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Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:53 am
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Welcome to Squills, the official news bulletin of the Young Writers Society!
What will you find here? Tons of interesting news about YWS, including but not limited to: articles about writing, art, and the world of humanities; interviews with YWS members; shameless plugs; link round-ups; and opinionated columns.
And where will all of this come from? Take a look at our fantastic creative staff!

CREATIVE STAFF

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Editor-in-Chief
Aley

General Editors
EternalRain
fraey

Friendly Neighborhood Robot
SquillsBot

Literary Reporter
LadyBird

Community Reporter
TheWeirdoFromBeyond
neptune

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ShadowVyper

Poetry Enchantress
Aley
alliyah

Resources Reporter
BiscuitsLeGuin

Storybooks Status Reporter
fraey

Writer's World Columnist
elysian

Anime Maniac
Kanome

Social Correspondent
EternalRain

Code Master
Available - PM Squillsbot if interested

General Reporters
Clarity
CloudKid

Ghost Reporter
shaniac



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

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

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





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Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:05 am
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WRITE-IN CULTURE
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written by Cloudkid< PM: >

Real time feedback. Motivating word wars. Collaborative pieces. These are just a few advantages of the YWS Write-Ins. But this week we're examining not only what Write-Ins are, but the culture of them as well. To get a feel for this complex culture, I interviewed a Write-In regular, @BlueAfrica, at on Official Write-In on January 31st.

Squills: Hi BlueAfrica! Thanks so much for sitting down for an interview with Squills. What inspired you to start hosting official write-ins?


BlueAfrica: Okay, so I actually didn't even know WFP [writerfeedpad] was a thing for, like, an embarrassingly long time (@LadyBird liked to make fun of how low my WFP numbers were at first bc I just had so few pads that I'd used), but people used to do poetry jams all the time. And you could go there and technically not write poetry, but I felt weird about it? So I'm pretty sure during NaNoWriMo two or three years ago, a couple other Gen Lit mods and I decided to start hosting virtual write-ins for that, and I tried to do one more or less every Friday. And then we did it again the next year, and I just kept doing Friday write-ins after the month was over, and then other people started picking up on the fact that "hey, I can open a WFP and set it to public and write with other people instead of all by my lonesome!" so it really snowballed from there.

S: If you could describe the culture of write-ins, official or otherwise, how would you?


B: Generally speaking, write-ins tend to be a bastion of support and fun. Personally, I love writing with other people - it makes me feel more like part of a writing community, which is important because writing is such a solitary pursuit most of the time that you can sort of drive yourself crazy without getting out and interacting with other writers and feeling their support.

S: Another site member says write-ins can get a bite clique-y. Do you agree?


B: I think that's bound to happen anywhere where people come together for, well, pretty much anything, because the people who know each other tend to hang out more or talk more, while new people might be uncomfortable to just dive in. That said, I've gotten to know a lot of people through the write-ins who I wouldn't otherwise have interacted with much on the site, and several regulars at the write-ins (@alliyah comes to mind) seem to make a conscious effort to be welcoming of newcomers to the write-ins.


S: You're part of the Accountability Club , which hosts official write-ins through various members. What's the aim of the Accountability Club?


B: So @Holysocks is the actual creator of the Accountability Club, but basically the thought behind the Accountability Club was that we're more likely to stick to our goals or deadlines as writers if we have other people to hold us accountable. Like NaNoWriMo, for example - one of the suggestions the site team gives you is to tell all your friends you're doing it. I can definitely attest to the fact that you might not achieve your goals or stick to deadlines if you're only accountable to yourself, but if you face the potential embarrassment of having to tell other people that you failed...suddenly there's a lot more at stake.

That said, mostly what we have in the club are personal accountability threads, so I'm not sure how successful we are at actually holding people accountable lol. Accountability partners would probably be helpful, but being online and everyone having different schedules makes that a bit difficult. My own thread has been sadly neglected since my revision schedule got railroaded, but on the plus side we're keeping more or less up with write-ins!


S: How would you say write-ins have helped you develop as a writer?


