Diego Herrera

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Roleplaying in 3-D Event Today!

Looking to make your characters three dimensional without the use of special glasses? The good news is, it’s easy to do! All it takes is a little planning, a healthy dose of realism and some careful consideration of strengths and weaknesses!

Join Fleet Captain Diego Herrera Today, Saturday, February 22nd at 1pm PST/4pm EST/9pm GMT in the Writing Improvement Month chat room and pick up tips on all aspects of planning, developing and writing for characters! Whether you’re looking to roll up someone new or develop an existing character, bring your questions along with you! You may be looking to write an interesting plot arc during your next shore leave. You might have the beginnings of an idea but you’re not sure if your character will work. Or, you might find that you want to breathe some life into one of your older characters. Whatever the case drop on in to pick up your 3D roleplaying tips!


Please remember to nominate a character bio for the latest round of the Featured Bio Contest before it closes on Saturday, March 1, 2013. The rules have been simplified so it’s even easier than ever before to nominate a bio to the competition. Just check these three simple points:

  • Nominated articles must be of a player character played by a CURRENT and ACTIVE member.
  • Nominated articles must be either a PRIMARY or SECONDARY player character. PNPCs are ineligible.
  • All information in the article must be CURRENT as of the submission date.

We’re looking for the highest quality bios in the fleet to not only help provide an example for our members on how to structure their bio, but also to show off how much our members put into the creation of realistic and emotional characters.

Head to the Featured Bio Contest forum to nominate a bio today.

January 2013 Post Totals

As part of the ongoing overview of the fleet as a whole, here are the monthly figures for total posts for each ship. This summary will give you an idea of how active the ship is on a month-by-month basis.

The slate is clean for January – we’ve started the year by taking the bull by the horns and submitting more SIMs than December 2013. We’ve also snuck slightly ahead of our post rate for January 2013, raising the average number of SIMs per ship by 2 posts!

 December 2013 Post Totals

Our next chart gives the number of sims for each ship over the course of January. A majority of ships raised the bar since December with sound of Auld Lang Syne ringing in their ears and almost all of the others stayed within 10 SIMs of their December total. Only 2 ships showed decreased SIM rates (the urge to have a snowball fight being too tempting!)

 December 2013 Post Totals

Even More Character Questions!

Last year, we bombarded you with 25 questions to really get you thinking about your character. This year, the list is a little shorter but more in depth – just how much thought has gone into your character and where can you flesh them out more? It’s always great to see well-rounded characters aboard ship and, quite often, when there are a group of them all in one place they have a tendency to develop themselves! Have a read through the questions below and answer them as honestly as possible. If necessary, ask your character to help you! Once your PC has gone through the gauntlet, throw your PCs at it too and see what happens!

1. How would your character sum themselves up in 3 words or less?

2. How would you sum up your character in three words or less?

3. What are your character’s immediate goals? Why do they have those goals?

4. What are your character’s long term goals and why?

5. Why did your character join Starfleet? What do they hope to get out of it? Are they career driven? Do they want to see new sights? Is there something else that motivates them?

6. What characteristics do they appreciate in other characters? Who are they likely to make friends with?

7. If they are confrontational… why are they confrontational? In what circumstances could you see that changing? If they aren’t confrontational, what would push their buttons to make them reach that stage?

8. What is your character’s biggest weakness? Are they aware of it? Does that weakness hinder your crew in any way, or is it more personal?

9. How do you think the other writers on your ship see your character? Have you asked them for their opinions?

10. Do you have any plans for character development that include other characters aboard your ship? What are they? Have you spoken to the appropriate writers about them?

11. What changes do you have planned for your character? How do you plan to see them grow over the next mission/6 months/year?

12. If your character was an acquaintance or friend of yours in real life, what would you think of them and why?

Nailing Your Narrative Chat Today!

Attention fleetmates! Are you looking for tips on how to bring your SIMs to life? Do you want to grab your readers by the eyeballs and pull them headfirst into a realistic world where they can practically reach out and touch your characters, feel what they are feeling and live the story as it’s being told? The secret to that is narrative! It fills in the blanks that dialogue doesn’t and it’s an important part of each and every SIM that you read. Want your readers to know something about the way your character is feeling? Leading up to a shore leave subplot and you need to lay the foundations? About to enter a dangerous area and the tension isn’t high enough? Then the tips you need are right here!

Today, Saturday, February 15th, at 1pm PST/4pm EST/9pm GMT, join Commander Greir Reinard in the Writing Improvement Month chat room to pick up top tips on how to write all kinds of narrative, including descriptions of your surroundings and your character’s internal thoughts and feelings. Have any specific questions? Bring them with you! Think you’re sure of what you’re doing? Come on down and put the theory to the test!

We look forward to seeing you there!

February Featured Bio Winner

Lieutenant (j.g.) Chythar Skyfire is a medical officer aboard the USS Excalibur-A. He is passionate about science and languages. Although he serves as a Starfleet officer, he has mixed feelings towards the organisation as he feels it robbed him of time with his mother, who died while on assignment with them. Since joining the fleet in 2390 he has also served aboard Starbase 118.

In his spare time, he can often be found making chainmail or reading in his quarters, although he also enjoys conversations with his crew mates. His best friend, Sal Taybrim, serves aboard the USS Darwin-A. His middle name, Daniel, has earned him the nickname “CD”.

This month, our star pick bio belongs to Lieutenant Commander Eerie,  so congratulations to him!!

Lieutenant (j.g.) Skyfire’s Bio will be displayed on the wiki’s front page for the month of January. As always, you can find out more about the contest at its wiki page or in its forum. Round 4 is now open, so be sure to drop by and submit your own nominations!

Watch That Grammar!

