A Guidingly Guiding Guide to Writing Guidable Guides
RANDOM GUIDEPOST - Let’s face it: we’ve all needed a bit of guidance at one time or another. Maybe you didn’t quite understand that Pterattack doesn’t actually entail you assaulting that random Pteri you met in the street? Or perhaps you shouldn’t have taken that left turn at Geraptiku and somehow wound up all the way across the globe in King Skarl’s personal dressing chambers? (Ghastly thought, I know.) Or maybe you were changing your baby Chia’s diaper for the first time only to discover that it was filled with, yikes, what in Fyora’s name have you been eating?
While you can’t deny that there’s plenty of stuff in Neopia you still don’t know, what about that which you’ve mastered? Those sundry hours of diaper-changing and sensibly nonviolent Pterattack-playing must have taught you something, right? Well, ladies and gents, I would like to give you an opportunity to do something with that wasted knowledge just sitting there uselessly in your head. I’ll help you piece together your expertise in such crucial fields as building macaroni furniture and crafting wee little people out of olives and toothpicks into one incredibly useful guide for you to unleash upon Neopia! (Much like a virus.)
Step One: Pick a Topic
Before you can begin guiding Neopia, you must choose that one special topic around which you’ll construct your guide. You’ve probably seen the most useful and relevant common and boring topics done time and time again: earning Neopoints, collecting trophies, making your Neopet happy, and other pointless gibberish like that. In order to avoid stale topics like these, I suggest you center your guide around things people would never in their right mind want to learn to do, thereby guaranteeing your topic will not have been covered before. Flawless logic, right?
This is the part where you look deep inside yourself to figure out where your talents truly lie! Do you like to draw little smiley faces on Plain Cheesicles and distribute them? Can you expertly reproduce an entire symphony with nothing but a pair of Click Clacks? Are you so skilled at mapping the phases of Kreludor at the Shenkuu Lunar Temple that you can no longer inhale within your Safety Deposit Box without aspirating at least thirteen or fourteen Moon and Star Stickies? These are the kind of skills you should be documenting to really knock the reader’s socks off! (Except not literally, because most of us are quite fond of our socks.)
Honestly, it really doesn’t matter what your guide is about, so long as you do have some sort of topic–otherwise you might be stuck writing a guide on how to write a guide, and how silly would you look then?
Step Two: Research
Now, you might think that to “research” is simply to “search again.” I’ve been informed that this is not the case. Rather, researching your topic of interest is an important step to help furnish yourself with enough knowledge to carry your guide. Now, you might be saying, “Pffsh, I’ve been crafting toupees from Palm Fan leaves since Year Four. Why do I need to do some silly research?” Well, see, you have to understand that it takes about three whole sentences to describe how to disguise male pattern baldness using Tombola junk, while your guide should really be a good eighty-six sentences longer than that. The research is for padding. Yes, padding. That same stuff that protected you from getting the manicotti pummeled out of you during rugby in P.E. is essential to your guide, too.
Neopia is just teeming with places for you to complete your research. You could always try the Book Shop, except if there’s already a guide on the subject about which you want to write your own guide, well, you really weren’t reading Step One closely enough, were you? And you know you can’t use the Lenny Library advertised on the Pet Central page because that’s labeled as Coming Soon!, so you can tell it’s still a good year or two away from being released. Brightvale seems like a solid choice when looking to acquire some knowledge, though I wouldn’t trust that King Hagan fellow. Anyone who thinks that “Never trust the demands of asparagus” is a wise saying can’t be all there in the head.
Worst case scenario, you could always take the unprofessional approach and fly by the seat of your pants and make the stuff up yourself. Er, not like that’s what I’m doing right now or anything. No. Not at all.
Step Three: Get Writing!
Well, what are you waiting for? Grab that Battle Duck Pencil of yours and start writing! You’ve got the experience, you’ve got the research, now all you need is stop gawking at that Beekadoodle out the window and get going! I don’t care how pretty it is... or how flappy its wings may be... or how it flutters about... in the most distracting patterns, too... my, what a pretty song it ha–
No! This is the exactly the sort of distraction you must avoid! If you’re looking for some quiet time in your Neohome, putting your pets in the Neolodge for a weekend is probably the way to go. Don’t feel ashamed if you are way too much of a cheapskate and can’t quite afford to send your pets to anywhere other than Cockroach Towers, though. I’m told that Dirt Pie has all the essential roots and maggots a healthy growing pet needs.
Step Four: Revise
Revision is probably the most important thing in the world. Revision and Neohome insurance. And lifejackets are generally pretty important, too. And proper dental hygiene. And sturdy goggles for when you’re playing Gormball. And–okay, so revision isn’t really the most important thing in the world, and it probably doesn’t even really come close to ranking among the most important things, though it is nice to try out. Make sure you dotted your i’s, crossed your t’s, and instead of giving flower-arranging tips you didn’t accidentally typo and advise the reader to go parachuting from Faerieland with nothing but a Solid Stone Fireplace in their pack. Maybe, um, be extra sure you didn’t do that last one.
Once you’ve revised the guide yourself, give it to a friend to read over. Find out if your step-by-step approach to curing foot fungus using only mushed up bananas and some Mud ‘n’ Mayo Dip makes sense. If your friend’s intelligence level only ranks in or around the area most tactfully described as “More Dense Than the Freaking Turmaculus”, you might want to consider using another friend. And if you’re more of a hermit-type person who yells at unsuspecting neighborhood pets when their Zurroballs land on your lawn and therefore don’t have any friends, you might want to invest in some sort of plushie or inanimate object you can at least pretend to read your guide to. Otherwise, you might look kind of pathetic.
Step Five: Publish
Yes, publishing! Those ten daunting letters can be the difference between success and unsuccess. (Keep in mind that using fake words like “unsuccess” in your guide is usually a good way to not achieving success in the first place.) There are numerous avenues an up-and-coming Neopian guide-writer could follow once they have successfully penned their Neopian guide. The Neopian Times is a good start, but what about those unfortunate folks who are seriously allergic to golden quill-shaped trophies?
You could petition to have your guide instated in the Altadorian Archives. Heck, while you’re there, you could give the Underwater Basket Weaving Club a shot, because I personally can’t call it a day until I’ve woven six or seven baskets in my bathtub. There are numerous Book Shops elsewhere in Neopia and you could attempt to pen some sort of book deal with one of them. Don’t bother going with Booktastic Books on Kreludor, though, unless your guide is How to Get as Far Away from Kreludor as Possible. I can’t imagine anyone on Kreludor really needing to learn anything more than that.
Once you’ve sent your guide away to potential publishers, just wait patiently. Occupy yourself with such things as Meerca Chase, Snow Faerie quests, and neurotically pacing back and forth on the second story of your Neohome until you’ve worn the floor so thin that you fall through it. Nothing helps pass time like a visit to the Neopian Hospital.
Finally, one carefree and breezy afternoon, you receive a Neomail from the publisher. What does it say? Do they accept your guide? Or do they pass? Does it really matter? You’ve poured your heart and soul into this guide, and whether or not you receive Neopoints and recognition for it, you have the satisfaction that you’ve done your darnedest to help your fellow Neopians! (Alternatively, if you do get rejected and can’t manage such an optimistic outlook, I recommend the guide How Not to Overturn Chairs in Rejection-Fueled Fury.)
There you have it, ladies and gents! Now you can go out into the world and share your passion for crafting clothing out of candy floss with the world. Oh, and one last thing: when you do write your guide, always make sure it has some sort of snappy closing sentence to finish things off.