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Welcome to Squills, the official news bulletin of the Young Writers Society!

What will you find here? Tons of interesting news about YWS, including but not limited to: articles about writing, art, and the world of humanities; interviews with YWS members; shameless plugs; link round-ups; and opinionated columns.

And where will all of this come from? Take a look at our fantastic creative staff!

CREATIVE STAFF


Spoiler! :
Editor-in-Chief
Hannah

General Editors
Iggy
ShadowVyper

Friendly Neighborhood Robot
SquillsBot

Friendly Neighborhood Cow
CowLogic

Literary Reporter
SparkofDoubt

Community Reporter
Sapi

Storybook Reporter
AfterTheStorm

Link Cowgirl
megsug

Quibbles Columnist
skorlir

Social Correspondent
StellaThomas

General Reporters
Cspr
BlackNether12
ArcticMonkey
HomeschooledTeen

Past Editors-in-Chief
GriffinKeeper
AlfredSymon


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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Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:00 pm
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YWS MYTHBUSTING: FICTION EDITION
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written by ArcticMonkey < PM: >

Because this article last time seemed to be quite popular before, I thought I'd return this week with some more myths to bust! This time I'm just focusing on a few myths in fiction. Remember: if you want, you can leave feedback in the Squills Fan Club and help decide what the next edition will look like. Let's get rolling!

MYTH: 'THE CHOSEN ONE' IS A CLICHE

You know what I'm talking about. We follow this character's life. They think they're normal. They find out they are the 'chosen one' and inevitably have to fight the bad guy, and even though it's hard, they always seem to win.

This trope seems to occur a lot in literature. A prime example is Harry Potter. Surely, then, using this plot is then a good thing, right? I mean how famous is Harry Potter right now? Another example would be Frodo in Lord of the Rings: the ring chose him. He has the responsibilty of returning it and going on an epic adventure to do so. These are only two examples in literature where the characters follow this trope of "chosen one", and you can't deny that it worked well for these immensely popular books.

How many times, though, can one idea be done?

Sure the forbidden love story of Romeo and Juliet was great the first time, but seeing in played out over and over again gets a bit tedious, right?

There are various problems that spring up when writing a story with a common trope. It might get a bit boring when we know this person is destined to defeat the bad guy. What's the point in reading on?

Also, if your aim with this story is to make your protagonist heroic, are they really heroic if they are chosen to be heroic? Or is it the character that takes on this role even though you wouldn't expect it of them?

@manisha says,



"I definitely think its a cliche. The bad or whatever the protagonist is fighting against cannot be done alone(even with help) Like in the case of Harry Potter he has Hermoine and Ron, but its still Harry at the center doing all the significant work. No one is chosen in real life, they walk up to the responsibility and that is what should be projected in spite of having a 'chosen one' do everything."



So, to rap up this part, I think nowadays it's something to avoid. However, if you can put your own twist on it, then go for it! Some argue that a lot of stories use this cliche, but in a more hidden way -- the original twists make the trope hard to recognize!

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Next!

MYTH: IT'S BETTER TO WRITE IN THE PAST TENSE THAN THE PRESENT

Generally speaking, most fiction is written in the past tense. Why? It seems like the go-to way of writing. It's definitely easier than writing in the present tense, and just seems a bit more normal. However, nowadays I notice more and more novels being written in the present tense, and it seems to work really well. An example of this is the Hunger Games Trilogy. I also think the fact that it's written in the present tense makes it more exciting to read.


In the table below I have outlined some of the pros and cons of writing in the past and present tenses:

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So what should you use? @Blues says,




I just find it easier. I'm really used to telling stories in the past tense, but sometimes the stories suit past tense better than present



@Skins, on the other hand, is currently writing a novel in the present tense which they have posted on YWS called The Boy Who Broke Mirrors . It seems to be going well so far for her!

The answer to this question is: the past tense is the more conventional way to write. That doesn't mean you shouldn't venture into writing in the present tense, because more novels these days seem to be doing so. It's something new and exciting.

Write in whichever way you feel comfortable, and if you're unsure about how to write in either tense then read stories in those tenses to get an idea of how it is. Good luck!

