by JojoOnDatBeat, May 24, 2021
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Have the best article idea but are unsure where to begin? Been writing for a while but need a refresher? Just love reading content from MDL in general? Fret not. Welcome to the Editors' Guide to Writing for MDL, your one-stop spot for addressing all the abovementioned concerns and more. 

We aim to cater mainly to the newly budding writers for the community, but long term writing legends are more than welcome to bless this humble abode with their gracious presence. However, who says this is a 'writers only' space? Even if you haven't written a word in your life, you're more than welcome to scroll through and share your thoughts, who knows, maybe you might be inspired to start writing too! 

So without further ado, let's jump into the do's and don'ts of writing for MDL, from an Editor's perspective. I've tried to keep this as short and succinct as possible; however, if further elaboration may be required, I'll be happy to write a part 2 to this guide.

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Formatting


They say never judge a book by its cover but that's easier said than done, isn't it? After all, what immediately captures one's attention (and sometimes even maintains that attention) are the visuals and the formatting of said article. Yes, it's a shallow world out there. Fret not, this section is here to guide you how to add a touch of pizzazz to your articles.

For those of you who are aware of the ins and outs of the article editor, feel free to scroll past this section. For those of you who are new to the interface, stick around for a bit, will you?

Here are a few basic tools to help you get started with the formatting process in the article editor.

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Bold
Used to make your text more prominent.
Italics
Use it to italicize your text for more emphasis.
Underline
Used to highlight important topics or place emphasis.
Strikethrough
Think of the underline tool but edgier. 
Insert Link
One of the most important tools for MDL articles. Writing about a drama, an actor or something completely different, link the source! (Text once linked becomes blue but you can also change its color.)
Insert Images/GIFs
Add beautiful, high quality (relevant) images and GIFs to add more flair to your article. Make sure to appropriately credit images that aren't yours!
Insert Table
A personal favorite, this tool, among other things, helps organize your article into neater sections. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Explore away!
Spoiler!
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who don't mind spoilers and those who will come at you with pitchforks. To ensure you keep both happy, use this handy little button.
This handy little tool contains all the colors of the world (if you've dabbled in HEX codes you know I'm not kidding) needed to add a splash of color to your creation. Use in moderation and tastefully.
This tool allows you to choose from a set of text options to make your article easier to read and better organized in sections. 







Tags
Tags are a great way to sort your article's main topics and make it appear in relevant searches. For example, if I were to write an article on the drama from the header image of this section (Count Your Lucky Stars) a good start to adding tags would be adding the lead actress's name (Shen Yue), the drama's name (duh) and the primary genre (Romance) in the tags.

Article Categories
Do not confuse this section with the article's theme/topic. A simple crash course for this would be, if you're reviewing/recapping one or more dramas, your article goes in the Drama Recaps category. If you're providing information on an event, like the year-end KBS Awards, your article belongs in the News category. If you're writing about anything else at all, 9 times out of 10 it belongs to the Editorials category, and that is really all that you need to know.
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Proofreading


You must be thinking, isn't this what the editors are there for? Well, yes, it is. However, here's a little bit of insider info: editing an article can take anywhere from 15 minutes to even days depending on the length and of course, the number of edits needed in an article.
So while it might feel incredibly tempting to just click that 'Submit for Approval' button, it will do you a pretty big favor to read through the article once or twice for any missed errors. This will save time for both you and the editor who'll be editing your article for publishing.

We talked about the style, now it's time for the substance. After all, what matters most at the end of the day is the carefully woven tapestry of words that comprise of the meat of your article. When the pizzazz is stripped bare, these words stand as a testament to their creator's thoughts. We have covered how to categorize an article and how to avoid spoilers that may ruin a reader's experience. Now we discuss how to expand upon the entire world of ideas brimming within the mind of a writer aspiring to write for MDL. Further comprehensive details on all the topics that qualify or fail to qualify for article writing can be found here: MyDramaList Article Guidelines

The Rules (or lack thereof)

The best part about writing for MDL is freedom. As long as the content you write does not incite any hate speech or discrimination against any person or entity, you're more than welcome to choose a topic and write about it, the canvas is yours to paint as you wish. Some of the popular article types include: Currently Watching articles, Numbered List articles, Drama Review articles and Ultra Fan Guide articles.

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The Perfect Article (In Theory)

While there is no clear cut template that ensures a perfect article, there is some structure that can always be employed while writing to engage a reader.  Writing a short yet sufficient introduction/hook that excites the reader, (while dodging excessive details and unresolved tangents) making them look forward to the rest of the article, is the best place to start.
To achieve this purpose, it is important that an article should be at  minimum, in the range of 300 to 500 words, leaving enough room to expand on details while staying organized with your thoughts. While there isn't really an upper limit on the word count, a helpful tip would be to monitor the scroll bar on the right of your article editor. If the bar becomes approximately less than half an inch in length, you're teetering into the 'This Is Too Long For Me to Read, Bye!' territory. 

