial situation, so donating your time reviewing [as that's usually what's lacking] is just as valuable as donating money.

If you do donate money, however, you too can get those really cool badges under your username! Check out the donation page to see whose ranks you can join if you donate, and what level monthly contribution you would need to get what color.

A Call to Action

Lastly, this information blurb has a question for all of us. I'll let Nate take it away:



I'm also open to suggestions of what to do with that blank empty space in the header now. I could just remove that area along with the logo altogether, but it's a useful space for announcements so I'd like to keep it.

Anyways, if you have any questions or concern, let me know!



You can respond in the thread Taking YWS to a donations-only revenue model





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Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:00 am
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FEATURED MEMBER INTERVIEW: ELYSIAN
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written by BiscuitsLeGuin [/b]< PM: >[/b]

One part of our race to catch up with our Featured Member interviews is with the wonderful @elysian!

Squills: It's been a little while now, but do you remember your first reaction when you were named Featured Member?


elysian: Yes I do! I was so shocked and so happy. I have never gotten featured before and I had always thought that the people who did get featured were such amazing people and writers so to be put on the same level was so amazing for me

S: You've been around for quite some time. What do you think it is about your activity at the moment that earned you that title?


e: Yes, I think this is my sixth year on YWS? That’s another reason why getting FM is so special, because I grew up on this site! I think my activity in write-ins, activities around the site, and my reviewing is what helped me earn that title. I took a break for a while and when I came back I was determined to become a very active member!

S: If you could change one thing about YWS, what would it be?


e: I think if I could change one thing it would be to bring chat rooms back. I know it’s an internet safety concern and I agree with why @Nate had to get rid of them, it was just a big part of the sense of community on the sit when I first joined back in 2012. i’m glad that we have write-ins, however, because I think those have been the closest thing to it! and of course we also have discord which is nice!

S: Out of all your time on here, what is the area of the site you have been involved in most consistently?


e: I think the area I’ve been most involved in is the write-ins. It’s pretty much expected for me to hop in a write-in anytime there is one! it’s so motivational to have a bunch of other people working on writing at the same time as you and you have so many people there for help if needed! (and I love to impersonate @BlueAfrica hehe).

S: Is there anything YWS doesn't do any more that you now miss?


e: Of course, chat, but other than that I can’t really think of many ways the site has changed for the worst. I think everything that’s happened has been great and for the best!

S: What's been your proudest moment on YWS?


e: My proudest moment(s) on YWS are probably when I post a work and get such positive feedback and sometimes even a literary spotlight. it just really gives me the motivation to continue to better myself and continue to do what I love!

Thanks again for talking to me, elysian, and I'm glad you finally got this spot!





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Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:03 am
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AN INTERVIEW WITH THREE NEW MODS
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written by neptune < PM: >

Recently, three friendly users on this site have been dubbed a bright green color. I’ve been given the lovely opportunity to sit down this week for an interview with our new junior moderators, @FalconerGal9086, @scribbleinks, and @TheBlueCat!

neptune: Hey, do you think I could borrow you for a quick interview with Squills about your new moldy color?


FalconerGal9086: Of course!

scribbleinks: Hello! And of course! Nobody else is borrowing me right now, you're in luck ;)

TheBlueCat: Of course! c:

n: Great! What was your reaction to being chosen as a junior moderator?


F: When I first saw the PM I was a little confused. I was thinking "why is Elinor PMing me and what does 'hello' mean but okay I guess??" So I opened it and I believe my initial reaction was surprise, quickly followed up by a fist pump and a loud exclamation of joy that was heard downstairs and then an ecstatic, hyper me running through the house and bothering my brother @CorwinAmber (who's pretttyyy inactive here but that's him) with the news. I was psyched XD

s: Surprise! I wasn't expecting it at all! It was really exciting too - and intimidating - after I got over being completely blind sided by it.

T: Totally and utterly shocked. I kinda just sat there and stared at the screen for a while to make sure I wasn't imagining it xD

S: And why do you think you were chosen?


