Anonymous asked: soo i love shipping and my rp partner and i ship a lot with our muses. but theres one thing that bothers me. i feel like once two muses end up in a ship they sort of lose their personality (or their drive) and begin to revolve around their romance only. how can i keep the spark that my muses had before and still let them have a healthy romance with another muse?
So, the shortest answer is: Work on roleplaying the character as an active, living, intelligent person with a life and interests, and not just a tool to get romantic with. When you limit your character to their slowly growing adoration for another person, or incomplete without them, or needing them for everything, and don’t go outside that box ending up just thinking of ways to be romantic? Not only do you drive your RP into a rut, but you stop playing a “character” and start playing a “goal”. This can undermine not only plot, but believablity and characterization.
Let’s rant under the cut like I usually do shall we?
So this peeves me sometimes because I’ve seen it before. A perfectly good player will see a character they want to ship with, and all characterization goes out the window. They’ll hang on to brief remnants, personality is personality after all, but what they want to happen goes before everything else. They’ll disregard their character’s typical lack of interest to make them ‘suddenly really notice them as if for the first time’. Even over long term, where it’s a casual build, you’ll see characterization go to the wayside. Some of it is forgivable, we’re all idiots when in love, and so the characters too will change and may not see everything that is happening to them. Some of it, such as going fully against the grain for that oh so hoped for romance, is bad. That’s not the character having a crush, that’s you.
Remind yourself occasionally what the character’s goals are, their real goals, not the ones that come from romance or while seeking romance. Is your character even the type to focus on romance at all? Many characters are more interested in saving the world, dealing with their issues, and generally being way more out there. Even shoujo ai cutesy romances give the character something they genuinely want outside of The One. Look at, lord help me for returning to my past, Ouran Host Club. Haru might be the definitive harem owner with boys boys boys galore, but their goals are to get money to pay off debts, and have some fun while doing schoolwork. Mostly schoolwork. Also to keep the boys out of trouble. Sure there’s romance, and lots of of it, but it’s not the primary focus. It happens as an aside to whatever plot is going on. Because plot is important even in a romantic harem comedy. Same for Love Hina, gotta get into college and save the onsen! Same for Tenshi Muyo, gotta do something about those aliens and their problems!
You appear to be aware of this issue though, you’re not slipping away willingly. That’s good, that means you want more than hand holding and blushing for 20 paragraphs a night. You’re able to see them losing their selves in this romance, and you want to stop it. So, encourage your characters to be themselves. Make them set goals, and follow through. Push crisis into your lives. It doesn’t have to be oh god I’m pregnant and have 3 jobs and a monster is eating me from the inside of my brain. Just minor-crisis. Wanting to do something the partner doesn’t, like move or go to school again. Working out schedules. Facing the monster they’ve been avoiding. Whatever you need. Don’t start arguments for the sake of arguments, that’s kind of more of a drama queen thing, but do see if this is what your character would have wanted. What are they ignoring to live this pleasant little domesticity?
Characters with strong opinions, or goals, don’t need fake drama to start shit. They just come with them as they go. A 3D character has all sorts of things you can use for plot. Families, history, dealing with personal growth, garden variety emotional/mental issues like fears and upset, the more advanced stuff– but honestly characters generally need the basics of living too. Food, water, shelter, relationships both romantic and platonic, hobbies, a job to pay for all this, something intellectually stimulating to relieve boredom. These things help build your character. Did their friend’s cat have kittens, and they had to stay up all night helping? Does that make them irritated, or maybe they need food now? It can still be romantic for their SO to like, get them a homecooked meal, or take them out to eat, but there’s more than that. You can be social and talk about your lives, your pasts, and everything as you grow and develop.
You aren’t RPing with the one person constantly either. Sometimes your character and their character aren’t interacting during your real life sojourns. Use the time away effectively. When you start a new ‘episode’ to your roleplay, give them time spent apart. Then fill that time with stuff they’re excited about. Let the character get excited and share their adventures. When you’re RPing with another person, as a friendship or an enemy, talk about that too. Let them grow outside of RP as much as inside it. Spread your RP social networking so you’re not relying on exactly one person. Hell, bring in NPCs if you have to. Write soliloquies. That means, write whole stories about that character behind the scenes so to speak. Solo adventures that you can post without them being part of any given thread. (In a chatroom, you can just wander around doing shit you wanna do and make new friends when they get interested.) It’s big in both roleplaying AND fanfics to have some alone/other people time or you’ll burn out on them. Same thing with real relationships. You cannot put your life and attention on a single person for extended periods of time, not even a couple people. You need to have a big, complex, varied network to help support you mentally or you’ll become codependant and every little relationship shift will scare the shit out of you. It’s extremely unhealthy not to have casual acquaintances and friendships that you can chat with outside of a relationship. Or just in general. Shit man, fixating is bad jumbles all around, it all goes to shit really really fast and your brain starts saying that even people you would never normally date are THE ONE and every sigh is THE END. So don’t do this to an RP character/partner either, it ain’t bueno.
Think about real relationships. When I think of dating someone, I do not think of snuggly cuddly kiss kissies 24/7. I think about them leaving the bathroom door open and screamsinging that they’re taking a poop to annoy me because they know I have a term paper due and I’m stressing out about it and laughing will help. I think about staying up way past my bedtime writing, with their head in my lap snoozing badly and complaining about the light and the typing noises. I think about someone eating my last slice of pizza, but making up for it with a whole new pie. I think about sitting in the same room, 10 feet apart, half watching the same TV show while online and sending each other memes and waiting for them to open it so you can see them light up and shriek. I think of cold feet in the middle of the night. I think about them leaving to go to work, or hang out with friends while I kick back at home working on a project, only for them to come home and tell me what a great time they had and being happy for them while they relate new stories to me. Or them going to live with their mom for a week and stretching out on the couch like, hells yeah, I own the TV!
Romance is cute, but a relationship should be built on a strong friendship. A strong friendship has healthy boundaries, and allows both people in the relationship to remain their selves without major (and likely dysfunctional) changes to their behavior and personality. It’s a comfortable equilibrium where two people share their own lives to make a giant life together, rather than just make one life that they’ve got to start over from scratch together. There’s gonna be pet peeves, and minor disagreements, and discussions over upcoming changes. There’s going to be bad days, where nothing seems to go right and you want to scream. There’s going to be sick days, and thunder storms to scare someone, and decisions about what pets to get. There’s time apart, and time doing the things YOU love, whether or not THEY love it.
