Once Upon a Time in Pet Central
Everyone has a game or contest that they prefer to all others. Mine has always
been, and probably will always, be the Story Telling Competition. Why? Well, I
enjoy writing and it’s almost as fun to read the developing story as it is to
enter. Plus, you are allowed to enter as many times as you want, which gives you
multiple chances to win. If you do win, you receive 2,000 neopoints and a rare
item. The rare item can be a codestone or a paint brush. That’s why I decided
to create this little guide so that everyone is aware and has a chance to enjoy
my favorite competition.
What is the Story Telling Competition?
The Story Telling Competition is a competition in which a member of TNT begins
a story with a single paragraph. Each day, 1-2 new paragraphs are chosen that
best continue the story until the story is completed. Each contest begins on
Monday and ends on Friday and there are approximately 9 paragraphs chosen each
week (not including the first one). This competition can be found in the Games
Room under Puzzles or near the bottom of the Pet Central page
Before You Enter
If you have never entered the Story Telling Competition, then I recommend reading
a few of the past competitions. This will give you a good idea as to how the
stories usually flow and what kinds of paragraphs are typically chosen. There
is also an excellent list of FAQs that all new competitors should read.
Next, you need to fully read all the paragraphs that come before your entry.
Now, this might sound painfully obvious, but it's so tempting to just skim if
you are entering late in the week. Pay careful attention to names, pets' species,
and personalities. It's also important to note the tone of the story. If it's
been funny so far, then your entry should probably be humorous. There are rare
instances in which a change in tone is appropriate.
If the story is telling with a particular character or place, it's always best
to try and learn all you can about this individual or location. If you do this,
you can add more detail and specific Neopian refrences which, in my experience,
always help an entry.
Entering The Competition
Now, on to the most important part - entering the competition. Simply write
what you think the next part of the story should be in the text part and click
submit. However, it's not precisely that easy. The content of the text you enter
will determine if your entry will be chosen or not. So, what should every entry
The basic idea is your entry needs to move the story along. The entry before
ended usually at a turning point, so start at that point and move it along.
Unless you are writing the final entry, you don't want to 'solve' the problem.
The day of the week actually has some determination on the exact content of
your entry, so be sure to also check out the Daily Guide, which appears later
in this article.
Each good entry should include a few things. First, you need to remember to
begin with ellipses (...) and all entries but the final one should end the same
way. You want your entry to be descriptive but it also needs to move the story
along. Work hard to balance your description and action. Good spelling is also
important. I'm a terrible speller, so I like to write my entries in a word processing
program to check for spelling and grammar before entering. Also, use a thesaurus
so you can use a variety of adjectives and adverbs.
Check back often to see if a new entry has been chosen. You will receive a
neomail when you win. However, if your entry wasn't the one chosen, it's best
to begin entering for the next post right away. You can enter as many times
as you want for each section. I like to read and write the first one that comes
to my head and then work on something else. Often, new ideas will occur to me,
and I will go back to write another entry. The most important thing is persistence.
I've won 5 times, but I've entered about 100 times. If you don't win, just keep
The Story Telling Competition begins on Monday and ends on Friday of each week
(with the occasional exception of holidays). Because of this, there is usually
a pattern of how the story moves along each day. By looking at the day of the
week, you can better determine the content of your entry.
Monday - The story begins on Monday. The problem is introduced as well as the
main characters. At this point, the problem has not been fully explored and
there is no thought as to a resolution. New characters may be added.
Tuesday - The problem is more fully explored as well as complications of the
problem introduced. There is usually a 'twist' in which the characters realize
the problem is much bigger than it first appeared. New characters may still
Wednesday - The entire problem is fully realized and there may be the first
hint of a solution. Plot twists continue and this is the point where the obstacles
are at their peak. This is the final day new characters may be added and you
should do so only if there are not already 3-4 main characters.
Thursday - The main characters finally have an idea of what the solution is
and are working towards obtaining this solution. Plot twists are minimal and
no new characters should be added.
Friday - This is the final day of the story. The characters finally fully know
what must be done to solve the problem and work towards the solution. There
is a decline in the action. No new characters are to be added. The final post
will end the story in a 'satisfying' manner.
Dos and Don’ts
Things You Should Do
*Proofread your own entry before submitting.
*Keep trying even if you don't win.
*Add all of the specific references to neopets, items, etc that you can.
*Follow the tone and direction of the story.
*If a new idea comes to you, enter it even if you have entered one post already.
*Check back often to see if a new post has been chosen.
Things You Should NEVER Do
*Ask someone else to write your entry.
*Use any language, subject matter, etc that you could not post on the message
*Mention a specific user or pet other than your own.
*Send the same entry multiple times.
On average it's also not a good idea to let others read your entry to see what
they think. While many are honest, some may steal your entry or your idea.
General Writing Tips
As writers we all have habits and styles that are almost like signatures.
It is important to be aware of our signature to use it to your advantage while
not letting it become a barrier. For example - I'm a descriptive writer who
has trouble writing action. I also am not a good speller and my most commonly
misspelled words are surprise (suprize) and recommend (reccomend). However,
this doesn't mean I should always misspell those words or only write description.
I know that description is my strength, so I should utilize it as fully as possible
but I should not avoid stories with more action. Instead I should practice writing
that comes hard for me. The stories may not be written well, but every time
we write we stand the chance of improvement. Also, be aware of common errors
so that you can correct them.
Don't be afraid of writer's block. It's not terminal. Give yourself permission
to write whatever comes to mind, good or bad. Typing on a computer is good because
then you can just erase everything if you don't like it. Also, try role-playing
story ideas with friends and even strangers. Other people can come up with things
you never even thought about.
Well, that's the guide. If anyone has anything to add (comment, feedback, criticism,
etc) feel free to neomail me!