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Squills 9/6/20 - 9/27/20



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Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:34 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.
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Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:36 am
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REVMO INTERVIEW WITH HARRYHARDY
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written by Liberty < PM: >

This year, RevMo is one of YWS’ most successful ones so far! We’re two-thirds into September and YWS is 92% into our review goal of 1,250 reviews, which is 1,150/1,250. Which means we have only 100 reviews left before we reach our goal. I have full faith in our reviewers and I’m pretty sure we’ll get there soon enough. One last push, everyone!

Anyway, I got the chance to interview one of our super cool reviewers, @HarryHardy!

S: Hey there, Harry! I'm a reporter for Squills and I was wondering if it was cool with you if I could interview you about your review goals this #RevMo ?

H: Heyy Lib!

Oh sure! No problem. :D


S: Awesome! So, to start off, what are your RevMo Goals?

H: :) Umm...well lemme see...

1. Get to 1000 total reviews (So 300 this month)
2. Get the dark cyan username so that means complete Team Tortoise
3. Finish the Checklist Challenge (the prizes were really cool and I can't resist)
4. Get the unicorn from Knights of the Green Room
5. Do all the above without losing my mind :)

Aaand that's about it.


S: Those are very ambitious goals! That last one is very important of course. I snooped around your Checklist Challenge and saw that you finished all fifty challenges in less than two weeks. How do you find the time and energy to review so much in such a short time period?

H: :) I have been told that I am insane by several people.

Hmm..well I guess I kind of plan things out. I have like a daily target that I have and then a certain amount of time I want to do it in then I just power forward. I think that helps me out because then everyday I get the satisfaction from finishing a goal so that I can carry that energy to the next day.

And time...well I manage somehow...the fact that I only get like 3 hours of sleep is probably an advantage in that case. :)


S: You're very organized! How far into your goals are you?

H: Thank you!

Umm...on the first one I think I'm almost halfway done. About 112 now. It's going smoothly so far even though I'm just slightly behind. Team Tortoise has been pretty easy so far, that shouldn't be an issue. The Checklist Challenge I can tick off the list (;)). Umm...the unicorn is exactly 101 reviews away right now so as long as I don't run out things in the green room that should also happen pretty smoothly.

As for whether I have lost my sanity or not I'll leave that for you to decide. :)


S: Wow, great job on that! Now, before I end this interview, do you have anything else you'd like to say or any shout-outs?

H: Thank you!!
Umm...lemme think. I'd like to say I've been amazed by how fast we're progressing towards the goal this month. At this rate we are going to beat it with time to spare. And just a thank you and shoutout to everyone who's participating this month. There's too many to name individually but everyone's just been awesome as always. :D


S: Wonderful! Thanks so much for taking time out to do this interview. And good luck on your review goals, you're doing fabulously!

H: Thank you!! Good Luck with your goals too!! :)

Thanks once again, Harry!

And…

Good luck with the rest of you guys’ review goals! <3

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Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:38 am
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A POETRY PERSPECTIVE: CHICKENS
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written by alliyah < PM: >

So in the past week for those who missed it, chickens siezed the site again, although this time it was through Chicken Poetry! To give a little background here's how and why it happened with a little pedgogical note at the end.

Two years ago for NaPo I was struggling to figure out what to write, and ended up with one of my very favorite poems on the site - a poem written in the shape of a chicken, which somewhat (in a roundabout way) inspired me to make this year's NaPo completely bird themed. Anywho, around NaPo this year, there were a ton of poetry write-ins and chicken-poetry became a real deal that soundofmind, arcticus, and @Meshugenah can attest to as we decided it need to become a legitimate poetic form, and it surely is. In remembrance of this, along with @Liberty, I made sure that chickens were part of the Checklist Challenge for RevMo this year.

That brings us to last week when I made a plea to the good people of YWS when I noticed there was not nearly enough site-chicken poetry for me to meet the chicken checklist challenge requirement. I posted on my wall,
if you write a poem about chickens I will review it and give you the points from the review! How's that for a good deal? Offer good for the next 24 hours, please comment below with some chicken poem links! (I know you've been waiting around to post them)


And the response was ... very chickeny!

