AS Afflatus: Issue Eighteen

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

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AS Afflatus: Issue Eighteen

Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:51 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 14 - Updates

Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:52 am

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National Novel Writing Month: Nanowrimo has finally come to a close and all points have been tallied! You can find the announcement here, but the staff is very proud of everyone who participated and we hope you all had fun!

December Event: With the start of December, partners for the event have now been given out. If you signed up please go ahead and exchange messages with your partner! We hope you all enjoy exchanging gifts. You can find the partner pairings here.

Staff Additions: For those who applied for staff, a decision has not been made on official members, however, stay tuned because they should be coming very shortly and will be placed in an official announcement! Keep your eyes out!
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AS Afflatus - Issue 18 - Dear Stag

Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:52 am

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Dear Stag - I'm about to go on a trip to visit my friends! I'll be there for ten days. This is my first extended trip alone, how much should I put away for spending money?
- Anonymous Phoenix
  • That sounds really exciting! Since it sounds like your travel arrangements have already been paid for, it sounds like you are off to a great start. However, this is still a difficult question to answer with any precision, as there are several factors involved - namely, will you be responsible for your food and, secondly, will you guys be just hanging out at someone’s home or will you be doing a lot of sightseeing? If you are spending those days in a home with someone’s family, it’s very possible that you will have little to pay for and that they might take care of groceries and cooking. In that case, you could get by with just $100 for the trip for a couple purchases, and maybe pitching in to make a special dinner as a thank you gesture. If you expect to be out sightseeing, I have had someone recommend as much as $100 per day (granted, that was a big adventure in Europe where all meals would have to be purchased, plus museum admissions, and any souvenirs). If you have the means, a reasonable estimate might be $50 per day to allow for a meal out and a few other purchases. Hope you have a great trip!
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AS Afflatus - Issue 18 - Writing Tips

Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:53 am

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This month's Writing Tips theme is on Plot Twists and Suspense. The article was written by Meraki.
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The moon is at its highest peak as it casts a cool glow over the serene lake. A fish skims the surface leaving a ripple scattering across before fanning out. All is peaceful. You have your blanket out, spread neatly over the untrimmed grass hidden away by the brush of the mini oasis. The stars seem so much bright tonight as you gaze upon them with your arms tucked up behind your head in criss-cross. There's the little dipper. Orion's belt. A smile spreads across your lips as your eyes fan closed and a breeze whistles through the leaves of the overhanging tree above. And then it starts. When you open your eyes again, they glow a yellowish hue and the pain starts at your wrists. Twisting off to the side, your bones begin to snap and hair elongates all over your body. Brown fur and a protruding snout. Your screams echo in the night as the serenity falls to the moonlights influence and a howl rattles the birds nesting within the trees.

It is incredibly difficult to properly weave plot twists and suspense into a storyline, but when done right it can be the most rewarding part of the story. As shown up above, that is only one example of many in ways to add this important element to your writing piece. The key to effectively pulling off the air of suspense and really hitting home with your plot twists is making sure they aren't predictable. You have to paint a story beforehand to lure readers in and misdirect them away from your plans. What makes a plot twist so good, after all, is making the reader really think about it. Even once they've put down the book, what you aim to do is to keep them thinking. Now below is a compiled list of ways to incorporate effective plot twists and suspense into your stories as well as how to come up with them and utilize them.

1. Build up/Foreshadowing:
What really helps create impact behind a plot twist comes with great suspense. Withhold information and the twist as long as you can. Try not to give too much foreshadowing over what is going to happen and gradually lead up until finally unleashing your ruthless twist upon the readers. Don't let go until absolutely necessary and just leave very very meager pieces throughout the beginning. When the plot twist is finally revealed, it should shock the reader and have them going back through to pick up on elements that weren't so obvious beforehand. This is of the hardest things to achieve as giving too much will ruin the twist but giving too little will make it unbelievable. Balance here is incredibly important and in your foreshadowing, make sure all hints given are actually fulfilled.

2. Being obvious is bad:
This should be quite obvious (hah), but for those who struggle with understanding what may be too obvious or not, there is a great way to counter this! When writing your story, write down a list of possible twists off the top of your head. Once you've written it down go through and check for originality, likelihood, and cliches. Does it fit the characters well? How often do you see it in other books? Is it a typical trope or is it something you've always dreamed of having happen in a story? You shouldn't be able to guess what the plot twist is right off the bat and if you can, it is much too obvious. It should be something that once revealed, lines up and makes sense when going back through but otherwise is undetected.

