New Times writers are just about always surprised to see criticism in their article's BBSs. After revising and editing, rewriting and submitting, they'll think that their article is "first-class" or one of the best. I was the same way. I was extremely surprised to see a lot of citizens critiquing my article, and I was nearly as surprised that my article made it. However, a few days passed, and I realized that my article wasn't the best of the best, or all that.
Basically, the purpose of this article is to help you write better articles. Not that they're not good already, most of them are fantastic! However, there are always citizens who would love to be writing for the Times, so here are some ideas!
Pick a Topic
There are several topics out there: science, fashion in real life, fashion on Whyville, current events, interviews, and so much more! Heard something interesting on the news? Write about it! Noticed a hit trend in real life or Whyville? Write about it! However, let's not write about your personal life or a secret a friend told you about someone at school. That's just common sense, people.
Spelling and Grammar Count
If your word processing software doesn't have spelling or grammar check, read your article after every paragraph, and when you're done. You don't want your "coming out" article to be slashed because of a few grammar and spelling mistakes, right?
The dreaded babble. Yes, there are some Times writers that go on and on about something completely off topic in their own article! And yes, it makes people lose interest. Try and stay on topic. If there's something in your article that might need explaining, explain it, but don't explain it and then explain it again. Once is enough.
For The Interview
If you're choosing to write an interview, or you want part of your article to have an interview, pick a worthy citizen. If you're writing about current events, a person who pays attention to current events would be the perfect interviewee. If you're writing about Y-Mail Helpers, Akbars, or similar things, you wouldn't want to interview someone who's new to Whyville, right? A citizen that's been on for at least six months should be perfect for that kind of job.
For Poems and Short Stories
If you're writing a poem, break it down into stanzas and lines. Don't have the whole poem as one big run on sentence. That, again, is common sense. Now, if you're writing a series story, like a chapter book, write it in small chunks. Don't have the whole story in one submission. If your story is called "Moon of the Night," and there's seven parts, label them with "Moon of the Night Part I," and so on. Also, make sure that your parts are long enough to be in the paper. If Part I is the introduction, and is only a paragraph long, include Part II, also. Breaking down your story into parts can get readers hooked on it.
The Closing Paragraph
I'm sure you've all heard of this in a Language Arts class at some point: Your closing paragraph is as important as the body itself. Let's not let the readers hang, shall we? If you're talking about the importance of keeping an agenda, don't substitute the ending for some of these "one-liners.":
And that's the importance of an agenda.
An agenda can help keep you on track.
An agenda can help you plan social events.
Let's make our closing paragraph a closing paragraph, please. Here would be a good example for a closing paragraph about agendas:
In conclusion, an agenda for students and adults alike are very helpful. Not only can they help student stay on track with homework, but it can help you plan social events, and even (for adults) meetings at work, times to pick up their children, and so on. Agendas are a fantastic learning tool; you wouldn't want to be caught without one!
See how simple that was?
The Sign Off
You've all seen it if you've read the Times at some point. That "This is ____, signing off. *click*," thing, right? Well, instead of copying the person who made that up, let's make it original. Think to yourself: "What am I going to do after I submit this article?" For me, after I submit this article, I'll probably go to lunch (Yes, I'm writing this at school). So, the perfect closing would be: "This is bluebag, off to lunch. Ew, hard bread!" Some citizens often like to make their own "signature" sign-off. Some like to sign off with a line from their favorite song, poem, or a quote from a short story. Rarely do you see a shout out to a friend, so why not do that? Be creative and original; change the sign off every time, unless you've come up with something that's your own signature thing.
I hope we've all realized that writing an article isn't the "walk in the park" that some expected, because writing for the Times is so much more than that! I hope that these tips will help future writers to come out of their shell and submit an article, and for writers already, maybe these points have opened up a new window to writing.
This is bluebag, singing along
"If I'm just bad news, then you're a liar"