And, right, of course, we’re also all playing anime characters, superheroes, androids/robots, sentient monsters, supernatural things, and humanized fucking playing cards or something so probably all the weird shit inclusive to their respective regions too. Like supervillain duties, and werewolves shedding on the couch, and undoing the spell that caused the crystal heart that wards off the darkness to turn to coal before the giant angry dog-spiders invade and carry off someone’s best friend to hell to raise her as their queen. You know. Normal stuff.
Quick answer here, and gosh yes everyone I’m alive, I’ve just been dealing with the whole– life thing that came up. Who knew? You can find M!A answers here. And P.I. I– have no clue actually. Probably has to do with the player behind the character somehow, anyone want to answer this in a response?
Because babies don’t have fully formed brains? Seriously though, like, no one is born knowing everything. You get smart over time by dealing with experiences, and understanding your abilities and flaws, yet working around them anyways. Don’t be down on yourself, everyone you know is in a constant state of growth, and after every new experience teaches them something their old actions may seem silly. You’re not stupid. You might not feel smart right now though. Go learn stuff about what made you feel stupid. Next time it happens, you’ll know more about it! You’ll have a fresh, new, delicious, informed chance to get better!
We learn from mistakes, not perfection. If you never make a mistake, you’ll never figure out another way to do something that could be even better. If you never misunderstand something, you’ll never think about it in a new light. Your brain is built to make mistakes, because it makes us better in the long run. We grow every time someone does something different than they “should” and everyone around them learns from their mistakes too. We’re a vast hivemind of accumulated experiences! And we write them down so more people can learn from them! Humans are awesome like that.
You weren’t born stupid.
You were born with infinite unique potential, and a blank slate to fill with experiences, both good and bad. Go fill up the tank and keep truckin’.
Anonymous asked: Why do people, when you approach them about being interested in romance/shipping between your characters, say they “don’t ship their character with anyone” or that they “like to watch how things unfold through writing” then proceed to ship their character with someone else’s or basically never offer to write/take you up on your offers to write? This happens to me about 95% of the time whenever I ask someone if we can BUILD towards romance, and I’m really getting tired.
You’re not going to like this answer. Right out of the box, I’m going to tell you, this is not the answer you’ll like. Because I’m not going to side with you.
There’s a pretty good chance they simply don’t want to play with you, and they’re being polite. They’re trying to avoid outright conflict by not just telling you they don’t appreciate how you RP your character, have no chemistry with them, write badly, or are in general a personality they don’t want to play with, ever. There is something, a tiny yellow flag perhaps, that is making them side-step your roleplay. There may even simply be a lack of chemistry, which other people give them and that’s why they end up with the plot filling out in someone else’s favor. Just because they’re RPing with you doesn’t mean they stop RPing with other people.
Why can’t they be an adult and just say that then?!
They might not even realize it.
A lot of people play from the gut, and when their gut says something is wrong it may not always take the direct route to their brain and present it prettily in an understandable package. They may want to play things out and see, hey, what’s this weird feeling that says if I jump in I might regret it? Why do I feel so flighty around this person? Since you yourself say it happens “95%” of the time? I’m gonna say that the issue is something small about you, or your approach. Even if you don’t want it to be, even if it hurts, even if that makes you feel like a bad person. It’s hard to pinpoint why someone makes you uncomfortable, so they probably can’t even explain. It may not even be an actual thing about you, it might just be a vibe you give off. So you might just have to enjoy that 5% you still get and accept that something off is just natural. You can’t be everyone’s dream, and if your personality or roleplaying style have a few rough edges? It limits who fits perfectly with you. And that’s their choice. Can’t force it.
Reading your question? I get some vibes. From what I’m reading you almost feel entitled to their roleplay. From what you said, them letting you down lightly by saying “I don’t really ship” to deter you from RPing with them by removing your goal, hasn’t stopped you from asking them to RP all the time. Somehow you’ve also decided to police them about who they are roleplaying with, and for some reason expect them not to roleplay with other people if they aren’t playing with you (why else would you be offended when they do?) You’re watching them RP, getting mad, and then sulking it’s not with you. Enough to write to a help blog to ask how to get people to RP with you specifically, which they seem to be perfectly happy not doing for some reason.
That’s… possessive behavior. That’s kind of aggressive, and domineering. It shows a tendency to micromanage. This is great when dealing with things like math, where 1+1 always equal 2. This is terrible with emotions, where ‘I’m not feeling it’ could be anything from a bad day, to lackluster chemistry slowly rotting your RP from the inside. Getting upset about a delicate arrangement of emotions, inspiration, story, chemistry, and timing is not going to be beneficial to your health or temper. Roleplaying is fun. If you’re not having fun, roleplaying may not be for you. That’s okay, do something else. I always suggest writing stories when things aren’t going well, you can control everything and no one will ever reject you. You don’t have to worry about anyone else. Just writing.
Here’s some various reasons they may be avoiding you, which will be for just about anyone who finds themselves as a loss for good roleplay. I’ll hit topics relating directly to this ask, as well as general guidelines for ‘Why does no one wanna RP with me???’
So out the gate, they know what you want. By asking them for a pairing when there’s no build up, you make it clear you just want to ship. That everything you play will be focused on getting the characters together. That the ultimate goal has already been established. For many people, that takes half the fun out of it. For everyone else? They know your end game, and they said no. You’ve already lost points to them, personally, for aiming for that with no lead up or development between your characters in the first place. You’re being the guy who walks up and says “Hey baby, date me,” as a hello. Ain’t nobody gonna go for that. It’s not attractive. It’s just presumptuous. Okay, some people go for that, it’s got some kinda aggressive honesty to it and some kids will do anything for a ship. Not everyone though, especially if they have other routes to the ye olde RP. If you can afford to be picky, be picky. Unfortunately, the picky has sorted you out. Only option now is to keep fishing for RP, and maybe just see where things go with the next person instead of laying it all out there.
A second common thing is they may have seen your RP, and aren’t particularly impressed. Can’t win ‘em all. This is a neutral bad outcome. Your chemistry is particularly unique, and people aren’t excited by your writing style, or how you developed your character. Something about what you’re doing, or how you’re roleplaying, is not attractive to the people you want to play with. You’ve missed the mark, and that’s okay. Writing style changes all the time. You might not play that character forever. Maybe you’ll nab someone’s attention later on with what you’ve got. Lotta fish in the sea, but not all of them take the same bait. It is normally kinda hard to catch a good roleplayer in your net. I can add a few more puns here, but then I’d sea myself as a dumb-bass.