We had such a beautiful selection of chicken poems at the end of that twenty-four hours, and the best thing is, people didn't stop, even a few days later people continued to post odes to chickens. Some were about the virtues of chickens like @whatchamacallit's i refuse to believe in chickens which gives poetic expression to the adorableness of chickens. And then there were a few darker takes like soundofmind's chickens will eat chicken nuggest without batting an eye . There were many beautiful chicken poems posted, and though they all shared the same prompt they were about as varied in genre and form as you can get. @CaptainJack posted a characteristically creative genre-bending, puzzle-poem cryptic chicken , and even more predictably @sheyren posted a troll / anti-poem making fun of the experience altogether: c h i c k e n. . The poems ranged from sentimental, humorous, political, horrific, mysterious, and everything in-between. There's a lot of interesting stuff out there! All-in-all I think there were about 17 chicken poems!

Here's the rest of the collection:

@Andrewknorpp - Which Came First Chicken or Egg
@Hkumar - Rise of the Planet of the Chicks
@RadDog13579 The Moral Dilemma That is Modern Day Livestock Farming
@Buranko Perseus
@fortis Hen Feathers
@Magebird the warden's little jailbirds
@Lael Do Chickens Worry About Tomorrow?
@MeherazulAzim16 Chickens And Dragons
@Arcticus An ode to the mother hen
@HarryHardy Mr Cluck Dicken
@starlitmind airplanes are chickens but hollow on the inside
@LadyGemstone Chickens Aspiring
@Holysocks winged embrace

Ha! That's a lot of chickens! Now I said I was going to get the pedagogical reason chicken-poetry is good, so let's get to it! Is writing chicken-poetry a waste? No, in fact it might be a uniquely helpful and wonderful way to write, and here's why! I had a really great professor once who encouraged us to write horrible essay drafts, because first drafts allow for better second drafts, and better third drafts. If your inner perfectionist stops you from even getting that first thing written, you're not going to write very much! Also sometimes that weird imperfect, not-yet-clearly-formulated-thought is the exact one you need to get on paper, the thing that's most profound and hard-hitting, yet you might be afraid to write it because it's not "perfect" yet. There's a great article by Anne Lamott (language warning) here called "Sh*tty First Drafts" that has kind of made it's way around a couple times by now, but it explores this concept, really is excellent advice, and worth a read if you haven't read it yet.

I think a lot of people acknowledge this concept of the junky drafts in novel and essay writing, yet for some reason in poetry writing I don't see people talking about it as much. I have heard some poets insist that poetry in fact can't be editted or it loses it's authenticity, which I personally think is counterproductive. Poetry writing needs that same open-minded beggining in order to say what you truly want to say. To hope to say what is truly remarkable, you need to take your perfection filter down a notch. This is where the chickens come in. When people set out writing humorous poetry the expectation that it's going to be "profound" and "life-changing" or anywhere close to perfection is already out the window, and strangely enough sometimes people still end up writing pretty awesome stuff. By setting out to write from a rediculous prompt, I think you give yourself permission to be a little silly and imperfect, and just write! You give the reader permission to step up and take it at face value too - the stakes are low, and the humor is high. Chicken prompts are like a built in permission to not be perfect. I've sometimes even used the whole subject of chickens as a placeholder for content too - don't know what comes next? chicken feathers. not sure what imagery to use? chicken screach. It might not make it into the final product - but can work as a drafting placeholder to keep you writing, and avoid mid-poem writer's block.

