The Neopian Times
The Neopian Times is the ever-popular Neopets newspaper that's gone on for almost one thousand issues, usually released each week on Friday, although there are some rare cases where it is published other days of the week, and sometimes it takes one or two weeks off for holidays or larger issues. There are comics, short stories, an editorial, series and articles; everything is the best of what was sent in for the week, each one chosen by the Editor themself. You can submit as many entries per week as you want to, but it's very likely that only one (if any) will be chosen for publication per issue.
The Evolution of the Times
The Neopian Times began with a man named Josh as the editor, more commonly known as Mr. Shankly. It had a white background and almost no images, except the painfully dull banner at the top that looked like something out of the sixties, plus the fact that it didn't have much content. Pretty much, it was just a bunch of boring text without a section where you could browse through the comics for your enjoyment. Actually, you couldn't browse through any section at all. The original layout is still recorded, but none of the content is available for viewing anymore.
Only a few issues after that it was upgraded to something only slightly better, being given a table for content to go in and an all new, extremely badly drawn banner at the top, which is the distant ancestor of what we have today. It was a picture of a Jubjub reading the NT on a short, tan-coloured banner with blue outlines and the words "Neopian Times" and under that, "circulation 2,500,000". A while before it was released an Editorial was added (thankfully) and you can check out Issue 30 here, and you might actually want to since you can still view the content in it. In fact, you can see many old issues of the old layout in the Neopian Times Stone Age Archives.
But the makeovers didn't stop there; a while after that came an even newer style and with it, a vast improvement. Issue 1 of the new layout was given a Guild Spotlight and a yellow and white theme, going on for well over a hundred issues. Unfortunately, Mr. Shankly decided to retire in the middle of it. He was a man characterized by his love of dung, and in issue number seventy-five, the very last he was the Editor of, several of the entries were focused on dung in dedication to him. Felicia, better known as our dear Miss Snowflake, took over; she's mainly known for the white wedding dress she's always wearing, which started when she decided to wear it for her staff photograph, and so got the name Snowflake.
She continued to be the editor for a long, long time, being featured in countless comics and stories in her signature apparel. Issue number 150, forty-six issues before her retirement, was when the current Times style was implemented and when people finally got to see an excellent layout and the blue and white colouring scheme. Later, when Snowflake retired, her assistant Darcy, or Droplet, took over the entire paper. Droplet headed the Times for many years before leaving, putting a new face, Country Queen, in charge. Since then, other editors have taken over: Scrappy, and then Jade, and currently, Aesop.
The White Weewoo
The White Weewoo is now the main symbol of the Neopian Times, as almost everybody knows, but it didn't start out that way. One User had a Weewoo attached to one of her Pets and wanted to paint it White to resemble Harry Potter's pet white owl, Hedwig, so she and her friends started submitting entries into the Times while subtly including mentions of White Weewoos. Soon, their efforts paid off, and the White Weewoo was officially released on October 28th, 2003; Snowflake gave all of those whose entries were published that week a White Petpet Paint Brush to celebrate. Long live the White Weewoo!
Articles should be either entertaining or informative, depending on what kind of piece you're writing; if it's some sort of game guide than it should have some sort of general list of things in the game (like items or bonuses, if there are any) and a few tips. That's just one example of an article though, and there are so many more that the real piece of advice here is to give your readers just enough detail so that they know what you're talking about.
For a more in-depth look at articles and writing them, read our Neopian Times Articles guide.
Because believe it or not, Sarah may not be able to answer ALL your questions about Neopia...
I can't really offer you much help with the Editorial; only a few of the best or funniest questions are selected from the thousands that are sent in and if you're lucky, one of them will be yours. Make sure that your question hasn't already been answered in the main site's FAQ or in the current NT issue's Editorial and you'll have a much better chance of getting in. Remember that you will NOT get any trophies for having your questions published and answered.
And in case you're wondering, the Editor is currently Aesop.
Short Stories and Continued Series
You can write just about any type of story for the Times (as long as they abide by the site rules and are not over-the-top romantic or violent); the necessary elements for any contribution would be description, imagination and originality. Your aim should be to think of something never done before, or at least relatively obscure, and then map out the whole story, whether it's a short story or a continued series. Once you've figured all of that out, you need to get on to describing what the readers need to be seeing in their heads; that doesn't mean that you should go so far as to state everyone's eye colours, but simply give them the necessary information in a smooth flow of wording. Don't feel bad if it doesn't work right away, because even as you get more experienced it will never actually get easy. Easier, sure, but not easy.
