NTMI: Good evening, everyone! I'm here this evening with Stoneman3x, whose diverse talents have made a large addition to the Neopian Times the past few months. Welcome, Stoneman3x!
Stoneman3x: oh the weather outside is frightful but no school is so delightful (ooops)
NTMI: Ah yes. And how many inches of snow are outside your door right now?
Stoneman3x: about 28 inches... thanks for the welcome
NTMI: Lol, thanks for bearing with me until we managed to connect! Somehow, no school for you leaves me unsurprised! So tell me how you found Neopets- was it another snow day way back when?
Stoneman3x: Actually, that's a bizarre story having to do with the fact that according to Neopets, I'm 13 years old...
NTMI: You're not, then?
Stoneman3x: no... (checks birth certificate to be sure) I'm 17-- February 26 I'll be 18
Stoneman3x: My sis, Meggiemufin, started playing Neopets and wanted me to check it out. But I sort of laughed it off because I thought it was a kiddie site. Not discouraged by my lack of interest, she signed me up using the SN I used for most of my instant messaging programs. She says it was an accident-- that she clicked on the wrong age at sign-up-- but I think it's just her bizarre form of humor.
Stoneman3x: So now it says I'm 13! I am actually 17 years old. Neopets will let you change any detail about yourself EXCEPT your age. I had to get parental permission to play, durn her.
NTMI: I gather she's not admitting anything?
Stoneman3x: She crows about it! She still thinks it's funny! It's the ultimate torture that never ends...
Stoneman3x: The three most frequently asked questions I get are:
Stoneman3x: Why does it say you're 13?
Stoneman3x: How do you get a Krawk?
Stoneman3x: Will you check out my shop and buy stuff please?
NTMI: Oh joy! And of course you're rich enough to just go buy anything anyone wants you to... so, sis signs you up under a name you already use, then she says "hey older brother you're in"... and then what?
Stoneman3x: Well... I thought it was cool that I could have a WOLF for a pet.
Stoneman3x: The first thing I did was get myself a Lupe.
Stoneman3x: For more than four months that was the only pet I had-- or wanted
NTMI: What changed your mind about having one pet?
Stoneman3x: Ummm... vanity? I thought I would be one of the "few, the proud, the chosen" to have a Krawk.
NTMI: Ah HAH... and how long and expensive was that quest?
Stoneman3x: LOL ok... I HAD a guild called Cro Magnons (which doesn't exist anymore)... and we had this "contest/slash/rivalry" thing going to see who could be the first one to get a Krawk. We were all dirt poor Newbies. It took me about three months to get enough Neopoints.
Stoneman3x: I didn't win the contest, by the way
NTMI: Well at least you had the pleasure of getting something out of it, right?
Stoneman3x: Well, Krawk was just for show at first-- pride thing.
Stoneman3x: It wasn't until after the pirate paint brush was released and I painted him pirate that he suddenly popped up with a personality. Until then he was just a doormat that did nothing, but now he's a salty old bodyguard for my Lupe.
NTMI: Yes, so I read! And speaking of reading, how did you find the Neopian Times and what got you started contributing?
Stoneman3x: Meggiemufin... my relentless sister...
NTMI: Oh? She drags you into Neopets, then into the Neopian Times? How did she manage THAT one?
Stoneman3x: She announced that she was going to write a story for the Neopian Times. She submitted something like 18 stories and articles. I bet her I could beat her into the Neopian Times. Paybacks are heck.
NTMI: LOL well that's one that you won, right?
Stoneman3x: Yup. It took me a month though
Stoneman3x: The first two things I submitted were rejected. The third was published-- so I re-submitted the second thing-- and it got in... weird.
NTMI: Sounds like you caught the editor's eye... so you started with articles. Why articles?
Stoneman3x: Ummm... I was coached. I had my own private Neopian Times tutor who told me how to get in.
NTMI: So what's the inside scoop?
Stoneman3x: I had a pic of my Lupe in the Beauty Contest. So I was desperate for votes but I didn't know anybody. I started writing to everyone who had written something in the Neopian Times...
Stoneman3x: Gzusgirl not only voted for my Lupe, she started talking about writing for the Neopian Times. She gave me VERY helpful hints.
Stoneman3x: We are still very very good friends. She said that to "break into" the Times, it's best not to be too ambitious about it... not a good idea to start off writing a 167 part story series or something.
NTMI: I think the longest was 21 parts but I get the idea.
Stoneman3x: She said write about something that is happening RIGHT THIS INSTANT in Neopia.
