RPing 101

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Zyta, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. Zyta

    Zyta Drifting Super Mod

    Oct 22, 2005
    RP’s die left and right, much to the displeasure of everyone participating. I think that a simple, step-by-step tutorial is needed on how to keep any and all RP’s from dying.

    I. Before You Make a Thread

    1) Planning

    A well thought-out RP has the potential to last much longer than a normal one that combusts into formation suddenly on a whim. Helpful ways to begin your planning:

    • Grab a writing utensil and paper – or use a computer – and write down any and all ideas that come. Doing so will ensure a wide variety of ideas to spoon from and may even present other ideas that wouldn’t normally pop up.
    • Work in a group. Working on an RP in a group will sift out problems, present solutions, create an overall atmosphere that is RP friendly. Hey, it will already have some RP’ers interested and determined to keep the RP alive.
    • Post an Idea thread. If the group is failing to get the overall goal, then expanding the group to everyone – if it was first an enclosed idea – then with a larger number the chances of finding the answer are that much greater.
    • Never throw away an idea. Saving any and all ideas could be helpful not in only the planning stage, but overall if the RP gets stuck and needs a new direction to go in. Keeping those ideas close keeps the RP fresh and is a good change of pace if needed.

    2) Advertising

    It doesn’t hurt to make a mention of an upcoming RP in the Shoutbox or is messages VIA PM to members as long as the advertising doesn’t turn to harassment.

    3) Target Audience

    Not everyone will be interesting in a Fantasy RP. We all feel comfortable in areas that we are constantly in, treading from that norm is unfamiliar territory and feels awkward to many. Keeping members’ interests with yours, while forking away and into your RP world, there is a common ground to expand our knowledge and a desire to learn more. Finding that ground is crucial to any Novelist.

    II. Recruiting

    Whether staring an RP with a recruitment thread or just jumping on in is entirely up to the RP Owner.

    1) Making a Recruitment

    This is where you want to show off your RP fully without giving away too much of the fun. Keeping the information given to the readers to a minimum entices them to want more, giving away too much information at once is like reading an encyclopedia, it gives headaches and turns people away. RP’s are for fun, so keep this in mind: K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid)

    2) Character Sheets

    Character sheets are like a double-edged sword; on one hand they help RP’ers to create a character that they could stick with through the RP. On the other, a character sheet feels like that character cannot be changed, edited, or otherwise enhanced as the RP goes on. Something written like that feels like it is written in stone that sudden memories coming back cannot exist for it is outside the norm, outside many comfort zones. All in all, it is up to the creator to include a character sheet or not, but if it were up to me I’d go without one.

    III. Actual RP

    1) Keep the Character in mind

    Keeping the state of mind that is the character’s, and not yours, is the key for any Role-Player. Ways to do that can be:

    • Take time to get into Character. By counting to ten, you ready your mind to take on another persona and to tell their story. The RP’er is only a medium for the character to act through.
    • Realism. If your character can’t do it, DON’T DO IT! Making your character live through fatal wounds, perform superhuman strength, have a pouch of infinite items, ect. Kills the fun of the RP. At that point, the character becomes a “Mary Sue” – an unbeatable character with abilities and traits that it shouldn’t. If you would like an example, think of Goku at the end of Dragonball GT where Goku becomes immortal with his and the dragon’s other powers.
    • Limits. If something happens to a character like the most experienced assassin is creeping up on them from behind, chances are they won’t be able to hear that assassin. Don’t suddenly turn around because you could read it and know there’s one there, the character can’t and shouldn’t be able to. Also if a character is mentally thinking he is going to betray you, or is thinking mentally in general, it is IMPOSSIBBLE for your character to know what they are thinking. Don’t suddenly give them mind-reading powers because the RP’er could read it.

    2) Environment

    Keep your surroundings in mind as you write your post. Maybe there’s something there that can help your character achieve his/her goal. There are also bad things that could happen like getting lost, or the ground suddenly breaks and you find yourself in a new situation. In many novels and anime, by using the environment for or against the characters is an excellent way to move the story along. An example could be the Whomping Willow in the second Harry Potter book. At first it looked to be an annoyance and a cause for detention, but in the third book it is a key plot-point.

