What the Pros expect...

Here are some handy tips on writing a professional article.
April 14, 2008
I'm sure a lot of you know me. I am dalmatianlover; I've been a fellow Retrojunk member for two years, and I've written some of the most popular articles (but not the most) on this site. By the way, this is based on other people's opinions; I'm not just patting myself on the back or anything like that.

After writing 40 articles, I've learned a lot of things about what people like to get out of articles. Some people, on the other hand, have different things that they're looking for. Knites wrote his own article on this topic, and after all the criticism I've been getting for these past two years, I thought I'd give out some tips for professionalism for those of you who are new to writing. This is all based on my experience.

Part I - Building Your Article

What's the first thing you need to know before making your article? Well, knowing how to make it, of course. To start things off, here are some things you should consider while writing the article:

1. Pictures

The key thing to a good article is to include lots of pictures. It makes the article more enjoyable to read. No article gets sent to the back page faster than an article with a lack of pictures. If your article has no pictures and bulked out paragraphs, readers will get bored, get eye aches and complain. Though, I gotta admit, these complaints I keep hearing about lack of pictures do get on my nerves. These guys sound like little kids when they read novels: "There are no pictures!" You remember those days?
Also, when you put your pictures in the article, make sure you're putting them in the right place. Avoid poor picture placement, as it can really annoy readers and prove your inexperience as an article writer. If you need any help on alignment, take a look at the tag cheat sheet; that's what it's there for.

2. Spelling and Grammar

This really gets on people's nerves. Before posting your article, make sure everything is spelled correctly, you're using proper grammar, and that you are writing in complete sentences. A good way to do this is to copy this onto Microsoft Word, and it'll point out all the misspellings and grammatical errors you have made as well as fragments you have written. A fragment or two isn't too bad for an article, but try to avoid using fragments too often. Also, make sure that you use CAPITALIZATION and punctuation...whenever necessary.
Another thing that you should consider is to keep your profanity to a minimum. An overuse of profanity can really irritate people, and it will also show to them that you are nothing but an immature brat with no professionalism whatsoever. I always try to keep my profanity to a minimum since I tend to have this fear of getting banned from the site.

3. Research

Professionals demand articles that are well-researched. If your article contains low content or is poorly-researched, you will very likely get a lot of bashing from people who read the article. I should know because I have written numerous articles and have gotten a lot of feedback from people proving either my information was wrong or that I left something important out. If you want to talk about something but have a lack of knowledge from it, then do some serious research. Wikipedia would be my recommendation.

4. Remember the Purpose of "Retro"

Remember: This is Retrojunk. Retrojunkies want to read articles on something that'll tickle their memories. Right now, the site only focuses on the 1970's, 1980's, and 1990's, but I'm pretty sure that the first decade of the 2000's will be added on here shortly since it's almost over now. You can write an article on anything you want, but try to make sure it's retro enough. If what you want to talk about is fairly recent, that's fine, but keep in mind that it might get sent to the back pages since readers may feel that it isn't retro enough.

5. Be Original!

When writing your article, make sure that it is written in your own words. Nothing seems to piss people off more than people who quote the Angry Video Game Nerd. I admit, some of my articles sounded similar to stuff that he had said, but I've been accused of "ripping him off" or "quoting one of his videos word for word and claiming it as my own", which is entirely...

If you want to use the AVGN as a reference, that's fine, but try to formulate what you're saying into your own words; there are tons of AVGN fans on the Internet, and they can clearly tell if someone is quoting him. If you are accused of ripping him off, it's best to ignore that comment, because the fact that you're quoting somebody is not the point of your article anyway.

Part II - Topics to Avoid

Now, before I go on with this, I need to say that there are some types of articles that we get a lot of on Retrojunk. Some people like these articles, but most get annoyed by them. If your article falls into one of these categories, people will like them, and people will hate them. I'm not saying "Don't make these articles"; I'm just informing you that we get a lot of articles like these, and if your article doesn't fall into one of the following categories, it might get better appreciation.

1. Video Game Articles

These types of articles tend to get lots of appreciation. A lot of children of the 80's and 90's lived on video games, and classic video games always seem to tickle their memory. If you are going to make a video game article, make sure it has lots of pictures and talks about a good variety of games. I tend to like list articles, but small lists don't amuse me that much. Professional writers do get sick of these articles, so try to keep stuff like this to a minimum.
2. Nickelodeon's Glory Days

This is a very broad topic. Everybody was born in a different year, and everyone lived in a different generation. Talking about the "glory days" of Nickelodeon could mean any era. There are people who liked the network better in the 80's before it went commercial. There are people who liked the network better in the early to mid 90's when it showed the classic Nicktoons. Then, there are people today who like Spongebob and the Fairly Oddparents. Over the years, Nick has changed making shows for new generations of kids. Making an article like this will cause many to disagree with you. If you're going to make an article like this, then my best suggestion to you would be to come up with a better title.

