Top Ten Tips to Write a Better Top Ten

Do I know how to write without immense sarcasm? No, no I do not. I simply can not write an article that isn’t riddled with biting irony. However, here’s my meta take on how to write the very article I’ve prepared here for you today. 

10. Don’t put it off ‘til the last minute.

If you put it off, you’re not gonna give yourself enough time to complete any of the other tips I’m including here. Procrastinating won’t help you write a good piece for the lovely Arts & Entertainment section. Trust me, I spent three years in that section and I could smell a rushed Top Ten the moment it entered my inbox. Write it before the deadline.

9. Pick a good topic.

Creativity is the highlight of this section of The Oracle, and pieces like the Top Ten allow you to explore that creativity in a relaxed yet structured way. Having this much leeway can be daunting, but if you sit down and pick a cool topic, the words will flow out of you and onto your Google Doc. 

8. Stay within the word limit.

I swear to god, word counts are so important. Mahnoor will throw your sh*t in the trash if you submit an article that doesn’t abide by it. Adobe Indesign was created by Lucifer himself as punishment for human sins on earth, and it depends a lot on word counts to ensure layout goes smoothly. If you write too little or too much, it leads to a lot of headaches and hair-pulling during production night. Do us all a favor, especially Editor-in-Chief Jake and I, who have to walk far in the cold to get home, and follow your word counts. 

7. Be original.

Don’t write what everyone else is writing. Like I emphasized before, be creative! Don’t write about anything you’d see on WatchMojo, because that’s the easy way out. Use this opportunity to provide our wide, expansive readership with something fresh and interesting. Innovate the Top Ten. 

6. Do your other work first.

I had three huge f*cking projects due at the same time as this article. I did not plan ahead when I took on this slug (slugs are story ideas for the non-journalists reading this), and I regret it. Thankfully, I completed one of the projects before writing this so I was able to break up my mind-blowing amount of work with a fun piece for my favorite publication. I recommend completing any other work you have before trying to write a Top Ten. 

5. Don’t write about albums. 

Everyone on this staff writes way too much about music (shameless plug — check out our Oracle “albums of the decade” next issue) and frankly it’s exhausting. Think of something creative and write about that. Even movies is better than albums at this point. 

4. Plan ahead.

While writing a Top Ten, you may enter the article thinking you have ten unique things you want to say, and then you get to, let’s say, #4, and realize you’re out of ideas. Plan ahead, and do some research on your topic first. Pick all 10 things before you jump into typing. 

3. Find your voice. 

Don’t be scared to highlight your tone in a Top Ten. This article is all about your opinion, so let your voice shine through. If that means being sarcastic, silly or stupid, then go for it. Readers want to hear you come through, so embrace your voice! If you don’t have a voice in your writing, go find one and make it yours.

2. Check the archives.

Once you have a topic, I recommend going onto The Oracle website,, and searching up “Top Ten” and see if your idea has been done before. If it has, then I suggest coming up with a new topic. Who wants a redundant newspaper? Certainly not me. So go back to the drawing board if you notice your idea has been done already.

*Pro Tip: If you follow steps 9 and 7, you should be able to avoid this step all together.

1. Have fun! 

If you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of short-changed for ideas on Top Tens tonight, so I really can’t think of anything else to add. However, that doesn’t mean I’m wrong with what’s taking the top spot. Having fun is the most important part of like, every task you do in life. So, have fun with this article! You’ll be glad you didn’t take it too seriously once it’s done. 

I hope this informative article helps you to write your own Top Ten in the future. Maybe WatchMojo will get wind of your great Top Tens and you’ll get a job or something. This is not a plug for WatchMojo. It is a plug for myself though, go on The Oracle site and look up my other articles that are light years better than this one.

Madalyn Alfonso
About Madalyn Alfonso 85 Articles
Madalyn Alfonso is a fourth-year English major with a minor in Theatre. This is her sixth semester on The Oracle. Previously, she was the Arts & Entertainment Editor. She loves writing any and every thing she can for the Oracle, whether it be a hilarious Top Ten or a thought-provoking Culture Critique. She hopes you all love reading the Oracle!