How to Write a RuneScape Guide Introduction Hello, everyone. My RuneScape username is Brink, but most just call me by my real name -- Dylan. I'm the founder and lead developer at RSGuides (http://rsguides.net). It's an absolute pleasure to have the opportunity to write to you guys. As of January 6th 2014, I have been playing RuneScape for just over 8 years. I have achieved the highest level for all of the skills, have over 1.2 billion total experience, and have earned a Completionist Cape. The goal of RSG is to change the way RuneScape players find and share information, so as to make it a more enjoyable and smooth process; but in order for any of this to occur, we have to make sure the producers of the information themselves are up to par. Not only will my process foster a more gratifying experience for readers, but it will also make writing guides more pleasurable. I am inspired to write this guide by Zarfot, so was an expert in providing sweet, concise guides. So, without further ado, here's how to write a RuneScape guide. How to Write a RuneScape Guide [hide=Establish a Table of Contents] Establish a Table of Contents This holds true for both text and video guides. Both IdkWhatsRc and Mat Dragonx do so perfectly in their guides. A table of contents allows readers and viewers to quickly find the information they are looking for. [/hide] [hide=Quickly Declare the Target Audience] Quickly Declare the Target Audience We've all been there. We crack open a resource, only to find that the author uses jargon we don't understand, or that the problem the guide is addressing is different from ours. Not only does this waste our time, but it causes us to develop an unnecessary disinclination toward the author. This problem can be avoided very, very simply. Just tell people who should be reading it! The target audience should be declared near the introduction. Art of Death does so perfectly in his Corporeal Beast Guide. [/hide] [hide=Establish Credibility] Establish Credibility Are you going to follow a guide to maxing your account that has been posted by an individual who doesn't have a single 99? I sure as hell hope not! Who are you, and why should people read your guide? Every introduction should include this information. People need to know if the information they are receiving comes from a credible and experienced source. Troacctid does so picture-perfectly, even mentioning grammar in his Woodcutting Guide in the Archive of Wisdom. [/hide] [hide=Guides are just as Much about Eloquent Language as they are about Content] Guides are just as Much about Eloquent Language as they are about Content Take this example: You wish to learn to play Stealing Creation and boost your Fishing experience per hour. So, naturally, you navigate to the skills index and find a guide on Fishing with Stealing Creation. You click on Stealing Creation for Dummies by Player X. It's the longest guide you've ever seen, loaded with tons of words and pictures. The author of this document clearly knows what she's talking about. You begin to read the information, but find yourself having to reread words and sentences. Why? Because the author failed to make language a priority. I won't delve too deeply into grammar and rhetoric (this isn't English class, after all), but I will set you on your way to writing more cleanly. Here is a short article by Business Insider that describes the most common rhetorical mistakes. For those interested in improving their writing skills beyond the purposes of RuneScape guidemaking, I highly recommend The Elements of Style by William Strunk. [/hide] [hide=Say Only What is Necessary] Say Only What is Necessary Your readers aren't here for poetry. They get enough of that in school. What your readers are after, though, is punctuality. Your readers want to read as little as possible, but still retain the same value from your content. The way I like to achieve this is by trimming my document after writing the entire thing. Each word and sentence should have a purpose. If a word or sentence does not bring you closer to getting your point across, then omit it. The reason I use the RuneScape Wiki and Rune Tips for quest guides is because their guides are very short. Not much is said apart from what is absolutely necessary. Thulcandra, in his 99 Fletching Guide, almost achieves this: This could have been made even better if he had written something like Do you see the point I'm trying to make? It's a win-win situation when less is written. [/hide] [hide=It's Okay to Let the Reader be the Judge Sometimes] It's Okay to Let the Reader be the Judge Sometimes One of the best things you can do for readers (especially advanced ones) is to allow them to make their own decisions. Give them the information, show them the numbers, and then step back. You shouldn't burn normal logs to 99 Firemaking? Instead of telling the reader not to, show him/her not to by using real, tested figures. Numbers don't lie. This is why it is integral for skill guidemakers to include information regarding experience per hour. [/hide] [hide=Clearly Define Where Elements Begin and End] Clearly Define Where Elements Begin and End Too many guidemakers are focusing on the razzle-dazzle, but missing the main point. Guidemakers are quick to add ASCII art and pretty colors to their documents, but not clearly signify where things start and finish. One way to do this is through underlining and bolding. This example is from Mat Dragonx's very well-written Grand Exchange Merchanting Guide. Let readers know where they are, even if it means making a new post. [/hide] [hide=Differentiate: Inject a Bit of You into Your Guides] Differentiate: Inject a Bit of You into Your Guides By now there are hundreds (possibly thousands) of guides for each component of RuneScape. There needn't be another Bandos guide. What we are in need of, however, are individuals who will present the information in a dignified, flavorful, and unique way. Why do you think NightmareRH gets so many views? Do you think it's because he provides the most detailed and well-researched RuneScape information? No. It's because he shows his viewers who he is. Get real with your audience. [/hide] [hide=Concluding] Concluding A strong conclusion will always reference the introduction. In the conclusion of your guide, re-inform the readers/viewers of what was covered and what they should expect with their new knowledge. Axe Man Jack does so in his Guide to Becoming a Slayer Master: ___ ___ [/hide] Conclusion Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I hope that aspiring guidemakers follow some of the elements presented here. You may find that you are already using some of them. Challenge yourself to make your guides better by incorporating all of them. They aren't the easiest changes to implement, but, like anything, they become easier with time.