Formating Articles for the Web

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Posting on the Internet

Formatting Articles for the Web

Nobody likes rules, so I'm calling this posting a guideline in the hopes of getting some voluntary cooperation. :-)

Do you want a wider readership of your stories? Do you want to get the recognition you deserve for your hard work of authorship? If you do, then make it easier for your audience to read your story. The following are some tips on how to prepare your articles for publication on usenet.

Use a good title.

With literally hundreds of new postings in a newsgroups every day, how is a reader going to decide to read your article? People have a general idea about the topics they are going to read when they select a newsgroup. However, topics vary widely within a newsgroup. There are no card catalogues, no Dewey Decimal System, and no roadmaps.

Use a descriptive title and use keywords in the title like (f/m, teen, cons, etc.) Keep the title short so it fits in your audience's news reader.

A title like "Alice" doesn't do much other than indicate that one of the characters in the story might be named Alice. Maybe something like "Alice's Domination" or "Alice, My Dominatrix" might be more eye catching. Add in the "codes" and it becomes even better. "Alice's Domination (MM/F, spank)" tells me that Alice gets spanked by two men -- or at least I hope so.

Some people think that they are doing the net a favor by reposting stories from collections, but they identify them only by file name. Could someone tell me what "sumplc.txt" is about? Please don't do this.

Give a synopsis

Once you got your readers to the point where they actually opened your story, you still do not have them hooked. Give a couple of sentences description of what the story is about. This paragraph is like the text on the dust jacket on a book. It is supposed to entice the reader to take the book instead of closing it and putting it back on the shelf.

Some of the material you write is going to offend somebody. Kinky folks come in all flavors. For example, those that like spanking may be "squicked" by golden showers. Give the appropriate warnings.

Write in English, Espanol, Francais or Whatever

Whatever language you use, write in it well. Take time to apply at least some basic grammar. Try to write in complete sentences and run the spell checker please.

I know that the Internet is international. I know that there are many readers out there for whom English is not their first language. Having said this, English is a very common second language. If you can write in English, then you have a larger potential audience. I hear from many corespondents apologizing that English is not their primary language. They usually are better at writing English than most Americans.

Write in ASCII

Not everybody has the same word processing program as you. If you insist on posting in Word 2000, then only people with Word 2000 will be able to read your story. Also, Word 2000 has no idea of what a news reader's line wrap is supposed to be.

The only common denominator on the internet is ASCII (plain text)

Do not encode your stories. Uuencoding adds about 30% to the size of the file. More importantly, most people will not take the time to decode what you've written. If you have to encode it, it isn't plain text.

Having said all of this, I realize many people compose their stories in MS-Word or something similar. The following steps are some ideas that you can use to make your stories more readable when posted.

    1. Use a font that will approximate what will appear on the reader's screen. Proportional fonts (those where an "i" takes up less space than an "m") look nice on paper, but when they appear as pure text on a screen, they cause variable length lines. Use a fixed pitch font such as courier, 11 point.
    2. Set margins for good line length. Use 1 inch or 1.5 inchmargins. These settings (in combination with the right font) will produce line lengths of approximately 72 to 65 characters per line.
    3. Don't use "fancy features" such as accents, fractions, superscripts, special characters and other similar features. These features put control characters into the text which show up as blocks or lines when a news reader or browser tries to read them as plain text. You might even consider turning off the "smart quotes" feature (which curves the lower part of the quote towards the text -- in other words there is a different representation for open and closed quotes).
    4. Save the text as DOS text with line breaks. Nothing is more annoying than to open an article that is 12 lines long and realize that these lines are 1,000 characters long, so the reader has to right and left scroll to read them. A lot of reader programs will wrap, but not all do.

Write for the screen

Write for the media in which you publish. On the old days, this media used to be a 24-line by 80-character screen. Things have not gotten better. Browser windows, especially those that display the story in a frame, may even be smaller!

    1. Use appropriate line lengths (no more than 72 characters long, 65 is even better).
    2. Break up your paragraphs so that there is at least one break on each screen. Nothing makes reading harder than wall-to-wall text. Rule of thumb: if you think that you might need a new paragraph, you probably do. There is nothing wrong with starting a new paragraph every time a new character speaks in a diaologue. This technique may even produce one-word paragraphs! It may use up more paper when you print it, but doesn't increase file size appreciably.
    3. Use a blank line between paragraphs rather than indenting. Indenting is OK for books; it doesn't seem to work as well on the screen.
    4. Limit the size of the file. Some people download very slowly and are hesitant to open a big file. Also, people tend to read things in pieces. As a rule of thumb, I try to edit my stories into chunks of 200 - 300 lines.

Rember the readers are your customers. The easier you make it for them to read your stories, the more likely it is they will read your stories.

end of female domination, femdom story