A community consists of different people with different roles working together like a well-oiled machine. The MDL community, incredibly diverse with people hailing from everywhere around the world, is no exception. For such a community to thrive, there are factors to be taken into account that should generally go without saying, but it wouldn't hurt to mention these every now and then.

While writers have their set of responsibilities with their words, the same goes for the readers in the community. Whether you're engaging with others in discussion threads, the forum, or article comments, being sensitive towards what others write and respecting their opinion; while respectfully stating yours is key.

Creative bias is inescapable for a writer. It is inevitable that some subjectivity seeps through into one's writing regardless of how objective one might initially set out to be. We are all humans, after all. Since MDL encourages its writers to share their thoughts through reviews, and of course, writing articles, the site does not condone any form of negativity. Offering constructive criticism is great, but it's important to know the distinction between criticism and outright hate. No one deserves to be bashed over sharing their thoughts, and it's important for all of us to be mindful of what we say. Vicious words do more than destroy someone's self-esteem, and a little tolerance goes a long way.



There’s a lot of curiosity associated with what an editor’s role is, and MDL editors in particular serve as everything from mood boards for article ideas to confidantes during the worst writer’s blocks to, well, article editors. Here to address all your concerns, the editors assist you before, during and even after the writing process.  

While I personally immensely enjoy talking to writers and discussing their ideas with possible modes of execution, there are things that are out of an editor’s hands, and to see writers not acknowledge this gets a little disappointing, and sometimes annoying. The editors are your allies, and it won't be favorable for you to fight with them, would it?

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Therefore, think of this as an open letter from the editors of MDL to the writers, respect your editors, trust them and coordinate with them accordingly every time an idea pops in your head, and you feel like consulting someone before putting your thoughts into words. If something is amiss, immediately approach an editor you’re comfortable with, and ask for help.

The most frequently asked question is how long does one have to wait to see their article get published? The answer to this is not conclusive, unfortunately. Unless your article has a time crunch, like a Premiere Reminder article or a Currently Watching article, it is relatively impossible to predict when an article will be published, but rest assured, it will get published soon enough!

Want to get in touch with an editor but are unsure who to approach? Here's a list of the current active editors working for the site. Remember to be patient once you approach anyone as all editors will respond at their earliest convenience. 

Current Active Editors (alphabetically ordered)

 Editors you can approach for help regarding article ideas/ general concerns:

azyjtevolBrightestStardevitto
JojoOnDatBeatKimWanHeeYuanwei


Other Active Editors:

CekiCookiezeamays


Phew, that was a lot to keep track of, right? We're finally at the end, and it's gonna be a great one. No matter how you write, plan, or execute your article, whether it is a purely individual process, or you like throwing ideas at friends for feedback throughout your writing process, it goes without saying that this endeavor is ultimately a community-oriented one. Once you click that 'Submit for Approval' button, your fate rests in the hands of the MDL community, and while that may sound incredibly daunting, it is euphoric to see your hard work and efforts bear fruit. What I mean by this endless tirade is, even if you have the smallest interest in writing but a mountain of doubt about whether you can actually do it, YOU MUST WRITE! 

MDL is divided into platforms within this existing platform where you can develop a sense of kinship with other users, share your interests, brainstorm ideas, and even gain inspiration from the already existing ones. The Feeds serve as a great place to observe what most users are currently passionate about, gush about your interest, share your love for music and everything else under the sun. Quite possibly one of the best places to spark ideas in one's mind. 

Next, we have the Article Ideas and Discussion Forum, a discussion created to organize and share ideas for articles for both writers and non-writers. Think of this as a board room to pitch your ideas to a group of people without any of the pressure. If you're not a writer, you can contribute by suggesting topics that other writers could build upon and use to write their article. The 'Currently Watching' Articles List is a discussion that allows users to claim airing (or in some cases: finished) dramas after editor approval. 

The world is your oyster here on MDL, and it has presented itself in your hands. Be sure to seize the opportunity and share your thoughts with the growing community. 

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Well, there you have it—a comprehensive guide to the world of writing for MDL. Please share your thoughts in the comments below if you found this guide helpful. Would you like to gain more information/tips on the writing process or further elaboration on any of the sections above? A huge shoutout to all writers, old and new, keep using your words to create magic for years to come!

A special huge shoutout to all the editors for the site. You are the unsung heroes, and you deserve all the appreciation in the world for the work you do. Thank you for guiding not just writers, but new editors throughout every step of the way. With this confession, I officially conclude the article.


Thank you so much for reading. ♡

Love,
Jojo


 GOODBYE! 


Edited by: Yuanwei (1st editor)

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