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Octavulg's Guide to Creating an Excellent DIY Chapter That Will Make Even Beautiful Women Go, "Hey, That's Pretty Cool!" Updated: March 10th, 2013 For a long time, I have had a view on what IAs should and should not be. Over time, that view has been reinforced in many areas and changed in many others. It has changed as I wrote my own IAs, read more and more of others, and was forced kicking and screaming into the role of Lexicanium. And in all that time, some things have not changed. I have noticed that I will repeat the same piece of advice or criticism over, and over, and over, and over. Sometimes it will be a universally applicable anecdote. Sometimes it will be a specific criticism of an aspect of an IA that I end up making a hundred different times to different people. Sometimes it will be a simple observation about spelling. Nonetheless, I say these things a lot, and sometimes I explain them well, but sometimes I just don't have the energy to say the same thing for the hundredth time. That isn't fair to that particular author (who deserves a good explanation for why I'm telling him this), and it isn't fair to me (for when I try and do things without full explanation, people often get snippy). So now, there is the Octaguide, a simple hundred-and-thirty-nine part program that can help you (yes, you!) know what I would say about your IA were I to read it! You don't even have to necessarily write the IA! You will also find advice on writing IAs: advice on concepts, advice on colors, advice on spelling, grammar, and editing. It's all here. At least when I remember to put it in. I even included a guide to not using this guide, which I recommend to anyone who isn't really sure if they want to write an IA in the first place, or who hasn't done this whole "write about a DIY chapter" thing before. Enjoy the guide, feel free to ask any questions, violently disagree, or send me gushing praise offering to bear my children. However, note three things: Firstly, this guide assumes you care what I think. If you do not, this cannot be helped. Letters and replies to the effect that I am not the boss of you so you don't have to listen to any of this will be dissected for logical inconsistencies and replied to with corrected grammar and spelling. Secondly, I am sarcastic, occasionally cruel, and a little conceited. However, I strive to compensate for this last by directing the first two at everyone impartially, including myself. I assure you, any success I have attained I have attained because of a combination of hard work and repeated stupidity. I think everyone on this forum has the ability to produce excellent IAs - the only real difference is the amount of work and time it will take in each case. I am not offering this material in an attempt to make you feel stupid. Third, this guide provides advice that is focused on writing IAs, and assumes that that is what you want to do. IAs are not the only viable format for producing a DIY article, though they are one of only two demonstrated official ones and are by far the most popular in the Liber Astartes. The advice contained within should be generally applicable to other DIY articles, however. There is also a brief guide to writing the little blurbs from Codex: Space Marines, which I recommend to any new DIYers or anyone who's become bored with IAs. A Note on Guides No guide can be absolute (though most try their very best). Consider what any guide has to say carefully before ignoring it - anything in a guide was something someone felt was worth including. However, they are general tools, and can often miss specific flaws. A guide is no substitute for caution, good planning, and a willingness to improve – but an obvious component of caution would be reading all the guides you could get your hands on. With that out of the way, the guide proper will now commence. List of Sections in Order of Appearance On criticism -Everyone is the boss of you -Nobody is the boss of you -The two kinds of criticism -Reacting to criticism -Acting on criticism -What to do when you get no responses On IAs and the philosophy behind them -What is an IA? -You never actually told us what an Index Astartes is -What is an IA not? -Thou shalt be all that you can be On the the planning of an IA -Answer Mr. Morden -Conception -Think it through -Planning -Do not piggyback on the official -The Black Library does not really exist -Reasonable innovation is key -Do not destroy the shared universe -Do not overgild the lily -The Index Traitoris problem -Begin at your goal On the outlining of an IA -Outlining -Tearing down that which you have built -Follow the format -The Chapter Name -There's nothing wrong with adjective-noun -Origins -You don't need ten thousand years of history -Devastate your Chapter uniquely -Jesus was derivative -Later History -Home World -Beliefs -Gene-seed -Geneseed sources and their effects -You are not the [blank] Templars -Ensure your Curse makes sense -Combat Doctrine -Organization -Understand what the Codex is and isn't -Battle-cry -Your color scheme is important -Resources for writing and construction -When in doubt, turn to GW -Recognize the limits of GW -Developing your outline On the construction and writing of an IA -Only if you need to -Focus on the differences, not the similarities -Present things in order, and explain yourself well -Battles are boring -The Title -Introductory Paragraph -Sidebars -Quotes -You don't need that many color schemes -Use the right amount of mystery -Subtlety, not sledgehammers On writing -Read it aloud -Learn to spell and to gramm -Don't write in your browser -However, be self-aware -Stick to the established length -Shorter is almost always better On painting and colors -Applying your paint scheme with a shotgun will make people's eyes bleed -Do not paint your marines' feet in brighter colors unless you want people to stare at their feet -Black and red are not cool and unique On offering criticism -And sometimes I like to sing little songs -The Fine Grit Approach -The Rough Grit Approach -My Own Recommendations Supplementary resources -Recommended Reading (Official) -Recommended Reading (DIY) -A brief history of my own work -Links to other resources A (very) short and eclectic course in grammar and spelling On Codex divergence and changes to a Chapter's character -What is the Codex Astartes? -What this means about your own Chapter's views on the Codex -How to diverge naturally -What about other changes? Octavulg's Guide to Not Using the Rest of the Octaguide Right Now