Welcome to my ninth report as your Voice. Please take the opportunity to read Grand Master Ashen's report below if you have not done so. Muz has released the top five placers in the Special Forces category for this month's Dark Crusade events. The report also announces the well deserved awarding of the Golden Lightsaber to our beloved Seneschal, James Lucius Entar Arconae. I highly encourage everyone to take the additional time to read James' Golden Lightsaber recommendation.
This week's report will focus on answering questions that have come up during the Dark Crusade. Several members have asked for updates on the grading process, style guidelines, and more examples for our Nova library. I'm going to see if I can answer most of those questions.
Additionally, I'll provide a few updates on character sheets, the ACC, and the next round of the DC's fiction.
Spell Check Every Document. Spelling errors are reviewed to see if they are a cultural spelling or if it is an actual mistake.
Mechanics. Fiction is read and mechanical mistakes are identified. Basic mistakes like the misuse of meat/meet or double wording wording are the most frequent mistakes. The next mistake is word misuse, frequently its/it's or their/there/they're. If I find more than one common mistake, your score will drop a point in the mechanics scoring section. Every additional mistake is another point deducted.
More Mechanics. Spell check will miss some of your mistakes. Stuff like: “Let’s get this shown on the road." or "Upon the first spell of the gently blowing breeze, it was refreshing. But upon spelling the second gust of breeze it struck Darkity Warlord as putrid and acidic."
Creativity. Creativity is one of those subjective observations, but one that I'll try to put into context. The fiction prompts are the same for everyone and most people will write very similar stories. An example from this round: You start on a military ship, you have a meeting with several of your allies, you develop a plan, execute that plan against an antagonist, and you triumph. The previous sentence describes nearly 85% of the assault fiction entries. However, some people will write something very different. An example of this is Halc's submission this month. Halc wrote his assault fiction from the perspective of a sacrificed Sith who gave his sentience to the Temple on Ashas Ree. The remaining of the fiction focused on 4000 years of the Temple's impressions and feelings towards its famous visitors.
Realism. Cursing will cost you every time. Fuck you, suck my dick, and earthly cursing is a hit in Star Wars realism. Troy Denning recently added "pissed off" to Star Wars cursing, but beyond damn and hell, Star Wars is pretty clean. I'm also looking for your god-mode powers. If you are a GRD and you just defeated Darth Krayt, you better have done it in an insanely creative sort of way. If not, I'm going to deduct points. A note here, no placings were determined by someone cursing in their fiction, but it could impact your score if you are close to another writer who did not.
Story/Entertainment. I hate to lump these two together, but for the sake of keeping this report short I will. The simple gauge I use for story is how much of your entry do I want to read. If I have to stubbornly read through your entry, you will lose points. If I want to read the next paragraph to see what is going to happen, you get points. Our DB fiction gurus have a knack at writing stories. Halc, Yacks, Shadow, Raken, Jac, Wally, Goat, Ronovi, and others have been successful at keeping their reader/grader interested. I recommend taking a look at their work and would once again recommend originality within your work.
Plagiarism. I spot check every 5th entry for plagiarism. This is just a simple check to make sure everyone is keeping their nose clean. I will also check additional entries when the writing seems familiar to something I have read in the past. I'm not joking when I say I've read nearly every Star Wars novel published.
This is the process I use to grade every fiction. I apply the 7 steps above to the grading rubric. Here are two examples of entries from this round. The rubrics are tabbed, check the bottom on the doc, and you'll need to tab over to the individualized scoring sheet.
My system is pretty basic and includes a little of my own shorthand. I don't have time to make a significant amount of notes due to the large volume of entries, but I will re-read/re-score any entries that finish in a tie for a Nova. Muz or Raken will provide additional input if I struggle to resolve a tie or believe I might possess a bias (favorable or not) against a writer.
I'm often asked (or hear the rumbles) about why certain people dominate fiction. The answer is pretty simple. 1. They are talented writers. 2. The generate creative topics from the fiction prompts. 3. They proof read their entries and ask others to proof read for them. 4. The put in the effort to win. Those four qualities are possessed by most of our members, but the Jac and Goat types are the most consistent at performing from month to month.
I know a bunch of people want to be Grand Admiral Thrawn with an army of Mandalorians to carry out their darkity sable black dreams, but that sort of writing is consistent with the bulk of entries and isn't all that interesting.
If you review the grading criteria above or view the grading rubrics you will notice that multi-media and graphics are not included in fiction grading. However, several of our members will include graphics to spice up their entries. This is a method to catch the readers attention and it often works; however, I don't take it into consideration concerning your final score. Take a look at the Nova library and you will notice that a few entries utilized graphics to enhance viewing or to set a mood. Read those entries and you will notice they were still awesome. Regardless, the bulk of winners are straight text on a document. Word to the wise, putting your entry in some sort of crazy font/graphic format can lead to disastrous results. Someone submitted an entry this round that was nearly unreadable and in all capital letters. They didn't win.
DJB Fictional Output Since February:
I'm not counting the poetry or additional run on events that I did not grade. Huge output folks. Nice work.
The SCL and his awesome team of code-monkeys have finished the majority of their work on the character sheets. A small team of individuals have access to the sheets and are busy entering content this week. I'd like to be an optimistic and say we are going to see the character sheets before the next round of the Dark Crusade (I say this without talking to Mav, so he might kill me).
Arion has begun to construct the skeleton that will eventually become the ACC. We made a lot of great progress this week and decisions concerning kindler gentler timeouts/extensions and a few other user friendly additions. The meat and potatoes of the process remains in the rules rewrite, SA Course design, and tutorial sections. Progress is happening. Thanks for your patience.
The next round of the Dark Crusade will continue to feature our members. Last round highlighted several Nova award winners and utilized their own characterizations to help continue our plot of intrigue. In case all that fiction stuff is TLDR (like this report), here you go: The DJB was attacked internally several months ago by our workers, low level members, and saboteurs. The attacks appeared to be a preemptive strike by the One Sith aimed at crippling our offensive capabilities. Muz utilized the unprovoked aggression to invade One Sith Space and reclaim a string of planets, artifacts, and tomes of forgotten lore. The prolonged conflict and aim of the war has resulted in many members of the DJB to question Ashen and his plan. Several Elders and even a Grand Master have begun to investigate exactly why the DJB is bleeding for abandoned planets. More to come.
The Dark Brotherhood Fleet needs you! Raken and I crafted a large portion of the existing Iron Throne Armed Forces utilizing US Army MTOE and nomenclature. This filled the void of a completely absent military system, but it is not "Star Wars" by any means. The release of the Essential Guide to Warfare allows us to update the Iron Throne's military utilizing actual Star Wars terminology. I have requested the support of the Dark Summit on this project and will shortly put together a team to begin writing. I'll make a news announcement in a few days with the people who are leading up certain areas of the project. If you are interested in supporting them, let us know.
Thanks for taking the time to read this report. I wanted to take the time to ensure everyone has a warm and fuzzy for how grading is working during the Crusade. I also want everyone to know that we are listening to your feedback (Yacks' poll, comments on reports, ect) and working to improve in areas that we can. Open discussion, adjusting from feedback, and getting better is the best way we can keep our club fun and active. I'm all for that.
Sarin (oh yeah...I guess some new members did not realize I was Sarin and Pravus. Sarin is dead folks. Omancor Crask stuck a saber in his chest and Darth Pravus exterminated his remaining clone bodies.)
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