www.whyville.net Jan 30, 2008 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Top Tips for Times Writers: Part III

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Are you bored with the same old articles day by day? Do you lack exhilaration when writing your articles? Or do you just want to try something new? Gallery articles and collaborations are a great way to silence a Times Writers biggest nightmare . . . writer's block. This, the third part of "Top Tips for Times Writers" will deal with looking at these specialist articles.

The main rule with these articles is to have fun with them. If you're interested in the article, then the reader will be too. If you get bored with writing an article, stop right there and wait for a whole new wave of inspiration to come along. You're not obliged to write articles for the Times and they're not paying you thus it's a hobby and you should have fun with it. Also, writer's block can and will happen to every writer and it's nothing to be ashamed of. Just because you don't write an article one week doesn't mean that a Whyville Mob will hunt you down, take your Times Writer status away and spread dirty rumors about you. I'm sure they'll understand.

I know that last week I told you I'd be speaking about columns and including general tips in this article but unfortunately, when I sat down to write this article, I just found that there was too much to say and I was forced to split them up. So do make sure to look out for Part IV of "Top Tips for Times Writers" on columns and general tips. Also, If you are a Guest Writer looking to become a Times Writer check out Part I - Article ID 8119. Alternatively, if you are a Times Writer looking to become a Times Legend look at Part II - Article ID 8192.

I've got a treat for you too! I've brought in some experts to help me tell you about these different types of articles.


Grab a friend and come join the fun! Collaborations in Whyville Times terms are simply articles written by more than one person. These are great because they mean that you can pair two newer writers together so they can support each other or a newer writer and a more experienced writer so that the more experienced writer can teach the newer writer in a Jedi master "use the force" type way. However, it's best to pick a friend who you get along with well as this will mean you co-operate and it'll make the collaboration more fun.

Here are some tips from RochRox and Ps2man1 (a.k.a nycshane) who were each nominated thrice for Collaboration of the Year in the Whyville Times Awards.

Ps2man1: Make sure you're sharing the workload evenly. In one collaboration article I had to do almost EVERYTHING. It wasn't fun, and collaboration articles SHOULD be fun!
RochRox: Be careful who you pick to write a collaboration with. You don't want to be stuck doing all the work, but getting little credit in the end!

There are different ways to do collaborations. Writing an article together when you can only converse over the Internet is hard because you may not be able to talk directly about your differing ideas. A lot of the time, collaborators do it in parts such as "I write one paragraph, you write the next". This means that each has control over what they're doing and then the other person can check it over. Another way to do it is for one person to do the research or the screenshot taking and the other person to do the writing. However, this can sometimes lead to uneven amounts of work which you must steer clear of. You can write an article together without having to separate the workloads but you will have to make sure you have the right amount of contact so it works out well for both of you.

Rochrox: Make sure you write an introduction and ending together, and then have one person send the article in.

Lastly, make sure you include both names in the email as you don't want one person getting all the credit.

Gallery Articles

Gallery articles are articles that have pictures relating to Whyville (screenshots mainly). You can find many guides in the Times on how to take and include successful screen shots and include them in your article (such as article 5649 by Ps2man1). As well as these tips you should make sure to include no more than 9 image files in your articles and make sure the images aren't grainy, flipped or upside down.

However, I want to talk about a certain type of gallery article, though - the sort where Whyvillians tell stories through the use of pictures. Gallery Comics have become somewhat of a fad in the last few months due to RochRox's "The Funnies" and Usherg's "The Super Ultra Dramatic Soapy Show".

usherg: Gallery articles are GREAT! A lot of people enjoy more visual articles rather than just reading a plain, ol' article with lots of words . . .

Now, there are two schools of thought on how to create gallery comics. One way is to grab some of your friends and get them to "act it out" with you. This takes less work and is a fun thing to do with friends. The second way is to copy and paste chat bubbles next to other peoples faces on a program such as MSPaint. You still take screenshots of backgrounds and peoples faces though. It's a tricky art and it will take a long time to get it "just right". However, it means you have more control over the article. Make sure you don't spend too little time on gallery articles as it will just make it look rubbishy. There are too many gallery articles around at the moment that are simply not up to standard and much of this is due to writers spending too little time on them.

Comics are stories and thus should have an introduction, middle, end and most importantly a plot. It doesn't matter if you try to pull out all kind of jokes - no one will read it if there's no reason for them to do so such as no story to follow. Also, make sure that people can see what they're meant to be reading.

usherg: Make sure that EVERYTHING is clear. Dialogue should be in proper order, chat bubbles should NEVER be touching, and if an action is not clear, write underneath the picture exactly what is happening.

Always try to make your article amusing and original. The storyline "Oh my god, look what the City Worker Famous Whyville Figure is doing" is kind of worn out now and should not be resurrected for a while unless there is a very amusing idea to accompany it. Also, you should always try to give it a happy and humorous tone as this will engage your readers more. You can leave the sad tone for articles with words. Don't be afraid to experiment. Gallery Comics are about trying out things that haven't been tried before and also about having fun. Even if it doesn't get published, at least you will have had a good crack at it.

Lastly, remember to always:

Ps2man1: Save your picture as .png.

This makes the writing clearer. If people cannot see the text, the article is worthless.

So you've heard what the experts and I have to say . . . I do hope you listen to all of us. You don't have to but it might make us feel good about ourselves if you do :-).

Get writing!

This is Cobd . . .


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