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|Subject Post 1Subject: ~Frosty's Protips for RP Beginners~ Sat Jun 12, 2010 5:06 pm|| |
Proper Posting Techniques
A proper post should have the following components (parts): The beginning of the post should be a physical and/or mental reaction to what was said/done in the previous post. That should be followed by a bit of dialogue and more physical description. The dialogue can either end the post, but I find that if you include a post-movement, such as making the character move, sit, stand, dance, jump, etc., it rounds things out nicely. Now then, lets break down each part to give you a better idea of how to do it.
Generally speaking, only one person begins a thread and everyone else is reacting to how the thread began and/or what was posted directly above their reply. So, if you are starting a thread, a reaction is not necessary to the dialogue, but you can put their reaction to walking into what ever area they are and what they are doing there. When I say your character should react physically to what was said/done in the previous post it is only mirroring real life. If someone says something to you, you have a reaction. Even a non-reaction is technically a reaction, because your character is attempting to look as if they are not reacting. If that is confusing, let me give an example.
John listened as Maria explained the reasons as to why they could no longer be together. Inside he was seething with anger at her lame attempts to explain the situation, but outwardly he barely gave a hint of what he was feeling. If she looked closely, she may have seen the little tick of a muscle in his jaw as he stood before her, but she was off in her own world.
In this example you see how no or very little physical reaction can be played out. After all, think of it in real life. Put yourself in John's shoes, how would you feel in his place? What would your reaction be to what Maria was saying? Put yourself in your character's head and get your character's responses. Remember to keep yourself out of it. This is a totally fictional character you have created and the less you react as if it is a personal attack and react as if it were an attack on John, the better your post will be.
Remember to put your character's thoughts into the post, whether you do so in third person, such as saying "John wondered why Maria would seek to hurt him so" or in the first person (usually put into italics to differentiate between description) "Why does she want to hurt me like this? I thought things were going great." Often the difference is simply how deep you want others to read into your character. But know this: Posting your character's thoughts is as important as posting their actions. While the other characters may not be able to react as if they know what you are thinking (unless they are mind-readers, in which case, only give out what you want known), it develops your character to put their thoughts out there. It makes them "human(oid)" and gives depth to your posts. If you have ever read a fictional story, a good one anyway, you will find the pages littered with thoughts, a necessary addition to create the best story possible. Without the thoughts, you have no clue what drives this character, what makes them who they are.
Physical Movement and Description
Physical movement should also be included at this point, whether they take a drink of something, walk across a room, or sit in a chair. Be sure to include a description of what ever the character is physically interacting with.
John crossed the wooden floor, his sneakers squeaking on the worn boards. He found an old chair and plopped down carelessly, sending a poof of dust flying from the old cushions. His finger played in a hole on the arm as he listened to Maria, tearing the fabric of the chair even further and releasing some of the stuffing that had yellowed with age.
There is a lot of description in just those few lines, enough to give your reader a clear mental image of the layout and the actions that John is taking. You don't have to say "the chair was old and smelled bad" rather simply by using alternate words, you can say the same thing this way: "the chair looked ancient and had an odor that usually accompanied a landfill." A great way to find alternate words is the use of a thesaurus. Plenty are available online or in most kinds of typing programs like Microsoft Word. Also, when you are trying to compare something, think of an example, such as replacing "smelly" with "odor of a landfill." Even if you have never been to a landfill, you can imagine the noxious fumes one would find there.
A character's dialogue are the words that character speaks out loud that can be heard by other people in the room. Here's a hint: never have you character say something, even under their breath, unless you want it heard by someone else. Just like in real life, you never know who is really listening, so watch what you say. There could be a character that enters the thread claiming they were "invisible" to you at that moment (ex: hiding behind something such as a door or chair) and over heard what you whispered to yourself.
When writing dialogue, be sure to use proper grammar and punctuation. Spelling is also important. Nothing shows that you put no time into your response more than a post filled with misspelled words and bad punctuation. Spell check is available on most boards and I highly suggest using it before any posts. Dialogue should also avoid using "he said," "she replied," and "he asked" (and any other version of these) repeatedly. One time is okay, twice is pushing it, and beyond that is ridiculous. Dialogue should be written as if it were really spoken. A tip is once you have written the dialogue, read it out loud to see if it sounds okay. Some things look fine written but don't work once you try saying it.
More on Dialogue
Sometimes it's not what you say but how you say it. If you character is responding sarcastically, be sure to tell them. These words can be used in most cases with or without the "ly" at the end. Words to use when describing their response include but are not limited to:
These are but a few examples and while I encourage their use, do not overdo it. Only one per post or it can be considered overkill.
Do"s and "Don't"s of Role Playing
A Few More "Do"s and "Don't"s:
Include lots of description and comparisons in your posts.
Use dialogue that other people can understand.
Include movement such as walking, drinking, smelling, etc.
Use your character's five senses.
Describe the surrounding environment.
Research before you post. If you are responding to a particular topic, learn about it before you just make something up.
Follow the guidelines of the universe in which you are posting.
Remember to use good grammar, punctuation, and spelling. It is appreciated.
Think of creative titles for your threads...they are more likely to attract others to come post.
Use links to pictures rather than including the images in your post. People appreciate not having to wait for them to load.
Chose an avatar for your character quickly. Avatars really do have a lot to do with how much "action" your character can get from other players. If no one knows what you look like, they really don't think about you.
Take an insult to your character personally. It is just a character, insulting another character...that is all.
Use less than 6-8 sentences per post. While they don't have to be novels, less than that and you border the "one-liner" category once more.
Break the rules of the universe in which you are role playing.
Think your character is invincible. If they are, then they aren't a very good character. No one wants to role play with a god, especially if they always have to be right.
Post song lyrics unless your character (as in ~you~) wrote them. It chews up space and drives others nuts. And in most cases, they don't even read them, just skip over them to the other parts.
Use large pictures for your signature. Some people still have dial-up and it takes time to load those large pictures.
Don't Get mad if you don’t get a boyfriend/girlfriend right away. The boards aren't meant as a dating service. RP romance is more than acceptable, but it takes more than 5 minutes of talking for people to fall in love.