As editor-in-chief of the Filipino Freethinkers’ website, I go through a number of contributions from mainstays and newbies alike, and with my trusty team of pedants (better known as the FF editorial board) determine which pieces get published, and which do not.
So, if you aspire to get an essay of yours published on our site, or hope to have more of your pieces accepted on a regular basis, you should know that each article should be crisp, concise, and altogether COMMUNICATIVE — without compromising your voice as a writer, of course. You have to find the sweet spot between intelligent and accessible. You have to inform or opine with clarity and substance. You have to buy us lunch. But really, your piece has to speak, not mumble or, worse, ramble. But how exactly do you pull that off? Here are five tips that can get us editors smiling:
1) Essay writing 101: The first part of the article should be expository, the next part of the article should be explanatory, and the last part of the article should be concludatory — which is not a word, but you should catch my drift.
2) Use words because they are necessary, because they most clearly capture what you are trying to say, because they are comprehensible — not because they make you sound like Mr. Post-Grad Fancypants. For instance, instead of using the word “meretricious,” use “gaudy” or “phony” or “trashy” instead. “Meretricious” is just…meretricious.
3) Avoid making asides. Stick to your point. Anecdotes should be directly related to your topic. And, of course, have a clear-cut thesis statement. As much as stream-of-consciousness has become an accepted literary form, it is not the best thing for our site. Freethinking is the opposite of clouding up your mind. A reader, then, should finish your article clearly knowing your main point.
4) Use concrete examples. Don’t touch on abstract concepts without providing concrete imagery. We would like to think that people are learned enough to know immediately what we’re talking about, but alas, who the fuck are we kidding.
5) Creativity is da bomb! However, we are not looking for the next Finnegan’s Wake. Your creativity must serve a purpose beyond the masturbatory. Tell a short story, whip up some satire, put out a screenplay, but make sure you can reach a fairly broad audience. The site serves to help freethinking writers communicate to a greater number of people. If you’re writing just for the half-drunk Cubao X crowd, please stay in Mogwai.
And there you have it. If you are able to submit an article that subscribes to the above tips, then congratulations — there is a much bigger chance that it will get published. So, just keep ’em contributions coming! Email them to this address, and the editorial board will get to business right away. And just to be clear, we would like pizza for lunch.