B: Theoretically write-ins could help me develop by getting live feedback as I write - which is how a lot of people use them, and I love that! But in my case, I haven't been working on much since the first and second drafts of the Chosen Grandma story (and before that I wasn't in WFP much), so it's more like write-ins have helped me stay sane when I'm sure my story is complete crap and I'm a terrible writer. Getting live feedback, even if it's in the form of commentary as people react in real-time to what I'm writing, can be a great confidence booster. Plus it's fantastic, if you're feeling like a scene isn't working, to be able to hop into chat and go, "Hey, I'm pretty sure this sucks, can someone read it and tell me if that's true???"

@Sonder was crucial to keeping me sane through the writing of the first draft (especially toward the end, when @Tenyo put the pressure on and I was writing eight or twelve or twenty thousand words in a week), and @mellifera kept me sane through the second. Community is important to the development of the writer, and write-ins are a great way to get access to that community in real-time.


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So now that we have an idea of the purpose of a Write-In, how do they work? Most Write-Ins are laid back, where users are free to work on things such as their novel, short story, storybook post, poetry, homework, or they can just hang out and chat. However, some Write-Ins are specific, such as Poetry Jams (specifically for poetry), and some have rules, such as keeping the chat PG in Official Write-Ins. To get a better understanding of these different types of Write-Ins (Official, spontaneous, poetry jams, storybooks, etc), I interviewed Ladybird about the Poetry Jams she hosts.

Squills: Hi Ladybird! Thanks for sitting down with Squills. Let's get started. What do you like most about hosting poetry jams?


Ladybird: I think my favorite part of hosting poetry jams is being able to supply the writers with initial prompts and also guidance as they work through their pieces. We have all been in the position of questioning where a poem needs to go, and if you can just turn to anyone in chat to ask for help, it makes things much easier. Having poetry jams created a different kind of line by line critiquing that is far more focused on the conversation than we might see with other reviews.

That's my favorite development.


S: What do you dislike about hosting poetry jams?


L: One thing I have grown to dislike, as a poetry based person, is letting them mesh with general write-ins. Obviously you can come onto one of my Poetry Jams and write prose, but I would really prefer if people tried. They might show up and say, "I don't write poetry. I'm going to work on this project." Which is totally okay.

But, most often when I have a P-Jam pad open, it will have a challenge or a prompt at the top. So if you're going to stick around and write whatever project, at least take a spin through my challenge(s) first.


S: What sets poetry jams apart from other write-ins?


L: Poetry jams are set apart by the intial guideline of writing poetry, but they also have the high level of interaction mentioned in my first response. It's an entirely different experience when you're actively working on the same prompt/challenge as someone else. And you're able to comment on where their thoughts are going while they're also commenting on your work.

I know that as a young poet it would have been very helpful to me but we didn't actively start doing P-Jams until the beginning of 2017.


S: How would you describe the overall culture of poetry jams?


L: We haven't really had a culture since our numbers dropped but hopefully with my plans for 2019, we will be restored to a greater glory. Poetry Jam culture vs Write-In culture, was always more focused on finishing whatever project was at hand. And the chat discussions were sometimes based around in real life events, but most often we were discussing poetry matters.

Poetry Jams never really developed the closeness of sharing personal issues. We were more about writing and educating, which I hope manages to make a comeback in the new year.



As you can see, the culture or expectations of a Write-In can vary greatly depending on the type of Write-In it is and who is running the pad. Certain users have their quirks about how they like their pad ran, and the more you're around the more you learn about everyone's preferences. Every pad is as unique as the people that inhabit it.

Those people, of course, also have their quirks. Some people do the exact same project in every pad, every time, while others switch it up. People do all types of things in Write-ins, from working on their WIPs to doing homework to just hanging out. There's no pressure to do any one thing, which is probably one of my favorite things about Write-Ins. My second favorite thing about Write-Ins is the support the community gives one another, not just in terms of writing but in personal life issues as well. Having a bad day? Pop by a pad and get some well wishes. Want to vent? We've got plenty of people to listen. Want some feedback on your chapter or poem? Want to work on a review and chat while you do so? Want to get started on that storybook post? A Write-In is just the place.