3. Use red herrings/misdirection:
The best way to write a plot twist is have two in mind. One that is the true plot twist and one that is not true. Red herrings typically are put in place to mislead the reader and give them another element of the story to latch onto in order to keep them off the trail of the real twist. Lead them off on a wild goose chase trying to figure out your motif in writing. Whether it leads to a dead end, you've placed in random scenes and clues to derail them from the truth, or you've set your red herring in motion to have them going down a different path, they are all effective in building suspense and making your plot twist that much more effective. The best way to do this is using the list you created in number 2 and picking one of those to carefully create alongside the true one. Be sure to foreshadow at some point that it may not be true and drive it home.

4. Use plot twists sparingly:
If you have plot twists around every corner, your reader may become dizzy or completely stop trusting you throughout the story. We don't want to jump down a million rabbit holes while reading, so try to keep the amount of plot twists in your story to one or two big ones. This also allows you to focus and really perfect what you are going for and trying to build up throughout the story. After all, the less you use, the more surprised a reader will be when something finally happens.

5. Become the reader/characters:
When plotting and planning try to put yourself in the shoes of both the characters and the readers. How would you react to a certain scene? How do you expect the story to go and what twists come to mind? What would become of your characters throughout the story? Sometimes it helps to step back and freewrite a scene or two to really get the gist of what should happen and how it will. It allows you to proceed forward without thinking too hard and giving you plenty of options to go with. At the same time, it is returning more character to your characters and allowing them to have their own voice in your story. This is vital for really making sure something is believable while also not too obvious or cliche and it helps form the story around the plot twist just a tad more!

6. Keep momentum:
You've just revealed your plot twist. Now what? Well even though most of the story until now has been this big, grand build up, you have to keep it going or else the story will grow stale and lose all momentum. What comes after the twist is just as important. Your plot twist should amp up the story and add tension/suspense, not be the high point and complete center. Follow-up is important in seeing this through to the end and keeping the reader on board. How is everyone reacting? Is there a way to solve your plot twist? What happens next?

All that said and done, now what we really need is ways to incorporate the plot twist! I've also compiled some ideas for throwing them in and how to weave them within the story:

- Introduce it in a flashback.
- Justice is served (good or bad)
- Use a false protagonist (and kill them >:3)
- Change the character's fortune
- Reveal things about the character
- Push a character to do something
- That red herring is also a twist!
- Chekhov's Gun (make use of details)
- Eucatastrophe (really bad to really great)
- Peripeteia (Taking a complete opposite turn)
- Deus ex machina (
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AS Afflatus - Issue 18 - Life Tips

Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:54 am

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This month's life tips is over Studying Tips. x
Seeing as it's a busy season for us students - both high school and college - we thought it would be a great idea to compile some tips and resources to reference! We hope you find this helpful during exam season - or any other time.

Study Strategies for Finals Week

1. Create your own study guide
Even if your teachers provide you with a study guide, creating your own can be helpful in understanding the material better. Outline the important information you need to learn. Also, study guides aren't always comprehensive, so take this opportunity to fill in anything that may be missing.

2. Ask questions
The teachers (or TA's) are there to help you! It may be daunting at first, but in the long run, they'll appreciate the effort you took to approach them. If you're shy about asking in class, try meeting them during office hours. And, if you're too shy to meet during office hours, you can email them to get a start and transition into meeting them during office hours if the question is resolved via email. Some professors are even willing to do phone calls or video calls.

3. Attend the review session
Attending the review session can provide some vital information, such as the exam format, what will be on the exam, and key concepts to focus your attention on.

4. Start early
Start studying early for your exams to avoid cramming the night before. You'll perform better. A good idea is to review your notes each day after class. Another way to study is to reorganize or rewrite your notes. This exposes you to the information more than once and in a different way. Handwriting your notes is always better than typing them.

5. Take breaks
You won't be able to memorize or comprehend all the material at once. Take breaks to recharge and relax before getting back to studying. Additionally, make sure you get plenty of rest the day before your exam. Being tired and unable to think clearly during the actual exam won't do you any good!

6. Create a study schedule
And make sure you follow it. Splitting the material into smaller chunks that you can achieve makes it easier to keep track of what you've finished. It helps in feeling overwhelmed when looking at the big picture.

7. Prioritize your study
Some exams will be more difficult than others or worth more than others. Evaluate your exams and determine which is most important to study for. Start from there and work your way down.

8. Study for the style of exam
If it’s multiple choice, you’ll need to know definitions and concepts. For essay exams, focus on your understanding of all the concepts presented, with examples in mind.

9. Quiz yourself and teach others
If you think about and create actual exam questions, you will likely become more familiar with what you need to study and, in the meantime, familiarize yourself with the type of language that will be on the exam. Draft potential exam questions and quiz yourself so that you can set expectations of what you need to focus on.

