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Squills 5/5/19 - 5/18/19



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Sun May 12, 2019 8:45 pm
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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
LordWolf

Friendly Neighborhood Robot
SquillsBot

Literary Reporter
LordWolf

Community Reporter
TheWeirdoFromBeyond
neptune

New BloodHound
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
LordStar
amelie

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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Sun May 12, 2019 8:51 pm
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FEATURED MEMBER INTERVIEW: 4REVGREEN
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Written by LadyBird < PM: >

The Featured Member for April 20th through May 6th was the wonderful reviewer @4revgreen. In their two months on YWS, this user has written nearly 100 reviews, as well as posting a bit of their poetic content to our green room. I had the chance to sit down with them this week and talk about their experience on YWS and their time as FM.

Squills: Congratulations on being Featured Member for part of last month and continuing on into May. I'm here from Squills to interview you about your experiences, if that's alright?

4revgreen: I am absolutely down to chat!

S: How did you find out you were Featured Member? And what was your reaction when you found out?

4: I found out I was featured member after logging on my phone when I hadn't had computer access for a while and saw loads of people congratulating me on my wall - I didn't even notice on the home page!
My stomach fluttered a little when I found out; honestly it was heart warming and I just felt a huge smile spread across my face. My mum thought I was going mad!


S: Glad you had a good experience with finding out your temporary status.
Now tell me, why do you think you were nominated to be FM?

4: Ooh that's a hard question! I like to think it was because I was extremely active on the site- reviewing and posting stories/poems. I was hardly ever off of it, and honestly found reviewing so fun to do! So I hope it was because of my in depth reviews!

S: Always glad to see someone excited about reviewing and helping out on site. What would you say your favorite part of reviewing is?

4: Hmm, I'd have to say seeing where great writing has the potential to become amazing! I love reading pieces where I really have to be pedantic in order to find something to critique! And also, reading stories and poems in itself is a pleasure!

S: All good answers.
Do you have any advice for people who want to be FM?

4: I'd say don't be afraid to be harsh when reviewing but make sure you always balance it with all the good things! And make sure to always go in depth when reviewing and when people critique your work, always be polite and take their ideas into account. And I guess just be open to any suggestions regarding your own work!

S: That is very good advice.
Thank you for giving some of your time to Squills. Is there anything else you'd like to say? Or perhaps a user you want to give a shout out to today?

4: I'd just like to say a general message to everyone on this site: my writing has been the only thing I've ever been proud of, and the only thing I've ever been passionate about. being able to share it with like-minded people has been one of the best things ever to happen to me! I absolutely love reading and reviewing all your stories and listening to your advice about my own!
Thank you so much!


4revgreen does have a WRFF thread, which can be found here . And if you have something in the Green Room, you might see them around. They've written some great poems, so make sure to check those out. This YWSer is making a mark on their community and Squills will likely be talking to them again.





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Sun May 12, 2019 8:55 pm
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A DAY WITH NO MOTHER
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written by LordStar< PM: >

Mothers.

The epitome of care; sweet, kind, thoughtful, soothing, understanding; the ones that feed you, clothe you, change you, bathe you; the woman you are intrisically tied to for the rest of your life.
It's no wonder there's a whole day dedicated to their very presence.

But how do you celebrate Mother's Day, when you don't really have a mother?

For those of us who have complicated relationships with our mothers, or who's mothers are abusive or neglectful or just plain not in our lives, Mother's Day can be difficult. A lot of the time, you feel guilted into appreciating someone who has only caused you pain and suffering, or has been a void instead of the promise of love and care as she was supposed to be. Other times you feel left out, or even jealous; everyone seems to have a mother who loves them, so why don't you?

It took me a very long time to understand that the relationship I had with my mother was very complicated. Growing up, I was never taught how to handle emotions or stressful situations, and both of my parents tended to put their emotional needs above my own and treated me like a friend (when I was older, around the age of sixteen and onwards) instead of their child. I grew up feeling very alone, and it has led to a lot of problems in my adult life. For a long, long time, I resented my mother for many reasons; cheating on my father, not being around, feeling like she didn't care for me; and even now, I harbor some of that resentment.

