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The Ins, Outs, and Abouts to the Neopian Times


by alexrae963

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Halt! Whoa! Stop right there! You probably clicked on this guide, thinking, “Woohoo, Trophies, here I come! I’ll be so popular!” Yeah, sure, the trophies are pretty, and sparkly and pretty to look at and... Gag, what am I saying?! Truth be told, it’s more than that. Much more! We writers, readers, and comic-drawers need an inspiration before we can begin to write, and it’s much more than the sheer will of desperation for one of the two very rare NT avatars, or a set of trophies. Oh, no, no, no! Here, in my short but sweet guide, I’ll shed a little light on what it takes to become a true writer, and perhaps change your opinion on some things. *snort* Trophies...kids these days, honestly! *mutters*

1. Taking that first step: What Do I Write?

Ah! The very first important question one asks oneself before one settles down, pen (or pencil) and paper at hand. First, before you can sketch your comic or write up a story, you need to think. And not so hard, lads. You’ll give yourself a headache if you think too hard. What it normally takes is time, patience, and a little spark of creativity that’ll get your gears goin’ and your head bubbling with all the possibilities.

What to write about? Something Neopets-related, first! Isn’t that why you decided on reading this in the first place? To learn how to capture the elegance or humor of a Kacheek, or to write out the epic details of a battle-driven Kougra? Okay, maybe you didn’t have that in mind, but you can see what I mean, can’t you? You need to persevere and never give up hope; this alone is what will earn you respect among your fellow literates. Never give up! Keep your eyes on the prize, and write, draw, and write some more. *cheesy grin* No, you’re supposed to take me seriously. Stop staring! D:

2. Inspiration: Go for the Win!

You don’t think you can start writing immediately, do you? Well, of course, there is the situation where you’ve been planning these little things in your head for weeks upon weeks. But, no, if you want to start immediately, then patience can be your best guide. Every story needs to have a plot, something that will have readers gripping the edges of their chair seats, eyes glued to your story/comic/article, begging for more. Plots are what pump the blood, like a heart, in every piece of writing, in every word, and slowly, your writing piece will indeed resemble a living, breathing creature.

Creativity is the brain of the whole operation; words are the little organisms that flow through your comic’s drawing, or perhaps story? Plots are the heart that give every little detail to what you’re doing, and jump-start life into it. To capture this image, you need to steadily plot out your story. Don’t go rushing into things, for that often ruins everything right off the bat and it gets messy. And, no, I do not mean a piñata bat that is meant for smacking open those poor, defenseless, colorful piñatas we all so adore. I am a proud piñata protector, and I fight for their causes and rights against being smacked open with bats! I mean, honestly! How - not again! Darn my short memory; I got off track again, didn’t I? Well, no worry. I basically covered everything in this section. Next!

3. Slow ‘n’ Steady is the Best Remedy

Don’t rush. Yes, I am repeating this many times over because I need to drum this lesson into you. This is IMPORTANT. It’s so important, that this very word deserves to be beautified by being italicized, underlined, capitalized, and bolded, just so that it’ll stand out! Hahah. I made a funny. :P Uhh, yes, anyway, these things can’t be over-looked. Rushing never works. It’s your job to take time to work out the character details, what they say, how they act, personalities, settings, backgrounds, plots(again with these plots!), and most importantly, the ending. All of the above mentioned are self-explanatory; it’s your task to work out the rest.

You also can’t have your story getting off-topic, like I’m continuously doing here. But... that’s an exception. Just because I’m cool like that. B) Anyhow, you need to think. Let something catch your eye, and bam, you’re off for your pencil and paper, ready to draw and ready to write! When you know that you’re ready to begin your article, short story, continued series, comic, whatever, and you get that tingly feeling that screams, “Yahoo! I’m ready!” then you know it’s time to begin.

4. Genres: What Catches your Interest?

Maybe you’re a horror fanatic, or a humor love? Perhaps romance captures your liking, or fantasy is your fancy? Adventure of some daring young Petpet, about to take his first steps out into the big blue Neopia, or a serious, down-to-Earth story that will have your heart soaring, eyes narrowed, hands trembling? Something sad or gloomy, heart-wrenching? Mystery! Suspense! Excitement! Maybe even a mix of all of the above mentioned! A genre, to put it simply, is what type of setting, or “feeling” one perceives when they read something. It’s like the personality of a story.

Comics in general are funny. I’ve read many a story that was humorous. Some people love a good laugh that’ll have them spewing Neocola all over their latest edition of the Neopian Times. Other people enjoy the sheer feeling of excitement; the wind in their hair, the sun against their heads, the beauty in the night, and the suspense and enjoyment of life. These things are what can be described as excitement. In other words, a story that will have you glued to the chair, heart racing. Horror is something that’ll most likely scare you from Neopia to Kreludor and back. These tales are left for the brave, who can face such fears, and for those who have the guts to write them... *shudder* What you decide in writing and what genre you choose is completely up to you. Be creative!

