NTMI: Good afternoon everyone. I'm here with Noremac9, whose writing has sparked many a thought in the Neopian Times. Hello, there, Noremac9!
Noremac9: Hey, James! Happy to be here.
NTMI: Finally? lol... So, our first question is: how did you find Neopets?
Noremac9: It's actually a kind of funny story. A friend of mine was over at my house, and she mentioned Neopets in passing. Her description was "All you can do is feed your pets... it's kinda boring... but you might wanna check it out." So after she left that night, I DID check it out, since it was free. I couldn't believe her understatement-- it was a WHOLE WORLD to explore.
NTMI: You find yourself staring at a whole new world, and you come up with the name of Noremac9? How did that happen?
Noremac9: Oh no, not at all. I use that everywhere on the web, as long as I can't get Noremac. It's actually pretty simple. Noremac is my name, Cameron, backwards. It's the only S/N I use on the 'net, so if you see a Noremac, there's a 75% chance it's me. The nine actually came from the age I was when I made my first e-mail account. I needed a number that I could remember, and it made sense to put my age. It stuck, too, and although I'm 13, I still use it.
NTMI: Simple enough, once you think of it! I think a lot of people use account names that are variations on their real life name, but I'm still surprised when it happens. At any rate, when you went to exploring the new world of Neopets, what did you like best about it?
Noremac9: At first, the raw SIZE of it. I couldn't believe how BIG it was. There were worlds with twenty or thirty things in them each, shops, millions of users, 40 pets, uncountable amounts of items, seemingly infinite features... you get the point. It seemed really big at first. And it wasn't just big-- it was FUN.
NTMI: How long did it take to explore it all?
Noremac9: Depends on how you look at it, really. I probably had seen the majority of it within a week, but it took me months before I felt I'd seen all there was to see, and played it all, and tried it all, world-wise.
NTMI: And where in all that exploring did you come across the Neopian Times?
Noremac9: It actually took me a while to find it. I saw one of 'em on the front page, but for whatever reason, I didn't check it out. I think it was around a month and a half before I started reading it.
NTMI: And how long after that before you decided to write for it?
Noremac9: Well... about two months. But I was a very pathetic writer, and it wasn't that I was getting rejected-- I couldn't finish anything. ANYTHING. I remember starting stories with NO idea where they were going, and they ended up going nowhere. I was scarcely twelve, and I'd only really written one short story in my life, so I didn't have much practice. Eventually, I won the poetry contest, and won it again, and again, and again... that was the only thing that saved my sanity. But I kept attempting to write things, and eventually, I finished something. And it got rejected. And then, one week later, I finished something else-- and it was like a quantum leap in my writing. And it got in.
NTMI: So you quantum leaped straight up to Battledome Trends. What made you pick that subject for your article?
Noremac9: Well, my biggest hobby on Neopets is the Battledome. Naturally, I knew a few things. As the Hand Painted Scarab and Honey Potions appeared overnight, it made me wonder why. So I went back and tried to remember something similar, and remembered the Wand of the Air Faerie. It suddenly hit me that it was a cycle of trends, and that if you held out, you'd benefit. So I decided to write my article on that... and the rest, as they say, was written.
NTMI: And you've returned to the battledome again, as well. Is that your favorite thing to write about?
Noremac9: Hm, no, I wouldn't say that at all. It's fun to write about it, but it's also a bit difficult. I just fall back on it, when I can't think of anything else... or I feel like writing one, take your pick.
NTMI: So what else do you use to come up with good ideas to write about?
Noremac9: Good ideas? Oh, heh, thought you were talking to me for a second. Seriously, though, my brain is just sort of in over-drive. At first, like 90% of NT authors, I wrote about things I knew a lot about. Poetry, the Battledome, Ruling Kingdoms... er, not that... Uh, the Battledome, etc. Then, I started writing about anything I could get a good idea on. Slowly, I started writing more and more satirical (AKA 'funny') stuff, and more and more stuff I had no clue about. Now, I either write about something I can help people with, know about, am sick of hearing, or can make fun of. Or, sometimes, a funny idea... and then there are stories.
Noremac9: Stories, I pretty much just get ideas from random places.
