Last updated on September 14, 2017, by Henry Stukenborg
The following style guide is a resource for writers and prospective writers of EDHREC.com. If anything is not addressed below, use your best judgment or check in with our Content Manager, Jason. If you are interested in writing for EDHREC, email your best pitch (or at least a very good one) to Jason at email@example.com.
The goal of every article should be to convey something of value to the reader: entertainment, humor, information, advice, encouragement, the opportunity to comment on a hot-button issue, etc. If you can’t point to the value your article provides, it may be worth considering a rewrite. Your thoughts and writing should follow a logical flow, with the reader able to follow your train of thought. Clunky writing comes across as disjointed and will turn people away quickly.
This guide is designed to be used as a reference when questions arise during the writing process. Please reference this guide when you have a question about formatting or style preferences. And please note, the fact that your articles will be edited doesn’t mean you can be sloppy. Editing time should be spent polishing your paper to professional quality, not correcting simple errors.
Be sure to either compose your piece within the editor on the site, or use the clipboard icon to paste it as plain text. Carrying over formatting from other programs can make things tricky sometimes, which is why I recommend composing the article in WordPress itself.
Abbreviations and nicknames are acceptable, but before you use a nickname or abbreviation, be sure you use the full name or title on first reference.
Another note on names: Just because a website address doesn’t have spaces in it doesn’t mean business names don’t. If you’re referring to Star City Games, do not write “StarCityGames.” Just because the website is starcitygames.com doesn’t mean the name of the business does not have spaces. This is true of many businesses, but not all (TCGplayer and WordPress appear to prefer no space). When in doubt, check the source!
Game and set names: Names of game or sets should be in italic type. This includes Magic, Magic: The Gathering, Magic Online, Hearthstone, Theros, Khans of Tarkir, etc. However, abbreviations are not italicized (e.g., MTG, KTK, etc.).
Be sure you have an author bio in your user profile [Users –> Your Profile]. Write it in the third person (i.e. don’t say “I”). Make it humorous if you want to. Use a decent picture in your profile, also as it will be the image that shows up when you post in the comments.
The following items should be capitalized:
1. All words in card names, except for articles (a, an, the), conjunctions (and, but, or, for, nor), and prepositions of less than five letters (as, by, for, from, in, etc.).
2. Magic formats
3. All proper nouns, including but not limited to:
The following items should not be capitalized:
1. Card types
3. Generic terms, even if they are referencing a proper noun
Dates should be formatted as MONTH DAY, YEAR.
Use headings for sections in your articles. Major sections should use Heading 2. Subsections should use Heading 3. (To apply headings, click the menu that says “Paragraph” at the top left of the word-processing field and select the appropriate option.)
Be sure to use headings to break up the sections of your article. A big wall of text does not look inviting to read.
Please use American English spellings in your articles. Most of our readership is American, and while it will be in ignorance, most will see foreign spellings as wrong. Furthermore, our editor does not have the training to edit in anything other than American English.
However, please feel free to use terms and idioms unique to your location! Play up the international aspect of the game—it’s one of the coolest things about it.
As a general rule, numbers under 10 should be spelled out (one, two, three, four, etc.), and numbers 10 and over should use numerals (10, 25, 117, 1000).
Unfortunately, you can’t generate a poll without administrative access. State clearly in your article that you would like the editor to add a poll and what you would like the answer options to be. We’ll get it added prior to publication. (For editor’s reference, the tag is [po ll id=”N“].)
The goal is to keep the site ‘G’, which means please no profanity. We’re writing about Magic and really don’t generally need to dip into that well to get the point across. If you have any questions, please ask.
Use generic singular pronouns, with a healthy mix of masculine and feminine versions. Do not use “they” as a generic singular pronoun.
Pronouns to use when referring to cards: Cards should be referred to as “it” in most instances (e.g., My opponent cast Snapcaster Mage, but I bolted it before blocks).
