Style Guide

Style Guide

The most important thing about texts for Nordiclarp.org is that our readers get through them and understand them. We of course also want our readers to enjoy our content, but we believe that’s hard without understandable language.

George Orwell’s Remedy of Six Rules is a great starting point in our opinion:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.George Orwell, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_and_the_English_Language#Remedy_of_Six_Rules

Language

Always strive to keep your text short, to the point and relaxed in tone.

Try to keep your language varied. Look out for using the same phrasing repeatedly. Avoid starting consecutive sentences with the same word.

Nordiclarp.org is an online magazine rather than a scientific journal. Strive to write text with a flow similiar to a talk or conversation. Easy to understand, without interruptions, following one track at a time.

Sentences, Paragraphs and Structure

Sentences that are longer than 20 words appear as wordy and long. Keep them at 20 words at most.

Each paragraph should cover one topic each. Avoid long paragraphs, instead limit them to 150 words.

Use sub-headings to structure your text. We recommend at most 300 words in each section. If you churn out a lot of paragraphs, try to divide the text into sections that make sense rather than stringing together a lot of paragraphs.

Images

All articles should have a cover photo that fits the text. If the author provides the photo we need the following information:

  • A caption for the illustration.
  • In which state the photo was taken. Pre-game, play, after game, staged, etc.
  • Attribution to the person who created the image.

More photos make texts easier to read, up to a point. Use one photo for each sub-heading at most. One photo per top level sub-heading is a good starting point.

Specific Rules

Abbreviations

Write out abbreviations as they are spoken. For example, don’t write OOC, write out-of-character. FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) is for instance okay to write as an abbreviation.

Dates

Always write short form dates using Hungarian standard (ISO 8601). Year as four digits, month as two digits with leading zero if needed and day also two digits. All numbers separated by hyphens as such: 2017-05-23

Write long form dates as month name, day without leading zero and year with four digits. For example: December 02, 1999

Footnotes & References

Avoid footnotes and references. Instead, try to keep your text to a continuous flow without interruptions. If you find yourself using notes ask yourself if they’re necessary or could be worked into the main text.

If your text needs citations for academic or archival reasons we prefer footnotes. Please use the footnote format for Chicago Manual of Style: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

At Nordiclarp.org, we avoid bibliographies. However, if you insist upon including a bibliography or ludography, place it at the end of article. Citations should be alphabetically arranged according to the name of the author according to Chicago Style.

Link the title, authors and publishers to corresponding articles on the Nordic Larp Wiki or other outside sources when relevant.

Ludographies are also alphabetised by author if separate at the end of the document, but generally best as footnotes. If you have more than three authors, use the term et al. after the third name. For ongoing larps, use a dash after the date, like so: (2017-)

Basic format:

  1. Larpwright names, Title (Location City/State and Country: Publisher/company, dates of run).

Example Footnotes

For a specific run, use the following format:

  1. Maury Elizabeth Brown and Benjamin A. Morrow, New World Magischola (Richmond, VA, USA: Learn Larp, June 19-22, 2016).

For an ongoing campaign:

  1. Charles Bo Nielsen, Dracan Dembinski, and Claus Raasted, et al., College of Wizardry  (Poland: Liveform and Rollespillsfabrikken, 2014-).

Add external website links at the end of the note:

  1. Olle Nyman, Sebastian Utbult, and Erik Stormark et al., Hinterland (Sweden: Berättelsefrämjandet, 2015). http://beratta.org/hinterland/

If you insist on adding a separate bibliography or ludography at the end, the formatting is slightly different. Organise by last name of the first author, use periods before and after the title of the article/game, and remove parentheses. Alphabetise by last name of the author. We know this is bulky, unintuitive and contradicts our style recommendations. This is the preferred academic format though, and adhering is important for academic texts.

Some Examples in Ludography Format

  • Brown, Maury Elizabeth and Benjamin A. Morrow. New World Magischola. Richmond, VA: Learn Larp, June 19-22, 2016.

An ongoing campaign:

Adding a website:

Headlines

Headlines should clearly present what the reader can find in the following section.

Write headlines with title case. That means all words should have a capitalised first letter except articles, prepositions, and conjunctions.

Avoid click-bait, jokes, quotes, questions and exclamations as headlines. Rather go with something straight forward.

Never start your text with a sub-heading, instead get right into a paragraph of text.

Names

Write the names of people as they are spoken. Never use last name, first name. There isn’t a global standard for names and it’s easy to get it wrong if you assume that everyone has at least a first name and at least a last name. Some people have several of each and some have only one or the other.

Transcribe names to latin script unless names are widely known and used in their original script.

Italicise larp names, book titles and other names.

Linked terms, larps, and names  to corresponding articles on the Nordic Larp Wiki or other outside sources when relevant.

Titles

Article titles should be short and informative so that the topic of the article is clear.

This is a great example of a good article title:
The Absence of Disabled Bodies in Larp

Separate main title and sub-title with a colon. For example:
A Matter of Trust: Larp and Consent Culture

Quotes

Prefer block quotes to running quotes in text, since it makes the text easier to read.

Avoid long quotes because they break the flow of the text.

Avoid consecutive quotes, instead see if you can reference them and restructure your text.

Quotes should always have a source attribution and a source URL if possible.

Don’t start your text with a quote, instead get right into a paragraph of text.

Acknowledgements

Thank you to Sarah Lynne Bowman and Mo Holkar for input, support and superior editing work.

Yoast SEO and the style guide of The Economist Style Guide were the main inspirations for this style guide.