Are you thinking of writing for Creation magazine?
- Neatly typed and presented articles
If your manuscript is messy—lots of words are crossed out, pages are crammed with small type with no room for anyone to make changes on a print-out—the editor will instantly gain a bad impression of your article. Type it neatly, double-spaced, with wide margins and no mess.
Of course, in this electronic age, most will want to send it as an electronic file. Email it saved as a Rich Text Format (.rtf) version. This saves all the formatting from Word or whatever other word processing program you are using, but does not transmit any unsuspected macro viruses. It also means that we can open it in Word even though you might have used another program.
Please use the footnotes function in Word if using Word, as that way the references renumber themselves automatically if deleting or adding any during the editorial stage. Also, please use cross-referencing if referring to the same footnotes, that way they will also renumber.
If you write ‘Ayres Rock’ and the editor knows it’s really ‘Ayers Rock’, or you write ‘Nicholas Steno’ and the editor knows it should be ‘Nicolau s Steno’, or you say that Charles Darwin was an eighteenth century mathematician and the editor knows that both those ‘facts’ are wrong, he or she will be wary of everything else in your article. Check every name, date, and other fact in your ‘final’ version.
- Interesting introductions to articles
Too many articles begin with the sleep-inducing phrase, ‘The purpose of this paper is … ’. There are more interesting ways of getting your message across. Study a few newspaper reports and feature articles. You will find the reports give the most interesting facts first, and the feature articles use a variety of methods to catch and keep the reader’s attention. Editors like articles to get to the point quickly and to do it in an interesting way. If we have to do this ourselves, it increases the likelihood that your article won’t be used.
Present the points in your article in a logical sequence. And make sure the final paragraphs are built on all that has gone before.
- Consistency in spelling and style
Don’t spell something ‘redshift’ one time and red-shift later. Don’t use double quotes for some words and single quotes for others. Our preference is for double quotes. Don’t write ‘eight years ago’ in one sentence and ‘8 years ago’ in another. Don’t say ‘the F lood’ one time and ‘the f lood’ another. We prefer a capital ‘f’ for ‘flood’ when referring to the biblical Flood of Noah. Creation magazine uses ‘ize’ endings instead of ‘ise’ and numbers one to nine are normally spelt out, with 10 and upwards taking figures.
- Readability: Simple words, short sentences and short paragraphs
Except in technical articles, we like to see simple words, short sentences and short paragraphs. Why say something is ‘operational’ when you simply mean it ‘works’? Why write ‘expiration’ if ‘end’ will do? Why write ‘ventilation’ if ‘air’ will do?
Likewise, why write ‘at this point in time’ when ‘now’ is better? Get rid of unnecessary words and simplify where possible. Instead of using a sentence that is 50 words long, break up the thoughts and make two or three shorter sentences. Explain, simply, who people are, and the significance of events you mention in your article.
In fact, we try to aim our articles for a Grade 10 (Year 10) readership. Nowadays we ask all authors to ‘self-test’ for this using the Flesch–Kincaid analysis. Please provide the score (grade level) together with your submission to show that it has ‘passed’ (or ‘amost passed’) this test.
There are several ways available to do this in seconds. MS Word has such a function built into the spelling and grammar checker, or there is a helpful free one on the web at https://readabilityformulas.com/free-readability-formula-tests.php—just paste your text into the box it provides. (Tip: Subheadings need to have a period/full-stop inserted temporarily (they don’t normally have one) for this test. Otherwise it will make the text look less readable by giving a longer sentence score.)
- Articles that suit Creation magazine’s purpose
You wouldn’t send motoring articles to a cooking magazine, or real estate articles to a computer magazine. So make sure the articles you send to Creation magazine are about creation-related issues.
- Articles that can be enhanced with images
Editors of full-colour magazines, such as Creation magazine, can more readily use an article that can be illustrated well than one that is difficult to illustrate. If you can suggest or provide colour pictures we could use in your article, please do. Note that if providing images you need to own the copyright or obtain (and show) formal written permission for its use in our magazine from the copyright owner. For more information about submitting images to CMI, please click here.
- Articles where the facts can be backed up
We like to see facts that can be backed up, not speculation. If your article has to come to a speculative conclusion based on a lot of facts you’ve given, with references—that’s fine. But don’t build speculations into a conclusion. The most interesting articles usually contain anecdotes, quotes, and lots of facts.
- Short or medium-length articles
In today’s busy world, most readers prefer shorter articles. In Creation magazine, we like articles to be 1,500 words or less. An interesting 500-word article will be read by almost every reader. The longer the article, the more likely it is that many readers won’t finish it.
- Articles that are clearly aimed at, and which involve, the reader
Articles that say, ‘You may not know …’, ‘Have you ever seen … ’, ‘How do you explain … ’, and so on show that the writer is clearly targeting the reader to gain his or her attention. It’s a better way to keep attention than saying, ‘One may not know … ’, ‘The reader may never have seen … ’, etc.
- Articles with proper references, reference lists and paperwork
If you are submitting an article to Creation magazine, and you list references from books or magazines, it will help us greatly if you enclose for our records copies of the references you use.
For example, if you quote in your article something from New Scientist of November 26, 1994, page 17, please enclose a photocopy of that for us. If you quote from the London Times of June 7, 1995, page 3, enclose a copy of the report, preferably showing the details you’ve given (publication, date, page number).
