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