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Next!

MYTH: ''SAID' IS A WORD TO AVOID

Sure, reading dialogue where the word 'said' is used 2345678 times can get painfully boring. However, reading that same bit of dialogue where the characters 'theorised' and 'surmised' can get quite tedious, too. I've read a fair share of stories on YWS where the author is clearly trying to avoid the word 'said' as much as humanly possible. But then using all these random alternatives for said can get a bit boring, too.

Right now, it seems there's no winning. Putting 'said' all the time is boring and using alternatives all the time just looks a bit strange to read. Solution?

Well, if there are only two people talking and it's already clear who's saying what, then there's no need to even mention the character's name and how they say what they say. There's more information on this in this article by @thunder_dude7: Said . It outlines some conservative alternatives of said.

@Deanie says,



You can use the word 'said' far too much, but you don't need to mix it up as much as some people think. I use said 50% of the time



My advice here is to just use words that show how the characters has said something. If you're really desperate to not make your story become all 'he said' 'she said', then another alternative is to add an adverb after it, too. For example, 'He said slowly' or 'She said cautiously'.

Other writers advise that you don't worry about it too much either way. When dialogue is written well, the words the characters say and the situation should communicate the emotion and delivery style. @Master_Yoda mentions most people skim the dialogue tags anyway, so write whatever suits you best!

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Right. That's all for this week! If you have any suggestions for this article, be sure to check out the feedback forum in the Squills Fan Club and leave your comments there!
Last edited by SquillsBot on Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.





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A MOD MOMENT: LUMI
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written by Hannah < PM: >

I know green isn't everyone's favorite color, but they keep telling me they're really "just like everyone else". To test the veracity of their claims, I'm taking a mod moment to find out what makes those green-tinged volunteer moderators tick.

Squills: Hey, Lumi. Thanks for taking the time to interview with Squills. You must be busy as a mod, what with all the vicious tournament fighting and changing members' usernames and such.


Lumi: You said it. I barely have time to work out my typing fingers at the YWS gym.

S: I can see you chugging down protein shakes made with the tears of spurned authors and old newspaper pages as we speak now. But I'm wondering -- how did you get into this mess?


L: It wasn't easy, and it's a long story. I'll cut it down to novel length for you. First, I woke up in the middle of the night back in 2010 with a paper bag over my head. Next thing I knew, I was tossed into the ocean with just a pack of bread and a dead flashlight. [some time later...] And that's why they call me Lumi the Lactose Intolerant.

S: And was it your Lactose Intolerance that led to your beautiful green shade, or a separate set of abilities that brought you to your present capacity as a Junior Moderator on YWS?


L: I've been told that I was picked because I liked to sink my teeth into the poetry section. Being a light green dude is all about reviewing, really, and most people don't get that! Sure, it's cool to battle to the death with the global mods in Rome, but nothing beats good old blood-and-sweat reviewing.

S: And for those of us who break out in rashes when we sweat or faint at the sight of blood, how would you recommend we ease ourselves into it?


L: The best way, I think, is to pick out three things in a piece: something you liked, something that failed, and something that can be pushed just a LITTLE farther to be made awesome. If you review that way, before long you'll have plenty of stuff to say without even realizing it. Nate has a trick on the menu called the Review Sandwich, which is essentially: something I liked / things that need work / general thoughts. A whole package. It's easy to pop out a dozen reviews if you have a formula.

S: Like a review bakery with review scones and review cakes and review pop overs! If you were at a bakery, what's the baked good you'd choose to bring up to the cash register for purchase?


L: I've always been a scone man. Nothing beats them with a little slam poetry on the side. Mm.

S: Okay, and the question that's really on everyone's mind (besides whether that's a raspberry white chocolate scone): are you REALLY just like everyone else on this site? Not some big scary green monster? And how do we KNOW that?


L: Absolutely. I'd offer my body for dissection, but I'm still using it for the time being. I like to think of a mod as just a regular friend who's just tall enough to reach the peanut butter on the top grocery shelf, you know? We may have some weird magical powers, but it's nothing more than the chance to help folks out. The real scary guys are the folks who do twenty reviews a day and still have time to storybook. It's terrifying.

