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 Prisma's Essential Guide for the Rp Beginner

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Prisma*Illya
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PostSubject: Prisma's Essential Guide for the Rp Beginner   Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:39 am

Prisma's Essential Guide for the Rp Beginner (and Rp Challenged..)


So one day I was browsing around the rp section on one forum to kind of get an idea for some of the other people's rp styles. Gotta say, I was mildly horrified to see that some people really don't know how to rp well. So, I thought I'd make a few pointers on how to improve one's rping.

1. Writing style



Okay, so this is a pretty obvious one, but it's the one that needs to be said the most. When you're writing a post, they key is that it needs to flow well. This naturally means that things like proper punctuation and actually breaking things up into normal paragraphs are absolute musts, but a lot of people don't do that. Giant walls of improperly punctuated text are a huge turn-off. This also leads into quotations or speaking parts. If you're going to have your character talk, it's nice to start it with a separate line. The speaking parts easily stand out, and it naturally breaks up your post into parts, as you can see:

Quote :
Edwin walked into the room holding lots of books in his arms cause he didn't have time to drop them in his locker. "Can someone help me with these?" he asked trying to get someone to help. No one seemed to help, so he muttered to himself while he staggered over to his desk.
As opposed to:

Quote :
Edwin entered the room, balancing the heavy load of books in his arms. Unfortunately, he hadn't the time to stop by his locker to drop them off.

"Can someone help me with these?" he asked, giving the nearby students an imploring look. When the lack of response indicated that no one was willing to help, he muttered darkly to himself and staggered over to his desk.
Your post will look much neater this way, and far easier to read. Also, try to stay in the same tense as everyone else. Having a first person point of view while everyone is third person is jarring to the flow (unless, of course, there's a specific reason such as that character "narrating" the story from their perspective as a plot device).

Finally, really, really make an effort to mix things up with your word usage and sentence styling. Don't start every sentence like "He did this. He went here. He took this." Start sentences with a preposition or adverb like "although," "because," "startlingly," etc. And try to find some synonyms for common words, especially if you're going to use it within the same post multiple times. Don't just use yell every time. Try scream, bellow, cry, etc. This adds the spice to your main dish.

2. Content



Okay, so you're writing in a neat and legible way. Now for the content.

Basically, your posts should be covering 5 basic points: the action (what your character is physically doing), the external dialogue (what they're speaking), the internal dialogue (what they're thinking), the emotion, and the descriptions. Now, it's not necessary for every single post to cover all of these, but on the whole you should touch on most of them.

Now I'm not going to go into the action, since most people should be able to do at least this much. Just remember the key points in the writing style so thinks don't seem choppy or dull.

For external dialogue, as stated in styling, it should stand out and be clearly written. Don't just say:

Quote :
Mark said yes and took the ice cream cone.
Instead:

Quote :
"Yes, thanks," Mark said, taking the ice cream cone.
Better, yes? Internal dialogue should work much the same way, only designated in italics or some other way to let the reader know this is not being said aloud.

Quote :
"Why won't he just leave me alone?" Erica thought, grinding her teeth in frustration.
Emotions and descriptions are bit more abstract, but essentially you should try to embellish your post by letting the reader know exactly how your character is feeling and what's going on around them. Don't just say your character is frustrated or mad. Show it.

Quote :
Nancy sat on the floor of the abandoned room, annoyed.
As opposed to:

Quote :
Nancy curled up in the corner of the room, hunched over her knees. Despite the chill of the derelict and dimly lit room, she could feel the anger and frustration at being left behind by the others pushing away the gnawing cold on her exposed flesh
Or

Quote :
Keith stood still. He was alert from the noise
Compared to:

Quote :
Keith felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand; that sudden crash downstairs could only mean one thing. Panting slightly in nervous anticipation, he removed the safety from his gun with sweaty fingers and positioned himself with a clear view of the stairs.
By doing this, you make your post more interesting and exciting to read. Details, people. It's those little things that really make your posts stand out.

3. Characters



I'm going to include this because a lot of your writing is dictated by the character you use. Now, it's obviously important to use a character you like and feel comfortable using, but don't just make some generic "cool" character because this lack of personality quirks hampers your ability to interact properly with other characters - an integral part of rping. There's nothing wrong with making shy/introverted characters or standoffish types, but just keep in mind that in order to not act out of character, you are forced to try not to bother with people, which makes posting very difficult. Instead of making this the focal point of a character, simply make it one aspect of them so that it can be moved aside when convenient and not restrict them. You can have a shy girl, but give her an insatiable sense of curiosity that throws her into situations she'd otherwise never get into. In addition, it's a good idea to make characters that are fundamentally flawed. If you start a character that's already as good as they can get, you have nowhere to go with them. Building up a character and showing their growth as they move past and overcome their flaws through the events of the rp are vital for a memorable character.

4. Feedback



Okay, this isn't really a necessary part of the experience, but as a GM (that's Game Master to the uninitiated) I can say that feedback really is appreciated (and when I say feedback, I mean constructive criticism or input, not nagging or complaining cause you didn't get your way). Being a GM can be hard work, and letting them know that they're doing something right or how they might improve it to do an even better job is always nice.

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Prisma's Essential Guide for the Rp Beginner
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