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Squills 1/26/20 - 2/9/20



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Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:40 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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General Editors
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Literary Reporter
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Resources Reporter
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Social Correspondent
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General Reporters
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Of course, our content can’t come only from our staff. We also depend on you to help keep Squills successful. You’re all a part of a writing community, after all. If you’re interested in submitting to Squills, pop on over to the Reader’s Corner to find out how you can get involved by contributing an article or participating in other Squills activities.

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





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Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:41 am
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FEATURED MEMBER INTERVIEW: LZPIANOGIRL
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written by EternalRain < PM: >

@LZPianoGirl was one of January’s featured members and I had to absolute pleasure to interview her about her experience as being FM! She joined just last year in November 2019 and already has three review stars. She also won Team Tortoise for January 2020! So, let’s hear her thoughts about being FM.

Squills: Hello LZ! I’m a reporter at Squills and I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions for a featured member interview

LZPianoGirl: Hey EternalRain! I would love to do an interview!

S: Firstly, how did you react when you realized you got FM? How were you feeling?

L: I was really excited! By then, I had realized how great of a site YWS is and it was sort of my goal to be featured member. In my mind it was like, "The goal for this school year is to become FM." So, when I did become FM, I was extremely happy that I completed the goal very early in the new year. So many amazing people also congratulated me, so that added to my happiness. To me, becoming FM sent the message that my reviews meant something and people actually appreciated them. It was good to know that my time wasn't being wasted writing reviews! I hope that answered your question.

S: So it sounds like you put a lot of work into becoming FM! What types of things did you do around the site to get you FM?

L: Well, I started a roleplay on the roleplay club, which has now ended. I really enjoyed it and met some really nice and talented people. They are all such great writers! I also did a review a day since December, mostly on poems and reviews. My older reviews aren't very detailed and are rather short, but for the New Year I made the goal of all by reviews being more than 650 characters. Recently I have put some of my own works to YWS, mostly some of my essays!

S: That’s awesome! I really admire your goal for your reviews - having a concrete goal like that can be so helpful. Speaking of reviews, did you participate in the January Review Day? What did you think of the event? [b]

[b]L: I did participate! I didn't do as many reviews as some people (I only did two), because I had to give tours at my school, but I loved it! I really liked the review teams, it was fun to do reviews with other people and compete against Clear Sky Protocol. I noticed that if people had a motivation, like beating another team, they would write more reviews. It was super cool to see all these people surpassing the goal (which I believe was 150 reviews)! Because of Review Day, all of my works are no longer in the Green Room, which is great!

S: Lastly, what advice do you have for those who wish to become FM?

L: I really only have two tips for people. First of all, review. You have to review! I know there's other ways of getting points, such as selling banners or artwork, but reviewing is a big part of being a YWS member. Make sure your reviews are detailed and your not adding pointless information to receive more points. Those don't help the author, at most it just annoys them. If you need some motivation to review, join the Knights of The Green Room, where you get badges for reviewing works in the green room (hence the name). Second, be active! Join a roleplay or storybook, post on your wall, and work in a write-in! YWS is a wonderful place where you can meet new friends and help other people with their writing, so do that!

S: That’s lovely advice! And great review tips. Thank you so much for your time in answering all these questions!

L: Your welcome! I enjoyed answering them.


I had a lot of fun interviewing LZ this week. She shared a lot of great tips on being active on YWS and insight into Review Day. If you missed congratulating her, be sure to stop by her wall and drop a comment!





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Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:42 am
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FEATURED MEMBER INTERVIEW: MEHERAZULAZIM16
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written by Liberty < PM: >

Hey everyone! I’m glad to announce the next featured member — the marvelous @MeherazulAzim16. He’s 5th on the Review Leaderboard for January 2020 with a total of 33 reviews! He’s done a few reviews for me myself on my works, and I must admit — they’re wonderful. Anyway, I got the chance to interview him about his experiences!

