Looks ARE Everything
NEOPIA CENTRAL - For some odd reason that I have never been able to fathom, a LOT of people
have asked me for advice on developing characters for their stories. I'm not
sure why anyone would ask MY advice. I've only written two short stories and
two story series and they were all about my Lupe. So it's apparent that I am
not really an expert in the character development field.
However, a lot of people have still persisted in asking me how I come up with
generally interesting characters despite my general lack of general imagination
in this general area. In order to make these people happy so I can clear out
the backlog in my Neomail box, I will attempt to explain an important key to
developing YOUR OWN PETS as characters for a story. And here is the key:
Know what your pets look like.
Okay, I know you can pretty much figure that out by clicking on the Quick Reference
link on the yellow sidebar. What I mean is, if you want to use your own Neopet
in a story, you have to develop a personality for your Neopet. And in order
to develop a personality for your pet, you need to be able to VISUALIZE what
they are like. And choosing a personality for your pet is often accomplished
by choosing a paint brush for your pet. If your Neopet has a gloomy personality,
he will LOOK more gloomy painted with a grey paint brush than with a starry
Don't misunderstand me on this point. Any pet can have any personality you
like, no matter what his color is. A Neopet can be a unique character without
being painted a unique color. And you don't HAVE to write about a Neopet that
you actually own in order to create a character for a Neopian Times story. But
certain paint brushes automatically seem to come with their own personalities,
and those are the types of paint brushes that I will be talking about. Like
I said, the way a pet looks can make developing a character for a story a whole
lot easier. Keeping this in mind, you have two options:
1. If you already know what your pet's personality is, choose a color for him
that matches that personality.
2. If you haven't yet decided what your pet's personality is, choose a color
for him that you really like, and develop his personality based on that.
3. Let's say you already know what your pet's personality is, but the color
you want for him isn't available for his species, like a Sponge Lenny, for example.
Or maybe the paint brush you want is too expensive for you to afford right now.
What do you do then? The answer is simple. Who says you have to write about
your pet being a yellow Gelert just because he is a yellow Gelert? Choose the
color you IMAGINE fits his personality and write about him already being painted
that color. Eventually you can paint him that color if you want to, but he doesn't
have to be that color NOW in order for you to write about him that way.
Okay, so that's three options. Let's not get picky here.
Brace yourselves. It's now time for the standard annoying personal experience
example. Are your knuckles turning white from gripping the armrests on your
chair? Good. I shall now begin.
My Krawk was a spotted Krawk for a looooooong time but I was never happy with
him that way. He simply had no personality. But the moment the Pirate Paint
Brush was released I KNEW that was the perfect color for Stonekrawk3x. I had
to save up for months to get that paint brush, but the moment he was painted,
a wonderful thing happened. I was inspired to write my story series, "Never
Get a Paint Brush For a Lupe". When a pet's color matches his personality perfectly,
you often don't have to come up with story ideas. They come rushing at you in
a tsunami tidal wave.
So the really big question is, "What exactly are the different types of personality
paint brushes?" Well, I am now going to give you some literal paint brushes.
And by "literal" I don't mean "actual", I mean for your "literature".
They say "clothes make the man", but clothes apparently make the Neopet too.
Certain paint brushes, like the Pirate, give a fairly obvious character to your
Neopet. Others are a little fuzzier and harder to pin down. Because they come
with costumes, they are most at home in certain locations, but you can use them
anywhere you want.
Pirate: These pets can be adventurous, sword-wielding, fearless, loveable rogues.
They can also be rather shady mercenaries, smugglers and thieves. Some pets
are more dashing than others, like the pirate Peophin, Kougra and Shoyru. Some
are more shady than others, like the Flotsam and Kacheek. This is one of only
two paint brushes that come with its own build-in career. Natural story location:
Royal: This is the other paint brush that comes with its own build-in career.
For the most part, royal pets look like kings, queen, princes or princesses.
So not only do these pets have jobs, they get to be the boss too. Of course,
the Royal Boy Cybunny looks more like a herald than a prince, but a job is a
job. If you need an elegant member of nobility or a cruel dictator or a rich,
spoiled brat, this color will cover most of those bases. Natural story location:
Desert: These sandy Neopets have an exotic quality and can be either mystical
or aristocratic. The ones that look more magical or mysterious are the Blumaroo,
Lupe and Kau. The ones that look more royal or rich are the Aisha, Ixi and Kiko.
