AS Afflatus: Issue Seventeen

Where you can find all published issues of the Advanced Scribes Afflatus, our very own newsletter!
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AS Afflatus: Issue Seventeen

Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:08 am

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If you are a new reader of the Afflatus, welcome! This magazine is meant to be interactive with our members, meaning submissions, suggestions, and nominations are encouraged! For each contribution to the Afflatus, points will be awarded to the house! Through this magazine, we aim to provide tips and inspiration as well as updates regarding the site. To make a submission, you can do so by using this form or even posting directly to the thread.

Submissions that are meant to be shown for the next issues are: Dear Stag, Featured Writing, & Anonymous Compliments/Critique.

Afflatus Contents: Title Post, Updates, Dear Stag, Writing & Life Tips, Character Interview & Prompt, Member Corner, Featured Writing, Adventure Story, Activity Center and Anonymous Compliments and Critique.

Current Staff/Team Members: Rakuen, Thunderofthedrum, Night Fury, Commander Shepard, Snow, Important, Ichor., Kami, Blue, Meraki, Cerise, Darkness, Caim. Here is our team page.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 17 - Updates

Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:09 am

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National Novel Writing Month: NaNoWriMo has begun! If you haven’t already, go check out the announcement to read about it and give your feedback in the poll about points.

Staff Applications: Staff applications are now closed! Results will be announced by the next issue of the Afflatus! Keep your eyes out for the announcement!

House Points: The House Points earned so far for the year will be posted up very soon! Keep your eyes out for that announcement so you can compare where your house stands with the others! Great ideas to earn more points for your house are through NaNoWriMo and the Afflatus, but feel free to talk with staff about other ideas for opportunities!

Afflatus Survey: The Afflatus survey will continue for the month of November! There will be a thread dedicated to discussion of the results so far posted up soon and any other future discussion! Thank you for the feedback so far! We hope to make the Afflatus even better for next year!
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AS Afflatus - Issue 17 - Dear Stag

Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:10 am

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hi stag c:

i want to make some extra money on the side. can you give me some starter tips for a small business as a commission artist?
- Anonymous Wyvern
  • Set up a free website, and make the design clean and professional looking. Some people are able to also work purely through Instagram or other social media, but a website is going to be the most professional, especially if you haven’t posted much artwork online so far, or prefer to use your accounts for non-artwork as well. Also do some research - think about how long you have been working on your craft, and how the pieces you offer compare to those of other artists, and what they are charging. Also consider what the art media will be - will you just email them a high quality file of digital art that they can print? Will you be mailing them a portrait in pastels on A4 paper? Are you willing to ship worldwide? If you are mailing pieces, you might also want to consider what sizes of art you want to sell and what the shipping would cost.

    Also, keep records - if you do all of your coordinating and commissions through email, create a folder in your inbox, or even an entire email account, assuming you will keep up with checking it. Communicating in a timely manner is important, as well as keeping track of the orders, timelines, etc.

    Lastly, whenever I receive art, it’s typically the paper against a corresponding piece of cardboard, all in a paper or plastic sleeve/envelope within a stiff shipping envelope, also with a DO NOT BEND sticker on the outside of the mailing packaging. You’ll want to make sure that, if you are mailing physical art pieces, that they arrive in great condition!
Hi stag.

I sure do need your help. I have always been a "Yes" person. Meaning, that whenever someone (friend or family) asked for me to do a favor, I would say "Yes". Though with college and recent events, it is beginning to become stressful to balance everything. Stag, how can I stop saying "No" to these requests so I can focus more on my own life without sounding rude and offending those that ask me these requests?
- Anonymous Wyvern
  • This is definitely a tough one! I, myself, find it really hard to say no to others. I am always looking to please people and doing my best to offend someone. Just recently, I ended up working with a partner that I didn't really want to work with because they had asked me to before anyone else could. The only thing that really comes to mind is to just say “I’m not sure if I have time; can I let you know?” if its a favor that is being asked of you. If you're too busy and it's going to add more stress to what you already have going on, then don't do it. Similarly, you can also say, "I can try to help out, but I can't guarantee anything with my current schedule." Life experience also plays a big role though - general practice in real life situations. Saying no can be a very tough thing to do, but you should never feel guilty about looking out for yourself and what is in your best interest. You come first, others second. Don't forget that! If they get upset with you for looking out for yourself, then they're probably not the best people to keep close. Additionally, make sure they help you as much as you help them!
Dear Stag,

Christmas is coming! (54 days as of Nov 1) Best gift ideas for loved ones that are low cost?
- Anonymous Unicorn
  • To stay very frugal, one idea is to make something - whether it’s knitting a scarf (and it’s actually easy to learn), baking or making candy (such as peppermint bark or cake balls), creating art.. There are also lots of ideas online of how to take cheap items and customize them, such as instructions on how to write on a mug and bake it to preserve the writing, or you could make little wine charms for wine glasses, or decorate other glasses. You could even gift someone a service, such as washing their car, babysitting, cooking dinner, cleaning, etc.

