A Guide to Writing: Guides and other Articles
Many Neopians struggle to get their articles published in the Neopian Times. Many Neopians, just like you. You struggle to come up with a great story idea, and then take hours writing it up. You enter it again and again, and yet your amazing story is constantly rejected. So you give up in frustration and just continue reading the Times, wishing your article was amongst them.
There are a few possibilities: For one, you might just be low on patience. You might have to go through a few rejections in order to get accepted. Or, you might not be using a great writing style; try to spice it up! But the one I am going to go into detail in is: you might be writing the wrong kind of article. Why write a short story if you don't have a good idea? Why write a series if you're going to get impatient and bored? Why draw a comic if you claim you don't have art skills? You need some skill for all of these. Some skill that you might not have. I'm not trying to get you down, as I don't have this skill either! But what about articles? (Guides, Rants, and other things that aren't really stories.)
Articles are the kings of the Neopian Times. They are simple to write, enjoyable and helpful to read, and ANYONE can come up with one. Many people write a guide or other article as their first entry and work their way up from there; many such as myself stick with them because they enjoy writing such things. But what about you? Have you ever REALLY tried to write an article? Because if not, I can definitely help.
Step One: The Idea
The idea of the article is your main concern. Ask yourself, "What am I good at on the site?", "What might others need help with?", or even "What sorts of articles have I enjoyed reading?" Maybe you want to write a game guide. Can you go into great detail to truly help the reader? Or maybe "Top Ten" item articles. The idea should be original. Or do you even want to write a rant? Don't let these get out-of-hand; they will get rejected if you let yourself get angry and sloppy when writing them. Once you get a great idea, it can seem extremely easy to start writing your article.
Step Two: Organizing
Sometimes it is necessary to have a longer introduction than other times. Make sure you are thoroughly explaining your subject before beginning the article. If you feel the need to, stop after each sentence to read it to see if it leads the article together. Organization is a very important part to your article, as you don't want to confuse your reader; if you get confused by your own article, chances are most other people will as well.
Step Three: Writing Style
Relax while you are coming up with a guide or article so you can backup your writing style. Grab a glass of your favorite juice and a nice comfy pillow to help you think. You shouldn't stress out over writing, it is for fun, after all! Keep the writing style steady throughout the article so that the paragraphs run together smoothly. Make readers feel comfortable reading what you wrote; make them know that you have been in their situation before (if writing a guide) and even add some smilies! ;) Whatever you do, reassure the reader that you are just like them, not any more superior, but an equal.
Step Four: Concluding
Close up your article slowly, wishing the reader well and not rushing it. For articles, you can write up to 50,000 words (although I suggest not going near that amount) so make sure you describe in detail and finish nicely. Writing IS an art, after all. Be sure that once you've finished your article you read it over from beginning to end and add any changes you need to. If you want to, ask a friend who also plays Neo to read over your article and let you know what they think. Just try to make sure your article is reject-proof!
Step Five: Word Count
This is the most common error people run into when writing. You need a minimum of 1,000 words, or your article is automatically rejected! Chances are, if you have under 1,000 words by the end of the article, you rushed it too much and need to go back again and add detail. Don't add pointless junk just to take up the word count; think instead, 'What did I forget to add?' If you can't think of anything, close up the article not forever, a year, a month, or even a week, just an hour or a day and come back to it later when you can think of something to add. If you're 100 words off, it might seem like a lot, but to be honest, a paragraph can easily be composed of that amount.
Before entering your article, make sure you have a beautiful introduction that is a couple paragraphs long and draws the reader's attention. Be sure that the article is organized and that there will be no confusion, and that your article has at least 1,000 words. Finish off with a nice conclusion and let the reader know you are human too, a human who plays the site and is not perfect. ;) I know you can do it; I know you CAN write an amazing article that WILL get into the Neopian Times. Just don't give up. Rest from writing if you have to; whatever helps you works.
I wish you all good luck in writing an article for the Neopian Times. Comics and Stories just don't seem to be my strength, but if you want to try for those, go for it! Anyone and everyone can write an article, just relax. This is for fun, and if you can't handle that then don't. Now please, open up a fresh document and begin typing up a future article of the Neopian Times!