A Guide to Creating In-Character Publications With this guide I aim to give people a starting point to create their own publications. MassiveCraft has had a number of papers over the years ranging from reputable sources to dime rag tabloids, and as people lose interest or move on from writing it is always good to have someone new to fill in. With that said, where does one start? You may be tempted to immediately start researching aesthetics and looking for graphics before ever considering what you want to write and how, but presentation is the last step after you have written your content. What types of publications are there? Books Scientific Journals Magazines Newspapers Poetry Dissertations Reports Speeches Pamphlets Brochures Your first step should be… Picking A Name Picking a name for your publication can be the hardest step. No one wants to be stuck with a bad name, and it can be equally difficult to come up with something good without directly ripping from existing publications. Even more important is avoiding accidentally naming your publication after existing ones! A good name is... Recognizable. You can only get this with consistency and quality. . Lore Compliant. Your name should make sense within the setting. . One that makes you happy. This is your publication! Do what you want. Even if you cannot come up with a name that hits all three bullet points immediately, your name should at the very least make sense, and ideally fit the type of content you are creating. Once you have decided on a name (that you can change later), you are ready for the next step. Choosing Your Content Out-of-character you have to decide what to write, and while writing about everything you hear may seem like the easiest option you may quickly find yourself with too much on your plate. Some people shy away from covering what other publications are covering, but the nature of journalism is often competitive. Write about what you know and what you enjoy, because it is more likely that the product you create will be of considerable quality. There are a few things to consider before posting anything, such as… Other people’s feelings. You may be writing about topics that are sensitive for others, so it is important to phrase things appropriately and with care. Not everything you learn is fit to print for in-character and out-of-character reasons, so use your better judgement and when in doubt ask the subjects you are writing about. . Factualness. You have the power to write anything (within community guidelines and rules), and with that power comes great responsibility. While publications are in-character, people will often contest the information within out-of-character. Keep a firm line between in-character and out-of-character information in your posts to avoid metagaming situations. . Relevancy. Sometimes the only thing people care about is getting the news, so that means waiting too long to post something may mean your publication does not get as many views. . Consistency. Once you find a schedule that works for you, stick to it as much as you can. People will begin to expect your posts around a certain time. Choosing Your Audience Your target audience will most likely be people in the roleplay world, but what about the characters within it? Whatever you write should appeal to someone, whether that someone is in the upper echelons of society or the lowly crust on the very bottom. The type of news you report on (if any) and its tone is one way of choosing your audience. Having obvious sympathies for criminal and underprivileged populations will do little to align you with nobility. Conversely, your publication having a harsh stance on criminality and poor people might do much to make your paper worthy of being read by the rich. If there’s one thing people love it is affirming their biases. Your tone has an impact on who reads your paper out-of-character as well. Being purposefully inflammatory is a great way to get booming views and interactions, but the momentum does not last long and can lead to people growing tired or becoming unwilling to interact with you over time. Designing Your Publication Before you even think about centering those headings, you should think about what makes a good design. The goal of most modern publications might be to sell you things you do not need and do not want, but they are also easy to read. Most adhere to design principles that make content easier to digest and engage with. Best practice design principles change alongside the preferences of people consuming content. While you may not find anyone agreeing over when and where to use centered text and other alignments, you can get the best of both worlds by keeping accessibility in mind. As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid... Centered headings and body text. You do not want your reader to hunt and peck for where one line ends and another begins, and you do not want to slow them down. . Bullet points. Bullet points, while useful in OOC informational posts and a good way to convey information, do not have much place in most publications. Overusing bullet points will push your content to the right, making it difficult or impossible to read on smaller screens. . Small fonts. Some fonts look smaller than others even when rendered with the same point size. Refrain from making your text smaller for the aesthetic and prioritize ease of reading. . Unnecessary prose. Your artistic vision is important, but eventually you reach a point where nothing you have to say makes sense. Make sure you use words correctly and in the right situations to avoid confusing the reader. You should... Use large headings. Divide your content with large headings. . Use paragraph breaks. Paragraphs are an arbitrary grouping of sentences, but sometimes they get too big. Break up your sentences every so often with a paragraph break. . Create contrast. Bold fonts draw the eye and highlight important text. . Use sans serif fonts as they can appear less crowded. This guide is displayed in Arial, a sans serif font. Having nice graphics for your paper should be the last priority after you have finished writing content and deciding on other important details. Take inspiration from real life newspapers, both historical and modern, to create taglines and mastheads. Find royalty free dividers or make your own! Not everything you find on the internet is free to use, so be aware of where the images you source are from and whether you should be using them. Try not to use the headers or dividers from other posts unless you get permission from the poster, because for all you know they made it themselves or received express permission to use it for their personal posts. How do I find free graphics? There are websites dedicated to royalty free icons and photos you can use, like the Noun Project. If you look for images using Google Images or other search engines, take a moment to navigate to the parent site. Most of them will have licenses which tell you what you are allowed to do with the images you download. Websites like Flaticon and Freepik have both paid and free options. Most of their free images and icons require attribution, which is the action of ascribing a work or remark to a particular author, artist, or person. What do I do if I cannot find anything good? Keep looking! Try changing up your search terms or enlisting the help of local artists to create something if nothing fits your vision. What if I am not making a newspaper? Most of the best practice guidelines still apply to you. Whether you plan on posting information out-of-character for an event or sharing MassiveCraft inspired works, people should be able to read your post without a hassle. If you require more information on how to adapt this guide to your needs reply to this thread. Choosing A Posting Schedule A good posting schedule depends on you as a writer and whether you have other people helping you. The more assistance you have the more you can write, but you also may deal with delays or other problems. A weekly schedule causes a crunch. You will constantly be on the hunt for more information and might be tempted to cut corners on your posts to get it out on time. To put things into perspective, you would post 52 times in a year. . A bi-weekly schedule gives you a little more breathing room. You would post 26 times in a year. . A monthly schedule might leave people waiting, but you have time to make edits and corrections as desired. You would post 12 times in a year. Consider experimenting with schedules larger or smaller than the above until you find something that works for you. Be careful to avoid burnout and take breaks as necessary. Additional Resources Publications Existing Publications Suggested Words for Names Glossary of Newspaper Terms Fontmeme & 1001Fonts for fonts. Canva for designing. Tone Analyzer Slick Write, a grammar checker similar to Grammarly. Accessibility Helperbird for Chrome Helperbird for Firefox Dark Reader for Chrome Dark Reader for Firefox OpenDyslexic Font for Multiple Devices Citations (WAI), W3C Web Accessibility Initiative. “Introduction to Web Accessibility.” Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), 11 July 2019, www.w3.org/WAI/fundamentals/accessibility-intro/. British Dyslexia Association. “Dyslexia Friendly Style Guide.” British Dyslexia Association, www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/advice/employers/creating-a-dyslexia-friendly-workplace/dyslexia-friendly-style-guide. Kedziora, Derek. “Centered Text Is Lazy.” Derek's Digital Garden, 14 Oct. 2018, derekkedziora.com/blog/centered-text. Edits 5/22/21: Added more information on image sourcing and design by request.