    Honestly, I also like going to places like Marshalls, Ross, and Home Goods - sometimes I find great little items for reasonable prices, such as bath bombs and lotion, oddball or gourmet snacks and cooking items, decor, etc. Check the sale areas, and for other stores such as Target as well! And keep an eye out for coupons - stores like Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Jo Anns Fabrics, and Bed Bath and Beyond are examples of stores that often mail coupons or offer them online, or publish sales in certain departments.

    Another thing to consider are things that the person likes. Do they like a certain character from a movie? Maybe search online for some cheap figurines or keychains! Anything that reminds you of them and you think it's reasonably priced? Get it! Maybe write a note explaining what the item made you think of - how it reminds you of them, what memory it is connected to. The thought behind the present will definitely count!
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AS Afflatus - Issue 17 - Writing Tips

Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:11 am

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This month's Writing Tips theme is on Gender Expectations in Media written by Sagacitas member NeverNever. x

Spoilers for: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them I (2016), Thor I (2011), Iron Man I (2008), Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), Artemis Fowl (2001), Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident (2002), Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code (2003), Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception (2005), Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony (2006), Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox (2008), Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex (2010)
x Gender Expectations in Media x
As a fan of the Harry Potter films, owner of at least several copies of each book, and one of the people who bought tickets to the midnight screening of the last two Harry Potter movies, anything related to the wizarding universe is something I’m going to struggle to see the faults in. It also means that I find the latest movie in the wizarding world - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – a fantastic fresh breath in response to many expected archetypes commonly found in movies.
Image Considering the promotional pictures of the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I found that to place it more in line with the generalised Hollywood movie there would need to be several rearrangements of the cast. The most major one being, the relegation of Newt Scamander to more of a secondary role.

This rearrangement is simply because Newt Scamander is something contemporary. Most male-led films in Hollywood present a completely contradictory hero to the one presented by Newt. They are bold, adventurous, witty, confident, they always get the girl, and most of the time they don’t care.
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The Ability to Care

A good portion of big-screen movies with male leads rely on the character development of the male lead learning to think of others before himself.

Thor in the 2011 film Thor revolves around the titular character learning that violence is not always the answer. His actions in destroying a fragile truce between two races for the benefit of his own glory are seen as arrogant and manly but result in the loss of his powers. Over the course of the film he gets the girl, falls in love, and after learning the importance of other people and not just himself, his great sacrifice returns his powers to him. The result – Thor didn’t care at first, then he did. Still, his main character trait is his strength, served with a splash of conscience on the side.

The same happens in other Marvel films – 2008s Iron Man begins with an egotistical millionaire demonstrating a new missile. Over the course of the film he learns of the pain these weapons cause people, and proceeds to use his intelligence to create the Iron Man suit. He goes from not caring, to caring and wants to save people. As he says in a later film to Captain America he is; ‘a genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist’ yet I truly believe his main character trait is a large ego and the dash of conscience is much lesser in comparison.

Thinking in terms of television shows, BBCs Sherlock – which has been running from 2010 and has a possibility of a fifth series in the future – has a key trait shared with Doctor Strange, 2016, a very arrogant male lead played by Benedict Cumberbatch. Both characters share a similar story arc which Sherlock developing a friendship with Doctor Watson, and Doctor Strange losing some of his egotistical ways to allow someone else rather than himself to operate on a friend.

While my movie forte is clearly the Marvel films – while I may come across as knocking these films right now I do actually very much enjoy them – there are many other films that fall into the category of a male hero that develops compassion. A particular favourite is Jack Sparrow of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. His character at the end of the 2007 film At World’s End sacrifices a chance at immortality in order to save a friend. In the film before this; Dead Man’s Chest Jack was willing to trade 100 souls for his own life.