S: Can you grab me that can of cocoa up there on your way out? Thanks so much for your time, Lumiluff.


L: Sure thing, smackhannah.

This has been a Mod Moment. If you liked this Mod Moment and would like to see either more of scones or more Mod Moments, leave a sacrificial offering (or a comment) on the wall of the Squills Fan Club .





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GREEN ROOM GALLERY
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written by HomeschooledTeen < PM: >



This week, I went back and checked all of my previous GRG features, just to see how they did.

Most of them have made it out of the Room, and one still only has one review. :(

I'd say though, all in all, I've done pretty good so far.

But this week, I have a challenge to issue.

In going back through these works, I discovered that none of them had more than three reviews. I have to admit, that's a little disappointing.

So, in order to combat this, and in order to give you a little incentive to review more works in the Green Room , from now on, Squills will be donating points to Green Room Gallery reviewers.

Starting this week, the Squills team will pool together to donate a minimum of 300 points to any member who writes a review on a past Green Room Gallery featured work and posts a link of their review to my wall! Special reward may be given to the best reviewer -- so write your reviews well!

That's how it will work this week. Due to the contest, there will be no featured work of the GRG, but in the future, points will be donated to the two people who knock the GRG featured work out of the Green Room.


There is one last rule before I go. To make my life a little easier, you only have until Wednesday to write these reviews. I'm going to visit my great- aunt and her family and I will be gone until Tuesday. The same will apply to every week. All reviews on the featured GRG work must be linked to my page by Wednesday at 5pm, otherwise they will not be considered.

Here's all the links to the past featured works. Get out there and review!

for my darling
The Charm of Deception-Chapter Two, Part one
The Charm of Deception, Chapter Three, Part Two
Episode One, Act Three; Super Freaks
Conflict of Interest - Chapter One
Last edited by SquillsBot on Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.





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QUIBBLES
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written by Skorlir < PM : >

The worst thing – not even one of the worst, but the worst thing, is preposition misuse.

It’s been an issue. I once said the following, and it is pertinent now – take it as satire:

I have qualms to those people whose usage on prepositions is for question."


Perhaps you read the above and think “why, I don’t do that. And besides, it’s not so bad, taken in most contexts.”

How pleasantly ignorant you hypothetically are. This problem, let us call it, is quite closely aligned with 3 axes of incontrovertible grammatical evil:

(1) It’s pervasive.
(2) It’s your own finger-lickin’ fault.
(3) Everybody does it.

You may think 1 and 3 are the same — but ‘tis not so; one person or agency could alone make preposition misuse pervasive - but no, the conspiracy reaches through all of us.

Seriously. You do it. And probably all the time. Preposition misuse may very well control your life. Here are some common signs:

The wrongful preposition:
“…implications by him…”

The cure:
“…his implications/he implies…”


The sly faux-pas-position:
“…powered from Steve’s success, the locomotive industry…”

The cure:
“…powered by Steve’s success, the locomotive industry…”


The awkward addendum:
“Let me show you where I live at.”

The cure:
“Here’s where I live.”


(Possibly the worst) The “ImmaJusBlunderOnBoutThisTechnicalStuffsYouCa n’tUnderstand”:

“…well, we haven’t worked from the logistics of the idea into a whole thing to work off with on general issues of the kind of nature…”

The cure:
“We haven’t finished yet.”


See, in many cases preposition misuse turns “[boring]” into

…from on a more [boring] info his off- between-key-season [boring] because we necessitatively, within all [boring] of this of the by-the-book nature [boring], [boring-boring], so please [boring]…“


—AND YOU DO NOT WANT THAT.

One can be succinct, albeit possibly ignored, by not misusing prepositions. Otherwise, even if what one says is important, the listener is so tangled in the prepositions of the on-topic problem addressed here that… Well, what are we on about again?

Right. I have been complaining about prepositions, and this is Quibbles.





