Interested in writing for Scary-Crayon? Then read on for our...

If you've been reading the site and found yourself wanting to contribute to the body of content that comprises the site, you're in luck: Scary-Crayon is not averse to article submissions! Note the curious phrasing of that invitation, though. We do in fact accept submissions, but (generally speaking) we don't actively solicit them and we're not looking to take on dedicated staff members who post on a regular basis. There are a lot of random entertainment sites that don't take submissions at all, and we can see why -- despite webmasters' frequent talk of altruistic motives and desires to expand the content on the web, there is a certain egoistic component to it all. After all, these websites are our babies. And while parents may be happy when grandma swings by with a new rattle or an adorable pair of booties for their kid, they're not going to be too thrilled if the entire nursery is decorated with stuff from grandma or if the child's attraction to the rattle results in the shelving of a homemade teddy bear that the parents painstakingly designed, sewed, and stuffed themselves. I don't mean for this to sound discouraging, mind you -- and please don't let this stop you from contacting me if you're really interested in contributing, as I really would like to see reader submissions on the site. I'm just being honest about how much guest content I'd like. Besides, considering that SC's averaged about one submission per year since its official opening in 2004, I really don't think it'll be a problem.

Beware of baby!

That said, there are several additional points that bear mentioning.

I. SCARY-CRAYON does not pay for content.

You will get no money for your contributions to the site. I can't even offer you a discount on purchases from the SC Cafepress store (though you may end up with a free button or magnet if I ever order a box of them). Now, there are other entertainment sites that offer financial incentives -- I think -- so if you're hoping to get monetary compensation out of your work, you should probably seek them out instead. Simply put, if you submit content to SC, you do it because you really like the site and are interested in contributing a piece of yourself (albeit a small one, per the previous passage ;)) to it. I'm not even going to give you some bullshit PR spiel about how your writing will be featured on a popular website that was spotlighted in The Montreal Mirror and reaches tens of thousands of readers per month -- because while SC did appear in the Canadian publication in 2004 (at least on the web; not sure about a print version) and the site logs do register an average of 1,100 or so unique visits a day, SC's not that popular and I'm not sure that we really reach anyone. If you're looking for tons of readers, you'd probably be better off starting up a personal blog and joining a few webrings. But if you read all of these guidelines and you still want to write something for SC because you like the site that much, I'd love to see what you've got for us.

II. SCARY-CRAYON is only interested in exclusive content.

Well, mostly. What this means is that no matter how funny or insightful your weblog posts may be -- and despite our inability to pay you any money whatsoever for publication rights -- we're not interested in syndicating them or duplicating any articles, stories, or art that you've posted elsewhere. Now, if you introduce an idea in a two-paragraph blog entry and decide to develop it into an eight-paragraph article for us -- complete with images -- that's great. Or if you post a piece of Street Fighter II artwork to your DeviantArt account that you want to include alongside your SC-exclusive fanfic about Blanka's adventures in downtown Vancouver's Chinatown, that's perfectly acceptable. In any case, the point is that there should be some significant additions to the submission that would compel a reader to check it out here rather than elsewhere. If you're not certain whether a piece is sufficiently exclusive, please e-mail me to check. Speaking of which...

III. SCARY-CRAYON strongly advises you to e-mail your article idea(s) to Wes before you begin working extensively on your submission.

That is, if you're dead set on having the piece published on SC. If you won't be particularly upset if I decide it's not my cup of green tea, then by all means feel free to write the entire submission without consulting me. It's worth noting that that is, in fact, how SC began. I wrote a few articles for my own amusement, decided to try submitting them to other sites for the heck of it, and then, when those pieces were rejected -- or rather the webmasters simply never got back to me, which really was very encouraging -- I decided to start my own website and use those pieces as my very first features. Still, I have no desire to offend anyone or potentially waste his or her time, so I'd prefer it if you ran ideas by me before submitting. In addition to the fact that there is a small minority of things I will not publish under any circumstances, I have a pretty lengthy list of products and specials that I personally intend to review at some point -- so if you wanted to write a review of, say, The Violinist of Hameln for the Super Famicom, I'd be less than enthusiastic about it. On the other hand, there are also a ton of things that I no longer plan to review but for which I have already done quite a bit of image work, so talking with me first could make your job a little easier. Similarly, if you're looking to review a DVD that I own but lack the ability to take and/or resize screecaps to fit our template, I'll be more than willing to lend a hand.


