How to Write for the Neopian Times
Live from the studio, it’s this week’s episode for The Neopian Times’ How To series! My name is Cae, and I’m excited to your host for the evening. Join me on a step-by-step adventure to learn how to write for the Neopian Times!
Now, before we start, I have to say that I’m incredibly honored to be invited onto the How To series. For those of you tuning in, fret not – you are in good hands! I have quite the credentials speaking to this subject, with a whopping grand total of not one, but two Neopian Times stories published under my name! Of these two, zero have been published within the past five years – I’m sorry, I think I read these numbers wrong. Excuse me, can we get the research team to double-check the math here? I think my screen-reader might be incorrect…
Err, we’ll be back right after this quick commercial break!
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And welcome back to How To, Neopia’s number one tutorial series! I’m your host, Cae, here to guide you through how to write for the Neopian Times. For viewers who were with me at the start of the episode – I am, err, obligated to tell you that those numbers announced earlier are indeed correct. For viewers just tuning in now, don’t worry about what that means, just be assured that you are in for quite the treat!
Without any further ado, let’s get to it! Here’s how to write for the Neopian Times in five easy steps. Don’t worry, I’ll hold your hand along the way.
STEP ONE: Find Your Inspiration
Before you get out your notebooks and refill your inkwells, you have to know what you’re going to write!
A muse is more slippery than a mermaid in Maraqua – and it’s up to you to go out and catch one! It’s time to traverse Neopia, keeping your eyes peeled for any story’s waiting to be told. Ask your pet if it was nerve-wracking to be painted for the first time, or ask the Tombola guy how he makes his money. I like to check the calendar to see what holidays are coming up. Knowing the current events will help you get the latest scoop on relevant information.
If it’s your first time going out to catch muses, fret not! Our team here has put together a little starter kit to prepare you:
- A Maractite Throwing Net, for catching muses (obviously)
- A Handy Compass, small enough to slip inside a pocket and to make sure you’ll never get lost
- A Plastic Butter Knife, for cutting yourself out of sticky situations if you end up in them, and for spreading butter on toast
- A Blue Fishing Hat, to keep your head cool in times of stress
- An Explorer Backpack, large enough to contain all of these starter kit items, and some room for more!
This pack is sponsored by the Ever Stocked General Store – a wide range of items, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – visit at your convenience. I’m pleased to share with you that this 50,000 Neopoint value pack can now be yours for five easy payments of 10,000 Neopoints! Call the number on your screen now to take advantage of this great deal that will get you ready for your first-ever muse hunt.
STEP TWO: Find Your Voice
You’ve caught your muse, but now you have to make it talk. But be careful – muses spook easily! You can’t make it talk the way you made villains talk in NeoQuest. Muses respond better to conversation than to force, so choose your tone of voice carefully when you’re dealing with your muse. Be engaging, not intimidating.
Consider this, for example – what makes an encyclopedia boring and less-than-engaging of a read, when it has such great content to work with? Encyclopedias, by design, are written in an unbiased voice. The text exists to provide information, not to tell a story. This dispassionate voice might work if the muse you’ve caught enjoys a mystery novels told through case files, but more often than not, you’re going to want to inject a bit of personality into your writing for your muse to respond to.
The tone you use when you strike it off with your muse might help you determine if your narration should be in first person, second person, third person limited, or third person omniscient. Is your muse a sassy fiend, or is your muse very serious with urgent matters to discuss? Maybe the former muse can really let their voice shine through in first person, whereas the latter wants to engage the reader with second person. No two muses are the same, so take the time to get to know the one you’ve freshly caught, and it’ll pay you back in dividends.
STEP THREE: Finish the Story
You’ve gotten to know your muse, and it’s time to give it a venue to express itself. If you did Step Two correctly, you’ll be shocked at how your elusive, reclusive muse has become impossible to shut up!
So sit back, relax, and let your muse do the work here as it chatters away. This is the easiest part of becoming a Neopian Times writer.
Now, it’s not unheard of that a muse will suddenly stop halfway through a story. Don’t worry, it’s totally natural. Like any relationship, you might have to work at it. People change, and so do muses – and when this happens, you just have to get reacquainted.
If you’re in an unfortunate state of affairs with your muse, don’t worry. Put on that Blue Fishing Hat from our starter pack and cool off. I’m happy to announce that we are offering an all-expense paid tour through Neopia – an adventure of a lifetime, really – for you and your muse to go on together, should the need arise. Select three of our five participating locations – Faerieland, Terror Mountain, Mystery Island, Lost Desert, and Kiko Lake – and we’ll handle the rest. Treat yourself and your muse for just 1,000,000 Neopoints, a cheap price tag for an unforgettable journey of rediscovery that might just rekindle what you and your muse are missing!
STEP FOUR: Freak Out
When your muse has drained itself, wrap it up and submit the story to The Neopian Times. This will allow you to progress to the next stage of writing: freaking out.
You’ll want to check back on to Neopets regularly, refreshing constantly in hopes that a little neomail symbol will pop up in the top left corner, informing you that your story will be added to this week’s issue. Your Blue Fishing Hat won’t help here, and the only thing that can abate the anxiousness brewing inside is to bite your fingernails.
I like to handle this stage with activities that involve a lot of page refreshes – like Dice-A-Roo, feeding Kads, or playing Neoquest. That way, you can feel productive as you’re just keeping an eye out for any incoming mails. It won’t really make a difference – the notice probably won’t come until the issue is released, anyways – but this is the stage of what if’s, not about being practical – so let your emotions fly off the rails!
STEP FIVE: Be Disappointed
It’s Friday, and the Neopian Times issue is out! Alas, you still have no Neomail, but it’s probably an error on their part. This is when you get to open this week’s paper and find out that your story did not make the cut, and you’ll get to experience this awful lurching feeling that you’ll never want to experience again.
It’s okay to be angry with your muse for a little while. After all that time together, and it was for nothing? Let yourself feel this emotion, but then move on. Don’t let this broken little muse tie you down forever. Use that Plastic Butter Knife from your starter kit, cut yourself free, and put your pack back on.
It’s time to go find another muse and try again.
And, that’s all folks. I’m your host and Neopian Times writing expert, Cae, signing off. Catch the How To series next time where we’ll be meeting up with a Kadding expert on – you guessed it – How to Feed a Kad. Until then, this has been How to Write for the Neopian Times. Good luck to all our viewers on their future writing endeavours.