Squills: Heya! Congrats again on becoming Featured Member! I was wondering if I could interview you for Squills about your experiences?

MeherazulAzim16: Sure, Liberty!

S: Cool! Firstly, what was your reaction when you found out you had become FM?

M: Took me a while to get what happened. I just tapped on notifications as soon as the site loaded (it's become a habit — wake up, reach for the phone, check for notifications). I gathered that I got mentioned in a thread. Let's see what's up. Thread loads. Oh so we got a new.. wait a second.. I scroll down. WAIIIIIIT A SECOND... *grinning, smiling, giggling* I was still in bed, I think I stared at the ceiling for a minute. I remember feeling... being happy. Few moments later, it occurred to me that this also means I'm in the YWS Hall of Fame! (honestly still processing it) I dunno, it's been pretty unbelievable.

S: That's awesome that you were so excited! What do you think you've done on the site that earned you this honor? I have a few guesses of my own, but I want to hear yours.

M: Um.. I'm not sure. But I've been more active on YWS this month than I've ever been I think. I had published some things -- chapters, poetry, lyrics. A chapter was actually featured in the literary spotlight for a bit. I've also tried to put in at least one review a day. It's been a fun month!

S: Fair enough! What would you say is your favorite part of the site? And why?

M: Might be the Green Room. That's where I've spent most of my time lately. I've come across works — especially poems — that I absolutely adore. I think you always want to like the piece you criticize. I'm beginning to love the storybooks section too!

S: Awesome! The Storybook section is pretty awesome. Are there any SBs or RPs that you've joined?

M: Yes! I've recently joined The Twin Sisters by @Jaybird.

S: Ooh, I've heard a lot about that one! Anyway, do you have any shoutouts and/or advice you'd like to give before I wrap up this interview?

M: Of course! First of all, shout-outs to everyone who's been supportive — reviews, messages, suggestions, wall comments, they all count — to me and those who needed it/asked for it. Just off the top of my head, @EternalRain, @alliyah, @Lucrezia, @Jaybird, @TheMulticoloredCyr, @soundofmind and of course, you @Liberty have been really awesome (I know I'm missing lots of others)! Shout-outs to @LZPianoGirl and @tgham99 for being phenomenally consistent at writing reviews.

As for advice, I'll just say one thing (might sound a little cliche) — keep on learning, whether it's about writing, or reviewing. And I think you can learn just as much about the art from not-as-well-crafted works as you can from masterpieces.


S: That's wonderful! Thanks for taking the time out for Squills - it's appreciated.

M: You're welcome!

It was fun to interview you, Meherazul, and congrats once more! :) Also, if you haven’t already, make sure to drop by his wall to congratulate him





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Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:45 am
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ANALYZING REVIEW DAY: IN DATA
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written by Asith< PM: >

Review Day is something that gives rise to a whole chunk of numbers. Being a hardcore nerd, I've had a go at dissecting some of these numbers, to see how review day looked in cold, hard numerals.

    Contents:
  • Tidbits
  • Ruby Reviewers VS Clear Sky Protocol
  • The Review Leaderboard
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TIDBITS:

We collectively did 243 reviews in twenty-four hours! That works out to an average of 10.1 reviews every hour!

A total of 26,724 points were given out to those participating in review day, on either team. 65 people participated, so that's an average of 411 points being given to each member!

Additionally, that's an average of 1113.5 points being earned by both teams every hour!

Exactly 46 previously unreviewed works got their first review on review day, and exactly 65 works got a second review, clearing them out of the green room entirely!

The Green Room is now exactly 77% emptier than it was twenty-four hours ago!

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That's a massive dent -- the blue and red slices have been entirely cleared out -- so that's a huge accomplishment in and of itself!

_________________________



RUBY REVIEWERS VS CLEAR SKY PROTOCOL:

Our two teams both did very well, but what do the numbers tell us?
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It seems that the Ruby Reviewers had slightly more points in each review, but Clear Sky Protocol had more members actually writing reviews.