Stoneman3x: So I wrote about the Turmaculus and raising Petpet levels because both the Turmaculus and Petpet level were two unrelated things in the news that day. I connected the two-- and said I thought the Turmaculus must raise Petpet levels-- as it turns out I was right. My first article was front page news.
Stoneman3x: After that I was hooked on writing for the Neopian Times.
NTMI: And you've done quite a bit. In fact, you're one of the few who has written every type of piece that it's possible to do- article, series, short story, and comics. What's your favorite and why?
Stoneman3x: Yeah... I did that on purpose. I wanted to see if I COULD get something in every category.
Stoneman3x: I'm very competitive with myself, which is annoying when I beat myself. (URGH)
Stoneman3x: Anyway... back to the question... My favorite is story series.
Stoneman3x: I want to write a series of series-- "Never With a Lupe"...
Stoneman3x: But my bread and butter so to speak are my articles...
Stoneman3x: I like to see how bizarre I can be and still get into the Neopian Times
NTMI: Why is a series your favorite?
Stoneman3x: Well, story series let you develop the personality of your pets. They come alive not just for you-- but for everyone. I like that.
NTMI: A true story-teller! So your pets are your inspiration for story ideas?
Stoneman3x: Yup. Especially my Lupe. He's my best bud- the only reason I log onto Neopets everyday.
NTMI: So once you have your characters, what gives you the plot- or the punchline, in the case of your comics?
Stoneman3x: I just think what they would do, given their personalities, and the comics write themselves- same with the stories.
NTMI: That includes the yellow snowball, I take it.
Stoneman3x: THAT was supposed to be PIKACHU! Josh said I couldn't use Pokemon characters and made me change it. I wish I could burn that comic, but it would set my computer on fire.
NTMI: Oops, lol... besides, copies have spread all across the net by now. So how long does it take one of your pieces to write themselves once you get the idea?
Stoneman3x: I'm a slower writer than people think. It can take days to research and write an article. It took two months to write my story series, and it takes me an average of 12 to 14 hours to do a comic. (and the art isn't that hot.)
NTMI: Good enough to get in. And speaking of getting in, what's your advice to people trying to get into the Times?
Stoneman3x: If you think you're ever going to outwrite scriptfox-- forget it
Stoneman3x: If you think you'll come up with more loveable characters than al_the_chia-- forget it!
Stoneman3x: If you think you're going to be more popular than shidi-- forget it!
Stoneman3x: Just write until you turn purple and...
Stoneman3x: have fun!
NTMI: Well now, you have some loveable characters of your own, like Really Confused...
Stoneman3x: Really Confused wasn't even intended to be a comic.
Stoneman3x: Some people convinced me to get the Secret Lab Map and use the Lab Ray to build up my pets for the Meridell War... months before it happened of course.
Stoneman3x: But I didn't want my Fire Lupe or my Pirate Krawk turned into Disco Bruces or something...
NTMI: More likely red Grarrls.
Stoneman3x: so I created a pet to be my Lab Rat. I used a Meerca because I thought it looked like a rat, and I expected it to go through a lot of species changes so I named it reallyconfused.
Stoneman3x: Actually reallyconfused got zapped into a mutant Elephante
NTMI: Whoa! So how did lab rat become comic star?
Stoneman3x: These weird ideas of how my Lupe would torture a Meerca-- especially a pet he didn't want around-- well... the comic was born. It actually took me two Glamour Neggs to get reallyconfused dim-witted. I wanted him totally blonde, so to speak.
NTMI: Expensive way to lose IQ points.
Stoneman3x: Yup. Anyway, I fell in love with my simple-minded Meerca after I started the comic. I had to pay over 50,000 NPs to turn him from a mutant Elephante back to a yellow Meerca again. I haven't used the Lab Ray since.
NTMI: So you have a popular comic series, numerous articles, and even stories in the Neopian Times. What sort of feedback did it all generate?
Stoneman3x: Well... the first day an article comes out I usually average about 100 Neomails a day for a couple of days.
Stoneman3x: I try to answer as many as I can, but my Neomail gets frozen A LOT for sending too many Neomails in a day.
Stoneman3x: and ... ummm... Iím kinda embarrassed to say...
Stoneman3x: but I rarely get hate mailĖ even when I write something controversial.
NTMI: How much did your sinister Chias article generate?
Stoneman3x: Very little. There seems to be more Lupe lovers than Chia lovers wandering around Neopia. (or maybe they are the only ones who like to write Neomail)
NTMI: Amazing! So most people are complimentary. Do you ever get ideas for more stuff to write from them?
