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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 24th day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 126 > Articles > Improving the Chances

Improving the Chances

by carnapepper

YOUR DESK - Are you sick of your totally awesome short stories being rejected by the editor of The Neopian Times? Are you tired of the fact that no one gives any feedback when you finally get accepted? Maybe it's time to spiff up your story with some old fashioned literary devices.

Literary devices... what a wonderful invention. What? You haven't heard of them before? Sure you have. Remember English class? You don't? Well you must not have been listening. I'll go over them again, just for your sake. Don't forget this time!

Okay, I know you're heard of this one before. A simile is a comparison using "like" or "as". It can be very helpful when describing things that remind you of something else. Example: "The plushie was bought quick as lightning." Using a simile in your short story or article gives the sentence depth and might help your reader understand what you're trying to say.

Alliteration is my personal favourite literary device! You've most definitely heard an alliteration before, but you might not have even noticed it! An alliteration involves repeating the beginning consonant of a word. Here, I'll give you an example. "Lily Lupe looked to the left." Notice how the beginning 'L' is repeated four times in that sentence? Say it out loud. Doesn't it sound cool? Alliteration is just a fun little device you can use in your writing to give effect or spice to it to make it more interesting!

Wow, that one's hard to spell. But it's used a lot and again, you've probably read it but didn't notice. When you use a personification, you're giving human qualities to a non-human thing. You want an example? Sure. "The bonfire danced alongside the Tyrannians long into the night." Fires can't really dance, but they sort of look like they are, so this personification gives imagery to your sentence. Personifications are a great way to give your reader a vivid mental image of your scene. Try it sometime!

Now that is a difficult word to spell. But what is it? Well, onomatopoeia is when a word is said the way it would actually sound. It's a hard concept to grasp at first so I'll give you some examples. "Whoosh!"; "Buzz"; "Sizzle"; etc. get it now? If you say those words out loud, you can practically hear the flying Shoyru or the Streaky Bacon cooking. Using onomatopoeia is a great way to get your readers to visualize exactly what's happening in your story. It's also really fun to write! :)

This one may sound familiar, but it may not. Basically, a hyperbole is a figure of speech in which you use a large exaggeration for effect. An example for you: "I couldn't play Neopets because I had mountains of homework!" Obviously you don't have mountains of homework, but you must have a lot if you used a hyperbole! Using hyperboles is a great way to show a large amount of something, or just for effect!

Alright, I know a lot of people don't like puns, but that's only because they're misused! And this is the last category of literary devices so we're almost done! Puns can be used in two ways: the first involves a word that has two different meanings. The second involves two words that sound alike but have different meanings. I can't really think of an example for each, but I've got a great joke that uses pun as its main punch line! "Why did the fly fly? Because the spider spider!" Get it? The spider "spied her"? Oh, nevermind.

Now that we're done talking about literary devices, let's talk about other ways to spiff up your story or article, giving it a better chance at getting accepted!

If you're writing a short story, try writing an outline before even starting to write the copy you're going to submit. Making character profiles for all the main characters in your story is a great way to build personality and give... well, character to them! It may only be a short story, but you want people to enjoy it and look for other stuff by you! So always plan out your writings before you write them. It's a great strategy!

Another awesome way to make sure your piece is flawless is by signing up a beta reader. It doesn't have to be anyone super-special, just one or two of your friends or people you know! A beta reader reads through your story or article and picks out any mistakes they notice or anything that just doesn't sound right. It's very hard to proofread your own stuff so getting at least one friend to help is very important! Another advantage of having a beta reader is that they can give you feedback before you even submit to The Neopian Times! Ask them what they think about your work. If it's an article, is it helpful? Would a majority of people be interested in the subject matter? If it's a story, would a lot of people enjoy reading it? Would they be drawn to the characters? Ask your friends these questions when they read so you know what to fix or what to add before you submit.

Last but certainly not least, don't overuse a topic! There are tons of articles about how to make NP, and there are tons of heart-warming Pound short stories. Be creative! Once you've thought of a good topic, go to The Neopian Times page and search for the topic in the little search bar on the right. If more than, say, fifteen items come up about your topic, please reconsider and try to think of another idea. If your article is the same old "Become a Millionaire in Five Easy Steps!", no one will want to read it. "How the Lupe Saved the Day" is yesterday's news! Be creative, be innovative, and most of all, write something that interests the general public. You're writing for Neopets' only newspaper, so the general public better appreciate what you write!

Hopefully you learned (or relearned) some of the most common literary devices from this article, as well as some cool ways to make your writing the best it can be. I hope to see some new awesome articles and short stories using -- my favourite -- alliteration in the near future!

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