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Hello, there. I'm The Four Dot Elipsis, but most people call me Four Dot. Through this tutorial, I'm going to take you on a tour of what I consider to be the essential steps that have to be taken in order to write a Featured Article about a Star Wars character on Wookieepedia. Of course, this is not the definitive way of writing a character article, and hopefully, if you decide that you would like to write articles for Wookieepedia on a regular basis, you will develop your own method.

But it's starting out that's always the most daunting prospect, and it's generally the first few steps that are the hardest. With practice and consistency, writing on Wookieepedia will become almost second nature (though generally still a challenge.) Hopefully, by reading this tutorial and following the basic steps, you will be able to produce a top-quality article and submit if for consideration on the Featured Article nominations page. But we'll get to that later.

Step I: ReconEdit

Before I even considered contributing to Wookieepedia, I decided I would read through its output first. This was to gauge just what kind of work was expected and wanted by the community, so I could write in a style consistent to that which had come before me. And hopefully, I would write better than I did in that last sentence. Even back then, in late 2006, most of Wookieepedia's Featured Articles were based on characters. The difference was, back then, I could read through all the Featured Articles fairly quickly, because there were only about 40-50 odd in existence. Now there are over 500 Featured Articles on Wookieepedia, which is a considerable boost indeed. But the fact remains that most of these articles are written about characters.

Odan-Urr3

Much like this, only we assume that you have a computer and a lower jaw.

That's probably because Star Wars is a character driven story—most people don't come for the Sci-Fi elements. But that's just my crazy little theory. At any rate, it's the most established of the various article types, and that means that there's a lot of possible research to be done. But I don't expect you to read all of them, unless you have a lot of time on your hands.

Still, it is important to read some, because although Wookieepedia has changed, the fact that there is a degree of consistency between articles has not. It's important to look at precedents for the type of article you want to do (in this case, character articles) and fully assess just what has been done, both in formatting and layout style. To maintain the relative consistency that the site enjoys, it's important to emulate, to a degree, what has come before you.

I've written many Featured Articles for Wookieepedia, most of which have been character based. Two I'm particularly proud of are Antinnis Tremayne and Ace Azzameen. These are both character articles, but they're very different in several ways, and by extension, were written in very different ways. But in the end, the result is very similar article style and format. We'll talk about that a bit later. If I may plug my own work, I would recommend reading those two articles, getting a feel for the tone and style expected on Wookieepedia. Also, try to make note of just what would have made those two articles so different in being written. But I'm by no means the authority on this; some other articles I've found highly enjoyable include Soontir Fel, and Rookie One, amongst many, many others. Click this link for further reading.

Step II: Decisions, DecisionsEdit

Once you've got a good feel for what is expected in a Featured Article, you have to make the decision of whether you're going to write one or not. Since you're still reading (maybe) I'm going to assume that you do want to write a Featured Article. That brings us to one of the most difficult challenges: picking your topic.

It's good, in my opinion, to start small with your Featured Articles, and then build up from there. Other people have started out with substantial articles, and it has (usually) turned out OK in the long run. I started with Rune Haako, which is a comparatively modest article, but it still serves its purpose just as well as a much larger article. In picking your topic, there are a few essential questions you must ask yourself:

  1. Is there enough information? — Featured Articles have to be 1000 words in length. It is possible to write a shorter article and submit it for Good article status, but I think starting with a Featured article is a healthy way to go.
  2. Do I have access to the sources? — Very, very important. It is essential to check every appearance and source your character of choice appears in; don't be lulled into thinking you can ignore something with a "(Mentioned only)" tag on it. If you don't own the sources, try asking around to see if people will help you out.
  3. Will this gel cohesively? — Sometimes, in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (and, let's face it, the films) there are nuggets of information (or sometimes whole storylines) that contradict one another. While an experienced writer may be able to deal with these issues, it is not recommended for beginners.

If the answer to all three of those is yes, go straight ahead. If your answer to question one is no, but yes to two and three, that's fine as well, just be aware that your article won't reach Featured Article status. If your answer is yes to the first, and no to the other two, tread carefully, and make sure you can enlist people to help you. If the answer to all three is no, pick a different article.