5. Read, Read, Read! (and so on)

I’ll make this short but snappy. READ! READ LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!!1 *shot for caps abuse* Oww. But, seriously, perhaps your greatest source of information can come from reading! Reading fattens the imagination and sparks it like a miniature storm. You want to be a writer or need a little help finding the next drawing for your comic? Then read! Reading inspires those who have the will to write and the ability to write to write at all. We can find true meaning in words. Words are the emblem of language, of life itself! We see them, we hear them, and we speak them. And through words, we can read. Reading is the ultimate way of feeling and seeing.

6. Fan Letters, Trophies and Publishing, Oh My!

Yes, here’s the “fun” part, as many would call it. (But then again, I’m not many.) When you submit your comic, short story, continued series, article, comic, and yada yada yah, you’ll eventually receive a neomail from the theneopetsteam, TNT’s official site account, and this will tell you that you’ve either been A.) rejected or B.) accepted. The first neomail is to keep you updated. Now, if you’ve been accepted, then there’s no telling when you’ll receive your second neomail stating exactly “when” your latest NT piece will be published. The second neomail tells you that your story/comic/article and so on will be featured in the very next issue.

You’ll receive the trophy in advance before your piece in the NT is released. The trophies will resemble a feather, and each additional thing published in the Neopian Times will add on to the “x-enter number here-”. So, if you’ve been published, say, three times, then underneath the trophy on your user lookup, it will say “Neopian Times Champion x3". Same goes for any other number. And, NO, having your question answered in the editorial does not count as “being published.”

Now... I must, as a writer, teach you all about the dreaded price that accommodates your submissions into the NT; the dreaded f-word that we all fear.... Yes, it’s.. *drum roll/horrific scream in background* ...fan letters! *gasp* Well, they’re not that “OMG” material, but I must warn you that they can clog up your inbox. Unless you like attention, then I suggest you pay the “Block” button a visit and enable it so that only Neofriends can contact you. You can also, on the same exact page, block certain users as well. Not that you’d want to, but... Other than that, fan letters are a great way to... umm... mingle with the people, and learn a little; maybe some negative and positive feedback that can help improve your next story; maybe even a new friend in waiting! But keep this in mind as well: fans aren’t (although they can be!) necessarily “friends.” This mainly depends on what you think.

7. Effort is the Key to Your Prizes

Effort is the key word to be used here. You want that cool trophy, or those avatars, right? Then procrastination is definitely a no-no! Consistent effort and dedication is what makes NT writers well-known for and admired. Hey, some people have even set goals to go above and beyond the usual, “Okay, I published ten things, I’m done now.” There are indeed many Neopians who have been published more than 100 times, If I’m not mistaken. Okay, you don’t have to be published that many times, but once again, the key word is effort: if you want something, you need to work at it, and if it doesn’t work, try again. Try, try, try! The only true failure is when you finally stop trying at all. Goals are important, because those are what get you going and encourage good behavior and consistent responsibility to yourself.

8. Spelling Counts!

This is the smallest category here, but what one makes up in size they can make up with importance. Grammar, everyone’s favorite subject, and right next to it, spelling, are very important. You’re more likely to be published if... well, let me just show you an example.

Example A: 7h3 5hoyrU fl13d h19h3r 4nd h19h3r un71LLL h3 wa5 4 5p3k 1n d4 5ki. H3 7h3n 10k3d d0wn 4nd 5cr34am3d, ‘OMF!!1 I C4N F1I!!!!1’

For those of you who could not understand that, it says: “The Shoyru flew higher and higher until he was a speck in the sky. He then looked down and screamed, ‘Oh my Fyora! I can fly!’”

As you can see, Example A, due to all its spelling errors, grammar mistakes, punctuation mistakes, and because it’s illegible, will hardly have a chance at being published. Here is example B.

Example B: The Kougra’s eyes shone like gleaming amber stars, as she slowly stretched out a paw and held the Spotted Paintbrush to her face. It had been everything she wanted for Christmas. But who left it at her door? Looking around to make sure no one was listening, she clutched the trembling object against her chest and whispered, “Thank you.” Her words tumbled about in the breeze that swept past her muzzle, and although the one who had deposited her gift was long gone, Kamika was sure whoever it was had heard.

In Example B. there is nary a spelling error, grammar mistake, punctuation error or inappropriate content, and the words are legible. What you submit doesn’t have to be anything like this, but this was meant to be a good example of what may help you out a little. :) Oh, yeah, one last thing: nothing is perfect, so if you have one or two spelling errors that are small, or a slight grammar error, then this is perfectly acceptable.

And in Conclusion...

And now, for the best part. You can now, with what help my guide may have given you, begin your long-term dream of writing and illustrating comics and so on for the NT. Here’s the most important part: have fun! You should do this because this is something that you want to do; becoming an NT star shouldn’t be a chore. Do it because you want to do it; because you know you can do it; because you have faith that you can write, read and draw; because you enjoy what you’re doing; and because this is what you know is something that you will look back on and be proud of, while waving that proud avatar in the wind, or while polishing up your trophy. This is to be an NT star. Good luck and have fun, fellow Neopians!

 
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