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write for us

We encourage you to contribute comments. We also want your quotes that inspire and surprise. If you aren’t a writer, but have a story idea, we would love to hear from you.

Because of its nature, section15.ca embraces a spectrum of perspectives, and has no political party affiliations. Language here respects the rights of others. Features generally focus on how women work for positive change – now, and in the past.

Our blog links to visual art, videos and photos. And we’re always interested in what’s happening in communities across the country. From Take Back the Night to cross-faith gatherings to anti-bullying rallies, we want to know about it.

Write to: editor AT section15 DOT ca.

section15.ca also has a group on flickr. If you have photos of events, activists and notable places to share, please join!

section15.ca on flickr

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writer's guidelines

If you are a writer, and want to pitch a story, please send a query by email to editor AT section15 DOT ca. Be sure to put the word “query” in the subject line of your message to receive a confirmation.

Your description can be up to five paragraphs long.

Please include:

  • the outline
  • the angle
  • sources
  • desired length
  • background about yourself
  • a sense of why you should write this piece for us
  • two writing samples, sent as attachments in Microsoft Word, OpenOffice.org Write, PDFs, or as links

Before sending us a story idea, it’s a good idea to be familiar with the site. Explore its sections. Take a look at our blog entries, other features, and members’ comments.

Please add a comment of your own, if you’d like.

Our about section15.ca page also gives you a good sense of what we’re up to.

Every week, section15.ca publishes a feature, which is usually 600–800 words long.

section15.ca also posts regular book excerpts and photo features. We will consider reprints, giving full credit to the original source.

When submitting book excerpts, photos or reprints, state clearly who owns copyright.

We do not accept:

  • multiple submissions (stories that you've also sent elsewhere for consideration)
  • book-length manuscripts
  • most opinion pieces
  • unsolicited articles
  • writing that doesn’t fit with the mandate of the site

Once you’ve been commissioned to write a piece, you will receive a formal contract.

Please deliver approved stories as plain text in the body of an e-mail – or as an attachment – to editor AT section15 DOT ca with the word “feature” in the subject line. Include your name and contact information in the message. We request a list of sources for all the information in your first draft.

A new story is highlighted on the homepage for a week, and usually remains on the homepage for a month. It will remain in our permanent archives. Writers are free to place a story elsewhere once it’s no longer on the home page. We ask that you include the tagline, “A section15.ca original.” We’d appreciate knowing when and where the piece will appear.

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section15.ca features

We’re looking for new perspectives, old stories, significant moments few people know about, as well as insight into the people, places and events that continue to shape Canadians’ efforts to embrace equality and equity for women and others.

section15.ca features explore the past, present and future of economic, social, cultural, civil, and political issues through the eyes of women and men who work for change.

Our stories include:

  • people: the personalities that shape this country and the world: historic figures, activists, artists, musicians, writers, adventurers, athletes, politicians, academics, entrepreneurs, labourers, scientists, teachers, environmentalists, and those working for social justice and in technology. Profiles provide a sense of a person’s mentors, community, connection to others, and commitment to ensuring women, girls and others get their fair share.
  • issues: the concerns, communities, organizations, institutions, research and movements that deal with the rights of women and others in Canada and elsewhere.
  • news: current and upcoming events, decisions, trends and actions happening in Canada and around the world.
  • reviews: a look at recent events, decisions, trends and actions. We are also very interested in arts-based pieces.
  • recent history: an anniversary or moment with special significance, such as International Women's Day, Persons Day, Women's History Month, the birthday of Louise Simone Bennett-Coverly, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, the first meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee of Canadian Women on the Constitution. These features will launch like any other, but will be highlighted on the homepage on the appropriate week each year.
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10 online writing tips

  1. Use an engaging, spare, clear and conversational style. Be a pleasure to read. Surprise, challenge, educate and charm your audience.
  2. Add a rich amount of facts and quotes.
  3. Simple language does not make a piece dumb. It makes it more likely it will be read. Embrace the active voice and strong verbs. Lean heavily on show-don’t-tell.
  4. Don’t be trapped under the inverted pyramid, but know crucial information needs to be at the top of a piece. Keep in mind that, according to Sun Microsystems, people read roughly 25% more slowly online than they read printed material. Understand that most online readers scan text, so short, direct sentences and paragraphs are a must.
  5. Use lists. They help readers absorb information by breaking elements down. Do not use special formatting for these – simply indicate to the editor when a list begins and ends.
    • numbered lists indicate that the order is important
    • bullets indicate that there items are in no particular order
    • try to keep lists down to nine items or less
    • even the editor sometimes fails to follow her own advice (see tip number 10 of what should be nine items)
  6. Make your writing easier to read on the screen. Keep in mind that text blocks work best when they are no more than five lines long (with an average of 15 words per line). Keep one main idea for each paragraph, or your following points further in might be skipped.
  7. Don’t try too hard to be clever, catchy or hip – make sure your words mean something, and are easily understood.
  8. Don’t include hyperlinks in the body of a story. Instead, note them for the editor at the end of the piece. Please don’t imbed these links into text. Instead, provide the full address, as found in your browser’s address line.
  9. The editor appreciates it when a writer meets a deadline. The editor really appreciates a writer doing everything possible to make sure a story is fair and accurate. If a writer is having difficulty juggling these desires, fairness and accuracy win. Always. But let the editor know about any delay. A big gap could affect our contract with each other.
  10. A longer, involved piece that really pulls in the reader will probably be printed to be read offline. Mother nature cries. That’s why we lean to shorter, smart, clear, direct pieces that pull in the reader, and lets them finish without tiring their eyes.
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stylesheet

  1. Format – please make it as simple as possible.
    • Send the story in the body of a plain text e-mail, or send as an attachment.
    • Avoid smart “curly”) quotes or apostrophes, italics, bolding, auto hyphenation and formatting special characters such as bullets, ligatures, and en and em dashes.
    • Always put periods and commas inside quotes.
    • Do not double space after punctuation or use multiple spacing for tabs or indents of any kind.
    • Align text to the left, with a ragged right-hand side.
    • Check spelling with an automatic checker and manually – especially for peoples’ names, job titles, the names of formal committees, organizations, and so on.
  2. Spelling is based on the Nelson Canadian Dictionary, supplemented by the 17th edition of The Canadian Press (CP) Caps and Spelling. Use the CP Stylebook (14th edition) for other questions of style.
  3. Immediately establish a person's identity with a first and last name. No Mr., Ms. or Dr., please.
  4. Identify an organization in full. Use acronyms only after introducing the name in its entirety, followed by the acronym in parenthesis.
  5. Quotations should be an exact match to source material.
  6. For our external links section, include the full website address, the site name, the text title and, where possible, the author’s name and date of the item. Include the protocol (http://, https://, ftp://). Limited-access or subscription-only sites will not be used on section15.ca.
  7. At the bottom of the story, you can include a list of any books, movies, articles, documents and websites of interest that you came across while working on the story.
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write

  • Seasonal Feature

  • April 1994: the night raid at Kingston’s Prison for Women

    by Sierra Bacquie

    There was supposed to be a new approach to the Correctional Service of Canada’s relationship to female offenders, who were promised responsible choices, respect, dignity, supportive environments, and shared responsibility. But on the night of April 26, eight women experienced humiliation, degradation, raw fear and trauma at the hands of an all-male emergency team. How did this happen? What has changed since?  read more