Becoming a NT Star

Introduction

Hello everyone and welcome to my petpage, "Talia's Guide to Becoming a NT Star." I love the Neopian Times, and enjoy reading the stories, articles, and comics each week. I decided to make this guide to help others have their items published in the Neopian Times, and I hope everyone finds it helpful. With that said, pull up a chair and enjoy the guide!
Please do not take part or all of this guide and claim it to be your own. This took a lot of time to put together. The layout is from Thatkillsme and edited by me, TJ_Wagner. Thank you.

What is the Neopian Times?

The Neopian Times is a newspaper that is released late each Friday (except during holidays) which contains articles, short stories, series, comics, and editorials. It is one of the best places you can go to find different guides and information, as well as just neo entertainment. You can find the NT by clicking on News or you can click here.

Users just like you submit items to be published in the Neopian Times. It is a great way for people to read your stories, articles, series, or comics. Being published also means a trophy on your lookup, gain you certain avatars if your are published 10 times or in certain issues. You can even gain prizes for having your items published in special editions.

After you've written your article, short story, series, or drawn your comic, just go to the front page of the NT. On the right hand side, near the bottom, you will see a link to the submission form or you can click here. Each item (i.e. short story, article, etc) has certain requirements, and these requirements are listed on the submission form. I will also discuss these requirements in the following sections on this petpage.

What Can You Submit?

You can submit short stories, series, articles, and comics. Please note that I don't mention editorials since they don't count towards the numbers of items you have published, avatars, or any prizes that may be given.

Short Stories

Short stories are simply one part neopian based stories. They can be about neopets, faeries, or other neopian characters. The submission requirement for a short story is that it has to be between 1,200 and 4,000 words long. It also has to be neopets based, your own original work, and cannot contain content that violates the rules. Just think of it this way: if you can't post it on the boards, don't put it in your story.

A common question I have seen is what makes a good short story for the Neopian Times. Other than originality, I feel the best short stories are the ones that truly feel like that are completely neo based. What I mean is a story that isn't a generic story that just has neopets characters. For example, let's say you had a short story about a dog lost in the woods. You could make it a Gelert in the Haunted Woods, but that's not necessarily a good neo story. Try writing stories that are uniquely neopets based.

For more ideas you can try my Complete Guide to Writing Neopet Short Stories.

Series

A series is similar to that of a short story except that it contains multiple parts. Each part can be between 1,500 and 50,000 words long. Series can be anywhere from 2 to 12 parts long, however the preferred length is between 4-8 parts. As for what the series may contain, that is exactly the same as short stories. Again, make sure you are familiar with the neorules and make sure your series doesn't violate any. I really enjoy series because each part counts as a different winning entry, so this can help you reach the number needed for the avatar. However, please don't try to 'stretch' your story so that it has more parts than necessary. If you can write your story in four parts, don't try to make it six.

Articles

An article is a factual, informative piece. The most common articles are guides, but that's not the only type of articles that can be written. An article can be information about a new plot, or just a discussion of some recent neopian development. Quizzes and rants are also accepted. An article must be between 1000 and 50,000 words. In some cases, I've seen articles broken up into two parts. For example, if I was to make this into an article, I might have "Guide to Becoming a NT Star" as the first part, and "Guide to Becoming a NT Star Revisted" as the second. This doesn't happen often however. Just as with all other items, articles must be neo-related and should follow the rules .

There is one exception to the 'factual' rule. Interviews with neopet characters are also accepted as articles even though it is quite a bit of creative writing on the part of the author. If I was to write out an interview with Dr. Sloth, for example, it could be submitted as an article rather than a short story.

Comics

Comics should be in JPG or GIF format and no bigger than 200 KB. The width should not be wider than 470 pixels. If you are creating the image on most paint programs, you can find out the width and file size by clicking on properties. The point of a comic is a drawing or series of drawings that is humorous or is part of an entertaining story. You don't have to be a great artist and you can get someone else to do the artwork as long as they are given credit. Like everything else in the NT, the concept of the comic needs to be your own original idea.

In some ways, comics are the most difficult to have selected for the NT and often have the longest wait time until being published. More comics are submitted in comparison to stories and articles. I had to submit quite a few before I finally had one accepted.

Collaborations

Collaborations are when two people work on a submission together. All of the same rules apply depending on whatever it is they are submitting. However, only one person submits the pieces. Just below the submission box, there is a place to write any notes, and that's where it should be noted that this was a collaboration. Both people will get the trophy if it is published. If this is for a special edition of the NT, both individuals would also receive the prize. However, collaborations should be done cautiously and only with other players whom you trust not to steal your work.

