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The Poetry Contest: Frequently Asked Questions


by _brainchild_

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So, you’d like to start entering the Poetry Contest? Great! You may be wondering why you should enter. The reason why is that you can earn trophies and prizes, as well as the satisfaction of seeing your poem published. Or, if you have been entering, but still have a few questions, I’d read this, too. I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions based on my Poetry Contest experience:

     Q: What should I write about?

     A: A Neopian holiday. (If you don’t, you probably won’t get picked.) For example, I am writing this right after Tonu Day 2020 (which is over, so no more poems are needed for it). In this case, it was viable to write about a famous Tonu, a few famous Tonus across Neopia with one stanza (group of verses) about each Tonu, any item themed after a Tonu, or a specific paint brush colour of Tonu. (I chose General Dacon.) I have also seen people write about a certain Neopet species in general. While some of these poems do get in, I’m guessing that the judge gets a lot of similar poems describing “the horn of a Tonu” or “Cybunnies hopping.” The more entries there are that are similar to yours, the less likely yours will be picked. You want to make the subject of your poem unique, but not too obscure.

     ---If you’re looking for famous Neopets, you can go to Jellyneo’s Book of Ages at:

     https://bookofages.jellyneo.net/

     There, you can filter by Neopet species. Once you select “Tonu” or whatever Neopet species the pet day is about, you will see all the famous Neopets of that species in Neopia. I’d choose one that is not extremely common, but not too obscure, either. (The character should be recognizable to Neopians.) Something super common, which I would shy away from, would be Hannah (Usul Day) or the Shop Wizard (Jubjub Day). Those are the first Neopets which people will think of. With more people writing about Hannah or the Shop Wizard, your poem will be less likely to be chosen if you pick the same topic as many other people.

     ---To look for items themed around a Neopet species, you can go to Jellyneo’s Item Database at:

     https://items.jellyneo.net/

     There, you can look for item names that include the species of Neopet you’re after. For example, I typed “tonu” in the search bar, and found plenty of Tonu-themed items which would make great topics for poems.

     If the upcoming Neopian holiday is about a faerie, Petpet, etc., then you can search for keywords related to those. (Jhudora, Slorg, etc.) For Petpet Appreciation Day, you have tons of choices, as any species of Petpet is acceptable. You can type keywords related to your favourite species of Petpet. (Quilin, Cirrus, etc.) I just wouldn’t pick something too common.

     Be sure to put the keyword in the title of your poem. Don’t just tack it on---make sure it looks sensible to put it there, and like it has a place in the title. (Ex. “General Dacon: The Invincible Tonu's Blazing Blade”) You want to put the keyword in so the judge can easily tell that the poem is intended for an upcoming pet day.

     ---To look for specific paint brush colours, you can go to the Rainbow Pool in Neopia Central:

     //www.neopets.com/pool/

     There, you can pick “All Neopet Colors” at the top, and then filter by the species you’re looking for. All of the colours that the pet currently comes in will be displayed. Now you can pick one you like and write about it. You can also select “All Petpet Colours” and look for Petpets for certain Neopian holidays, such as Petpet Appreciation Day.

     Q: How do I know when the next Neopian holiday is?

     A: You can go to:

     //www.neopets.com/calendar.phtml

     This is a detailed list of all the Neopian holidays and when they are. The calendar graphic in Pet Central shows some of the holidays with pictures, but others are only visible if you hover, so I use the list instead.

     Q: Do random poetry days occur?

     A: They can, but I haven’t seen one in a very long time. For past random days, I wrote about seasonal items (spring, summer, fall, or winter) or the site events that were happening at the time. Those subjects are more likely to win random days.

     Q: Which days of the week are poems published?

     A: They used to have a set schedule, but nowadays, they publish around each Neopian holiday.

     Q: Does my poem have to rhyme?

     A: Most of the poems I see winning are poems that rhyme. All of the poems I submit rhyme. The only time I have ever written a non-rhyming poem was for a college assignment when the professor told us that our poem was not allowed to rhyme!

     I’m not sure if the judge prefers rhyming poems, or if rhyming poems are just more popular and are therefore submitted more. The submission page says that it doesn’t matter or not whether your poem rhymes, but that was written by the old staff, not Jumpstart.

     Q: How many lines long should my poem be?

