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The Giant Writing Guidebook

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The Giant Writing Guidebook

Post by Desty on Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:13 am

Since this topic will cover a lot of content - it has all been congested into one topic for the sake of... well everyone's sanity.

'Said' is Dead

As roleplayers we find ourselves reusing the same words over and over again without much variety. Why not end one bad habit, "said"? Said is the biggest cop-out of descriptions; it says nothing about the manner, or the way the character said it.

Consider these:

Aa:
Spoiler:
accused
alleged
acknowledged
added
addressed
agreed
admitted
adduced
advised
advocated
affirmed
allowed
announced
answered
antagonized
apologized
appealed
applauded
apprised
argued
articulated
asked
asserted
assured
averred
avowed

Bb:
Spoiler:
babbled
badgered
bantered
barked
bawled
bayed
beckoned
began
begged
belched
believed
belittled
bellowed
bemoaned
beseeched
bewailed
bickered
blubbered
bluffed
blundered
blurted out
blustered
boasted
boomed
bragged
broadcasted
brooded
bubbled
burped
butted in
buzzed

Cc:
Spoiler:
cajoled
called
caustic
chalk
charm
charge
chase
cheered
chided
chimed
chirped
choked
chuckled
cited
claimed
classified
clacked
coaxed
commanded
commenced
commended
commented
communicated
complained
compiled
complimented
concluded
confessed
confirmed
confused
congratulated
consented
contended
continued
contributed
cooed
corrected
coughed
counted
cracked
cried
criticized
croaked
cross-examined
crowded
cursed

Dd:
Spoiler:
debated
decided
declaimed
declared
defined
demanded
demonstrated
denied
described
dictated
directed
disagreed
discerned
disclosed
disputed
divulged
drawled
dreamed
droned
drummed

Ee:
Spoiler:
echoed
eluded
emitted
emphasized
ended
enunciated
entreated
enumerated
estimated
eulogized
explained
exploded

Ii:
Spoiler:
interpreted
interrogated
interrupted
intimidated
intoned
intonated
invited
iterated

Jj:
Spoiler:
jeered
jested
joined
joked
joshed

Ll:
Spoiler:
lamented
lashed out
laughed
lied
lisped

Mm:
Spoiler:
maintained
mentioned
meowed
mewed
mimicked
mispronounced
misquoted
moaned
mocked
mourned
mumbled
murmured
mused
muttered

Nn:
Spoiler:
nagged
named
narrated
nixed
noted

Oo:
Spoiler:
objected
observed
opined
ordered
outlined

Pp:
Spoiler:
panted
paraphrased
persisted
persuaded
petitioned
piped
pleaded
pointed out
pouted
praised
prayed
preached
presented
presumed
pretended
prevaricated
proclaimed
prodded
promised
prompted
pronounced
proposed
protested
puffed
purported
purposed
purred

Qq:
Spoiler:
quacked
quarreled
queried
questioned
quibbled
quipped
quizzed
quoted

Rr:
Spoiler:
raged
rasped
ratified
read
reasoned
recalled
recapitulated
recited
recommended
recounted
reflected
rehashed
rehearsed
reiterated
rejoiced
related
remarked
remembered
reminded
reminisced
renounced
repeated
replied
reported
requested
resounded
responded
restated
resumed
retorted
retracted
returned to
revealed
reviewed
ridiculed
roared
rumored

Ss:
Spoiler:
sang
scoffed
scolded
scorned
screamed
screeched
shouted
shrieked
shrugged
shuddered
sighed
smarted off
snapped
snored
snorted
sounded out
spat
specified
speculated
spit out
spoke
sputtered
squawked
squealed
stammered
stated
stormed
stressed
stumbled
stuttered
suggested
sulked
summarized
summed up
summoned
surmised
swore

Vv:
Spoiler:
ventured
verbalized
verified
vocalized
vowed

Ww:
Spoiler:
wailed
warbled
warned
whimpered
whined
whispered
whistled
whizzed
wished
witnessed
wondered
wooed
wrangled

Other:
Spoiler:
kidded
urged
uttered
yelled
yelped
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Desty
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Re: The Giant Writing Guidebook

Post by Desty on Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:18 am

Writing Like An Intermediate - Advanced Roleplayer


    -- Planning

You'd be surprised just how much it helps to jot down what the main points of your post is going to be. You could layout out the rough content of the paragraphs, or you could write the thoughts, actions and speech you character may use, whatever is helpful.