Noremac9: Oh yeah, and did I mention I wander around the site looking for ideas? It helps, A LOT.
NTMI: So the secret to good ideas is that there is no secret?
Noremac9: Um. Uh, I suppose. The secret to good ideas is to get in overdrive. Everywhere there are ideas, you just have to train your brain to look for them. It's like photography-- you have to look at things you normally just look at as good photos. Eventually, you'll see ideas for articles and stories everywhere, including real life...
NTMI: Well it doesn't matter how many good ideas you have, you eventually have to get them written and submitted. How long does that process take you?
Noremac9: Now, it depends. People think I can chuck things out like a Lupe spits out Chia remains, but it can take a while. With an article, if it's non-satirical, a day or two. Sometimes an evening, if I'm making headway. Satirical, though, can be done in an hour or three, because you start flowing. Then, I usually submit all the stuff I did that week on Saturday or, usually, Sunday afternoon/evening.
NTMI: All the stuff you did that week? Does that mean you send in several pieces in one batch?
Noremac9: Usually. I usually get an article or two done, plus sometimes a short story (a lot more, lately). Plus, anything that didn't get in gets sent in again, if it was forgotten.
NTMI: Well that's one way to get in, to be sure! And after you get in, what sort of feedback do you get?
Noremac9: It really depends. Nowadays, if I get an article in, assuming it's not on the front page, anywhere from 60 to a 100+. With a story, it's usually 10, but if they really liked it, 25 or so. If itís on the front page with an article... must clear inbox and then some. But when I first started out, I got one or two affirming mails, and some questions. So if you don't get much... give it time!
NTMI: And what do they say?
Noremac9: Eh... usually, positive things. Not always, but usually. Things like "Ur artical was GRATE!" or "I really liked your story," or "I liked your article, thanks for writing it." Of course, that's the GOOD stuff, but not many people bother to write bad stuff. I always get the obligatory ticked off people, plus some people saying I had a certain fact wrong (who are usually right), etc. I've yet to get hatemail... that's what an article I'm working on is for... I WANT hatemail.
NTMI: Why would you want hatemail?
Noremac9: WHY? What do you mean WHY? OF course I'd want hatemail! To respond to, of course! To thank them, and be really nice, and then watch the virtual look on their virtual text-face as they don't know what to do. Or to agree with them, and make them feel they've crushed my soul, and watch them apologize... that's WHY!
NTMI: LOL... is that why you wrote the article about annoying spammers? The same sort of perverse mean streak?
Noremac9: No, actually. That article was just showing the brilliance of the folks at the NTWF to the rest of Neopia. It's so much fun, I wanted others to see how much fun it was... I got NO angry mail that one. In fact, it's the only article I STILL occasionally get mail about.
NTMI: Maybe because so many people want to do it themselves?
Noremac9: Yeah, and scammers were probably afraid I'd report them.
NTMI: Well scaring them out of their wits is one way to keep people in line, I suppose. But outside of keep 'em cowed, what advice would you give to would-be Neopian Times writers?
Noremac9: LOL-- That no one else has said, or good advice?
NTMI: Give it your best shot!
Noremac9: Well, I think EVERY single person ever asked this said this, but hey, why the heck not? Never give up. I wasn't published till my account was 14 months old. Lame? Yes, but better than never being published.
Noremac9: Be open to criticism. Trust me, you want it. Oh yeah, and forget about what your friends say. If they say it's great, they're lying to be nice. If they say it's horrible, they're being idiots and playing around. If they say it was fine, but not great nor horrible, they're trying not to fit into the two above categories too hard.
Noremac9: Finally, know that you may never be the best writer in Neopia, nor the most published, nor the coolest. Just give it your best shot-- people will like you, however few they are, and that'll drive you onward.
NTMI: But even when they do get in, what shows up isn't always perfect, is it? What sort of faults might you have noticed in what is published in the Times?
Noremac9: Faults? Well, I think the biggest fault I personally see is people trying to get their point across too hard. Whether it's a story or an article or a comic, people just focus on making a point, and forget the reader woke to enjoy the trip along the way. Also, they forget that saying things like "I guess I proved THOSE people wrong, huh?" will make them look like idiots, and no matter how good their point is, people will resent them. No one likes a condescending person.
