How to write for The Daily SPUF

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In most cases I start my articles with an anecdote. Anecdotes are little stories from one’s past experience that they share to reinforce the main point of an article. For instance, if I were writing about heartbreak and food, I’d share the story of the time I was burned by a PopTart. Hot Fudge Sundae variety, if I remember right.

This time I’d like to start by saying thank you to a very special person. You know her as Medic, the Almighty Editor of The Daily SPUF. She’s written just over 150 articles for this blog in her time. Lately she’s been working harder than ever while the rest of us do our university assignments and untangle our yo-yos. In all that time, her work has been of consistently good quality, but knowing her she’ll probably protest to that. She is quite a modest Medic. Anyway, I thank her on behalf of all us grateful SPUFers!

Why am I writing about this publicly and not just sending Medic a PM? Because even she cannot keep this blog going all on her own. We need more articles and more writers to write them! Also more pictures, because when it’s TF2 you’re writing about, visual stuff is essential. But mainly articles!

Medic recruitment poster

“But Dekky,” say the crowd, “we can’t write like the other humanoids here.” To which I say, “I AM FEROCIOUS CATSNAKE! MEOWHISS!”

That is Dekspeak for, “Oh pish. Of course you can write!” Which is absolutely true. When I hear somebody say they can’t write, which is worryingly often, I refuse to believe them. If you’re able to read these words, you can darn well write. You don’t need eleven PhDs and a hardhat, just a pen and paper.*

Just because The Daily SPUF is a highly respected and well-read blog doesn’t mean you have to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to contribute to it. Our dear Medic accepts articles from anybody and everybody. She’ll gladly correct typos that happen to come up, or suggest images if you can’t make your own ones. All you need to give her is a page or so about any random idea related to Team Fortress 2. That’s the only hard part: the idea!

When looking for inspiration, I often go back and look at past articles. I’ve been here for a couple of months now, so I’m familiar with the things people tend to cover. Writing about a specific weapon is a good idea, because there are plenty of more obscure but really useful weapons that are often overlooked. Also, check out the Updates section of www.teamfortress.com to see what changes are being made to specific weapons, maps, cosmetic items or taunts. If those interest you, do a bit about them. What’s your favourite map and how has it changed in recent history?

You could also focus on a specific class or loadout. Do you think the Soldier gets all the glory? Should more attention be devoted to the Heavy or the Medic, for whom new weapons come very rarely? On this blog, your opinion counts for a lot. Don’t worry if people disagree with you. Consider it a good thing: a debate gets more articles rolling and more writers involved, so it’s more like a collaboration.

Some articles compare aspects of TF2 with other games, Valve or not Valve. For instance, I’ve done a couple comparing the Mercs with characters in Bionicle. Aabicus has compared melee weapons in TF2 with melee in other games, where dedicated melee weapons seem to be declining. If you play any games with interesting similarities or contrasts to TF2, that sort of thing could be your speciality.

Once you have your idea, just get it down. Try to write the whole article in one go, don’t worry about how sloppy it might be. Later on you can come back and edit it, fixing any grammar errors, adding stuff to reinforce your main idea, taking out clichés and pointless words. If you have trouble with editing, do not fear. Us regulars are very friendly people and will be glad to help you if you have questions. After a little practice, you’ll see how to re-work your article and make some impact with it.

Then you can submit your article! Aabicus has already covered the process here.

It’s a step-by-step guide on creating a SPUF account, logging in to the blog and getting your article somewhere Medic can see it. And yes, she sees everything. She’s the Almighty Editor who you should shower with presents next time you see her.

Thanks for reading, now let’s get to work!

Clip 26
No pressure, folks. Elizabeth model courtesy of Revzin and DPotatoman, from the SFM Workshop.

*I hear paper is becoming an old-fashioned item and most people these days prefer the internets as a means of recording. So if you have access to a computer, even better.

Editor’s note: I don’t actually speak with a fake German accent.

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