The Ruby Reviewers' top reviewer was @tgham99, who wrote reviews worth 18.42% of the team's total points, and Clear Sky Protocol's top reviewer was @alliyah, who wrote reviews worth 18.69% of the team's total points.

The Battle
The review battle was pretty tight this time around. Clear Sky Protocol took a solid early lead, but The Ruby Reviewers overtook at the 7 hour mark, and then held on to victory.
Below is an approximated graph of how the twenty-four hour battle took place:
(I say approximated as I was unable to mine data for the 8,9 or 12 hour intervals, but this was mainly because not much reviewing took place during that time!)

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We can see that there was quite a lot of fluctuating in the struggle for points on both teams, and Clear Sky Protocol very nearly caught up with that push at the end.
I've also drawn a logarithmic trend line for both teams, which really shows us that it was anyone's game for nearly the entire day!

_________________________


THE REVIEW LEADERBOARD:

The top ten reviewers have all worked very hard this Review Day:
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We can plot two separate graphs to visualize these reviewers' review counts and point totals:

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The two graphs coinciding so well clearly indicates that these reviewers have paid attention to quality as well as quantity when reviewing.
_________________________





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Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:46 am
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STORYBOOK SPOTLIGHT
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written by ScarlettFire< PM: >

Hello lovelies! Scar here for a quick update on all the new storybooks that have popped up in the last month. There's been five! And they all seem really interesting! As you may have noticed, it's been pretty quiet lately in the Storybooks Tab and the SB Crew were getting a little worried, but with the help of some wonderful people, it looks like it's about to be brought back to life!

Here's a quick overlook of the five new SBs!

In The Wake of A Calamity by @soundofmind

First up is Sound's fantasy SB set in their world of Nye! This one is set 100 years before the events of The Outlands , it follows a group of people sent out as scouts to see what's happening and keep an eye on the mage hunters coming for you! It has a full cast, but it's sure to be a fun read!

The Twin Sisters by @Jaybird
Secondly is Jaybird's supernatural detective agency SB! This one is all about the agency's first case involving twin sisters Arielle and Angie Stone, and follows the team's investigation into Angie's suspicious death. Will they solve the mystery? How about you read and find out? Unfortunately, this one also has a full cast, but you can always read along!

A Lost Tomb by @ScarlettFire
Thirdly, this is my SB (yes, I'm talking about my own SB, why not) set in the fantasy world of Ibessa! It follows a group of misfits and their Dwarven guide as they search for a lost Dwarven tomb in a D&D-style adventure. There's magic, mayhem and a lost tomb to find. It's currently got a full cast but there is, of course, always room for a few more, if you're interested!

The Way We Run by @EverLight
Fourth is Everlight's futuristic sci-fi SB about six kids and a dark future. It's all about six kids trying to escape when faced with the truth about their destiny. Kinda hard to run when there's a bunch of people chasing you, isn't it? It doesn't currently look like anyone's joined yet, but feel free to take a look!

Fugitives by @Dilbert64
Finally, we have Dilbert's Alternate Universe/Reality SB where a group of people find themselves with a bunch of money and 24 hours to make a run for it before they're caught red-handed. Currently, it looks like no one has joined but please take a look! It sounds very interesting!

And that's it for new SBs so far this year. It looks like we're going to be getting some more activity in the SB Tab in the next few months, and hopefully that keeps up for the rest of the year! If you're interested, feel free to check out the storybooks featured here or make your own! And if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask the SB Crew for advise!

Happy pirating, kiddos!

~Scar.





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Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:47 am
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FRAEY'S BOOK PLACE - A LIBRARY BOOK
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written by fraey < PM: >

Hello Squills! Since I read a dastardly low amount of books this past year, I have decided to read at least one a month, if not more, pertaining to how busy I am from school.