Learning by teaching is a method that really works! If you work with a study buddy and explain concepts to one another, you're re-learning the material all over again. It's a great way to reinforce what you've learned and help someone in the meantime!

For more resources and articles:
20 Study Tips
25 Study Tips
Studyblr: Finals Week Resources
Studyblr: Ultimate Tips Masterpost
Memes to Survive Finals
Making the Perfect Study Plan
College Tips
Study Tips for Different Learning Styles
Final Exam Tips
A Gentle Reminder (definitely click this)
Tips to Study in One Week or Less
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AS Afflatus - Issue 18 - Character Interview & Prompt

Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:54 am

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1. What are some unconscious quirks your character performs? Is there a reason?
2. How long can they go without showering before feeling gross?
3. Do they leave their clothes on a floor or chair? Or neither?
4. Do they sleep with the bedroom door open or closed?
5. What animal would they be?
6. If they could only eat one thing for an entire month, what would it be?
7. Would your character want to know the exact time and date of their death?
8. Would your character want to know how they die?
9. What is your character's favorite mythological creature?
10. What is their favorite song?
11. Does your character procrastinate or stay on top of things?
12. What does your character indulge themselves on?
13. How do they react when they're injured?
14. How does your character celebrate their birthday?
15. What was their first kiss like?

x Prompt x
“If I were a king, you would be my queen.”
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AS Afflatus - Issue 18 - Member Corner

Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:55 am

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This is some feedback/curiosity. I hope I can put it here. The moving grey bar has been telling us to check out the color scheme competition for quite some time now, but it already ended over a month ago. Is it only to announce competitions? In what situations will the text be updated?
We apologise for not keeping up with the news ticker; since poll results indicated that people would prefer no sidebar, it dropped down the priority list. Until such time as it has been removed, we intend to now keep it up to date, as you should be able to see now!
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 18 - Featured Writing

Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:55 am

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This month we are featuring the members who reached the 50k goal for Nano! Congrats for achieving such an amazing feat!

Myths and Legends of a Hidden World by KimJong_Jamie
Hidden text.
Back, a long time ago, everyone lived in relative harmony.

In my world, there are two types of people - mages and scientists. People are born with an affinity for their topic and typically 2 mage parents will bear a mage child, but that only seems true 99% off the time.
Most groups claim it is hereditary and rare recessive genes are to blame for the 1% that have the wrong affinity or something – I don’t understand any of that science stuff.
Other smaller groups claim it is entirely psychological and that there is no such thing as ‘being born with an affinity,’ rather the fact that mages and scientists don’t breed and that we go to different schools creates a stigma. Any mage could become a scientist if they so desired and vice versa. As a mage, I’ve never tried science, but the mages I know who tried were never able to get anything to work.

Mages and scientists used to live together and my school was next to a science school so I always walked home with two of my best friends, Clarke and Louis, who are both scientist.
When we were nearing the end of our time at school, there were massive affinitist protests about whether or not mages had too much power over scientists and whether or not cross-affinity relationships were good or not (I’ll remind you that these cross-affinity relationships are extremely rare. Some happen at schools, but fizzle out and die when they realize everyone else is affinitist.) A woman fairly high up in the scientific hierarchy came out that she had been having a sexual relationship with a mage for the past 6 years and she was now pregnant with a mixed affinity child. The outrage that proceeded resulted in the lynching of that woman and the erection of massive walls to keep mages and scientists apart. A communal area in the center allowed scientists and mages to get support or trade with each other when needed (with a special pass to track how long you spent), but other than that I never saw my scientist friends after that.

Until yesterday.

I was working in the shop I inherited from my father when I heard a massive explosion – an explosion created by science (It’s easy to tell the difference).
I ran outside to check along with everyone else in the city when the wall began to crumble from the impact of Louis’ body being thrown into it. The wall fractured outwards from the impact site and large chunks began to break off and plummet towards the ground making massive impacts. Getting back up and taking off from the wall, Louis and Clarke continued shooting at each other with ever-increasing caliber; the attacks getting more and more furious every moment, and bystanders being killed left, right, and center. The ground shook with every chunk of wall that fell to the ground and every attack Louis and Clarke made at each creates devastating shock waves that shattered windows and probably ruptured ear drums.

My ears were ringing as I ran to the town center to help the other mages with the shield to protect everyone from the falling hunks of stone. Some pushed all their mana into the shield that now glowed orange and strong, whilst others shot beams to shatter the boulders into ash as they fell and it was working great until Clark got shot directly in the stomach and got sent flying into the shield with just enough force to piece it. Along with his body came tons of rubble that hadn’t yet been obliterated.