So, for those reasons, Mother's Day is a bit complicated. I want to be nice to my mother, of course, and I treat her with love, respect and kindness no matter what day it is, but especially on Mother's Day: however, for a lot of people who have far more abusive relationships with their mothers, it can be difficult to maintain boundaries you've set in place in order to protect yourself.

For instance, you may find it difficult to maintain no-contact; you may feel pressured to buy her a gift; you may even put yourself at risk by going to see her. Ultimately, these things are your decision, but I just wanted to say: it's okay if you don't do any of these things.

If you have a difficult relationship with your mother, it's okay to take care of yourself this Mother's Day. It's okay to treat yourself, to maintain your boundaries, to appreciate your mother from afar (if that's what you choose to do). You are not a bad person for prioritizing yourself and your mental/physical safety. You have a right to celebrate Mother's Day with your mother the best way you know how, even if that means not celebrating it at all.

If you're going to have a difficult Mother's Day this year, please reach out. My PM box is always open, or you can reach out to another friend; go see a movie with a pal, or get dinner and catch up with your sibling or someone else you love and care about. Please know that you are not alone, and that there are people just like you also struggling with their relationships to their mothers. And please remember, you don't owe anyone anything, even if they brought you into this world.





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Sun May 12, 2019 8:57 pm
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MAY HAIKU
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written by alliyah < PM: >

You may have seen the MayHaiku hashtag floating around this last week, if you were wondering what it was all about, you're in luck because that's what I'm talking about today. So on YWS this year, "May Haiku" got started from a combination of @Oxara talking about different types of poetry they were working on for school, and me remembering someone posting about "Mayku" or "write 7 Haiku for the first 7 days of May" on Facebook. We both decided to give it a try and attempted to post 7 Haiku poems for the first week of May. I wasn't able to find out what the origin of writing Haiku in May is, but it seems like a pretty common practice, and I would guess that May being the 5th calendar month is a fun nod to the Haiku structure of having 5/7/5 syllables.

After the first day of Haiku writing, @Liberty500 joined Ox and I in the fun. While traditional Haiku (which is both the singular and plural form of "haiku" by the way) are about nature and have a poetic turn too - we took a little poetic liberty in our own Haiku, meaning that most of them were really Senryu which is a similar form structurally, while not having the common thematic elements. @Kale has written a wonderful Knowledge Base article on Things to Know about Writing Haiku if you'd like to know more about what formally qualifies as a Haiku be sure to check it out.

While #MayHaiku didn't take up a whole month like NaPo (and I think I actually ended up with 6 poems posted on my wall) it was a lot of fun! Even in the short form I found myself challenged to make the syllables fit, and even ended up with a few that had to be softly corrected for some bad counting on my part. It was also enjoyable to see what other people's poems were each day. Haiku is short, so it has to be focused, and this means they can be a quick read to just get a little slice of that person's thought-process for the moment. The poems ranged from pizza, to homework, to battles, so between the three of us there was quite a bit of variety. I also find Haiku writing to be a low-stress form of poetry writing, because although like any poem it can always be improved upon, Haiku writing does have an end, and you don't generally have to worry about including any long back stories or extensive complicated metaphors, you can just focus on a single thought, a single image, and figure out how to get that through in three short lines.

I'd like to end by saying, if you see a writing activity or challenge that you'd like to try out on YWS, why not create a hashtag or start up a new forum thread for it? It might end up just having a few participants, but even these spur of the moment activities can end up being a lot of fun, and someone else might enjoy joining in on your challenge. If you're inspired to do a little Haiku writing yourself, there's many creative activities on the site that can help spur ideas like Haiku Train, Life by Haiku, and Haiku Battle! - each of the activities gives you a different challenge for how to write a Haiku for the thread.

And if you liked this article you might also enjoy:

A LITTLE HISTORY AND HOW TO ON HAIKU by @fraey
which gives a concise history of Haiku.

TWO CENTS: HAIKU by @Aley gives some of the technical background of Haiku writing, and some tricks and tips for refining your Haiku as well.





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Sun May 12, 2019 8:59 pm
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POP CULTURE CORNER: INSPIRATION FROM THE BIRDCAGE (1996)
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Written by LordWolf < PM: >

Probably my favorite queer movie of all time is the 1996 version of The Birdcage.