Not being much of an artist myself, I can't give you any help with how to draw but I can certainly help you with what to draw; just make the images you want after you've thought it all through and then put in the grammatically proper text. Not all comics have to be funny, as some can be set in a serious situation and be extremely gripping, even following an ongoing plot like a whole story; most are just plain funny, though.
You've Got Mail!
If your entry has a chance of getting published, it's likely that someone will send you a Neomail saying so. In fact, there are several different ones that you can get, each with different reasons for either rejecting or accepting your entry. All of them begin with "Dear [username]" and a farewell at the end, with the message in between. Messages vary from telling you that your entry was too poorly punctuated for approval, that they've now held it over and it will appear in a future issue (usually the next one), and of course the coveted accepted entry.
"Your Neopian Times submission ([entry name]) was rejected because we had too many good entries in this category this week and there was not enough room for them all. Please try again next week." This is a rather common reply, and it's important to put here because it doesn't mean that sending in your entry again next week will get an automatic acceptance. Just read through it again, fix any errors you spot or sentences that could be written clearer and submit it again.
"Thank you for submitting to the Neopian Times. Currently your submission ([entry name]) is being held over and may be considered for future publication in the Neopian Times. There is no need to submit your submission again, as it is saved by the editor." This is another important message to put here because it is said that an entry that receives this response is generally later approved, so as not to disappoint the user who sent it in. So, it's a fairly good sign of approval in a week or two. If it still gets rejected, just use my advice for the above message and try again.
Tips For Submissions
And how could I have a Neopian Times article without giving advice for how to get in? Each of these are known to help your submission get into the Times; whether by telling you to tone something down or add something in, they're definite pointers. You can find the Submission Form by clicking the stack of news print at the bottom of the Times layout.
- Use proper grammar to make your entry legible; if you don't, people won't be able to read it and won't like your entry, and more importantly there's no way it'll get in.
- Obey the rules; if you don't, then there's a 100% chance that your entry won't get in.
- Use your imagination; if you're making a story or comic, you've got to be able to attract readers by making a fantastic adventure to hook them with.
- Description is key; you need to make the readers understand how the characters in your entry feel and what the situation is truly like.
- Be patient; your entry isn't likely to get in right away, so keep making minor improvements and get people to spell check it while you wait.
- If you receive the Neomail from the editor telling you, "we had too many good entries in this category this week" or what is popularly known as a TMGE, go over your work and see if it needs editing. Sometimes it's the editor's way of letting you know that you can still polish your work before it is published.
The Entry Pictures
As you probably already know, the Neopian Times has a picture for all of the entries in it, displayed in the top-right corner of the entry's page and right next to its description in the sidebar on every page.
With stories (both short and series), you'll get an image of a pet in a pose regularly seen on the site (like Battledome poses), an old Neopian Times image used for previous publications, or even other images from all over the site like comic excerpts or Caption Competition pictures. For years, if you were lucky, you could get a completely unique image drawn for your entry, but this practice has been discontinued. However, it is possible to ask another user if they can draw a thumbnail for your story. They will be credited but will not receive a trophy unless they also collaborated on the entry.
With articles, though, you'll probably get something from the Neopedia, which may have also already been used with other Articles. If yours is a game guide, though, the image is almost guaranteed to be the game's header (the picture that you click on to get to that game's page, in the Games Room).
Comics, however, are completely different; most people make their own pictures for them, and if they don't then a small part of their comic will probably be copied for use as the image. If you decide to make one, the nicer you make it, the more likely people will notice it and check it out. Then again, if it looks ugly, people might look at it just because of that reason. O_o Site images and pet poses may also be used depending on the theme and content of your comic.
Don't Even Try It...
Of course, there are a few topics that will definitely get you a rejection notice. Mature, religious and non-Neopets content are the most disallowed, but there are some miscellaneous rules here that can result in a frustrating rejection if you don't read them now.
Remember, whatever isn't on this list should be allowed in the Neopian Times. One last thing to keep in mind is that you might be able to get away with a bit of the following things, but when possible you should always try to steer clear of them (for instance, some technology not normally in Neopia you might be able to briefly use if it's not emphasized and minor).
- All rules that are on the main Neopets site apply to the Times also.
- A large amount of blood and gore, although minor flesh wounds are fine.
- Computer technology in Neopia, unless it came from the Space Station or is some sort of alarm system.
- Male faeries of any kind.
