How to Prepare an Article for Submission 0

  1. Start with the Headline: Always start with a headline in mind. You can always change it later. We may also change the headline, but writing with a headline in mind keeps you focused on your major story points.
  2. Headlines must be at least 42 characters and must not be longer than 56 characters, including spaces and punctuation. The minimum number of characters is a function of our website design. The 56 character limit is imposed by the Google web crawler, which only has room for that many characters in the headline block. Headline writing is a real art. Don’t be surprised if we change your headlines.
  3. Write your article in any word processor: Do NOT write directly into the Tellus Text Editor. If you lose your internet connection, you can lose your whole story if it has not been saved yet.  
  4. Collect the URLS for the articles you have used as your sources AS YOU GO ALONG: Articles must have a minimum of three hyperlinks to sources that you have quoted from or referred to in the course of writing your article. Keep track of those sources by collecting and saving the URL for each article you have relied upon.
  5.  Create hyperlink to those sources by using the hyperlink tool in your word processor:  You collect hyperlinks by simply copying the URL that appears in the browser’s search window when you are viewing that article. Insert the URLs for those sources into your article by using the hyperlink tool in your word processor.
  6. PLEASE NOTE: The Tellus Text editor WILL erase the hyperlinks when you transfer your article to the text editor. This is by design. It prevents the insertion of malicious code into our website’s content, but you can copy the hyperlinks from the version in your article in the word processor and recreate the hyperlinks in the Tellus Text Editor. We always check incoming articles to insure the safety of the hyperlinks.
  7. Check spelling, grammar and punctuation. Most word processors are very good at spell checking, but they are not very good at checking grammar and punctuation. When in doubt, refer to our style guide. It is easier to check spelling, grammar and punctuation before you transfer your article to the Tellus Text Editor.
  8. Remove double spaces. Double spaces following periods and other punctuation marks cause formatting problems on web pages. You can remove extra spaces by using the replace function in your word processor. Simply enter a double space into the search box and a single space in the “replace with” box, select replace all and you are done with this step.
  9. Check for question marks and exclamation points. Question marks and exclamation points do not belong in journalistic writing. Rhetorical questions are not permitted in news and feature writing. We will sometimes let you get away with a couple of them, but we’ve seen articles with six or seven question marks in them and that isn’t cool. By the same token, exclamation points do not belong in journalistic or feature writing. Using either of these in your writing brands you as an amateur! (See what we mean?) Use the search function in your word processor to hunt down and remove these punctuation marks unless they are really needed, such as when a question mark or exclamation point appears in a quote.
  10. Run-on sentence check: We hate run-on sentences, and you should too. Here’s a secret technique to help you eliminate run-on sentences. Using the search function, check for hyphens, semicolons, colons, and ellipses (…) because none of these punctuation marks belong in journalistic writing, and your writing will improve greatly if you remove them. Exceptions: Hyphens should only be used in hyphenated words. Ellipses are ONLY used to indicate where you have deleted words from quoted text. Colons and semicolons should almost always be replaced with commas or periods.
  11. No ifs, ands, or buts: Your writing will also improve even more as if by magic if you minimize the use of these conjunctions because they also often result in run-on sentences. Use your search tool to look for instances of and, but, because, therefore, and however. You should never have more than one but or because in a sentence. You should rarely have more than TWO ands in one sentence, and you should carefully review any sentence that has both and and but in the same sentence. Therefore and however should also be removed. Both usually introduce the run-on part of the sentence. The word of also requires special attention. Overuse of prepositional phrases is a common problem. Here’s an example: “The parents of Mr. Grey” is wordy and stilted. “Mr. Grey’s parents” is preferable. Look for prepositional phrases beginning with “of” and replace them whenever possible with the preferred construction.  And NO sentence should ever begin with and or but.
  12. Once you have cleaned up these instances, save your work in your word processor. Now, make a backup copy of your article and store it in a different directory. This is called your proof copy because it demonstrates your ownership of the article and serves as proof of the original content of the article.

Congratulations! (That is a permitted use of an exclamation point!)  You are now ready to submit your article to Tellus.  Click Here for those instructions.