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CLUBS INSIDER
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written by Hannah < PM: >

This week, we take you through a generation of clubs -- from the babies, to the teenagers, to the very old clubs with cobwebs in the corners. All we ask is that you remember: a club is never truly dead as long as there are subscribers. In this way, a club is pretty much like Dumbledore. I think the reason his army was so successful was because he could send out notifications whenever he wanted. Now someone should write a book about tha-- but that's a story for another time.

THE INFANT

It claims, with the avatar of opposing black and white dragons, to be a club for dragon-friendly writers. Created by @Dragofriend1234 and manned by @CrystalPony21, both brand new members to YWS (WELCOME!), Dragon Writers opens with the mysterious calling:



Drago whats my first assignment?




THE TODDLER

This club is no more than five days old, but Stories 24 Hours a Day! was built to fill a need that already existed, and it's thrived since then.

Those of you who follow Letiki or trawl through the All Member People tab have probably seen the made-public records of @Letiki's nightly adventures. Well, Letiki joined forces with @KittyCatMeow to open a slightly less-public but more-welcoming forum for dream posting. They celebrate the fact that our brains keep thinking up stories even as our bodies rest.

And they have added an enthusiastic twist. For every dream you record and share, you'll earn a point. For every dream you record and share that has YWS in it, you'll earn two.

With this club it's really easy to not only build a community, but turn a profit. Earn points while you sleep!


THE PRE-TEEN

Young and full of life (if not many subscribers), Puzzle Me Pink is way under-loved, the same way pre-teens aren't children any more, but aren't quite independent teens we can understand.

The creator, @WillowCutz, is frothingly enthusiastic about puzzles and posts intriguing, accessible ones on the club wall regularly. Puzzles range from word-puzzles to sudoku with letters; perhaps the most impressive offering yet is the highly visual Blifaloo's Riddle Challenge 2010 which provides you with nothing but a picture and expects you to riddle the password to the first riddle from there. Can you do it? And if you can, are you game enough to find your way into Puzzle Me Pink?


THE QUARTER-LIFE CRISIS

The one close to everyone's heart. Less-known than the mid-life crisis, the quarter-life crisis happens to young people in their twenties or thirties who knew exactly what they wanted and went out to get it and then... something happened. What happened to Review Cycles ? It was set to be glorious. Small, close-knit teams of reviewers would switch back and forth each week, reviewing work from the other team to make sure nothing remained in the Green Room.

But time and school seem to have swamped the beautiful vision spearheaded by two Shadowy figures and an elephant (@ShadowKnight155, @ShadowVyper, and @megsug). Teams have ground to a halt, and what's to blame? Did school starting up take everyone's attention to homework instead of teamwork? Is it that there aren't any shiny prizes and it's based instead on honor and hard work?

The goal is honorable: clear out the Green Room, once and for all. Can this quarter-lifer get back on track? Will you be there for the success?


THE MID-LIFE CRISIS

This club -- Wheel of Prompts -- is old. Nearly as old as the Knights of the Green Room, with a birthday of February 10th, 2013. And for a good strong while, it was going strong -- it had even been featured on the YWS Official Blog Writing Gooder . But now, dark days are in sight:

@Deanie asks,



No more prompts?



And the question spins out into lonely air. Something seems to have driven the creator, @Zyphlid, away from YWS for now, which means the prompts have stopped flowing. Is it the end of the Prompt Wheel? It turns ever slower, but it doesn't have to mean death.

Just as in the race before the Olympics, there is always someone to take up the torch when spirits and energy flags -- will you be the breath of revival for the Wheel of Prompts?


THE ELDER

Here's one club with a rich history and an even richer smell: Tea . Created all the way back in 2010 by our own @Firestarter, the club has served as a melting pot -- or more like tea kettle, though that doesn't have the same ring to it -- for tea-lovers all over the world and not just in Britain!

There's plenty of love for Earl Grey, but for the cynics, don't worry. Not everything in the Tea club is bright and cheery and fogged over with steam. In a club as old as this, there's bound to be some grumpy negativity.

The first visible comment on page 6 of the wall reads,



Ginseng tea is very...Well, it's not very good.



