Two Heads are Better Than One: A Guide to Collabs
Let's say you really want to write or draw for the Neopian Times, but there's a problem. Maybe you have a plot thought out, but you don't have any characters yet. Maybe you're a terrific artist, but you can't think of an idea for a comic. If you have a story or comic you don't think you can do alone, you might want to think about doing a collab. "Collab" is short for "collaboration," or when two people work together on a submission.
When two users work together on a piece that's published, they both get credit for the work. Both users will get a trophy in their lookup, and if the piece is published in a special issue, any prizes given out will reach both of you. But what's the best way to do a submission together, anyway?
Before You Start
If you want to start a collab, you should always do it with somebody you trust. After all, you don't want to end up working really hard on something and have the other person steal it without giving you any credit (or worse, get frozen, meaning the piece won't be eligible for submission at all). A Neofriend you have a lot of fun talking to would be a good choice, because it means the submission will be more fun to write, and that's really what this website is about: having a good time.
Once you two have decided to work on a submission together, you still have to decide how to do it. Here are a few ways. There are many different ways to do collabs, and this is by no means a complete list. It's simply a list of ideas for those who want to collab but aren't sure how to go about doing it.
Collaborating on comics is very straightforward: generally one person will have the idea for the comic and the other person will draw it. This works well for those who have many comic ideas but aren't very good at drawing, or who love to draw but aren't very good at being funny. If both people are good at drawing, you could even do a little series of comics and switch roles for each of them.
If you draw comics and know somebody else who does, it's also possible that you might want your characters to meet in a comic. You might each draw your own versions of it, or you could draw one panel and have them draw the next. This can lead to very interesting effects depending on each person's art style!
The way to collab on an article really depends on the type of article you are writing. Almost any article can be written with one person writing a couple of paragraphs and sending it to the other person, who writes the next few paragraphs. One person keeps the story in a private document until it is ready to submit. I recommend not keeping it on a petpage because someone else could find your article and try to submit it for themselves.
Outlines can also be helpful when collaborating on an article (and even when writing an article yourself!). Let's say you and your friend have decided to write about the top ten paintbrush colors. Your friend decides on the colors that will be featured and sends that list to you. You take each of the colors on the list and write about why they were chosen, and then your friend will write an opening and a closing paragraph for the article. (You could also write the first half of the article while your friend writes the second half, or any other combination.)
Similarly, if you want to do an article with an "interview" of a character, one person could ask the questions while the other answers them. (It's almost like a real interview!)
For Short Stories and Series
Personally, my favorite way to collaborate on stories is one mentioned in the articles section above. You simply have one person write a little bit of the story and send it to the other person, who will then write their part and send it over, and so forth until the story is finished. Again, have one person keep the story until it's done, but don't put it on a petpage in case someone else finds it and wants to steal it.
Just as with articles, you could also use the outline method in this case. Simply have one person write a detailed outline of the story and send it to the other, who will write a story based on that outline.
Perhaps you have a Neofriend who also writes. You could have your original characters meet in a story that you both work on. If you don't like this idea, or mostly write about characters created by TNT, you could also have your pets meet in the story. Many Neopian Times authors feature their pets in stories (although you may want to stick to a few pets each, as having eight to ten characters can confuse readers very quickly).
Submitting Your Collab
When it's time to submit your collab, head on over to the Neopian Times submission page and get your submission ready. There is a little box for comments at the bottom of the form, and this is where you should write that you collaborated with someone and who (making sure to spell their username correctly). Only one of you needs to make the submission.
As noted above, you will both receive a trophy and any prizes given out if your submission is accepted. However, the person who submitted the work is the only one who will get neomails letting you know if it was accepted, held over, or rejected. If this is you, remember to share them with your writing partner.
Hopefully this article has shown you how easy it is to collaborate on a Neopian Times work. If you've got an idea lingering, it's time to start asking some friends if they want to write or draw it with you! Have fun!