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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 20th day of Running, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 104 > Articles > Translating Times Talk

Translating Times Talk

by plushieowner

DEEP CATACOMBS - Unless you are an avid reader, Times regular or someone belonging to The Neopian Times Appreciation guild, you may not know who the heck Chet Flash is or who Ms Snowflake is.

If you browse through the whole Neopian Times each week, you may have noticed there is a quite a bit of insider language. You might go "Huh?" when you come across one of these terms, words or phrases. You probably don't stop and think very carefully about what you just read.

The main point of this article is to help new readers get a better insight into The Neopian Times and hopefully to get a laugh or two out of some readers. I'm hoping the people who think they know 'everything and anything' about the Times get a chuckle out of it too.

So let's go with the flow,
And learn some Neopian Times lingo...

(Yes, I think it was extremely funny I actually got into the Poetry Contest on Quiggle Day because of my awful poetry.)

Okay, some of these aren't just 'Times' lingo, quite a few are used by people in the Neopian Arts community. Some of them may be writing and art terms. I added them in, though, because I thought they might be useful since they are used quite a bit among Neopian artists and authors. And not everyone is an Oddhatter or a Battlesunn when it comes to Art or Writing.

You may call it a dictionary but it is a bit more than that. It is also a list of the 'Who, What and Where' of the Times.

Acceptance letter: Email saying you are going to be published in the latest issue of The Neopian Times, next week.
"Congratulations!
Your entry has been selected to appear in this week's issue of The Neopian Times. Once your submission has been uploaded, a shiny trophy will be added to your user lookup. Thank you for contributing to this week's edition!
Neopian Times Editor"

Congratulations! Get ready to clear your inbox for a whole lot of fans Neomailing you, for people wanting to nit pick over something you have written and/or people who want to run after you with pitchforks and torches.

Art Slaves: Well, they aren't really slaves per se, but that's what any of the Neopets artists that work on pictures for The Neopian Times are sometimes called. There are a couple of artists, each with their own unique drawing style. Can you spot who does what picture?

Article: Usually starts as a rant, written as a rant and then gets published as an article. Though still a rant. Often very opinionated and thought provoking. Though there are many types of articles e.g. interviews, how to do guides etc.

Author's note: Can be written at the end of a story, article etc. This can be written for a number of things such as:
-thanking people for their help towards their published submission and/or inspiration
-a general thank you note to the reader at the end of your submission asking them to Neomail you comments about what they thought of your submission
-explaining something mentioned in your submission
-referring to another previous submission -- someone may have written on this topic
-apology e.g. apologising to a hundred Chia owners before they complain about your comic of a Lupe eating a Chia for dinner.

Automatic Response: Not sure if these are still sent out automatically because I have only ever received one of these. I think the acceptance/rejection letters are just sent out now. But don't take my word for that.

Wording on auto response:
Hello,
We just wanted to let you know that your story, article, series, or comic has been received, and is currently being read and reviewed. If your entry is selected, a Neopian Times trophy will appear in your user lookup, and your submission will be published. However, if your entry is not selected, you will receive a letter notifying you that your submission will not be included in this week's issue.
Good Luck,
Neopian Times Editor
P.S. It's quite chilly in the Deep Catacombs, especially around Snowflake's office. Please allow her some time to warm up those fingers and go through all the entries...

Catacombs: A place that most of the artists and authors haunt (as opposed to the 'Deep Catacombs' where the Neopets staff lurk). Most are hunched over desks with pens glued to their hands doodling or writing. They don't wish to be disturbed unless they are getting constructive criticism for their work. They annoy the editor every Wednesday to see if they got a customised picture with their submission, and every Friday they ask the editor "When is the Times going to come out?" *grins with guilt*

Chatspeak/Leetspeak: An author's worst nightmare!!! I blame Nick Neopia and television. Back in my day we treated famous Neopians with respect.....
For example - I often receive Neomails like this one: "R u plushi0? Yo gal, luv ur artical. Itz like so kewl. Gotta tell my nfs and all da peeps out der to read it." or
"Ar3 U p|uzhi30wn3r? 1 |0v3d y0ur artiC|3. 1t waz r3a||y C00|. 1'm g0ing t0 t3|| my n30fri3ndz 0ut th3r3 t0 r3ad it."

(Okay, that was a bad example, but what do you expect from someone not fluent in the art of chatspeak?)