Thanks, @Jon. It's a truth we all should know.

Hope you enjoyed this week's Club Insider, and perhaps you find yourself opening your arms to more of Dumbldore's magic messages -- club notifications -- by subscribing. Live a club-ful life!





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STORYBOOK UPDATE
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written by AfterTheStorm < PM: >

Yes, it’s that time of the week again! Welcome back to another Squills Storybook Update. You know the drill: relax, sit back, and read up on what’s been going on in the Storybook tab of YWS!

Fresh from the Press


Storybooks, Storybooks! Get your fresh, hot-off- the-press Storybooks here!

Started up just this past Thursday: Dragon Wars is a new, intriguing concept revolving around the fantastic world of Aethos. Be sure to go check out “Dragon Wars”, created by @sylverdawn , soon!

Next on the agenda: Birathi: The City of Lights The fabulous @Cailey began “The City of Lights” SB on the eleventh. She wrote,



All is not bright in the City of Light, and plague has ravaged the land of Birathi. Now a quest of five must travel to find the cure. …

At the entrance of town a weather beaten sign reads, "Welcome to Birathi: The City of Light." Unfortunately, the sign is old and the words are nothing but lies. The city has fallen into a pit of darkness caused by a plague.



Why not look into these two Storybooks, and see if you're up to join?

In the Spotlight


Stealing the spotlight for this week is a crazy Storybook started by @Ladyofthedeathroses, Insane Sanity! In this SB, you assume the role of a character with some serious mental issues … Doesn’t that sound like fun?!

Here’s what Lady wrote:



All of you have some sort of mental illness that have you deemed as a danger to others, a danger to yourself, or both. You've been here for about a year or more and are getting antsy. Suddenly someone makes a break for it and you all follow suit.

Now where to go? How to survive? It’s all up to you with only enough medication to last 2 weeks and only your fellow 'crazies' to keep you company.



“Insane Sanity” is starting up soon, preparing for a fun, crazy journey!

The Storybookers Say…


I want to hear from you! This time, I asked, “What is your favorite Storybook that you've ever joined?"

@Payne replied, “Probably Flames of Darkness by @ShadowVyper!”

@thelostone said, “I love Insane Sanity!

@Hannah said, "A long time ago, there was a storybook about the descendants of superheroes going to school together -- only prose storybook I ever joined!"

Thanks for your input, guys!

It’s been another great week for the Storybookers, so as always: Write on!





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COW SAYS: SEPTEMBER 15th, 2013
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written by CowLogic < PM: >

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It sometimes seems as though as humans, we view memory as weakness. The impulses of modern society always seem to tend towards impulsiveness. Consciousness should be streamed, and gratification should be instant. We are pressured to complain about anything, to speak up, no matter what the cause. There is no holding back, no recollection of wise actions. There is no remembering what is logical and illogical, no thinking before speaking.

Without memory, we become nothing special in the grand scheme of things. We become animals, things living by instinct alone. And hasn't instinct shown to be beneficial in day to day life? Aren't the impulsive, blunt, confident the ones who are looked at the most, feared if not respected? We are conditioned all throughout our lives to accept things besides what we have already believed. In an Algonquin coming-of-age ritual, boys become men by having their memories erased by psychoactive drugs. Young children are bullied in school for being "nerds" and being able to recall things as far as knowledge is concerned.

Memory is weakness.

That's why we all want to grow up, it's why we all want to retire from our jobs. It's because we want to all get dementia and end up in a home for seniors, living the rest of your life with a new day every day, a new rerun every television program. It's because we want to only having fleeting nostalgic and distorted references to the objects of our past. It's because we want to look at our daughters without the slightest recollection, to forget the faces and names of our sons. It's because we want to die without remembering how you got into a hospital bed.

We all just want to grow up. We want to build out life experiences, our pathos to the point where we can't even remember any of it anymore. We don't care about utilizing our memories. Why utilize weakness when you can waste strength?

Why study and create a good living for yourself when you can coast on through life and be the life of every party?

Why stay young when you can just forget your youth?

I don't expect you to remember these words, and I guess that's just as well. I don't want you to be weak.
Last edited by SquillsBot on Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.





