Why YOU Should Write for the Neopian Times
WARNING: This article contains uncontrolled, random outbursts of insanity and is not recommended for those who are utterly sane and/or value their sanity. Read at your own risk.
Ummagine3284: Hello, fellow Neopians! Ummagine3284 here—or Ummy, for short—and I’m here to explain why YOU should write for the Neopian Times, the greatest weekly newspaper in all of Neopia!
Jetty99934: Let’s not state the obvious, shall we?
Ummy: Jetty, is this your article? I think not. Now, go run along home and play with your little dolls, you little Grey Peophin.
Jetty: Ahem, I believe the correct term is—
Ummy: SCRAM, FOOL! Anyway, seeing as this is the 350th issue of the Neopian Times, there is no better time for this. You see, each of the past 350 issues is packed with magnificent works of literary and visual art created by dedicated Neopians. In fact, some of these Neopians are so dedicated that their works frequently appear in the ‘Times. And believe me, writing any kind of story, especially series, or drawing comics requires a lot of time, thought, hard work, and imagination (and LOTS of caffeine).
But why exactly do these NT writers continually get works published in the NT? Surely it’s not just their love for Neopia, right? In many cases, there are other reasons why people write for the NT, even if they don’t always notice them.
These reasons will not only answer the above questions, but will also enlighten you as to why YOU should become one of “us.” It’s like hitting two Beekadoodles with one stone! Not that I’d like to hit Beekadoodles with stones, but... whatever, you get the point.
Why should YOU write, or draw, for the Neopian Times? Read on (if you dare)...
1. Dedication for Neopia
Ummy: Of course, why would anyone want to write to the NT if they had no dedication for Neopia? For the sake of this article, we’ll call that dedication “Neopia spirit.”
Jetty: ‘Neopia spirit?’ That’s the best you can come up with? How ‘bout “Neopian devotion” or something less cheesy and smarter-sounding like “Neofanism.”
Ummy: I thought I told you to leave! And really, what’s wrong with “Neopia spirit”?
Jetty: *sigh* So much for writing a serious article...
Ummy: Continuing on! Writing for the Neopian Times shows how much you love Neopia and how proud you are of being part of this wonderful world. It is also one the best ways (if not the best) to show off your Neopia spirit.
Now, the second reason as to why YOU should write for the Neopian Times is...
Jetty: Okay, enough of the ‘YOU’ thing. It’s getting old.
2. Pride in Your Work
Ummy: Getting in the Neopian Times just once is a great accomplishment that a vast majority of the Neopian population has not achieved. There’s a special, glowing-with-sunlight feeling you’ll get when you see your work published in the pages of the newest issue of the infamous newspaper after weeks of seemingly endless uphill struggles, such as writer's block and those oh-so-dreaded rejection letters that are destined to appear in the inbox of every Neopian Times contributor. A wave of satisfaction and indescribable relief will overcome you when you meet this milestone, and you’ll know that all your hardship was worth it. Sometimes as I’m glancing over my published work, I ask myself, “Wow, I wrote this?” No matter how many publications you’ll get in the NT, you’ll take pride in every one of them.
Jetty: Just a reminder, the quality of your entries is generally more valuable than quantity, so in order to avoid the wrath of deranged white Weewoos that are *so* not forcing me to say this right now, you should stay away from using obviously clichéd plots, extremely one-dimensional main characters, tremendously poor stick-figure artwork (even if you can’t draw, you can produce nice artwork if you really put your heart and soul into it) or basically anything you know is incredibly lacking compared to the standard excellence of the NT.
Weewoos: *evil grin*
Ummy: Hey, where’d they come from? This is my article! I can’t allow a group of creepy little Weewoo dolls to steal the show! Quick, hide them before a storm of hungry collectors and traders come!
Jetty: For the last time, they’re not dolls! They’re action... oh, whatever! C’mon, little Weewoos, come quietly or I make you wear tremendously undersized purple fluffy Cybunny pajamas that were the result of Ummy’s inability to do laundry.
Ummy: I HEARD THAT!
3. Appreciation by Readers
Ummy: The purpose of writing or drawing pieces for the Neopian Times is often to entertain your readers. If you get work published in the NT, people WILL read it, and there will be people out there that will enjoy it. The work in the NT has brought countless laughs and smiles to its worldwide audience. Each laugh and smile can be enough to brighten a reader’s day or even week. Making people happy is one of the reasons as to why the Neopian Times still exists today.
