An important challenge for scientists, especially those early in their careers, is preparing an effective article for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. Here, I present a number of suggestions on how it could be accomplished. This action plan addresses (1) how to approach a topic by developing a story line connected with what is already known in the field, (2) how to most efficiently organize and sequence one's efforts by starting with the descriptive parts of the manuscript and subsequently moving to the more interpretive parts, and (3) the advantages of using bibliographic software to facilitate quick and accurate referencing. I suggest that authors should aim to produce a story that does not overcomplicate the topic under investigation while at the same time presenting a full and accurate coverage and interpretation of the data. Importantly, the preparation of manuscripts becomes easier with time and practice, as individuals hone their own style and approach to this task.