NTMI: Good day everyone! I'm here today with Druidgetafix, who has unlocked several secrets for Neopian Times readers. Welcome, Druidgetafix.
Druidgetafix: Oh, am I not welcome? Might as well stay for a while, there's no one else here anyway.
NTMI: Hehe, on a personal note might I add that I already got mixed up on Time Zones. What with it being Saturday evening for you and morning for me....
NTMI: But hopefully we can find enough things to talk about to keep people interested!
Druidgetafix: That's one of the reasons why I joined NeoPets in the first place, because the time barrier is taken down, especially when your article is published at the same time with the others!
NTMI: Yeah- late, along with everybody else's... hehe... but speaking of joining Neopets, how did you find out about them originally?
Druidgetafix: It was rather a bit of an accident. I was at a friend's house doing a project, and, as we all know, the I-am-a-hardworking-student spirit doesn't last for long, and my friend ended up logging on to NeoPets and playing with it.
NTMI: What was your first reaction when you saw it?
Druidgetafix: I had previously seen others hogging the school library computers, but I wasn't really that interested then. I was thinking it was just another site like Archmage or Utopia, but having a few troubles with several previous accounts, I finally had Druidgetafix, which is my greatest accomplishment in terms of accounts so far.
NTMI: How did you come up with the name Druidgetafix?
Druidgetafix: Oh, numerous readers of my articles have been pestering me with the same question, "Are you an Asterix fan?" I would have actually thought it was rather obvious, but for the record, no, I ain't not an Asterix fan.
NTMI: Well your user profile shows a name of "Getafix the Gaul", which makes me think it is actually "Druid Getafix", but beyond that I admit I'm clueless.
Druidgetafix: That is what baffles me as well. Most slang I use is quite literal. Two wrongs do make a right (at least while I speak), so "ain't not" is equivalent to an "is". I am an Asterix, or more likely, Getafix, fan.
NTMI: Ah HAH! Ok, now that we have that settled, back to the Neopets site itself. What do you like best about it?
Druidgetafix: Well, basically the thing I like most about NeoPets is the non-violence factor, I mean, even the Battledome doesn't introduce gore, and that people of different ages, religion, countries, et cetera can actually come together without realizing how separated they really are from each other, and concentrate on just the topic they like.
NTMI: Namely, how to care for your Neopet and make a million neopoints while you're about it...
NTMI: So what sort of daily activities do you do on Neopets?
Druidgetafix: Nowadays, having reached my million-NP mark, I am more lax about earning NeoPoints. Basically I would start of like every oldie (well, opposite of newbie) does, making trips to the Healing Springs, Secret Laboratory, Fruit Machine, Tiki Tack Tombola, Giant Omelette, and finally New Features. A quick trip to Potato Counter would then ensue before I make a final stop at the bank to collect interest.
Druidgetafix: However, because I have recently been caught up by the Myst craze, you know, the best-selling adventure game, I haven't been on NeoPets as much as I usually did. I also engage my time in reading Foxtrot comic strips.
NTMI: Definitely enough to keep anyone busy! So how did all of this turn into a writing career for the Times?
Druidgetafix: Oh, I have always had a passion for writing. But my first NT trophy came as a result of lust for awards to cover my user-lookup. I then compiled a whole list of information about the Ghost Lion, and condensed it to make my own article. It was published in its first submission, but after it was never for the trophy as much as for the writing.
NTMI: What sort of feedback did you get from that first article?
Druidgetafix: Hmm... Lemme check. Ah. I received about maybe 5 Neomails from people who found the Ghost Lion appealing and wanted to know more about the green phantom cat, but it's a sad thing that he was replaced by the Ghost Lupe. Although it was more fitting, most Neopians had already gotten used to seeing the ghost animal as a good guy.
NTMI: Yes, I've noticed the same sort of "neopianized" trend before as well- name a thing after something on "earth", then try to "cover" your mistake by making it something "Neopian". Oh well... what other sources of inspiration have you had for articles?
Druidgetafix: I basically have written on things that bugged me... for example, "The Jubjub Speaks on Neomailing a Writer" came after I got a whole slew of Neomails for my first Beyond a Newbie article, because I couldn't distinguish fan mails from those sent to me from my guild. "The Jubjub Speaks on Target" came after that, when I realized that the aforementioned The Jubjub Speaks article received compliments from mostly writers.
NTMI: In other words, those who knew from firsthand experience the sorts of frustration you were talking about!
NTMI: How long does it take to have an article ready for submission after you get the idea for it?
Druidgetafix: It depends mostly on two factors: inspiration and motivation. I sometimes get great ideas for articles, but because I'm too lazy, have to catch up with work or am too tired, the idea has to wait for another day. On the other hand, at times I can't think of a nice topic that Neopians would accept. When the two come together, that's when an article takes about two or three days for me to complete.
NTMI: Which it's done several times now! So now that you have some NT trophies of your own, what would you tell someone else who wanted to get into the Times?