NTMI: Very true... I guess that's one good way to get hatemail?
Noremac9: Yeah, but you don't want THAT kind of hatemail. That kind of hatemail comes from intelligent people who'll pick you apart, opposed to making friends. You want the kind of hatemail that comes from retards-- like "eet noil droppings and drown in jelly! DIEE U SUX!!"
NTMI: Which explains your fixation on nailing scammers to the proverbial wall...
Noremac9: Possibly, yes. But mainly I do it because it's so dang fun, not for the greater good of Neopia (LOL-- I just say that so I can justify my actions).
NTMI: Well it's good justification! But besides the chance to tell everyone what you think, what do you like best about writing for the Neopian Times?
Noremac9: The best? Honestly, it's because I can go to bed at night KNOWING people know what I REALLY think about Darigan's Paint Job, or, say, how hot that white Aisha is, or... I mean, because I love writing. And I love hearing what people think about my writing. And hey, it's no secret I'm a megalomaniac-- it's because I want to be famous. But no one can write for the Times for that reason alone, and it's truly because I love it, the people, the feedback, and the fun of it.
NTMI: Well sometimes being in the NT is no fun at all. What's your least favorite part about the whole thing?
Noremac9: Least favorite? Well... I mean, what downfalls are there? Least favorite thing would be ignorant people on NT forums, who get me really riled up, and then make me make a fool of myself going ballistic.
NTMI: I hope that doesn't happen too often!
Noremac9: No, like I said, what isn't there to like?
NTMI: A point. But what about the Neopian Times itself? Is there anything about how it's organized or set up that you'd change if you could?
Noremac9: Oh yes. The editorial-- the thing that, although not always, often delays the NT's release. I think it should be a SEPARATE publication, since it has nothing to do with the NT, so that they can be as late as they like. Then it could be called "Ask the Master" or something, and the NT would be less delayed, and there'd be no real change.
NTMI: LOL ok, I think I get the point! But back to yourself. You've gotten some entries in the poetry contest (how many, any idea?) but what else do you have published on the Neopets site?
Noremac9: I have, technically, 9 poems, but really just eight. (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10)
Noremac9: Other than that, no. I'd like to get a storytelling contest entry in, but I haven't tried much, so I can't complain. I'd also like to get a caption contest entry in, but hey, that's near impossible...
NTMI: Tell me about it. Or don't! What about off Neopets? Anything else on the web?
Noremac9: Well... Writing-wise? Nothing worth showcasing.
NTMI: Ah well. What about in the future? Any future writing plans?
Noremac9: On what scale-- life, the web, or everything?
NTMI: LOL... Life!
Noremac9: Life-- I want to be a writer. There's no way around it. I know it's a tough field, but hey, it's the only thing I can think of that'll make me happy, so I'll stick with it till the end. Hopefully, some kind of Journalism, fictional writing, etc. We'll have to see-- I'm only in 8th grade, y'know, my life isn't planned out perfectly yet!
NTMI: I'd be worried if it was! Well, whatever it is, good luck with it. One last thing...
NTMI: since I'm out of questions, was there anything else you wanted to add?
Noremac9: Uhhhh... I know!
Noremac9: As cool as you think NT writers may be, they're all boring. Insane, maybe, but still boring. Don't think they're gods. I know most of them, and they're not...
NTMI: You mean they're (gasp) sort of ordinary people?
Noremac9: No. But they're boring nonetheless. Compared to peoples' imaginations, at least...
NTMI: Hehe... well speaking as someone who has seen it from both sides of the fame barrier more than once in my life, I can add amen to that- fame is a very elusive halo when you're the one in it.
NTMI: If you're lucky you won't see it. If you're not, you'll be blinded by it.
Noremac9: Yeah, that sums it up.
NTMI: Well thanks so much for your time, Cameron! I wish you well, and keep in touch with all of us (wink wink) mortals, ok?
Noremac9: LMAO-- keep in touch? Of course, what made you think I suddenly transcended? And I wish you well, wherever you may be headed... oh yeah, and this interview was really dry, I'm not a dry person. Just talk to me for a bit and you'll see.
Would you like to read all of Noremac9's pieces? Just click here to check him out in our database!