F: Well, I've been active for a long time, and I'm familiar with most of the aspects of the site aside from poetry, so that's probably a big part of it. I'd also like to think I'm a friendly and helpful individual.

s: Good question! I have no idea xD If I had to guess, I suppose it would be being active around the site and trying my best to be helpful where I can. Or maybe my username looks better in green. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It's a mystery!

T: I think being friendly and involved in the YWS community goes a long way! I love doing it too, and I'm sure that really shows. I just try to give back what I have gotten, really. I still feel like I'm not the best choice for the task but I do my best!

S: What are you most looking forward to doing with your moldy mod powers?


F: I'm really looking forward to assisting in putting on events and running workshops for the community! Maybe I'll get to meet more people and I always love helping out :D

s: I plan to slowly overthrow the system and rule over everyone >:D
Ahem. I mean, helping keep the forum clean and helping our fellow ywsers out. Of course.


T: Keeping YWS safe and friendly for everyone! Other than that, I need to figurue out what i can do! xD

S: Well, that’s all the questions! Thanks for participating!


If you haven’t already, go and congratulate our three newest mods on the site!





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Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:05 am
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FEATURED MEMBER INTERVIEW: SHANIAC
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written by BiscuitsLeGuin < PM: >

Here at Squills we're a little behind on Featured Member interviews, so we thought we'd have a chat with the previous FM, and still fairly new member on YWS, @shaniac.

BiscuitsLeGuin: Hey Shaniac, so how did it feel to be FM? Is it rewarding to have your recent efforts recognised?


shaniac: I was kind of surprised! Like, I know I've been around the site here and there but I didn't expect to be recognized quickly. And yeah it is definitely rewarding and kind of motivating to do more stuff around the site.

B: As a Featured Member who's still quite new to the site, what would you say it is that has motivated you to become so involved so fast?


s: I think it was me wanting to get into a lot of things. I want to make an imprint of the site and getting into things should really help with that. Also, my friends on Discord who told me to join the site :P

B: Speaking of motivation, I'm seriously impressed by your recent finish of Team Tortoise! Was it tough to not let yourself take a day off?


s: It was tough xD but during some of the days, I stepped up my game a bit and did a few extra reviews here and there. Doing Team Tortoise, also, helped my reviewing footing because when I joined, my reviews were kind of all over the place but now, I think they are pretty alright (there's always room for improvement later on).

B: Do you have a favourite part of the site? Maybe the forums, Storybooks, or even just writing and receiving reviews?


s: I would say probably the reviewing aspect of the site! I like being able to get feedback and kind of helped with getting over the fear of posting things online (which I've never done before).

B: If you could change one thing about YWS, what would it be?


s: I don't know what I'll change. Since I'm still kind of new and figuring out my way around, I think the site as a whole is pretty neat already.

B: What, if anything, have you not got involved in yet that you'd really like to?


s: I don't know, really. I'm kind of in a lot of things at the moment (LMS, Camp NaNo, and that Roleplay thing). I think if the chance comes, I'll join onto it because there are a lot more things to do on this site as the months go on.

Thanks again for talking to me, shaniac, and I'm glad you've already had so much fun here!





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Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:07 am
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TALES FROM THE AIRWAVES
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written by Aley < PM: >

This year we are happy to announce that there is a new radio show being produced as you read this! Run by @Elinor, this production will be coming out sometime in August and features two different productions in one radio show. It will have both "Ghost Man" written originally by @Elinor and adapted for radio by @Dreamy, and "Sea Fever" written originally by @Evander and adapted by @Kale.

This is the second time Elinor has produced a radio show! Her first radio show was produced in 2014 and featured a story called "Jamie's Coin" which you can read about here in this article written by our very own Hannah.

You can tune in live to experience a radio show first hand, and potentially call-in, or you can listen to it after the radio show has gone off the air. Either way is an enjoyable experience. I listened in to parts of Jamie's Coin live in 2014 and listened to the other half after it was off the air.