So next time you see one posted, hop in! We love newcomers and you'll be welcomed with open arms. Who knows, you may even become a regular. But I promise, no matter what you're looking for, a Write-In can offer it.





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Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:06 am
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SOCIETY PAGES
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written by neptune< PM: >

Welcome back to this week’s society pages!

More hashtags continue to appear throughout the people tab. If you’re looking for a good laugh, @Liberty500 tells lots of jokes with their #JokeTime tag! One of which is:



Does February March? No, but April May.



@Arcticus also has a joke tag - specifically pick up lines - called #WriterlyPickUpLines . This tag, as the name suggests, is a series of pick up lines specific to writing related things. My personal favorite is:



Are you a simile? 'Cause I like you. Get it? Get it? LIKE you. Get it? No? Kbye.



And, if you want to learn cool facts, @Fantascifi66 created their own hashtag called
#Fantasweirdfacts !
The #classfied tag has cooled down a little, but there are still folks posting about it. The meaning behind this tag is still yet to be discovered, but if you have any guesses or theories, post in the Unclassified club! Along with this tag, too, is the ocassional #unclassified / #LongLiveBigBrother / other various confusing tags.

In other news, @TheBlueCat’s braces come off soon (yay!! that’s so exciting), @Mea went on a date and saw Crimes of Grindelwald - which also sounds exciting and fun - and @MaybeInk finished the rough draft of their novel (congrats)!

Some general news - looks like many people on the site have been facing cold temperatures! Make sure to stay safe and warm, everyone! <3





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Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:08 am
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SUPER SERIOUS BUSINESS
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Written by LadyBird < PM: >

Remember when Anderson was so naive to ship Sherlock and Molly?

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Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:09 am
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A HOLIDAY PERSPECTIVE: GROUNDHOG DAY
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written by alliyah < PM: >

If you follow my columns, you know that sometimes I cover different holidays, like Reformation Day and Easter - and give a little random information about the holiday itself and how I observe it. This week, we have of course got Groundhog Day which falls on February 2nd. Let's start with some background about the holiday!

Modern Observance
So Groundhog day is a fairly interesting holiday in that it is mostly only regionally observed in the U.S. and Canada. The idea is that if the Groundhog emerges out of his borrow and sees his/her shadow and goes back into it's borrow - then there will be 6 more weeks of winter, whereas if the Groundhog doesn't see it's shadow and stays out (because of cloudiness presumably) then there won't be 6 extra weeks of winter. There are designated Groundhogs that people observe for this holiday - with Punxsutawney Phil from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania being the most famous one. Many people get up to watch the "live-stream" of watching this groundhog to see whether or not he sees his shadow.

Pop-Culture
A lot of people's primary point of reference for Groundhog Day is likely the movie. To quote the IMDb entry on the 1993 commedy; "Groundhog Day" follows Bill Murray playing a weatherman who, "finds himself inexplicably living the same day over and over again." There's not a lot more that I can say about the movie, except I have found personally that odd occurrences do tend to happen to me on Groundhog Day that sometimes have to do with the weather sometimes have to do with timing - it might be a little bit of a self-fullfilling prophecy that I anticipate strange things happen, so am more apt to notice them rather than them being more likely to occur. But sometimes it's fun to notice the unexpected.

Religious Origins
What many don't know is that Groundhog Day isn't just a random holiday to that came about because people decided woodchucks were cute and worthy of honor, but there's actually a religious origin too. What we now celebrate as Groundhog Day morphed out of the Christian holiday of Candlemas. You can read some details about Candlemas here (New England Historical Society and Time and Date .

Basically it coincides with observing the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, which evokes the idea of light and candles, so people used to bring candles to the church for blessing on this day. So to really sum it up - Candlemas is like an extension of celebrating Jesus' birth and "spiritual light", as well as the "physical light" from the seasons changing, and is an altogether celebration of God's provision. There were even winter/weather predictions associated with the candle's shadows back then, and sayings like,

"If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will take another flight;
If Candlemas Day be foul and rain,
Winter is gone and won't come again."