This last month, I finished The Library Book by Susan Orlean, which is a non-fiction book and depicts a collection of various things pertaining to the Los Angeles Central Library. One major story written in this novel is the library fire that happened in 1986 and caused severe destruction, resulting in over a million books being destroyed.

The part that I found the most interesting was the story of Harry Peak, someone the firefighters and the fellow librarians determined could be the suspect for the fire. I don't want to give anything away, but his past was a lot of fun to learn more about. Everyone's got a story even if they don't tell many people, even you! ^^

I wasn't as interested in some of the library's history especially when it reflected the last century's worth of sexism, racism, ageism, and even classism, but it did expand on everything, which was nice. I find history in general very interesting, so learning about how the city of Los Angeles developed alongside libraries caught my interest.

Some other aspects I liked were that every chapter started with random books, that I assume are available at the library, from everything about raising a child (I think) to learning more about fire. (Insert hardy-har laughter here.) There were also quite a lot of various dialogue bits from various library go-ers and staff members that added to the idea of this library in general and how other people may feel towards their local ones.

I think what makes this book convoluted to read is the sheer amount of material stuffed into a novel barely longer than three hundred pages. We're given a lot of information about the library, about the fire, about the author, and about plenty more specific things, while certain chapters covered more of one specific topic than another.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, but I would probably rate it around 3.5 stars, due to me finding certain parts a lot more interesting than other sections. I would definitely recommend it!





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POETRY PERSPECTIVE: POETRY CULTURES
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written by alliyah < PM: >

Earlier this fall I joined another writing forum community online. I know, I know! It sort of sounds like I'm cheating on YWS, but Young Writers Society is still my internet home, and I'm not planning on leaving anytime soon, so don't get too worried. When I first joined the new site, Poetry Circle, I was really surprised by how very different the poetry culture was to YWS.

Here's what I mean; I tried posting a poem on Poetry Circle that would have gotten a couple likes on YWS, and maybe a few comments on the theme, and I was hit with immediate criticism for my capitalization choices and lack of stanza breaks. The reader didn't just seem critical, they seemed offended! For them, this wasn't "real" poetry. As I explored the site more, I also found there were a few poems that I totally didn't get, but were receiving wide-spread praise from the community. What was going on?

Well, like I said earlier, I don't think it's that there whole community is wrong or that all of YWS is wrong - remember poetry doesn't really have "rules" per-se (unless it's structured poetry) the difference was between two community's understanding of what a poem was; they have developed two different poetry cultures. As I read more poems, there were ones that I really connected to, and that I'm sure would be a hit on YWS, but I noticed they tended to do things a little differently than we do. Rather than most of the poetry being about relationships and emotional revelations (the bread and butter of YWS poetry themes) Poetry Circle tends a little more to the philosophical, nature, and religious themes. Common formatting and acceptable grammatical choices were also different! People are much more playful with formatting on YWS and a long poem stands a chance of being read, but on Poetry Circle you're going to see shorter snappy poems, or very even stanzas, and not a lot in between. The feedback between the two sites is different as well - on Poetry Circle there's no point system, or minimum length for a comment so people are much more pointed and direct in both their praise and criticism. There were other differences I could get into, but you get the point!

None of this is to say that YWS's poetry culture is better or worse, just that it's different and we do have a poetry culture here. The culture is influenced by the age demographic, the formatting that's convenient in the publishing center, what we talk about on our walls, and share from the Knowledge Base, and also by each of our own writing and feedback. We're inspired and influenced by the writers around us, even if it's to try to reject them. The writers and reviewers who have been impactful on YWS, leave their influence on the poetry that people write long after they've stopped posting. They end up leaving almost a genetic mark of inherited poetry conventions, images, themes, phrases, and techniques that is passed on in some form to the next generation of poets. We don't all write the same, but our writing is related.

So, why is poetry culture important?

