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So You Want to Write an Article


by moldier

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So, let me guess. You're an enthusiastic Neopets user who loves to write. You read the Neopian Times every Friday afternoon and adore every part of it, especially the articles that give you fantastic (come on, nobody said that I needed to be modest!) tips about new ways to explore and enjoy the wonderful world of Neopia. There's nothing that you'd rather be doing with your Friday afternoon. Something is missing, though. You look at the current issue and don't see your name anywhere; you glance at your user lookup and frown at the lack of a "Neopian Times Champion!!!" trophy. Simply reading the Neopian Times each week is no longer enough; you need to be a part of it yourself.

So you've decided that it's time to write your own article for the Neopian Times.

That's great! In my humble opinion, articles are the best part of the Neopian Times. They allow users to share knowledge that often transforms into inspiration for the readers, something that never could happen without these articles. They change the way that Neopians think and view Neopia by introducing new concepts, ideas, and tips. They allow information to travel from one Neopian to many others who, without the Neopian Times, most likely would have never even crossed paths. In short, the articles of the Neopian Times change the way that Neopians think.

Unfortunately, the simple desire to write an article for the Neopian Times is not enough to ensure that you get published. What else is needed? Well, that's what this article is here for: helping you get your article published in the Neopian Times!

Don't look for inspiration; let it find you

One of the worst things that you could do before writing a Neopian Times article is deliberately seek out something to write about. In my opinion, a forced article is worse than no article at all. If you write about something that doesn't truly inspire you, you will become bored with your topic long before you reach the thousand word mark and chances are, so will your readers.

That's not to say that you shouldn't wait for inspiration to bite down on you like a bad case of the NeoPox, however. Instead, you should simply be more attuned to what fascinates you in Neopia that you want to tell other people about. Perhaps it's your favorite game, or a specific land that stands out to you, or a store that you love to frequent and restock at. Every Neopian has at least one thing that inspires them in Neopia; the trick is being aware of that one thing.

Engage your readers from the beginning to the end

Remember that a topic you find immediately interesting might not be interesting to all of your readers. That doesn't mean that you have to kiss your hopes and dreams of having a successful Neopian Times article goodbye, though! It simply means that you need to find a way to make your topic interesting to Neopians who wouldn't normally be interested by such things.

Perhaps the most important part of this step is choosing a catchy title. Make sure your title is short, sweet, and that it gives your audience an idea of what you'll be discussing. Your title and a few short sentences from the beginning of your article are all you have to convince your audience to open your article, so make them count!

Bringing your readers in is only one step of the battle, however. You need to make sure that your article is upbeat, educational, and relevant to every Neopian who reads the Neopian Times. How? By making sure that your article includes every group of Neopians possible!

Relate to every group of Neopians

When writing your article, remember that you can't choose who reads it. All different kinds of Neopians will be reading your article so try your best to make it relevant to each of them! One of the key ways of doing this is by choosing your vocabulary wisely. Try your best to use words that most of your readers will be familiar with, regardless of their age and educational background. If your readers feel as though your article is difficult for them to read, chances are, they won't even read past your first paragraph. Every reader is part of your audience so make your article readable and relevant to each of them!

Also, talk to your audience as you would talk to your closest Neofriends because, well, that's what they are! Writing an article for the Neopian Times is a way of letting your fellow Neopians into a big secret that will help them to better succeed in Neopia. Although you are teaching them something new, remember that you're their Neofriend, not their teacher. Try to write your article in the same way that you would write a Neomail to your best Neofriend to ensure that you appear approachable and interesting.

Proofread

So, you finished your article. Congratulations! Don't rush to that submission page just yet, though. Spend some time reading through your article. If possible, read it out loud and consider altering any sentences that sound funny to you. If you think you've proofread enough, proofread once more. The members of the Neopets Team that rake in submissions each week are not your editors, unfortunately. If your article is overflowing with mistyped words and grammar errors, there's a good chance that your article will be returned to you so that you can fix those errors before you resubmit. Save yourself the trouble and proofread before you submit!

Submit your finished article

The time has come to send your article off on its own to the big, scary world of publishing. If you've followed the tips in this article, chances are that your article is more than ready to take on the reviewing that it will go through before being published. Trust that you've done the best that you could possibly do and, in a few weeks' time, you'll see your own article published in the newest edition of the Neopian Times.

 
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