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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 19th day of Relaxing, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 147 > Articles > Gallery Content 101

Gallery Content 101

by gypsygirl93555

GALLERY SPOTLIGHT - I've read all the articles for making a gallery, and I'm sure you have, too. You've collected the items for your theme, and your layout matches perfectly, but you still haven't gotten that Gallery Spotlight. What could be missing? After placing 39 in the Gallery Spotlight I started getting lots of Neomails from complete strangers asking pretty much the same question. "What can I do to make my gallery better?". So off I go to view their gallery, and I find myself dishing out the same reply over and over. Goes something pretty much like this. "You have all the items, your layout looks great! But-- you need to work on the content of your gallery!". I give them some personalized ideas of what they can do and send them on their way. Many times I go back to their shop and see that they did not take my advice. So here it is from one gallery spotlighter to hopefully a future gallery spotlighter -- My advice.

Work on your content or what I like to call a gallery hook. What? Hook? Isn't that for fishing? Actually, yes! You are fishing for visitors (most importantly, the king fish of all visitors -- the Neopets staff member who selects the Gallery Spotlight).

What is a hook? It is simply something to get your visitors to not just look, but stay and tell their friends about your gallery. Your gallery hook will set your gallery apart from the rest. You want people to 'ooh' and 'ah'h when they are viewing your gallery... not yawn and snore. Layout and items can only take you so far, but the content or hook of your gallery will set your gallery apart from the rest. This seems so basic, but it's just as important as the items you put in it.

So how do you come up with a hook? This is where you will need to get a bit creative.

I remember staring at my computer screen and thinking it just didn't go together. At the time, all I had in there was mystic mushrooms and spooky petpets. I looked at it and thought it needed something more. Then one day while playing the Wheel of Misfortune, which was just added to the Deserted Fairgrounds Map, it hit me. It was something about the sound of the "creak, creak, creak" that you hear when you are playing it. It was eerie, and then after leaving the wheel I saw on the Deserted Fairground map this big moon behind that spooky clown face and I thought to myself, What if I could walk behind that hill? My imagination went wild and I started writing a short story for my gallery.

Finding a good hook is the most important step in getting your gallery noticed by the Neopets Team. What if you couldn't write a story even if your life depended on it? Then don't write a story, come up with something that sets your gallery apart from the rest. Do some research on the theme you have. If you want that gallery spotlight, then look at what other spotlight winners did. An important question to ask yourself when researching other people's galleries is "what is their hook and do they have one?" Sometimes their hook is that they have every single item in a particular set, like for instance one gallery is Darigan everything. Look at past gallery spotlighters and you'll see that most of them have some kind of hook.

What you decide to be your hook will set your gallery apart from the rest. Say you have a Faerie gallery. If you can't write up your own stuff, search the Neopedia, the web or find books about faeries. You could put the information you find in your gallery. It could be interesting facts about faeries, quotes from the Neopedia, etc. Let your imagination go wild when finding a hook.

10 Tips and hints to writing a great hook:

1. Keep your mind open to new ideas. Having a closed mind about what you want your hook to be can get you stuck. Creative blocks can be very harmful to your goal of refining your gallery.

2. Research other galleries. Even better, find galleries that have a similar theme, and look at what they did and didn't do. Write down your ideas. You want an ORIGINAL gallery, so copying what someone else did will do you no good when it comes to the gallery spotlight, but it can get your own creativity flowing when you see what others have done.

3. Ask yourself questions when researching galleries for hooks. It will help define what you want, don't want, what you like and don't like. It may even inspire you enough to come up with ideas for your own gallery. These are some good ones to ask yourself while reading the content in other people's galleries.

What do I like about this gallery?

What do I not like about this gallery?

Is this gallery just like the rest?

What's different about this gallery?

Would a variation of what they did fit in with my theme or hook?

What would I change in this person's gallery if it were mine?

How could I change what they did to make work in my own gallery?

4. Make your gallery just that -- YOUR Gallery! Neopets is rating galleries "based on quality, aesthetics, originality, and content". Note the originality and content part. You are the originality and your interests are the content. Use your personal strengths or interests as part of your gallery. Find out what your strengths are and work with them. Say your strength is having interesting facts about all the different types of faeries -- use that. Say you like to tell jokes -- write something funny. Say you like happy things -- find happy quotes. If you are interested in something it will show in what you write.

5. It doesn't matter how big or small your gallery is. It's how you present it. Thinking that items and layout is enough will not get you that Gallery Spotlight. Add your own personal touch to your gallery. If facts about faeries interest you, then use that. Ask your self this question. Why did you choose the particular items in your gallery? Answering that question might help you find the hook you need. If you love Blumaroos, let that love of Blumaroos show. "I love Blumaroos" is not going to work. Ask yourself why you love them and give people reasons why they should feel the same. "Blumaroo's are bouncy, clean and cuddly." That needs more work, but it's a great start. If you have a random items gallery come up with a hook that will peak a person's interest. Instead of calling it a "junk gallery" give it more flare and call it something like "Egore's Treasure Chest" and write a bit about why he collects the junk.

6. Let me repeat this. Thinking that items and layout are enough will not get you the gallery spotlight. Pretty layouts and huge galleries are a dime a dozen. What you write in your content will set you apart from the rest.

7. Be easy on yourself and take a break. If what you have in the content part of your gallery doesn't sound as great as you thought it did the first time you read it, get a second opinion or walk away and read it again later. This trick works best when you when you come to a brick wall with your ideas. Sometimes just a short 30 minute break is enough time to get you unstuck and breathe new life into your ideas.

9. Don't pressure yourself and rack your brain deciding what you are going use as your hook. Relax and let it come to you. Remember, I got the inspiration for my hook from spinning the Wheel of Misfortune.

10. Don't give up!

I believe what separates an okay gallery from and awesome gallery is individualism. I hope I conveyed that in this article. A person's greatest strength is in their differences. People like galleries for different reasons, but always because it is different. Whether your gallery be strange, thought provoking, funny, interesting, sad, eerie, silly or gross, if you work on the content of you gallery it's sure to be noticed.

Good luck in hooking that big fish and I hope to see your gallery featured in the gallery spotlight in the near future.

Use one or all of these tips. Take what you need and leave the rest. If you don't remember anything I have written, remember this - Don't Give Up!

Gypsy :)

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