    -- Use More Descriptive Language

While you must leave some things up to the reader’s imagination, that’s not to say that you should abandon them in a text filled only with dialogue and nouns, leaving them to think up complete descriptions of things themselves. It is supposed to be you telling the story, not them. So,

Don't:
Spoiler:
Eleanor looked at the dress laid before her as it rested upon her bed. She picked it up and looked at it for what seemed like hours. Her eyes flicked across it over and over, absorbing every detail.

‘Well?’ he finally asked, ‘Do you not like it?’
‘Oh no! I love it!’ she exclaimed, waving her hand in dismissal of the suggestion.

Do:
Spoiler:
Eleanor looked at the shimmering dress laid gently before her as it rested on her soft bed. Yet then she picked it up and looked at it for what seemed like hours, a look of surprised delight resting upon her face. Her eyes flicked across it over and over, absorbing every detail. It was a silky and delicate green, sparkling and shining in the light.

‘Well?’ he finally asked, a doubtful look upon his face, ‘Do you not like it, is it the colour?’
‘Oh no! I love it!’ she exclaimed excitedly, waving her hand in polite dismissal of the suggestion.


    -- Make Use of Similes, Metaphors and Personification

A simile is like a comparison, often making use of the word ‘like’ or ‘as’. E.g. ‘The colour is like that of a raspberry.’ A metaphor is when one thing is said to be another in order to achieve a greater effect or emphasis. E.g. ‘Her eyes are windows to her soul.’ The eyes aren’t really windows, but this does create a more interesting sentence than simply naming the colour or shape of the eyes. Personification is when you apply (usually) human traits/abilities (etc.) to something that is not human, again to make things more interesting. E.g. ‘The cold clawed at them with its icy nails.’

Don't:
Spoiler:
The hot sun burnt their skin as they walked through the scorching desert.

Do:
Spoiler:
The sun’s gaze was harsh and unrelenting, beating upon their shoulders like a red-hot whip. The desert was a prison from which they would never escape.


    -- Don’t Reveal Everything At Once

In order to keep people engrossed in the story you lay before them, you should not hand everything to them on a silver platter. That is, if you have introduced a new scene, or a new person, don’t just reel off everything about them. Instead, reveal bit by bit throughout the paragraph, page, or even post.

Don't:
Spoiler:
Eleanor entered the room, she wore a long, white dress that hung to the floor and her light hair lay gently upon her shoulders as she looked at him with blue eyes. She had been in the gardens, singing with the birds, such a beautiful voice she had. She was tired and needed to sleep, such a long day it had been.

Do:
Spoiler:
A gentle knock there was upon the wooden door, yet no answer could he give before it creaked slowly open upon its hinges. A pale hand reached around it and followed a vision of white entering gracefully as if borne in by angel’s wings. Unhurriedly, she closed the door behind her as if she was somehow unwilling to shut out nature, unwilling to place a divide between them as the birds still sang their songs outside, pleading for her to sing to them just once more. Then her eyes turned to his, a knowing glance she cast upon him, looking without permission but unhindered into his soul. They were as circles of blue staring at him, focusing on his true thoughts, his deep desires. A smile stretched across her lips as she walked closer to him, her dress brushing lightly across the floor.

‘Eleanor-,’
‘Shhh, my love.’ She soothed, her voice tender and calm like the first morning rays of the sunrise.


    -- Try Phrasing Things In Different Ways

Often, a sentence sounds much more interesting when said in a different way. Hard to explain without examples so here goes. Sometimes one way will sound better than the other, so once you get used to changing the sentence around, you can decide for each case, which sounds better (Hint: a lot of the time, you are changing from active to passive sentences and vice versa).

The arrow pierced his heart, mortally wounding him. ---> He was mortally wounded by the arrow that pierced his heart.
He ran to save her as fast as he could. ---> To save her he ran as fast as he could



    -- Try to Avoid Unwanted Repetition

Some repetition is ok, when it is intentional and sounds good. ‘The world hated him, she hated him, and most of all he hated himself.’ However, when you look over your post and notice that you have used the same adjective several times when describing your settings, characters and thoughts, or even worse, if you have repeated similes and metaphors, then you know you need to revise a little.

It doesn’t take too long to use a thesaurus or take a moment to think of a different word, but it does make the post look better by far. Obviously you can’t avoid repeating some things, just try and keep it minimal!


    -- Make Dialogue More Than Idle Chat and React To Actions

Really get into your character, think you are your character when you post. Pretend what the other person has posted, what they have said to your character, they have said to you. If you were that character, how would you react? You react in some way to everything that is said and done to you, so why should you ignore dialogue and actions in your post?