Starkiller Eclipse smooch

"That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how."

If you're stuck for ideas as to who you could write about, my suggestion is this: Take a look through every Star Wars book, comic, game or whatever that you own. Try and remember a character you really enjoyed and liked from that book, look up their article, and if it's not already a Featured Article, go for it. If you can't remember a character in particular, search for an item of media (for example: "Hard Merchandise"), look through the "Characters" list, and pick one out. It's always good to pick a character that you genuinely like, otherwise the writing process might become a chore. And there's really no point if you're not having fun. If you're still stuck for choice, click the Random article button until you hit a character, ask yourself those three questions, and then fire away.

Even though I started with one, always be wary of writing an FA about a film character, as you have to take in all the various adaptations, be they comic, video game, book, or radio drama. This can sometimes get confusing and, quite frankly frustrating. Unless you're prepared for that, try and pick an Expanded Universe character instead.

Step III: What a piece of junk!Edit

Once you've found your intended topic, read through the existing article, and get a general familiarity with what information already exists there. But whatever you do, do not trust any pre-existing information you might find. I say this because I made that very mistake while working on The Keeper article. I based an element of my writings on a piece of erroneous information located within the original article, and as a result, accidentally ignored a piece of information from the source material that directly refuted that particular factoid. Thanks to the weather eye of another user, this mistake was picked up on, but it should not have happened in the first place.

Once you've had a good read of the original article, check its "Appearances" and "Sources" lists, and research every single item on those lists. Depending on your topic, you might have to just read a small scene from a book, or read a few pages in a sourcebook, but it is important to understand that in some cases, you will have to read the material in its entirety. Don't write anything just yet, though...read through everything and make a mental map of where certain things will go, and in what order. Keep in mind that with a character article, you not only have to write a biography, but a personality and traits section as well. While most of the content you find will end up in the biography, make a few notes as to what you might include in the personality and traits section.

Step IV: You may start your landingEdit

Now it's time to actually start writing. First, decide whether you will write the article in the main namespace, over the existing one, or whether you will be starting from scratch on a subpage. I advise using a subpage if your character's biography is cobbled together from various disparate sources, which often makes things complex. If the biography is fairly linear, coming from only a few sources, work with the existing article. When doing this, it is advised that you put the {{Inuse}} template at the top of the page. You can choose to leave the existing content in, but generally, it won't be as good as it could be, so you will likely have to overwrite it anyway. If you do choose to use a subpage, just navigate to your user page, and add "/Workbench" or "/(something to that effect)". This will give you a place to experiment in, without outside interference.

The first thing to do is ensure your article has an infobox. If the article doesn't have an infobox already, check here for the applicable one, and apply it to your article. Fill out all the possible fields according to your research, and don't make up anything: Just because a character is a Twi'lek, it doesn't mean they came from Ryloth. Remember this in your writing as well—Wookieepedia documents canon information only, in addition to licenced non-canon from Lucasfilm Ltd. Adding fanon to any part of any article will likely result in dire consequences.

To this end, you must always remember to source your work, and as good a place to start as any is the infobox. For instance, if you have filled in homeworld field like this:

|homeworld=[[Kuat/Legends|Kuat]]

You should source it like this:

|homeworld=[[Kuat/Legends|Kuat]]<ref name="hm">''[[Hard Merchandise]]''</ref>

See Wookieepedia:Sourcing for more details on sourcing. Once you've begun sourcing an article, add a section below the "Appearances" and "Sources" lists, called "Notes and references." All you have to put in this section is the {{Reflist}} template. You'll see the fruits of that particular labor soon enough. If you're starting the article from scratch, create the sections first, without adding any content just yet. For more detail on sections and ordering, see Wookieepedia:Layout Guide.