Cliché: Very predictable storyline, something that has no twist, that makes the reader rather bored e.g. Once upon a time there was a pet called Cinderwhatever who had lived in the pound. It was a dark and stormy night and her Prince Charming came. And you know the rest.

Coffee: Addictive substance. Keeps people awake when writing things. *yawns* Doesn't work for me.

Collaboration: Thing that hurts Felicia's head when getting a programmer to fix your Neopian Times trophy on your user lookup. Also a submission that is worked on by more than one person e.g. one person may think up a comic idea and another person may draw the idea. Usually this idea doesn't really work for stories since usually one person ends up doing all the work. This is just speaking from personal experience -- it may work for some.

Comic: Visually stunning art masterpieces and/or funny jokes. An overly competitive section of the Times to get into. Famous strips I recommend you check out (which are personal favourites of mine) are 'Moo Strip' by mousequeen, 'Cheesy Neos' by justduckygal, 'Shoyru Squadron' by the_darkjedi, 'L*U*P*E* Blue' by oasis21, 'Sheep of Doom' by oddhatter and the series of 'Something has Happened!' comics by Tdyans and various artists.

Worth checking back and future issues for any of these. But don't get me wrong, there are lots more wonderful comics out there that I haven't mentioned above. Please don't get offended if I didn't mention a comic you have drawn.

Continuing series: The section of the Times that I personally think doesn't get enough kudos. Not as popular as short stories but always worth checking out. With series sometimes the story continues each week from part, some are separate stories but with the same characters, some are separate stories but the plot goes over several parts to the end.

Customised Picture: *drools* I have only had one of these so far. It was one of the proudest moments of my life! As you may or may not know the editor of The Neopian Times picks out a picture for your submission if you get published in the Times. This may be a shopkeeper picture, old trading card picture, old caption contest picture etc. Or perhaps a recycled picture. :)

But if you are lucky enough you may be one of the favoured few to have a specially drawn picture just for your story, one that has never been on the site before.

Darrell/Mr Pickles: Who is he? If you answered "The guy in the wrestling suit in Whack a Staff Member" you are half right. 'Famed lover of tigersquash' would also have been acceptable. Well, not really. Mr Pickles is a Neopian Times staff writer.

Each week, one of his jobs is to write the wonderful and almost always humorous "Neopian Brief", which I think every Neopian should read if they don't already. *cough* Just a rehashed version of New Features you may say? What made you think that? It's way more than that. There's the weekly Stock Market report and sometimes even inside exclusive scoops on things in Neopia not heard anywhere else. If you haven't read it this week, grab some martyred celery stalks and check it out after you read this article.

Donna/Poptart: The lovely and (overly busy) co-creator of Neopets. She is in charge of the wonderful Neopian Times Editorial in which she answers a lot of common/bizarre questions Neopians send in each week. Seriously, she could just not bother and say "Go look up the Help section!" but she of course doesn't. We appreciate you Donna! =)

She is also known to give in to a lot of pet colour requests each week if you ask nicely or beg enough. So if you think Neopets needs to bring out a Darigan Draik *wink, wink. nudge, nudge*, she is the one you should grovel to.

Dung: Brown, smelly stuff that the previous Times editor had a weird obsession with.

Felicia/Snowflake: The young, beautiful and incredibly talented Editor of The Neopian Times.

Without her there wouldn't be a Neopian Times each week. She looks through thousands of submissions to pick the best ones for each week's issue. (And you said there wasn't going to be anything special for the 100th issue when I asked you! I knew you were lying!)

Forbidden Fruit: Things you can't use in your submission e.g. hybrid pets (don't say Mr Pickles or I didn't warn you before you spend two weeks writing a story about chilupas!) or anything that is against Neopet rules e.g. gory violence etc.

K: (Short for kilobytes) File size of comics. Also used on the Trading Post to stand for 1000 Neopoints, e.g. 100k would be 100,000 Neopoints.

Meep: If you haven't heard/seen this expression you'd better brush up on your Neopian Times comic strips. Famous Times catchphrase used in Oddhatter's comic strip 'Sheep of Doom'. Translation: Nice. :) Though I first thought it was like a Neopian equivalent of 'Eep!' But hey! I'm not with it as far as comics go.

Neonut: Spread the word! Obsessed with Neo. Crazy about Neopets. Though I have heard on the grapevine, this might be a nickname for a staff member...

neopiantimes@neopets.com: Email to which you send your Neopian Times submissions, unless you know the Editor's private email. Then you can flood her inbox with fanmail... mwhahaha!! (Okay, I will be quiet now.)

