Table of Contents
The Unbreakable Rules
Discover Your Own Style
As some people are less experienced in guide-making, this guide is geared towards helping them. You can't just cobble together a few links and sentences and call it "complete". A guide should be more than that, it must serve a purpose: helping others. The definition of a guide is 'Something that offers basic information or instruction' and 'something that serves to direct or indicate.' It is not something written to serve your own purposes, no matter how well-intentioned. If you don't see the guide being helpful to others, chances are it isn't.
The AQW Guides ArchKnights are always available if you have any questions or if you need clarification on something. We will always be here to help guide writers and readers when needed.
Before anything else, you're going to have to know the rules of the Guides forum. Anything that doesn't follow these rules, simply isn't going to get approved.
First things first, make sure you read and understand the =AQW= Pending Guides Rules!
Pending Guides Tips: Make your guide as well as you can make it before you submit it! Why? If it's insufficient to qualify for a guide's standards, you'll be given a deadline to meet to change it around, and if you don't meet it, it will be deleted. The guide should be helpful and unique - imagine as if the least experienced readers were reading it and they could be able to understand just like that! "Tips: Always save guides in a text document (rather than writing everything on the forums) to have a backup copy and something that can be saved as more content in added. Those who aren't familiar with PGD code (bold, underline, etc.) can use Preview (instead of 'OK') to see what the guide will look like without submitting it."
Check for previous guides: Please don't make a new guide if there is a guide on the same topic already. If you see that there could be improvements that could be added, feel free to politely give some constructive criticism. If you do find a way-outdated guide, please post a reason in your new guide (a good way to do this is to simply ask the original author to remake it, if they are still active). When you hear "Search," that means use the Search Function! It may just happen to not be listed in the Guides Index. The Search Function: Making it Work for You! is a useful guide to read about the search function.
Please give credits, no matter where they came from! They do not degrade you in any sense - it is to respect the user who contributed to the guide!
If your guide is going to contain spoilers, clearly state so at the top of the guide as it is unfair to ruin another player's experience.
Be Thorough and Comprehensive. You'll want to list almost everything possible about the subject to truly make it worthy of an exceptional guide. This goes from Stats, Strategy in Quest Guides, Functions in Forum Guides: generally, every possible subject that you can do to inform the reader as if they were a beginner. Try to explain things, even if to you, everybody should know it by heart. Long story-short, make it as in-depth as possible.
Be Organized at the same time. In the course of writing guides, things can be very messy. As you collect information, you'll likely have words cluttered, and the like. Sometimes, Guides can become one long paragraph, or without some centered and larger text, and that will make it strained on the eyes and harder to read. This includes putting things in order for a particular section. Use dividers if necessary. They help the readers know what they're reading much more easily. Dividers can go from Horizontal Rules to Image-Dividers.
Have a Search System and/or Index for longer guides. Since longer guides have many different subjects, it's good that you have a Search System. It's hard to scroll through the entire guide and attempt to do this. Indexes are Search Systems are always at the top of the guide, usually along with a code by the section to find it. This requires a Find Tool, which can be found by pushing [Ctrl + F] on your keyboard for most web browsers.
Attractiveness counts as well. It's great to add color, pictures, a banner, and some centered text will help a lot. They might not have a banner and such, but are usually organized with pictures and other links, center text, and the like. This counts as a big part of making a great guide - and is what gets you your Guide Feedback. *Guides rules states that the max file size should 250KB or less for all images.*
Use simple and easy-to-read formatting. For more information on forum coding and how to use it, please check out the Forum Commands (screenshots, images, links, colors, signatures) guide.
Color is cool but this is hard to read. Color like this is a lot easier to read and draws attention to the word. Also remember that the Guides rules say that 90% of your guide should be in black text. Bold / Italics / Underline
Bold, italic, and underline text can add a lot to your guide. These formatting styles can be used to make headings, draw attention to a certain word or link, or emphasize a point. However, they lose their potency when an entire paragraph, sentence, or even just a whole line is formatted this way. Use these tags sparingly, and again recall that Guides rules state that 90% of your post should be in normal (that is, unformatted) text. Larger Font Sizes (3+)
Large font can be great for headings but too much of it is distracting. Make sure to keep font sizes larger than 3 to a minimum, and make sure that your post follows the Guides rule concerning formatting.
Spelling and Grammar counts. True, a mistake here or there won't kill your guide. But in general, the spelling, grammar, and conventions should be correct. It makes the guide easier to interpret, so the reader is less likely to be confused. As the rules expounds, please use proper English! If you need help with anything, feel free to ask for assistance.
