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Thread: ★ [Guide] The Basic Neopian Times Guide for Beginners

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    ★ [Guide] The Basic Neopian Times Guide for Beginners



    We all appreciate that additional trophy, and a Neopian Times trophy is often one of the most notable trophies you can have on an account. You cannot cheat for it, and it requires some hard work; this guide will hopefully help you achieve your first Neopian Times trophy and perhaps in the future, the avatar.






    Types of Entries
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    You should begin by familiarising yourself with the types of entries that are accepted into the Neopian Times.

    Articles

    A short article is always a nice way to start with the Neopian Times. As long as you keep it Neo related, you can make an article about anything; it can even include an interview if you like. These are great for special Neopets days, such as an interview with a notable Draik character around Draik day.



    Comics

    If you're artistic, a comic might be your best approach. You don't have to spend hours and hours putting together a plot for a story; simply get a flash of inspiration and begin to draw your idea. Again, special days on the calendar are a good thing to consider.



    Stories

    You can either write a short story, or a continuous series for the Neopian Times. If you have a single idea, that's great; if you have a massive idea that would need to be spread out over several issues, that's even better.




    Organising Your Ideas
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    If you find inspiration for something, write it down as quickly as possible. I mainly work on comics for my entries, and I find that my inspiration either comes from dailies, random events, or just silly happenings around the site; inspiration for an article can be sparked in the same way. A story of course, will be more complicated. If you're stuck, try thinking of your stereotypical story with a moral, and work around that; it's an old trick, but as long as your plot is good and hasn't been used before, you'll be fine.



    That's a problem with many entries; the fact that so many ideas have been used before. As you're probably aware, the Neopian Times has been running for years with one issue a week (with the occasional exception where it has been released fortnightly here and there). As you can imagine, that's a lot of ideas.


    Creativity
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    How many times have you seen an entry on Sloth, or Meepits? Despite being a ridiculously common theme, they still get in. This is because there is still some variety among the themes. Allow me to elaborate. I rambled a bit with this example, hence the spoiler button For a more concise elaboration, scroll down.





    Basically, as long as you vary the stereotypical storyline, your entry will stand out. You don't need to go overboard and use a million new ideas if you can think of them, just make sure that there's some contrast between your entry and any previous entries. Here's another example.



    ^ That was a comic I had drawn a long time ago, and when I received a reply from TNT, they said that this idea had already been done before. If instead, I had given him a cape and made an explosion in the tunnel, perhaps that idea would have been better.

    Use that idea at your own risk; it now has ******** written all over it.



    Collaboration
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    Not very creative? There's no excuse to hold back! Find someone to collaborate with, and discuss your ideas. Together, you can improve them.

    Collaboration is where two or more people work on something together; keep in mind that a maximum of two people are able to collaborate on a single Neopian Times entry. If both usernames are listed in the entry (or in the little description box when you submit your entry), both users will obtain a trophy. This is a much easier way of achieving the trophy, especially if you're working on a story. Even if someone simply checks for spelling and grammatical errors, they still collaborated in a way.



    As far as I know, collaborating doesn't affect the likelihood of your entry being accepted in any way; I've had a few collaborations accepted, and if you view the Neopian Times, you'll see many more collaborations.


    Entry Size Limitations
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    It's important to stick to the size limitation rules; if your entry breaks these rules at all by even a single KB, it won't even be submitted for review.



    Articles
    Minimum Size: 1,000 words
    Maximum Size: 50,000 words

    Comics
    Maximum File Size: 200 KB
    Maximum Image Width: 470 pixels
    Accepted File Formats: GIF, JPG

    Short Story
    Minimum Size: 1,200 words
    Maximum Size: 4,000 words

    Series
    Minimum Size: 1,500 words for each part
    Maximum Size: 50,000 words for each part

    Information gotten from this page.


