Want to get your own news articles and stories and poetry published in the Whyville Times, but don't know how to get started? You've come to the right place.
This isn't a writing tutorial, or a place to find story topics; you can find plenty of help throughout the Times archives. What you'll find here is the right way to submit your articles to the Times Editor!
Didn't know there was a "right" way? :-)
Well, as anyone with an email address knows, there's a lot of spam and viruses out there! To keep your articles from disappearing into the Editor's spam filter, you've got to be sure to put the right subject line on your email.
How does this work? Well, as I wrote in So You Want to Write for the Times?, you need to format your subject line like so: [type of submission]: [author], [title]. Don't include the brackets, but you do need to give me an original title (hopefully something exciting!) and your Whyville username. It helps a LOT if you also put down the type of article you're submitting -- whether it's a poem, a fictional story, a news story (that's the first thing I look for!) or whatever. Read my article for more explanation.
But, you say, I already knew that! What's new?
Firstly, please put the title of your story on the first line of your email. Then put your username and a line that describes your story for your readers, just like what you see on the front page of the Times. That means your email will look like this:
Title of my wonderful article!
Times Editor says something witty!
Here's the start of my article, blah blah blah....
Of course none of this needs to be in italics. ;-)
We might not use your description, but I figure you might be more creative than I am sometimes. Oooh, another "So-and-so reports" -- I just gotta read that one, NOT! LOL!!! If you're sending in a poem, the "description" is simply "by author" where author is your Whyville username.
Now that you know this, keep in mind that ANY emails that come to the Times with a blank subject line or one that reads "Hi", "Hello", "Help", "Important" or "Document" will be deleted without being read. Too many viruses come like that nowadays for us to give an inch on this anymore. Makes sense, right? We've got to try to keep viruses from coming in and wiping out the whole Whyville Times submission archives! It's happened before... :(
What about pictures? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE submit your pics as .jpg or .gif only! If you send a .png or .bmp, I have to go load up software to change them, because only jpgs and gifs are web-friendly! Also, keep your image sizes down -- try using the crop tools to get rid of extra space, and you don't always need to save the images at the highest resolution settings. Take a look at old pics to get an idea, ok?
Finally, most folks have figured this one out, but just in case: Interviews should be formatted like this...
Editor: Hi Bigfoot, why do people call you Bigfoot?
Bigfoot: Because I wear big shoes!
Bigfoot: No, no, actually I'm just a big globetrotter -- I travel so much, folks got this feeling that I must have huge feet to be able to get around so far so fast! Ha!
"Formatting" is the way the words are in bold and italics. Hope that makes sense!
Okay, one more finally -- ALWAYS spell-check your stories, and do your best to catch the sneaky mistakes like mixing up "their" and "they're", "your" and "you're" and so on. The better you spell, the better impression your article will have on your first reader -- me!
Keep it simple,
p.s. For those who don't know, all Whyville citizens are welcome to write for the Times. We can't promise that anyone will be published right away -- as of summer 2004 we get 500-600 emails a week, many more fabulous pieces than we can publish! -- but we will read what anyone sends and give it full consideration, as long as they follow the very simple rules above.
Once you've published 3 or 4 articles in the Times and become a "regular", you'll have a chance at being named a Times Writer in your later articles. Sometimes it can take a lot of articles -- it's not about the number, it's about the quality and variety of what you write.