Now is every chicken poem going to be profound? No. But I also believe that along the same lines sometimes you need to write out all the "bad-poetry" to get to the "good-poetry," and if writing a chicken poem makes you write a bad-poem, I think you're that much closer to your good poem. Did this actually work in practice on YWS? Yes. I know at least two people who engaged in writing chicken poetry who said they "didn't consider themselves to be a poet" - or hadn't written a poem in months, maybe years. A simple silly chicken prompt was maybe able to drop down that inner-perfectionist lens just enough to allow the writer space to write, and that's pretty awesome in my book! The thread for "write the worst poem you can" is another one of my favorites that accomplishes some of the same goals as the chicken prompt. If you haven't stopped by there I highly recommend it, and leave your very worst. Maybe even try out a chicken poem or two. And don't be afraid to write, the worst that can happen is you get some practice and who knows, maybe you might just end up with something wonderful.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also enjoy reading my Squills article Blue Macaws, Chickens, Classified Oh My and one of my very favorite articles from the Squills archives Chicken Appreciation Post written by @Kaylaa. Thanks for reading my Poetry Perspective, I'd love to hear your perspective too! Feel free to comment on my wall or in my Squills Authors Corner to let me know what you think!





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Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:38 am
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SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH VIL
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written by EditorAndPerks < PM: >

Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a great Review Month.

Today I have a very special guest — @Vil! He is second with 52 reviews on the Review Leaderboards for the month, after @HarryHardy’s wild 125. Vil joined on July 9 of this year, and already has 96 reviews written! He has multiple stories published, and is very active in the forums.

I was lucky to be able to ask a few questions and learn more about the Valiant Vil!

Squills: How did you come across YWS?

Vil: Well, a few months back, @ChamomilePendragon, @Stringbean, a non YWSer friend and I were looking for a different site to RP on. Cham came across this site, and though we didn't move that monstrous giant of a story here well, we're turning it into a book, actually, but that's another story, the three of us thought this was a nice place to settle down and write.

S: And, was there something you found interesting when you first joined?

V: Ooh... Well, that's both the easiest and hardest question to answer. I guess I'd have to say that it was interesting to see so many kinds of people in one place working together the way they are. This is a really well-built, well-organized community, and I'm glad to be here.

S: Do you have a certain strategy when it comes to picking a work to review?

V: I tend to stick to poems-- out of my 96 reviews, 64 were poems. In general, I prefer rhyming poems, at least two stanzas, but I have been diversifying, I'm especially fond of nature-related or Southern-based poems. 25 reviews were chapters and short stories, which I treat a little different. I love politics, familial dramas, and sitcoms-- part of the reason some of my own works are how they are.

S: How do you approach your writing?

V: With extreme caution. I do not write the story-- my characters do. My walls are plastered with notes, details, and ideas. The politics of America Rising have been written on sticky notes and organized on a trifold board, just as Grandpa McHale and President Smith would like it-- opposing ideas found in one central place. I write that first draft, revise grammatical errors, add a few extra details, and it's officially done for me-- that is, until I've received some advice from YWS. I will never publish something that I do not consider "done."

S: Is there anyone you want to shout out?

V: Shout outs to Chamomile and Stringbean, my closest friends on the site. Another shout out to Harry for being the first person to read all of "America Gone" and also review every chapter

Thank you so much for answering my questions Vil, and feel free to head over to his wall to find his mentioned America Gone novel linked here !





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Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:39 am
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WHO WORE IT BEST? REVMO WEEK ONE
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written by alliyah < PM: >

Well we made it through the very first week of RevMo and let me tell you pink is in this season and was definitely trending along the people tab as users showed off their new shiny username colors. 25 users were able to complete 10 reviews during the first week, earning themselves the deep pink username color. If you want to join the trend, you can complete 10 reviews any time before the end of RevMo! In addition to the pink trend, we also had a suprising and bright new color around the site - cyan!! Over 30 users were placed in the cyan color, with claims that the mods had temporarily lost the original colors. That sounds about right...

There have been mixed reactions to the cyan color, with the some users decrying it as a horrible punishment to be stricken with, and other users enjoying the neon-boldness.

Perhaps because of the mixed reactions to the cyan I haven't spotted much in terms of efforts for users to coordinate their profile to the color look - but as for pink, I was able to find 14 users who gave an update to their profile to match it up! Let's take a look!