With all the rubble coming down, my first thought was to activate my ‘worst-case scenario’ safety feature. I pulled my amulet from round my neck and threw it quickly to the floor. The red stone shattered and darkness spread across it before it emit a white light into a bubble around me. Dust and rubble kept falling and just before the chunks of stone landed on me, the amulet sucked the light back in like a black hole, taking me with it – teleporting me to a random safe place.
blep
Gone by Tomorrow by angelofwarfare
Hidden text.
Time.

It had been reduced to a nothingness. Pillars of marble that once supported the place of dreams had either collapsed or was chipped away and splintered from facing the ages of war. A deteriorated grand staircase that was as equally as magnificent of a sight to behold shares the same fate. This place has seen better days. At one point of time, an opulent family resided within these empty walls. Yet, the power of the worldly did not belong to them. They have succumbed to the common enemy of mortality, not knowing that they shall stir from their undisturbed graves once more when they have rested in death's embrace.


It slays kings.It crumbles the mountains to stone.It lays the flora and fauna to decay.

An assortment of guests had one time passed through this entryway. Yet, the stone gargoyles that are perched in the courtyard wards off the greater evils to this world. Dust layers and carpets the furnishings of this place lost in the depths of time. A lone soul that has casted adrift had found themselves in such a place. Memories of a distant past that gave them a sense of familiarity has brought them here. Their cloak brushes lightly against the floor, as their boots scuff and shuffle on the marble below them. They maneuver through the corridors of this place almost if the mapping was inked on the back of their hand, or that such a map was ingrained in the prison of their mind. They carry on without a care to the world on what occurrences prevailed beyond these walls. It was none of their concern as to what the Vanguard was brewing or what the Guardians lost to the Light were conjuring. They were practically untouchable. They were far from their suffocating grasp. They were in close relation to the wilderness that staked its claimed in this region. Untamed.

Time is the true enemy.

The clicking of gears and mechanisms that sings a symphony and a globe of golden light envelops their body. Their head tips back with their hood of their cloak slipping off of their head and falling past their shoulders. Golden locks of hair are carefully braided to match the soigne of this desolate place. Within the delicate braiding of the hair are thin slivers and branches of silver that provide a regal aura to such a person. The cloak unveils a portion of their facial features with the most stark of them being a deep scar that runs from the top arch of the brow and moves downwards up to the throat. A breath of air leaves their lips with their eyes skimming over the scene. Pillars move and shift from where they once laid stagnant from an unforeseeable force to support the structures of the home once again. The dust is lifted off from the surfacing as they continued to move through the archaic place. Time unwinds and all the things that are broken and defeated unfurls into a restored and renewed state. Their strides cease, and a glance is passed over their shoulder to peer back at the entryway. "We are here for one thing.One thing only." a shaky and artificial voice utters to which it instantly garners their attention."Then, let us continue. We must hasten. They shall be here soon." she murmurs softly with a light trace of a smile.

Time devours all.
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AS Afflatus - Issue 18 - Activity Center

Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:56 am

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This month's activity is an OTP quiz! The format and point structure is similar to the character interviews. There are 15 questions and you can do the quiz for two (2) of your ships/otps! Each quiz will be worth 10 points. Doing both quizzes earns you 20 points! Like character interviews, please post both OTP quizzes in separate posts and title it Afflatus Activity or OTP Quiz!

1. Who wants kids and how many?
2. Who looks the best in a tux/gown?
3. Who is the dog person and who is the cat person?
4. Who is the worst cook?
5. Who made the first move?
6. Who is the worst liar?
7. Who would (or said) "I love you" first?
8. Who hogs the blanket?
9. Who kills the spiders?
10. Who is the responsible one?
11. Who gets jealous the easiest?
12. Who can wrap presents well?
13. Who is the most romantic?
14. Who is more competitive?
15. Who gets embarrassed easily?

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Have suggestions for future activities? Don't be afraid to share through the google form!
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AS Afflatus - Issue 18 - Anon Compliments & Critique

Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:56 am

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Anonymous Unicorn wrote:Mer, I just want to say that you are doing everythig you can. I admire what you are doing for the site and how full of ideas you are for them. You make an awesome overseer and people made a good choice appointing you to it. Stay awesome!
Anonymous Unicorn wrote:Thank you for everything you did for me. Not recently, but a long long time ago. You are a great person and I hope the people around you count you twice once they count their blessings. I'm a chicken maybe for doing it like this, but you didn't deserve what I put you through. So, I'm sorry. Please continue being the wonderful human I have known you as. The people around you are blessed with such a friend. Stay awesome. Eat your ice cream while it is still frozen.

To morph
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