Plus, sometimes “fanmail” will appear in your inbox. In this case, fanmail is neomail that is sent by readers who appreciate your publication.
Jetty: If this article has already got you considering writing or drawing for the NT, know that fanmail is definitely not a great indication of whether your work is good or bad. There are some amazing works out there that never receive fanmail, so if you don’t receive any fanmail after your first publication, by no means are you a bad writer or artist. On the other hand, if you happen to score yourself some fanmail, be proud. However, if your readers’ response isn’t exactly what you expected, it doesn’t hurt to listen to suggestions. No writer or artist’s first work is ever flawless, so by listening to literate criticism, you can have better work for future issues. And better work = more love from Weewoos, which also means that you are less likely to be attacked by NT-obsessed white Weewoos. Isn’t that great?
Ummy: *yawn* Stop talking so much! That’s my job! At this rate, you’ll be talking the readers to sleep! I’m gonna need some coffee now for sure... *runs*
Jetty: NO! It took weeks to calm you down last time! What are doing with that giant mug? And... OMG LEAVE THAT HUGE BAG OF SUGAR ALONE! PUT THAT COFFEE DOWN NOW!
Ummy: Too late. *drinks coffee*
Jetty: NOOOOOOOOOOOO! *runs for life*
4. Improves Skills
Ummy: As mentioned above, reviews can help you with having better quality pieces for future issues, but not only reviews can do that. Coffee can too—I’ll talk about that momentarily—as well as other things I have to say. Basically, the more you write or draw for the NT, the more your artistic ability or writing skill will improve. You see, practice makes perfect. By working on work for the NT, you are actively using your skills, and because of that, the more you work on the NT, the better you will become at illustrating things like characters and expressions, or you may learn to use great diction more frequently when writing. A developed skill at writing or drawing will be undeniably useful beyond the Neopian Times, so while you are trying to publish work for the enjoyment of others, you are helping yourself as well.
Ummy: Now, about coffee...
Jetty: Oh no, here we go...
Ummy: To put it simply, coffee = caffeine = more awake state of mind = craziness = less procrastination = better work = awesomeness = Weewoos. Results may vary.
Jetty: That’s supposed to be SIMPLE? The only thing I got that made sense was that Weewoos are awesome, and everybody knows that (because if we didn’t, we’d have no protection from Meepit world domination).
Ummy: Want the complex version?
Jetty: NO. No more coffee for you.
Ummy: Good thing I drank it all. Whee... ! Why does everything look like it’s made of cheese? Mmm...
Jetty: You DRANK it ALL? *facepalm* Stop! The sofa is NOT made of cheese! And neither is the fridge! That’s it; I’m bringing in the Weewoos.
5. Writing for the Sake of Writing
Jetty: Another reason why people write or draw for the Neopian Times is because of their unconditional love for writing or drawing. They enjoy the process of coming up with a story and expressing it through descriptive, dramatic words or through colorful, clean artwork. They love inventing new characters and placing them in many sticky—often wacky—situations. To many of them, working on a NT piece is not really considered “work” at all. It’s a hobby.
In addition, writing or illustrating a story is an adventure. Only you can decide where your characters will go, the challenges they will brave, and the places they will explore. Writing for the NT can take you anywhere. You can go as far as the Space Station, swim in depths of the sea, or explore an entirely new land. The road your journey will take lies in your hands. Within every mind's eye is beauty. Let your imagination shine (after you’ve read the read the rules, of course)!
In short, if you love to write or draw, writing for the Neopian Times is a great way to have fun and discover your inner greatness that has been constantly buried, crushed, sautéed, and then fed to your everyday anxieties like wonderful gourmet meals being consumed by mutant Skeiths, day-after-day, week-after-week.
Ummy: Fun? I like fun... and coffee... and eating your ice cream when you’re not looking...
Jetty: So that’s where it went! *whistles*
Weewoos: *stand in a line angrily*
Ummy: Big deal, they’re dolls. What can they possibly do? Pelt me with stuffing?
Jetty: Wrong. Stuffing? What a laugh! For the last time, they’re action figures.
Weewoos: *launch tiny Neopian Times issues*
Jetty: And they’re armed with petpet-sized versions of all 350 Neopian Times issues!
Weewoos: *launch even more issues*
Ummy: AHH! Jetty, your Weewoos are going crazy! *runs*
Jetty: Wrong again. They’re not going crazy... they’re going postal.
