A normal man looks for wisdom in the distance. A wise man grows it under his feet.
18-March-2009: Article #2: The proper way to write Game Guides.
I have a few tips for starting writers,
perhaps they can be helpful.
Question yourself what your goal is. What is it you want to
accomplish when writing a Guide? Is it helping as many people as possible,
is it being part of a completion project, is it writing for a game you've
always treasured, is it making money? Depending on what your goal is you'll want to pick
the right games for your choice. If you don't know what your goal is
it's best to figure it out before you start working on a Guide. Oh, and
you can have a different goal for each Guide you write, but you should also pick
an overall goal - the one that will satisfy you the most.
Spend time on your layout. A good layout stands out against other
Guides, and since all Guides cover the same game you'll want to find
something that makes your Guide special. Besides layout you should want
to only offer the best of quality that is in your capacity. Naturally
your capacity will differ depending on your age and experience, but always
aim for the best possible. Quality is important, because if there are
twenty different Guides available and yours is slightly less good than your
neighbors, people won't bother with yours.
Put a logo in your Guides, it catches the attention of your readers.
Filler? Not really, besides, no one will be bothered about the extra
1kb loading time; This isn't 1998!
It's generally better to not write for a game which already has more than
five Guides, especially if there are starred Guides among it. There's one
notable exception to the rule and that is if you can
honestly think you can make your guide like 25% better than the best guide
already online. This requires you to *read* all other guides first and
to draw realistic conclusions. How qualitative are the other Guides?
Make an email adress specifically for Guide writing. You'll want to keep
your Guide writing and private life separate, and you can expect a lot of spam
on any email adress you place in your Guides.
Do your own thing. If others don't like how you did something, it's no big deal.
Pay attention to error notifications and constructive criticism, but expect to get
some nasty feedback here and there. And if things simply get offensive just forward
it to me and we'll laugh about it together (some people are hi-la-ri-ous!).
Don't go over the top with your copyright notice. Some writers go as far as threatening
users with court. First of all, if someone rips off your Guide, there's not much you can do
in the first place. Second of all, just see the copyright notice as a primary necessity that's
just standard procedure. You're making yourself look stupid if you go beyond the basics (This
file is copyright of [name/year], don't copy without permission], and you might even provoke
actions from wankers that get a kick out of this. Don't do it.
If you don't like a game but you insist on writing for it, don't mention your dislike for
the game in your guide. It gives me an awful feeling reading through a guide in which the author
is constantly bashing the game. In the end, no one is going to read your guide if you do this,
and why would they? After all, those readers do love the game!