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RevolutionSF Nonfiction Writer’s Guidelines

NOTE: These guidelines apply to nonfiction articles only. Fiction guidelines can be found here.

ARTICLE LENGTH: 500-750 words generally, or 1,000 if necessary.The old adage applies: write it until it’s perfect, then stop.

STYLE, DEPTH, ACCESSIBILITY: All reviews and features should combine depth and passion for the subject. Keep good grammar and spelling in mind (see Copy-Editing Notes below). Keep it informal, and have a sense of humor if that's your thing.

We don't want articles written like textbook entries, promotional material, message board posts, or guys hanging around outside the comic store. Make your article entertaining and personality-driven. Curious people who don't know anything about the work, for example, might read your article and be lured into the fold. That's what we want.

Features should provide enough context to make them accessible and enjoyable to every reader, while including enough depth of knowledge (or breadth, whichever works best for the writer) to entertain the hardcore fans. All reviews should be smart, well-informed, passionate,and fun.

TONE OF REVIEWS: All reviews should be fair and well-reasoned. Feel free to rant if the subject deserves it, but make sure the justification for the rant is self-evident. If something sucks, say it sucks, but tell us why. If something is wonderful, say it's wonderful, but tell us why. Give a frame of reference.

We don't want just glowing positive reviews, and we certainly don't want to get a reputation for brown-nosing publishers or studios, especially when we'll be seeking advertising deals with them. But we want to be seen as fair, by the fans and the publishers alike. Being honest, but giving every product or show a fair shake, will allow us to maintain credibility with the fans and avoid alienating the publishers, studios, and networks whose products we talk about.

Don't let the bulk of your reviews be synopses of the storyline. Don't give away major plot-points regardless, unless you discuss them in the context of your article.

No "spoiler space." If the reader really doesn't want to know, they should not be clicking on the article in the first place. In the case of major revelations of the Sixth Sense variety (Bruce Willis is really a man!), we can put a disclaimer at the beginning of the article saying that such things are discussed therein.

COPYRIGHT: Articles will be posted on RevolutionSF with the permission of the authors. While an article is published on RevolutionSF we require exclusive electronic rights, meaning the same article cannot be published elsewhere online or in electronic form. Any article published on RevolutionSF will be removed on request of the owner, at which time electronic rights revert to the owner. All other rights remain with the author, unless we specifically arrange otherwise.

BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: Please gather the following information about the subject of the review:

  • Genre(s) (e.g., science fiction, fantasy, horror, superhero, etc.)
  • Format (book, CD-ROM, VHS, DVD, film, etc.)
  • Creator(s) (the names of the primary authors or creators of the item)
  • Rating (MPAA, ESRB, etc., if applicable)
  • Date of Creation (the date the product was released)
  • Date of Review

COPY-EDITING NOTES: Spell-check, spell-check, spell-check.

All articles will be checked before they get posted, so we may catch things you don’t, but in general, just be aware of spelling and grammar rules. We won't be using an official style, like AP or APA, but it's not a bad idea to follow rules set forth in either of those styles.

And there are little things that bother us: For example: "A lot" and "never mind" are two words. The correct abbreviation of "would not have" is "wouldn't have" or "wouldn't've," not "wouldn't of." There are others. If you have a copy-editing question, let us know.

If you want something highlighted, don't do anything (dashes, asterisks, underlines, quotes) except put it in ALL CAPS. That makes it easier for us to find.

ON THE INTERNET, BUT NOT OF THE INTERNET: We're a website, but that doesn't mean we have to act like one. An ellipsis is three dots after a sentence or thought, not 17... No informing the audience that something you just wrote is funny by typing (LOL) after it. Using a swear word is OK, but profuse cussing is sophomoric and lame. Don't be lame. We're not making the site safe for your 6-year-old, but we're not making it safe for your gibbering idiot, either.

Breaking these rules for the sake of comedy or irony (or both) is fine. But be careful out there.

FREELANCE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Send your finished article to the editor of the section for which you want to write. Send it as plain text in the body of an email message (no attachments). Do not send a query letter, a draft, or a sample. We will notify you within four weeks if we accept your submission.

When you send your review, be sure to include the following information in your email. Without this information, we cannot print your review, nor can we reward you for it. This information will be used for no purpose other than to process your submission.

  • Your legal name.
  • Your mailing address.
  • Your phone number.
  • Your email address.

Please contact the webmaster if you have any questions.

 

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