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Roleplaying Tips Weekly E-Zine Submission Guidelines

Your Tips & Advice Wanted By Game Masters from around the world


Thanks for for your interest in sharing your tips and advice with nearly 20k roleplayers world-wide! The ezine is 100% free and has been going strong since 1999. The whole purpose of it is to help GMs improve their game, and while I cannot offer payment for submissions, any tips or advice you could pass along to help your fellow GMs and support our beloved hobby would be much appreciated.

These guidelines can be summed up in a single sentence:

Game mastering advice for any game system or genre is always welcome, regardless of spelling, grammar or writing skills.

I'll make you a deal: I'll do all the editing if you share your GMing secrets. :) Single tips and full-length feature articles are welcome.

Quick Submission Process:

Send your tips and articles to me. That's it. Write and send. :) Please give me a few days to read and respond. If you'd like more info before you submit, read on.

Detailed Submission Process:

  1. Tip Topic Requests
  2. Sending In Tips & Articles
  3. Grammar Advice From Dave Gross, Former Editor Of Dragon Magazine
  4. Tip Writing Advice from Johnn
  5. Legal Stuff
  6. Important Last Notes
  7. Contact Information

  1. Tip Topic Requests

    The best topic to write about is one that interests you. There are many approaches, angles, and viewpoints on GMing, so even if a topic has been covered before, chances are you can shed some new light on it. However, if you're stuck for a topic, here are some suggestions:

    GMing Tips

    • Tips On Better Roleplaying
    • Tips On Helping Players Create Interesting PCs
    • Session Planning Tips
    • Adventure Planning Tips
    • Tips On Speeding Up Combat
    • GM Organization Tips (i.e. index cards, binders)
    • Tips On Winging It, GMing On The Fly
    • Tips On Improving A GM's Game-Table Charisma
    • Storytelling Tips

    Realism Series

    GMs today need to be armed with good information to help knowledgeable and sophisticated players maintain a sense of disbelief. While we aren't expected to be experts in all fields, it is nice to have game-centric references to call upon when put to the question or while designing.

    For examples of realism information that is game-centric, see the Stahls' article, "Gaming The Horse" and "Gaming The Horse, Part II."

    Realism topic ideas:

    • Dogs
    • Gems
    • Jewelry
    • Trees and shrubs
    • Fish
    • Farming
    • Construction
    • Engineering: bridges, roads, buildings

    Please note: Slant your advice to help beleagured GMs. If you're an expert on a real world topic that would be useful for GMs to learn, please do send in some tips or an article. However, try to relate your information to roleplaying games, players, characters, and GMs. Chunk your information out into individual tips to help people digest your advice. Purely informational articles on any given topic abound on the Internet, so the e-zine needs advice and information that's game-oriented.

    There are many, many more great topics that aren't covered here. If you have a subject you're interested in writing about, and it's not on this list, don't worry about it--just write your tip(s) and email them on in.

  2. Sending In Tips & Articles

    Sending In Tips

    All RPG-related and game mastering tips are welcome. Type your tips, tricks, techniques, and ideas in an email and send them to me.

    That's it. I'll take care of spelling and grammar, so don't worry about that stuff. Also, my policy is to credit you using your first name and the first letter of your last name. i.e.:

    From: Johnn F.

    Let me know if you want me to credit your full name, email address, and/or a web site. Tip: gaming companies and writers have reported getting great exposure by including their URL with their tips.

    Sending In Ezine Articles

    Whether you are looking to add a writing credit to your portfolio, you have some advice you'd like to share with your fellow GMs, you simply enjoy writing, or you are looking for an effective way to promote your gaming company/web site, your article is welcome!

