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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 26th day of Running, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 93 > Articles > Your Guide to the Neopian Times

Your Guide to the Neopian Times

by bluescorchio104

THE DEEP CATACOMBS -You may think you know The Neopian Times like the back of your hand. You may think that you're the most knowledgeable expert on the Neopian Times in the whole of Neopia, and know everything there is to know about it. You may have memorised every single article, story and comic in all past issues of The Neopian Times, and can recite them while tap-dancing with a pineapple on your head.

Well, if those last few points hold true for you, pause for a second. Now put on your tap-dancing shoes, balance a pineapple on your head, and put on a little show while reciting every single article, story and comic that have ever been in The Neopian Times. Now, ask yourself- do you really meet the criteria mentioned at the start of the article? Well, if you don't (which you obviously won't have- pineapples are mighty difficult to balance on your head while tap-dancing), keep reading. And don't stop until you have a) finished, b) been kidnapped by tap-dancing radioactive pineapples with optional drink holders, or c) been zapped with Boochi's ray gun and consequently forgotten how to read. I mean, if you had been turned into a baby by Boochi, who the heck would want to read? Especially when you can shake that cool little rattle, and suck like crazy on that pacifier! Whoa! Just too much mind-blowing fun!

Anyway, now that I've (hopefully) convinced you to read this article, here I go! Firstly, I decided to write this article about the exact thing this article is in. If you don't know what thing this article is in (and I don't mean the computer monitor) you obviously pay little attention to what is on the screen. In that case, stop reading right now, because you're obviously not going to take any notice of what I'm writing anyway. (In spite of the fact you have neither finished, been kidnapped by pineapples, or been zapped by Boochi.) But for those who do know what I'm talking about (The Neopian Times, for those who are a bit slow to catch on), well, keep reading. For I'm about to take you on a magical, wondrous journey through, um, well, a newspaper. Just a few dull, plain little sheets of paper with ink splattered all over it. But take note of the fact that The Neopian Times is Neopia's only newspaper! So, that exciting fact (you can tell it's exciting because there's an exclamation mark on the end of it) compensates for the whole dull, plain thingy… somewhat.

Anyway… firstly, you have to know how to get to The Neopian Times. You can go to the news link on the yellow sidebar, and enter the news page. From there, there is usually a caption and a picture which announces the new Neopian Times is out. The picture is a actually a link, so if you click on that, a nice new window pops up, displaying the front page of The Neopian Times.

Before I tell you about the front page, you might like to know that the next few following features will ALWAYS be there, no matter whether you are chuckling at a comic, reading an interesting story, drooling at an article on how to make more money, or dancing in a conga line consisting of radioactive tap-dancing pineapples with optional drink holders.

· A large, golden picture of a Jubjub reading a newspaper, with all but his feet, upper head and eyebrows obscured by the newspaper (presumably the Neopian Times). Of course, for some strange reason, the newspaper the Jubjub is reading has no writing visible on it. Must have been a really slow news day when the artist drew that particular picture. Or, alternately, the Jubjub wrapped his precious newspaper in an opaque material, so it would be protected from the elements. But then, of course, he wouldn't be able to read it. Oh well. Small price to pay. Behind the Jubjub is a large golden, um thingy, which looks like a circle with two thick bars sticking out on either side. On the large circle-with-sticking-out-bars-thingy there are the words 'The Neopian Times™', conveniently letting you know both that you are reading The Neopian Times, and that the name 'Neopian Times' is a trade mark. Oooohh, aaaahhh. Trade mark. Below that, there is the word 'Circulation' followed by a very long number.

· Below that gold circle-with-two-bars-sticking-out-thingy there is a yellow row of links. This is probably the most important navigation you will find in The Neopian Times. I refer to this as the main navigation toolbar. It will allow you to access the short stories, the articles, the new series and the continued series, simply by clicking on the correct labelled button. There is also a link called 'Main' which allows you to access the front page. I think this is rather odd, as I feel the link should be labelled 'Front Page', as it does, after all, lead to the front page. But, hey, since when have I been one for common sense? Hey, fellow pineapples, let me join that conga line of yours!

· Okay, I'm a little outta breath from all that conga dancing (I got kicked out because the pineapples took offence to the hat of exotic fruits I put on my head). So, I'll go through this next section a little more slowly. Not that you'll notice. After the main navigation toolbar, there is a row or two of links, reading 'Show All', 'Week 74', 'Week 75', 'Week 75' etc. This allows you to see any recent edition of The Neopian Times you wish to see (except for the non-existent issues- those are available only to various pineapples and myself). If you want to go back farther than just Week 74, click on the 'Show all' link and you will be magically allowed to access the rest, all the way back to Week One.

· Just underneath that, you will see a caption, such as 'Neopia's Fill In The Blank News Source' or 'Neopia's Most Dungalicious News Source', for example. I'm pretty sure this caption is just random, but I'm not sure. Next to that caption, there is the current date. Just underneath that is another bar with tells you what issue you're looking at, and if you are currently reading something, what type of work it is (eg. article, short story, etc.) and what its title is.

· There also happens to be a sidebar to the right hand side (or right paw, wing, or fin side, depending what species you are). This displays one front page headline and picture, search engine, as well as a list of stories and articles to read with an accompanying small picture and caption. Personally, I never use this sidebar to access the articles and stories shown, as I usually just use the links at the top of the page to look at all of the articles/stories/comics at once. For me, all the sidebar does is lengthen the time it takes for the page to load. It's about as useful as a nail made out of jelly. Unless you're building a house made of jelly, that is. In which case it still wouldn't be very useful, 'cos it'd still be pretty fragile. There is one exception to the sidebar arrangement though, but I'll tell you more about this later.