Radio shows take a lot of work to produce as they need rehearsal time, technical knowledge, adaptations for an audible experience, timing and cues, sound effects, and much more. This Squills we will spend some time interviewing people involved in the production of "Sea Fever" and next week we will interview people about "Ghost Man" so stay tuned both weeks for sneak peeks.

To answer some of my personal questions about radio shows, I caught Elinor before she headed out the door. Here's our interview.

Squills: Hey Elinor, I was wondering if you had some time for a quick interview on your radio show that's coming out

Elinor: Sure! I’m just waking up but I’ll answer questions

S: Sweet! So this is the second radio show that is going to happen. How long do they take to produce?

E: Usually about two months from writing to air!

S: When will this next radio show air?

E: That hasn’t been finalized yet, but sometime in mid to late August

S: What has been the biggest challenge with this second radio show?

E: I’d say with any creative work, you always want to make something good, and there’s always the fear you won’t. There are two scripts and coordination has certainly been a challenge. In some ways the stories are very different but in a lot of ways their messages are the same. That’s what I most want to convey. Situations and time periods might be different, but we’re all human and we all go through the same things

S: I love that message. It's really resounding in most writing. Last, but most importantly, where can I go to find out more information, updates, and news about the Radio Show?

E: Our club page!

S: Thank you so much for your time, do you have anything you'd like to add about the upcoming Radio Show?

E: Be sure to tune in!

For those of you as interested in the experience as I am, here is a link to the club page! . I'll leave you with Elinor's own words on the soon-to-come Radio Shows.




Two shows. One set in the midst of the Golden Age of Hollywood, the other a tale of the sea. Coming soon. #TalesfromtheAirwaves



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SEA FEVER INTERVIEW
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written by BiscuitsLeGuin < PM: >

A new production is approaching soon on Young Writers Society, the second time the site has coordinated audio adaptations of stories written by members, Tales From the Airwaves. I, like presumably many of you, am not entirely familiar with what is going to be happening, so we at Squills thought it would be a good idea to talk to one of the adapters about the process of said adaptation. So here's an interview each with @Evander, writer of 'Sea Fever', and @Kale, who adapted it. Starting with Evander, enjoy!

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Squills: First off, what's your story about? What motivated you to write it?

Evander: My story is about a young trans boy as he basically survives his mom and tries desperately to get back to the sea. I was initially motivated to write it because of the Poetry-Inspired Contest that was held a few years back. I was assigned the poem Sea Fever, and then one day inspiration struck. I've always had trouble figuring out my identity? So I guess writing Sea Fever was just one step to figuring it out, if that makes sense.

Squills: I know you have written plenty of stories, bit I imagine this one was different. I'm unsure if you wrote it intentionally for the project though. If you did, what changed in your usual writing approach to accommodate the eventual medium. Or if you didn't, what about this story did you think would be particularly useful for this project?

E: Oh, I didn't write this intentionally for Tales from the Airwaves. Uh, I honestly didn't know if my story would be useful for this project -- one of my friends suggested Sea Fever to @Elinor and here I am, haha.

Squills: You've said you're not involved much in the production process - are you nervous about hearing your story come to life, or excited? Or both?

E: Elinor does regularly come to me with updates and bits about what's going on! I've enjoyed seeing how Kale adapted my story. I'm both excited and nervous about this, but I know that an excellent job is being done!

Squills: Even if you haven't been involved in production, I assume you must have submitted your story for a reason. Do you have an existing passion for stories in audio, or was it a new thing you wanted to try out?

E: Ah, one of my friends actually suggested my story! Although, I do have a passion for stories in audio. I'm a big fan of narrative podcasts.

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Squills: I'm curious to see if you have a different take on this - what would you say this story is about? What drew you to working on it?

Kale: The theme of "Sea Fever" I ran with was finding and being at peace with yourself, regardless of what the rest of world says you are or how you should feel. I didn't choose this story to adapt since all the entrants were assigned one of the two stories to adapt, but it worked out nicely since I peeked at the other story option and had no idea how to begin adapting it to a script form (which is something I'm looking forward to hearing in the upcoming show).

