Living the Dream

The Poptropica: Create Your Dream Island competition is well underway, and entries are pouring in like hotcakes (for official rules and a printable entry form, click here). Here are some hints on how to win straight from the Creators’ mouth:

A setting we’ve never done before

It might sound simple, but one of the very best ways to get our attention is to set your Island in a place we’ve never done before. Sometimes that’s all it takes for us to get excited about an idea. Even if you have a great story, if it’s set in Old Japan or on the moon, we’d probably pass. But if it’s somewhere new, we’ll be interested. Look for something that’s never been done on Poptropica!

An interesting time period

Another way to catch our attention is to look into the distant past, or the far future. For instance, when we were writing Mystery Train, we started with the idea of a mystery story set on a moving train, but it wasn’t until we decided to place it in a historical moment — the 1893 World’s Fair — that the whole thing came together. The when of your story may be as important as the where.

A twist on a familiar tale

We like genre stories. That’s why we often start with time-honored premises: a Wild West story, or a vampire story. But try to figure out what makes your idea different. For instance, Astro-Knights Island mashed up two familiar genres — knights and aliens — to make something new and original.

No licensed properties

Believe us, we’d love to make an Island in which Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen team up to fight Darth Vader. But it’s not up to us. Other people own those properties. For this contest, we can’t use existing characters, stories, or fictional worlds — period. So make sure that everything in your entry is an original idea!

That’s kind of sad… I would love to play “Hunger Potter Wars Island” someday. A great way to ensure you become one of the 11 winners is to use the Island Creator Kit to design your dream island. It takes you step-by-step through the process of creating an effective narrative and environment that lives up to the standards of Poptropica. And it has a near-perfect review on Amazon!

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