I don't know about you, but I like to inform people. I also like to expand on Neopia's lore and stay up until three in the morning, but let's just focus on the first two.
I don't have a particular goal with my writing. I'm not after any avatars (not that I dislike them, mind you), nor am I trying to get recognition (not that I dislike that either). My main purpose for writing, above all else, is to either present information in an entertaining fashion, or to create something that complements the canon lore of the site. Sometimes it's even both, depending on how much sleep I got that day.
When it comes to articles, I try to present plenty of information while attempting to keep a humorous edge (emphasis on "attempting"). Everything's ordered in a list for convenience's sake and broken down to make it all easy to read. The idea is to cater to both the reader that just wants to know what my choices are and the reader that wants to know why those were my choices. That's right - I care about all you lazy people out there.
My stories are a bit different. While I don't confine myself to a particular style, I almost always end up writing stories that focus on character more than plot, for better or worse. Whether it be filling in plot holes in a larger story or just broadening upon something TNT didn't explain well, I try to make sure my stories work in conjunction with Neopets canon.
I'm assuming that since you're reading this, you must be interested in my work to some degree. That means a lot to me, and I'd personally thank you if I had the time. It means a lot, trust me.
...Or you just got lost on the way to the Tiki Tack Tombola. That's fine with me too.
The Top 10 Rarest Items in Neopia
This article was my first Neopian Times entry to successfully get published. It was pretty straight forward to write - there were no real complications while researching the topic or difficulties getting it accepted. The only small hitch I encountered was figuring out what order to put the entries in. Questions like "Which would be rarer: an item of which three were released but none of them are able to be purchased, or an item that was released once but can still be bought?" came up often. I did my best, but the order can be debated. Take it with a grain of salt.
The One Who Opted Out
This was my first short story in the NT, and the first front page entry. It was, essentially, a spur-of-the-moment response to Rutu's death during the Protector's Journey plevent and an attempt to fill in something TNT had failed to explain properly. The only regrets I have with this story were failing to use brackets for my coding instead of carets. The original coding had all the main character's thoughts and memories italicized, which made them easier to separate from what's happening at that moment. Without them, the story can be a tad hard to follow. The other regret was that when I wrote this story, I was unable to find the quote that I wanted for the beginning; therefore, I just paraphrased what I could remember. After the story was submitted, I located the quote, which was as follows.
The following quotes from Kaljinyu nicely summarize up anything else I could say about this story.
The Most Notable Trophy Designs
The idea for this happened while I was refreshing in the Games Room for quotes during the 2012 Daily Dare plevent. After viewing page after page with different trophies, I began to form opinions on which ones were better, and I figured that writing an article with a loose, non-formal style might be a good change of pace. TNT didn't agree, and it was initially rejected. After cleaning it up after June_Scarlet proofread and critiqued it, it was held over for several weeks and then accepted.
This was intended to be called "The Most Notable Trophy Designs (Or Something)", but the (Or Something) was removed when the article was published. Presumably, TNT didn't realize that was part of the title, and instead though I was saying I just wanted a title along those lines. There was originally a mention of the Bouncy Supreme trophy under the "Miscellaneous" category, but it was removed from the article a few weeks after publication.
The blurb about the Lenny Conundrum trophy was the Quote of the Week for Issue 561, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pleased about that.
The 12 Best Advent Calendar Animations
This entire article was written during the month of November, just barely getting submitted in time for the deadline I set. (Unsurprisingly, much of this was written at 2 o'clock in the morning.) There's a nice bit of irony behind the publication: I worked on this almost constantly to make sure it was completed at the beginning of December, in order to avoid having to compete with the many Christmas articles submitted at that time of year. However, TNT themselves chose to hold over the submission and publish it in the Christmas issue, which earned me a Christmas Pattern Negg.
In order to write this, I viewed every single Advent Calendar animation from the very start of the archive. I worked my way through the years, writing down any animations that stood out to me, then selected the top 12 based on both personal enjoyment and what Neopians in general seem to enjoy. As always, the choices are all based on opinion, but I tried to get a good range of different animations featured. Heck, one or two of my own personal favorites didn't make the final cut!
A Play about a Debate in Prison
When the PPL mini-plot first came out, there was a large group of people supporting Yurius on the boards, arguing Weltrude was in the wrong. For this story, I wanted to tackle the issue and present my own views on who was right and who was wrong - or rather, the fact that there's a lot of gray area when discussing ethics.
This story had a very troubled production history. When I first typed it up in 2012, it was written in normal narrative format. After writing it, I decided that it would be much more interesting in a play format, but ended up putting it on hold for over a year due to work. When I came back to it, my writing had improved so much that I essentially rewrote the entire thing.
