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I am writing a technical guide for travelling and I'd like advice on what kind of structure I should use for each article. I have the articles written, but when I wrote them I didn't use a particular structure.

Some articles offer information, some list ways of doing something, some speak from experience and others review equipment in a given context.

The book's layout thus far is intro, pre-trip, and on-the-road, while topics covered are practical advice, communicating, dealing with problems, and equipment.

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I can't give you a precise advice on this particular subject, but what I'd advise is to pick a similar, popular book, and then blatantly copy the format of the articles. It's not something copyrightable. – SF. Jan 25 '13 at 14:14
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We could help you better if you tell us what specific problems you have with the existing articles. Why do you think you have to restructure them? Can you give us an example and point out what you do not like? – John Smithers Feb 5 '13 at 14:29
    
@AndrewWelch: I've edited your question to make it a bit more understandable - view revisions and revert if you feel it is no longer asking the same thing. – Zayne S Halsall Feb 10 '13 at 8:47
    
I'd suggest that answers focus on how to develop structural guidelines for a book like this one. – Neil Fein Sep 19 '15 at 7:04
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I have seen quite effective layouts where articles are thrown in with mixed “media” like recipes, lists, maps, things to do, drawings, opinions…

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It's good to change up the structure for every few articles, so they don't bore the reader with all the same format. Other than that, I think it would have to do quite a bit with your target audience.

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I write technical instructions for software, and I've found that creating a "format" or "style" is an important step in the writing process. What I would recommend here is that you have a specific style for the different content types.

You mentioned several content types:

  • Practical Advice
  • Communicating
  • Dealing With Problems
  • Equipment

I would start there and I'd create a standard format and tone for each of these types of content, so all "Practical Advice" articles follow the same format and have the same tone. This helps readers know what to expect and know what kind of information they expect to get, depending on the article type.

As was mentioned earlier, it is very important to do audience analysis to make sure you understand your audience. If you are new to the idea, it can be helpful to create 'personas' for your different audience types. You describe the characteristics of the person and you give them a name. For example:

Persona: Susan

Susan is a single adult between the ages of 21 and 45. She travels extensively, usually 2 to 3 times per year. She loves outdoor activities and has hiked Machu Pichu and all the highest mountain peaks in the lower 48 states. She has visited 60% of National Parks, but prefers state-side travel to international travel.

That is just a silly example, but it illustrates the idea. Now as you are writing each section, you can think to yourself "What information would Susan be interested in? How can I present it in a way that will be helpful for her?

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