Squills: I'm really interested in what this process must have been like. People at uni talk about translation as an art in itself, and I imagine this must have been fairly similar. How straightforward was it to get this story from the page to the microphone, and how much of your own interpretation did it involve?

K: It was pretty straightforward, though I did have to do quite a bit of restructuring to make the story better fit a script form. I ended up cutting out a few scenes, combining others, and expanding on the biking to the beach and phone messages aspects, which had been skipped over in the original.

Squills: Given that you are the one entrusted with moving a text to the audio medium, I was wondering how much experience you have with this kind of project. Are you the veteran script-writer entrusted by Elinor, or are you a more recent learner of this craft?

K: I used to dabble a bit in scriptwriting years and years (we're talking closer to two decades) ago, and while people did like the sketches I wrote and performed as a wee Kyll at summer camp, I never took up scriptwriting seriously because formatting scripts properly was a pain. Modern word processors are infinitely better than the ones I was using back then, which weren't so much word processors as raw text editors. So yeah. With how much easier it is to format scripts now, I may try my hand at writing a few more, after I finish some other projects.

Squills: What about your project are you most excited for people to hear? Also where and when exactly can they hear it?

K: I'm just looking forward to hearing it, period. This will be the first script I've written that I haven't performed and directed, so I have no how clue how it's going to turn out. It'll be interesting to see how close (or not) it turns out to how I envisioned it, especially since I'm not involved in the production in any way.

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Unfortunately I'm unsure exactly when the production airs, but there is that club I linked in my opening paragraph which I'm sure will include updates as the date nears. Hope you all manage to catch it!





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Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:10 am
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INTERVIEW WITH THE SEA FEAVER ACTORS
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written by BiruKun < PM: >

Talent comes in very many different forms. These people decided to express their talent through voice acting! Here is an interview with the in the upcoming radio show, “Sea Fever”, with @scribbleinks, @Holysocks, and @Mea.

BiruKun: Hi, and thank you for taking time to let me interview. Tell me, why did you decide to audition?

scribbleinks : 3. I've been really interested in acting and voice acting for a very, very long time now (almost as long as I've been writing haha), but I hadn't found many opportunities to get involved in any projects. I've taken acting lessons, but I'm not exactly in a place where there's a lot of opportunities popping up for me. I remember seeing Elinor post back in April looking for anyone interested in voice acting, and I really wanted to send something in. Well, I didn't, I was too nervous (and it was like, a month after she had asked that I worked myself up to actually auditioning, and I figured by that point, it was too late). And then the casting call went up, and I was still nervous, but I knew that I'd regret it a second time if I didn't audition. And here I am! I cannot express how glad I am that I did, or how grateful I am to have been chosen.

BiruKun: How did you come to get the character you did?

Holysocks: I auditioned for mine a little last minute because I had shown interest in being a part of the plays, but then I was worried I wouldn't have time to commit to it and various other things. So Elinor was like hey if you want you could play this part that has like three lines and so then I auditioned and there ya go.


BiruKun: What were some of your favorite and least favorite things about producing “Sea Fever”?

Mea: My favorite part has been listening to how other people interpret their parts, and how even though we've never met in person we can come together and create a story like this! My least favorite part is not really being able to attend many of the rehearsals because of my timezone and general life craziness. I feel less a part of it all, having only attended one of them so far. :/

BiruKun: Finally, give us a little bit of insight on your characters.

Mea: Young Abigail is super sweet and a genuine friend even at her young age. She really cares about Lola/Noah and is more than happy to call him by a different name or help him figure out what makes him comfortable. She just wants him to be at peace and happy. I like to think she also has a bit of a mischievous streak in her. :p

scribbleinks: In my own words, hmm...Abigail, to me, is the support beam in Noah's life. She's the friend who's been on his side from the start, and she, unquestioning, has his back whenever he needs it. I see her as independent and strong, but she's kind, and willing to be open to the people she trusts, and maybe that helps Noah out. I don't know if she really understands what Noah is going through (and how could someone who wasn't in the same position?), but she does her best to.

