Style Guide

The Golden Rule of Considered Words: A good point well made.

Language & General

  • Keep the audience in mind from the very first word to the very last
  • If the audience won’t be informed, educated or entertained with both the words and the content then edit, edit, edit until they will be
  • Show over tell every time
  • Be succinct
  • No buzzwords
  • No being ‘writerly’ – purple prose and long, dreary, worthy sentences are forbidden
  • British English is preferred, although if you are American then with some reluctance your native tongue is allowed to appear here.
  • If in doubt for spelling or word choice refer to the Guardian Style Guide as it is freely available

Tone

  • Always keep the principles in mind
  • Would you say this in a public carriage?
  • Good, clear and articulate
  • Engaging, never distant
  • Your voice is distinctive such that readers can distinguish your writing from the other pieces on this site.

Content

Headlines and credits

  • No puns. Puns are not funny – if you wish to write puns there is a paper for you
  • Variants on common titles are unoriginal, so no “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Use of Pop-culture”. Same applies to “anything-gate” for scandals. This site stands for originality
  • Credit where credit is due
  • Include a brief blurb about yourself in the third person and a link to your site if you have one. Eg, “Darth Vader currently works as a Dark Lord for the Galactic Empire. His most recent news can be found at Galactic Empire Times.”

Pictures

  • Each piece should have an image as it enhances what would otherwise be one long chunk of text. Take your own, or for free sources see Wikicommons or Flickr
  • Must be properly credited, ideally with the name of the source already superimposed on the image
  • The point of a picture is to entice the reader while being relevant to the piece. In practice means the picture should give a hint of what to expect in the essay wherever possible
  • Every picture must have a caption, this can be added to the end of the document
  • Must be in jpg or png format
  • Sent separately and not embedded in the document

Hierarchy of information

  • Readers will not always finish your essay, so start with relevant information
  • Each paragraph must have a point
  • It’s recommend that every three to four paragraphs you end a bold header, much as you’d find in a newspaper piece, to aid the reader as to the content of that section
  • Aim for one to two sentences per paragraph as this works best for the web

Links

  • Hyperlinks must be included separately if you are emailing your document for publication, eg, “at the BBC www.bbc.co.uk” and not “at the BBC“)
  • Must be included where relevant. Linking to other sites is a virtue, not a sin
  • Do not use “here”, “this link” or similar variants. Instead ensure that the hyperlinked text also serves as a brief summary of what the user can expect to find at the link