Step V: This is where the fun beginsEdit

Now that you have your general structure laid out, as well as your infobox and sourcing system in place, it's time to begin writing your chosen character's biography. Don't worry about the article's introduction, we'll worry about that later. Now, what I recommend doing is working through your source material, one piece of media at a time. I usually work through the "Appearances" list first, but if you've already read the required source material first, you should have a fairly good idea as to what would be a good starting point. If possible, start with the source that has the most information on your selected character—this will allow you to lay down a basic skeletal structure which you can flesh out with other information.

Try and keep the Manual of Style in mind when writing. As I have mentioned before, you will need to emulate what has come before. That doesn't mean you won't have your own style in there, but you won't be able to put across your own point of view, or write "fluffy" prose. The idea here is to get the facts across in a neat, concise manner. Don't dwell too long on facts, and judge reasonably what warrants inclusion. We generally want a very high level of detail, allowing for the most comprehensive work possible. That being said, you don't need to tell us that "Such-and-such then wiped his nose with his shirt sleeve." This requires a bit of subjectivity, but just be sensible and read back over your work repeatedly. If something seems ridiculously trivial in comparison to the surrounding material, it's usually safe to say that you don't really need to include it.

Jedi Code

Once again, we hope your technology is slightly more advanced. And that your prose is better.

Despite the fact that you are supposed to be writing with a neutral point of view, it's OK to tell your story from the character's perspective. You may choose not to do this, and that's OK, but if something is kept a secret from a character, you can reveal it in the biography at the point that the character themselves learns it. Be careful with this, though, as it can be confusing, and ultimately, what counts most is the article readability.

You may have noticed before that the Azzameen and Tremayne articles are different in that the former is basically culled from one source, whereas the latter is taken from many disparate sources. This will ultimately affect how you go about your business, but the end product must be essentially the same. For beginners, I strongly recommend working with a character that appears in few sources.

Make sure you avoid repetition, and always link your work. If you're tackling your subject in a linear way, simply link to an article the first time a subject pops up, and then don't do so again. However, if you are working in a non-linear fashion, it's sometimes difficult to keep up. In that case, just leave your linking till last.

Don't be afraid to add context from sources that your character does not appear in. For instance, your character might have fought in the Battle of Coruscant, but your sources might not have explained how that battle came to be, etc. So just use sources which do explain how that came to be, and reference them. It's perfectly acceptable. At the same time, don't feel obligated to attribute something to every entry from your sources: there might be times where something just does not offer anything new. And that's OK too.

When sectioning your article, it's important to break it up into logical blocks. You can also sub-section your sub-section, if needs be. To judge just where and how you should section an article, refer back to previous works.

If you come across content that conflicts with other content or something along those lines, don't be afraid to add a footnote using the <ref> system. See Ace Azzameen for examples on how to do this. And if this were an article, I shouldn't have linked that a second time.

Step VI: On the peripheryEdit

Once you've fully completed the biography with all possible information, it's time to move on to the peripheral sections. The first is Personality and traits. In this section, try and describe the character of the character, if that makes sense. As you were researching the character's biography, it's always good to try and make note of personality elements, or any foibles the character might have. This, to me, is the hardest section of the lot, but the same rules apply from the "Biography" section, only this time you don't need to worry about peripheral sections. Again, don't try and make anything up and don't try and read into the source material too heavily, because you might extrapolate something that no one else could have. Which is bad, trust me.

Next, you have the Behind the scenes section. This one can be relatively easy, depending on your character. It's generally good to note which work of media a character first appeared in, and who wrote that media. If the character was played by anyone, add that, and any interesting production information that you can dig up. Don't try to put in elements about fan reaction to a character, unless you can back it up with multiple sources. Sometimes a good idea is to write about the character's development over the years, any continuity nuggets or retcons that might have occurred, or maybe something about varying physical depictions in various sources.

Ug-kyle

Kyle Katarn does not need a reason to be here.

Then you have your Appearance and Sources lists. These should have been done already, so there's no need to worry about them now. Notes and references should have been done already too. That leaves External links which is optional, but it's always good to jot down a few interesting websites to link to, preferably from starwars.com itself, if they have any relevant articles.

