Response to Austrains' announcement of a C30 tank and C30T
An Announcement from Austrains - SDS acquisition
Connecting loco and tender - Hornby Top Tips
Trainorama 830 class 847 review
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Bachmann new GWR Earl Class review
Reconnecting with a childhood hobby
James May urges nation to 'save Hornby' as shares plunge 62%
Hornby boss quits after third profit warning in five months
Statement from Ixion Model Railways Ltd
Wednesday morning arrived the same way as Sunday, Monday and Tuesday - with an alarm on my phone going off.
At 8am I attended the "Tips for Creating Articles (for publication)" clinic by Cinthia Priest, the editor of NMRA Magazine. Normally here I'd have the title slide here, and a photo of Cinthia.... normally I'd also have remembered to put an SD-card in my camera.... and since I wasn't wearing the now broken sling, I didn't have the two spare cards that are usually stuffed in it either. Sigh. This morning was not getting off to a good start.
The clinic, on the other hand, was excellent. While Cinthia is the editor of the NMRA magazine and would like to have people send articles to her, she acknowledged that what she was teaching was applicable to submissions for any magazine, even MRH (sitting in the front row gets you called out). And with one possible exception, she was right. She started with "Get writing!' and followed it up with the surprising, "Write badly!" - her point there was that we have proofreaders (there is a volunteer team of them) and copy editors to clean up your writing, Personally, I know all of our editors, copy editors and proofreaders, and I fit in there somewhere, would really like you to at least run your content through spell check and grammar check on the word processor of your choice.
One of the next point was to write like you speak. There was a brief discussion of Active Voice and Passive Voice, with a very cute method of determining if something is in passive voice - if you can add "by zombies" to the end of a sentence and it makes sense, it's passive voice. To steal her example:
Active Voice: I ate the bacon.
Passive Voice: The bacon was eaten (by zombies).
She also covered Passive-Aggressive voice, but I don't think that has much of a point here... I've seen to many people (okay, I'm guilty too) who know how to employ passive-aggressive quite well.
It comes down to Passive Voice not being necessarily bad, but you need to have some of your article in Active Voice as contrast - all Passive Voice reads oddly.
Most of the rest of the clinic was on photographs, including what sort of format and quality she needs. JPG's that are straight from the camera are fine, ones that have been edited 10 times with a reduction in quality each time are not. TIFF or RAW format are also fine - she likes that she has the ability to manipulate a raw photo. Historical photos get something of a pass, since people understand they were taken years ago and frequently cannot be recreated now.
She had a lot of "don't do this" examples with recreations of photos that she had received over the years that had problems - like "product placement" where there is a large, labeled, and non-model railroad item in the photo (like the can of Mountain Dew in the cup/can holder... ), distractions in the background of photos, to include photo bombers, distractions in the foreground of of photos, like a bunch of shiny rail joiners reflecting at the camera in the midst of ballasted and weathered track.
She also discussed the angle of photos - we have a tendency to take helicopter shots and need to take more ground level shots and other angles - particularly ground level shots that will draw in the reader.
For cover shots, she covered both the rule of thirds, which divides up your shot into a 9 by 9 grid, where your point of interest should be on at least one of the 4 spots created by the intersecting lines. You also need to look at the covers of the magazine you are hoping to submit to - other than MRH, most magazines want a portrait shot, so twist the camera sideways, and consider where the magazine's masthead and, for the print mags, where the address label goes - don't hide something important behind those.
Cinthia covered 90-ish slides in under 60 minutes, resulting in an information packed but easy to understand clinic. The only disappointment for me was that she wasn't talking to a standing-room-only room - we all need more authors!
Surprise discovery of the day: Cinthia's "day job" is as a Pharmacist - she has her Doctorate of Pharmacology (Pharmacy?) at a large hospital in the Kansas City area. Children's Mercy, I believe she said.
This article first appeared on model-railroad-hobbyist.com
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