Emphasizing Intros & Subheads

Last August, we updated our Introduction and Subhead guidelines. The primary goal: Improve the helpfulness of articles. Utility is the principle objective for the vast majority of our articles. We’re not simply answering readers’ questions. We’re providing solutions for their needs. That in mind, intros and subheads are two significant elements of the article. Before readers ever read the full article, they’ll scan the page and see those. If we’re not explicitly addressing needs and solutions within intros and subheads, then we run the risk of obscuring the deeper solutions the article itself is providing.

Since we launched those guideline revisions, we’ve seen tremendous improvement in article quality and utility. But we have plenty of room to learn and grow. Given the subjective nature of each individual title and its needs, there will never be a one-size-fits-all approach. But we can clarify what we’d like these to be and offer examples that highlight best practices. Continue reading

Featured Contributor: Seth Amery

finalWho was the most entertaining person you’ve interviewed throughout your career? There are two in particular who stand out to me the most, although for one I had only transcribed the interview. I interviewed the guys behind the No More Room in Hell mod for Half-Life 2, which adds a ton of realistic zombie gameplay and a barricade mode, and it really impressed me how much effort they were pouring into this detailed mod that they released for free; it was a glimpse into raw passion. It stuck with me.

I transcribed an interview with Doug Kennedy of Reverb Publishing, and during that they discussed fixing the standard developer-publisher relationship that favored big guys at the literal expense of their development team. It was reassuring to read about at least one other person who wanted to fix a very real problem in the industry and was actually trying to do something about it. Continue reading

My Habitual Writing Habit

timsblogEveryone adheres to a writing habit  – some absolutely need that cup of coffee to power them through their text, others may rely on puffing on a cigarette. Some folks, myself included, like to throw on some music and find their mojo the audible way – and that’s what we’re discussing today – the inspiring rhythms of our favorite jams. Continue reading

Wheels Up, Words Down


By: Bryn Bellamy

There’s an inherent difference between people who travel and people who don’t travel. It’s cliched to say travelers are restless, but I do think we crave variety in a way that other people crave routine. Not that there’s anything wrong with craving routine, but the traveler lives for the surprises, and perhaps even the dangers that come with stepping into the unknown. (I’m not an adrenaline junkie of the flying-squirrel-suit variety, but I do get a bit twitchy if I haven’t been on an airplane for a couple of months.) Continue reading

How Well Do You Know the AP Stylebook?

testblogThe AP Stylebook is every journalist’s Rosetta Stone, but it can be tricky attempting to remember all of its entries — especially with those constant updates. While most of us already have an online subscription or hard copy at the ready, it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with the book as best you can. To find out if you’re up-to-date with AP Style, grab a pencil and piece of paper, and jot down your answers for the quiz below. (Scroll further down for the answers.)

1. Which one is correct?
A.) Powdered sugar
B.) Confectioners’ sugar
C.) Confectioner’s sugar Continue reading

Albert Camus + Stock Photos = Poetic Imagery?


camusI stumbled upon Albert Camus’ powerful quote [above] while browsing Reddit‘s many intricately woven subcategories. A user by the name of capatiller posted the quote in response to another user’s struggle with alcoholism; more specifically, dropping the habit and fighting the battle to remain sober. The quote, in its entirety, actually goes like this, “In the midst of winter, I found there was within me an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger — something better, pushing right back.” No doubt an inspirational saying that applies to life’s everyday struggles. Continue reading

Paper vs. Pixels

typewriterWe’ve all been there: You have a great idea for a story, essay, poem or article. You rush home, turn on your computer and begin writing. Then you stop. There’s something wrong with that first sentence, isn’t there? You tinker with it for a bit, replace a couple of words, read it again. Nope, it still doesn’t sound right, so you add a comma, or decide to get a little wild and toss in an em dash. But when you read those first, few, pesky words yet again, they sound even more awkward. So you turn to the internet and start perusing your favorite thesaurus. Five minutes later, you finally have a pristine opening sentence (which pretty closely resembles what you first wrote). Now, on to the rest of the piece… Continue reading

Three Ways to Maximize Your Freelance Career

simBy: Stacey Kole

Freelance writing, editing and evaluating definitely has its perks: You can work in your jammies, set your own hours and pick your locale. (I’m a fan of a café patio when it’s 75 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny here in Arizona, which it is nine months of the year.) But for all of its pros, our chosen profession comes with a few drawbacks — nothing insurmountable. As with most areas of life, we just need to employ a little creative problem-solving in order to break through. Continue reading

My 2015 Literary Resolution

champagneDid you make a resolution for 2015? If not, might I suggest keeping things simple by announcing a reading/writing resolution? Because for me, I refuse to beat myself up by adhering to some sort of fad diet; nor am I going to hold myself to a ridiculous travel resolution that’ll break the wallet — “visit X number of states.” Rather, my approach to 2015 is more about acceptance. Acceptance of my habits, my choices, and my means. My resolution is to read one book a month. That’s it. By keeping my expectations low I can avoid failure (I hope.) Twelve months from now, when I look back on 2015 — after having watched the new Star Wars film — I’ll feel empowered, and proud that I accomplished my task. It’s the twelve months of books…starting now! Continue reading

Featured Contributor: Elizabeth Warner

Elizabeth Warner has been writing for more than 20 years. Her work has appeared in publications of the Nature Conservancy, the World Bank Group and other organizations, as well as a number of local and regional newspapers. Warner holds a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Colgate University.


Approved Sections: Pets (Writer) & Science (Writer, Content Evaluator and Topic Editor)

You listed “nature photography” under areas of expertise. Why don’t you show us one of your best nature photographs: I’m not sure it’s my ‘best’ photo, but it’s one I like. I do a lot of work (day job) with greater sage grouse – a species on many a birder’s bucket list. But running into this dusky grouse was a huge thrill. Like his male cousins, this guy was a shameless Lothario – more intent on seducing lady grouse than worrying about me. Continue reading