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NEW ARRIVALS
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written by ShadowVyper < PM: >

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

@dominusatramentum has only been a member for a few days, but has already started reviewing. Why not return the favor by reviewing their poem, Writer's Block ?

@naominana is quite new to our family, but she's already jumped into the spirit of YWS by writing several lovely reviews. Unfortunately , she hasn't posted any works for us to review. But, I'm sure with a bit of encouragement, she'll open right up and give us lots of lovely pieces to read.

@Farell has only been a member for a few short days, but has already written several lovely reviews. Unfortunately, he hasn't had a chance to post anything to the site yet. Go encourage him to post!

@RaraMurphy has already jumped into the swing of YWS by writing some awesome reviews. Why not encourage that by writing her a review on her short story, Getting Away From It All ?

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







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Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:15 pm
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THIS WEEK'S ROUNDUP – 9/14
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written by megsug < PM: >

Link Roundup here! The hottest links! One place, one time. Get 'em now!



The Guild is trying to bring cowriters together. For those who write poetry, novels, or short stories and want to do so with others, you need to check this club out? What's up with the name you ask? @Aley explains in the About section



This is called "The Guild" because it should become a tight knit community of friends, who all have each others backs when inspiration strikes and they need someone to help.



Find people interested cowriting in one place! Join The Guild.



Have a one eyed, one horned, flying, purple people eating monster causing havoc in your mind? There's someone who wants to see it… even if it's not purple. Go see @Wonder's "Bobby the Adorable Kraken". Psst -- it's pink! Or post your own in the Creativity Corner's Writing Activities . We're just waiting for you to show off your beast.



Wikipedia says: "The furry fandom is a subculture interested in fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics..." That leaves a lot of questions unanswered. A thread in The Lounge serves to answer any more personal questions about the lifestyle. @Lethero says he wants to



… shed some light on misconceptions people might have on it, and to bring awareness of it…



Curious? Feel free to ask. Perhaps you'll learn something new.



YWS has always been the home of friendly random sport. Whether it be the number of reviews on review day, finding Easter eggs, or now, if there's enough interest, flag football!

@lottery explains the concept:



Each team has like five flags that match their team colour. Which different people hide in different pieces of their literature, blogs or Forums.



"Stealing" the flag is finding it and notifying whoever hid it. Then you need to hide it again before someone else on the opposite team steals it back. When all five enemy flags are in your possession, you win! Post to let the masterminds know you're interested, or if you have any suggestions!
Last edited by SquillsBot on Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.





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Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:16 pm
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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!


Three reviews on any piece -- for free!

All you have to do is enter your piece in the Knights of the Green Room Quest for a Library contest, and you're guaranteed three free reviews in addition to the chance to be included in the inaugural submission to our brand-new library. Contest closes September 28th, so get your entries in now!

A new club in town is looking for members

Join The Guild to find other people who love to collaboratively write. The Guild's goal is to create a base of cowriters where we can go to find other people like us. Whether it is short stories, novels, poems, or storybooks, The Guild can help you find other people looking for that next great group. All it takes is singing up, and who knows who will contact you about starting a new adventure?

Please be sure to read the introduction forum's first post.





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Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:18 pm
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SUBSCRIBERS
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written by SquillsBot < PM: >

Find enspoiler-ed a list of our subscribers!

Spoiler! :
@SquillsBot@Carina@ShadowVyper@ArcticMonkey@Hannah@Dante • @LouisCypher • @VeerenVKS • @megsug • @BlackNether12 • @thewritersdream • @Letiki • @Aley@Rydia@Alpha@skorlir • @HomeschooledTeen • @AriaAdams • @neko@Aquila90@DudeMcGuy@kayfortnight@Cole@Blackwood@manisha@fortis • @HighTop • @cgirl1118@KittyCatMeow • @DrStrangelove • @ChocoCookie@carbonCore


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'Hush, hush!' I whispered; 'people can have many cousins and of all sorts, Miss Cathy, without being any the worse for it; only they needn't keep their company, if they be disagreeable and bad.
— Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights