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About two years ago, Th!nkPi came up with the idea to create a room for the writing community on Pokémon Showdown!, something apart from battling for all those authors and poetry enthusiasts to share their stories, experiences, and talent with fellow users. So as to fulfill this purpose, on June 12, 2014, the Writing room was born as a private room. Soon, the activity in this private room skyrocketed, and on July 7, 2014, the Writing room was declared public. This room started two years ago from an idea in a small Skype group, and today this room stands firm and proud.
Recently this room has also introduced its two sister rooms—namely, Mythology & Magic and The Arcadium, which will be explained in a later segment.
The Writing room mainly focuses on providing a platform for the ideologies of contemporary writers through their work. Users can not only share their work, but also provide each other with much needed critique. Every now and then, the staff even hold lectures on various different subjects related to effective writing. The helpful staff and considerate regulars are always there to assist with problems users face while writing. The room features a Community Drive, which acts like an archive and holds all the content of the users. That's not all, though. This room even has an array of fun activities that are organized by the roomauth and are quite helpful in developing skill while having fun. Every week, a challenge called Sunday Scribing is organized so you can display your talent to everyone. Over the years, many notable names such as Dell and Audiosurfer have been part of the room, and users such as sirDonovan, TheElegantShadow, Level 51, DropTheBased, Th!nkPi, Mimiroppu, ErinaOfAsgard, and Mystifi are still active members.
The first step should be to say hello to room bot The Scribe to get your own folder in the Community Drive. For that, you must create some piece of writing, be it a poem, story, or article, to showcase in your folder. Once you have written your piece, PM a staff member requesting a folder and they will be more than happy to create one for you. "Congratulations! now you are a member of the writing community." Once your folder is created, you are free to add any of your work. If you are ever stuck while writing or want people to critique your work (or simply want to brag about how awesomely you write), then feel free to post your piece in chat. Staff and regulars in this room are particularly warm and considerate and go to lengths to help a user.
Every week, the staff holds a competition called Sunday Scribing. A random subject is chosen by the staff on which the users then try to write a poem or a short story as per what the challenge demands. The competition doesn't require any specific level of skills or qualifications. Every entry is judged at the same level. Imagery, mood, originality, and flow are the criterion for judging poetry, while for stories, character development, plot devices, description, and prose quality are looked at. You have to submit your work through Google forms, for which the link is present in the roomintro . The submission should preferably be a Google docs file on your community drive, but if that's not possible then you can submit a pastebin entry. Once the time for submitting ends, voting commences on Friday, 11:59 PM (EST), in which any user can vote. On the following Sunday evening, the results are shown and the entry with the greatest number of votes is declared as winner. The winning entry and the writer's name are displayed in the room intro for the week, which is quite an honorable thing.
If you ever feel too bored just writing, which you shouldn't, then the room offers an array of fun activities to play. Any auth can host these games if any user asks. These activities not only test your skill but also are really fun to play. Here are a few listed below:
The Ernest Hemingway Challenge is by far one of the most popular games among users. The objective of the game is to create a poetic line of at most six words on a given theme within a limited time frame, generally three minutes. The users participating post their lines according to which votes are submitted in PMs to the host. The winner of each round selects the theme for the next round. The person with the most wins in all five rounds is the ultimate winner. In the case of tie, a third party or the host can also vote.
This game focuses on Pokédex entries. The host selects a Pokémon about which the users have to rewrite the dex entry. The entry should be put within square brackets ([ ]) and the word "Dexterity" should be placed before it. Participants are allowed to make both traditionally analytical and informative entries, and ones that possess a more humorous and parody-esque insight into the Pokémon in question.
To catch up with more Writing room activities and their rules, check out here.
As the name implies, this room is all about mythology and magical entities across various cultures and countries. This sister room was created for users to learn about various anecdotes, stories of heroes, and mythical creatures ravaging the lands. Knowing about myths and tales of magic helps you incorporate more originality into your stories, and who doesn't like the spicy supernatural genre these days? All those shaman and pagan enthusiasts on Pokémon Showdown!, this is the room for you.
