Amanda, Vanilla, Giggler01, TIKE . . . all Times Writers who have at one point in their lives been "Times Writing Legends" in Whyville. Many aspiring Times Writers, including me, would have looked up to them with the desire one day, they could be just like them. I'm writing this article for all you Times Writers out there who want their name to be up on that list. If you're a new writer wondering how you can improve your articles so you can become a Times Writer, check out last week's article ("Top Tips for Times Writers", Article ID: 8119)
You can't just *become* a Times Legend though - you've got to work for it. It takes time, effort and most of all passion. You must be willing to spend more than 10 minutes on your article more than once a year. You must be willing to put all of your concentration into the article and most importantly you've got to sound like you really believe and care for what you are writing about. That's why I don't generally write about fashion or celebrities: it doesn't interest me. If you write an article you have no interest in, it will almost always be uninteresting and readers will not even read your opening paragraph.
I won't lie to you . . . in order to become a very well-known Times Writer you need to be a good writer full stop. Sure, you can become known as a writer for having an article published every week but unless it stands out from the crowd, you won't hit the goal you ultimately hope for. However, don't let it get you down . . . there is still hope. Practice makes perfect is not just a phrase conjured up by teachers to make you do extra work: it really helps. Also, when you write something, have a parent, a friend or a teacher look it over and get them to tell you what they think and to make any corrections. I'll say what I said last week - make sure you listen in school.
Although this, there are some extra rules to take into account when you are writing a Times Article . . .
* Wit and Personality - In my opinion, these are the two things which writers use to make their articles entertaining. Take the two writers I mentioned last week . . . BabyPowdr and Armada. Armada had a quirky sense of humor which people adored and her articles would always end with the tag "So long and thanks for all the fish". BabyPowdr, on the other hand, would *make articles her own*. A lot of her articles would feel very personal to her so the reader would empathize with her. Her personality is what made the readers want to read the articles. If you can pull it off, be blunt and write in a tongue-in-cheek style. This sort of writing will always hook the reader's attention.
* Length - Readers of the Times will get bored with an article that is too long and an article that is too short will inevitably not have enough content. Looking at Times Articles, the optimum length seems to be around 600-800 words or one page on a word processing program (this excludes creative writing, gallery and interview articles). However, that is only a guideline. Do not let it hold you back but still take it into consideration.
* Audience - This especially applies to the older generation of Times Writers. You must take into account your audience. You are primarily going to be writing for pre-teen to teenage girls with a minority of boys. Make sure your language is not too complex and that you are not dealing with things they may find uninteresting (such as the economy).
A project in the sense I'll be talking about is something that extends beyond the simple constraints of a Times Article. A project could be a series, a column or just something that you spend more time on than you would usually. For example, back in 2005, I decided to create a Who's Who of everyone in Whyville (Article 5306) and that took me ages. I had to spend a long time looking through the Times and compiling the lists. These sorts of articles are more likely to get accepted because the amount of work you put into them makes them intrinsically better. If you're writing a series or a column, make sure that you are ready to stick to it. Sometimes, it seems like a good idea at the time but after the 2nd or 3rd article you can't be bothered or you don't have enough time to do it any more. I'll be talking more about columns next week.
Make sure you keep your reputation up in the BBS. You do not need to post all the time but when you do post you should make sure you are articulate, speak in full English and generally give off a good impression of your self. It also helps to do the same in things such as interviews.
Next week, I'll be talking about how to write good columns, gallery articles and I'll be speaking to some Times Writers about their tips for writing good articles.
Keep writing and good luck!