A…ahem. So another thing, people pick up on that subtle entitlement. It feels like someone who is gonna be more trouble for them than they’re worth. Bossy, controlling, and very forward. They’ll ask for RP, then start asking about when, where, pushing their partner ahead of them towards the goal. They’ll all but ask for a schedule for events, or when you plan to RP with them and get upset if you change your mind or your mood dies. They want you to focus on them, and only them. They’ll ask about your friends, who you RP with, really casually. They’ll monitor their RP with you, and then ask why you haven’t done the same amount, or same kinds of RP with them. They get controlling. If you’ve been around a while, you can spot someone like this from a distance from them being fussy, or guilting your for attention. Don’t be that person, ever. You’ll drive off everyone.
I really would never roleplay with someone like that. Ever. Look, if you need scheduling and solid points in advance, you’re going to find a very select number of people who also feel that way. It’s a niche, not an everyone thing. Since roleplay is for fun for many people, people don’t schedule fun! They like spontaneity, and doing what they feel like at any given time. I myself will flatly dip if I feel an obligation to give you what you want that outranks my own enjoyment. If I sign in for you more than me? It’s not fun, I’m out. I make that very clear in my OOC too, so it’s not me springing it on people. That’s just how the cookie crumbles.
Another problem that happens, ganking right from your question, is people do play things out. They’ll start roleplaying, and find something they like, and keep at it. If they’re roleplaying with a lot of people, your personal storyline with them may not be the winner. This is essentially dating. You get caught in a tiny spaceship (a roleplaying room or group) and you get to know your ship mates (roleplay non-romantic scenes with them). Over time you find chemistry with someone (roleplay is easy and comfortable), and start dating (their storyline progresses with you, and changes how you interact with others). What happens to the other crewmates who had a crush (who were RPing and felt chemistry but did not arrive at the same point)? Simple, they keep going with their lives.
They most certainly don’t stalk people to check if they’re RPing with someone else. I need to be clear, that is immediately gross to me because it’s an abusive mindset. That you should be given the right of way, and if you’re not good enough other people can’t be either. That’s not healthy. That’s not good. Do not do this!!!!!! Add in more exclamation marks as needed to make this point stick! Don’t stalk people, wow! This is exactly the kind of creepy ‘watched’ feeling that makes people not RP with you! This is an unreasonable standard! This is you not caring if they’re having more fun with someone else and developing something they like, because you didn’t get it! No! Bad! Stop! You need to reel back on this need to win, buddy. It ain’t a competition. Well, it sort of is, but it’s not an important one that you should skulk in the background monitoring after you aren’t in the race anymore!
There is something out there called exclusivity. This is when two consenting writers choose to close their storyline to other people, and plan only to RP with one another romantically, or in some cases, at all. A clause mentioning you’re looking for this in one of the two forms in your OOC section will have some effects. One? People who are into this kind of closed door policy will seek you out. They will find it comfortable to be listed on each other’s profiles, and love the idea of your world revolving around them as much as theirs revolves around you. Two? It’ll scare absolutely everyone else off up front, and the ‘round about’ dismissal you’re getting will decrease by a lot because they’ll be able to put a finger on why they’re creeped out. It’s nice to know what’s coming.
There’s also the usual issues, since this is for everyone and not just this one guy: your English sucks, your characterization is ‘flawed’ in overarching opinion, you’re not selling your posts, you have some weird quirk, or you’re just not appealing. We can fix these.
English? There’s worksheets online for a simple Google. Play school with yourself, and monitor what you’re saying. Make and effort, and people can tell even if you aren’t perfect. Ask some close friends to point out flaws, and make edit suggestions as you talk to them. “But this isn’t high school, why do I have to write right?” Because the more you write well, the better you’ll get into the habit of writing well all the time. If you’re a lazy sod, then by all means be a lazy sod. Just know it’s not gonna make you well-liked, you’ll be looked down on much of the time, and you won’t get as much RP as your normally would. You get to pick your actions! I’ll never force you to change! The thing is you also pick your consequences, and it’s up to you to shoulder them.
Characterization! Okay look, you can write your character any way you want. This is like, RP law. You and you alone control them. But like I said above, you cannot control the reactions and enjoyment of others in relation to what you’re doing. Whatever choices you make are going to have repercussions. They will influence how people react to you and your character. If your character is not what people expect from canon, or from your description of your OC, it can be a jarring experience. They lose faith in how you do things. Loss of faith means they may wander off and you lose out on RP. Sorry, that’s how the cookie crumbles. Try re-engaging with the media the character comes from, even if that means rewriting your OC’s profiles and backstories. Explain your choices. If it’s “because I just wanna lol” and it’s an extreme change that really, really, really needs an explanation? You better be making that change so interesting, awesome, and enjoyable that people are attracted to it and what it represents. If you don’t make it engaging for other roleplayers, you don’t get RP. Simple.
Not selling your posts? This is a little more complex. You can have all the technical ability in the world, and write absolutely flawless prose with every word in the right spot, and every comma flowing. You can do all this, and yet still be writing dead words. Look, you people engage with this blog for one reason: when I write, I grab your attention. I may not be goshdangdiddly perfect, but if you read me regularly it’s because it connects to you. It makes things digestible. Reading a technical manuscript tends to lose a lot of this quirky personality. I’m going to be fair and point out this is why I got a lower grade in some classes in college, I can’t write with that abstract lack of feeling that makes writing look professional. It’s not in my wheelhouse. So yes! There’s places where you can write very seriously and do great. Roleplay is not one of them.
When you roleplay, you are writing for a rich, full, unique character you developed. Yes, even canons have development! You grabbed them, lifted them out of the story, and now use your understanding of that story to present them and that understanding to others. When I read something, say a character saying they couldn’t sleep after an event, I could read it as them worrying about it, and why it happened. Someone else could read guilt into it, that they feel responsible. A third person considers it part of their headcanon that they never sleep well anyways, and they just felt comfortable enough in this situation to admit it. Since your view hinges on your experiences and understanding, it’s up to you to make other people understand your point of view. They don’t need to agree, in all cases, but they need to believe it’s possible. You need to write as rich, full, and uniquely as you see your character being. Bring their quirks, ideas, memories, and responses to life.