This is a unique room, formed from a collaboration between rap and poetry. Another idea of Th!nkPi, who believes that rap and poetry are two different concepts that need a "voice" of their own, this room is for those users who are a little more wacky towards writing raps. All those Eminem, Iggy Azalea, Drake, Big Sean, and Kendrick Lamar fans: this is the room made for you. But don't fret, Edgar Allan Poe and Robert Frost fans. Poetry slams and rap battles are equally prominent in this room, so join now.
Fictional Phantasm is the new event in which users can submit world themes, genres, characters, and plot twists to be used within upcoming short stories written by the room. On a bi-weekly basis, the staff will randomly pick one submission from each category for writers to use in that cycle's stories. Each entry will be judged based on how well the author was able to incorporate the selected elements while also putting their own unique twist on the story.
Today, we have two of the ROs of the Writing room—XTheElegantShadowX (TES) and sirDonovan.
TES is 19 years old and lives in Ohio. He is currently studying for his GED. He has various hobbies, which include gaming, reading, writing, RPing, researching mythology, pondering the infinite depths of the universe, and whatever else he deems interesting—at least that's how he describes it.
sirDonovan is 20 years old and lives in Iceland. He is a college student who is currently studying computer programming. He is an influential user and was even awarded as the Nicest User in the 2014 Smogon Awards. Since he is a little sick these days he wasn't able to give a full-fledged interview.
I enter the library full of books. Strange gilded tomes, binding pages of magic, astral projections, and shadow bending surround me. And did I just read "Advanced Handbook Of Leshi Summoning?" Taking a deep breath, I survey the room, and there, on a mahogany cabinet, fiddling with the papers of his new magazine, is XTheElegantShadowX, the person I am looking for.
After that, I traveled through the mountainous terrain of Iceland and finally reached sirDonovan's house. I was invited in very gently and offered tea and cookies. His room was filled with all sorts of wires and computer devices. There, Lady Monita, his bot, grinned at me, giving me butterflies in my stomach.
So thanks for joining me today for an interview. Lets start this, shall we? So how long have you guys been connected to Smogon/PS! and the Writing room?
Let me think... I've been around since early January of 2014, at least actively. I had migrated from Pokémon Online to Showdown! in late 2013, but I didn't actually start getting on regularly until the following year. I was around when Writing was still in its creation stage, and after a hiatus I soon joined as an RO alongside BreadHeroDan and sirDonovan while the room was still private.
I discovered PS! in March 2013 and mostly lurked in the Lobby while playing Random Battles. Later that September, I started participating in rooms and I joined Smogon after earning my first room rank.
Here is a cliché question: what do you like the best about the room besides eating the souls of the people in it?
Well, the souls are quite delicious. Writers have such an exquisite taste... Uh... I mean...
The Writing room invokes a natural environment centered around both the growth and nourishment of our writers and the fun and enjoyment of the userbase at large. The room as a whole strives to build and maintain an engaging and supportive environment in which anyone may join and be welcomed to with open arms. It is, in a way, a family that whether you come in as a veteran or novice of the craft, you soon find a place among writers of all skill levels and backgrounds to grow and chill with.
Well, it certainly is true that the Writing room furnishes writers of all kinds. Were you interested in writing before the creation of the room or did your passion for it develop after you became a part of it?
Writing can fix those typos for you. ;^) We can help with a lot of thangs. I've been writing since I was around 11, though I began only with poetry. I inherited a good portion of my passion from my mother, as writing just seems to be in our blood. When I had first joined the room after its creation, I felt the pangs of passion surge through me like static; I didn't write stories, despite having a shit-ton of ideas for them, until after I joined Writing because it gave me the tools and encouragement to try something new. I now write stories more than poetry at this moment in time. I would honestly call it "The Writing & Irony Room" for that reason. Generally, I didn't find a place for me to grow as a writer until Writing and to this day, I am still thankful. I should probably save the novels for my own tales, eh?
We would not be bothered to hear about them. What do you guys deem as your biggest contribution to the room?
