Style Guide: Key Things to Look For In Your Articles
Writers of GameSkinny,
We love nothing more than your content. You’re our pushing force, our momentum and our core. That being said, here are some guidelines that can help you grow in your writing and produce your absolute best articles.
- When you finish a post, think about stepping away for a few minutes. Come back to what you’ve written with a fresh pair of eyes. Better yet, have a friend read your work. Your first draft should never be your finished product. Read your post out loud, print it out and go over it physically with a pen. These things usually help writers avoid common or simple mistakes such as typos and sentence structure.
- Check your facts before sending out anything. The best way to avoid incorrect release dates or wrong information is to double check from a second source, especially if you’re unsure.
- Be careful with your article length. Long articles can be tiring and monotonous to read if it’s one giant wall of text. Break it up with some titles or formatting. Making your text engaging is the best way to ensure readers will come back to your future posts.
- Watch those contractions! When spoken, contractions make sense and are generally easy to understand. However, contractions in your writing can be misunderstood or unfitting for your context.
- Commas and periods are always located inside of quotations, regardless of what’s around the quote. For example, ‘Anne said, “I hate apples.”’ ‘After saying, “I hate apples, bananas, and oranges,” Anne left.’ If you’re ending a question with a quote, end it with a question mark inside the quotations. Questions about statements, like ‘Did he just say “Hippity hops”?’ Only one ending punctuation mark is used with quotation marks. Also, the stronger punctuation mark wins. Therefore, no period after hops is used.
- While the posting page on GameSkinny is great for catching spelling mistakes, it doesn’t check your grammar. If you’re not sure about correct grammar, copy and paste your article into Open Office or Microsoft Word. Generally these programs are annoyingly persistent about grammar mistakes.
- Punctuation for sentences in parenthesis should be inside of the parenthesis. (The sentence then ends with punctuation before the closing parenthesis.) Phrases (or comments!) inside of parenthesis don’t need their own punctuation unless they require a question or exclamation mark.
- Sources are vital. As described in the How to Post article in the Lounge, copying is strictly forbidden and can ruin your reputation as a writer. If you provide no source, it’s difficult to back up your information. Be sure to always put your source in the source field provided on the posting page. If you have more than one, or want to credit an image, do so at the bottom of your article. If you have no source and your information is original content, feel free to leave the source field blank.
- Tags should be kept to a 13 tag maximum and a two tag minimum. Tags are important for allowing readers to search for your content—if you have no tags, they can’t find you! However, if you use vague tags or misleading tags, readers may be confused when they search your topic and don’t find your article. Likewise, they may search for something completely unrelated and land on your post. By adding tags and keeping them relevant, we avoid confusion and bring the appropriate traffic to your work. Google AdWord is a wonderful tool for this.