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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 19th day of Hiding, Yr 20
The Neopian Times Week 127 > Articles > The Wars Of Storytelling

The Wars Of Storytelling

by blubblub317

DEEP CATACOMBS - Have you ever had that frustration when your submission NEVER gets published in The Storytelling Contest? Do you ever wonder what it takes to get it published? If you’re one of the many struggling writers out there who enter the Storytelling Contest each day and can never win, you’re in the right place. “So, how do I win the Storytelling Contest?” I bet a lot of you are asking yourselves right now. The answer is quite simple. You just have to contain the knowledge of what’s essential when you’re going send a story in. In this article, you’ll learn all the key facts that will help you write well-written stories that are sure to be published in The Storytelling Contest and that will help you one day become a triumphant writer.

First off, I’ll start out by giving you a brief detail on what the Storytelling Contest is about. On Monday, the judge starts off by writing the beginning of the story. It’s your job to write the next paragraph and send it in. If your story gets chosen you will receive 2000 NP, a rare item and a really cool trophy. Sounds interesting, heh?

Now that you know what the Storytelling Contest is about, this is the time to decide why you really want to send in your paragraph to the Storytelling Contest. You may be thinking this is a funny thing to do. Well to be honest, it’s not. Many people enter the Storytelling Contest for the wrong reasons. Some of the reasons are: you enter for the prizes or maybe it’s just for the popularity. It shouldn’t be about any of those reasons. You should enter because you love writing and you want other people to enjoy your work. If you’re only entering for the prizes or the popularity this contest isn’t for you.

I’ve learned all about the Storytelling Contest and I’ve decided why I want to enter. Now can I start writing? Uh… nope. Not yet. The first thing you have to do if you’re going to send in a story is read the previous paragraph! When you read the previous paragraph it gives you a basic idea on what to write. But unfortunately, some people do the exact opposite. You have no idea of how many cases I’ve seen of people entering paragraphs that have nothing to do with the Storytelling Contest. For example, my friend at school told me he had written a really good paragraph and had sent it in to the Storytelling Contest but hadn’t won. He didn’t know why he had failed so I told him to Neomail it to me so I could check it out. He sent it to me and I started reading it. I was surprised to see that the story had absolutely NOTHING to do with what the judge had started out with. He wrote a paragraph about a Faerie being attacked by Dr. Sloth’s army when the judge had started a story that was about a green Scorchio turning into a mutant Moehog. See how important it is to read the previous paragraph?

CAN I PLLLEEEASSE START CREATING THE STORY NOW?? Yes, now you may. The first thing you have to decide on when writing the story is if you’re going to alter the plot. This means if you are going to add twists to it. If you are, I advise you not to make the twist TOO big. This might change the plot too much. Remember though, to make sure the plot follows on from the previous paragraph. If you fail to do this, writing the story will have been a complete waste of time.

You’ve decided on your plot and now it’s time to decide if you want to add and formulate new characters. If you want to create a new character check to see how many characters there are so far in the story. If there’s only one, this usually is a hint from the judge saying he or she wants you to add a new one. If there are two in the story, a third one might not be the best idea. “But why can’t I have 10 characters in the story?” a lot of you may be wondering right now. The answer is because there are only 10 sections. The plot needs to advance, not receive more characters that are useless to the story. When there are too many characters, the story goes overboard and the readers lose track of who is who. If you REALLY, REALLY want to add a new character think about whether it’ll advance the stories plot or be a complete waste. If there are no problems by creating a new character, start thinking about the personality and physique you want the character to have. Be sure to make the character engaging to the readers. Form interesting names and create eye-appealing descriptions.

Finally, you can start WRITING the story. But make sure you grab a thesaurus and a dictionary before you start writing. If you have a program like Microsoft Word this won’t be necessary since there’s the spell check and the synonym tool. Using words that you wouldn’t use every day in your story is a MUST. This improves your chance of getting published by about 60%. Also, when you’re writing, create descriptions of the settings, use proper grammar and punctuation and like before, employ interesting words.

HOT TIP: If you really want your story to the grasp the judge’s attention try and make the beginning of the story which follows on from the cliff-hanger in the last section really surprising and out of the ordinary. The judge ALWAYS looks for this. And it gives you a better chance of getting published.

You’ve written your fabulous story and now your at your cliff-hanger. Cliffhangers are very important when your writing a story for The Storytelling Contest because it’s what makes the reader want to read the next section. So, when you’re deciding on a cliffhanger, try and make it shocking and exciting! Write one that’s GOING TO WANT TO MAKE THE READER READ THE NEXT SECTION!

Your story is completely done and you badly want to send it in. Unfortunately, you can’t yet. There are two more little things you have to check before sending your story in. The first one is checking the size of your entry. To know if your entry is the appropriate size, look at the scrolling sidebar beside your box. If it’s as long at your cursor or smaller that means there’s enough in your story to advance the plot.

The last thing to check before you send in your story is the spelling and grammatical errors. If there is only a few, that’s fine, the judge edits the entries before putting them on the site, however if it looks like this: The JuB,jUb said bYe Bye, tO hIs M,uMm!Y or this: The Jbubuj said godobey ot ish muymm, you’re going to have to completely re-type it. If you don’t, all your hard work will have been a complete waste because the editor would have to re-type it all and you most surely know that they would never want to do such a thing.

Extra Tip: Writing isn’t the only important part in The Storytelling Contest. Timing is just as important. You always want to get your entry sent in as fast as possible so that it will be one of the first stories that the judge reads. It also gives time for the judge to edit your entry. For the first section of the day, I recommend that you send in your entry before 11:00 a.m. NST and 3:00 p.m. NST for the second.

See how easy it is? Now you know all the vital facts when writing an entry for the Storytelling Contest. These include altering the plot, creating new characters, actually writing the story, spelling and grammar errors, the size and timing. So get your creative juices flowing, start writing and I look forward to seeing your story get published in the one and only Storytelling Contest!

Author’s note: Thanks to stoneman3x who helped me SO much on this article. I deeply appreciate it! I’d love it if you could Neomail me any constructive criticism!

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