A map and a style guide
After bragging about our blog's output, we've been very quiet the last couple of weeks. That's because January, with his fat, wet butt of last year's residues was hanging around at our office. We had to kick him out first to make room for more beautiful things.
We thought we'd share our plan for what's happening with our blog in 2014 as well as our rudimentary style guide for those to whom it may concern.
Our primary goal still is: Publish good content, regularly. Squirrel Park is a beautiful and fairly popular playground. It will stay that way, but the toys will become more focused and more technical.
Our objectives are:
+ Write and communicate better
+ Develop ideas by expressing them
+ Connect with our community
+ Be of value: share knowledge, exchange thoughts, keep the conversation going
As we go along, we'll add a couple of slim, new features. This goes for design decisions, too, such as perfecting readability by reworking some of the typography. Of course, the improvements will be incorporated into LINES:
- Easy email subscription
- Suggestions for further reading in Squirrel Park
For now, we decided against comments or more social interaction. We still believe in taking the discussion to the people.
We will aim for two good Opoloo articles per month. Ideally, one will be more technology-oriented, the other rather design/strategy/philosophy-related.
We want you to be a part of this blog, because we value your ideas, feedback, and criticism—in fact, we need them to continue building good stuff and do our share for the community. So, we will try to host one awesome contributor from outside Opoloo each month. Yes, we hand-pick some people we admire, but (as we established in the very first post) we would like you to tell us your ideas for guest posts. Playing in Squirrel Park will be even more fun, if we can achieve a nice miscellany from new and established voices.
An interview series is planned, in which we’ll record some conversations with interesting people in the industry. If you’d like someone particular to be interviewed, please do tell us and we’ll see to it that we drag that person in.
Now it’s your turn to send in your idea. We’ll work it out with you, but just so you’ll be prepared, here is:
The Short Squirrel Park Style Guide
This is a very rough guideline for writing on Squirrel Park.
It is not the place for advice on how to become a better writer.
Articles will be mid-form, about 4–8 paragraphs. Make sure you write to the point and bring something relevant to the table. Don’t start articles with “10 years ago, when I was young, the bees bla bla bla ...”. Find a strong introduction that gets to the point and move on from there.
Also, don’t try to dive too deeply into philosophy or lengthy explanations. If your story is very complex, break it down into multiple articles.
A paragraph consists of more than one sentence. It should outline an idea in the first sentence. Then, you elaborate on your idea and explain what you really mean, or give proof for the argument outlined in the initial sentence. The goal is that all paragraphs contribute to the overall idea/argument of the article. Try to link paragraphs.
Each piece of writing should reflect the personality of the writer. The tone should be relatively warm, human, informal, without being cuddly, cute, or flamboyant. It should be lean, to the point, using common language while technically correct and specific, without being corporate and interchangeable.
Please be opinionated and not afraid to say what you think.
Generally, prefer short words to long ones (if your word ends with
“-dezificationaliciously”, there’s probably a better one out there).
Prefer short sentences to long ones.
An article does not need to have sub-headlines, but it might profit from them (e.g. when they expose and concisely sum up ideas). Be sure, in any way, to adhere to a structure (i.e. beginning–middle–end) to guide your reader.
Grammar & Usage
Do worry about using language correctly, but focus on your writing. Don't worry about the finer details, such as capitalization, using curly apostrophes, Oxford commas, semicolons, or em-dashes. Squirrel Park's editorial process will take care of this.
Still, use a dictionary (Wordnik is perfect).
If you haven't yet, get The Elements of Style by Strunk & White. Read it.
More immediately ...
We're looking forward hanging out with you this year in Squirrel Park. If you have an idea for a guest post, do tell us about it. Coming soon: An introduction to Jekyll by Max Boll, a Firefox phone review by Günther Beyer, and lots of insight into our latest projects.