Writing to me will also allow me to assess your writing style. While the occasional grammatical error or typo isn't going to get you disqualified -- heck, I make them myself, and in keeping with my function as webmaster and editor I'll probably end up making some minor changes to your writing (which I will, in turn, run by you) before publishing it on the site -- if u rite lk dis ill prolly dlete ur email wifout 'spondin' srsly. Okay, maybe I'll write back (I do remember how it felt when those other webmasters never wrote back to me), but I'm not going to be interested. See, while I try not to be exceedingly pretentious on the site, as evidenced by some stuff that is <NSFW>in very poor taste</NSFW> and the implied goofiness of a page called Scary-Crayon, I do like articles to be relatively well-written. This probably isn't a big deal, as I don't imagine that exceedingly poor writers enjoy SC very much or will even have read this far into the guidelines, but it still has to be said. If you happen to be one of the few people to whom I've actually extended an informal invitation to write for the site, you're definitely okay on this front (though I still recommend discussing your ideas with me).

IV. SCARY-CRAYON has content suggestions!

Indeed! Not for specific topics, mind you -- that's up to you! -- but there are certain things that I'd really like to see and a very limited selection of things that I never want to see. We'll touch on the latter area first...

Scary-Crayon hates racial/racist "humor." In fact, SC -- by which I mean Wes (me!) -- hates most humor that hinges upon stereotyping minority groups, satirically or otherwise. There are probably other things that I hate, but this is really the only thing that I feel compelled to mention explicitly, if for no other reason than that this kind of "humor" is largely dominating the comedy circuit these days. I think Carlos Mencia sucks, am not fond of "Family Guy" (though admittedly that also has a lot to do with the correct assertion that its jokes could have been "written" by a bunch of manatees in a tank with idea balls), find Sarah Silverman to be adorable but am annoyed by her jokes and would probably throw lukewarm tea in her face and storm away halfway through a date, and would soak the headquarters of The CW with gasoline and burn them to the ground without any prompting whatsoever from a six-foot demonic rabbit. You can probably glean more of my views on the subject of "race" from my annual attacks on Black History Month (here, here, and here) and attendant blog entries, but suffice it to say that we will not be amused if you write a short profile piece on Super Street Fighter II's Dee Jay and insist upon referring to him with the N-word (and yes, that has been done before).

On the other hand, Scary-Crayon likes... well, lots of things! I've described the site as being "an eldritch Internet chronicle of random crap," and I sincerely mean that -- the previous paragraph notwithstanding, just about anything can be potential article fodder. However, for the most part, I'm looking for articles that fit into Scary-Crayon likes lots of things!the established categories in the site's navigation block. Exceptions to this general rule include the Dusty Plastic HELL and Crayon Haiku sections. While I won't be averse to posting a new comic to the DPH section if you come up with something really great, these categories are well stocked and easy enough for me to update that I'm not really all that excited about submissions to them. The Miscellaneous category is also tricky to speak for due to its unspecific nature (it currently includes toy reviews, though eventually I plan to move those to their own dedicated section) -- this is why you should write to me first.

That said, Scary-Crayon will heavily favor submissions to the Game Reviews, Spectare, Foodstuffs, and Print Reviews sections. In these respective categories, I am particularly interested in reviews of old DOS games; obscure cartoons, anime, and budget DVDs; strange dollar store edibles and oddball recipies; and book, magazine, and comic reviews of all kinds. Again, this isn't to say that I'll definitely object to, say, Crayon Poetry Corner submissions or short stories for the Writing section, but it is to say that I am most interested in adding to the content in the aforementioned categories.

V. SCARY-CRAYON's articles require images.

I've noted that I'm very concerned with the quality of the writing on the site, but it also must be said that there is a highly visual component to SC -- and, naturally, images are a big part of that. Accordingly, it is absolutely imperative (unless you are submitting a short story, though even then we'd like to see a few pictures!) that you have some means of creating original images to break up your text. I definitely do not subscribe to the general assertion that if a picture appears in the Google Image Search it is okay to use in an uncredited capacity. Furthermore, I only condone using credited images on rare occasions (for instance, when I wanted to highlight just how much the Caramel Kreme Crunch doughnut looks like a hedgehog). This means that for most articles, in addition to a graphics program, you'll need access to a decent scanner, digital camera (unless you've got a really good one, cell phone cameras are generally unacceptable), or multimedia program that allows you to take screen captures. If you're not sure whether your image-taking equipment is adequate, feel free to attach a test scan or shot when you write to me about your idea.

This is an image ''spread''!Grimlock say not worry too much about it.

In general, we like to have at least one image "spread" for every two to four full paragraphs, where a spread consists of a single image that is somewhere between 580 pixels and 680 pixels in width or two adjacent images that average to 334 pixels wide each. (Note the strange width in the latter specification -- this is because all images are surrounded by a black 3-pixel border in addition to the standard 2-pixel HTML border. If you have a graphics program and know how to add the black border yourself, go ahead and make the images 340 wide. If you don't, I can add the internal border via HTML padding.) One notable exception to these dimensions concerns video game screencaps. For example, given that DOS games typically have a native resolution of 320x200, it is perfectly acceptable that they do not match the standard dimensions. You also do not need to actually resize these images for single-image spreads, as setting their HTML display dimensions to 640x400 will produce the desired effect. (See the following guideline if any of this confuses you.)