Proper nouns ending in “s” should be followed by an apostrophe and another “s.” This is consistent with templating on cards (and, you know, proper punctuation in general).
Simple nouns ending in “s” should be followed by just an apostrophe.
Its vs. it’s: “It’s,” with the apostrophe, is a contraction of “it is” and only a contraction of “it is.” The possessive form of it has no apostrophe: “its.” Watch out for this! It is (or it’s, if you prefer) a common error.
Seriously, use the Oxford comma. I give a f*%#. This is somehow controversial and I’ve run sites where we say not to use it. Personally, I think it has its place so if you think you need it, use it. I’ll probably slap a few into your articles when I edit without even thinking about it.
If you’re using dashes to break up sentences—like this—know how to use them. Em dashes are preferred (make them by using Alt + 0151). The regular keyboard dash looks odd, so use the Em, please. I’ll know if you don’t.
Hyphens should be used with compound adjectives. This means that if you are describing a noun with multiple words, those words should be connected with hyphens.
This is somehow controversial, but I say use it. I would hate to have to write “seventy-five percent theory” every week.
Periods and commas always go inside the quotation marks, even if it’s not part of the original quote. (e.g., He said Nightveil Specter was a “bad spec.”)
Question marks and exclamation marks can go either in- or outside the quotation marks, depending on how they were used in the original quote. (e.g., Did you hear him say to me, “You’re fat”?; He asked me, “Do you know where the LGS is?”; I can’t believe she would say, “I’m not interested”!; He screamed, “I am angry!”)
Don’t use single quotation marks, use double quotation marks. (e.g., “Get out of here!” not: ‘Get out of here!’)
Do not put two spaces after the end of sentences. This is an outdated practice from the typewriter days, and no matter what your elementary school teacher told you, it’s no longer necessary or correct. Did you write your article on a typewriter? No, you didn’t.
Try to keep your articles between 1,000 and 1,500 words.
When you are referencing specific cards, please tag them.
The code is very simple: it is just [ca rd]Card Name[/ca rd] (expect without the spaces in the word “card”—posting this on the website means using the correct tags will just show the result, not how to do it. Hence, the spaces). Make sure the card’s name is spelled properly and has the correct punctuation, capitalization, and spacing.
Split cards: To tag split cards, use the format NAME SPACE // SPACE NAME. So, [ca rd]Fire // Ice[/ca rd], when tagged, will show up as Fire // Ice.
All decklists submitted should be divided into sections:
Use the following outline when including a decklist in your article (again, all spaces in the middle of words should be removed for tags to work):
[de ck title= Deck Name Here]
Put the cards in between the two labels for each section, and don’t put anything after [/deck]. List the number and name of each card together on one line, starting with an asterisk (*), the numeral, and the card name. List only one card name per line. Don’t pluralize the card name, even if more than one copy is in the deck.
Here’s an example decklist:
[de ck title=Small Deck]
*1 Leafcrown Dryad
*2 Ordeal of Thassa
*1 Shredding Winds
And here’s how it appears when all the tags are done correctly:
Annoying question marks: Some issues can come up due to the WordPress interface and its capabilities. One of the most common—and most annoying—is that some special characters will be replaced with question marks. This can also be caused by certain formatting options, or sometimes by apparently nothing at all. Once you’ve submitted your article on WordPress, please Ctrl+F and search the text for question marks. Make sure all that are there should be there, and remove any that shouldn’t. Resubmit your draft, Ctrl+F for ? again, and make sure the question marks stayed gone.
Importing from Word: Importing or copying text from Word files is likely to cause many of the above-referenced question marks to appear. To avoid this, use the instructions here.
Plug-Ins: If you need a WordPress plug-in installed for your article, email your request to Jason Alt with the link for the plug-in needed. I did a decent job of anticipating most of the plugins we will need, but this is a new site so I might have missed something.
Queue: Please don’t keep unfinished articles in the queue—anything there should be ready for editing and publication.
That’s it! Any other questions, direct them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for joining the team!