Druidgetafix: Oh, I could tell them many things. First of all, humor is very important. I realized this having read the works of Epk, who is my idol when it comes in terms of article-writing. The humor should not be slapstick lest people find it corny, but the type you find in forums, just with better grammar. Also, they could try doing a cliched topic that they have fascination in. Not only will they have much to write because they love the topic, they will have references since someone before them had already ventured into it.
Druidgetafix: Lastly, grammar, spelling, and the like. NT writers like you or myself cannot stop stressing this, nor can we ever cease such an action, due to the reality that with an investment like NeoPets, the people keep streaming in.
NTMI: By the millions, no less. My usual way of putting it is that it's more likely to get in if you make it easier on the editor, but the truth is that you should take enough pride and concern about your own work to make it as good as possible before sending it in, anyway, regardless.
Druidgetafix: That is absolutely right.
NTMI: So what is the fault- or faults- you notice most often about things written in the Times?
Druidgetafix: Well, if you have read "The Jubjub Speaks on a Letter to Aspiring Writers", "Unlocking the Secrets of the Snowager" as well as "The Jubjub Speaks on Target", you would notice that I mention repeatedly about beginners who write interviews with Faeries, scuffles with Balthazar and other fictitious writings and place them in the Articles section. I have always believed that articles should follow a certain set of rules for a piece of work to be considered one, and the examples I mentioned certainly did not fit.
NTMI: In other words, it has to be a bit more factually based if it's going to be called an article?
Druidgetafix: That's right.
NTMI: Yes, you're not the first person to mention that problem. I've thought before that the articles section is a good example of buyer beware... you never know how good or how true the advice is going to be. The staff have even explicitly said that anything put in there is the opinion of the writer, and they don't guarantee it to be true.
Druidgetafix: Uh huh.
NTMI: But that aside, what has been the best part about getting into the Times?
Druidgetafix: The responses. I wouldn't exactly look at Unlocking the Secrets, where I talk about a NeoPets character, or The Jubjub Speaks, regarding NT writings. However, turning the scope to Beyond a Newbie, that truly where my success came in. The two articles in that series scooped in over a hundred messages, especially the quiz, which is why I stress emphasis on having a laugh now and then while writing one's article.
Druidgetafix: I loved knowing that people enjoyed reading my compositions. It's very, VERY satisfying.
NTMI: So we repeat it once again... if you like it, folks, tell them!
NTMI: What's the worst part about the whole thing been, though?
Druidgetafix: Mostly writer's block. Then there was the time I went berserk after reading too many short stories in the articles section and started spamming the chat boards, which got me a warning from the Staff.
NTMI: Ouch! I'm assuming that's the one thing that you'd change about the Neopian Times if you had the power to do so? Or is there something else about it that you'd like to change as well?
Druidgetafix: Yes. It was the thing that bugged me the most amongst all other published works.
Druidgetafix: As for the latter question, the editorial section.
NTMI: What would you change about it?
Druidgetafix: I think it's too messily done.
NTMI: Ah, in how it's laid out with the paragraphs running the full width of the screen?
Druidgetafix: Being a web designer, I am very picky about the layout of webpages. The reason why I dislike the editorial page is the fact that it isn't user-friendly. There aren't links directly to the specific question, so you have to scroll to see if your question's answered. I also think that the color scheme is too haphazard. They ought to use different question colors for things such as topics.
NTMI: Such as having each type of question a particular color, or just a certain set of order in the colors instead of random?
Druidgetafix: The former choice.
NTMI: It's certainly a good idea! So back to your own writing- have you gotten anything else published on the Neopets site?
Druidgetafix: Unfortunately, no. I have never seen a time where the all captions in the caption comp are below 100 votes, and I find it difficult to continue with someone else's story. I just don't find it fair to those who have begun the story.
NTMI: Well it's always the staff that begins the storytelling competition... but anyhow, what about off Neopets? Anything else that you've done out there?
Druidgetafix: If you mean writings, I have gotten two articles (non-NeoPets) published in the local newspaper here, the Straits Times, and also won an international Story Relay-Writing Competition. I started the story, so there wasn't any trouble.
NTMI: Lol... anything on the net for us to read?
Druidgetafix: On the Net, you could try two fanfics of the popular Myst games I have written. They are Saavedro's Hesitation and "Grandfather."
NTMI: All right! So where do you see your writing leading you in the future?
Druidgetafix: Hmm... My writing can wait. I am planning to pursue a course in English Literature and Humanities. Which, incidentally, has to do with writing anyway.
NTMI: Heh, yes it does at that! Well I think that's all the questions I had. Was there anything that you wanted to add?
Druidgetafix: No, but it sure has been a pleasure. Hope I will have the privilege of reading your next article. In fact, I think the NT just came out!
NTMI: Whoa, great! Well thanks for taking time to talk with me, and we'll be sure to look up your stuff as well!
Druidgetafix: Thank you very much.
Would you like to read all of Druidgetafix's articles? Just click here to check him out in our database!