    • Email your article to me.
    • Feel free to send me your topic idea before writing your article to ensure another reader isn't already working on the same topic.
    • Pick a specific topic and avoid wide-scope, expansive topics. "Using Food In-Game To Enhance Adventures" is better than "World Creation" because it's focused.
    • Ideal length is 1000-3000 words. Longer pieces might be split into a multi-part series.
    • Format is important. Split your article into 5-16 numbered tips. Use as many bullet lists and ideas lists as possible. Look at recent issues for examples of format.
    • Try to write each tip as an action item that a GM can immediately perform or use at the game table. This keeps your advice down-to-earth and useful to your readers.
    • Don't forget to spell check.
    • Format: MS Word, plain text, and email are all great formats.
  3. Grammar Advice From Dave Gross, Former Editor Of Dragon Magazine

    Dave Gross was editor of Dragon Magazine when I first started my DM's Toolbox column in Dragon #284. He gave me a few points of great RPG writing advice that I'd like to pass along to you for your tip writing:

    • Try to limit yourself to one "very" per article. It's one of those words that means something only rarely, because it's used so often.
    • Beware of writing compound or complex sentences as two sentences. If your sentence starts "And" or "So," maybe it's part of the previous sentence.
    • Relax a little! Use contractions when they "sound" appropriate, and don't think so hard about your sentences so they'll come out a little shorter and more natural.
    • "Really" is another word to use only when you're making a strong point about the difference between perception and reality, or a necessary emphasis akin to "truly."
    • Instead of starting a sentence with "But," try "On the other hand," "Alternatively," or "Instead."
    • Don't use "they" when your example is a single person. Use "he" or "she," but not "he or she." Mix it up to make it about 50/50, but don't give yourself eyestrain counting the instances of either pronoun.
    • Usually, "can" serves you better than "may," and "might" is the word you usually want instead of "may" when talking about permission. You'll never need to write "in order" unless you mean "in sequence." Most of the time, that's a superfluous phrase.
    • Lose "etc." from your written vocabulary. Use "and so on" if you must, but just end the examples in most cases.
    • Lose "i.e." and other abbreviated Latin conjunctions. Use English instead.
    • Use "that" instead of "which" in almost every case except those rare instances when "which" is correct. I'll explain if you like, but it's boring. Basically, "which" comes after a comma because it's a nonrestrictive conjunction. See? I told you it was boring.
  4. Tip Writing Advice from Johnn

    • The true test of a tip or bit of advice is usefulness. Will your tip help a GM improve, even if it's by a tiny measure? Note that improvement isn't always "an evolution" but sometimes just doing something differently for a change.
    • Keep tips and advice action-oriented. A GM must be able to act on your advice in some way, else it's just fuzzy theory.
    • Write for screen-reading (lots of headers, sub heads, bullets, short paragraphs).
    • Pick a topic or theme and stick closely to it. If your article wanders topically, consider splitting it into shorter, more focused articles.
    • Focus on a problem that players or GMs could have, and then present one or more solutions. Articles without solutions are more like complaints. ;)
    • Always feel free to send in a brief outline for approval before writing the whole article (there are some topics I won't publish).
  5. Legal Stuff

    • Being a free ezine and all, cannot pay you for your submissions. You'll have to settle for fame and glory. :)
    • I need to reserve the right to make final approval and edits on submissions. Your submissions need to be original work written by you. And you grant non-expiring republishing rights (which means can permanently store your article and tips on its hard drives, web site, CD Roms, and so on) for all of your submissions.
    • You also grant republishing rights to the web sites, companies, and individuals that has allowed to repost its issues.
  6. Important Last Notes

    • Thanks again for your interest in submitting a tip or article! I'm certainly not the world's best GM and I know you definitely have some good tips yourself, even if you think they're obvious. The core basics are always worth repeating. So, please share your advice.
    • If you just have a tip or two to send in, forget all these guidelines and just send 'em on in. I'll deal with the editing and formatting. I'd rather put a little effort into some editing than not receive your tips at all. :)
    • Topic requests for others to write about and help you out are always welcome.
  7. Contact Information

    E-mail your tips and articles to Johnn

    I'm Canadian, eh. In the MST (GMT-7) time zone. Due to email volume and a full-time day job, it can take me a few days to return messages.

    Please don't hesitate to email me with any questions or comments you have. Also please let me know if you've found any errors in this document. Thanks. :)

    Warm regards,

    Johnn Four