Another important exception concerns book reviews. Unless the book is illustrated, in which you may choose to include scans of these pages, the only image requirement here is a scan of the cover of the edition you are reviewing. In keeping with the style of previous reviews, this image will be displayed floated to one side of your review text. However, you may also wish to augment the visual appeal of the review with additional images that are semi-relevant. For example, when I reviewed Barbara Gowdy's The White Bone -- a book about elephants -- I included photos of Snout Spout and a plush elephant from my collection. Just as I'd be glad to take DVD screencaps for you, I may be willing to help you out in this respect as well. I will also be happy to create the graphic header for your piece, though you are of course welcome to do so if you've got the skills. :)

All images not in the proper formats will be EXTERMINATED!

All images should be saved as either GIF, JPEG (with minimal compression; unless my source images are so grainy it doesn't matter, I generally use a compression setting of 10 in Paint Shop Pro), or PNG files (no alpha-channel transparency, please). If we talk about it and you're sending images for me to resize and/or convert, BMP files may also be acceptable. And do pay attention to the file sizes of the images appearing on the page! It's a bit different with embedded content and linked images, but I like to try to keep pages within 900 KB of visible images in order to ensure that the pages load reasonably quickly even for folks still on dialup.

Finally -- and I'm not even sure it's necessary to say this, but I'll do it just in case you subscribe to the image philosophy best embodied by I-Mockery in recent years -- you should not appear in every single photo. For most pieces, you shouldn't even appear at all -- but if you must, your presence should serve some comedic purpose related to the content. For instance, if you're reviewing a food item that turns out to be nasty as hell, it's fine to include a picture of you wincing as you place it into your mouth. If it is extremely delicious, you may have a picture of yourself gleefully licking the plate. But we don't need pictures of you sitting with the food as if to prove that you were actually there, and we don't need pictures of you eating it unless you are exhibiting some apparent and illustrative emotional reaction. If you write that you really did eat the crap, we will take your word for it. Unless, of course, you're sucking on condoms for no good reason, in which case we may need to see that. There are other exceptions to this rule, but almost all of them involve costumes.

Lovely, cute number one!I wonder if she's still got that catsuit...?

Except, that is, for the primary exception to this rule, which only applies if you are a moderately attractive 18-or-over woman. I'm not even talking about lewd pictures or skimpy outfits -- a simple image of a fetching girl in normal clothing can drive readership through the fucking roof. You really want to know why Something Awful is so popular these days? It's not because the content is so great -- at best, 17.253% of it is funny. Admittedly, the forums and the Awful Link of the Day feature do keep readers coming back. But the real reason people became repeat visitors of the site is that, way back in the day, they used to have this attractive female writer by the name of Emily. She wasn't even really that attractive -- she'd probably only get a 6.7/10 for looks -- and even she didn't post her picture in every article that she wrote. Still, it was enough to get readers to keep coming back hoping for a glimpse of her sweet little body, which is the point of this paragraph.

I'm joking, of course. I'm not actively encouraging attractive female readers to take multiple photographs of themselves for the sole sake of drawing more readers to SC and expanding the site's body of fanboy wank material. That would be wrong, and kinda pervy, and then I'd be the one wanting to bleed from the eyes and hurl myself through stained-glass windows when I kept getting comments and e-mails and IMs from confused readers that consisted of "ur hot" and "i wanna hold ur hand :)" and "plz post nekkid fotos rly ok." But in the same way that an attractive woman's male friends probably aren't going to protest if, one day, she sticks out her chest and permits them to fondle it for no apparent reason, I'm likely not going to complain if a pretty girl appears more than a few times in her submission's images.

VI. SCARY-CRAYON doesn't require you to know html.

I'll incorporate your article into the site template and outfit it with the necessary tags n the process of editing it, so it's not really necessary for you to have any extensive familiarity with HTML. That said, you can help me out by outfitting bold text with <b></b> and italics with <i></i> tags. If you know enough to actually place the paragraphs and images within the template yourself, let me know and I'll send you the current article template (which, incidentally, you could also reverse engineer by viewing the source of any recent SC article). Really, the big things are the writing and the images, so focus on those. And I'll likely remind you in our e-mail exchange, but written articles should generally be sent to me in TXT format (and, if you're including multiple images, enclosed in ZIP files). No Microsoft Word documents, mmmkay?

Not following these guidelines may unleash Hell on earth.

VII. SCARY-CRAYON thinks that's everything!

I'll amend this list as necessary, but that's about all I can think to write about submissions at the moment. Article III is really the kicker, as we'll likely end up sorting out the other bumps during our collaboration, but I've been fairly exhaustive here in order to give you a more comprehensive idea of the considerations that should go into an article submission. If you think I've left out something really important, please let me know! And as always, thanks for reading -- hopefully this wasn't too boring for you. ;)

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