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Creative Contests: A Guide

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#1 Foxer

  • 26 posts

Posted 07 August 2012 - 07:05 PM

I have previously posted this work elsewhere - it is not plagerised.

Forgive me if this is useless, but I haven’t seen much of this sort of thing around here, so I thought I’d chip in. *bleats like a newbie*

In this guide, I’m going to assume you have no knowledge of Neopian creative contests. Do excuse me if some of this is facepalmingly simple for you, but you never know what newbie might find it useful, no? So, Neopets has four main creative contests as well as a newspaper, which isn’t really a contest. They are; Storytelling, Poetry Gallery, Art Gallery, Caption Contest and the Neopian Times. I’ll be outlining the process, as well as prizes and tips for each of these.

Yes, there are other creative contests, such as the Beauty Contest, but these are the ones I know the most about, and detailing every single artistic and literary actiivity on Neopets would take too long. xDDD


The Storytelling contest is one of the harder ones to get into, and I’ll be honest, if you’re not a decent writer, you haven’t much hope of winning. The contest has a simple structure, beginning with either a Storyteller, or user-written beginning, which is posted around noon NST on Monday. Would-be participants are then able to submit the next section of the story, and a winner is selected at around 4pm NST. The contest continues in this manner for the following four days, until the final entry at 4pm on Friday which will conclude that week’s story.

Things to note:
  • It is best to have your entries submitted before 11am for the first time slot, and 3pm NST for the second.
  • The time of each Storytelling update can vary sometimes, depending on the number of submissions the Storyteller recieves.
  • You can enter as many times as you like for every time slot, but you can only win twice in any given week.
  • Sometimes there will be special contests, either a two-week one, or a special kind of story, like written backwards or with shape poems incorporated.
  • Storytelling isn't easy to get into, so don't feel discouraged if you don't make it in very often. Just keep submitting entries and eventually you'll hit home.
If you’re keen on entering, wonderful, but remember that, in order for your entry to be selected, you will need to follow proper literary processes. For instance, an entry that progresses the story too quickly or too slowly is not going to be chosen. Likewise, one that portrays the characters in a strikingly different way to previous entries isn’t likely going to make it in. The previous entry will have left you with some plot hooks to develop, and you must also leave plot hooks for the next winner to take a hold of. If you introduce too many characters you’ll only shoot yourself in the foot as well. Basically, ask yourself if it makes sense, if it’s consistant, and if it’s interesting. If you’ve got all those three, you have a chance of winning.

There is no avatar for Storytelling, but there is a trophy, and every 100thSotrytelling gives our a special prize, The Storyteller collectable card, which is worth quite a bit of moolah. You'll also get 2,000 NP and a random item from the Creative Contest Prize Pool. More on that later.

Poetry Gallery

The Poetry Gallery is actually the easiest to get into as long as you’ve got the skill. There isn’t much competition, and the poetry judge has the liberty of expanding the gallery to include more poems, so it’s very rare for a good poem not to make it in.

Things to note:
  • A poem does not necessarily need to rhyme in order to constitute a poem. But neither does a string of random lines constitute one. Be careful to take your poetry seriously.
  • The Poetry Gallery has two types, theme days and non-theme days. Theme days are Neopian holidays (pet days, Easter, etc.) with poems related to that theme. Non-theme days involve a mixture of different poems.
  • When aiming for a particular gallery, give the judge five days minimum to review your work. It doesn't normally take that long, but it is courteous to do so. If you really want to push it, you might get in when submitting the day before.
  • You will recieve a Neomail informing you of the status of your submission. Being "held over" means you'll almost certainly be in some gallery or other. Do note, however, that poems for non-theme galleries can take months to be published.
  • Keep your lines within 50 characters so they don't stretch the limit of the poetry gallery's table.
As with Storytelling, there is no avatar. There is a trophy, 1,000 NP and a random item from the Creative Contests Prize Pool for getting a poem published. If you are serious about entering the Poetry Gallery, I would suggest reading up on different styles of verse and messing around with a few lines, then try to pick a theme that inspires you. Don't force poetry, or it will be rubbish.