Holysocks: Well, my character is very minimal. She's an art teacher that has a very short appearance.

There it is, an interview with some of our very own voice actors! It’s amazing how people can come together and create something truly beautiful. Be sure to tune into the Tales of the Airwaves show, “Sea Fever”!





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Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:11 am
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A LITTLE ABOUT LMS
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written by killeham< PM: >

Hey there! Since the next round of Last Man Standing has officially started, here’s some information on this awesome site event! And, hopefully, this peaks the interest of some other users who just haven’t had the courage to dive right in! Here comes your moment.

The first post on LMS is from February 2014. That’s right - four whole years this awesome event has been happening, and will hopefully continue for many more years to come!

The brilliant mind in creating LMS? The one and only @Tenyo who started it all with this iconic post: Could You Be The Last Man Standing?

(Please ignore the fact that I was a silly thirteen-year-old who hadn’t been on YWS yet.)

One main difference between the old LMS and the new version was that an advisor of sorts, called the Sage, was a role that users could take on to help the other writers in their creations.

Of course, this round, plenty of users who have past experience of LMS are already motivating others like @BlueAfrica, so that role is still being displayed in a way!

For your convenience, this is the link to the LMS club just in case you’re interested at all!

There are so many ways of approaching LMS, even if the round has started since Week One only ends on this Sunday! Anyone can join, declare their novel or poetry idea, and write before then.

Some users have extensive planning found in their respective thread in Writers Corner, while others posted bare bones and are winging at least the beginning of their novel. To each their own style, I suppose, since I myself have kind of thrown any small planned character out the window beside the name Cecilia.

I hope this peaked your interest or got you curious about the many #LMS novels coming your way! Good luck to those participating, and we’ll see you later.





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Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:12 am
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INTERVIEW WITH THE LAST WARRIORS STANDING
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written by elysian < PM: >

With LMS Round IV approaching fast, I thought it would be nice to interview our last two warriors left competing in Round III! @BlueAfrica and @Querencia have been tackling the challenge of writing 12k this past week, and are gearing up to overcome that daunting 20k word week! I had the chance to talk to them both about competing in the current round of LMS and their thoughts towards the next round as well!

Squills: Hello, thanks for answering a few questions for me! I know I've been excitedly watching you two battle it out during this intense blizzard these past couple of weeks, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. How did you feel when you first saw the outline of the blizzard challenge? Were you afraid, or ready to tackle the challenge?


BlueAfrica: TBH I think I experienced a moment of shock when we first saw the line up BC I guess I was expecting the word count to go up more gradually. You know, from 1000 words to 2000 to 3000...but instead ten was like "okay guys, in order to force someone out and end this madness, we're gonna do 1500 then 3k then 5k then 8k then 12k..."

So at first I was like "wow okay," but the truth is I'm a diehard fan of NANOWRIMO who hasn't written NANOWRIMO amounts of words in over a year, so I got excited pretty quick.


Querencia: When I saw the list, my eyes totally went right down to the 20,000 words week! It freaked me out, but I was really determined to stay in it. I personally wanted to try and make it to the end, and also to finish my novel! I didn't really want to beat anyone else, just challenge myself--and it's definitely been a bit of a challenge! A fun one, though.

S: That's awesome that you guys were ready to face that challenge! Did you think when you first started that you would make it this far?


BA: Honestly early on I didn't really think about it much? But I have this insane willpower when it comes to writing contests of this nature - like NANOWRIMO - where someone else sets a deadline and word count for you. Like I could say to myself "okay, I'm going to write 1500 words a week every week by Sunday night until this story is over" but you know what I would do? Not that. I need someone else to set my goals for me, to hold me accountable. But once that happens, 100% for sure I will stick with it. So in a way it's almost inevitable that I made it this far. The closest I came to dropping out was when I got sick and could barely stay awake or sit up for a solid week.