(New England Historical Society )

With that you can kind of see the link into modern Groundhog Day, although don't ask me why we started incorporating Groundhogs into the observation.

My Take on the Holiday
With all that being said, Groundhog Day is one of my favorite holidays, I'd even throw it into my top 3. First, because it's quirky and unexpected - it's fun giving people a reason to smile if they've forgotten all about Groundhog Day, which a lot of people do. Some years I've gotten different friends together and even had Groundhog Day celebrations, because after being cooped up inside all winter long, it's nice to have a reason to get out of hibernation and interact with people again.

And second, I like those religious origins of Groundhog Day. From a religious or non-religious point, I think the practice of observing intentional gratitude is powerful and important. Even when life feels crummy, or I'm just trying to survive the polar vortex, is there something I can be thankful for? Even if it's just the season's changing, and spring coming soon? Even if it's just that you've made it through the gloom of winter? Taking the time to take some stock on God's provision (or if you're not religious "the earth's provision" maybe) is something that I try to do throughout the year, but especially at holidays.

The practice of having a chance to reflect on the changing of seasons (either through weather or through life seasons) can also be significant. Just to remember where you've been in life, and where you're going - and Groundhog day encourages that, as it recognizes the seasonal shift from winter hibernation into the spring.

So, with all of that, I think Groundhog Day is pretty neat! Did you know the origin of Groundhog Day yourself? Do you have any special observations your have over the Holiday? Or do you have an obscure Holiday you'd like me to cover in a Squills article? Let me know over in my Author's Page .





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Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:12 am
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WORD OF THE WEEK: AGELAST
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written by EternalRain < PM: >

Pronunciation: aj-uh-last

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: a person who never laughs.

Synonyms: one who is mirthless; one who is not comical

Origin: From Middle French “agelaste” and Greek “agélastos” meaning “not laughing, grave, gloomy”.

Used in a Sentence: Everyone but the agelast was laughing when the comedian cracked some jokes for the crowd.





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Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:13 am
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STARTING OFF IN A STORYBOOK
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written by fraey < PM: >

Hello readers! As there have been plenty of articles going over Storybooks, we might as well help some of the more reluctant writers get all of the information they need to really dive into this part of YWS.

First off, one must start with the location itself - found here at the very first tab you can click on. From there, go through the page containing all active Storybooks until one seems to catch your attention.

Here, you may have to pause for a second and read the tags (if there are any) right by the Storybook's name. From there, those give the viewer information on where there is an age requirement (typically that of 16+ if something like that is in use) or useful things such as whether this story has already started, or seriously needs more members. Stat.

Once you've latched onto a Storybook that looked right up your alley, head off to the Discussion Topic, otherwise labeled the DT, to claim a spot, or ask any questions you may have for the creator. Hopefully, there's space available for you, and then you can start something very important for Storybooks: the Character Profile, or CP for short.

Typically, the creator of the Storybook will provide their own template so as for you to fill out, especially if the story is set in a certain period or they're looking for specific character traits to really add to what they want happening in this creation of theirs. Once you think you've put enough information (and picture, if requested), you can hit submit on the profile.

Hopefully, your CP is accepted, and judging by how the creator wants to run the Storybook, you could end up writing your first post in a few days, or a longer period if more characters are necessary. From there, pay attention to the information and background the creator gives you so you really know how to introduce your character and the world they now live in.

This is a really fun process (really) and I do hope this helps inspire some of you to join ranks among those that venture into the Storybook tab.





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Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:14 am
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LET'S TALK SCIENCE: TRIVIA TIME
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Written by LadyBird < PM: >

This is a new experiment that I came up with for bringing this column to life. Weekly or bi-weekly or maybe monthly editions of (mainly) science based trivia.

This week follows a sort of theme.

