So you're browsing Whyville, when you come across an amazing article. Wow. You'd sure feel proud if you could see your avatar and your words up there. So you go read the instructions in the how to submit section, but you're not sure how to go about starting. Well it's your lucky day! I'm going to write a step-by-step article just for you to get you started!
Step One: General Preparation
(No it's not as intense as it sounds.) Open up a text program. (Microsoft Office, Open Office, Notepad, etc.) Make sure spell check and grammar check are turned ON. If you don't have grammar check, you can review your grammar carefully, or if you're still not sure, you can ask a parent, sibling, or friend to check your work over. You might want to do this anyway.
If you don't want to write with your computer, but rather by hand, your e-mail should have spell check. (After all, you have to email it!) And once more, you can ask that relative for a quick check over.
Note: Maybe you're writing about a personal story that you want to submit anonymously. If you don't feel like showing someone else your article, just be careful to check your spelling and grammar. if you have one or two mistakes, that's okay. After all, everyone makes mistakes. So the editor will just fix it for you.
Step Two: Choosing a Topic
This can be one of the most challenging parts of the article. Sometimes it's nice to think about it a day or two before you start writing it, so you can have a full idea and embellish it before you start to write. If you're really stumped for an idea, here's a little bit of info.
It is said that people can write best when writing about something they really know or care about. For example, if you've been in guitar lessons since you were five and now you're thirteen, you should know a lot about that. You may not even consider things like that! So be sure to think long and hard about what you know about, and even longer about what you care about, because people can tell when a subject means something to you. Writing means a lot to me, can you tell?
Not to say a good research article isn't a good idea. In fact, they are very important. Often when you're learning about a subject yourself, you will write about it in a way that others can understand. Just be sure to include your sources at the end!
Be sure to have FUN. If you enjoy what you're writing about, you'll write better. No one says you have to write it all at once, either, if you're tired or bored.
Step Three: Write!
So you have your topic now. It's time to write! There will always be things you'll want to change later, so it's okay if you just spew out all your ideas first to get them down, then organize them after.
Just be sure you DO organize them, whether at the beginning or the end.
Coherence and unity are very important for writing structure. Don't be scared of the big words. Coherence simply means don't jump around with your ideas. Finish one before you start another. Unity means you have to make sure all your ideas are related at the end, so if you're telling a story, make sure you don't ramble onto unrelated topics somewhere in the middle.
Another important thing to keep in mind is if you're writing a persuasive or opinion article, to keep the same opinion throughout the article. If you're writing an article about how terrible and real animal abuse is, you can't turn around and say animal abuse is okay now and then. That could be an argument, but you really shouldn't have readers leaving confused about where you stand on the subject.
Step Four: Checking!
For those of you without spell and grammar check, or even those of you with it, be sure to CHECK. YOUR. WORK. Sometimes you might spell a word wrong, but spell check doesn't notice because it is another word. Check your grammar carefully.
Be sure to read over your article paragraph by paragraph to make sure it sounds nice and makes sense. If there's a way to make it sound better, change it!
Note: Make sure the top of your article has that little descriptive sentence of your article. For example: xoAKox tells readers what it's like to go horseback riding for the first time. (Be sure it's in third person - talking about yourself like someone else - so instead of, I tell readers, I would say, xoAKox tells readers . . .)
Step Five: Submission
YAY! It's time for submission. Open up your e-mail. Type in who you're sending it to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Then the subject: category: username, article title
Example: Fashion: xoAKox, Winter Fashions
The subject is VERY important because if done incorrectly, the e-mail will just be deleted. Save your article to your computer, then copy and paste it into your blank e-mail. Give one last check over (I find lots of mistakes once it's in my e-mail) then hit send!
On Sunday when the paper comes out, check for your article! Don't be discouraged if it's not there, it could simply mean your subject was wrong or you didn't enter the destination e-mail correctly. But chances are, it will be there in all it's glory! So enjoy a week of writing accomplishments and pride, before getting started on another article!