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How to Create a Great Guide or Tutorial
Please note, this is an archive of the original article, which can be found here.
Help Wiki Highlights: How to Create a Great Guide or Tutorial
Hello everyone! Some of you might know about our Help Wiki and might have even turned to it for advice at times. If you haven't had a look at the Help Wiki, know that it is a fantastic resource full of helpful tutorials to give you the power to be the best possible contributor for all of your favorite wikis.
To further expand on using the Help Wiki to the fullest, we've created a new series that will highlight different parts of the Help Wiki to feature all of the parts it has to offer. Before we get too deep into the Help Wiki however, we're highlighting what makes it so great: amazing tutorials. Our very first installment of Help Wiki Highlights is more of a how-to guide for creating incredible tutorials that could turn into just the help your fellow community members have been looking for!
Step 1: Do Your Research
Before even starting to write a guide, be sure you've done the research to make sure that you have looked into a few things and can answer a few questions yourself. Is there a need for what you want to create? Even if you are aiming to create something similar to what already exists, would you do a better job at it? Are you an expert with the information you're wanting to share? Remember, it's one thing to understand how something should work, but to truly know every nuance of it and be able to share that with others is a whole different story!
When you have an idea for a terrific guide in mind, it is absolutely important that you really know the information you're sharing, and if there are any gaps in this information, you're already busy researching how to fill in these gaps. Great tutorial writers are part experts in the information they're sharing and part curators who take pride and pleasure in sharing this knowledge in the best manner possible.
Research also includes looking at other guides and tutorials and seeing what authors are doing right. Even if you're looking at guides for a subject you would not be writing about, they're a great place to gain inspiration and get ideas on what works. Building off of pieces of several fantastic tutorials can lead to a new whole guide that can in turn inspire others.
Step 2: Know Your Audience
This advice seems simple enough, but it's often overlooked. No matter what you're doing, knowing your audience so that you can tailor what you are doing to that audience so that the information you want to share is best received. Regardless of the popularity that a game like World of Warcraft has, when writing a guide for a game like Titanfall, drawing analogies to strategies needed to take down Rattlegore might not be understood by the people you want to be reading your guide. When creating guides and tutorials for beginners, this is especially true!
Beginners guides are a fantastic place to get started as a tutorial writer. Maybe you've been enjoying the WildStar pre-order beta weekends recently so much that you know the Exiles starting quest lines so well, you can speak every word every quest NPC says through level 10 without even trying. Not only do you know this part of the game so well, but you have come up with the most efficient way to get through the quests in a timely manner while enjoying the story as much as possible. Tell your audience why they cannot skip Hijunga Village, at least to lick lollipops and jump around through the trees. Creating a write-up talking up these points, along with maps and pictures will help your newest Mordresh brethren find the same enjoyment you've had!
An important thing to keep in mind here, also, is language. Just like you wouldn't want to discuss Rattlegore tactics when writing about the Black Goat Card in Goat Simulator, using language that is audience appropriate can drastically improve what you're writing. For gaming tutorials, it's likely that you do not need to go into super technical areas. While Goat Simulator has a physics engine, going into actual physics in your tutorial, outside of possible humor reasons, would be unnecessary!
Step 3: What Information Do You Want to Convey?
Now that you know what your main subject is and who you want to talk to, your next step is figuring out exactly what you want to say. So maybe you really do want to talk about Rattlegore because you just never could get enough of Scholomance. You lived there, you know the zone and every possible encounter that could happen. You just love that heap of bones and want to let the world know everything there is to know about Rattlegore.
You'll likely want to decide if you're going to focus on the normal or Heroic version of Scholomance. Throw in Rattlegore's specials, what to avoid and what loot can be obtained and you're on your way to creating a great tutorial! You can make it even better by adding in screen shots of Rattlegore and action shots during th fight. Any video you might have during the battle can also be added in to ensure you are conveying exactly the information you want to in the most concise manner.
Step 4: Organize Your Material
How you show your information is just as important as what you have to say. Think about it like this: when baking, there are very precise steps that must be followed in a certain order. Otherwise, the bread you wanted to make could end up as either a charred log or a pile of goo. Goo could be delicious, but probably not as delicious as the bread you thought you were making in the first place.
This is especially if you are writing a guide with beginners in mind. While new players will likely have a basic understanding about the game you are talking about because they are fans of the genre, there is also the possibility that the tutorial you are writing will be read by not only someone new to the genre, but possibly new to gaming altogether! Just imagine – your guide could inspire someone to fall in love with a game, genre or even gaming as a whole. Almost everything you will talk about will have a beginning, middle and end. For tutorials, this is a good skeleton that you can later turn into an outline.
Take this article for instance. While we certainly hope you are familiar with the Help Wiki and see how it can help you become a terrific contributor, we can't assume that you've had the chance to yet. Even then, while the Help Wiki is built with tutorials, there really isn't a tutorial to tell you about tutorials themselves. This article started out as a thought that turned into a concept, which went on to become a conversation, and later an outline. Words begin to fall into place, which turn into full paragraphs the more you work your outline of material into a good working order. So here we all are, working through how to create kick ass tutorials together!
When writing a new guide, there are four small steps to follow that can help you create a fantastic guide so that you in turn can help others. Do your research, know your audience, know what information you want to convey and organize your material to get started in the right direction. If you get stuck, look for inspiration in the fantastic tutorials other community members have written throughout Gamepedia!
We want to empower you as wiki editors, so we want to make sure you have the tools you need. This is the start of a new series that aims to continue doing just that! We look forward to seeing what you can do as wiki editors and guide writers. Are there any tutorials you would like to see added to the Help Wiki? What would you like to see as the next Help Wiki Highlight? Let us know!