So, try to get a reaction appropriate for you character, don’t move out of character. One of the worst things you can do is act out of character and make your profile meaningless.


    -- Two Main Reactions

React physically or mentally or both! Think of your character as an actual person, and as a person, they will be happy, angry etc. sometimes they might lash out, or even plant a kiss. Either way, make sure you react, keep things interesting, and make the thread more like one flowing story as opposed to two or more people fighting for their own stories, and not reacting to one another.


    -- Afterthoughts

Don’t forget at the end of the post, your character’s afterthoughts. From all the actions and reactions, how do they feel? Has their opinion changed about the other character(s)? What are they now thinking?
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Desty
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Re: The Giant Writing Guidebook

Post by Desty on Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:19 am

A Beginner's Guide to Cooperative Storytelling

How to be the kind of roleplayer that people love
Written by Dun of RPG-D


The art of roleplaying is one which involves many unspoken rules and subtleties. The proper conduct expected from a roleplayer is often learned over a long period of time, and newcomers to the community are often simply expected to know what to do and what not to do with very little information provided to ease them into things. "Powerplaying" and "godmodding" are words thrown around to warn the newbies, but explanations are rarely given- especially for the less obvious actions which often cause offense.

I seek to remedy the difficulties of the newbies' initial adjustment processes. I seek to save everyone a lot of headaches by pointing out a few of the important dos and don'ts of cooperative storytelling. I cannot cover them all- I hope I don't have to- but I will do my best to offer some good words of advice regarding common mistakes.

Here we go . . .

1) Do not glorify crimes and their victims' struggles.
Too many people resort to 'tragic pasts' when they begin roleplaying, thinking that these tragic experiences are required in order to create an engaging character. Rather than ending up with an engaging character, they often end up with an unrealistically dramatic one which whines at strangers about his/her oh-so-tragic, entire life story immediately upon meeting them. The character ends up being impossible to work with and downright offensive.

2) Do not attempt to force empty romance plots on other people.
No playable character belonging to another writer will be fixated on a flat character just because you think it would be fun. There may be nothing in it for the other player or character. You can't pull intimacy out of thin air in reality, and you shouldn't expect to be able to force it on the characters others write with a single sentence. If you're someone whose only interest is instant gratification that lacks any psychological depth or impact at all, and you will only thread with a character that your poorly developed character can somehow fall madly in love with within a matter of minutes, you need to reevaluate your intentions as a roleplayer. Romantic plot lines are not the only ones out there. The best romantic plots develop naturally, though you may start them at any stage. You can put your character into threads with characters whom you don't believe are 'the ones'. Romantic plot lines cannot be one-sided and still work well.

3) Do not try to live vicariously through your characters.
Perhaps you wish you could be like Superman. Perhaps you love the character of Superman and want to roleplay from his perspective. This is fine and good as long as you realize that Superman is different from you, and he needs to be allowed to act realistically and appropriately. He needs to be able to struggle and succeed. The problem arises when you are unable to approach roleplaying from an objective point of view and allow characters to act in a realistic manner according to their own situations. You cannot manipulate stories that you are supposed to be sharing with other people so you can get instant gratification. It's rude, and it will cause other players to react unfavorably.

4) Do not think that your character does not have to face consequences for his/her actions.
This ties into just about everything . . . Your character cannot be perfect and immune to all consequences. If your character does something to offend another or cause problems for others, it is most likely that your character will encounter repercussions, and you will be making a massive mistake if you try to avoid them. If your character starts a rebellion against a just government, attacks the most heavily guarded city in a country, kidnaps a princess, escapes from jail, then attacks an otherwise important and powerful political figure, you must understand that he/she has to pay for his/her offenses. There is no way you are going to get away with playing the "you're treating me unfairly by allowing my character to be confronted by an army of angry persons who know how to use a weapon". . . especially after you were allowed to get away with the previously-mentioned, impossible string of events to begin with.

5) Do not ignore all elements of realism simply because you are writing fiction.
Even fiction has rules. Roleplayers aren't expected to be rocket scientists, but you are, for example, expected to look up electrocution on Wikipedia briefly to find out how easily or not-so-easily your electrokinetic could kill a man under specific circumstances. You will not suddenly get to give your character a pocket watch in the Earth-year 1123BC and get away with it simply because you failed to acquire a basic understanding of the setting. You must put in a small bit of effort to educate yourself on what it is you're dealing with. You may make a mistake from time to time, but that doesn't mean your character can wear a tank top to church in the Middle Ages without consequences.