That’s where selling it comes in. If you never tell people about why a character does something, they won’t feel engaged. They won’t feel like you understand your character. Lacking a voice for the character can make them feel flat. Empty. If they aren’t involved in what’s going on, if their response is from a stock photo gallery, if they just aren’t ‘in the moment’ and reacting in a way that gains attention? It’s not really fun. Sorry. Like, you need to give people a way to interact. This can be actually interacting, or just like TV lets us interact. By yelling, “COME ON. DON’T GO IN THE SERIAL KILLER’S HOUSE, STOP–” even if it doesn’t do anything.
Weird quirks? Boy, okay, okay, some people got weird shit they do in RP. Like, there is some shit out there you would not believe. I had this one person who would regularly swap characters in the middle of their paragraph and have literally nothing telling you it happened. I’ve had people who use emoticons in super serious prose. Folks who actually use the old fashioned (A/N: Author’s Note in the middle of posts.)
Quirks are fine. They are! But not everyone is going to have the patience to ignore them, or even the child-like glee that lets them enjoy it. It may not even be a massive quirk. Maybe you just like to talk about your character’s physique. How muscular their arms are, how their abs ripple. There’s definitely people who are going to lean in and love that, because they get to imagine that sexy character flexing. Some people are going to be completely turned off by it. You can’t really predict that, so be yourself, but accept that others may lean towards a different style over yours.
Not appealing? Here’s the hard one. Maybe you’re just not their type. It’s not a quirk, or unusual thing you do. It’s not a lack of engagement. Your character is fleshed out, and well done. You write well, you’re cheerful and kind. There’s nothing outwardly upsetting. The only thing going on is: you don’t mesh. Your personalities are too different. Your goals are incompatible. You just don’t zing. Shame, but there’s no fix to this. The only thing you can do is keep looking for more players. Thankfully, there’s always more players. Heck, even old rejections can evolve over time. They might grow up in 2-3 years into someone entirely different and you work together flawlessly. Until then, put a lid on it. It’s fine. Let it cook. Do something else.
As they say, you can do everything right and still fail. This isn’t always a reflection on you when someone doesn’t want to play, or when they avoid play, or even when circumstances just don’t take them in a direction that allows them to play with you. Rejection, misunderstandings, a lack of connection, losing partners, missing the ship on others? It’s all a normal part of roleplaying. It’s a constantly evolving mesh of humanity that sometimes interfaces with each other. If you feel like that’s too much to handle, it’s okay. Roleplay isn’t for everyone. Not everyone has the temperament. Not everyone has the patience. Not everyone even has the unique flair needed to catch attention. But dear lord, if this is true of you, do not take it out on other people. Just do something else. It’s healthier.
I hope you can figure out what’s going on and I’m completely wrong. I hope you settle down with a lovely player, and you were just having a streak of bad luck and needed to vent. I hope if not the above, you can see where my assertions based on what you sent miiiiight just be spooking people and reel it in. I hope that everything works out, and you have a ton of fun. Good luck.
Edit 2/2/2018: Hoo boy a couple folks are pissed I read this question the way I did. When I see a “majority of the time” causing them issues, I assumed this question was why they were being avoided all the time not what people meant by simple statements. Most folks pissed by this read are reading it “why did someone say they want to grow their RP?” Completely different questions, hence the summary title. The question they’re reading has a damned simple answer. They want to fucking grow their RP. Ta da! Magical. But that isn’t what the post was boiled down to for me, and since the answer on that hand is more obvious than a zit on your nose the day before prom, hardly what I’m going to get into.
No fucking duh some people mean what they say. In fact this route of organic RP is popular, I do this too! I’m not saying you can’t want just what you say. I’m saying “hey if you get this problem in such high rates you feel something is wrong and you need help, here’s some shit I read into your tone and small details you added, and how to fix those if they happen to apply.” But then, most folks being mad also say they didn’t read the whole thing, which of course means they’re not exactly informed of what I did say. Surprise I did also cover this. Oh well.
As an aside, so folks know how I assume the same anon felt in response to me suggesting they needed to fix a few things, or had a vibe that I picked up… Seems like it was helpful! So, chillax. They’re a good peep, and they probably hella did not meant to give the tone I got, and that folks might be picking up if I did. So now their RP life will probably be more awesome if they’re aware. I’m super glad.
Anonymous said to rpedia:
Thank you for your response to “Why Do People Avoid RPing With Me?” Your insight gave me much needed perspective, and I now know what to work on with myself.
askedsaid: Minor PSA: when you and your partner agree to do a crossover to something your partner explicitly told you they know nothing about, you’re kind of supposed to fill in the details. Don’t just describe the Dwarven castle as “the Dwarven castle.” What am I supposed to do with that? Knock on the door? Oh, there’s a moat. Thanks for clearing that up. It’s so frustrating to have to flail about and try to play along! Make it easy to participate or you’re really just writing a private fanfiction.
I like this. I can see where it may apply and questions it’ll bring up though… LET’S EXPAND ON THIS. I’m gonna rub my greasy little fingers all over your very decent PSA and help ya’ll add a little Dungeon Master to your roleplaying flair, so everyone can be on the same footing. This is, for example, very useful for super hyper-intelligent characters who are supposed to pick up on everything, or psychics and dieties and– whatever let’s go play.
So… When roleplaying with someone, part of your job is to illustrate what is going on. If there’s complexities at work that can’t be guessed and are important to what is going on? Not only will you benefit, but your partner will benefit from you detailing those things. This goes for any roleplay. Don’t just say simple facts, and phrases that don’t add anything to the environment, especially in situations where one character is known for their observation skills.
I used to play Sherlock for instance. A post telling me that a character had clues on them with no description of those clues? Fucked me over. I’m sorry, I might be playing a psychic or extremely observational character, but I’m not gonna magically guess what you the player are doing out of character. I’m a mere mortal. So when that person detailed the hems covered in mud on their fancy khakis where mud had no business being? Yeah, that gave Sherlock a hint they were mucking about in fancy clothing, which means they didn’t plan whatever they were up to.
When you’re playing with someone it pays to add details because they can play OFF those details. You pour tea, sure okay. You pour tea into fine bone china with blue patterns, your hand shaking, and offer it with a tremulous smile, eyes darting back and forth to catch any hint of disapproval? I’m gonna have more to work off. Even if my character is happy and content, or blind to what’s going on, as a player I can comment on how oblivious they are, how they haven’t caught on. Maybe mention their mother had similar china, or the blue reminds them of the ocean, which then leads to them blurting out some random thought about it.
