Friday, October 30, 2009

Doug writers' guidelines

Want to write for doug? Here’s what you need to know.

Your story-telling style should be conversational. Don’t approach it as if you’re writing a paper for your instructor – write as if you’re telling a friend about your experience. Casual language and tone is what we’re looking for. For a good example, see Trapped No More.

Unlike other types of writing, most blog posts are all about keeping it short and sweet. For doug, we’re looking for anywhere between 250-500 words (usually 2-5 paragraphs).

Because blog posts are relatively short, try to focus in on one unique or interesting part of the experience you’re writing about. If you did a week-long practicum, don’t start with “On Monday morning at 7am…” Instead, think, what was the most interesting thing you learned during that week? Did you meet one person who had a big impact on you? Did something strange or interesting happen? Think about what you would tell a friend about your week. Narrowing your focus will make for a much more interesting read.

Dos and Don’ts
Here are some short examples of how to – and how not to – write your story.

On Friday morning, the Douglas College Royals soccer team played in the provincial final. Despite the horrible weather, we all showed up to play. It was freezing! Both teams played a hard-fought game. At the end of the first half, it was still 0-0. Luckily, we came out hard in the second half and one of our forwards, Vito Lacobellis, scored two goals. It was such an awesome way to end the season. Next, we’re on our way to the Nationals!

Little Halo to start the day

Starting to get the idea?

Story types
doug wants stories about people. These may fall into a number of categories:

You could be writing about how you ended up at Douglas, life as a fresh-from-high-school student or mature student or your experience on a practicum abroad. Perhaps outside of school you have a job as a part-time clown, or you volunteer to build houses for families in need. Or you’re a Criminology student with a secret life as a break dancer. Whatever the topic, tell us your story.

This can include events being sponsored by your faculty or a student group like DSU or the DCBA. When appropriate, we still want to hear your story. Don’t just tell us who, what, when… why is this event important to you? What do you hope to get out of it? What are you looking forward to? For instance, if you’re writing about an event being offered to new students, tell us a bit about your own memories of being new to Douglas.

We’re all about the visuals. If you prefer to have a video or slideshow tell your story, doug still needs the basics about you – your name, program and any relevant background info (“I dance to relieve stress!” “Our fundraiser event raised $5,000 for the food bank!”).

doug is also looking for opinion pieces and stories about current events and trends from Douglas College faculty. See Are blogger's journalists? for an example.

Still unsure?
Give it a try! We can always take a look at what you’re written and suggest some ways to tweak the tone or focus. Or you never know – it might already be just what we’re looking for!

Please send submissions to