FANDOM


 Style

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; the editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” – Mark Twain
Each publication has its own style. If you’ve written for other publications before, whether online or print, you may be familiar with the Associated Press or AP style. AP style is a common style guide that many American journalists use that addresses things like comma usage, capital letters, and a wide range of other writing rules. Our guide won’t go through all of the nitty-gritty of AP or FANDOM style, but let’s look at a few things that new writers should be aware of.

Word count

All articles need to be a minimum of 300 words. If you’re struggling to reach this mark, you might want to reconsider whether there’s anything about the topic worth saying.

While there isn’t a strict upper word limit, we aim for articles to be under 1,000 words so they’re snackable and shareable.

Images

Images are an important element of any article, but there are a few things you need to consider when selecting images that represent your article.

Featured image

The featured image is the one that appears on our homepage or anytime you search for an article within the site. It's one of the most important elements when it comes to catching the attention of a potential reader and getting them to click on your article.

When choosing a featured image for your article, it needs to be:

  • 1280 x 720 in size
  • Colorful and bright
  • Not black-and-white
  • No white background
  • No text or logos
  • Not copyrighted, watermarked, or offensive in any way

Here are a few other things to consider:

  • Use an image featuring a person - but not too many. More than 3 and the image gets crowded, so 1-2 is ideal
  • Use an image where the person/people are visibly emoting in some way

Images and other media within the article

Images throughout your article help keep your reader interested and engaged with your article. The guidelines with these are less strict, and you're welcome to embed other media throughout your article, such as:

  • Images
  • GIFs
  • Videos from Youtube
  • Social media posts

To learn more about embedding these things into your article, please refer to our Getting Started Guide for the Contributor Tool.

Images in your article don't need to be 1280 x 720 in size, but they should be:

  • Landscape (horizontal) format
  • High-resolution
  • Relevant to your article
  • Not offensive

Italics

Italics in Headlines

Italics in headlines don’t appear once published, so here’s how we indicate to our readers that we're talking about a franchise, title, or an episode of a TV show. Here's how it works:

Type Style Example
Franchises No punctuation Star Wars, Call of Duty
Movie / TV / Game / Comic / Book / Album titles 'Title' 'The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild', 'Logan'
TV episode / Song title / Book chapter / Game DLC title "Title" The 'Seinfeld' episode “The Soup Nazi”, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Italics in Body

Using italics in the body of an article is similar to how it works with headlines except titles are in italics instead of being sandwiched between a couple of apostrophes. Here's how it works:

Type Style Example
Franchises No punctuation Star Wars, Call of Duty
Movie / TV / Game / Comic / Book / Album titles Title Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

TV episode / Song title / Book chapter / Game DLC title "Title" The 'Seinfeld' episode “The Soup Nazi”, Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”

Other Things to Italicize

  • Artworks (Like the Mona Lisa)
  • Names of ships (this includes spaceships, i.e. the USS Enterprise)
  • Newspapers
  • Foreign words that haven’t been assimilated into English and would be unfamiliar to the reader i.e. “doppelgänger” = no italics; kamsahamnida (Korean for "thank-you") = italics
  • When you want to emphasize something (please don’t use all caps)

Capital letters

FANDOM uses “Title Case” for all:

  • Headlines
  • Headings
  • Subheadings

If you’re unsure what “Title Case” means exactly, use this website (select the “Capitalize words with four or more letters (AP style)” option) to copy and paste your headline or subheading and see what capital letters you need to use.

Numbers

Headlines that use numerals as opposed to the full word of the number generally perform better. So, listicles should be “The 7 Best…” or “5 Reasons Why…”

Within the body of an article, numbers one to nine are spelled out and numbers 10 and above are numerals. The only exception to this is when it’s part of a title, for example: 2 Fast 2 Furious, 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, or One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

Ordering content

The order that you should follow for adding images, gifs, or videos is:

Heading/subheading

Image

Body

Do not place images:

  • Above your opening paragraph
  • At the end of an article
  • Before a subheading

Links

In your article, link out a minimum of 3 times, including at least one link to a related FANDOM wiki or a FANDOM News and Stories article. Ideally, all links should go to related FANDOM wikis or News and Stories articles, but sometimes these aren’t available and other links are required. Best practice is to include 2-5 links per 1000 words.

Edits

Our Editorial team work with a lot of words over the course of the day, so make sure to read and reread your article before submitting it. Minor typos and missed/extra punctuation are easy to fix with a quick once-over before pressing send and make your piece look more professional. If we’re not fixated on a misspelled word or missing comma, it means we can spend our time being won over by your hard work, convincing arguments, and fantastic words.

One essential tool that every writer should use with every article they write for FANDOM is Grammarly (or something similar like Hemingway). Grammarly is free to use, or you can pay for a premium account if you think the upgrade is worth your money. The program works like a spelling and grammar checker and explains why it believes something needs changing. You can easily override its decisions if it has misunderstood, and you learn more about your spelling/grammar blind spots along the way. Our Copy Editor used it on every article that crossed her desk and can’t speak highly enough of it.

A note on listicles

Listicles are trickier and more work than they appear on the surface, but they can also be a lot of fun! You’re welcome to add gifs, images, videos, or whatever you think brings your listicle alive, so, for the most part, remember to just have fun with it!

Here are some guidelines for writing listicles for FANDOM. Listicles need to be:

  • A minimum of five entries long
  • Include an image, video, or gif for each entry
  • Include at least a few of the most obvious choices. Preferably, these obvious or popular entries would be toward the top - essentially, you’re earning the right to go obscure rather than losing your reader by leading with your most obscure choice
  • Not numbered in the main body of the text unless you argue that the order is relevant for some specific reason (your personal preference is not a reason) that wouldn’t be clear without numbers
  • Equally written about as each other entry. As pointed out in the ‘Body’ section, one entry with several paragraphs but the next with a few sentences looks like one probably doesn’t deserve to be there.
  • Not too long. A listicle is meant to be a fun, bite-sized representation of your idea, so don’t bog it down with too much information. If it requires a back story, consider whether it deserves to be on the list or if an article that covers just this topic would be a better choice.

If you’re interested in honing your listicle skills even further, this article is a great guide for how to approach writing them.

Referring to the LGBTQ+ Community

When referring to people in the LGBTQ+ community, please use the guidelines outlined by GLAAD:

Glossary of Terms - Transgender

Glossary of Terms - Lesbian / Gay / Bisexual / Queer

See Also

FANDOM Editorial Writing Guidelines

FANDOM Editorial How to Write Headlines

FANDOM Editorial How to Write Introductions