Contributor Guide

Quarterly, the Nastawgan editorial team produces a journal that is informative, entertaining and of high quality. To ease this process and to assist contributors, we are providing the following guidelines. If you have any questions please contact the editor-in-chief.  


Please provide the name, address, phone number and email address of the writer of your article at the top of the page (see sample) so that we can contact you.


We accept anything that would be of interest to canoeists who enjoy wilderness trips as well other related outdoor adventures: articles, trip reports, diaries, personal reflections and experiences, environmental issues within the scope of canoeing concerns, news items, products-and-services information, letters to the editor, viewpoints, opinions, reviews of books and other publications, requests for trip partners or information, anecdotes, poetry, jokes, photographs, sketches, cartoons, etc. Note: We are limited in the amount of space in Nastawgan in which to print articles. We welcome and will print all suitable material submitted by members of the WCA. However, when we have extra space we reserve the right to make selections from pieces submitted by other sources in the interest of providing our readership with unique and informative material.


  • Build your story around the answers to the following key-words: what, where, when, why, who, how. Try to tell the story in a logical sequence.
  • Remember that you write for people who have not been on your trip but would like to read your story to learn details or know more about your experience of it. 
  • Avoid emphasis by means of exclamation marks, italics, capital letters. Use descriptive words instead.
  • Use the technique of day-to-day diaries only when it makes good sense to do so. Do not give unnecessary information on what you ate each meal, what time in the morning you got up, and similar trivia. These items may have a place in your personal diary, but are of limited use in a story written for outsiders. Stick to relevant information.

  • Especially in the case of remote, seldom or never-written-about rivers, give information on logistics, how to access the put-in point, and how taking-out is organized. 
  • Be very critical of what you produce. Put it aside for some time, then study it again and rewrite. Then rewrite it again. The secret to good writing is rewriting. 
  • Use the metric system of measurements as much as possible. If necessary, the imperial system can also be used. However, do not mix both systems in the same story if you can help it; if you do, our editor will have to perform a conversion upon it.
  • Try to follow the rules of writing good English to the best of your abilities. But don’t worry about this too much, otherwise the editors will have little to do and consequently feel unwanted and even rejected.  


Be sure that all facts such as names, dates, phone numbers, addresses, map information, photograph captions, etc., are correct. This is very important! Triple-check!   


The maximum word count of major articles (which need up to 11 pages in Nastawgan, including illustrations) is approximately 5,000 words. Avoid anything longer than that, except in very special cases (but then, contact the editor first). Medium-length articles have about 2,000 words maximum. One full page of text in Nastawgan contains approximately 1,100 words. One standard sheet of 8.5 x 11 manuscript paper contains about 250 typewritten (or computer print-out) words if the lines are double-spaced and the borders are 2.5 centimetres wide.


Illustrations are very important in Nastawgan. Also, in order to print them, we need a particular quality that is sometimes not apparent to contributors. Therefore, we would appreciate as many photos as possible from which to choose a few. Thus, you might send us twenty photos and we would pick five or six to print. Also please include captions and the photographer’s names. See below for more details.

Photographs should preferably be sharp and correctly exposed. Try not to choose dark and high-contrast pictures. Write captions on a separate piece of paper: never write with a ballpoint or pencil on the back of photographs.

Maps are required to explain the location of trips, especially in lesser-known areas. They should be sketched clearly with all the necessary information included, such as names, compass orientation, distance scale, direction of river current (if not evident). If a writer finds that making a map is not possible, the editor can make a map from the information provided. Any clear copies of existing maps can assist this or might be used.

Drawings of relevant subjects are welcome to illustrate articles or to use as general fillers. They should preferably be done in pen and ink, but other media are also acceptable.  


TEXT (see sample manuscript sheet below)

  • use standard 8.5 x 11 paper or email.
  • text must be clearly legible, preferably typewritten and/or digitised; although good handwriting will also be accepted.
  • put name of the article, the writer's name, address, phone number, and e-mail address in top left corner of first page of manuscript.
  • put approximate number or words in top right corner of first page.

    • number each page in the case of handwritten or typed material.
    • text should be single spaced, devoid of formatting and hard line returns. We will format your submission to the Nastawgan stylesheet during the layout process.
    • keep one copy of your manuscript for your own files.
    • text prepared by computer can be submitted on computer disks (CD, DVD and ZIP), or by e-mail to Elizabeth Sinclair Preferred software format is MS Word but other formats can be accommodated. 


    • send as many photos as you can in order to give our illustrations editor good selection and variety.
    • photos can be submitted in the form of slides, negatives, or prints, colour or black-and-white (they will always be printed in black-and-white). Prints should not be smaller than 3.5 x 5 in. or larger than 8 x 10 in. 
    • photos should be sent by registered regular mail. They will be returned to the contributor as soon as possible after use. 
    • photos taken with a digital camera and prepared by computer (digital photos) can be submitted on CD (compact disk) or emailed to the illustrations editor.

    • computer programs that are packaged with digital cameras often provide a choice among large file (uncompressed) and small file (compressed.) Or persons may use a special application for uploading and organizing photos such as iPhoto for MAC. Please choose an uncompressed format if it is possible and do not manipulate your photos.
    • regarding paper photos, we prefer if you would send them to our illustrations editor. He will scan them for reproduction and return them to you. Please email Illustrations Editor Aleks Gusev. Please do not scan in a compressed format (e.g. jpg) or manipulate your photos before sending them. Original photos are preferred for the best possible reproduction. If you have any questions please contact the illustrations editor.
    • Do not send documents by fax.


  • submit your material as early as possible, especially the longer articles.
  • observe the deadlines listed on the Nastawgan page of the WCA website or in a previous issue of Nastawgan.
  • don’t be insulted or intimidated by these guidelines.
  • if in doubt, shout, and thou shall be heard.
  • enjoy yourself! 



Sample Manuscript Page

Joe Stern
123 Paddle Street
Canoetown, Province                                                                                                  Approx. 1850 words
AlB 2C3



Article: Joe Stern

Photos: Anna Bow

It was a dark and dreary day when the four of us packed all the gear plus the two canoes in and on top of the van. We’d much rather stay in bed and do what all sane people should do on a day like this, sleep. But alas, we had made arrangements with the fly-in airplane people and we had to be there on time. And besides, we really wanted to paddle that famous river. 
     Five hours of driving through the fog and misery of this terrible day brought us, pooped out, to the muddy airport in Uptheretown where the somber-faced pilot was busy refueling his ancient float plane. 
     “So, you’re the guys for Doodle Lake?” he mumbled without moving his lips. “Okay, jump in. Let’s go. That’ll be two flights because this old lady Beaver here can’t take more load than one canoe plus two people and gear. Got the money?” Nice, confidence-inspiring guy, this one.
     We paid him. He loaded two of us plus equipment in and on the scruffy-looking flying machine. The take-out on the glassy-smooth lake was beautiful. That pilot knew what he was doing. 
     At last, the long-awaited expedition to Doodle Creek, that notorious canoe-eating collection of rapids, falls, and killer-souse holes, was on its way.