Art Gallery

The Art Gallery is probably the hardest to get into simply because it seems to be totally random. The art judge picks artwork that appears to have been made with effort, and not necessarily the most aesthetically pleasing, though the two often do go hand-in-hand.

Things to note:
  • You will not get an acceptance Neomail, nor even be informed if your artwork is selected to appear in a gallery. You'll just have to keep an eye on the page each time there's an update.
  • As with the Poetry Gallery, there are theme and non-theme days. You have a higher chance of winning if you aim for a themed gallery.
  • Your artwork must be recognizable as having soley Neopian content.
Art is a talent as much as a skill. You can have all the raw talent you could ever want, but if you don't hone it with practise, you'll be no better off than someone without any talent. Similarly, if you have absolutely no talent, you can only learn so much. Get yourself some art tutorials, pick a medium to use (traditional, digital, etc.) and see what you can come up with. Digital art is my personal medium, and I have the blessing of a tablet and Photoshop. If you wish to learn art skills but aren't so fortunate, try using GIMP. It's free and has many of the same features as Photoshop.

Oh and you'll get 10,000 NP as well as a trophy and a rare item from that prize pool I keep mentioning.

Caption Contest

If you're unsure how this works, it's basically a contest of wit. Or popularity. TNT will post an image on the contest page, and clever Neopians will submit funny captions that make a joke of the scene in the image. The concept is simple enough, but the execution is rather difficult.

Things to note:
  • The contest lasts for one week, but the entry period only lasts two or three days, after which comes the voting stage.
  • Your success (or failure) is determined by the Neopian population. This means that, if you're popular or a good begger, you can score more votes than someone whose wit is sharper than yours. Go figure.
  • The caption judge selects only a few entries to progress to the voting stage, and those at least are based on wit.
If you're keen on entering, you'll first need to make sure you can come up with something unique and clever based on the image you see. If the spark simply isn't there, it isn't really worth your time trying to force it. If you do get through to the voting stage, you'll need to spend some time on the Neoboards asking for votes. If you're a nice person, you'll at least try to do this with some subtelty and tact. xD

If you end up winning, you'll get between 5-10,000 NP, a trophy and a rare item. The Caption Contest draws its prizes from the same pool as the Poetry Gallery, Art Gallery and Storytelling. There is also an avatar for winning a 100th Caption Contest, though this is very difficult to get, as you can imagine many people will be vying for it.

Creative Contests Prize Pool

Before I progress to the last section of this guide based around the Neopian Times, you've seen me mention this prize pool a few times, and you're probably wondering what it is. All it is is a list of items that you can win from any of the four competitions I've outlined above. Which item you get is totally random, and you can get anything from a codestone to high-end Paint Brushes like Faerie, Pirate and Plushie. There are also Petpet Paint Brushes and Petpets to be won, as well as a few misc. items. On the whole, though, you have about a 40% chance of getting a Paint Brush. (I once compiled statistics on the frequency of wins from this prize pool.)

The Neopian Times

This is the largest section, as the Neopian Times has a lot of sub-sections, regulations and tidbits. I can't possibly tell you everything in such a short amount of time, but I'll give you enough to get you started. The Neopian Times is for writers and comic artists, as well as playing host to editorial questions. There are articles (non-fiction, informative), short stories, series and comics. A new Neopian Times is released every week on a Friday.

