It's come time to set down some rules to this wild game that you guys have been playing. So included in this page will be two things that everyone could benefit from: a set of writing tips, as well as the submission guidelines themselves.
This list is by no means a final list of writing suggestions. Therefore, if any of you feel as if you could give something that we all could benefit from, send it in. If it's long, then HTML'izing it would be a great thing.
A simple request from me to you, which by no means has to be followed. I have to HTML all of the editorial submissions, so first of all, thanks to everyone who sends me editorials in HTML. Anyone else who wants to send me things in HTML has my blessings, but those people who do send in plain text (which is just fine too!) please try not to use > or < in your editorials.
One last thing. This probably won't be the final format of this page. If someone has a suggestion as to how I should organize it to make it easier to read, and easier to find the guidelines, by all means, please send it.
I also highly recommend Aaron Gover's Editorial
- Spell-check your work
If there are aggregious spelling mistakes, then I will not accept your editorial, period. Everyone has access to a spell-checker, so should you. If there is one spelling mistake (your instead of you're, their instead of they're or there), then I may accept it. But *please* use spellcheck, and follow rule #2.
- Proofread your work
I'd like each sentence of an editorial to at least be readable. Sometimes they aren't. Someone will leave out a key word, and it becomes excessively impossible to understand what they're trying to say. From now on, that will not be acceptable.
- Have a point to make
People should know the point you're going to make in the first paragraph, maybe the second. That point should be the point you stick to through the entire editorial. So make a thesis statement of sorts at the beginning, stick to it, and everyone will be happy.
- Submit your e-mail address
In order to increase accountability, and therefore quality, I will require an e-mail address to attach to an editorial. If you are worried about e-mail bombs, then start a free web-based e-mail account.
- Tip #1:
Proofread everything you write. After you've proofread (and
spell-checked) your editorial, essay, or whatever else you've written,
try to get an objective person who hasn't read it yet to take a look.
So many times what makes sense in your mind may not make sense to
someone who doesn't have all the background information you store in
your brain. Other times, a sentence that makes sense to you can be
difficult to read for others.
- Tip #2:
Make a point. State it loudly. State it clearly. And state it in
the first paragraph. People like to know what you're saying from the
start, and the first paragraph is where 99.9% of people start reading.
e.g. "In this essay, I would like to show why it is of critical
importance to state your point in the first paragraph. My first reason
is readability, the sooner you state your point, the easier the essay is
to understand. Secondly, upon stating your point, you start the thinking
process. Finally, it is conventional to state your idea in the first
- Tip #3:
Be coherent. Stick to the point you proclaimed so loudly in the
first paragraph. If you want to make an aside, then do it in another
editorial. Rambling makes things very difficult to read, and to
understand. Each paragraph should relate directly to the topic of the
paper, or to the section that you are working on.
An example, taking my little paragraph from Tip #2:
Let's say I write a paragraph about the convention of introducing your
idea in the first paragraph. Now let's assume I start talking about the
Declaration of Independence as an example of that in another paragraph.
Although the Declaration of Independence has nothing to do with my point
from the first paragraph, because it relates to the preceding paragraph
about the convention of declaring a point, it relates to the topic.
- Tip #4:
Don't be afraid to editorialize. Your personal opinions have a
place in editorials. You're writing these to prove a point, from your
point of view. As long as you make it perfectly clear that something is
your opinion, then by all means, put it in.
Example: "Final Fantasy 8 had many great new elements that the preceding
Final Fantasies did not. In [this humble writer's] my opinion, the
flashy graphics were far beyond those of any previous Final Fantasy."
- Tip #5:
Humour is your friend. If you can make a reader chuckle to
him/herself while reading your editorial, you'd better bet they're going
to read it to the end. The key to adding humour is that you don't want
it to be either too extreme, or to take you away from where you want to
go with your editorial. Since this is really just something you have to
play by ear, I can't really give a good example. The fact that it's
almost 5am and I still have a 2 page paper to write could have something
to do with that-- nah.
- Tip #6:
Enjoy writing! If you don't like writing the editorial, chances
are people won't like reading it. When you pour your passions into a
piece of work, people will enjoy it. Write while inspired! If you're
sitting in the shower, grab your bar of soap, and make a soapy-film
editorial on the tiles, and try to keep the water from washing it away.
If you have to force the words, they generally sound forced.
- Tip #7:
Stand by your work! The opinion of this tip writer is that you
should always have your e-mail address on your work. First of all, you
get the marvelous feedback that makes you think. Second of all it shows
that you are proud of your words. Finally, it gives a sense of
credibility and accountability. You get more readers, more input, and
more credibility. If you're worried about e-mail bombs, get a web-based
e-mail account. It's easy.