But that point I'd been in the game for so long that I was like, "okay, I am not dropping out after more than a year because of some stupid virus" and I grit my teeth and wrote my chapter and ignored the fact that it sucked more than usual.


Q: I figured I'd make it for a while, since I survived the last round of LMS pretty well, but there are definitely some weeks which are hard to get through. I was travelling some of the weeks, and had to sort of write around that, but I felt pretty motivated to keep it up. It was really fun to celebrate the one year anniversary, and keeping up my writing every week just made me feel good. Maybe I didn't think I'd stay in the blizzard round for quite this long, but I'm glad to see that I have!


S: It seems like you both have quite a bit of willpower, and it's awesome that even in tough times you guys pushed through! In what ways did you stay on track during LMS?


BA: Well, like I said, systems like LMS really work for me to begin with - I thrive when I have someone else's word count goals and deadlines to live by. (that's probably a good sign for the future, right?) I also like the community aspect; writing is so solitary a pursuit normally, but there's really something that drives me when I know other people are working toward the same goals I am. It's just, like, it's exciting and fun. Like a party. But a party I can attend in solitude from my own home, which is obviously the best kind of party.

And then as much as I hate to admit it, I have to mention the fact that I made sure to front-load the week's writing so I could spend the rest of the week planning ahead so I wouldn't get stuck later.


Q: I was pretty self-motivated for a while--whatever it took, I was for sure getting to that goal at the end of the week! I didn't want to disappoint myself. I wasn't able to get to a lot of write-ins while I was in school, but now that it's summer, they're super helpful. Also, BlueAfrica is a super motivator, and she always checks in to make sure I'm doing my writing! I... Have very little talent for planning ahead, but I definitely feel better when there are others who are working through it as well.

S: It seems like you both used a lot of self and peer-motivation. Do you think LMS has helped grow your writing technique/style? If yes, in what ways? If no, then why not, what was lacking?


BA: Oh, for sure! For one thing, it's kept me on a writing schedule - and because it's a long-term thing with short-term deadlines, I've really had to keep on top of my writing but also I've had to really think things through more. Like, I am 100% a pantser. I really can't outline before a first draft - I need to discover the story as I write it. But LMS forced me to think a lot more about my antagonists and their plans before getting started and during the story, before getting to points where I needed to know what was going on. I think it's resulted in a stronger first draft overall, which is (hopefully) going to make revision less horrible than normal.

Ultimately, however - even though writing only 1500 words a week definitely helped keep the story straight (but not the characters) - the elimination round has definitely taught me that I'm a sprinter at heart. 1500 words a week was easy to fit into my hectic schedule, but it's been exhilarating to write so much these last few weeks. I've literally been getting a runner's high, but from writing. It's insanely awesome.


Q: Yeah, but not in the way I expected! I certainly got some consistent writing habits, but I don't think I did my best writing. Still, I learned where I needed to go in order to get to my best writing. When I'm under time pressure, I drop out description a bit, so I've learned that I need to work on that more while I'm writing. I've also gotten a little better at writing emotions, and distinguishing my characters from each other. I was really worried about the quality, and I still am, but I feel a little better about not having first drafts be perfect. Overall, it's been a great learning process! I haven't kept up a project for so long without abandoning it outside of LMS, so that was pretty great.

S: It seems like LMS is for sure to help with consistent writing and learning the ability to finish novels! However, did you ever face a week where you were struggling with writer's block? How did you move past it?


BA: Yes, but to be honest it's been so long that at this point I don't remember which weeks they were - although I know you can tell if you read through, because whenever I had those weeks I'd write descriptions or author's notes like "in which this chapter sucks but oh well." shockingly, they all happened back in the 1500 weeks rather than in the elimination round. The most recent week that really gave me trouble was the last week of April, when I was racked out on the couch with whatever infection I had. It really put me out of action.

TBH I think sheer determination got me through most of my writer's block. A history with NANOWRIMO also helps, because I'm able to work through feelings of "oh my god this is all crap" and remind myself that it's just a first draft.