3. My Favorite Crushes

There was a time period where I saw a series of articles like this. We got like four of them in a row! People make these articles that list like girls or cartoon characters from the 80's that they had crushes on. I mean, it's nice that you had a crush on them, but that's not really a topic I'd be interested in. Articles like this show another good example of immaturity.

4. Decline of...

I've seen quite a few articles like this, and I just didn't get them. I mean, "Decline of Family Guy", "Decline of Teletoon", etc., etc. These are basically articles that talk about how something went downhill. Most of them got sent to the back page because most people disagreed with them, plus they had a major lack of research and a lot of immature statements. If you so choose to make an article like this, make sure it is well-researched, is professionally-written and doesn't include the "Decline of" part in your title.

5. Top 10 Lists

Now, personally, I like these types of articles. I think they're very interesting, and when I read them, I get to know a little more about people. Professional writers, on the other hand, can't stand these kinds of articles. Top 10 List articles (or any kind of list article for that matter) show a true amount of laziness to the pros. I, on the other hand, encourage people to write these kinds of articles so that I can get to know about them better, but be prepared! People who comment on these kinds of articles may disagree with some of the stuff you put on your list, and others may question why something was left out. Believe me; people like to complain. I learned that from the Angry Video Game Nerd as well.

6. TV Sucks Now!

This is probably the most annoying topic of all. People keep complaining about how TV sucks these days. To be honest, it doesn't really suck; this is just TV for a new generation audience. People make these articles because networks like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network have gone down the drain by cancelling their classic shows and making new shows that aren't captivating as much to most audiences, and networks like Toon Disney have been overcompensated by things that don't belong on the network like Jetix. The main reason people hate these articles is because the people who write them are whining, using too much profanity, not spelling words properly, and not giving any valid explanation as to why the networks suck. I've written an article like this myself, and it's probably the only one of these articles that's really worth reading as it may be the most professionally-written of the "TV Sucks Now" articles. http://www.retrojunk.com/details_articles/2016/
Spongerocks wrote a whole article on this whole deal as well, and I find it to be worth reading as well.

Part III - Accepting Criticism

Everybody loves to be complimented on their work, but there are some people who will critique on your work. Professionals like to read criticism as it helps them to become better writers. Here are some examples of members of Retrojunk you should focus on:


Knites is probably a perfect example. He knows just how to make a Retrojunk article be a success. He, himself, wrote an article that gave a lot of helpful tips on how to write a good article. Yes, I admit, I was inspired by his article to write this one. If you'd like to read it, it could be found here: http://www.retrojunk.com/details_articles/2060/


Velcrohead is a true professional writer, and he can't stand amateur articles. He is kind of a bugger though, because he reads every single article that gets posted on here, points out every little flaw in it that he can find and posts it in the comments. He may sound like an asshole at times, but he offers good criticism. Reading his comments can give you a good idea on what professionals expect out of you. Although, there are plenty of people that despise him. I admit, I happen to be one of them. He's still got to learn that the reason we write Retrojunk articles is to talk about stuff we loved as a kid, not to win an essay contest! Still, keep an eye open for that name and that familiar avatar, and be prepared for some strong criticism.


Some commenters can get really nasty. This is a good example of someone who gives bad criticism. When I say bad criticism, I mean comments like "YOU SUCK!" and "This article stinks!" These examples are unconstructive, unhelpful, and give no detail whatsoever. Why I'm using mrbumpy as an example is because there have been several articles where people listed all their favorite cartoons from like the 80's and 90's or something like that. Mrbumpy normally commented on them by simply saying, "You have no taste." That's a perfect example of bad criticism! Mrbumpy is somebody I wouldn't want to hang out with; he hates "101 Dalmatians" and everything to do with the 80's. I don't know what kind of stuff he does like, but just saying, "You have no taste" to people and nothing more is completely pointless and unconstructive. If you see comments like these, ignore them. These come from people who are total jerks who just need to grow up.

So, in conclusion, I hope this article was informative to a lot of you fellow writers. I know, this was probably pointless, and it'll probably get sent to the back page, but I just thought I'd do it since it's something I've learned from my writing experience, and I wanted to do something different for a change. If you think this is just a rip-off on Knites' article, just deal with it.


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