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A Simple Guide to Winning the Poetry Competition


by kitokat_mh

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DEEP CATACOMBS - Ah yes, the poetry competition, where talented Neopian poets demonstrate their poetic abilities for all to see. All sorts of poems and topics are seen, from snowballs to sponge, from Illusen to the Pant Devil, and from Meridell the Haunted Woods. I myself have won the contest four times, and I find it to be both an enjoyable and rewarding experience. However, a lot of people have told me no matter how hard they try; they never manage to have their poem accepted. That is exactly why I have written this simple yet useful guide. Enjoy!

The main factor which influences whether your poem is accepted or not is the theme. You can enter a fantastically written poem but have it rejected because hundreds of poems of the exact same topic where submitted by other players on the site. The best theme is a completely unique one that no one else has entered before. If the Neopets Team are faced with a hundred poems about the Ghost Lupe, you have a one in a hundred chance of winning, which isn’t very high. However, if one hundred poems are about the Ghost Lupe, and you enter a decent one about something crazy like snot (crazy, but who knows) you’ll have a higher chance of winning. Yes, it does sound rather stupid, but it IS true. The Neopets Team seems to enjoy reading crazy, original poems, as it’s something they’ve never read before, and I find writing something like that is the easiest way to win the contest. The best thing about it is that if your theme is unique enough, it doesn’t really matter if the quality of your writing isn’t as good as others.

Ironically, at certain times of the year it’s an advantage to follow the crowd. On pet-themed days (e.g. Uni Day, Scorchio Day etc) and other themed days (Illusen Day, Grey Day etc) it’s always a good idea to enter a poem of the same theme. Neopets only post poems of the same theme as that particular day, so if you want any chance of winning, you’re only option is to write one about that particular theme. However, just like above try and make your poem original wherever possible. For example, when Chia Day was drawing close, I thought to myself “How can I write a Chia-themed poem that will be different to everyone else’s?” and I suddenly remembered that Chias can be turned into all sorts of edible forms. I thought this would make a funny and original poem, and thus “Fruit and Vegetables” was formed!

Now, you know what kind of topic you should be writing, but now you’re asking, why should I bother? Well, there are several reasons. Most people think that the prizes from the poetry competition aren’t worth much, but they couldn’t be more wrong! I’ve only won four times, and the total value of the items that I won adds up to 1 235 000 Neopoints! You have to admit, that is A LOT for four poems, and I’ve known people win prizes worth over 3 million Neopoints! This just goes to show that Neopets rewards talent. If you ARE talented, give it a go!

Now that I’ve given you some tips on how to get your poem to win, I’ll give you some tips on actually writing the poem. I hope you find them useful!

Basic Tips

1) Rhythm

In order to help your poem flow nicely, you have to create a good rhythm. This can be most easily done by making sure each line contains around the same amount of syllables in each line. A neat rhythm makes your poem more enjoyable to read, and if you’re unsure how good the rhythm is simply read the poem to yourself and see how well it flows.

2) Rhyme

Not all poems rhyme, but if they do, it’s always better if they rhyme WELL. The biggest mistake people make is FORCING a rhyme. This is when you are so determined to have a particular line in your poem that you have to make up a line that doesn’t make much sense just to make it rhyme. This makes the poem sound very unprofessional and lowers your chances of winning the contest.

3) Length

When you submit your poem, Neopets will send you a few simple tips, and this includes how long they prefer your poem to be. This is 25 to 75 lines, although I usually write poems of about 30 – 40 lines, and even then they seem rather long compared with some of the other entries. When you have to choose, always pick shorter rather than longer, because I personally have seen a lot more short poems than long ones. This doesn’t mean cut your poem in half, but just read through it to make sure there aren’t any unnecessary paragraphs that make the poem tedious to read.

4) Subject

No matter what, the poem HAS to be Neopets-related in every way; otherwise you have no chance of winning. Also, make sure your poems aren’t offensive or hurtful, and try to keep them pleasant. Inappropriate content will NOT win you the competition no matter how “original” you are trying to be.

Now, you are just about ready to start writing! Ah, but first, I will just tell you some basic poem forms to help get you going:

1) Haiku

Haikus consist of only THREE lines: the first line containing 5 syllables, the second 7 syllables and the third 5 syllables. They are usually about nature, but can be adapted to be any topic you wish. However, they are too short to be entered the competition, and should only be entered if you combine 5 or more haikus.

2) Limerick

A limerick contains 5 lines, and like the haiku should be combined to make a longer poem. The first, second and last line all rhyme, and the third and fourth lines rhyme too. In other words, the rhyme scheme is like this:

A

A

B

B

A

The third and fourth (B) lines are usually shorter than the other three lines, usually containing about 5 syllables, whereas the other (A) lines usually are about 9 syllables long. Also, these poems are usually comical.

3) Acrostic

This poem usually doesn’t rhyme (but it looks more impressive if it does) and is usually the hardest to write a good version of. The first letter of each line spells a word going downwards, eg:

N

E

O

P

E

T

S

This kind of poem is very difficult, as you are limited to what word you can start your line with. Tip: avoid subjects with the letters: q, y, u, i, f, k, z and x in!

4) Sonnet

Often a very difficult poem to write, as it has very strict rules. A sonnet consists of 14 lines, with each line being 10 syllables long. The first 12 lines are alternate rhyming, ie:

A

B

A

B

And the final two lines are a rhyming couplet, meaning they rhyme with each other. It is quite short for a Neopets entry, but if it’s good enough it will be accepted. There are more complex rules included in writing a Sonnet, but this is all you need to know.

4) Ballad

This is a good poem for a Neopets entry, as it can be any length. It usually tells a story, which can be useful for Neopets-related poems, and sometimes contains a chorus (where the same paragraph is repeated throughout the poem). The best thing about it is the rhyme and rhythm is completely up to you!

5) Freestyle

The most commonly-used poem on Neopets – anything goes! The rhyme scheme can be constant, can change or not even exist! The rhythm can be steady, changing, or fast, there are completely NO rules! Your imagination can run riot, which can result in a fantastic piece of poetry!

Well, my article has come to an end. I hope you find it useful, I know how much some people struggle with poetry but using this foolproof guide you’ll be winning the competition in no time! I have outlined how the contest works, how your entries can be improved, and even basic tips to writing a piece of poetry! I hope I have inspired you to take some time out to let your imagination run wild, and allow you to do something you never thought you could – win the poetry competition!

A haiku to say goodbye:

I hope I have helped

You all to achieve your goal.

Farewell and goodbye!

 
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