Talia's Story Telling GuideHello everyone and welcome to my guide to entring the story telling competition. Anyone who knows me knows just how much I love storytelling. It's undoubtedly my favorite competition on neopets and one of my favorite ways to earn neopoints. Please enjoy the guide, and never hesitate to neomail me if you have any comments, suggestions, of feedback.
IMPORTANT: Please do not take part or all of this guide and claim it to be your own. This took a lot of time and effort to create. However, you are free to use any of the creative ideas for stories that are listed within this guide.
Before You EnterBefore entering your first story telling, I suggest reading over some the stories of previous competitions. This will help you to see what kind of entries are accepted and how the stories really come together. It's also a good idea to neomail previous winners. Most will be happy to give you advice or pointers.
Pre-Writing Before I begin an entry, I like to do a bit of research. If a story is set at a particular location, go there on the map and check it out. Even if you feel like you've been there a hundred times before, look around to see if there's any specific details you can tie into your story. If a story is about a particular Neopian character, then you should do check out the background. This can really help in wriitng your story.
Some writers like to do a bit of brainstorming before they write. This can be as simple as writing down a list of different ideas that come to your head, a short summary, or even an outline. Not all writers do this, but it can be helpful in organizing your ideas. I can't tell you what will be the most helpful for you, but it's a good idea to experiment especially if you are having trouble writing a section.
The first entry is perhaps the most important since the rest of the story has to flow from the beginning. Traditionally, the beginnings were written by a member of TNT, but now these story starters are written by oridinary neopet players. This provides a great opportunity because, as writers, we all have stories that we prefer writing. By writing the beginning, we can create a story that fits our preferences for reading and writing. The first entry can be submitted any time after the previous stories ends on Friday and the new one is chosen on Monday. So, how do you write an entry that will be chosen as the beginning?
First, you need to introduce the main character(s). There has to be a least one, but there can be more. These characters need to have distinct personalities so that other writers can continue with their adventures. The best method is to 'show don't tell.' For example, instead of just saying a character is vain, let his or her actions show this personality trait. Unlike the Neopian Times, it is not necessary to name the color and species of each character, but it is helpful. For better or worse, differnt colors and species have stereotypes, and you can work with or against these stereotypes to strengthen you character's identity. Also, the main characters don't have to be neopets. You can also use Petpets, Petpetpets, and Faeries. Owners don't typically appear in storytelling.
Secondly, you have to begin the plot. The first entry should set up the problems for the rest of the story. However, it needs to be open enough that there are options for the rest of the story. You wouldn't want to write an entry in which there is only one possible outcome. The best entries simply have a beginning problem, but there are practically endless as to what happens next.
Finally, the first entry should be the most descriptive. You are establishing the setting and mood of the story. Where is the story taking place, and how should people reading the story feel about what's happening? Answering these questions will make your entry stronger.
The following entries should all begin where the entry before ended and move the story forward. Place close attention to the details of the previous entries and make sure your submission fits the others. For example, if a character has been brave in previous sections, it wouldn't make sense if he or she suddenly acted like a coward. Also notice the writing style of the other authors. You should do your best to not only match the details that have been written, but how each section has been written. Try to include as many specific Neopian details without sounding corny. Each section should be moving the story closer to the final conclusion which will be chosen on Friday.
Monday - The first entries are the most descriptive and good for writers that favor description over action. Characters are introduced and the problem is hinted at but not fully explored.
Tuesday - These entries are moving more towards the problem so there's more action than those on Monday. The problem is now coming more into view, but there's still more than is being revealed. New characters can still be added. Main villian should be in the story at this point.
Wednesday - The setting and the characters have been fully shown, so there is far less description unless a new setting is introduced. This is the last day new characters can be added, and this should only be done if there's not already four characters. This being the middle of the week, this is a time for a twist in the plot - a character switching sides or finding out the problem is much different than origianlly thought.
Thursday - The story is moving towards a resolution. Characters should understand the problem and start working at a way to fix it. No new characters can be added. You can change settings for the final 'battle' but the entries should consist mainly of action and far less description.
Friday - This is the final day of the story. Characters should now figure out what to do and should do it. There can be twists and turns, but there are far fewer as the story must end. The final entry tends to be one of the longest as the author of this section must tie up all loose ends. The final entry will balance action and description as a resolution is found.