Writing for Low End PC

Dan Knight, publisher, Low End PC

Thinking From the Box is your turn to write for the Web.

Are you up to the challenge?

First, do you have something important to say about Microsoft, Intel, PCs, or a related subject? If you're a typical computer user, you're opinionated and do have something to say.

Second, do you have something different to say about this topic? The world doesn't need another "I Hate Linux Even Though I Haven't Used It Because It's Different from Windows" article. But if you have something unique to say to PC users around the world, keep reading.

Third, can you write effectively? Read Writing for the Web by Stephen Van Esch before you conclude you're a great writer.

Okay, we're not just looking for great writers, although we'll take all we can get. We do want good writers - competent writers, thoughtful writers. We also want writers who aren't regulars on other sites; we want to develop new talent. (Get good enough and we might offer you a regular column.)

Your grammar doesn't have to be perfect (mine isn't). Neither does your spelling, although you should definitely run a spell check on any writing you send out (even email). If you're a bit rusty on commas and semicolons, that's not a big deal.

Editing

I'm a editor. I can fix the little stuff.

But if your sentences run on without end or if they're missing a subject and verb, I may not want to edit them. The same goes for writing filled with misspellings, incorrect words, strong language (we're family friendly), or other abuse of the English language.

I'm an editor, not a miracle worker. If your writing isn't good to begin with, you need to rewrite it before it gets edited.

On the other hand, if your writing is good, a good editor can be your best friend. Some of our current writers are very good, but every article is edited before publication. And every article is improved (usually subtly) in the process.

What makes a good editor? Someone who can write effectively, who knows and loves the language, and can make changes to another person's writing that leave's the writer's fingerprints intact.

I strive to edit with a light hand. And, not being a professional editor, sometimes I have a friend go over articles that stymie me. She marks things up with a red pen, and then I decide which changes are necessary. (She's also the only person I trust to edit my own writing, when I feel that would be helpful.)

Writing for Thinking From the Box

Telling someone how to write is like explaining how to ride a bike. You really have to do it, not explain it. Writing comes easy to me. I love words, phrases, ideas. Editing is a bit more work.

You should familiarize yourself with our Web Style Guide. Follow its advice when writing for Low End PC; that's why we posted these usage rules.

Don't make it too short. Don't make it too long. I rarely read articles that continue for screen after screen after screen, although a few have held my interest that long. Reading online is different from reading in print; really long articles are simply not a good idea.

Make it flow. Include headers between sections to break your article into smaller chunks for easier digestion.

Submitting Your Article to Us

Got it done? Good. Before you submit it, please do a few things:

  1. Strip out smart quotes. The Web supports straight single- and double-quotes (" and '), but not so-called smart or curly ones.
  2. Ditto for en- and em-dashes, assuming you use them. The Web only supports hyphens. Our style is a space, two hyphens, and a space to replace em-dashes and a simple hyphen to replace en-dashes.

If I think of anything else, I'll add it, but this is all that comes to my mind at present.

Now you need to submit in your article using a format we can handle. These are the best options:

Ready to go? Send it to <webmaster@lowendpc.com> so we can read it.

Thanks!

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