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Submitting a Journal article


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So my buddy says I “have” to write up an article for IPMS 😂 I finally told him I’d give it a shot. Haven’t found anything yet on how to do that, although I have to admit it’s been a casual search.  😉  How do I go about submitting an article for the journal? I could also use a guide on the requirements for an article.

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Send an email to John Heck <johnaheck@gmail.com> when you have an idea of what to submit.  Then just spend some time reading various articles and figure out what you want to write about.  Photos are obviously desirable and necessary for most articles.  As far as how to write, it isn't that esoteric.  Write like you're talking to another modeler, telling him...or her...how you built the model.  Go into detail.  You can always edit an article for length...that's what editors are for...but you want to make sure you don't leave anything out.

Since you're new to the forum, you're probably wondering where all of the above is coming from.  I write for a living, so I know whereof I speak.  Don't hesitate to ask along the way, but mainly just get in there and do it.  You have to start somewhere and I'll guarantee your second article will be better than the first and so on and so on.

Looking forward to reading your first article.  Go for it!

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Along with Richard's advice, look at what the other authors do in their articles and take your cues from them.  You'll eventually develop your won style, but in the beginning it helps to have a trail guide, so to speak.  

Another thing I do--once I think the article is finished, I save it and revisit it the next day.  I usually find that I need to tweak some aspects of the text.  If you have someone else who could give it a read-through, do it.  Two sets of eyes are better than one...

Cheers!
Ralph

 

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An alternative to having someone else read the article is to find someone you can read the article aloud to.  This can be your wife, grandparent, teenager or someone you buttonholed off the street...and they don't need to know one single thing about models or modelbuilding.  You'll discover that you will spot and correct mistakes, errors of words/whole sentences that need to be deleted or added in order to make your prose clearer.  You'll also be able to make spelling corrections on the fly as you read...which brings up another point.  DO NOT rely on spell check.  Believe me, it has absolutely no knowledge of the specialized terms, descriptions and product brands that we utilize on a regular basis.  If you're a poor speller, use a dictionary...remember those?...but avoid spell check like the plague.  And while I'm at it, that goes double for grammar checkers.  If you're writing in a conversational style...which I'm assuming you would be...a grammar checker won't help you.

Just a few more suggestions for your consideration.

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Oh! Oh! I know how to do this! 🙂

The optimal length for an article is 2500-3500 words. Your editor often goes over that, much to the consternation of the art director, but generally, if the words tell a good story AND there are enough good photos to support it, we make it work. The rough ones for us are short articles with a ton of great photos, or long articles with a paucity of photos. 

As a writer by trade, I suggest you make an outline. It makes it really easy to write without forgetting things during the process. You want an introduction, something to explain why you chose to build the subject. That might be something historical, something about your relationship to the kit, something about  what you hoped to try out, etc. Then, maybe a bit about the kit, then the build. 

While you're building, take plenty of photos. Take them at the highest resolution you can; print is unforgiving to low-res images. You don't necessarily need a professional camera - my last several articles were shot entirely with my iPhone. (Richard Marmo's tutorial on model photography that appeared in the Journal is great if you have a better camera and a tripod. I learned to use my expensive Nikon by following his instructions.)

I strongly recommend including things that went wrong. My article on the MiG-15 in this issue is an over-the-top version of this. We're modelers, and we like the process of modeling, so the pitfalls, faux pas, mishaps and mess-ups are both educational and entertaining. The secret to being a good modeler is learning how to fix your mistakes! 

Write it up (preferably in Word or some other mainstream application - don't make us hunt for compatible software!), and send it off via email to either John Heck or me (we can coordinate between ourselves). If the photos need help, John will make suggestions. If the words need help, I'll handle it. Generally, there's no need for me to send it back for a re-write - I think I've done that twice in 13 years. Writing is a team sport, and I'll do my part in the editing phase. 

Expect an email from me with seven questions - I use that to create the bio. 

That's about it. We want a good mix of subjects in the Journal, and we always especially need more cars, ships, sci-fi and figures to keep the mix reflective of the membership. So, write, everybody! And thanks! 

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Wow, great advice gang! I had tried to get back on here last weekend and ran into the forums being down and my ipad doing the same thing to me haha thrilled with all the responses once i got back online. 
ok off to try an outline since my thoughts truly are all over the place on what to include in the article. I finished up Tamiya’s 1/350 Enterprise complete with hangar bay and full lighting. I’ve seen quite a few of these and alot of them have tons of aftermarket on them and lighting has been talked about. I think what my buddy likes is the focus on out of the box with lots of painting techniques to set it off and modernizing the lighting to a full led package withadvice on how to do it. See... I think you guys got me started on a direction already!

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  • 1 month later...

When I start a new model, I set up a file on the computer and begin a page in Word. Each time I work on the model, I take pictures with my mobile phone and then place them in this file.  Every time I work on the model, I add some to the article about what I have done. ( This is far easier than trying to remember what I did several weeks in the past.) By the time I'm done, I have a full range of construction photos as well as an article that only needs some editing. I then recaption the phots to state what I am trying to illustrate. When I get it all tied up, I then send it to John via a service called Wetransfer.com. This lets you send 2m in one shot, for free.

Dak

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