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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 28th day of Sleeping, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 99 > Articles > So Your Article Didn't Make it into the Times

So Your Article Didn't Make it into the Times

by j_morgan_d

INBOX - I'm assuming that because you're reading this, you like many, many others have had one... or more... many more Neopian Times submissions rejected. Ever wonder why? I'm here to explain. I've had many articles rejected. And I think I'm finally starting to understand why.

The e-mail you get when you've had a submission rejected; the one that Neopians hardly read but definitely should - is a good place to start. Polishing up your article is something that will take a lot of work. So if you want an easy ticket into The Neopian Times, please leave now. *waits* Okay! All ready? Here we go!

In this email you'll find quite a few tips, which may explain some things for you. QUOTE: "Articles - Is there something new going on in Neopian? New game, world and/or item(s)? You have a better chance of getting your article published if you are writing about a new interesting topic. Try to stay away from common topics that have been entered many times in the past.

There are some things I agree with in this statement, and some things that I don't. Like this paragraph says, try to do something new when writing your article. But I'm not so sure that you have to stay away from topics that have been done in the past. Like it's mentioned in this email later on, try to be original. If you can get your idea across in a new way that's interesting, you can make any article worthwhile to read -- even the topics that have been done in the past. This article is about submissions in The Neopian Times. It's been done many times. Yet if you're reading this, it's in there. That, (as far as I know), is because I'm coming at this from a different angle.

Now on to the other parts of this email. Try to make an article around 1000 or more words. You may not have been accepted because your article was too short. (However, they can be as long as you'd like, as long as it's at least around 1000 words.) By the way, you can have 999 words. (It'd be just plain silly to think that you couldn't.) Try to write about things you know lots about. That way, you can make your article long and meaningful without too much trouble.

I'm not going to spend much more time focusing on the email, but take a look at it. You'll find out a bunch of things you never knew. Like, for instance, it is helpful to enclose your paragraphs with paragraph tags (

and

). You could also just end them with a plain

tag. Both methods work.

The next stop on our journey is to look at articles that have made it on to the front page in the past. They're things that Neopia wants to hear about. Or learn about, for that matter. Many writers relate or base their articles on their own experiences. Try it! It might just be your key to an amazing piece.

I've also found another thing you can do in writing called "piggybacking". It's transforming one idea into another. When you're stumped, take a look through other articles. They may make you think of something that you could make an article out of. You might see an article about Neopoints. Then you may start thinking neopoints... Moneytree... donations... guild... and so on. This is a very useful tool.

I'm going to take you through the stages of writing, so you can see what you might have left out. You should have something to base an article on by now. Now, you should be on to the writing part. Get your article written before you edit it. Be sure of your facts! If you have false statements in your articles, chances are that you won't be accepted. When gathering facts, if your article is about another Neopian, try to think about the way you might have done something similar to what they had done. It may help you write more fluently and express your opinions. Try not to be jumpy, make sure everything is clear, and make sure that your paragraphs connect. It isn't a very good thing to be writing about lamps then switch over to dogs. They don't fit together! It should be the same way with the parts of your piece. Remember your angle when you're writing. Try not to start out being funny and end emotionally. Keep yourself on the right side of the road.

And now, on to the editing stage. Articles and stories should be edited at least three times. Do one yourself and two with a pair of fresh eyes. You might even want to wait another day and edit it again. (Give your mind some time to reboot.) When you're writing and you're on a roll, your head might be racing faster than your hands can handle, and you might leave out words or letters. Do "COPS" on your piece. "Cops" is capitalization, organization, punctuation and spelling. Those are the four main things you want to check when editing. (But also edit for grammar mistakes.) Remember, the folks at Neopets won't have time to edit your article for you.

After that, you'll have an almost complete article. Take some time to go over it and fix any mistake that you missed before. Take this seriously if you want to get your article put in the Times. (At this stage don't just fix spelling and grammar. You may want to change phrases here and there. Think things like "Could I have said that in a better way?" and "What's the point of this fact?". Trust me, it'll help you. This stage in writing is often skipped. But remember, you can always make an article or a story better.

Once you've finished doing that, type up everything and you'll have a polished piece of writing. Send it off to Neopets and you'll be finished. It takes a while, doesn't it? To review, there are basically four stages of writing; getting your idea, writing, editing, and making final changes. This is the cycle of creating a wonderful article. And it does take a lot of time. But as I like to say, don't write for the sake of writing. Write because you want to.


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