What is the preferred length?
Content should be at most 500 words in length and include a suggested headline. The headline may be changed in the editing process.
What should I write about?
Submissions to The Laconia Daily Sun should address topics of local interest – the more specific, the better. Writers should write about their topic objectively, with no mention of themselves or their organization.
Ask yourself: What are the things your target reader might like to know? What questions come up frequently?
Remember that facts are your friend. The more facts you have, the stronger your article will be.
What tone should I strike?
Content should be written in the third person (avoid “I” and “you”), use neutral language, and avoid self-promotion. Avoid exclamation points. They are no substitute for a clearly stated, declarative sentence. They may even distract the reader.
Remember that writing an article is an opportunity to build credibility by sharing your expertise. If the reader feels like you are trying to inform them, rather than sell them, they will have greater confidence that the writer is someone they can trust.
What else can I do to make my article more appealing?
By all means send photos, preferably in .jpg format. They should be high resolution and illustrate a point being made in the article. You may have to get creative. Illustrating an article about something tangible is easy, but an article about a concept or service may be more of a challenge. If there are people in the photo, identify them by name and tell what they do. Most photo software includes an area called “File Info” that allows you to embed caption information within the file itself.
I have completed my article. What should I do now?
The first thing you should consider doing is reading it – aloud – to yourself. That will give you a good idea of how it will sound to the reader. If there are places where it reads a little clunky, smooth those out by reworking them until they sound better.
After you're satisfied that the article flows, ask a colleague to read it and give you honest feedback. They might pick up any grammatical or spelling errors you missed, and they can also fact-check the piece.
When that's done and you are satisfied, attach any photos and email it to us at email@example.com, or visit laconiadailysun.com/site/forms/online_services/community_news.
Don't worry, we're not grading your submission. But we will give it a read as part of the editing process, and we'll let you know if we have any questions.
A few writing tips
Avoid the word “very” when you can. Instead, use a stronger word
If something is very nice, call it “immaculate.”
If something is very popular, call it a “trend.”
If something is very easy, call it “simple.”
Avoid excessive use of prepositions, especially the word “of”
“A knowledge of correct procedures of closing on a property is the duty of all of the members of real estate organizations in this state.”
The seven prepositions in that sentence make it choppy to read and impede the flow of the narrative.
The sentence can be shortened – and strengthened – by eliminating most of the prepositions and rewriting it to say:
“All real estate brokers in the state must be knowledgeable about the property closing process.”
Write in the past tense, use words that end in “ed” (they're punchier) and avoid the word “would.”
For example, instead of saying:
“She would go on to buy a second hat.”
Change it to: “She purchased a second hat.”
It's shorter, punchier and easier to read.
Only capitalize proper nouns
Capitalization can also be a distraction, so use capitals sparingly and only when necessary.
Words like “state,” “city” and “county” are common nouns and should not be capitalized unless they are part of a proper noun.
Consider, for instance, the sentences,
“Laconia is in Belknap County.”
“Laconia is the county seat.”
County is part of the name in the first usage, so it is capitalized, but “county seat” is a description, rather than a proper noun, so it takes a lower case.
We hope this helps and we welcome your submissions. If you are unsure about something in the writing process, you can always do what we do: Look it up.