On top of that, this story was originally written in a screenplay format (which differed from the current format in a few different ways), but it was rejected due to a screenplay implying technology that does not exist in Neopia. It was finally accepted after I edited it to be a stage play. (For the record, I personally still prefer the original.) The format presented here is about as close to a professional play format you can get in the Neopian Times, but there was some initial indenting on the original document that was not able to be carried over.
The working title for this was "A Discussion of Ethics". The change was a last-minute decision based on reviewer feedback. (So last minute, in fact, that sometimes I still accidentally use the old name.) Another change was that originally the ending was ambiguous as to whether or not Yurius forgives Weltrude. However, this ending didn't feel very satisfying or in-character, so I decided to scrap it completely.
The preview image was mostly my own doing. I selected the image, cropped and resized it from the PPL plot comic, then "painted" over it to remove some cloudiness left behind by the original boarders. The non-edited version looks like this:
Believe it or not, the publication of this lining up with the Petpet Appreciation Issue was nothing but a perfect coincidence. (I didn't even remember there was such a thing as a Petpet Appreciation Issue until I got a Neomail telling me I received a Gwortz petpet, to be honest.)
And Professor Vinsjin Died
This story was nameless for almost the entire month it took to write it, and it wasn't until June_Scarlet suggested I use the first line of the opening quote as the title that I had something to call it. It seemed appropriate - that one conversation was what inspired me to start writing this. Well, that and a lack of fanwork about the Ghoul Catchers.
This story is jam-packed with as many references to the Ghoul Catcher's lore as I could manage. For example, the pitch that Bren rattles off in the beginning is almost word-for-word from the Ghoul Catchers' collectable card, and Vinsjin's curse was very briefly mentioned in their first Neopedia article. And Bren actually was featured in a Caption Contest in which no one recognized him. (One user even mistook him for Kell!)
This is also filled with shout-outs to ghost-related folklore. While I won't list everything here, here's a quick list of a few references:
The concept of using rice to distract ghosts comes from the idea that ghosts (and vampires) will be compelled to stop and count small objects (such as holes in a strainer or uncooked beans). Ghosts are not very good as counting, so eventually they'll get so annoyed that they'll stop their haunting and leave.
Both hematite and obsidian are said to repel ghosts due to having cleaning properties. Sea salt is used for a similar purpose, and can be used to create a line that ghosts can't cross.
A revenant is a creature from folklore that's kind of like a zombie crossed with a vampire. They rise from their graves (usually) in order to get revenge over something, but are confined to only moving during the night and sleeping during the day. Some sources claim that they even feed like vampires do.
An earlier draft of this story lacked Bren's distrust of Vinsjin, and the hematite charm was omitted completely. Those elements were added after my editor suggested that the story needed more tension behind it in order to make the reader concerned over the events. One draft also had Bren grab for a cold iron ladle instead of the charm, and another had much the curse guaranteeing that Bren and Boolin would be forced to take down Vinsjin one day.
This was my second story to get featured on the front page of the NT, the first being The One Who Opted Out.
Upcoming Story Statuses
Thought Out: The style, concept, and basic idea have been formed.
Submitted: The submission has been finished and entered into the Neopian Times.
|Researched: References have been collected.||Rejected: The submission has been rejected.|
Typed Up: The entry is being written.
Held Over: The submission has been held over for potential publication in a later issue.
|Proof Read: The entry is being peer reviewed.||Accepted: The submission has been accepted and will be published soon.|
10 Nameless Neopians (That Actually Do Have Names): A countdown of not-so nameless Neopians. Article.
Wishing You Well: Neovia has an interesting tradition each year. Short story.
A Creation Myth*: A look at the Oracle during the ancient days of Neopia. Multi-part series.
The Grapevine: The Underwater Chef finds that tourists are always up to date about the news. Short story.
The Enemy of My Enemy: The Spider Grundo finds someone unusual in his web. Short story.
(#) Books (That Are Not Designed to Be Read)*: Some books out there don't have very logical designs. Article.
Of Dice and Men: King Roo and Count von Roo have a high-stakes dice game. Short story.
Your Uncle Albert*: A young Kacheek finds out what happened to her long-lost brother. Short story.
(#) Links from Old Plots (That Still Work)*: TNT doesn't always remember to remove links. Article.
A Study on the Destruction of Maraqua*: Many different sources come together to paint of picture of how Maraqua was destroyed. Multi-part series.
Programming NPV2*: Four very different Grundos have to work together to create an AI. Short story.