Natural story location: The Lost Desert.
Usuki/Quiguki: The Usuki Paint Brush can only be used on Usuls and Quiggles.
Personally, I think the Usuki/Quiguki boys should really be in the "Royal" category.
So you can refer to that section if you have a male pet. Natural story location:
Meridell. The Usuki/Quiguki girls have big, poofy, purple rock star-type hair
and have a category all their own: Bubbleheaded cheerleader. Natural story location:
Beats the heck out of me.
Island: Island pets are in the "fuzzy personality" group. Not only is a general
personality hard to pin down, but the only thing that puts them in the "clothes-wearing"
category is a scattered bunch of grass skirts in the group. Still, if you need
a pet with a happy-go-lucky, easy-going, laid-back personality, Island seems
to be the ticket. Of course, if you need a drum-beating, spear-waving primitive
head-hunter, you can't go wrong choosing this color for that too. Natural story
location: Mystery Island.
Christmas: For the most part, the clothes that Christmas pets wear are elf
hats and Santa jackets. That is, the ones that have clothes. About a third of
Christmas pets simply have reindeer antlers. I can't really pinpoint a specifc
personality for this group, but the word "goofy" comes to mind. If that word
seems a little harsh, insert "whimsical" instead. This is really not a good
color to choose unless you only plan on writing Christmas stories. Natural story
location: Terror Mountain and stuck in a chimney.
Halloween: This is by far the most mixed group. Some of the Halloween costumes
are more cute than creepy, but some are downright ghoulish. So I will break
them down into sub-categories:
Witches: They obviously have magical powers and can whip up a cauldron of Spyder
and Greeble broth in ten seconds flat. If you are looking for a witch, they
come in Bruce, Chia, Korbat, Lenny and Peophin.
Vampires: If you need a sinister yet suave character for a story, these little
bloodsuckers are perfect for the job. Black capes and dual fangs can be found
on a Halloween Blumaroo, Cybunny, Gelert, Grarrl, Jetsam and Moehog.
Werepets: Only the Halloween Lupe is technically a werewolf, so we'll just
call them "werepets". A werepet can be a deadly, vicious creature of the night.
It can also be a gentle, intelligent pet forced by a curse to be a menace--
especially to anyone skipping through the forest with a Red Picnic Hamper for
Grandma. You have two choices here-- a Lupe and a Buzz.
Monsters: This group actually contains devils, skeletons, generally weird pets
and one hunchback. If you need a scary, sinister or anti-social pet and don't
want to go the Mutant or Darigan route, there are some interesting alternatives
in this group.
Natural story location: Haunted Woods.
If you are wondering what "transparent" means, it basically means you can see
through your pet and see what they ate for lunch. There are four paint brushes
that fall into this category. Although "jelly" falls into this group, I think
it is better served in the "Dinner" category, hopefully on a plate.
Ghost: Since they can't technically die, Neopets can somehow skip the whole
annoying death bit and go straight to being ghosts. This gives them a whole
range of mystical powers not available to any other kind of Neopet, like the
ability to walk through walls, pop in and out of portrait paintings and hang
out in the Haunted Woods cemetery without getting creeped out. Ghosts can be
funny, scary, evil, helpful or annoying. So they are basically the same as any
other pets except with one major difference. When they say they want to go visit
their old haunts-- they mean it LITERALLY.
Glowing: I don't know about you, but to me "glowing" is the same as "ghost"
only green. Theoretically, these pets are somehow radioactive, although how
they got that way is not fully explained. The special power that glowing pets
have is the ability to read in the dark. And when someone says his pet really
lights up a room-- he means it LITERALLY.
Invisible: There are forty-seven Neopets. Yet only sixteen can be painted invisible,
despite the fact that all invisible pets look exactly the same. They all have
blank looks on their faces -- LITERALLY [insert editor laughing noise]. This
color practically comes with a built-in storyline to it. And your storyline
comes in three basic flavors:
Sinister, brooding and dark chocolate
Confused, funny, light vanilla
Sarcastic, smart, strong, super sleuth strawberry
That's all I have time to talk about this week. So next week I will discuss
additional colors your pet can come in and the personalities of those colors.
So don't trot off to the Rainbow Pool just yet-- there's more to come! Oh, whoopie.