Writing Guidelines

What we are looking for in a story...

  • An extreme experience - either terrifically great, or terribly awful. Write about places you love, places you recommend to friends, or places you have vowed never to return to. Those are the stories we want to know.
  • Humour. Keep it light. We want the stories to be enjoyable to read!
  • Personality. Tell your story. Share your thoughts and feelings. Paint a clear picture for us of your experience... don't try to write like an official reviewer or a News Correspondent. We want to know what happened to you.

What we won't allow...
  • Abusiveness or bad language. We understand that you may have had a bad time, but lets keep it G-rated and light-hearted.
  • All the usual rules of good form apply; the information has to be accurate, not slanderous or a personal attack; no swearing or abusive language.
  • Absolutely no-one can be paid (or offered incentives) to write a good review. Lets keep money out of it and stay honest.

Getting Started

If you are new to blogging, here's a few tips to get you started on writing...

To begin: Sign up and sign in. You will need to create a google account and upload an image of some kind (it doesn't need to be your photo if you prefer). You sign in with your email address. If you want to keep your personal email Private, I suggest you create a new free webmail account with gmail or hotmail before you start, and use this new account to sign up with.

For your screen name, you are welcome to use a nickname rather than your real name, for privacy purposes if you are more comfortable with that. Make sure you choose a password that you will easily remember!

Once you have your google account, make sure you "follow" The Undercover Bloggers. Also save us in your Favourites. And even "Like" us on FaceBook. The more people we can show to be supporting us, the more influence we will have. And spread the word to your Friends and family!

You will land on the Dashboard. This is where all the control buttons are. All you need to do is click on "New Post" to start writing. (You can also edit your profile details here).

Make sure you break up your text with pictures. If you are not sure how to load them, you can email them to me and I will upload them for you. If you want to give it a go yourself, click on the link shown here.

Camera phone photos are better than nothing!

If you didn't take any photos, you can always find images to use on GoogleImages, then right click to save them to your computer, and upload them as you would any other photo. Make sure you state that you have found the images on Google at the end of your story :)

When you have finished writing your story, you can check what it will look like when it is published by clicking on the preview button. Go back and make any changes (make sure you use the spell checker!).

Add some "labels" as shown - this means your post will show up under the correct categories. If you are starting a new category (e.g. your location or any other topic not currently in our list of Labels) just type the new label in the space indicated and separate each label with a comma.

You should always include:
  • A by-line e.g. STORY BY JOAN FROM INVERCARGILL (and/or your blog link) a the top of the story
  • The town/location, the contact details/address and any website links for the place or service you have written about at the end of the story 
  • Labels e.g. "great" or "bad", and the category such as "restaurants" or "automotive". You can add new lables by simply typing them in (seperated by commas), e.g. your town, a new category etc.

Then hit "Publish"!

If you are not happy with the way it looks on screen, email me and I can tweak it.
I also reserve the right to edit the text for flow, readability and grammar, and the layout for clarity and visual impact - but I will not change the contents in any other way.

I look forward to reading your stories :)