Having the references on hand will help us considerably if any queries are made about your article from our reviewers (or readers if the article is published).
Here’s a sample reference list and what we would expect you to send to us:
- New Scientist 234(6842):17, 21 May 2002. [Send us a copy of page 17.]
- Genesis 5:4. [No need to send a copy—we have a Bible!]
- William Paley, The Works of William Paley, Vol.4, ‘Natural Theology’, William Baynes and Son, London, 1825, pp. 1–3. [Send us a copy of pages 1–3 plus the title page.]
Thanks very much,
The editorial team
PS one more thing if using non-English fonts (e.g. Hebrew, Greek)—always use only Unicode characters, otherwise problems creep in when transposing to the layout program. Thanks.
Writers’ checklist for Creation articles
This checklist is designed to help authors and potential authors of articles for Creation magazine. Complying with the points listed here will not guarantee acceptance of your article. However, it will give you an idea of what we like to see. It should also help you avoid some common writing problems.
Keep in mind that articles should be interesting, easily understood by the average reader, and related to some aspect of creation or Noah’s Flood. Subjects can cover science, nature, interviews with creationists, biblical topics, history, family, humour, education, philosophy, biography, etc., as they relate to creation, evolution, or Genesis.
Print and check the box if you can answer ‘yes’ to the question (the more the better!)
- Did you check for articles on creation.com related to your article subject, to avoid ‘reinventing the wheel’ or missing potentially important points?
- Did your article pass our required readability score criteria, and have you provided the score?
- Does your article have one major theme throughout, not a lot of unrelated points?
- Did you write down your aim before you began? Does each part of your article help fulfil this aim? (For instance, if your aim is to show the flaws in a particular aspect of evolution theory, does each part of your article work towards this?)
- Is the subject of your article something to do with creation science, evolution’s errors, nature, Genesis, Noah’s Ark, the Flood, or a subject that clearly can be used in Creation magazine? (A fresh approach is also an advantage.)
- Is your title likely to catch the reader’s attention?
- Is your first paragraph exciting or interesting enough to make the reader want to continue?
- Does your article flow easily? It should be logically presented from beginning to end and should not digress from your subject or aim.
- Are your sentences fairly short? (Try to limit each sentence to a single thought, statement or idea. Sentences of 50 words or more cannot be grasped easily by most people. Studies have shown that the most readable articles are those in which sentences average about 17 words.)
- Does your article give a positive case for creation, and/or an argument against evolution?
- Have you added some human interest in the article? (Mentioning people helps reader involvement. So does saying ‘you’ instead of ‘we’, ‘one’, ‘our’.)
- Have you anticipated objections or criticisms that sceptics or evolutionists may make, and incorporated some ‘answers’ to these in your article?
- Have you changed difficult words and concepts into words that are easier to understand? (If your article were read by a high-school student or the average man or woman in the street, would it be understood?)
- If you have mentioned anyone’s name in your article, have you explained who this person is? (e.g. write ‘French chemist and biologist, Louis Pasteur’, rather than just giving Louis Pasteur’s name alone the first time he is mentioned.)
- Have you added a few words of explanation about groups or movements you have mentioned? (e.g. write ‘the eighteenth century philosophical movement, the Enlightenment’, rather than simply ‘the Enlightenment’, when the movement is mentioned for the first time.)
- Have you double-checked or triple-checked that all your facts are absolutely accurate?
- Where your article raises issues that may be surprising or disputable, have you referenced all these?
- Have you tried to avoid unnecessary speculation?
- Have you given full details of references or sources you have quoted or drawn on? (Author, article or book title, publisher, city of publication, year of publication, page number.) Quotes and references need to be accurate in the smallest detail. Please send in actual photocopies (or scans) of the pages quoted from for our files. Without the supply of these your article will not be entered into the review process.
- Is your article shorter than 1,500 words? (On average, the shorter the article, the more readers you will capture and the more likely it is to be accepted for publication.)
- Is your final paragraph an interesting summary or conclusion based on what you have written in your article?
- Does the final paragraph make a strong, positive rather than negative, point which backs up your article?
- Does your article end on an interesting note? Have you avoided leaving the reader wondering why you are ending your article at this point?
- Have you prepared your article in electronic format to be emailed to us? We prefer *.rtf (Rich Text Format) files or Microsoft® Word documents (*.doc or *.docx).
- If the article includes measurements, have you provided the conversion for units—i.e., supplied both metric and imperial (to round figures)? And checked the accuracy of the conversion? E.g. ‘10 metres (33 feet)’.
- Can you provide or suggest photos, diagrams or other illustrations to make your article more attractive?
- Have you kept a backup copy of your article? Sometimes things go astray in email or the mail.
- Have you used Unicode characters for any Greek or Hebrew lettering?
If you have marked most of the boxes, we’ll be very interested to see your manuscript. If it looks promising, it will undergo various review processes prior to approval. This may take a few months sometimes. Please note that we also require all prospective authors to assign copyright to Creation Ministries International as explained in this example letter. After reading the letter, please print out the associated form, sign the agreement and mail it to us along with the photocopies of your reference materials. Please notify us, in your email with the article, that you have sent us these documents in the mail.
As Creation magazine is part of a non-profit, largely donation-funded Christian ministry, no payments are made for articles submitted from the public. However, authors will receive complimentary copies of the issue in which their article appears.
Send articles to:
Creation magazine editor, P.O. Box 4545, Eight Mile Plains QLD 4113, Australia