First, I think in creating your own poetic voice, you ought to recognize and become aware of what your poetic influences are. Finding your own voice is in part figuring out what makes your poetry distinctive. To do this it helps to be aware of your environment and what you actually believe the scope of poetry is.

Second, I think it is really important especially for poetry writers who are interested in getting published outside of YWS, or even just writing in a way that appelas to people outside of our poetry bubble, to acknowledge that we are in a bubble here, and to explore poetry outside of it. This isn't just to see what's trending, but to push your definition of what poetry is, and make sure you aren't hanging on to conventions that aren't really authentic or true to your poetic philosophy or voice.

There is nothing inherently bad with bubbles, but occasionally they might preserve weird, bizarre, dated, or unpopular trends, rules, or limits. For a little bit on YWS, it seemed like poems absolutely required the phrase "rib cage" to end up in the literary spotlight, and at another time list poems were really popular. If I took my entire definition of what poetry was from just those few months in YWS, and rejected all poems that didn't use "rib cage" or weren't in "list form" that'd be ridiculous! Writing to an audience is one thing, but becoming bound to some convention, for no other reason except that "everyone else is doing it" is not the best way to grow as a poet, and can leave you stuck.

Lastly, I think knowing about poetry cultures and poetry bubbles is important for when we encounter someone whose poetry is counter-cultural. There have been a few poets on YWS throughout the years, who I don't think wrote poorly, or in a way that was uninformed, but wrote in a totally different way than we generally do on YWS. Often these people actually have very layered and developed ideas about the intentions of their poetry. Still, sometimes in critiques and reviews of these works, people will appeal more to YWS's poetry culture than to what poetry is in general.

For example, there was a poet a few years back, that pretty often liked to add capital letters to the middle of the words for EmPhASis, that is not standard procedure in YWS's poetry culture as you know. Rather than reviewers saying it was distracting, grammatically confusing, or that they weren't used to the capitalization, I saw some people responding "you can't write with capital letters in the middle, it is incorrect grammatically" - the worst case is I actually saw someone comment "I am unable to read this unless you format it correctly". So their whole concept of poetry had gotten so formed by their bubble, that they were incapable of reading poetry that was distinctively outside it, and had internalized the bubble's trends as a "Poetry Rule" when this is just not the case.

We don't have to like every new piece of poetry that jumps into the site, opinions and interpretation are what poetry is all about anyways. However, I think acknowledging we're in a poetry culture ourselves can give us a little more grace and flexibility in our own writing and critiquing which might actually allow growth or change within our poetry bubble.

So, reader, I would encourage you to explore other poetry cultures outside of YWS. Read a couple of Rupi Kaur's concise insta-poetry, or some elegantly structured Shakesperean Sonnets, browse Pablo Neruda's romantic and political poetry creations, read the newest Poet Laureate Joy Harjo's work, or ask around and see if your own friends write poetry. YWS is a wonderful place to dip your feet into poetry and share your own poems in a welcoming community of fellow writers, but YWS is not the limit of poetry, reviewers do not set the definition of what a poem can be. Explore the depths of poetry and bring what you learn back to us! Happy reading!

If you have feedback, questions, or opinions on this Poetry Perspective, or have suggestions for other parts of poetry for me to explore, please stop by alliyah's author corner to let me know.





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Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:48 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!


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Submit to the Queer as in F*** You magazine!

QAIFY is an alternative compzine published digitally every three months and compiled into a physical copy every year. It features poetry, prose, serials, art, and photography reflecting themes of identity, feminism, womanhood, queerness, love, loss, punkness, and (queer) sex ed, as well as whatever else.

Find submission guidelines here, and send your own submissions to queerasineffyou.zine@gmail.com........


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Review Rampage

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

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

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

Get your Rampage on!



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That's all folks~ Now send us yours.





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SUBSCRIBERS
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written by SquillsBot < PM: >

Find an enspoiler-ed a list of our subscribers!
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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.
— Mark Twain