Robin Williams stars as Armand Goldman, the owner of drag club in South Beach which is called the Birdcage. His partner, Albert, is the star of the show at the Birdcage and in their performances uses the name Starina. Another key player in this family is Val Goldman, Armand's son from a previous, entirely short lived relationship.

Val wants to get married to his college sweetheart, Barbara Keeley.

One slight problem with this is that Barbara's father is a very conservative Republican senator. He and his wife are going to be in an obvious objection to the marriage, on the basis of the Goldman parents being two gay men and also a slight dash of anti-Semiticism.

There is so much about this movie to talk about. I could spend a lot of time explaining all of the jokes or covering the details of culture. Or I could talk about how the movie progressed through differing versions.

For the purpose of this article though, if you've taken a glance at the title, is one of the messages about queer identity the movie sends.

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One big problem with this plotline is that Val asks Armand and Albert to change everything about themselves for the sake of being accepted by the Keeleys. They change their presentation, their mannerisms, their opinions, and even the design of their own home.

This has often been an issue in critiques of the movie and I object to it as well. Armand makes a very important point in one of his explanations about why he objects to the plan formed by Val and Barbara.

Armand:
Yes, I wear foundation. Yes, I live with a man. Yes, I'm a middle- aged f*g. But I know who I am, Val. It took me twenty years to get here, and I'm not gonna let some idiot senator destroy that. F*** the senator, I don't give a damn what he thinks.


I enjoy the character of Armand.

As someone who is non-binary and has spent the past four years exploring that as part of my identity, I can find myself relating to Armand. Because so many of the characters in this movie are gender non-conforming in how they present. Armand and Agador (the somewhat butler and maid) are not drag performers and are not as feminine in their presentation as others are, but it's still GNC.

It's still not what people are expecting and they have to change massively to fit to the standards of the Keeleys. The Keeleys are the people that many of us have to interact with everyday and if you're someone who is in the closet currently, here's a proposed scenario for you. After finding a community where you can be open in, openly present and openly express your identity, you have to suddenly go back to being in the closet. And you have to go back to the closet for the sake of someone else just because they can't accept you for how you are.

That level of frustration.

In that quote up above, Armand mentions the fact that he wears foundation. He admits to this fact and he admits to the clothes he wears. For a quick reference, take a look at this picture which is a side by side comparison of what Armand and Albert wear on a daily basis.

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Albert is the character that ends up being willing to do anything for his family, willing to change every single aspect about himself. He learns how to make completely new mannerisms, a new voice, and a new personality. All to appear straight and cis passing for the sake of someone else.

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Maybe on another day I will be able to write my serious essay and analysis on all of that. For now, I'd like to turn your attention to the two levels of inspiration to take from this. [And also that Agador is a lovely queer icon.]

If you find a partner that you're willing to do anything for, and they're willing to do the reciprocal for you, that's a good sign. Albert was willing to change everything about himself for Armand and for their son. And Armand, while initially going along with Val's plan, changed his mind about Albert's presence at different points. He realizes that it's more important to have his partner there, the man who helped him raise their son, than to sooth the ruffled feathers of the Keeleys.

And the part that I relate more to, in relating more to Armand than anyone else in the story, is the path to finding your identity. It will be a long road and it will be constantly changing the entire time you're experiencing your life. No matter if we're talking about identity as being queer or simply the general existence and need to find your place in the world, it's in constant motion.

Or at least that's been my experience.

Being queer in identity, for me, allows a certain level of fluidity. I accepted that, embraced that, and let myself into the world of exploring all of the possible change. I am at a point currently where I like my identity but my presentation is constantly changing as I try to find the right things to make me most comfortable.

Life's a journey.

There's many challenges.

But here's to the hope that we'll all find our balance in life.





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Sun May 12, 2019 9:01 pm
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FORGING A FILM: EAGLE ROCK
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written by LordStar< PM: >

For those of you not in the loop, Young Writers' Society's very own @Elinor has recently finished shooting for her short film, Eagle Rock! Eagle Rock is a film dedicated to telling the story of a young woman as she comes of age in the social unrest of the 1960's, detailing how she was drawn into a cult and eventually sent to prison for murder. You can read more about it here and follow the Twitter for the film here . A bit of a film enthusiast myself, I decided to sit down with Elinor and ask her some questions about the experience of filming.