A popular YA book series springs to mind as well, Artemis Fowl – which is a series of eight books about a young criminal mastermind who at first plans to kidnap a fairy for their gold before ending up working with them and developing technology that aims to ecologically benefit the world. To anyone who is a fan of the Artemis Fowl books I urge you to find your old copies and take a better glance at the symbols at the bottom of the pages, decoded, they actually tell another mini-story.

Thor’s most displayed character traits are his strength and confidence, Tony Stark relies on his intelligence and ego, Sherlock also relies on intelligence and Doctor Watson, while Doctor Strange clearly has a character focus on ego. Jack Sparrow clearly relies on humour as his main character trait. Artemis Fowl a self-proclaimed criminal mastermind is again, a key runner for intelligence at the forefront of his character trait list.

And this is important, because it can be found in most films led by male leads. And, even when the main character’s story arc doesn’t involve learning compassion at the forefront, their main traits are often fall within the following list of alpha-male superhero traits; brave, smart, confident, humorous.

So, this leads to the question of why Newt Scamander is so very different.

He is brave, smart and confident at least, perhaps humorous on a small level too – we all heard that quip about quidditch.
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But, the portrayal of the character shows the true reason Newt is a new kind of hero. Anyone lucky enough to own Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay will be able to tell you that on this same page, the character direction for Newt is that he is ’startled to find himself the centre of attention’ and Eddie Redmayne’s delivery provides Newt’s one liner as a quiet aside to himself.

The character displayed by Eddie Redmayne is different in this respect because he’s not outwardly over confident. Newt spends the majority of the movie trying to avoid people – which some have debated as a sign of autism – in preference of his creatures. While there are some elements of autism to the character it can also be debated that Newt has been hurt by a romantic interest in the past and is still healing from that pain.

Still, while Newt’s character does not have the brash confidence of Tony Stark walking into a board room or Thor announcing his plans, Newt is quietly confident in himself as he travels the world solo rescuing magical creatures. In fact, his bravery is also quiet. He mentioned that he has rescued the last breeding pair of Graphorns to assure their species survival, but the focus is not on him in that moment, it’s on the importance of the creatures he is saving.

His intelligence is quiet as well. He keeps the Obscurus in his case to study upon, understanding that there is something to it that no one else seems to have noticed. While all other wizards seem to think he’s mad and it’s dangerous, he shouts out ’Don’t hurt those creatures. Nothing in there is dangerous. Please don’t hurt my creatures.’ The key phrase being that nothing is dangerous, we can assume that Newt has taken the time to understand where the Obscurus has come from and why it has occurred. At the end of the movie his aim is to help the Obscurus, not to harm it, which is particularly uncommon in big screen movies. Rather than having an ultimate battle, the play out is that Newt tries to reconcile the problem and save everyone.

Newt’s most major character traits are completely different to the archetype of other major big screen movies. He’s majorly a character who cares desperately about his animals and how they are looked after. He’s a caring, compassionate and sensitive character and his major play is just that. He cares.

His character is a fresh take on what is possible, he mumbles a couple of lines, displays awkward tendencies, sulks in bed when told off, seems awkward around people – until he finds out that they are as kind hearted as he is. At first his interactions with Jacob Kowalski, Tina Goldstein and Queenie Goldstein are largely due to necessity, but after being invited into the magical world within his suitcase and seeing the wonder of the creatures within, Newt proceeds to act warmly to these characters as he feels he’s found other compassionate souls.

Newt’s character arc therefore is not of learning to care, but instead of learning to heal a hurt heart or of learning that he is not alone in compassion – a lesson in confidence that the alpha-male type had already learnt. He is a stark contrast to the more archetypal male leads that have been seen on the big screen before.

While this character has led to unfortunate criticism with some calling his character ‘annoying’ and others saying that Newt lacks the charm of other heroes, some magazines went further and asked if the series could now be moved to revolve around Jude Law’s Dumbledore rather than Eddie Redmayne’s Newt – even before Jude Law has truly hit the screens as Dumbledore.

The question is – have audiences gotten so used to alpha-male superheroes that the idea of someone who starts out as caring and compassionate, and who’s character arc involves learning confidence, cannot possibly be considered as a superhero too?

The importance of having Newt Scamander on the big screen suggests an array of important keys we can use in writing.