Then do the Introduction. My introductions have changed throughout my time at Wookieepedia, and at the moment they're essentially miniature version of the character's biography. Begin by stating who the character is, what they did and in what timeframe. Then begin talking about their background, and go from there. Generally, introductions are two paragraphs long, although there are instances of one or three paragraphs as well. Try to find a good middle ground with these, as is it possible to make them too long or too short.

There are optional sections which you might have to include depending on your chosen subject. If you are writing about a Jedi or someone adept in use of the Force, you might have to write up a Powers and abilities section. This is to document just what your character can do with the Force, or anything along those lines. If you're working on a character who has a lot of equipment, feel free to add an Equipment section, where you can document what the subject uses. There are other, less common optional sections, such as Vehicles and Appearance, but it's basically up to you, the writer, to determine what's suitable and what's not.

Step VII: "It's budiful!"Edit

Next we add the supplementary content: Images and quotes. See Wookieepedia:Images for more details on...well, images in particular. When selecting images to illustrate your article, try to avoid getting several similar shots. In particular, try and use images that have the character doing something in them, so they can serve as an illustration for your text. Don't try to shove in as many images as you can, just use a select few and always have them illustrate the adjacent text. This is less important in the peripheral sections. Also, do not put images next to "Appearances" or "Sources" lists. Or any of those lists at all, really.

For the infobox image, there's no real set standard, other than "it has to properly illustrate the character." My personal preference is a front-on mugshot of the character, since the face is the most recognizable part of the anatomy. Obviously. There are of course exceptions to this, but by and large, that's what I stick with.

For the quotes, just try and pick a few that you think are suitable. Use your best one to open the article, and then use the others to open the relevant sections of the biography. The quotes don't actually have to come from the character: dialogue from other characters that involves your character is also suitable. Prose extracts, however, are not suitable, unless the source is an In-universe document. Do not put quotes into the prose. If you see this done somewhere on Wookieepedia, ignore it, because it's not acceptable for Featured Article status.

Step VIII: So...?Edit

The good news is, you're essentially finished. The bad news is, there's problems. There always are. If there aren't, you're special, and I should be reading your tutorial. At any rate, always read back over your work, see if it all works well, if it flows. If there are any mistakes of course, fix them. Also, try and have someone else give your work a copy-edit.

Battle of Omonoth

A typical day on the Featured article nominations page.

If you think your work is the absolute best it can be, stick the {{FAnom}} tag at the top of the page, and then add your nomination to the Featured Article nominations page. Before you do that, though, it's probably best to check the rules at the top of the page, and make sure your work meets every single one of them.

It's generally inevitable that you will receive objections though. This is only normal; just do your best to address each objection courteously. If you come across an objection that you don't quite agree with, and is made on subjective grounds, feel free to contest it, and sort it out with the objector. Also, if someone else edits your article, don't immediately get defensive. Most of the time, these edits are constructive, and the editor is just trying to help you. If something drastically conflicts with your work and is objectively wrong, revert, and discuss it with the editor. Be patient with your nomination...if you're lucky, it'll be through in a week, but be prepared for a prolonged nomination process.

Step IX: I'm finished!Edit

If you can survive that, congratulations! You'll have just made your first Featured article! But it doesn't stop there. You have to remember to maintain your work. Star Wars is rapidly evolving and changing, with new media coming out every year. It's just possible that your character might make a re-appearance—in that case, get on the job quick! Read this new material, and add it to your article. Ideally, it should look as though it was always there. If your article falls out of touch, and becomes drastically out of date, the Inquisitorius will review it and likely put it up for probation. If that happens, you have two weeks to fix the article before its Featured Article status will be removed. And we don't want that at all.

Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on the way you look at it, your article will take some time to reach the main page. But be proud of it. Be happy with your work. And most importantly, enjoy your work. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them on the #wookieepedia IRC channel (this is also a good way for finding people who may own obscure sources), or ask me on my talk page. Also, don't hesitate to ask questions of other Inquisitors or editors. If you have any questions or suggestions about this tutorial, please ask them on the talk page. For further reading, check out Wookieepedia:What is a featured article?.

But now that you've written your first Featured Article, there's only really one thing to do.

Get started on your second one.

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