(If you're a rogue and you're revising and it's not a first draft...sorry.)


Q: All the time!! Early on, I asked others for some guidance, and I tried to plan out multiple options and choose the best one. I had less writing in a week back then! Now, in the blizzard round, I pretty much have to plow through it. I try to plan out a few things on the fly, but I pretty much have to go with my gut and keep on writing! I have some major points, it's just that the path to those major points is... Constantly in flux.

I just take heart in knowing that I can fix all the inconsistencies later, and that perhaps while looking back on all I've written, I can find not only a way to the end goal, but the best way (or at least better!).


S: Sounds good! Are you participating in LMS round IV? If so, could you give us a quick summary of the novel that you are planning to take on next? If not, how about telling us some of the LMS novels you're most excited to follow?


BA: Hahahahahaha...oh, you're serious.

So obviously I'm not participating - I'm actually helping run it, along with the fabulous @Elinor and @Lumi, so I'm really excited about that. I'm clearly incredibly invested lol. I want to focus on chosen grandma revisions next, and given my history with revision...i feel like LMS won't work as well for me for revisions as it has for a first draft.

I'm super pumped for @Lareine's the autumn door - the setting descriptions are fascinating and it's got kind of a modern-faerie-gothic thing going on, and I'm already 100% in love with the characters, just from her notes. If this was a book out for publication later this year, I'd have pre-ordered it by now. And I'm also so excited for @Sonder's hero for hire - it's a fun/exciting superhero story, but our mc is a college student who becomes a supervillain because it pays the bills. Sonder has been reading along with the chosen grandma story and really encouraging me and getting excited about the characters with me, and I can't wait to return the favor.


Q: Man I wish! I was totally going to, and I had this neat little not-hero plot picked out, but I think that instead, I really need to focus on revising how was your day from this current LMS. I've put so much work into it that I feel as if I would be abandoning it if I picked up another project now!

I'm really excited for everyone else's LMS iv novels, though. I'll probably follow a ton of them! I'm particularly looking forward to a pocketful of posies by @darkpandemonium and the three lockets by @saen, but honestly they all look so cool. I'll probably spend so much time reading all of the LMS novels that I'll forget about revising my own! It's going to be awesome, though.


S: Awh, it's sad we won't be seeing either of you competing this round, but you both need a well-deserved break! Last but not least, any tips for writers participating in round iv?


BA: Front-load the week's writing! The more writing you get done early, the less you have to worry about when you're out of town/working/something comes up. Plus it leaves time at the end of your week for planning the next bits so you don't get stuck.

*dory voice* just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing, writing, writing! *chorus voice* non-stop *burr voice* why do you write like you're running out of time

Seriously, just keep writing. Don't worry about it if it you don't know exactly where the story is going or if the writing is bad, just keep moving. Surround yourself with cheerleaders. Post about your story. Even just seeing those likes or seeing that people are rooting you on or relate to what you're going through this week can go so far toward helping you stay on track. And you know I'll be rooting for you!


Q: Haha, unlike BlueAfrica, I mostly back-loaded my writing. I did a lot of Sunday writing, just because I had the most time on the weekends. But, even if you do that, you can still get through it! I always did doodles and thought about where my novel was going in the beginning of the week, just so that I was in the mood by the end of the week. Just write whenever you can, and whether you write early or late, it's okay!

But also, definitely keep writing! Find something or someone to motivate you, and something you can turn to when you get discouraged. If you ever stop being excited about your story, think about what you would love to write about--maybe you can include that in your current project, spice things up. Most of all, just remember that you have it in you to write this! You can do it!!


S: Thank you for taking the time to sit down and talk with me! Good luck to both of you with running LMS and revising LMS projects!


BA: Thanks for the interview! I could talk about LMS forever. I can't wait for the next round to start so I can cheer everyone on!

Q: Thank you! Man, LMS is fantastic. I can't wait to see what everyone writes for the next round--it's going to be awesome!





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