Squills: You just finished shooting for your film Eagle Rock. What was it like getting ready to head out to Montana for shooting? Any obstacles?


Elinor:The whole thing was a surreal experience. I told myself from the outset that if I waited for the perfect time to make this, it would never come. When I decided to make this, I was thick into my chemotherapy treatments, I had no job, or anything else that told me that making a 1960s/1970s set film in Montana made any sense whatsoever. Getting funding was incredibly difficult, and ended up happening in two stages. I found my lead actress basically right away, but filling out the cast and crew ended up being more of a process. There were difficulties with finding locations too, but what kept me going was how committed everyone was to the project and to seeing through. It all meant a lot to me. Pretty soon thereafter it ceased to be just mine and became a part of all of us and I felt like I had to see it through so I didn't let anyone down. As writers we always hope our stories connect with people, but when they connect to the point where they're willing to make immense sacrifices, you feel an obligation to them. And even as challenges kept hitting, I just grew more and more determined to overcome them. I always said that I was going to have to make a film the first year I was out of college so that I could prove to myself this was the path for me. And here I am.

S: What was it like on set? Your favorite parts about shooting? What about your least favorite parts?


E:As I told my actors, there were many times throughout shooting where I disassociated from the fact that I was directing his project and felt as though I was lucky enough to be on a set watching a great movie being made. It was surreal because I'd spent most of the past year imagining what it would be like and here it was coming to fruition. The first night I woke up in my own bed in LA, I was certain that I'd dreamed the entire thing. But I didn't. That's what's crazy. Least favorite parts... it's hard to say. Sometimes there are external environment factors that you can't control, like noise and wind and other people that wouldn't have been as much of a problem if this wasn't a period piece. But as a filmmaker you learn to take everything in stride and accept and work around any challenges that may be beyond your control. I got exhausted too to the point where it was hard for me to stay awake and give coherent direction. But the solution for that is lots and lots of caffeine.

S: How easy/hard was it to find props for Eagle Rock, given the time period and the plot lines in the film?


E:It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. My grandparents, who lived through the 60s, donated a lot of props to the film. Between that, prop houses in Los Angeles, and Etsy, we were able to create a genuine look. It definitely took a lot out of me, but I'm very pleased with the end result. Finding cars turned out to be very difficult (there were two) but everything ended up working out the way it was supposed to.

S: What were some of your stylistic choices as a director that you think will really stand out in the film?


E:It's interesting because, as a director, I focused less on style and more on making sure each actor understood their character inside and out and could think the way that they did. To me, that was the most important thing, because if they're not good, if they're not believable, then the whole thing comes crumbling. Luckily, they're all very good. But stylistically, something I'm very excited about is how the earlier scenes are shot like an indie romance film. It's funny because my lead actor told me on set he thought he was auditioning for essentially a Hallmark movie from the scene I gave him to read without any other context. While on a surface level some of the dialogue might be cheesy, when I was that age, I thought my whole self worth depended on a man or whether or not I had a boyfriend. It's easy to laugh off as cliché but when you're 17, what you want is someone to make you feel seen. For me, when it did come, I didn't want to let it go any cost. I ignored any red flags because I was so addicted to the feeling of being wanted. I let it consume me. Everything I'd ever seen in a romance film felt like it was coming true until it didn't. That's the idea. I wanted to be as truthful as possible to being that age and feeling things for the first time.

S: Who is your favorite character, and why?


E:That's difficult because I love them all in different ways. Alex is an easy answer because she's the main character, and a lot of her is just the way I was when I was 17. Sasha because outwardly, she seems like she should have it together. She's spent her whole life in immense wealth and privilege, but still, for her, something fundamental is missing. The Reporter is smart and confident, and the actress that I cast added so much the role which originally had been very thin, Margaret is spunky, feminine and strong, Marcia is complex, and Jay is unlike any other character I've written. I realize that's kind of skirting around the question, but I always get attached to all of my characters. I suppose if I had to pick I'd say Alex. It's her story, and it's at once flawed, complex and human. She falls in love, and that isn't wrong, butt the tragedy lies in the fact that she picks the wrong guy, and that no one ever tells her that she has power, so she allows him to define all of her self worth. My hope is that she's someone everyone will be able to connect to.

What inspired you to make Eagle Rock?


