Friday, December 2, 2011

Writing for Wikipedia – Registration (Redux)

This is the first in a series of articles about author Wikipedia pages. Do you have one yet? It first appeared here on January 15, 2010.

Do you have a favorite author who does not have a Wikipedia page?

We here at The Blood-red Pencil are dedicating a new Friday series to learning to write for Wikipedia. Our focus will be on writing biographies of living people—specifically, living authors.

If you want to play along,
• Make a list of your favorite authors
• Check Wikipedia to find one who does not have a wiki biography
• Search the internet for biographical information on your selected author

You’re looking for information like when and where your author was born, a list of all published writing (and the copyright year for each), schools attended, etc. Wikipedia biographies are about facts—not your feelings or reasons for selecting your author. So, make a list of facts. For other ideas, check out these biographies:

Susan Wittig Albert
Nevada Barr
Robert Crais

Anyone may edit Wikipedia articles, but only registered contributors may create new pages. Because we are looking to create new biographies, you’ll want to register. Registering is a quick and simple process. You’ll need three pieces of information and you’ll need to be able to read one of those funky letter boxes. Sorry. That’s just the way it is. The registration page looks like this:

Simple, right? So click here and register.

We’ll spend the rest of this series exploring writing for Wikipedia:

• January 22 – Biographies
• January 29 – Writing the Lead
• February 5 – The Rest of the Story
• February 12 – Creating and Article in Draft
• February 19 – Benefits
• February 26 – Odd and Ends

Who are your favorite authors and do they have wiki pages?

Charlotte Phillips is the co-author of the Eva Baum Detective Series, 2009 President for The Final Twist Writers Group and contributor to multiple blogs. Learn more about Charlotte and her books at:

News, Views and Reviews Blog

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  1. I was surprised to find so many of my favorite authors didn't have wiki pages yet. Two of note: Rosemary Poole Carter and William G. Tapply. I decided to use Tapply in this series. Over the next few weeks, you'll see his bio get created and posted to wikipedia.

  2. I'm going to enjoy this series. Noticed that a lot of my fave writers do have wiki pages; however, one that I truly, truly love does not: Bernice McFadden. I'm going to try to work through this series to develop one.

  3. Chick Lit -

    Great! I'd love to learn more about Bernice McFadden.


  4. I have some faves that aren't in there also. Wonder if I can help them along.

    Morgan Mandel

  5. Thanks Charlotte for the efforts! Hope a lot of the great authors get mentioned on wikipedia in future.

    Steamy Darcy

  6. Morgan,
    With your flair for writing, I'm sure you could!

  7. Thanks Enid. That's the goal. I do hope you'll be playing along.

  8. I think this is a fascinating exercise, although I am not sure that I have the confidence nor ability to actually contribute. I did discover that I have about 3 favorite mystery authors who do not yet have a wikipedia biography.

    I look forward to following this series of posts!

  9. Thanks Molly! One of the great things about Wikipedia is once an articel is up, anyone can contribute / expand it. Also, flowery writing is not welcomed - it's a 'just the facts, ma'am" kind of place. I hope you'll play along. Too many great authors do not yet have a page.


  10. Thanks for doing this series, Char. I will try to do a page for one of my favorite authors, too.

  11. Thanks Maryann. The more the merrier! (Hope I spelled that right...where are the editors???)

  12. No kidding! This is an excellent idea! Gabaldon, Gaiman and Bass are already there, although I'm certain other fave authors of mine are not.

    This is a great endeavor!

  13. Great project, Charlotte, and a real contribution to the value of the Wikipedia. As a regular contributor there (and biographee under my own name), I would add a couple of notes about this effort. First, not every living author has the stature or importance to warrant inclusion in the encyclopedia, and additions not deemed to have encyclopedic merit may be challenged and deleted. (Biographies of living subjects are particularly likely to be challenged by the self-appointed border patrols that trawl for junk on the WP.) So, choose carefully, or your efforts may go for naught.

    Second, don't limit yourself to sources on the Web. The Web--including the Wikipedia--can be unreliable and even wildly inaccurate, as we all know. Do consult print sources as well in your research, particularly on anything that seems particularly surprising or "interesting."

    --Larry Constantine (Lior Samson)

  14. Larry, so glad you added that cautionary note. People need to remember that this is not an effort to promote, it is an effort to add to general knowledge about people and places and things of interest. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, after all.

  15. Larry,

    Thanks for the reality check and some great advice.



The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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