Hellcat5’s Guide to How to Write a Guide

We’ve all been to forums that confuse us worse than Donald Trump. The game developers put a lot of effort into creating the game, but sometimes they don’t do much to organize the forums in an intuitive way. Or, the players create topics all over the place that have nothing to do with the forum’s structure, and the moderators don’t do anything to move the topics to an appropriate section, or delete them if they’ve got nothing to do with the game.

Game developers and publishers should pay attention to this because it shows a lack of attention toward the gaming community, and negatively effects the length and value of the game life-cycle by causing new players to become confused when trying to seek answers. When players can’t find answers to their gaming questions, they leave the game. Confusion isn’t fun.

When you find a game you enjoy playing, it’s great to bring more players to the game. If these new players can’t find answers to their questions about the game, they’ll leave. I wrote this guide as part of my series about how player communities can take action to improve game forums and wiki entries when the developers and forum moderators seem uninterested in doing so, or, perhaps, don’t have the ability or resources.

I’ve written this guide in two ways: one for those who enjoy exercising their minds, the other for those who want a quick reference guide to follow.

Quick Reference:

  1. Write out the points you want to explain in an outline to keep you on track.
  2. A writer writes best when a writer writes the least amount of words possible.
  3. Don’t talk down to your readers.
  4. Don’t use un-necessary big words.
  5. Know what a phrase is.  Know what a clause is.  Know how clauses fit together to make sense.
  6. Don’t use passive voice to explain how to do something.
  7. Write what you know.  Let your writing speak for itself.
  8. Know and use grammar.
  9. Don’t use rocketships as paragraphs.  Organize your writing neatly.
  10. Don’t make your writing look like a coloring book.
  11. don’t overuse images, but use enough to clearly guide your reader.

For those who might enjoy a ride down an erudite rambling road, or, for those who want to know more:

What makes me an authority on “How to Create a Guide?”  I could dazzle and bore you with extensive, interminable, long words, but I won’t linger on that.  I might befuddle and bemuse you, but I don’t intend to confuse you more than necessary to explain that a writer writes best when a writer writes the least amount of words possible.  In short, be short.  Don’t drag on, or try to impress others with lengthy vocabulary, but also try to use the best words to represent the ideas you intend to communicate.  

In today’s world, on today’s internet, we see many people writing in a way that belittles, criticizes, or patronizes others.  If you want to put on display a weak ego, one seeking to aggrandize itself, go for it.  I write this in risk of seeming pretentious, but I think if you decide to think about it, you’ll find I’m not preposterous.  Don’t talk down to your readers.  Don’t use un-necessary big words.

Be sure that your phases fit together to create clear functioning sentences.  Otherwise, you end up with phrases that might make sense to you, but only bring your reader to a state of ambivalence or apathy.  Make sure you write all those delicious details swirling about in your head down on paper.  Or in this case, in the post.  Know what a phrase is.  Know what a clause is.  Know how clauses fit together to make sense. [ Clauses and Phrases ]

Avoid passive writing.  Examples – “the dishes were done,” “the car is at the house down the street,” and “this will be the place where every question is answered.”  These leave unanswered questions, which interrupt the logical flow of sentences into the paragraph into the page into the chapter into the book.  Who did the dishes?  Why is the car at the house down the street?  Who drove the car to the house down the street?  Passive writing serves only to confuse by leaving out important details about actors (those who commit actions), which steps away from the purpose of language, which is to communicate what we know to others.  Don’t use passive voice to explain how to do something.  Know how to identify passive voice. [ What’s the Problem with Passive Voice ]

Some people try to assert themselves into the role of “authority,” or to convince you that they know what they’re talking about by using logical fallacies.  Example:  “I have 5 years experience with cooking hamburgers, so I know how to run a hamburger restaurant.”  No, you know how to cook hamburgers. Or,  “No one who knows what’s really going on will say that.”  Don’t be an imbecile, thinking it’s best to try to establish the role of authority by covering your lack of knowledge with empty statements of emotional compulsion that play on the human nature.  Doing things like that only serves to hurt the community.  You can look at America and Trump to get the idea.  Write what you know.  Let your writing speak for itself.  [ Your Logical Fallacy is … ] [ Pragmatic Disorder ]

Some people almost instantly discredit themselves by ignoring the basic rules of written communication.  Don’t rush when you write, neglecting grammatical problems because that communicates a frantic disregard for clarity and a lack of interest in precision.  Why should readers want to read a guide by someone who doesn’t pay attention enough to notice multiple mistakes?  Doesn’t that imply that the writer might have missed important details regarding the topic to which he’s writing?  Know and use grammar.

Well, how can
I go about this topic
to best get the point across…
 Ah.  Here we go.
While it might
be creative in your mind to
create odd
shapes to your paragraphs,
 you end
up breaking
apart phrases and sentences
 from the way we typically read them,
thereby aiding the forest
in making your reader
become lost on your point.

While you might intend this to generate more interest in your writing because “it’s a neato shape,” it serves up, at most, a brief interest in seeing words glued together in a rough word collage, with a side of frustration.  Ultimately, this repulses readers who otherwise might have read your guide if it were arranged in the common paragraph.  Organize your writing neatly.

Many people use high-lighters to give emphasis to different sections of books they’re reading.  Using bright colors is great for those who want to go back later to make notes or remind themselves of things they find important to remember.  However, the writer should sparingly use emphasis, instead leaving well formulated sentences and paragraphs to make his emphasis for him.  Don’t make your writing look like a coloring book for kindergarteners.  Likewise, don’t overuse images, but use enough to clearly guide your reader.

If you see something i’ve missed, comment below. And when you die, remember to scream.

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