I recently experienced an odd sensation. I couldn't write anything for the Times. I couldn't finish a short story, let alone a good one. I couldn't get any article ideas. No matter what happened, I couldn't find a way to write. My writing was blocked. I had to free it. And I had some ideas. So what are you going to do the next time your writing is stopped? I've got some ideas for you. Well, really one idea, but sort of a few. Now, the idea! Here it is: write ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. Just start writing junk. Anything goes. Keep writing until, in the stream of the words you pour out, you find some ideas. Example: "I don't really want to write now, but I need some ideas. I'm really tired of writing. Why can't I come up with something? I'm really bored right now." Now, eventually, if you keep writing in this fashion, you may come up with some ideas or something you'd like to think about writing. But you may just get more and more bored. So let's move on to some other things that fit our motto: write ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.
Lists are great for getting ideas. Make lists of your favorite names, your favorite NC Mall clothes, your favorite pet species, your favorite petpet species, etc. You'll probably get an idea soon. It helps to also list WHY these things are your favorite (or least favorite) things in your category, because it makes your list more interesting. But what do you do when you've already made so many lists you're just bored out of your mind? Well, lists aren't the only option. The ideas just get more and more fun.
My next idea is: write up some character files. Whether you're writing about characters you've just invented, characters you've written stories about before, or your own pets, it's a great way to unblock writing. I'm going to make you an example using a pet I just adopted from the pound for the Zapping For Good program, Tiblitz. Although Tiblitz may be an entirely different color or species as you read this, this is how she is as I'm writing.
Personality: Very spunky and tomboyish. Dreams of being zapped a lab-only color and then finding a loving family. Has a great sense of style, but never wears dresses and rarely wears skirts.
Appearance: Ravishingly beautiful with a classic beauty mark.
Best Friend: Keritta, our next door neighbor, who is a silver Kougra.
And the form goes on with different info from there on. Each character probably has at least a couple unique questions and answers on the form. It's very fun to do and not only does it help with the block, but it helps you get to know your characters better, which can only be good. But I still have a couple more ideas for you, so bear with me.
This next one is for people who have already had short stories or series published in the Neopian Times, because it's all about sequels. Even if you don't end up writing them, listing possible sequels is a great way to get your writing mind going. And if you DO write sequels, it's a great way to get your name out there as a Neopian Times author, especially if you haven't published a long series. People who read the first story may say: "Hey, that's a good story. I like the characters." When another story comes out with, say, the same set of characters in it (although sequels don't necessarily have to have the same characters in them, it's probably better if they at least have some of them) then the same reader who enjoyed the last one may say: "This is great! I love reading about these characters again! I love this author. I want to check out their user lookup." So list all your short stories and series (if you can) and figure out which ones you could write sequels to. Which ones have the best sets of characters? Which ones did you enjoy writing most? And so on. You'll soon find yourself planning out the plots for the sequels, so make sure you're ready to write those down. Oh, and when you submit a sequel to the Times, make sure you write down, at the beginning, something like this: (This story is a sequel to *first story name here*. If you haven't read *first story name here* you should probably read it before you read this one to get the most out of this story.)
Okay, so now we're approaching our last two options. For maximum writer's block obliteration, please read on! Alright, next option. This one is best for people who are tired of trying to make up good plots and just feel like they can't think of ANYTHING anymore. Just write a description of something. A meadow full of dandelions, maybe. It could be a cornfield with a slight breeze blowing. Maybe it's the Mystery Island Beach during Gadgadsbogen. Just pick a scene you like and describe it. Make it rich with detail. It doesn't necessarily have to be a pretty scene. For example:
"The corn was dry and withering in the field that day. The wind blew the dry stalks and many simply collapsed there and then. The sun was blazing hot as it had been for the past two weeks. Wild petpets were lying in the cornfield trying to get shade from the dry, withered stalks of corn. Two and a half weeks ago, the cornfield had been lush, green, and wonderful."
Now, do you see how this description can change and become the beginning of a story?
"The corn in Farmer Tairing's farm was dry and withering in the field that day. A sinister wind blew the dry stalks and many simply collapsed there and then. The sun was blazing hot as it had been for the past two weeks. Wild petpets were lying in the cornfield trying to get shade from the dry, withered stalks of corn. Two and a half weeks ago, before Sorcerer Darfing had come to Meridell, the cornfield had been lush, green, and wonderful."
See? Although the scene isn't changed that much, we get valuable information. We feel that something odd is going on. We have our suspicions that this Sorcerer Darfing is up to no good. But don't worry about the transformation at first. Just start with a description. You can change it later when you're ready to write a whole story, but it's really not necessary to write a story out of the description if you don't want to.
So now we come upon it: the last tip. It's not a long tip, but it can be hard. I call it jumping in. Any idea you have, you need to explore fully. Keep on writing no matter whether you think your idea is dumb and will never get into the Neopian Times or not. I thought that at the beginning of this article. And if you're reading this now, that just proves me wrong.