The Perils of Writing Articles

Perils of Articles

I write a lot of articles for the Daily SPUF, that’s obvious, what with being the editor writing things person, but few realize how many things can go wrong with the simple running of a blog.

First problem is with starting the article. What do I write about? How should I write it? Should I be all snark-y and bite-y or should I be calm and patient? Of course, the topic is generally the hardest bit. Team Fortress 2 has a huge amount of topics for us to discuss, but not all of them can be worked into 500 words of semi-decent glory. Sometimes I manage it, like I did with those articles about the Das Hazmattenhatten and the Otolaryngologist’s Mirror, but it doesn’t always work and an article may spend weeks sitting in the Drafts section before I finish it.

Of course, some articles, the one I wrote about Junction, come out easily. I’ll whack my keyboard and it’ll all just flow out, nice and dandy. Until I start having arguments with the spell checker. Having a British origin, I spell words like colour and grey the Britsh way rather than the American way. I also have arguments with it because I keep on telling it to add Demoman to my dictionary and it flat out refuses to do so. Then there’s the issue of saving things. My biggest gripe with WordPress is that it’s slow to save and load posts and sometimes it goes on about autosaves which have a single character difference or something similar. The number of times I’ve been warned about a more recent autosave that is almost exactly the same apart from a single tag in a hyperlink that no one will see anyway is really depressing. There’s also the rare risk of a post being eaten by the WordPress Deity, like what happened with the Scout Voice Lines article. For some unknown reason, the damn thing didn’t save half the article, so I had to take it off and publish something else.

After the hassle of writing the article comes the hassle of making an image for it. Most people generally go to Degroot if they want images, but I generally do my own. I’d like to say I’ve become quite good at it, as I can knock up a reasonable image in under 20 minutes, including the time required to load Garry’s Mod, but Garry’s Mod is kinda obsolete now. Source Film Maker does it so much better, which is great if I knew how to use it, so I miss out on the fancy light effects and stuff like that. Unfortunately, Garry’s Mod also has the nasty habit of dipping to unplayable frames per second if I have more than 15 animated, bonemerged props onscreen at once.

Sometimes though, I need actual gameplay images. I’ve got a lot of old screenshots which I can crop and use, but most of the time I actually need to play the game. So I’ll join a game and find that I can never get a screenshot. After a good 20 minutes of futile play on a public server, I generally end up loading a bot game and taking screenshots there.

Once everything’s done, I add things like the category and any required tags, then dump it in the pending section. Anything I write in the pending section is ready to publish, and I’ll often move people’s articles into the drafts section if they’re missing anything, particularly featured images. Then, like most of my articles, it’ll get published when there’s a lull in normal articles.

Oh well.

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