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 Roleplaying 101
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Apr 22 2014, 10:58 AM   LINK Quote
The Art of Roleplay • • •

Welcome Youngling. Come closer. There are no great, unsolvable mysteries here. This is a safe place. Here we will teach you the wonders and greatness of forum roleplaying.

Or failing that we've got a few tips on RP etiquette for settling into writing here on Wizarding Realm.

Starting Threads

Whether you've planned out (usually known here as 'plotting') what's going to happen with a partner or you're flying completely by the seat of your pants, the first thing to consider is how to set the scene. Think about where on the board you're opting to start your story, and try to give some details for whoever responds to work with. What's the weather or lighting like? Are there any notable items littered around? Where is your character situated and what are they doing? Go nuts!

One thing to keep in mind is that it's important you don't take charge of other characters' behaviour or manner of appearance unless it's been planned out beforehand and they've given their assent. Doing this without that permission is what's known as 'God-moding,' and it's not very much fun for anybody. It's always more exciting when actions and reactions are in the hands of each character's owner as it can lead to surprising twists and turns in the events of a thread. We're here to write collaboratively and share in each other's stories!

When making your first post of a thread (the 'starter'), place the name of the player/character you're going to be writing with in the description box, or you can use the forum's alert system to tag them like so: @[Firstname Lastname]. You're also welcome to make threads that are open - meaning anyone can join of their own free will - simply by indicating so in the description. Then you just gotta play the waiting game.


Replying to Threads

So this is probably going to sound a bit Captain Obvious, but please, please, please take the time to read the post you are replying to! Rushing straight into a reply without taking in everything that's happened can just lead to wires getting crossed and everyone getting confused. Most forms of roleplay are a case of give and take, actions and reactions building upon each other to craft awesomeness.

Once you've read through, before you jump in to reply to the topic, please do check to ensure the thread isn't closed or tagged for someone else. Lots of plots may be going on all over the site!

In addition to reading and checking these things, when you get stuck into writing your reply think about what sort of hooks from the previous post that you might be able to pick up on and respond to, as well as putting in lots of detail for the next reply. Really get those creative juices flowing!

Please finish your post before posting it! We don't accept 'work in progress' (WIP) posts here on Wizarding Realm. Posting up half-finished replies can make it really difficult for a person you're threading with to know when it's actually safe for them to jump in and reply to you, and in group threads it can really disrupt the flow of things by forcing others to wait. So again, please only post replies that you're done writing. If you need to go back and make a change to a post for plotting reasons, then do feel free to do so, but we'd rather not see unfinished posts in any roleplay thread.


Style and Formatting

So the usual standard in creative story writing is Third Person -- Past Tense. That's the style we've adopted here too. First person is pretty much discouraged on Wizarding Realm, as well as primarily using present tense, as it can be very jarring and disruptive of the flow of a thread when things switch back and forth from post to post. Basic spelling and grammar rules also apply -- no one's going to go crazy over typos, but please avoid typing in all caps or all lowercase. Oh, and write in English for us, please. Let's make sure everyone here can read your lovely stories!

Some other formatting tips to keep in mind are:
-- "Spoken lines go in quotes."
-- Most thoughts are shown in italics.
-- Actions are just written out like normal. Please don't put them in *asterisks* or -dashes- ; these are used for OOC talk only.
-- Please don't just QUOTE the post above yours for length. There are other ways to reference things that have happened previously if you need to!
-- Don't powerplay or start god-moding - as mentioned previously it's just no fun. You probably don't want people touching your character inappropriately, so keep your hands courteously away from others!

One more thing! Wizarding Realm likes to shed its skin and pull on a new fancy scheme every so often, usually a fresh one each term! So with that in mind, please don't change around your fonts or colours when posting.


A Final Thought

Above all else when writing, treat your fellow roleplayers with respect. Exercise patience when waiting for replies, and avoid nagging people all the time to write back. Don't take charge of another player's character, or dictate everything they do in a thread. And if any OOC drama should rear its ugly head, don't let that get in the way of good writing. Let's all make Wizarding Realm a safe space for fantastic tales!




Quality vs. Quantity • • •

Some people are able to get into the groove and suddenly there are near a billion words squeezed into a single post! When you open up a thread to find what looks like a novel tucked away in there, it can often be pretty intimidating. That's understandable! Don't feel you need to force yourself to write more and more all the time, though. If your posts are on the short side, don't fret! Say what you need to say, as well as you can say it. Here's a couple things to keep in mind when you get to writing:

MIRROR POSTING: On most forum RP sites, this is the generally accepted method of gauging post length. Mirror posting is when you try to match what your writing partner is giving you. If you spend a lot of time carefully crafting five healthy paragraphs and your partner gives you four sentences in return, you can't help but feel a little disappointed, right? Mirror posting is a good rule of thumb to help make things feel 'fair' for everyone involved. Of course, if you do write a little less or a little more, then that's okay! Go with what's natural, but keep the 'Mirror' idea as a friendly goal.

RAPID-FIRE: We tend to move away from these sorts of threads for general RP, though they definitely have a place! These sorts of posts are often much more focused on action or dialogue, and are significantly shorter in length - perhaps a paragraph, maybe two. They should still be well-written though, of course! Condensing writing like this can be a good way for someone who tends to ramble, helping them to focus what they're saying. Here on Wizarding Realm, we can sometimes use these styles of posts for big, action focused threads like Quidditch matches or magical duels.

Don't forego QUALITY for the sake of QUANTITY! If you run out of things to say, don't force it. You won't feel as satisfied with your own writing when you read it back, and the people who come along to read your stories can usually tell when you're just not feeling things. Be true to yourself - say what you need to say, as well as you can say it, and most of all have fun!


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