     A: Mine range from 16 to 48 lines. Any longer, and you might lose the attention of your audience.

     Q: Would an acrostic poem stand a chance of winning?

     A: I’ve never entered one, but I’ve seen them win for Neopian holidays. If you enter one, be sure to write “acrostic” in the title, or put the first letter of each line in brackets, so readers know it’s an acrostic.

     Q: What is a “shape poem,” and would one stand a chance of winning?

     A: A “shape poem” is a poem in which the placement of the words within the verses creates a shape related to the subject of the poem. The example given on the submission form is “a Lost Desert poem in the shape of a pyramid.” I’ve never entered one of these, but I have seen them win.

     Q: How early in advance should I submit?

     A: I submit 3-4 days before each Neopian holiday. I wouldn’t wait until one day before (unless you forgot) since sometimes, the Poetry Contest is updated a day early. If you forgot and want to squeeze in a poem, I’d wait until 5 pm NST so that you know the contest hasn’t already been updated. The judge will see your poem the next day.

     Q: What category should I select for my poem when submitting?

     A: I always pick “Neopian Holidays” for pet days and the closest other category for random days.

     Q: Do I get a Neomail when I’ve been accepted or rejected?

     A: Yes. Either way, you should usually hear back, as long as you wrote for a Neopian holiday. However, poems can get lost in the flood of submissions more often than you think.

     Q: Am I allowed to enter multiple poems for the same Neopian holiday?

     A: Yes, but only one per user will be chosen, unless there is an oversight. It is possible for the judge to accidentally pick two poems from the same user, but this is very rare.

     Q: Am I allowed to enter a poem from my side account?

     A: No, since the Poetry Contest awards Neopoints (1000 nps per win) and an item prize which can be sold for nps.

     Q: Speaking of prizes, what kinds of prizes can I win?

     A: You can win paint brushes, Petpet paint brushes, Petpets themselves, Secret Laboratory Map pieces, or, if you are unlucky, you might get a codestone. There are other items, too. Jellyneo has a complete list at:

     https://www.jellyneo.net/?go=contestprizes

     The best item I’ve ever won was a Candychan (I’ve gotten 3 of these). The *ahem* least exciting prize I got was a Camelior (Petpet), which has since been removed from the prize pool because it was only worth 300 nps at the time.

     Q: Is there a gold ban for the Poetry Contest, meaning I can’t enter again if I’ve won a lot?

     A: No. If you’ve won several times in a row, you are still free to enter, but you might not get picked so that someone else has a chance.

     Q: What is the Poetry Contest centennial?

     A: A big deal. Every 100 rounds, a special prize, the collectable card “Alstaf Poogle,” is awarded to all winners in addition to the regular random item. This is a very rare and expensive item, worth 35 million Neopoints at the time of writing. Centennial rounds end in –00 (2000, 2100, 2200, etc.) Past centennials have been themed around Alstaf Poogle and the Poetry Contest itself, but more recent ones have been about whichever pet day was coming up. The judge used to reprint their favourite poems from the past 100 rounds, so you couldn’t actually enter for the centennial, but this has not been done for a very long time.

     Q: Is it possible to win more than one centennial?

     A: Upon looking at the past few centennials, some people have won more than one. However, this is likely due to the change in staff when Jumpstart acquired Neopets. I’m guessing that the second time around, their poems were chosen by a different judge who didn’t know that they had already won a previous centennial. Staff like to give other users a chance, but it doesn’t hurt to try. You never know.

     Q: Why hasn’t my “Alstaf Poogle” card arrived yet?

     A: It isn’t awarded at the same time as the regular random item prize. If it has been a week or so, and you haven’t gotten it yet, I’d recommend sending a ticket so that a staff member can grant you your item.

     Q: Why haven’t my regular random item prize and trophy arrived yet?

     A: A mistake can occasionally happen. I’d wait a week, and then, if your goodies have not yet arrived, I’d send a ticket.

     Q: I received too many random item prizes and trophies. What do I do?

     A: A mistake happened. You are supposed to discard the extra prizes (of course, the least valuable ones). Then you can write a ticket to get the trophy count corrected.

     ---Conclusion---

     I hope you found my guide helpful. If you stick with it, you’ll soon have some trophies and prizes. I hope you get lucky and win a Candychan. Above all, remember to have fun!

 
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