Then of course, the original PSA. When someone has no fucking clue what’s going on, it pays to spit out loads of information. Just frontload ‘em, drawn them in details. We are writing together, which means that unlike speaking, the words are not lost forever after they’re mentioned. They exist in logs, and we can scroll up and read or check things for future posts. So, don’t leave someone hanging, blind, lost and alone in a world that they know nothing about. Feel free to feed information about oh… dwarves hanging outside smoking thin pipes stuffed with plant-based charcoal with fossilized resin for flavor. Mention that this mine is much smaller than the one renowned for 50 flavors of such ancient resin, and it’s imported on the big old wagons seen near the foreign wood portcullis leading over the moat. The stones themselves are perfectly fitted, nothing could go between them, not even a rat’s whisker, how they were clearly hand mined anyways from local rock. Limestone to be exact, which meant these dwarves were some volcanic ash away from cement.
Y’see how quickly someone learns facts through description? You just listened to me ramble about ideas, but you picked up on things. You learned about their society, that they hang out and socialize outside. You learned their level of technology, and have in mind a genuine castle. You have an idea of how widespread their culture is, and important things they can trade in. In fact, you’ve learned that they don’t handle wood themselves, by the look of things. They have it shipped in from far away. You even learned that, because there’s limestone, this castle and mine are close to an underground water source or river. You know. If you google “where is limestone found” anyways, or know it off the top of your head.
This is important for all sorts of shit. At the same time, it pushes you to research what you’re doing. The healer character is fixing a toothache, well how did people do that? You google, find out they chewed whole cloves to numb the area through the powerful oils. Say clove, and your partner knows the smell from baking. They know the taste is strong, and can react with a wince before it starts numbing the area. Your partner can talk about using it to cook, or bitch about the little spiky flower heads looking like they belong in potpourri and not their mouths.
Knowing the little details also makes your writing look more real towards other people, which in turn helps them play their best. So yes! Elaborate! Explain how your character’s facial expressions are moving so they can pick it up, explain where their hands are, what tools their using, what their surroundings are. It’s super helpful! I’ll thank you a thousand times over for explaining how your weapon works in a fight so I can understand the process of disarming, avoiding, or reacting to being hit with it. I’m blessed when a partner goes out of their way to talk about why and how something is effecting them. Mental status, world status, environment. So please, this PSA is a good PSA, listen to them.
Surprisingly for such a narrow topic, already answered this here!
Anonymous asked: New reader! I have a question. My muse is a villain and sometimes I feel like they’re more in-control of the blog than I, the Mun, am. Is that normal?
This brings up some interesting questions, mostly, how much is the muse and how much is the mun? The issue is that with a lot of the things we see about writers and roleplayers, we commonly hear ‘I’m sorry! The muse made me do it!’ So it becomes something normal to expect: We’re going to lose control to what the muse wants. This can be truly awful if someone uses it as an excuse to let their character get away with everything up to and including murder. So let’s look at how much the muse is really taking over and what it means. (Spoiler: They aren’t really. You’re giving in to your knowledge of characterization and gut reactions and blaming it on them, and we’ll see how badly that can go.) As usual, read with the knowledge this is just one guy’s opinion, not an argument, or the end all be all of shit. Just what I’ve gathered over the years.
So as a writer it’s pretty normal to feel like the characters are writing themselves, this is true whether you play a side character, a villain, or a hero. There’s no one group of characters who take over the most, even if villains sound like they should. I mean. Evil overlords. It’s kind of their game right? But the truth is, there’s way more to it than the characters just seeming to have more control.
Writers, that’s you and me babe, are essentially actors. Some very good writers are method actors. Method acting is when you put yourself in a character’s place, and ask yourself how the character would feel. You explore life as the character, expand your mind and sublimate your own emotions into that of the character. You essentially shelf yourself and live out their lives to get a more unhindered tap directly into their emotions and reactions.
This is instinctive, as a writer, and many people are not aware that they do it in quite so many words. They simply think of the Muse as a sort of half-alive being that talks to them, that they’re sharing space in your mind and memories. Sometimes people are afraid to voice or express that because it seems awkward, or out of touch. I mean, imaginary friends? That talk to you? Who has those as adults right? (Give or take some sensitive topics.) Surprise! It’s okay, you’re creating an identity within yourself for the purpose of acting, and will wear that persona to get in better touch with their goals and instincts. This is a normal human process. We do this. It happens.
So with method acting, or rather method writing in our cases, it almost feels like the roles have come alive. We understand the characters intuitively. We’ve harnessed our memories, our emotions, our knowledge of situations and growth as a character and allowed ourselves to live, or relive them as we write them. This can form extremely strong attachments and memories to those characters. I myself sort of wanna slug people who say they aren’t real because they feel so real. They feel so strongly there that they are my friends, and they are important to me as both a coping mechanism and as a way to write. Maybe don’t hit people, but it’s not going to hurt anything to love and appreciate your muses like I do.
In fact, treating them as their own people helps you create a compartmentalization box around them. You can define their ‘edges’ so to speak, to keep them from leaking into your own personality. Since you’ve invested so much time and effort into making sure they feel, breathe, and exist on a level that makes your writing so much better, of course they’ll fucking leak, dude. That’s like, it’s just a part of you you attributed to another name. It’s a persona you wear to act like that person. You remember the shit they do, not vice-versa, and what they do changes your approach in life however minutely. The thing is… they are never actually in control.
I know! It feels that way sometimes right? This unstoppable urge to do something because it feels so right for the character, so perfect as a reaction. The easiest way to put it into words, or to understand it, is to go ‘well the Muse feels in control’ but it’s okay. They aren’t, you just know the best course of action as that character. You understand the Muse’s point of view, and your development of this persona is so advanced that you can react as them without thinking about it. So you don’t think about it, why waste braincells on that, when you can begin creating something we like to call immersion instead? Immersion is important to get a really good depth to a character, and we experience it both as a writer, and as a consumer of media.
When we go to a movie, or read a book, we aren’t sitting there thinking about that movie or book from an outsider’s point of view unless we’re really trying or we aren’t that into books/movies. When you get a good one, you forget you exist. You fall into the suspension of disbelief and immerse yourself in it. You don’t think about your seat, you don’t think about your life. You adapt your empathy to the story being told, to characters onscreen. Your heart thrills with their victories, and falls with their loss. This is also part of the human ability to adapt to other points of view. Turns out, we got empathy up the ASS.