Know what you're talking about! Are you going to go write a guide on defeating Tibicenas and say "You should use the Blood Titan class because it's good!"? This makes guides very incomplete. This does not mean that you have to have beaten Tibicenas 100 times, but simply means that you have developed a good and effective strategy (of course, this should explain why). Ancient One says: "You should have at least done this once, and paid attention. An ignorant person creates an ignorant guide."
An informative, catchy title is also a key element in a great guide. It doesn't have to necessarily be either one, but this generally catches others' attention. This way, you can get more responses and your readers aren't wasting their time because they know exactly what is in the Guide just from a glance. There is no need to include "WIP" or the like in your guide's title -- if it's in the Pending forum then it is obviously a work in progress.
Simplicity is beauty. Sometimes, it's best to just make a long guide, but with simple, easy steps. You can make it simple, with brief explanations to the side. This creates less stress on the reader's eyes and lets them know that this is still something they can trust.
Give readers an easy time — Readers will not like having to go off into the Encyclopedia to look for a particular item, where you can just take a few more seconds or minutes to include the links for them. Bilbo Baggins says: "Always put yourself into the shoes of the reader and not yourself, so that others will know what you're writing about."
Have patience. A truly good guide can take several hours, if not days, to complete. If there is no patience, then your guide may be ruined. Don't be in such a rush and stress yourself out because of timing - a quality guide that took a long time is much more useful than a mediocre one that took 10 minutes.
Keep updating your guide. There is no point in making a Weapon Comparison guide if when new weapons are released, you do not update your guide with the renewed information. If a guide remains un-updated (that is, without new information) for too long, it will get outdated and lose its relevance and helpfulness.
Listen to the comments of others. Very few guides are finished from the first post. Almost always, guides live on the constructive criticism and feedback from other players, who might have new information to add, or new suggestions which can improve your guide. Consider each comment carefully.
1. Search for duplicate Guides. Use the Search Function before anything else and check the AQW Wiki to see if there is a Guide already written on that particular topic.
2. Start with an outline or Table of Contents. Like writing a story or essay, Guides need an outline as well. Think about the general details you can give, such as Strategy, Dialogue, and Lists in Quest Guides or Functions, Rules, and the like in Forum Guides.
3. Gather General Information. Start with more important details first, such as Rules in Forum Guides or Lists and Strategy in Quest Guides. No need for pictures and all that yet, gathering information is the important part.
4. Gather Complex Information. For example, now you'll want to go collect Dialogues (Quest Guides), Functions (Forum Guides), and Stats/Numbers (Battle Strategy Guide, Quest Guide, etc.). Though, Dialogues are usually irrelevant, since it usually can be found in the Wiki.
5. Format your Guide and add pictures (optional). This makes the guide not only attractive, but easier to understand. If you have diagrams, that's always good. The brain is said to work better with pictures. *Guides Rules states that maximum file size should not exceed 250KB.*
6. Proofread your guide for mistakes. Now that you've got everything down, check to see if you like the formatting and such. Then, it's ready to be posted!
7. Request Approval. After ensuring that your guide follows the =AQW= Pending Guides Rules and other guidelines listed here, post in the Guide Approval Requests thread. If it meets approval, your guide will be moved to the main forum and all replies will be deleted.
If your guide has been denied for whatever reason, you will be notified of what needs to be changed and after you have done the necessary changes, you can post it again for another review.
There is no one way to make a guide. Many outstanding guides don't follow this guide to-the-letter. Every guide is equally important, no matter how big or small the guide is. It is the amount of time and effort you put into making it helpful that makes it interesting to read and therefore helpful to the player. Some quest guides don't even have dialogue - why not? It's irrelevant! It's always is nice add a bit of flavor, but you need not explain everything, sometimes a link to the AQW Wiki will suffice. Be concise: don't make things too hard to understand.
If a guide's not going to be 'you', then why do it? We want you to be as yourself as you can! Nobody's going to judge your guide based on your style - because everyone's taste differs. The only thing that we ask of you is that you provide sufficient information to be able to help others with your guide. Now, get out there. You wanted to change the forums for the better, didn't you?
Then why don't you start by writing a guide - helping people one-by-one. What are you waiting for?
Good luck with your guide! The wind is blowing - but you must hoist your sail!
Thanks to Eternal Chaos for all their hard work on The Guidewriter's Manual to Excellence, where most of this guide's information comes from.
Thanks to westward_ho! for some more information, taken from Guidelines to Guides: Read this first.
Thanks to skydrite and the AQW Guides ArchKnights for the previous version of this guide.
Thanks to Gingkage and James Lu for helping me to create this updated version of Eternal Chaos' guide.
Thanks to .Shadow// for all the images.
< Message edited by Zyrain -- 9/9/2014 17:18:39 >