Things to note:
  • The Times is compiled by one person, Droplet (Darcy) who works incredibly hard for very little recognition. She gets somewhere in the region of 2,000 submissions every week.
  • When submitting to the NT, you will usually have a wait of three weeks before you hear back about your work, but it could take up to two months.
  • You will be informed if you've been accepted (going to be published in the nest NT), held over (going to be published in a future issue) or rejected. If you are rejected, there will normally be a reason which will allow you to amend your submission and try again.
  • There are lots of little tidbits that aren't allowed in the NT, including technology that isn't from Virtupets, violence, cussing, death, politics, religion, ect. Ask other NT writers if you're unsure of the legality of your submission.
  • Collaborations between two people are allowed, but no more than two.
  • There are special issues of the NT, but not for pet days, only for Neopian holidays. Droplet will only let a special issue go forward if there are enough themed entries.
As I said, the NT is a bit of a tricky one to define. A good article will be origional, informative and comprehensive. A good short story will, like all prose, have a plotline and a conflict of some kind. A good comic will be clever and witty. You'll need to find more in-depth guides about the section of the NT you're interested in.

For those wanting to aim for special issues, check the Neopian calendar for the following days: Sloth, Jhudora Day, Valentines Day, Illusen Day, April Fools (uinofficial), Easter Issue, Grey Day, Fyora Day, Petpet Appreciation Day, Issue ### (50th), Usukicon, Mutant Day, Halloween, Neopets' Birthday and Christmas. Not all of these have a themed layout and prizes.

There are two NT avatars; the NT Star, which is awarded when you view your user lookup with 10 NT publications, and the Times Writer, which you get when you're published in a 50th issue of the NT. There are not NP or item rewards unless you're published in a special issue (Jhudora, Easter, Grey, etc.) but there is a spiffy trophy. People who write or draw for the NT are normally dedicated craftsmen and women who're doing it for the fun rather than the glory, since there are relatively few rewards for being published. It would be best if you approached the Times with a similar attitude.

So, What Now?

Basically ... go get pretty trophies, Paint Brushes and have a heck of a lot of fun. ^_^ The Creative Contests and the NT are much-loved by the regulars, but new blood is always welcomed. You can find various communities dedicated to these pursuits all over the internet. There's plenty of motivational rewards to be had, so get going, youngin'!

Edited by Foxer, 07 August 2012 - 07:57 PM.

#2 Danika

  • 96 posts

Posted 07 August 2012 - 07:29 PM

As much as this is awesome, people around here usually just commission people who are good at the creative spotlights/contests to do entries for them x)

Also Art Gallery isn't TOO hard to get into.
Edit: But at the same time the limited spots is what makes it 'hard'-ish.

I tell people that they should work on drawing up new colours/pets/petpets/events, and do it in a cute/funny situation.
TNT love humor ^^;
AND if you want to get in on a "special day" it's best to submit art the day before the "special day" as it seems more likely to get a spot.
If you have something interesting going on in the picture, like a pet playing or pets interacting with other pets/things that also helps :3

Edited by Danika, 07 August 2012 - 07:30 PM.

#3 Storme

  • 12 posts

Posted 10 October 2012 - 12:22 PM

Thanks for sharing; you're making me want to enter the poetry contest now. xD

"You have reached your quota of positive votes for the day" :(

Edited by Storme, 10 October 2012 - 12:22 PM.

#4 Impulse

  • 18 posts

Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:33 PM

Hmm, I'll have to give some of these a shot!


  • 12 posts

Posted 17 November 2012 - 12:55 PM

The Art Contest is ridiculously easy to be honest. Drawing Neopets requires little to no skill. Instead it requires you to be able to think a bit 3D, other than that it's a piece of cake.
Just follow your chosen Neopet drawing tutorial, draw it a few times, then draw it in a bit different position and *BOOM* draw the final result like it's nothing.

EDIT: Recieved Caprior in today's art gallery update. I mean... really? Caprior?

Edited by ULTRAVIOLET, 21 November 2012 - 12:24 AM.

#6 Merlarva

  • 35 posts

Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:48 PM

Great guide!

#7 Yung

  • Codexian

  • 3,358 posts

Users Awards

Posted 21 June 2013 - 11:17 PM

This guide has been added to the Neocodex Guide Directory. Thank you for your contributions to our community. Remember that should there be any updates on Neopets that adds or takes away from the above Creative Contests, with either new contests or the removal of unpopular ones, please make the proper adjustments or if you are unable to request a Moderator do so for you.

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