That’s why we anthropomorphize animals, we give them human traits to explain behaviors which are… probably not what we think, but it’s cute. You don’t have to stop, unless it might be harmful to the health of the animal, or causing issues in scientific explanations of these behaviors, but it shows we empathize so much with animals. Whoo boy, we see absolutely any animal and at least one human goes FRIEND! and bolts across the meadow to be besties. We see an animal in pain? We want to help it. We see an animal going hungry? We want to feed it. We see anything happening to something that isn’t even human, we understand that problem from the perspective of the animal, reflect that onto our own emotions, and act accordingly to either make it stronger (yes! You love tummy rubs don’t you!) or lesser (You poor thing! Here’s more water. You must be so thirsty.) in reaction to that empathy. We care. We as a species care. This is why we can look at a sagging chair and thing the poor thing is tired. It’s a fucking chair people, but hey, I guess that’s our superpower.
We do that for other humans to, of course, that’s why the sad eyed children in commercials were supposed to work. They function on the principle of battering your empathy and sympathy until you try to fix it. But the place they fall flat is giving us a tangible story we understand and connect with. This goes to show, thankfully, humans are also extremely limited in where we throw that empathy the strongest. We don’t like keeping other people’s stories in our head 24/7, or we get lost, unless they have a significant connection with us.
We actually have something we like to call Dunbar’s Number, which is a proposed idea that there’s a limited number of close stable relationships we can maintain. We think it’s about 100-250 people we can comfortably hang out with at any given time without feeling out of touch with them. Cool right? We actually fuck with that number on Facebook, studies show we tend to only keep up with the lives of about 150-200 people comfortably and more than that stresses us out. Okay wait, I got a little side tracked with cool info.
The point is, we connect to people because as humans we are empathetic and stories make us relive things. We watch movies and read books and listen to our coworker’s funny story to connect to those emotions. Those emotions are at times connected to fictional characters. Once we start feeling a connection to someone else’s imaginary friends, what stops us from making our own imaginary friends so in depth, so real, that we feel a connection to them? Part of our ability to imitate others, to act, to understand their lives, to put ourselves in their shoes depends on our ability to assume that other points of view are people.
So, Muses are as far as our emotions and brains are concerned, people. Fictional people, yes, and we should always keep that line in mind. Once we stop seeing the line of fiction and reality, shit does downhill really fast. We start attributing things to the Muse rather than taking responsibility as a writer. Because they can force us to have a kneejerk emotional response when we’re currently letting ourselves occupy their space, we assume they can force anything. They are the tiny man at the controls, laughing evilly while they hurt someone else’s character.
I mean, you’re not mean right?
You’d never hurt someone on purpose, like your character is doing.
It must be them.
That’s where shit goes wrong really quickly. Once you compartmentalize and develop a distance between you, and the outcome of what you do, it becomes so much easier to blame ‘someone else’. But it is you, I’m so sorry if you are scared of what you are capable of, but it is you. There is no Muse who can actually take you over completely without it being part of a significantly atypical neural landscape that may need a form of psychological help. It’s easy to attribute the darker parts of yourself to ‘someone else’ in your head, but… you can’t. The thing that separates you here is your willingness to carry them out in reality verses fiction.
It is alright to have bad thoughts. I know, sometimes people can get a little obsessed with purity of the soul. This happens in religions, militaries, utopias and dystopias, this happens in any place with an ideal to strive for, this happens everywhere. People push for purity, because they imagine that if no one ever had a bad thought, that bad things could not exist. It’s not a functional way of living by any means, but let’s put that oft spoken of empathy and ability to see a Point of View to work here. It’s understandable that if you boil it down to the simplest answer, no one having any bad urges at all is the best one if somehow you could accomplish that. But it misses a lot of other factors, and it won’t work.
It doesn’t take into account what people are. We are imaginative. We are complex. We need to understand what happens when we do something. We want to see things that are bad, or wrong, and develop problem solving methods for those situations, or similar situations. So we do think of bad things and it’s alright! That’s fine! The shit that is absolutely horrifying for another person, does not have to be horrifying for us. We are individuals, and so long as we respect the boundaries of others, and give fair warning when expressing ourselves, we have to go through the darkest, most disgusting underbelly of humanity to understand it. We cannot be satisfied with ‘it’s bad, don’t do it’ or our parents arguments of just doing what they say because it’s bad would have had a lot more weight. You cannot forbid another person from thinking of something you don’t like, because they do not have your experiences or limits within them.
We are raised to question and explore limits for ourselves in a very personal fashion. Don’t be ashamed of that, don’t. It’s one of our greatest strengths. The ability to push empathy into fictional territory to explore problem solving methods and what if’s so we can develop further as a whole. We aren’t perfect, of course. When we imagine what we would do if we were scared, it rarely matches up with real life. As much as you yell at horror movies not to drop the weapon, how many of us might drop the weapon without thinking and be cursing ourselves while outrunning Chainsaw McStabby? But the fact that we understand that hanging onto that weapon is a good fucking idea, comes from us exploring things that no one wants to happen to them.
So you’re going to have ‘bad thoughts’. You’re going to think of situations which other people have experienced and been traumatized by. It happens. It exists. It’s okay. The point at which that becomes bad is when you inflict it on others without permission. Fictional scenarios have a level of permission to explore shit we wouldn’t. As a people exploring this medium, we’ve learned about squick (things that simply make us uncomfortable and feel icky that we aren’t ready to endure) and triggers (things that set off a response, in psychology usually relating to panic attacks or PTSD, or other forms of flashbacks). There are certain things that cause these squicks and triggers disproportionately to the rest of existence. We’ve decided to tag those, so people can explore them at their own speed.
This is an amazing healthy social growth thing honestly, as an aside. We have, through fictional works, developed a rather solid list of things that people like to be warned about, and have as a social unit, put those into play to make sure people are safe. There’s a few things that go wrong, sometimes people don’t understand the labels, sometimes people forget them, or don’t use them. Sometimes people have one that is pretty rare and unique, so no one knows to tag and it’s superfluous to the larger group. But as a big picture, we commonly hit the big shit with a nail on the head every time. This shows groupthink built to ID problems, and solve them in a way that allows people to actively continue empathetic troubleshooting and exploration, without damaging a portion of the group. We’re functioning as a single organism protecting the vulnerable already hurt parts of itself, while still continuing an action using the less experienced and worn down parts to push through and understand it more fully. It’s amazing.
