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 Article Writing Tips!

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Faust
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PostSubject: Article Writing Tips!   Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:55 am

Hello everyone!

I was encouraged by the number of people who wished to write Yu-Gi-Oh! Articles on this site that I thought I'd throw together some guidelines, please note these are NOT official article writing rules, they are more like suggestions of what works well. I hope this gets stickied. (Hint Hint)

The writing process is a process of discovery. You have to discover what techniques work best for you. I cannot really help you much in this regard, but a good source on all things writing is the OWL (Online Writing Lab) @ Purdue. Just use your favorite search engine and search OWL @ Purdue.

It goes without saying, but I'll state it here for sake of the argument that spelling is a must. If you don't have a word processor that has a spellcheck function. You can get on here (Openoffice.org) Or you can purchase Microsoft Office. Another good tip would be to type slowly. It may take longer to write the article, but you can be sure most common spelling errors will be caught this way.

Using proper grammar is also a good idea as it makes your article flow better and allows the reader to have a better understanding of the subject topic. A trick I learned in my college writing class is to do this yourself – or have a friend – read your article OUT LOUD, you are more likely to HEAR your mistakes than you are to READ them. As when we read we don't really read the whole sentence, but our minds connect the words to the meanings behind them. When you read out loud, you take a extra second to translate word to meaning, which means you are most likely to notice any errors.

Many people on this site, article writers and readers both have offered to proofread articles. Just try to hunt one of them down. More often than not they are full of good advice and can point you in directions you didn't think of. A second pair of eyes doesn't hurt.

Readers aren't going to want to follow a bunch of links or be referred to outside sources. For example, while it's okay to use a couple (See: <external item>) don't put them in every single paragraph as they can be frustrating to a reader who wants to just learn something new, not have to search every couple words. Following that theory, be sure to be as clear as possible about any rulings you may include in your article. You need to be absolutely sure they are correct, we don't want anyone being misguided.

A Golden Rule of Writing : Always do your homework BEFORE you write the article.

For the most part, keep your subject matter grouped together into proper paragraphs, a paragraph is 3-5 complete sentences long. This makes it look more professional and can be used for faster referencing when building decks or double checking on a piece of information. Try to group them based on what you are discussing. Some writers like to use a indexed method to make sure they are following the pattern correctly. For example an article on Trap cards may use the following the index:

Section 1 – What is a Trap card?
Section 1.A (or 1.1 etc) Types of Trap Cards
Section 1.B – Trap Monsters
Section 1.C – Counter Traps
Section 2 – Decks and Traps
Section 1.A What should I use?

And so on. It again, helps with looking for important information. After all, an article is designed to provide maximum information on the subject matter.

Try to be aware of the other types of articles already present. Unless you absolutely sure your article covers something someone's article did not, you could end up posting the same information in a slightly different way. Always, try to be original. If you are original in your writing and your discussion of the subject matter than regardless of how many other topics there are, yours will still be considered a good read.

I'm going to talk about article length for a moment, a proper professional/research article can run to be about 3,000 words or more in length. You aren't going to want to post that on a forum, now are you? The most I would ever recommend writing is 800 words. This is considered a good amount for a web-based article.

Following this advice and any advice given by the OWL can be a good start in making your online writing, and your personal writing much better. If you have any other good suggestions, tips, or would like to comment, you may do so here. I hope this helps you along your journey.

~Faust

P.S: Most people will often leave criticism of your article. Please take it in stride as many do not mean anything malicious behind it. Keep an open mind and at least look at your article from the point of view they are trying to make. You may surprise yourself. In my mind, there is no such thing as a bad critic, there are just those who cannot accept good advice.

[Originally Posted on YF, copied here because it's useful]
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