Stoneman3x: No... I don't get ideas from fans... I get my ideas from the news and just wandering aimlessly around Neopia looking for stuff that doesn't make sense.
Stoneman3x: I even wrote an article about wandering around doing nothing because I realized how often I did it.
NTMI: But still, positive feedback should be good for the ego. Is that the best part about being in the Times for you, or is there something else about it that you like even better?
Stoneman3x: Yeah... there is nothing like the headrush you get when the Times comes out and you know it because your inbox starts to fill up. 99% of the time that's how I know the NT has been released.
NTMI: It would be a good clue! But what about the opposite side- what's the worst part of being in the Times?
Stoneman3x: REJECTION-- ouch that hurts.
Stoneman3x: You're so sure you have written something worthy and the silence from the editor is like having all of your bodily fluids drained by Dr. Sloth to use to make elpicklesaur plushies.
NTMI: Does it hurt worse with explanation, or with no explanation? Or does that make a difference?
Stoneman3x: An explanation is not a rejection. If you know what you did wrong, you fix it, re-submit it-- and it's in.
NTMI: Very good point! And speaking of fixing it... I noticed a couple of times that you regarded one of your major mistakes as being the fact that you had over 200 bottles of green sand. Did you manage to sell those for a profit the other night when the sand sculptures came out?
Stoneman3x: I sold ONE bottle of green sand
NTMI: One? What happened to the rest?
Stoneman3x: I always said that, but I was jagging meggiemufin's sand collection.
Stoneman3x: SHE sold her sand the other night and made something like 20,000 NPs. I swear I was practically catatonic.
NTMI: Ah HAH, so we're back to the evil sister conspiracy. But leaving aside cackles of glee from younger siblings, what else have you gotten posted on the Neopets site besides your NT submissions?
Stoneman3x: Well... I got a poem in the Poetry Contest, won first place in the Caption Contest, got into the Storytelling Contest...
NTMI: Quite a list! What about off of neopets? Any other websites out there featuring your work?
Stoneman3x: no... but someone told me to Google myself. I did-- everything there was from the Neopian Times.
Stoneman3x: but I think some fans have put some stuff of mine up on private websites... but the Neopian Times is the only online thing I have ever written for
NTMI: I see. And no personal site of yours out there?
Stoneman3x: I'm not exactly an HTML whiz
NTMI: So you don't use the exact name of "stoneman3x" anywhere else?
Stoneman3x: I use it for... ummm... well... let's say it's been my SN for a LOT longer than I have been on Neopets, LOL
NTMI: Ok, I give- what does the 3x mean?
Stoneman3x: 3 is my lucky number.
NTMI: Ahhhhh... and how do you see your writing as changing your life?
Stoneman3x: Well... I want to be a journalist.
Stoneman3x: I think this is very good experience-- not just in writing, but with interfacing with editors, fans, other writers... it's been a wealth of experience for me.
Stoneman3x: I'm really addicted to it now
NTMI: In other words, the people as well as the words.
NTMI: Great! Hopefully we'll be seeing plenty more from you in the future. But before we call this interview over, was there anything else you wanted to tell us?
Stoneman3x: Well... today is my Neopian birthday. I'm one year old today, so it's stonewolf3x's first birthday too.
NTMI: Wow! Congratulations to the both of you! I hope you managed to stuff yourself on Fish Pop cake ;-)
Stoneman3x: lol... no. Iced chocolate Lupe cake.
NTMI: Oh, of course, silly me. Anything else?
Stoneman3x: You know what my favorite fan questions are?
NTMI: No, what?
Stoneman3x: "Does stonewolf3x really bite you on the leg when he gets mad at you?"
NTMI: ROFL! And what do you say?
Stoneman3x: I say-- yup-- and those pixels leave nasty marks too.
NTMI: Ooohhhh baad! Heheh... do you get any other interesting comments?
Stoneman3x: Someone wrote to me today and said "Wow! You're so famous, stoneman!" So I had Megs go to the Neopets chat boards and write "Has anyone here heard of stoneman3x?" She got 5 answers. All of them said "No." So I wrote back to the fan who wrote to me and said, "Nope. Obviously not." Sometimes it's cool to do that kind of stuff to keep your head from getting too big.
NTMI: Very true. Well, it's been great chatting with you, Stoney...
Stoneman3x: awwww Dad... can't I play for just a few more minutes...lol
NTMI: Hmmm... maybe I'd better not ask about that one. But thanks for your time anyway!
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