6) Do not use "it's magic" as an excuse for everything.
Although magic is, by definition, an often unintelligible concept which cannot be explained purely by science, the way in which magic is utilized is often impacted by a variety of scientific factors. A 5-year-old character probably can't reduce a master mage of 54 years to a pile of sludge with the snap of a finger, and most mages/witches/wizards probably can't crush the planet with the blink of an eye. You must adhere to the rules of each individual magic system you encounter, and you cannot use magic to escape all of the rules of realism.

7) Do not be passive-aggressive or demonize others to get attention.
The rules of basic human interaction apply online in the roleplaying community. If you want something from another player, simply make your intentions and desires known. Do not try to manipulate people and demonize others to get what you want. Be kind and open and respectful. Don't hide behind the anonymity of the internet and drop hints that may or may not be malicious. People will most likely be willing to help you out or work with you as long as you treat them like people who have feelings and priorities of their own. If you're uncertain about something, be willing to ask questions instead of trying to get others to simply offer the answers on their own.

Do remember that roleplaying is a hobby.
People do not want roleplaying to become a chore. They will nurse their sick grandmother before coming online to post for you. Sometimes people have to work or attend classes. Sometimes they cannot post immediately after you have posted. No one likes to be hounded about making replies to threads. No one wants to be forced to write when they cannot or don't feel up to it. A kindly-worded reminder may be appropriate in some situations, but do not expect people to make you the center of their worlds. Allow people to have fun and don't become so strict that people feel they have no freedom to enjoy themselves.

9) Do take your roleplaying experience into your own hands and make an effort to produce your own entertainment.
You cannot rely on other people to steer you toward threading opportunities all the time. You cannot expect administrators to hold your hand forever and make everything happen for you. Incredible, inspiring plots will not fall from the sky directly into your lap. You have to actively seek opportunities in order to make the most of your roleplaying experience. Join open threads, offer your characters to plots that will help others, provide plotting ideas of your own, create open threads . . . communicate with your fellow roleplayers. Don't just sit back and wait for everyone to flock to you.

10) Most importantly, remember that roleplaying is a method of cooperative storytelling- a team effort.
Roleplaying isn't all about you and your plans. In order to find success in the roleplaying community, you will have to experience some give and take. You need not to expect that everyone will conform to your needs while you offer nothing in return. You need to get involved in what other people are doing and engage in mutually-beneficial threads and plot lines. Only then will you experience the best that roleplaying has to offer. Only then will people take an interest in truly helping you enjoy a fantastic story and develop your writing skills to your full potential.
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Re: The Giant Writing Guidebook

Post by Desty on Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:20 am

How to Write Fight/Combat Scenes - 10 Tips & Tricks
a documentation by cocoapuffs of RPG-D

I. Pay close attention to the posts leading up to the fight sequence and keep these in mind throughout the thread.
This is a pretty important one, so I thought it was best to start off with it. What I've found is that the most important part of writing a fight scene is what led up to it. After all, you don't have the fight scene without the events that happened before it, right? Re-read the posts leading up to it, and keep them in mind. Think of the conflict going on. It's important to know why the fight is happening in the first place.

II. Know your character and get into their heads.
This is another biggie. It's hard to write a successful fight scene if you're not familiar with your character. You need to know how they would react in this situation, not how you would react. It can be difficult, but try not to get the two mixed up. You and your character are two different beings, but you need to dissect their thoughts processes and emotions before you type anything. So the important question to ask yourself is "How is my character feeling right now?" Is Bob mad at Joe for kissing his sister? Or is he just disappointed and doesn't want conflict? Is he acting out of spite? Hurt? Sadness? Regret?

III. Take your character's physical limitations and abilities into account.
I really can't stress this one enough. If you can't quite remember how big or small your character is, just take a quick peek at your character application. Make it realistic (unless it's in a setting where it wouldn't be). If your character is 90 pounds and is going up against a 180 pound body builder, you're going to lose. Likewise, if your character is 300 pounds and overweight and is going up against a 130 pound free-runner, you're probably going to lose.

IV. If you want/don't want your character injured/maimed/killed, tell the other poster!

Don't automatically assume that your posting partner is going to do exactly what you want. It's a good idea to work out the details of the fight-- especially if it's an important one-- beforehand. Talk about it through PMs, the cbox, messengers or even in OOC comments, but make sure you have a plan before going into it. This will ensure that they don't just walk right up and stab you in the face.