Part of writing well is finding a way to keep your grammar razor-sharp. It’s the best way to be sure that you’re conveying all of your thoughts, feelings and ideas correctly and without ambiguity. While it’s possible to communicate without following the letter of the law and certainly true that your characters probably won’t do that while they’re talking (unless they want to sound as though they’re from a Dickensian novel), it’s actually a lot easier to get to grips with grammar than you think. It’s just like playing a game by a certain set of rules – once you’re familiar with the guidelines, it becomes much easier for you to chalk up some easy grammatical victories!

2014’s new grammar tutorial points towards some specific issues that can often go wrong but are easy to fix. When do you use capitals for trek-specific terms and when do you not? How can you use commas to preserve the meaning in complex sentences? And how do semicolons work? With specific examples of how all of these can slot nicely into the pockets on your utility belt, we hope this tutorial helps you towards your first dan in grammar-fu!

IT’S BACK! Writing Improvement Month 2014 Launches Next Week!

With February just around the corner, UFOP: Starbase 118 is proud to announce its second annual Writing Improvement Month! Those of you who were with us last year will remember how many useful events, tutorials and competitions we crammed into the space of 28 days and for those of you who weren’t? Well, there’s a lot for everyone to get excited about this time around, too!

How about we start with our opening ceremony, on Sunday 2nd February at 11am PST/2pm EST/7pm GMT? It’s the perfect place for you to chat to the organizers behind the Writing Improvement Month event and to find out which parts of the month-long convention will directly benefit you! Added to that, you’ll have a chance to engage other writers from around the fleet in conversation, sharing your thoughts about what makes a good SIM and asking for advice on areas that you’d like to develop!

From there – how about daily items designed to get you thinking about your writing, such as tutorials, top SIM spotlights and quizzes? The whole month is jam-packed with these so that there’s always something new for you to wrap your inner author around! Throw into that a series of IRC chats with commanding officers from around the fleet designed to give you a chance to get tips on specific topics such as making your narrative have as much impact as possible and making your characters three dimensional and you’re not short of chances to work on any of the aspects of your writing that you feel like you want to polish up!

The Writing Challenge competition will continue throughout the month, and we’ll also be launching the second annual competition for academy training officers to design a new scenario for the training team! Surely, there are no more stops to pull out? You’d be wrong!

We’re very pleased to announce that we have confirmed two Spreecast chats with returning panellists from last year:-

On February 8th at 10am PST/1pm EST/6pm GMT, join us for an interview with TV writer, author and WGA nominee Melinda Snodgrass, author of This Case is Gonna Kill Me and Box Office Poison (as Phillipa Bornikova)!

And on February 14th at 1pm PST/4pm EST/9pm GMT, we’ll be interviewing Hugo Award winning author Peter Watts, who will be releasing the sequel to the novel we were giving away last year, Blindsight, later in 2014!

The great news? Both of these writers have agreed to spare some of their precious writing time to chat to us and share their expertise – you get to ask them questions in an interactive interview setting!

So how will you keep up with all of this? Well, we’ve taken care of that as well! Each week, we’ll be sending you a schedule on the announce list to let you know what’s planned for the week ahead! Keep your eyes open for special announcements as well – there may be one or two more famous authors in the pipeline!

Crack those pens, keyboards and typewriters out, and hold onto your hats! February couldn’t be more awesome!

That’s the Way, Ah-ha, Ah-ha…

It’s a new year and a new start for the recruitment drive for UFOP: Starbase 118! As we take our first steps into the brave new year, it’s time once again to let you guys know exactly how you can help us to get our name out as far and as wide as possible!

Are you on facebook? If so, did you know that UFOP: SB118 has its own facebook page? If you have your own non-character based page then it would be fantastic if you could drop on in and give us a like: https://www.facebook.com/ufopsb118

There’s something released through social media channels every day, but this month, a concentrated effort on facebook could really help us to take off. You can help us in three ways. Liking our posts is a fantastic way to increase the number of people who view what we write – that includes ship summaries, fleet events and also general articles about Star Trek, Sci Fi and Science. In turn, that could lead to friends of yours (or indeed friends of friends) liking our page, which spreads our sphere of influence ever wider! Even better, you can share what we post, which gives people a direct chance to take a look at the interesting article of the day.

The best possible way to get involved, though, is to post a comment! Your friends will be able to read that you did, but they will then have a chance to add their own views! If we’re talking about a little known piece of trivia from one of the trek films, or asking for your opinion on a recent scientific discovery, why not post up your viewpoint? The more discussion we get, the more the posts stay alive and the more people will see us chatting! That will tempt them to join in and give them a chance to interact with the members of the 118 fleet. We’ve said on countless occasions that you’re our best asset for publicity because you’re a fantastically welcoming bunch so let’s get out there and see how many people we can draft in! After all, once we pass a certain level of popularity on Facebook, each post we make will be seen by that many more people, so this is the kind of work where each mote of effort really contributes to the overall picture! Many hands make light work and every person counts, so see you on Facebook!

December 2013 Post Totals

As part of the ongoing overview of the fleet as a whole, here are the monthly figures for total posts for each ship. This summary will give you an idea of how active the ship is on a month-by-month basis.

The first of the charts shows the average number of sims across all ships in the fleet by month, so far this year. So, summing the total number of sims in a month and dividing by the number of ships, we get the figures you’ll see below. Right at the end of December came the fantastic news that we were launching the USS Darwin-A, followed by the news that the USS Avandar would sadly be decommissioned. This meant that throughout the month we still had 9 ships active at any one time, which is how the December average was calculated.

Our next chart gives the number of sims for each ship over the course of December. As the nights drew in and the weather got colder for a large proportion of the fleet (this is the time of year where a lot of us get jealous of our Australian members), people took the chance to huddle down in the warm and get typing, which meant more activity on many of the fleet’s ships!

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