- Step 1 – Choose a topic
- The first step in writing any tutorial is choosing a topic to write about. For example, this tutorial is about how to write a tutorial. Another tutorial might explain how to read a tutorial, how to listen to a tutorial, how to transmute everyday items into tutorials or how to build a machine which generates tutorials. These are all good topics to write a tutorial about. It is best to choose a topic that you know a lot about or are very interested in, as your writing will be easy to follow, informative, easy to follow and informative.
- Step 2 – Choose a title
- After choosing a topic to write about, it is time to choose a title. A good title explains what the tutorial is for. If you were writing a tutorial on how to prevent aliens from replacing your loved ones with evil alien clones, “How to boil an egg” would be an unsuitable title, as it does not sufficiently explain what the tutorial is about. It is also important that the title does not insult the audience – if you were writing a tutorial on how to wear a dress, a good title would be “How to wear a dress”; “How to wear a dress, because your current attire betrays your utter disregard for modern aesthetic values” would not be a good title. The title of this tutorial is “How to write a tutorial”. This is a good title because it clearly states exactly what the tutorial will help the reader achieve. Once you have chosen a title, move on to step 3.
- Step 3 – Write down the steps
- The next step in writing a tutorial is to write down each step required to follow the tutorial. If you were writing a tutorial on how to be a dog, for example, your first step might be to get down on all fours, your second step might be to learn how to bark, and so on. At first you should just write down the title of each step, a more detailed description can be written later if necessary. Complex steps can be subdivided into parts. It is important to remember what the goal of the tutorial is – what the reader will have achieved by the end. Each step should help the reader towards that goal. For the titles of the steps, you should apply the same principles as in step 2 of this tutorial. Note: a tutorial should never contain a step with the same title as the tutorial itself. The purpose of a tutorial is to split a large, seemingly-difficult task into smaller, more manageable sub-tasks, so a tutorial titled “How to conquer the known universe” should never have a step titled “How to conquer the known universe”, as this would be redundant. Finally, each step must be relevant to completing the task: a tutorial about saving the known universe from a malevolent would-be dictator should not have a step that involves aiding aforementioned malevolent dictator, as this would be contrary to the stated goal of the tutorial (the one exception is if the step is part of a clever ruse; clever ruses are always allowed).
- Step 4 – Write descriptions for each step (optional)
- Now that you have chosen a topic on which to write your tutorial, and written down the steps to be taken in following the tutorial, you may want to add detailed descriptions to each step. These should state the goal of the step and how to achieve it, explain why the step is necessary, or give other crucial information. It’s even possible for the descriptions to contain jokes, although this is invariably a terrible idea. If the information is self-evident, then it is possible to skip this step. A tutorial with less descriptive steps has advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that it can be read very quickly, and thus easily followed. A disadvantage is that a lack of detail may lead to a lack of information, which paradoxically also results in a tutorial which is not easily followed. It is, therefore, impossible to decide objectively whether it is better to describe each step or not, and thus the only solution is to flip a coin. I flipped a coin and it came up heads, so I wrote descriptions for each step of this tutorial. If the coin comes up tails, leave the descriptions out. If the coin lands on the edge, then write descriptions for half of the steps.
- Step 5 – Proof read
- The penultimate step, and one of the most important ones, is to proof-read your tutorial. This is to ensure that it makes sense, because otherwise ghfjgdsarfthdsfghdrtseaw, which would be severely detrimental to the success of your tutorial. Although word-processing and spelling and grammar checking software may pick up many errors, a lot of grammatical errors are difficult for computers to detect, and even the most advanced software will often miss errors in sentence structure and flow. Thus, it is of utmost importance to read your tutorial, and, if possible, have someone else read it before you progress to step 6.
- Step 6 – Publish your tutorial
- The final step in writing a tutorial is to publish. Of course, technically by this stage the writing process should have already finished as there’s no point in publishing an unfinished tutorial (this was originally to be one of the seven deadly sins, but it came in joint eighth with being a sloth (not the sin of Sloth, but actually being a sloth)), and so technically this step is beyond the scope of this tutorial, but no tutorial is complete without being published. There are severable suitable places to publish your tutorial. Many tutorials are published on websites like WikiHow and eHow. Other tutorials may be published on personal blogs or in magazines. Your tutorial can be published in any of these. It is not, however, a good idea to publish a tutorial in any of the following places:
- 1. A slice of ham
- 2. Your neighbour’s forehead
- 3. The Journal of Water and Soil Conservation
a guest Feb 1st, 2013 45 Never
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