Nimmo in a donkey suit: Reference in one of smudgeoffudge's Nick Neopia comics. If you ever read the old automatic email, you will know what I'm talking about.

Piffle: Al_the_Chia's famous catchphrase. So those who don't know, from the bunch of stories written about Alexander T. Chia, Chias rule! (No sarcasm in the classroom please. Lupes, leave those Chias alone!)

Plot: Easy to follow storyline, unless the author has lost the plot... I'll stop with the puns!

Protagonist: Hero or Heroine. Main character of a story. Think 'Agent Magnolia' or 'Al the Chia!'

Quill: Useful gif file in your user lookup that looks vaguely like a gold quill. Can (note I said can, not will) make people envy you and may allow possible bragging rights in your guild. mwhahahaha!!!

Rant: Blah blah blah... I could ramble on....
A rant is to state your personal opinion, usually in the form of an article. Not easily pulled off, often a rant bores the reader if it is not engaging as well.
For example: "Grrrrr... Chatspeak is so annoying. Oh and another thing, I never want to read another pound story..."

Regular: A user who hogs the fame by being published in every or almost every issue of The Neopian Times. No, I'm kidding!! A Times regular is a person who has devoted a lot of time, hard work and dedication to getting published a remarkable amount of times. Usually a regular get lots of fanmail and sometimes they may even inspire a new generation of wannabe authors/artists to have a go getting into the Neopian times.

According to an outside source, around seventy percent of authors published in The Neopian Times have only had one piece published, and that group accounts for thirty percent of all pieces published. I would personally class regulars as people who have been published 20+ times and are still active on the Times scene.

Rejection letter: :( A letter saying that unfortunately you haven't been published this week.

"Hello there,
We just wanted to let you know that your story, article, series, or comic was received and reviewed. However, it was not selected to be in this week's Neopian Times issue."

There are also lots of tips to help you included in the email, which I didn't list here because this article is already kind of long. Don't let that put you off! The tips are there to help you.

Think your submission is perfect and doesn't need changing or fixing? Well, pobody's nerfect! Occasionally, the editor runs out of space, so you might not get in because of that. Though I still do suggest going over your submission and rechecking it because most of the time submissions get rejected because they have mistakes or something you wrote might have been unsuitable for Neopets.

Short Stories: Brilliant section with lots of different types of stories, most with interesting storylines. There's always an interesting read for everyone's taste in story writing. By the way, I thought I would add this comment: "Authors, bring on more cliché pound stories! They are interesting!" (*cough* sarcasm)

Spherical cherries: Okay, I have no idea about this one. What is so interesting about round fruit? Ooooo... a square shaped watermelon! I'll be right back to check it out.

Spiffy: Unknown origin. Also known as "uber spiffy". Form of flattery, you should regard it as an honour if someone calls you spiffy or your submission is very spiffy.

Submission or Entry: What you send in an email to the NT as a comic, article, short story or series (with all the parts included).

Title: A string of words used to name your submission. Or something you may be dubbed after gaining your status as a Times legend. Wouldn't it be cool to be the 'High Priestess of The Neopian Times', or to have the initials N.T. after your name.

Thwap: Hit? Example of use, "I'll thwap you with a jelly llama!" One of the latest trends among Neopian authors and artists. Seen on many chat signatures and banners. Though quite a few people seem to be anti thwap, rebelling against this popular trend. To thwap or not to thwap, that is the question!

Times or NT: Abbreviation of Neopian Times. Also what I plan to change my initials to when I turn 18.

Writer's block: What do I write to explain writer's block!! AHH!! I can't think what to write!

(2 hours later and hundreds of bits of paper wasted....)
The creative flow to your brain stops creating ideas for The Neopian Times.

'X': Last but not least, the biggest Times mystery of all - Chet Flash. Chet Flash is a long standing insider joke which was started between some people that were published in The Neopian Times.

Who or what is Chet Flash? What does he/she/it look like? To tell you the truth, not even us Neopian Times authors know for sure.

If you look carefully through back and future issues of The Neopian Times you may find references to Chet appear in the most unlikely places, from articles to stories. There has even been references and pictures in comics of this mysterious figure.

Author's Note: Hope you enjoyed my article on Times Talk. If you have any comments about it, feel free to Neomail me.

Editor's Note: Great article! Oh, and Happy Birthday plushieowner!


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