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Meet the writers of 2016’s Top Sim: T’Lea and Rune Jolara

In place of our regular monthly interview with a member of the Academy Training team, we’re instead going to be interviewing the winners of 2016 Top Sims Contest, T’Lea and Rune Jolara, whose sim titled “Defying a Direct Order” won them the coveted title of “Top Sim of 2016”!

Let’s dive in and learn more about these writers and this well-written sim.

WOLF: Hi there and congratulations on your win! I’m really excited to learn more about the story behind this sim. But first, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourselves as players and writers, and how long you’ve been members of our community?

T’LEA: First, let me say that I really appreciate all the support for our sim. The competition was, and always is tough. How long have I been with the community? I believe it’s been over ten years now, and I hope to be here for ten more. When I first started writing back in 1993 I was fresh out of high school, and at the time DS9 was accepting spec scripts. I wrote a few and sent them in, but nothing ever came of it, except my growing passion for writing and Star Trek. When I found this community it combined the two things that I love, and the rest is history! Since then, this group has become a second family to me. A family of writers who understand and enjoy the same passion for Trek and storytelling that I do. As a full-time caregiver to a disabled family member, you all have provided support through friendship, and no matter what ship I have been assigned to (there’s been quite a few over the years) writing with you all has provided an outlet for me in the best of times and in the worst of times. This place truly is special to me.

JOLARA: Thank you and, likewise, I want to thank everyone for their support. I originally joined in 2005 but ended up taking an extended LOA. I came back a couple more times but, again real life got in the way. I finally came back to stay in 2012. I really can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing in one form or the other. Even during my childhood I would sneak away and write. It’s helped me through some pretty dark times in my life. My earliest memories of Star Trek is watching TOS with my uncle. When TNG came out, my interest (almost obsession) in all things Trek was reignited and hasn’t really stopped. Like, T’Lea, this group combined two things I loved the most. As a bonus, I’ve met some pretty incredible people and made some lasting friendships… really they’re like a second family. I wouldn’t trade my time here for the world.


Time is running out to vote in Top Sims Runoff Round 4

There is only a week left to place your vote for the Runoff Round 4 of the 2016 Top Sims Contest! In the runoff rounds, members (like you!) decide which sims head to the final round of the Top Sims Contest in December.

These sims below were chosen by a panel of judges (one from each ship) from the sims submitted in Rounds 21-26 of the contest.

TO START, please read these sims:

NEXT, vote for the sim you like the most. Click here to go to the poll now.

DON’T vote for a sim just because you serve on the same crew as the person who wrote it. It should be the sim that’s the best written, with strong characterization, and evocative or descriptive scene-setting. Any crew that “stuffs the ballot” (by having everyone on the crew vote for the same sim to ensure that it wins this poll) will be eliminated from the contest and shamed by the rest of the community as terrible, terrible cheaters. That would be awful.

Good luck to the nominees!


Top Sims Contest Update

The Top Sims Contest is now accepting nominations for Round 9 of 2014. Every day, your crew mates write the kinds of sims that make our community one of the greatest groups of our kind. Making sure they get the recognition they deserve is easy, and only takes a minute:

1. Visit the Top Sims Contest forum.
2. Check the calendar to see which round we’re on.
3. Start a new topic and paste the sim into the text field.

Nominating a sim is as easy as enjoying it, so don’t hold back. Each sim will go to our judges panel to determine which one goes to the next run-off round. One of the sims you read today could be the Top Sim of 2014, but only if you take the time to nominate it.

And while you’re out there, be sure to vote in the First Runoff Round of 2014. Voting closes March 9th, so make your voice heard.


Top Sims Contest Update

The Top Sims Contest is now accepting nominations for Round 7 of 2014. Every day, your crew mates write the kinds of sims that make our community one of the greatest groups of our kind. Making sure they get the recognition they deserve is easy, and only takes a minute:

1. Visit the Top Sims Contest forum.
2. Check the calendar to see which round we’re on.
3. Start a new topic and paste the sim into the text field.

Easy, right?

Each sim gets sent to our top-notch judges panel who will decide which of them will go on to our next run-off round for a chance to be names best sim of 2014. But they can’t win if you don’t take the time to nominate them.

And be on the lookout for the First run off of the 2014 contest. This is where you get to decide which of the six wining sims gets to move on to the final run off to determine the best sim of 2014. It may be early, but they can’t win if you don’t vote.

Stay tuned.


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!


Top Sims Contest Update

The Top Sims Contest is now accepting nominations for Round 4 of 2014. There are some great sims being produced by our members every day. Making sure they get the recognition they deserve is easy, and only takes a minute:

1. Visit the Top Sims Contest forum.
2. Check the calendar to see which round we’re on.
3. Start a new topic and paste the sim into the text field.

Easy, right?

Each sim gets sent to our top-notch judges panel who will decide which of them will go on to our next run-off round for a chance to be names best sim of 2014. But they can’t win if you don’t take the time to nominate them.

You know what’s even easier? Voting for the Top Sim of 2013. There’s just 5 sims to read. Which one is the best? that’s for you to decide.

Power feels good, doesn’t it?


Top Sims Contest Update

The Top Sims Contest is now accepting nominations for Round 23. There are some great sims being produced by our members every day. Making sure they get the recognition they deserve is easy, and only takes a minute.

Visit the Top Sims Contest page.

Check the calendar to see which round we’re on.

Start a new topic and paste the sim into the text field.

It’s just that easy to share a great sim with the entire fleet. The winning sim will go on to the fourth run-off round. So get out there, and nominate today.

And while you’re out and about, be sure to congratulate the winners of the previous rounds as well:

Round 19: Cmdr Tal Tel-ar & LtCmdr Jalana Laxyn (as Sherana) – I Will Remember You

Round 20: Doctor Saveron – The Quick and the Dead


Top Sims Contest Update

The Top Sims Contest is now accepting nominations for Round 21. There are some great sims being produced by our members every day. Making sure they get the recognition they deserve is easy, and only takes a minute.

Visit the Top Sims Contest page.

Check the calendar to see which round we’re on.

Start a new topic and paste the sim into the text field.

It’s just that easy to share a great sim with the entire fleet. The winning sim will go on to the fourth run-off round. So get out there, and nominate today.

And there’s still time to vote on the winning sim for the third run-off to determine which sim will go on to the final run-off to determine best sim of 2013. Vote now!


Top Sims Contest Third Round Run-off

The Top Sims Contest third round run-off is now open for voting. The winning sims from rounds 13 – 18, as selected by our panel of judges, are posted and ready to be voted on by our community. Your votes will determine which sim will go on to the final run-off round to determine the best sim of the year.

So head over to the Top Sims Contest page and make you voice heard.

And while you’re there, be sure to congratulate the each round’s winner:

Finally, don’t forget to nominate some of the great sims that our community is constantly producing. Round 19 is open for submission.


Top Sims Contest Update

The Top Sims Contest is now accepting nominations for Round 18. Nominating a great sim is easy, and only takes a minute.

Visit the Top Sims Contest page.

Check the calendar to see which round we’re on.

Start a new topic and paste the sim into the text field.

It’s just that easy to share a great sim with the entire fleet. The winning sim will go on to the third run-off round, which begins August 12th. So get out there, and give the writers in our community the recognition they deserve.


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