E:Lots and lots of research into cults. I read the Emma Cline novel The Girls, which was a big inspiration on this piece. The more I read not only about the Manson Family but the Peoples Temple and more, the more I wanted to know. While I was interested in the stories of the leaders, and why they did such horrible things, I was most drawn to the girls and young women who had followed them. The Girls characterizes these women who kill for their leader from the perspective of a new member of the cult. She looks at them awe and fascination and ultimately disgust, anger and confusion. I wondered, what if The Girls, but it was their story instead? That's how the idea for Eagle Rock came about.

S: You've said that Eagle Rock isn't the first film you've made. How did you bring past experiences into this one, and how has this experience changed your outlook and methods for future films?


E:It's not the first film I made, but it's the most ambitious by far. In my previous projects, I learned a lot about working with other and managing the unexpected. In this the biggest lesson I learned is to stay calm and not let the things you can't control get to you, and nothing's going to fall apart unless you tell yourself that it will. As a director you're the leader of the project, and being someone that is trustful and communicative is important and makes a tremendous difference.

With that being said, Eagle Rock is definitely Elinor's brain child, something that she has worked very very hard on and it's going to be a fantastic short film. I hope you all will join me in continuing to support her and her efforts, and show this film some love when it's finally released!





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Sun May 12, 2019 9:02 pm
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SOME SUPER SERIOUS BUSINESS
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Written by LordWolf < PM: >

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Sun May 12, 2019 9:03 pm
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MIDDLE GRADE: AN INTRODUCTION
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written by EternalRain < PM: >

I love middle grade literature. I’ve loved it since I first started reading it when I was at the end of my elementary school years. Even now, as a 16 year old, I find myself mysteriously attracted to the whimsical nature of books that are catered to an audience of 8-12 years.

Middle grade fuels the imagination of younger kids and appealing to these younger kids can be difficult. 11 year olds aren’t dumb, but middle grade books need to be and sound like they’re in the mind of a kid the same age, or else they can’t relate. And that makes reading - for many kids with a short attention span - not fun. And while early reading certainly is important, many kids really start getting into books around the ages of 8-12, adding the task of making books captivating . Fostering an environment of books - graphic novels, chapter books, comic strips, encyclopedias - that kids enjoy is the key to creating a lifelong reader. And that’s why middle grade is so, so important.

Middle grade is fun. It has compelling characters that young kids can look up to. Think Hermione Granger - a witch who is ferociously smart and is magical! Or characters that they can relate to, like Melody Brooks from Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. Characters build MG.

As with all books, middle grade explores issues common to older kids and younger teens. The idea of age - growing older and becoming independent - and discovering who one is are common themes. Themes like these tweens can grasp onto and follow the journey of the character, especially if it’s someone they can relate to. The 8-12 stage of life is awkward and hard and frustrating, and having characters that these young teens can relate to makes them feel less alone in their problems. The power of middle grade is strong, and oh so very important.





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Sun May 12, 2019 9:05 pm
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THIS IS HALLOWEEN
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written by The Ghost of Blue Africa< PM: >

"you sat down to do homework? you don't really need to do homework right now. you should be petting a kitty."
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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.

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Notice to All Knights of the Green Room


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Due to extra paper-work from building permits, the Great Hall is closed until Main Challenge Four: Restoring the Library Tower is completed - please help us complete the challenge by clearing the rubble. To participate Knights can submit Green Room reviews to fellow Knights and bring the links to the Main Challenge Thread. Help us finish this challenge and re-open the Great Hall!

For questions please contact LordWolf (Captain of the Guard) or Knight alliyah (Court Magician).

For complaints regarding construction noise or inconveniences please contact a nearby Office Squire.

- The Commander

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Do YOU want to join
the Knights of the Green Room?


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The Knights of the Green Room are looking for some new recruits!

If you enjoy reviewing this may be the group for you!

For more information: KotGR Information
To declare you interest: Declare in the Great Hall .
If you have questions: Send a PM to Captain of the Guard Jack (@LordWolf) or Knight Alliyah (@alliyah).


That's all folks~ Now send us yours.





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Sun May 12, 2019 9:08 pm
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SUBSCRIBERS
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written by SquillsBot < PM: >

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It is most unlikely. But - here comes the big "but" - not impossible.
— Roald Dahl