    Additional Tips
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    1. Do your research. If you look at many entries about your theme, you can familiarise yourself with what has been done. By doing this, you can eliminate certain ideas from your entry and think of new ones which haven't been done before.

    2. If you're not very creative, collaborate. Remember that both people listed in the entry will receive a trophy.

    3. If you have a really great idea but it'll take up too much room for your average story, split it into a series, don't try to cut bits out! If you submit a six-part series, you'll actually receive a x6 trophy. This is what is known as the story series; along the toolbar of the Neopian Times' main page, you'll see "New Series" and "Continued Series" listed. This is where your entry will be displayed each week.

    4. Your art doesn't have to be fantastic. Microsoft Paint comics are very common. The only problem here is that only GIF and JPEG files will be accepted, and both of which kill the quality; in this case, I advise either using or finding someone that has a JPEG optimiser. This will keep the quality of your entry but still save it in JPEG format.
    I have a JPEG optimiser if you need someone to optimise your comic.



    5. If you do decide to draw your own comic, make sure that it at least looks decent. In my very first entry, I didn't colour in my characters properly and so there were white bits around the edges; I received a reply from TNT stating that the quality of my art wasn't good enough.

    6. Use correct punctuation, spelling, and grammar. If you're unsure about whether you've written something correctly or incorrectly, have someone read over it for you. Not everyone will demand collaboration rights, so just ask around

    7. Unfortunately you can't submit comics as a "Continued Series", but if you're rubbish at writing but have a good idea, you could always create multiple comics and submit one each week. If you label them something like "Name #1" then "Name #2" etc, it will become clear enough to TNT that you have multiple comics to submit.

    8. Remember to make the punchline of your comic clear. You'll see why when you scroll to the next section


    Responses
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    There are various responses that you'll receive from TNT. If your entry has been accepted, you'll receive a neomail stating that your entry has been put on hold and may be published in a future issue of the Neopian Times; if it has then been chosen for display, you'll receive another message congratulating you.





    Of course, with positive responses, there must be negative responses. In my time I've received flat out rejections, comments on my artwork not being good enough, and even one response where TNT didn't understand my joke, and to make the punchline clear.

    Sometimes you won't always see a clear punchline in a comic; but if you make yours clear, it'll stand out from those that have a crappy punchline. In my comic, it was more of a sort of explanation rather than a joke; months later when I looked at it again, it was kind of a lame comic

    Responses can take up to two weeks to be distributed, so be patient. Remember that when you get a response regarding an entry on hold, it won't be published until the following week at the very least. If your entry was chosen for a special day in the calendar, it may take even longer to get a response.


    Further Hints
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    1. Don't plagiarise. Not only is it disrespectful to the original creator, but it will get you frozen.

    2. If you're submitting for a special day (Christmas and every 50th issue being the most important), be sure to submit it several weeks in advance. As you probably know, the elusive Weewoo Writer avatar is given out for all entries published during every 50th issue (50th, 100th, 150th etc). These issues are unbelievably competitive and so TNT need time to decide on entries. With so many being submitted around these times, you don't want your entry being submitted too late.



    3. Editorial questions won't earn you a trophy, just so you know xD

    4. Remember to keep everything Neo-related. Any inappropriate comics will be instantly rejected. You can always post them here though 0:-)


    End of Guide
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    That's all I have to say if you have any constructive criticism, questions, or other kinds of feedback, let me know.


  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Trinket For This Useful Post:

    GOAT (01-28-2012),kooldude888 (01-28-2012),Ryan~ (05-09-2012),Storme (07-06-2012)

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    Curse you, I was going to do my own Neopian Times guide not the same as yours though. But still, a very well-written guide full of excellent tips, for both new writers and veteran writers alike. Well done.

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    You might as well make one too =] if they contain different tips, both guides will be beneficial.

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    Yeah I guess I might as well. If it helps people to get another trophy, I suppose it couldn't hurt.

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    Trinket, you are a god. ^__^ Your guides are so so so so beneficial.

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