Jetty: Sure, special items are usually given to those lucky enough to appear in special issues (Christmas issue, Halloween issue... etc), and of course there’s that shiny quill trophy awarded for every publication, but getting in any issue of Neopian Times is its own reward. As stated above, the ‘Times helps to improve your skills through an enjoyable experience. The pride you’ll feel and the recognition you’ll eventually receive is sometimes more valuable than any rare item, any amount of neopoints. Plus, you’ll have the power to bring happiness to your readers.
If prizes alone are enough of an incentive for you to write for the Neopian Times, be sure to keep in mind the many benefits that are coupled with getting published, which are more important than just an item. I’m not going to lie—items certainly are a nice bonus for getting published *pets Weewoo action figures*, but they should not be the core reason to write for the Neopian Times. The Neopian Times is a symbol for Neopians’... Neopia spirit... and their love for the literary arts, so by writing for the sole intention of receiving a prize, you would not be honoring what the Neopian Times truly stands for! And the Neopian white Weewoo population may not be too pleased with your intentions.
Weewoos: *evil laugh*
Ummy: You do realize that they don’t move or speak on their own, right?
Jetty: And you do realize that coffee is fattening, right?
Ummy: ... Coffee? Omgcoffeewhereiscoffeeilovecoffeecoffeecoffeeitssoawesomeandtasty!
Jetty: Hurry, Weewoos! Hide in the toy box before she goes on a rampage while singing bad karaoke like last time! *picks up action figures and runs*
Ummy: ... And I thought I had issues...
So there you have it! The Neopian Times is the most popular (and only) newspaper in the whole world that allows Neopians to express their Neopia spirit, or dedication to Neopia, through writing stories, articles, drawing comics, and drinking loads of coffee—
Jetty: Perhaps I should do this?
Ummy: No way! This is MY article! And stop distracting me! I’m going to say what I want to say and if you keep distracting me, this article going to end up being a hundred pages long and we’ll lose the readers! From now on, nothing can distract me! Not even coffee!
Jetty: We have Ummagine Tea.
Ummy: OMG WHERE? *leaves*
Jetty: *snickers* Works every time...
In conclusion, writing or drawing for the Neopian Times will benefit you as well as your readers. You will improve in your artistic abilities while exploring the awesomeness of your imagination. You’ll be proud of your work, and readers will enjoy your publication. And let’s not forget the trophies and prizes you may get when you appear in the Neopian Times. *evil laugh*
All in all, when weighing the pros—the superb benefits and happiness—and cons—the irksome “Too Many Good Entries” rejection letters, occasional sleep deprivation, overuse of brainpower, and writer’s and/or artist’s block—being a writer or artist for the Neopian Times is definitely a great thing to do. Seriously. Don’t believe me? Then you’ll just have to find out for yourself...
And just some handy tips for you soon-to-be Neopian Times writers: if your submission gets rejected, improve your entry and don’t give up! Many publications are rejected multiple times before they are published, and getting rejected does not mean that your submission is not NT-worthy. There simply might be one too many typos, a broken rule, or there was a small issue with the formatting of your story or comic or something. Sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with your submission at all, and it was only rejected because there were “too many good entries” for that particular category that week. There are many reasons why something was rejected, and in many cases, the problem can easily be fixed just by reading over your submission. It also helps to have someone else read it over for you.
If it all else fails, try and try again. There are many places to draw ideas from, like the Neopedia, items, plots, and other Neopian Times stories, to list a few. However, be sure not to plagiarize, because if you do, the NT-obsessed white Weewoos will be very upset with you and your NT writing days will be OVER. SO DON’T DO IT. Remember, working on a submission for the NT is a long, arduous process, but with practice, thinking up ideas and putting them into words and pictures will become easier and maybe even fun. Who knows?
Ummy: *slurps tea* Yay... Ummagine Tea!
Jetty: Why are you drinking from my jar of Purple Eyrie Bubble Bath?
Jetty: It’s official. Her sanity has been washed up.
Ummy: Ha ha. That’s very funny, especially coming from someone who talks to dolls. Now, back on topic...
The Neopian Times has had an awesome 350 issues that could not have been possible without the brilliant writers and artists that have dedicated an enormous amount of time and effort in their submissions, and there will be many, many more astonishing issues to come. We hope to see YOU in the next 350 issues!
Weewoos: Or else...
Ummy: Jetty, did you say something?