    3) K.I.S.S. – Keeping It Simple Stupid

    If something in your post has absolutely nothing to do with the RP then don’t put it in your post, even if you wrote it in a really cool manner. Not one successful author in the history of the world has written something just because they wanted to, there is always a purpose behind every word they write. Writing about the dog on the hill can be left out. Going on irrelevant tangents is the number one reason why interest dies in the RP.

    4) Dialogue and Mental Thinking

    Keeping your dialogue between characters to the story is the most important way to keep any story going. Dialogue shares feelings between characters, develops them, and gives the RP a sense of realness. Remember though, Do Not Go Off On Irrelevant Tangents.

    Mental thoughts of characters are theirs and theirs alone, if any other RP character knows what they are thinking just by looking is a big no-no. Doing so ruins the fun for both of them, makes the mind-reading character a “Mary Sue” and the RP’ers a God-Modder for a post.

    5) God-Modding

    Is a BIG, BIG, BIG no-no! No one wants to RP with a God-Modder. Keep it fair and fun.

    6) If You Aren’t Getting a Reply

    MOVE ON. To the character, that is real life. In our own world do we just stand there for hours, days, years even for someone to answer our question? No, we move on and ask again at a later date – if we remember/want to. It is the same for any RP, each RP is in real-time and thus if you don’t get a reply it isn’t the end of the RP. Take it as a no-answer and move on. Don’t kill an RP because you don’t want to be rude, double-post even. These are living creatures in the reality of the RP, they deserve a chance to live longer than a few pages.

    7) Detail

    Detail is crucial in every piece of writing, but remember… If it doesn’t relate to the overall story, don’t put it in.

    IV. Grammar

    1) Complete Sentences

    In the English language, a sentence requires a subject and a verb. That means someone or something (a noun) and an action word (a verb) must be included.

    Any sentences missing a subject or a verb aren't sentences at all, but sentence fragments.

    2) Capitalization

    Use capital letters in the first word of any new sentence, people or place names, or when writing titles.

    Example: The dog is fat. Mexico Hamasaki Ayumi "Prison Break"

    3) Tense Mixing

    There are special cases in which your tense may vary slightly within a post (in a dialogue, quote, stating a hypothetical, progressing through time, etc) but generally speaking, you should not switch tenses often within a single sentence, story or piece of writing.

    Example of tense mixing: "This morning I went to the cafe. At the cafe I drink a coffee. Then I went to the movies. I see this movie about serial killers. It was good." (past, present, past, present, past)

    Better: "This morning I went to the cafe. At the cafe I drank a coffee. Then I went to the movies. I saw this movie about serial killers. It was good." (all past)

    4) Paragraphs

    Keeping your paragraphs separated keeps your post looking clean. A single “Return” or “Enter” hit in Microsoft word looks very nice, but on a forum such as DH, it is prudent to push that button twice.

    Example Using single Spacing: fhkjhsfkjsdhfkjhdsjfhksdfj

    Better: fjdshfkjsdhfjkhdsjfhskjdkf


  2. Melon

    Melon Starmaker

    Jan 10, 2005
    Good post, can't really comment or open up a discussion about much other than "K.I.S.S.". Whilst there is the obvious minor irrelevances that are easy to avoid and ignore in single posts, there can be far more serious ones that are part of the story rather than part of a single post or sentance.

    I think those kill the RP far more easily than what you find in single posts. I know, i've manage to break my own RPs with them fairly easily. But they weren't really irrelevent but rather too hard to understand for someone that did not know the whole story like i did since i created it.

    K.I.S.S. is by far the most challenging aspect of creating an successful RP. Keep it simple so that people easily can progress and enjoy the story with minimum confusion, sounds like a good deal to me but dumbing your RP down too much will probably backfire alot since then the RP will be too simple and people will loose interest anyway, i think.
  3. Zyta

    Zyta Drifting Super Mod

    Oct 22, 2005
    Miss understand the meaning behind the K.I.S.S.

    The whole point of it is to root out "bad posts". Fully detailed ones with plenty of Foreshadowing/"backshadowing" are highly welcomed like in this example: http://dhaven.org/showpost.php?p=31568&postcount=43

    P.S. thanks for taking the time to read through that monster post.
  4. Melon

    Melon Starmaker

    Jan 10, 2005
    I think i understood it but thanks for making it clear that it was only meant for single posts. I think you could write a whole guide just about how to build a good story and how to execute it in forum RP-style, it's a tad different from reading a book.