A couple of little tips for all you budding article writers

Fun fact: I used to run a website called Budding Writers, back in 2011-13. A small bunch of people, mostly friends and family and people stolen from BZPower, came together and wrote a bunch of random things. The site is still online (with registration disabled), and should anything ever happen to SPUF, I actually made a skin mimicking the SPUF style, so we can just head over to there or whatever. It’s either that or the bat cave. I still go there occasionally for nostalgic reasons, and to delete the spam posts advertising kitchens.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, I used to be shit at writing. Now I’m somewhat good at it. I can write 500 words about any subject somewhat easily, unless it’s the couple of articles sitting in Drafts, still waiting to be finished. Or the shitty second LoL/TF2 crossover I still haven’t finished. And, being editor of this blog, I feel I can give you all some little tips on how to write generic, blog-filling articles and make them meet my oh-so-demanding standards.

So, tip the first: Write about something you understand. If you can’t do that, write about the learning process as you grow to understand the thing. It’s always a good thing to write about something you are actually knowledgeable about, but that’s not always possible and you don’t want to look like an idiot. Which is why I wrote a lame article on Skyrim’s Creation Kit. You can cover up your inexperience by saying that you’re learning, which you are.

Tip the second: Write about things you hate if you’re stuck. Do you know how easy it is to write a random crits article? Very easy. Because the authors generally feel they have something important to say, or they just got killed by a crocket. The latter is going to spawn hate, so put that hate to good use. When you really hate something, you’ll find more things to hate about the thing you hate, so it flows much more smoothly. This also kinda works with things you really love, but I don’t find it as effective.

Tip the third: Target:”_Blank”. Congratulations if you know what that means. If you don’t, basically that is the code you add to an HTML link telling the browser of anyone who clicks on a link to open a new tap or page, rather than changing this one. Alternatively, when you add a link by clicking the little link button, make sure you tick the box that says Open link in a new window/tab. Why is this important? Because if you don’t add that in, people who read through an article with links on it, load a new page then forget to go back to their old page. Ideally, you want people to click on your link, then come back to your article, rather than go off clicking on your link and never coming back. Of course, on a home page button, you don’t want this, but on a content generator like the Daily SPUF, it’s silly to lead people away.

Tip the third and a half: When inserting images onto the Daily SPUF, make sure they either link to a custom URL (e.g. a Youtube channel) or don’t link to anything at all. I really must get around to asking TSC to add a lightbox plugin that makes images not link to themselves but pop up nicely in a, well, lightbox.

Tip the fourth: Sweet but not too short. But not too long either. Sad as it is, people have short attention spans and get bored easily. I still haven’t worked out the best amount of text, but I’ll be blunt, if it’s under 450 words, people kinda don’t pay attention at all. Same with over 2500 words. This IS an estimate though, since my Medic in Skyrim playthrough had an average of about 2000 words per post, and there were 8 parts to that. Just don’t do what aabicus does and try and bulk it up with pictures. That’s bad.

Tip the fifth: Ask for help. This should kinda be obvious, but if you need help, I’ll help. And if you give up on an article completely, we have the Dear Aaby section and the ability to adopt articles.

Tip the sixth: Images are good. Everyone loves pictures.

Anyway, that will do for now. If you want more information, check out the How to Contribute page, which I may or may not have updated recently.

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