- Stuff that's specifically from Earth, including time periods and famous people (although parodies are probably fine).
- Radios, telephones, video games and the like; television, as long as it's specifically in the form of Neovision, is allowed.
- Vehicles such as cars, planes and trucks, although bicycles, carriages, and scooters are fine.
- Pets behaving in a non-Neopet/demeaning manner, such as drinking out of the toilet and eating out of bowls.
- Stating that Jelly World exists or mentioning it in a similar manner.
- Death on a large scale, although you can most likely get away with killing off one or two characters, and war scenarios.
- Custody battles for children.
- Neopian/Neopets Police, since the Defenders of Neopia already have that kind of role.
- Injuries that won't go away after a while, such as amputations.
- Hybrid creatures or whatever kind, such as a human with Neopet parts or two or more species of Neopet mixed together (unless already created by TNT).
- Creatures with two or more heads unless they've already been created by TNT, like Luperus and Scordrax.
- Pets with colours that aren't available or haven't been made yet, including oddly-coloured Pets (like a yellow Electric-coloured Pet), although birthmarks, dye and the like are accepted.
- An explanation of the origin of humanity in Neopia and stories set on Earth.
- Almost all mention of penalties for offensive content, such as freezings, along with the mention of people breaking the rules.
- Things made for site sponsors, since the sponsors aren't actually Neopets-related.
- A creature never mentioned on the main site before, whether it's Neopet, human or faerie.
- Most romantic and intimate situations and action, such as kissing, marriages and even just going out with someone. Crushes and deep admiration can be implied though. Characters can also be mentioned as being husband and wife, and it is possible to write or imply a wedding ceremony without using the words "marriage" or "wedding" or mentioning any romance.
- Seances, as in contacting spirits from beyond Neopia.
- Prisons, as in the building in which prisoners stay while awaiting trial or after they've been sentenced. Dungeons are perfectly all right, though.
- Cults, as in a group of people devoted to a religion (whether it's made-up or real). although Grave Danger mentions a cult and cultist, so a cult in that context may be permissible.
- Articles that discuss the rules of the Neopian Times or the main Neopets site; that includes freezings, scams/scamming and the like.
Chet Flash Wuzn't Here
At the top of the main NT page there's one of many phrases that TNT devised purely for entertainment; they're not actually very important but with how random they are, they're certainly interesting. Check 'em out, why don't you?
- "Chet Flash wuz here"
- "Battle Quills... ready!"
- "There are ants in my Lucky Green Boots"
- "Enter the Snowflake's lair..."
- "teh 1337est n00zpaper"
- "Neopia's Fill-in-the-blank News Source"
- "Invisible Paint Brushes rock" [Scroll over it]
- "White Weewoos don't exist. *shifty eyes*"
- "Sanity is forbidden"
- "A Yurble stole my cinnamon roll!"
- "Caution: Quills may be sharp"
- "Now with 50% more useless text"
- "The inside scoop on Jelly W-argh! *choke*"
- "Come dance with the gypsies..."
- "For an easier life"
- "Reporting live from Neopia"
- "Still thwarting Sloth's mind control..."
- "Where there's a Weewoo, there's a way"
- "Preparing Neopia for the Meepits"
- "A Waffle Paradise"
- "The most fantastic thing in the universe!"
- "Stand behind yer sheriff"
Who's Chet Flash?
A famous character that's never seen or heard but simply mentioned in this comic or that story. He was made up by some members of the Neopian Times Writer's Forum who wanted to make someone never seen and never heard but mentioned here and there. His signature is "Chet Flash wuz here", and he is now one of the most famous people in the Neopian Times, even though you'll never see his photo in the tabloids.
Avatars and Awards
With the publishing of some issues of the NT come rewards for those who got their entries into it; not only do you get a trophy for each entry of yours that get into the Neopian Times, there are possible item prizes for holiday issues and landmark issues like 200, 250 and 300, ranging from rare themed items to special NT prizes like the most sought-after Neopian Times White Weewoo Plushie! Of course, with something as big as the Neopian Times you've got to have more than that, right? Right! There are also avatars to be won - two, in fact.
Neopian Times Star / Guide
Get into the Neopian Times 10+ times. (Editorial Questions do not count.)
Released: July 23, 2004
Neopian Times Writer / Guide
Get published in a Neopian Times issue ending in "50" or "00" (starting from issue 200).
Released: July 26, 2005
Now then, good luck with your current and future entries in the Neopian Times and goodbye!
This article was written by: Daniel