My most significant contribution? Hmm... Well, the thing that first comes to mind is the creation of the Activity Doc. Before, we really did not have a proper format in which to keep up with the rules of a game nor any way to add new ones right away. Last year, I had the idea to just write up a fairly decorative doc for the purposes listed above and just to make things simpler for everyone. We went from having six games, to droping two due to how similar they were to two others, and then to gaining around 12 along with the creation of the doc and it's been growing ever since. I take great pride in this. The creation of this doc and the activities within it invokes one of the key elements of our room: it can also be enjoyed as a place to have fun and make friends. I am more than ecstatic to have contributed.
My greatest contribution to the room is running most of the Sunday Scribing events, in which writers have two weeks to write either a poem or story (alternating each event) on the given prompt. These provide great discussion topics and usually inspire a few new people to start participating in the chat.
As an RO, would you want to change any aspect of the room?
I think every person has goals in mind for a room, whether they're an RO or a guest. It would be expanding the community through having more collaborations. I feel that Showdown! as a whole is a family and we should extend a hand of camaraderie towards one another. We're all a part of the Pokémunity (I'm such a nerd), and one thing that I hope to see one day is for Writing and all the other rooms to share the love.
These days every other story I read is like a bad boy and good girl hate each other and then fall in love. But then another ex of the girl swoops in and makes it a love triangle. So yeah everyone is just going too cliché. What would you suggest to budding writers so they don't just dabble in writing and maintain originality at the same time?
TES wears a very self assured smile as if he read my mind with his shadow powers.
"JUST DO IT!" Seriously, writer's block will beat your ass sometimes, but you can't stop if that's your passion. In terms of maintaining originality, I'd say that you should just do you. Don't try to be Tolkien, Edgar Allen Poe, or anyone else, but you. My advice to writers is just to do your own thing and not worry about who you want to appeal to. Take criticism and compliments where they come, because both will help you to become a better writer.
Can you tell us about some funny incidents or anecdotes that happened in the room?
Oh, my... Where to begin... Well, there was this one time: we were playing this game where we would all abide by a certain speech pattern while talking in the chat, we were currently doing The King's English. It began as us simply doing the game as normal and then... It suddenly became a medieval rebellion upon a kingdom with me as the ruler and my subjects fighting against the rebels. To make a long story short, I think I ended up beheading someone before getting stabbed in the back and dying, someone came back to life after dying... And then I think we became pirates. It was... an evening. XD
Lol. Remind me to request to play that game someday again. We all know that we are having two new sister rooms. So can you comment about them?
Mythology & Magic (M&M) is a room dedicated to exploring the secrets of the old world and discussing the tales and traditions. We discuss mythical creatures, forms of magick and spirituality around the world, mythology and folklore, creepypastas, urban legends, and more. Whether you seek this knowledge for curiosity's sake, entertainment purposes, or spiritual reasons, we welcome and encourage you to join in the discussion.
The Arcadium is a new addition to the Writing room, designed for the sole purpose of catering to our diverse set of users in the form of Poetry Slams, Rap Battles, Story-driven RPs, and more! We also host activities and games, which allows us to both efficiently read and review the works of our writers in the main chat and reserve a space where other endeavors may be enjoyed meanwhile. We're still setting up, but there's much in store for new and older users alike.
Most importantly, what do you guys have to say to the people reading this article?
If you seek to join a room filled with friendly faces ready to assist you in the well-known hobby and career path of writing, look no further. I know personally how difficult it can be to strive for one's dreams without proper support and guidance. You'll find a community that engages both the mind and heart with a vast plethora of games, activities, topics and most of all, people to enjoy the room alongside.
If you are interested in discussing writing or the works of others in a friendly environment, I hope that you give the room a try!
Thanks so much TES and dono for your precious time. Get well soon dono.
I bid farewell to these warm users, and Lady Monita wasn't that weird after all.
The Writing room is a haven for all those people interested in composition and writing. Here you can write, share, critique, play fun games, or simply make everlasting friends. So what are you waiting for? Hurry now and visit the Writing room on PS! Don't forget to say your salutations.
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