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So in the first category, we've got animal avatars featuring @ShadowVyper, @RavenLord, @RadDog13579, and @starlitmind. Interestingly all of these users seemed to stick to their normal critter, but chose an updated version to match the pink hue. A trend I noticed here, that will continue into the next category is that although pink is often associated with a bit more soft imagery, many users chose to bring out it's fierceness with their avatar choices. In this category I think Shady's update was most suprising of all, as I've never seen ShadowVyper without their signature red dragon?, salamander? snake? but they've made a switch in the name of #RevMo and it looks great!

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The second category was by the far the largest, people/human-like avatars! The users featured in this category were @Vilinius @Magebird @Andrewknorpp @IconspicuoslyAlpacaing @kattee @IcyFlame whatchamacallit and Gravitem. In this category some people decided to really go for that exact shade of deep pink like @whatchamacallit's silhouette avatar, while others settled on avatars that just had pink details, or in a few cases just complimented the pink color a bit more. A shout-out I have to make in this section is for kattee who is a self-described Team Pink supporter. Her profile didn't really take on any unexpected changes, but it did feel very cohesive with this new username color update.

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Our last category is the battle of the letters between myself and @HarryHardy. Harry's recently unveiled some different color combinations for his classic fire "H" while I've predictably stayed with my own "A" initial with a pink motif.

Out of all the pink going on this week I think my favorite was probably @Gravitem's profile scheme which wasn't quite pink, but definitely changed up to match the color - his profile background had some exciting green and red polka dots to complete the look too. Nice work!

Next week, we'll see what happens with that gorgeous medium slate blue color, and see if anyone's brave enough to take hold of that cyan color in their profile scheme and make it beautiful. If you have shout-outs or favorite color-coordinated avatars from this last week let me know in my squills author corner and I'll be sure to bring it up in my next article addition! Congratulations to all who earned the pink username last week, I look forward to more beautiful color combinations and reviewing madness this week!





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Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:40 am
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A ROUND OF RAVE REVIEW ADVICE
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written by EditorAndPerks < PM: >

Hello there! Since RevMo is charging full speed ahead, I thought highlighting some great review resources could either help people get a good idea of where to start, or to brush up on some good advice anyone could find useful.

My very first article I am going to link is How To Write A Good Critique by @Emerson. He does a great job at dividing up separate sections of a review: compliments, complaints, what he calls “whys” and a last section titled “how to fix” relating to anything brought up under complaints. Most reviews should be somewhat mixed with good/bad things, so that’s a very helpful guide.

Second is an article I’ve frequented many times over the years, Reviewing Writers More Skilled Than You by @Megrim. They bring up an interesting point that when reviewing, you might not know what the solution is. What you do know, however, is that something feels off/wrong in what you’re reading, and that is very helpful to know as a writer.

Third is an article with fabulous formatting and information, A Rundown on Reviewing by @Kale. Written much like a Frequently Asked Questions there are many headings that all use a “spoiler” to divide up the information. My favorite section is probably the debate on longer/shorter reviews, as I often burn myself by doing really in-depth reviews that take over an hour.

And, lastly, there is a lovely summary of the linked above links and even more found Review Tips created by both @ShadowVyper and @alliyah. With references and easy access to useful articles, this one could be the simplest way to get the most information on a single link.

Hopefully these are helpful! Keep up the hard work with reviewing.





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Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:43 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!


The Revision Contest hosted by @Vil and @Stringban is still ongoing. All entries are due October 31. Many thanks to @Magebird for sponsoring this context!



~~~



Poetry Discussion



Do you want to discuss poetry?

Join our discussion at the Poetry Readers Club .

Our current poem is "This is Just to Say" by William Carlos Williams. Hope you check it out!

For questions please PM @alliyah.


~~~




That's all folks~ Now send us yours.





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Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:44 am
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SUBSCRIBERS
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written by SquillsBot < PM: >

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