V. No one likes a Mary Sue, and no one thinks godmodding is cool.
If you're not familiar with the definition of a Mary Sue, check out Wikipedia: go!. If you're not sure what godmodding is, check out Urban Dictionary's definition: gogo!. Try to avoid this as much as you can. Your character is not all powerful with no weaknesses, although if they were, they probably weren't accepted in the first place to the board you're posting on.

VI. Keep things realistic, even in non-realistic settings.
What does this mean? Follow physics and common sense. Even if the setting of the RPG isn't in a real life setting and involves magic, robots, etc, keep your character's actions and reactions realistic to the setting they're in. So, say your character is drunk and has their opponent cornered, up against a brick wall in a dark alley. It's looking like you're going to win this one, sport. So you go to throw a punch-- as hard as you possibly can-- and at the last moment, your sober, agile foe moves out of the way. Can you guess what happens next? Is it:

a) the brick wall turns to cushiony pillows
b) your hand cracks and smashes against the brick wall. ouchies.
c) that's not fair, how could they move?
d) my character can stop their fist before it hits the wall
e) it was a fake-out! When the foe moves I kick them where it counts which was my plan all along

This scenario is obviously greatly exaggerated, but for the hypothetical situation I provided, the best answer is probably b) your hand cracks and smashes against the brick wall. ouchies. Ouchies indeed. If you don't think this is far, look at the details again: your character is drunk, it's dark, and they're impaired. Your foe is agile and sober. You're at a very close range and your depth perception is off. Your reaction is slowed due to the alcohol. Therefore, it's perfectly logical-- and more realistic-- to assume that if your foe moved out of the way, you wouldn't have the right mind or sense to stop your fist before it plowed into the brick wall.

The fake-out scenario, in this situation, is also improbable unless your character isn't that drunk and still has the mind enough to formulate such a plan, knows how to fight and most importantly you include this plan in your post. This goes back to what I said above: do NOT automatically assume your posting partner knows what you're planning. Don't be one of those who complains after your foe dodges an attack and replies with "But you didn't give me a chance to do my fake out" or "That was my plan all along so when he moves I kick him and he goes down." That is a form of godmodding, for one, and is also just generally annoying.

VII. Know the outcome of the fight before it begins.
This isn't necessary, but I highly recommend it. Whether it's a sparring session, a fist-fight, a duel or a fight to the death, know the outcome before you start the thread. Consulting with your posting partner-- or partners-- is absolutely essential. Work out who will win and who will lose and why. Also, be open to losing now and then. Losing isn't always a ton of fun, but it's also not fun to have a character that wins all the time, either.

VIII. You do not have an endless supply of weapons.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Unless you've got a clown car filled with weapons or you have some sort of special power/ability that lets you create endless amounts of weapons, you will eventually run out. Your gun will run out of bullets, and you will have to reload. You will eventually run out of throwing knives and needles. Poisonous darts are limited. You can only stick so many arrows in your quiver. You can try and be creative and can certainly have your character keep different weapons all over their body-- in pockets, under their foot, inside the sole of their shoe, etc, but those will eventually run out as well. The only weapons that don't run out are blunt objects and swords. Instead, those can break. Your fists can count, but keep in account stamina.

IX. Follow this simple posting pattern: brief thoughts/feelings, reaction and action.
Once the thread is up and going, I've found it's very easy to follow this simple posting formula. What does this pattern mean? I'll break it down for you:

Brief thoughts/feelings: this is part of your character's internal (or external) monologue. Write a paragraph or a few sentences describing what's going through your character's head or how they're feeling in this situation. You can also spread it out through your entire post.

Reaction: this is pretty simple. If your character was punched in the face, how do they react? Do they stagger back, or fall to the ground? Are they out cold? Do they collapse and pretend to be passed out so the foe will approach and then they jump them?

Action: this is what your character does for your turn. Typically, unless it's been okayed by the other poster, I try to keep my turn to a few small actions (reloading, drawing another weapon, fixing a fighting stance, assessing injuries) and one or two bigger actions (this usually means attacking).

X. Remember that it's only fictional!
I thought this was fitting to end on. It sounds obvious, but is another very important point. Even if you get frustrated, or find that you have a difficult posting partner, remember that at the end of the day, it's only fictional. I can't tell you how many times I've had members get carried away with a fictional fight that ends in CAPS SHOUTING, slurs and sometimes ruined friendships. Keep it as light as you can, keep it fun, and keep it exciting.
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Re: The Giant Writing Guidebook

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