· The page background features faded images of various books, medicines, Battledome weapons, foods, Petpets and Neopets. But, of course, no pineapples. Just typical. Not even pineapple Chia in sight. My conga line buddies won't be very happy. And if there's no pineapples in the background in a week, there'll be trouble. *Makes menacing face* Big trouble

· Also, the ten blue links at the bottom of the screen will always be there. They will take you to the same pages accessible through the main navigation bar, but with the addition of Neopets, The Neopian Times search engine and the Neopian News Brief.

The Front Page

The front page displays a few of the week's topics, with a large picture and caption for each. There are also a few more captions (without pictures) leading to more stories. Down the bottom there is that edition's sponsor, often a game or shop. Below that sponsor, there is a part that reads 'Submit your articles, stories, comics, and your opinions! Your opinion counts. The address is... neopiantimes@neopets.com'. At the bottom there is also a small caption and link leading to the Neopian News Brief. The sidebar, rather than having a front page headline and picture at the top, has the quote of the week, a sometimes insightful, sometimes humorous quote from a story or article. I often enjoy reading the quote of the week, but on which have never had the privilege of being featured *wink wink, nudge nudge to editor*

The Neopian News Brief and Editorial

These two things are completely different. The Neopian News Brief is pretty much a amusing and detailed outlook of the week's news. One enormously helpful feature is the section of it that keeps the readers up to date with the latest fluctuations of the Neopian stock market. I'd have to say that the Neopian News Brief is extremely underrated. It is essential reading. Yet, somehow, it only has two small, easy-to-miss links. Very strange.

The editorial is a page where readers (who have e-mailed their questions beforehand to editor@neopets.com) can have their questions answered. The most common or bizarre questions are usually answered. This is a pretty nifty part of the Neopian Times, as it can sometimes make you a bit of cash. For instance, when one reader wrote in to inquire about the use of bottles of sand, the answer (very unsubtle) hinted that something drastic would soon happen that would raise their price. Of course, all the entrepreneurs who read The Neopian Times rushed out and stocked up on bottles of sand. And consequently, they made a bundle of money, because, whaddaya know, a few days later Neopets released sand sculptures, which could be made by combining different Bottles of Sand at the Cooking Pot. The price of bottles of sand skyrocketed from 1 NP to 50 NP practically overnight. Similarly, the editorial hinted at the retiring of cupcakes, letting more Neopian Times-reading shopkeepers rake in more money. But it can make you laugh just as often (if not more) as it can make you NP.

Short Stories, Series and Continued Series

I always love to read the short stories. They're usually around 1500 words in length, but some are much longer, as there is no real limit. If the first few paragraphs of a story seem badly-written, I just skip the rest, and read something else. The same goes for articles. I always read my favourite (usually the most amusing) writers' stories first, such as too_kule, peachifruit, and battlesunn. And assorted others, of course.

A series is not always a series. That does sound kind of confusing, huh? Well, I've written short stories before that kind of got out of hand, and magically decided to grow in length faster than a conga line at a pineapple parade. In the end, they ended up being too big for just a single short story, so I just split them up into separate parts, transforming them into a series. Albeit a series with only two parts. Other series are HUGE, with the number of parts going well into double digit territory. Some series have sequels, like the ever-popular 'Zafara Assassin' series. And let me tell you, once you get hooked on the first part of a series, sometimes it's hard to let go until you know the ending. So be warned. You might find yourself setting up a camp bed in front of the computer just so you can go on Neopets every five minutes to see if the new part of the series has come out yet. Or every two minutes, if you're hyped up on caffeine from numerous cups of hot Borovan.

Articles

Ah, the articles. Where I first got started writing for The Neopian Times. Usually there is a wide variety of articles, such as humorous, practical, and um, well, others. Interviews with Neopian celebrities can also be found fairly often. There are quite a few writers out there who contribute to the Neopian Times on a regular or semi-regular basis, so don't be surprised if you see the same usernames in more than one edition. But there are also the one-off articles written by other Neopians, which are also of high quality. Article series (quite different from story series) can also be found. There are two kinds of article series- the kind where the writer sends in all the parts at once, and one part is published in every edition without skipping a beat until the series is finished, and the semi-regular kind where the writers just write parts whenever they feel like it and send them in. Both are great.

Comics

The comics are a relatively recent addition to The Neopian Times, considering the long, colourful history of Neopia's only newspaper. But now, you'll probably wonder how we ever survived without our weekly doses of Fluffy The Cobrall, Neopian Acres and Really Confused. There are comic artists who regularly submit their comics, and usually those are the ones I load first.

So, that just about wraps it up. You now have your complete guide to the Neopian Times. And once you've finished reading the latest issue of The Neopian Times, fold the paper into a triangular hat, wear it on your head at a rakish angle, and waddle around like a lost Mallard. It'll help to keep you sane while waiting for the next edition to come out.

Legal disclaimer: The writer of this article holds no responsibility and has no legal obligations whatsoever should any Neopian fall over while waddling in a similar manner to the aforementioned Mallard. The writer also holds no responsibility for victims' injuries incurred while waddling, should the aforementioned newspaper hat fall over their eyes, thereby blinding them and vastly increasing the chances of an accident. Say, walking into a lamp post for instance.

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