So while we mutate the ideas a little this way or that way, we’re just exploring ways to understand it. People say ‘this is wrong’ and we auto-correct over the sizable population doing this. It’s okay to be wrong. It’s okay not to write thing perfectly, or to understand them if we’re exploring them. We may be exploring a related idea through a format we can apply it to, and get an entirely different lesson. That’s okay too. So don’t worry, you’re part of a much larger communal whole, and thinking of bad shit for you villain to do is helpful. So long as you know, people can opt in or opt out. We need forms of crisis to solve and grow, even if other people have faced those crisis and come out with a perspective of their own already. Limiting other people with your perspective damages their growth as a person, and everyone needs to make mistakes in order to learn from them. As long as those mistakes take steps to avoid hurting others, then don’t attack them, encourage them with changes and ways to alter their perception more towards a realistic goal, and remember their goals may be different. They might be taking a round-about or unused path to their destination and you have to respect that you don’t know everything even if you’ve experienced the path they took and came out with a different opinion, emotion, issue, goal, or story.
Now that we have that caveat out of the way, and we understand it’s natural to mentally follow the path leading into the dark sometimes… Your ass better understand it ain’t the god damn Muse. It’s still you, and as a player you have a responsibility. You are in control of them, no matter how much it feels like you aren’t. You are the one who will have to deal with whatever comes of their actions. You have responsibility. The fallout of your actions while in-character fall squarely on your shoulders, with no respite. That’s it. Period. There is not “But–!” There is only you fucking did it. You wrote it, read it, and decided to hit send. Your character is not hitting send. Your character does not stop you from understanding what is written. Your character doesn’t grab you and throw you out of the way to do things. You make the choice to let it into the world.
You can write that thing they want! No matter what it is! But then you have to let yourself take on a sort of ‘Godhood’ in relation to your Muses. You are in full control of their lives, you can rip off their limbs in accidents. You can destroy their lives. Change their names. Curse or bless them. You can rewrite their histories, make them look different, swap their genitalia, and throw nasty wrenches into their games. So as far as your Muses and characters go, you’re their God. You have all the power.
And as usual, ‘Why would God let this happen?’ comes into play. We like to make anyone with the power to stop things, responsible for the things. If you see something bad or wrong or badong going on, you netted the job of editing it. Fix what they did. Create an alternate universe and smash the one that would have caused problems for your real life under your thumb. Make sure your character’s initial instincts about a situation and another person’s Muse, doesn’t hurt the second layer of their reality. That is, in other words, behind the 4th wall another player exists and you have to be aware of that. You get to make sure the other player is safe. Give them warnings and know their limits. As a narrator, explain what’s going on that your Muse doesn’t realize, and make sure they know what is going on is the character. Know yourself that it is a character, and you have control.
Once you stop letting your character be the only voice on the keyboard, your writing will get that much better too. You can start playing against yourself, showing more details by cracking open things they say, and displaying the innards for the other player playing God with their own characters. The more they understand, the better they can respond. This give stories you can enjoy with them more depth and realism. Share. Share everything. Share the power, the story, the limelight, the details of your character’s soul. Bare them to each other, and then do like writers always do:
… Totally fuck with them.
So in short after all that nattering: Yeah it is normal to feel like your Muse is in control. They aren’t, and you need to be aware of the consequences of your actions while wearing their skin, and be ready to alter shitty things or at least point out they’re fictional; but they do feel like it, right? It’s amazing how we can empathize with something we created, and I think it’s beautiful so long as we remember the line. We have to remember the difference between us and them. They can be erased over time or changed, but we have to live with what they’ve done and fix it or cherish it. There is a line, and that line is OOC/IC. The Muse is not you, and you are not your Muse. You just play one on TV. Have fun.
Anonymous asked: Hi there, I was wondering if you had advice on how to rename a longtime character? I have an OC I’ve RPed for a couple years on the same site, but I’ve quit the site. I really like the character, but every time I think of the name, it reminds me of bad memories from this site. I’ve been looking through Behind the Name but it’s a bit overwhelming. Thanks so much for the help!
There’s a couple of methods I’d like to suggest. I’ll pop this under a cut as per usual, but a short gist: base it off what you already have, or randomize it in various ways. Just like naming it the first time, you just get a second shot at at. Maybe you had a second place name you sorta wanted and picked the first one instead, I mean, that name didn’t come out of a void and it doesn’t leave a void you can’t work off.
Kittycorner Meaning: Name the character the same name meaning but a different etymological relationship. What does your current character’s name mean? Where did it come from? Can you make the name more precisely match the character’s background/timeline somehow by changing it to something from a different region? Peter for instance means stone in Greek. Throw in an English background, and you could just call him Stan! Or Alan, or Bedros. They all mean stone, or something similar, so you can come out with the same deep meaning, but have a different name.
Similar Nickname: What nickname did you use for them? Names commonly have the same nickname in common, so you could find the same nickname, but then pick a different main name. Cassius, Castiel, Casey, Caster… They all start with Cas, so if your character is normally called Cas, you could step one to the right and pick a new name! Will, Bill, William. Dick, Richard, Fredrick. It’s pretty easy to do.
Clean Strip: Entirely wipe the character’s name, and go through the process of naming them from scratch. Start with where they grew up, their family genealogy, and the time period and research common names relating to that time period. Work them over, and pick ‘deeper meanings’ if you like to highlight major parts of their character. Explore the character, are they, as TVTropes calls them, a lancer? That’s the second-in-command to a main character who works to contrast them by being the opposite personality and injecting friendly conflict. Maybe you’ll name your character Lance if so, or… be a little less directly on point. Lance means “Land” in old German, so why don’t we use Darrick instead. That means King of the Land! As you can see, a permutation of anything you come up with is available, and you don’t have to explain how you got from point A to point B unless you want to.
Roll for It!: Another option, roll a dice for numbers between 1-26, and take the letter that matches your roll, then look through names starting with it! Pick your top 10 favorites, and roll again. Luck itself picks it, this can feel like a form of destiny. You have no hand in the ultimate outcome, you can influence it, but you can’t pick it by yourself. On the other hand, sometimes having it roll a name you don’t like makes you unhappy and roll again, which means you should remove the icky name you don’t like. You can keep rolling until all the names are good and dead, leaving you a final winner which subconsciously you picked all along. The die works simply as a way of forcing you to make a decision, because it already has, so you can decide to agree or disagree. Magical.
