BUILD YOUR OWN WORLD Like what you see? Become the Master of your own Universe!

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

My Personal Tips for Writing And Formatting Articles

My guide to writing stuff

Written by Endrise

So being on this site for several years, I felt it would be convenient for others to learn how I tend to do my articles. As such, here's a small article that shares my personal tips, tricks and methods on how I handle writing my articles and formatting them.

But before we begin, a small disclaimer.

These are my tips and tricks and are not universal. If you have your own methods for writing or formatting articles, be free to do as you please. Everyone worldbuilds differently, so everyone has different methods of making articles.

Index

Text & Text Formatting
Image Usage
Layout & Content of the Article
Some CSS

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

My Tips & Tricks

Text & Text Formatting

  • Break up your text. Avoid large walls of text whenever possible as readers might drift off. My golden rule is to keep the average paragraph length to around 3-5 rows with 2-3 sentences each. And if you also can, try to separate paragraphs with either quotes or headers.
    • As a small extra, try to avoid ending a paragraph with one or two words on a separate line. Either cut it shorter or make it longer, just to make the thing feel more complete.
  • Keep the amount of in-universe terms per sentence low. Your world's terminology might not be known by everyone, so avoid overloading them with words or terms they never heard before. I'd say around two terms per sentence works, but you can do more if the terms are easier to understand for newcomers (like a kingdom, spaceship, etc.).
  • Columns are ideal if you have several smaller topics that don't need to be read in a specific order. Stuff like subspecies, specific buildings in a city, the different mechanics of a vehicle, etc. They can also be used to decrease the scrolling length too, such as making a list of bullet points be split between three columns.
  • Be free to switch up between one, two or three columns if you have several rows of them after one another. This works the most ideal when you have 5 or more columns at any given time.

Image Usage

  • For your article cover it's best to make it wider than it is tall. A ratio around 3:1 is ideal, but make sure your reader isn't met with a large image before even reading the first phrase.
  • Use images sparingly. An image can be worth a thousand words, but they can fill up an article fast. A good method is to have one in the sidebar and then add around two more in the article itself. For around every thousand words, it can be good to add one more picture.
    • In a similar vain, don't use the same image twice in the same article. Either try to find/make different shots for characters and locations, or take the existing image and cut it up to focus on specific parts (like a single character in a group).
  • Depending on your image's format, they work better in specific areas of an article.
    • Upright images are ideal in the sidebar for a portrait or in a separate column next to some text. They tend to add a lot of length to an article so always use them next to existing artwork.
    • Images that lie down are more ideal for areas like the article cover or to break up the text. They can also be used for things like maps and wider group shots, so be free to use those in the full width of an article.
    • Square images work the best in the same areas as upright images such as columns or a sidebar. Bustshots, symbols and crests are ideal for such proportions, so use a 1:1 ratio if you want to depict any of those.

Layout & Content of an Article

  • The main article:
    • The first two opening paragraphs are your most essential. Use these to grab the reader's audience and keep them hooked. A good opening quote and a decent summary of what one might expect inside the article works wonders.
    • Try to stay on topic. While it is fine to discuss things related to the subject of the article, make sure you keep focusing on that subject. If you do need to explain something, link the name to a new article or try to explain it in a paragraph or two. In larger summaries, placing an article block next to the paragraphs can encourage readers to check it out after reading it.
    • If a section of your article ends up being quite long, an index can work as a jumping point for readers. Split it up in headers and add an index with urls to each header. These are the most ideal for histories from my experience.
    • Don't be afraid to mess with the layout of the article. Headers, quotes, columns, article blocks, bullet points, horizontal lines and more can break up the monotony of an article. Anything to keep a reader's eyes busy.
    • If your sidebar is pretty empty, don't be afraid to use the full-width footer to fill in the empty side of an article. Or if there's no sidebar content at all, just remove it entirely and make the article full-width! The less empty space the better!
  • The sidebar:
    • The sidebar panel is ideal for anything that is told in bullet points or key words. Paragraphs and full sentences work better either above or below this panel. The panel is solely for short sentences and single words.
    • If you need to write anything above the sidebar panel, make it a short paragraph. You can also add some extra things like a portrait, an image, music to set the mood or even a quick index to jump into parts of the article!
    • Anything below the panel can be additional info you can't cram anywhere else in the article. Stuff that one shouldn't need to know at first hand, but can be fun to know.

Some CSS

  • Keep colour schemes somewhere around 3 to 4 head colours with their lighter and darker variations. Try to find colours that either compliment one another or the mood you want to set with your setting itself.
  • You can get fancy with fonts for titles and headers, but try to keep the general text font simple and readable. Having the text be too stylistic can make it hard for an audience to read.
  • Subtle animations can help improve the presentation a lot, but using them sparingly is key. It's best to only use them when hovering over something, such as enlarging quotes or popping out an image. But don't let the animations distract one from the content!
  • Keep backgrounds calm and simple, especially if there's going to be text over it. Good contrast between the text colour and background colour is the best for readability, which you can test here!


Cover image: Generic Article Cover by Endrise

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
17 Mar, 2022 00:42

This article is super helpful and cleanly points out the dos and don'ts of article writing!   Just FYI, you might want to mess around with your tooltip CSS. I couldn't read it when I was trying to hover over the 3:1 ratio tip.

Feel free to check out my WIP novel, His Mate!
17 Mar, 2022 18:13

A very good article! It clearly covers your personal way to write and format articles! Thank you for sharing your tips with the World Anvil community. :D

*TimeBender*
17 Mar, 2022 18:44

This is great! I'm completely new here, not just to world anvil, but really to writing in general. It's nice to have some of the "hidden rules" explained.   Thank you!

17 Mar, 2022 19:00

No problem! Glad I can help a newcomer to writing, so hopefully this allows you to make full use of your articles!