After you Submit

So, you finished writing and you've submitted your piece. Now what? Well, now you wait to hear back from TNT. The time it takes to hear back can vary greatly from submission to submission. The fastest I ever heard back was within one day, but that is unusual. The typical wait time is between 2 to 4 weeks for your first neomail.

Accepted/Held-Over

Did you get a neomail stating that your work was accepted? Great! That means that you will be published in the next issue of the Neopian Times. Sit back and breathe a sigh of relief.

However, I've only had one piece that was immediately accepted. Most often, you will receive a neomail saying your piece is being held for further consideration. This is very good. Of all the pieces I've had held over, only one was later rejected. All of the others were accepted.

Rejected

That leaves rejected. However the neomail that rejects the piece will also say why it was rejected so that you can continue to work on it. Some reasons for rejections are:

*Too many grammatical/spelling errors
*Uses technology that doesn't exist in Neopia (i.e. cars)
*Didn't name the color and species of all the neopets in the story
*Had a neopet that was a color it can't be painted yet
*Violates rules
*Editor didn't get the joke (comics)
*Overused subject
*Too violent

Whenever you get a rejection letter, try correcting whatever problem there was and resubmitting - with the exception of the overused subject. In that case, you're probably just going to have to find something else to write about.

Too Many Good Entries

There is one other rejection I didn't list: too many good entries. This means there is nothing wrong with your article/story/comic, it just wasn't accepted. In that case, feel free to enter again without making any changes. However, it's still a good idea to read over your story just in case you think of a way to improve it. Oddly enough, I once got a neomail concerning my guide on this subject. The person wrote, "No offence, but TMGE just means you story was terrible and you should give it up." This isn't true. My series was rejected for this reason the first time, and it was later accepted with only some minor tweaking. I'm not saying that you shouldn't do anything to improve before resubmiting, because you should, but TMGE doesn't mean to scrap the piece altogether.

Overused subject is one the most common reason for being rejected. Basically, anything that's been written about several times, or has been in a recent edition is considered overused. Here are a few examples:

*Game guides for older games that already have more than 2 guides or a new game that already has a guide.
*Newbie Guides
*Avatars (how to get avatars, what your avatar says about you, etc)
*Stories/Series that are parodies of famous stories. These are not only overused, but frowned upon in general.
*Paint Brush Guides

Final Thoughts

FAQ

How long does it take to hear back after you submit something to the NT?
It usually takes 2-4 weeks to get your first neomail which is most often held over or rejected. If you story is held over, you may have to wait several weeks for it to be published. You will get an acceptance neomail the Friday before the NT that has your submission is published. If you don't hear anything back in 5 weeks, then it is okay to resubmit as entries are occasionally overlooked.

Can my neopets in my stories/series have parents or just owners?
In NT stories neopets can have parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers, etc. You don't want to dwell on other types of relationships though. Pets rarely have owners in stories, although it's more common in comics.

Can I have fighting or death in my story?
Fighting is fine as there is a battledome, but you don't want to get to graphic or gory. The same is true with the more morbid subject of death. While it can be written, it's a subject that must be handled delicately. Often, it's better to imply these issues that discuss them openly or in detail.

If I want a story/series/article in a specific issue, when is the best time to submit?
If you have a story that just has to be in a specific issue, then it's best to submit at least 3 weeks in advance. Occasionally, really entries will be accepted later, but you definitely want your entry to have time to be read and accepted before all the pieces for the special issue have been chosen. Because of the prizes, more people will usually try for the speical edition.

Do I need to format my entry before submitting?
You don't need to add html before you submit, but you do need to break it up into paragaphs.

Do editorials count towards the avatar or trophy?
No. I enjoy the editorials and find it's an excellent way to get a more detailed explanation of rules and such, but having your question answered will not earn you a trophy nor will it increase your published count.

Other Tips

*One thing that's so easy to do when writing a story is to forget to name the color and species of all the neopets in the story, but you have to do this or your story will be rejected. Read your story carefully to make sure you didn't forget this detail.

*Spellcheck and proofread everything before you submit. A few mistakes may slip by (usually happens to me) but the fewer mistakes, the better your chances of being accepted.

*You should never include anyone's username or pets other than your own except with permission.

*Be careful when discussing ideas for comics/stories/articles on the boards. Some ideas have been stolen in the past.

*If you entry was rejected, use the reason it was rejected to make your entry even better before resubmitting.

Well, that's about all I have for the guide for now. I'll update as needed. Good luck to all and happy writing!






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