Steering away from archetypal roles allow us to move into new characters and more fluid situations. It allows us to move away from the bad guy is defeated ending and into a variety of new endings that have yet to be truly considered. Instead of starting off with a character who is confident and funny we can begin with a character who doesn’t breeze into every situation with ease but instead finds solutions to problems by looking at them from the outside first.

There’s no problem with a character who is a stereotypical mafia criminal who has a side passion of becoming an artist, nor is there a problem with a character who’s an evolutionist teacher in school who is also an assassin for hire, a cheerleader can also be a shy recluse, while an intelligent person can also have no other desire in life than to work in a dead end job simply because they enjoy it. Most importantly however, characters don’t have to be brave or confident simply because they are male, nor do they have to be particularly intelligent or humorous.

The character designed by the writer can be whatever or whomever the writer wishes them to be, but, in my opinion, I hope to see more big screen movies with large budgets backing the new contemporary type of masculinity promoted by Newt Scamander.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 17 - Life Tips

Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:11 am

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This month's life tips is over Bank Accounts and Credit Cards. x
This month’s advice is aimed at Americans in particular, as cards, their functions, and common practices can vary a little bit from country to country. If you are a teen or young adult and getting to the point in life where using cash for all purchases isn’t entirely practical, it may be time for you to get a card.

The first step is to have a bank account. If you don’t have one and you are under 18, you can have an adult go help you to open one. This can be at a bank or credit union, but if you have the option of the latter, do consider it as they are nonprofit, unlike banks. You can read a bit more on the differences here or do your own research. Having an account is great because you can personally deposit paychecks and cash into it, or even set up direct deposit with your employer so that your paycheck is automatically deposited there electronically every pay period.

The next step that is highly recommended is a debit card. This is through your bank or credit union and will be linked directly to your bank account - specifically, your checking account. You might also have a savings account, and you should definitely be putting money in there that won’t be touched! (This money is for college, a car, eventually a house, retirement, an awesome cruise, whatever - but do your best to never drain it and to not use it on frivolous things)

When you use this debit card at a store to make a purchase, the money will be taken directly from that checking account and sent to the store. This can take time to adjust to after always using cash, as it can be easy to lose track of what you have spent due to not seeing any difference in your wallet. A handy tip is to get the app for your banking institution and to frequently check it and keep an eye on your balance!

If you feel you have mastered keeping track of your spending and it’s time for some flexibility to make larger purchases, you may be ready for a credit card. These work differently from a debit card. When you use your new credit card, the way it works is that the credit card company pays the store - and you now owe the credit card company.

You don’t have to get them through your own bank/credit union. You could get one through a certain business, such as REI, Amazon, or an airline - in which case you likely get better benefits from purchases at these places - or through other credit card companies, such as Discover, American Express, or Capital One. These days, all or nearly all offer some sort of reward - such as ‘points’ or ‘miles’. Make sure you understand what this is, and what the monetary value is. For example, one might have a Discover card that earns 1.5 ‘miles’ per dollar spent, and that might translate to 1.5 cents per dollar. That is going to take a while to add up, but at least it’s something back and is about the norm. Another factor to consider (and perhaps more important) is the interest rate. If you continue to spend very carefully within your means and will be able to pay off the balance each month, then you may have some flexibility. If you intend to make larger purchases with it such as a new computer, trips, etc that may take months to pay off, interest could really get you.

Credit cards typically require applying for, and some may have higher requirements than others (ie credit score). Banking institutions also typically offer their own that may be more achievable if you haven’t built up much credit history yet, but might have lower rewards. They will also assign you a credit limit - that is, how much you can ‘borrow’ on the card. For example, if you don’t have much credit history yet, your limit could be just $500, whereas maybe you’re 30 with good credit history, maybe your limit is more like $15,000! Just remember - whatever you use the card for, you then have to pay back. It’s like a little loan for every single purchase and it can add up if you’re not careful. If you keep good track and stay on top of it, it can be a great resource to continue building credit and to earn those reward points that can then be redeemed in various ways.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 17 - Character Interview & Prompt

Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:12 am

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1. Is your character a night owl or day walker?
2. Does your character like to daydream?
3. Would you say your character is a team player?
4. Could your character imagine a life settled down right now or are there things they wish to do first?
5. What is your character’s favorite season and why?
6. What does the word ‘strength’ mean to your character?
7. Does your character prefer team sports or to play alone?
8. If your character could, where in the past would they visit?
9. How does your character display anger?
10. If your character were enjoying a cheat day, what would they be enjoying?
11. If your character were to visit anywhere in the world, where would they go and why?
12. If your character had control of an element, which would it be and why?
13. Does your character have a hobby they enjoy?
14. Does your character know any languages, or would they like to learn some? Which ones?
15. What are your character’s thoughts about their friends?

x Prompt x
“Who the hell are you?”