If you guess all of the questions correctly, you get an appropriate John Mulaney gif or some other PG forum appropriate gif along those lines. Just five questions for this week until I see how it will actually turn out.

Please send me your answers in a PM.

I really hope that no one looks up anything on google because the point is exercising your mind.

1. What do reptiles and amphibians have in common?
A. They both have gills.
B. They both lay eggs.
C. They both grow legs.

2. What animals belong to the order Testudines?
A. Turtles.
B. Crocodiles.
C. Snakes.

3. How old can a turtle become?
A. 10 years old
B. 50 years old and below
C. 100 years old or more

4. The Komodo dragon has [blank] that kills the animal that it bites.
A. Bacteria in its mouth
B. Venom in its teeth
C. Poisonous glands

5. Which order do manatees belong to?
A. Falconiformes
B. Decapoda
C. Sirenia





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Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:19 am
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DISCUSSING YA NOVELS
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written by fraey < PM: >

Talking about "realistic" young adult novels can be a difficult thing to do. I'm speaking primarily of the modern-world setting and not fantasy or genres like that. I do think parts of this would apply nicely to novels set in different types of universes, but as of right now, I won't be going over too many specific aspects of that kind of book just yet.

Some people praise these authors by somehow "hitting the mark" on what it means to be a teenager and the hilarious antics kids these days will get up to. Others, however, hold a slightly opposing view.

To start off, a classic YA book has three main components: a high school setting (sometimes may be seen as an academy of sorts, determined by the genre), the main character that is loveable even with their perceived flaws, and the amazing love interest. Of course, there are the "adorkable" side-kicks. Thus, even if the MC is "nerdy" their best friend must be seen as even more so, and either more awkward or "feisty" like so many fans root for.

I, personally, am more a part of the other side to this topic. YA novels are a curious phenomenon - they're mostly geared to the adults "nostalgic" for the high school days over the actual population the story seems to contain. I have never really felt connected to many of these teen cliched rom-coms. Too many of these stories have the same-seeming characters - a "somewhat nerdy, but absolutely witty" female character who's fierce and wonderful - starring across from the side character that I ultimately enjoy far more - accompanied by the love interest who's "ruggedly handsome" or "is a jerk, but still great and better than the actually better" side character/best friend.

One of my main issues with YA books is that I've never really found a non-extreme version of some kind. Obviously, that could come from my past experience of high school being one of a rather boring four years, as I wasn't going around proclaiming my love for individuals and getting into fights or illegal activities. I should never have expected a regular story, of course, as that would be deemed boring by a majority of people who I assume either did those ridiculous things or would rather spend money on something that seems fantastical and not normal.

I will admit to enjoying such novels years ago, more so in my middle school years than actually an older teenager. I think I wanted to cling to the "future" that was technically possible, but very unrealistic for younger me. I was already deep into the part of a school that cared about my grades far more than trying to mess around with friends and doing potentially bad activities. I suppose that's my own fault at not going out like that, but it does affect my opinion of this genre.

If it sounds like I am generalizing in some parts of this article, that is because I am - a high percentage of so-called YA or teenage books in "realistic/modern times" are easy to collapse into an overall set of ideas and tropes - some that I certainly want to talk about more in the future. I'm fairly certain that even those who enjoy this kind of book would admit to something akin to that being true. Maybe not though. To each their own, I suppose.

I want to expand on this whole topic in future articles, which I am planning on discussing the "famed" John Green, Jodi Picoult, and possibly other YA authors I've gotten frustrated with over the years. This is all for now.





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Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:22 am
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SHAMELESS PLUGS
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written by SquillsBot < PM: >

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

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

And now for this week's Shameless Plugs!



Review Rampage

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

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

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

Get your Rampage on!


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

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fishsashimi welcomes you to the YWS Hunger Games Simulator! Have some fun and win some prizes! PM @fishsashimi with any questions you may have.


That's all folks~ Now send us yours.





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Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:24 am
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SUBSCRIBERS
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written by SquillsBot < PM: >

Find an enspoiler-ed a list of our subscribers!
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If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.
— Oscar Wilde