“Your worst nightmare.”
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AS Afflatus - Issue 17 - Member Corner

Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:12 am

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Anonymous Wyvern wrote:Can we have another one of those character questionnaires like in the September issue? They were fun to read! Perfect time with nano coming up!
  • That's actually up next for December's activity! It'll be an ship/otp version! We'll definitely look into doing these more often!
Anonymous Wyvern wrote:Can the next Afflatus have a writing tip article on how to make twists and suspense in a roleplay pleeeaaaasssse? TY!:D
  • The December issue will definitely have this! We had the member article submitted a while ago, so we wanted to make sure we used that and give you a good segment on making twists and suspense! Keep an eye out for this next issue!
x
Do you have ideas as to what you would like to see here? Don't be afraid to share through our google form!
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AS Afflatus - Issue 17 - Featured Writing

Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:13 am

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Come On Get Higher by Jazzyleia
Hidden text.
No one knew what the next day would hold. Matt did everything completely in his power to make sure that Nate was completely secure and always protected. They had a few run in problems, a trip or two to Jasmine to patch up a couple wounds especially when Nate had gotten a small concussion, but overall he thought it was going good. He also thought that he was taking it slow like Aiden would want. Sure okay maybe kissing Nate a few days into this whole thing wasn't exactly what he should have done, but Nate was just too damn cute. Plus he had been freaking out and in a moment of almost pure panic from Matt, he attempted to at least get the other guy to calm down enough to take his medicine. Stupid mistake on his part.
I Remember by amnesia.
Hidden text.
i remember
pain.
clenched fists and scraped knees,
raised voices and shattered glass.
worthlessness that you saved me from

i remember
sunny days and warm autumns,
day trips and happy holidays
a new home that you gave me.

i remember you
your face, your eyes, your voice
your calloused hands and wise words
jaded but forever optimistic

i remember the day that you left
i remember pain
i remember abandonment
i remember fear
and i remember worthlessness once more

(please follow link to read the rest of the poem)
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AS Afflatus - Issue 17 - Activity Center

Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:13 am

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This month's activity is a member questionnaire! Each question earns you 1 point for a total of 20! If you're unable to answer something or feel uncomfortable, feel free to skip! We hope you enjoy this activity!

1. What is your major / planned major?
2. Are you an early bird or a night owl?
3. What is your favorite genre to write?
4. What was the last book you read?
5. At what age did you get into roleplaying?
6. Team Edward or Team Jacob? (who doesn’t like a ridiculous question?)
7. What fictional character would you like to have in your life?
8. What written piece are you most proud of?
9. What question do you hate to answer?
10. If you were in the circus, what would you perform?
11. Do you get attached easily?
12. What are you most looking forward to in your future?
13. What is the kindest thing a stranger has ever done for you?
14. Who knows more about you than anyone else?
15. What is your current desktop background picture?
16. Hotdogs or cheeseburgers?
17. Have you ever thrown a party?
18. What’s the first thing you notice in the gender you are attracted to?
19. What’s the longest you’ve ever spent in the wilderness?
20. What quote best defines your life?

Have suggestions for future activities? Don't be afraid to share through the google form!
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AS Afflatus - Issue 17 - Anon Compliments & Critique

Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:14 am

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Anonymous Unicorn wrote:To avenoir. Thank you for being the amazing person you are. I know that things haven't been easy but still you are there for me no matter what. Our conversations make me have this dorky and goofy smile on my face, and trust me, it is sparse for me to smile so brightly. I can't wait to improve my Italian speech and visit you in March. Then I can see if you really do park your gondola in your backyard and attempt to speak to the people around you. I love you, sis. I wouldn't know what to do without you.
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:You are my boo and I will protect you. Or well, lately I have more been your boo to protect, I think. Our conversations help me ease my mind tremendously. Over the past year I have been relying on you for more than you probably realize. Mainly on our roleplays, our planning and our writing. I love it to develop plots and look how everything just expanded over 100 DoS cx Lately we have been starting to talk on a slightly more personal level and I am so glad I can drop whatever in your inbox and you are just there for me. You rock, Jazzy. You really do. I love you.
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