Ask a Friend: A friend who knows you and your character may have a good enough feel to pick a name for you. After all, we don’t get to pick our own names, our parents do, and that’s almost similar isn’t it? A loved one picking a name means it has more weight, and honestly your parents didn’t know you or your future before they picked a name for you. People don’t always grow into their names, and that’s alright.
Find a Name: A final way to do this is probably the most round about. Roleplay finding a new name. Create a reason to redefine yourself, or to find a name to be called by. Maybe it’s a symbolic act for the character of divesting themselves of their old life. Maybe they have amnesia or have forgotten a large portion of things, and need to find something else to call themselves. Maybe they pick up a title, or a new identity for some reason, and become so accustomed to playing that role they refuse to give it up. This option is the most fluid for change, within the game. It means no one has to pretend the change was true all along, and the people you meet can help form a history of this new name. Unfortunately, you’ll be stuck with the old one for a while longer, but this gives it some solid backstory as a reason to adopt a new one.
That’s basically all the advice I can give! Good luck finding a name that suits! It was hard enough trying to figure out the first one, I know, but you can do it. Sometimes, it just comes to you. You really don’t need to follow any rules when you do this, you’re the writer, not a best friend. You’re essentially a god-like figure with the choice of changing anything at any moment to your fancy without any reason or rhyme. There’s no reason to feel trapped by anything you’ve already created, because you can just say it never happened. Sometimes we get so close to a character we feel like we’re telling their story rather than creating it from scratch, but it’s not true. We’re gods. They live at our whim. You can change shit.
The only major thing that this may effect OOCly is how people you play with respond to it, well… Let them! Try and make it easy for everyone, explain your reasons, and just do it! This is your character, not theirs. You can change whatever makes you feel better. Let that character grow. Let them become something more than a first draft. It’s alright, and good people will respect your choices even if they’ll miss The Old Days™.
Oh and final word of warning, maybe let your friends know the name you have in mind in advance and ask them to make fun of it. If they can come up with something stupid in under 15 seconds, either be prepared to deal with that stupidness forever, or try a different name. People are very very bad at being original and any knee-jerk response will happen over and over until you want to scream. Best check in advance. Seriously. Sometimes you don’t see that that name rhymes with Penis, and now Thenis the Penis is the only fucking thing you hear forever. Don’t fall for this.
Good luck again!
Just a quicky answer here! Try this post. In short, third-person past tense is the most common tense style, and is used consistently throughout most of the RP community. The only thing is, tenses fuck up a lot depending on what you wanna portray in a post, so if you slip back and forth a little to make things more aggressively now now now, or have to mention future tense when you’re mid-fight. RP is different from novels because it’s alive and quick, but then novels can switch back and forth depending on chapter so whatever. It’s writing. If it feels good and you choose to use it deliberately for a function, it’s right. Just know that third-person past is The Usual™ and most common and therefore your RPs will flow better instead of swapping tense back and forth every post.
Anonymous asked: Don’t know if this has been asked before but it seems like a lot of rp blogs have “Container themes” (some custom styled, some regular). I know it’s all preference but why is common preference since it seems smaller and a bit hard to read if it’s minimal.
This is such a thinly veiled gentle way of asking me, in frustration, to tell everyone your itty bitty god damn aesthetics boxes are hurting people’s eyes and driving them off.
So Short PSA: They’re pretty, but for the love of cute animals, try using a scaling-in-size theme that does the same thing? They’re like blogs for ants. Some folks, I admit, can’t even browse blogs like that. I personally leave your carefully curated tiny tiny, tiny, boxes because show up on like one quarter of my screen at a size smaller than my thumb.
Round about ways to get around this? You can open those blogs in your dash with x-kit. Or you can just use ctrl and + to make the thing fit your big ass screen, but then everything’s blurry.Goodbye aesthetics, hello visibility! You can also try something like Just Read for Chrome or Reader for Firefox. They strip the CSS entirely and turn the webpage into your submissive eager toy.
Just to be clear: be careful about your choices if you choose a blog design with a smaller screen in mind. Folks with bigger screens find it hard to read, so it may drive us off, and give us eyestrain, which is shit for finding new RP.
I guess I should do a ‘what’s important when picking a theme’ thing to help maximize use for others? So here we go, kids.
Text visibility in themes is extraordinarily important. Roleplaying is about your writing and your gifs I guess here on the wacky world of Tumblr, but mostly writing. Every other website has a focus on it for a reason, it’s literally how you communicate prose. Gif’s are cute, but you don’t need them.
So, lesson one. Make the text visible. It should be around 12px large, you can go down to 10px but that’s going to make some people avoid your blog, which stops you from finding potential players! That’s bad! So go with 12px unless you have a damn good reason, or don’t really have issues finding partners.
Make the colors readable. Do not put red on cyan, don’t do some faded white text that looks mysterious on some dappled background. Don’t overlay it with effects. Don’t do white on black, or black on white. Find a comfortable medium, something you can read at length without burning out your eyes. Many people favor a darker background with lighter text to avoid that burning sensation that white can produce, many others hate that like the dickens so hey if anyone codes themes looks at this, a ‘nightmode’ switch for colors in a theme being dark on white or white on dark would be the coolest thing ever.
Also, do not put it in a god damn tiny ass fixed width box. Theme coders! I love you, I do, but please try using flexible elements. Making the div width a percentage instead of a fixed pixel size can do fucking wonders for people. It lets all the elements fit without being a mess. If you use background-position you can set an image to the right, the left, the center bottom, whatever. Use those for all 4 sides of the box, and then throw in a god damn background-size and background-size-moz of like 100% of the div holding them. Including the background of the entire body! Suddenly your whole fucking theme resizes to fit! It’s a miracle of god! It’s not perfect 100% of the time when you’re being a tricky little shit, and sure absolute positioning and a fixed pixel width can be useful in places, but don’t just go 800px wide because it’s the typical smallest screen size and therefore the “best” when you can do flexible coding!
… I may have gotten a bit nerdy there, sorry for anyone I lost on some of those notes. Anyways.
So you as a roleplayer should pick a simple theme, a banner on top is pretty but having to scroll down on every single new page gets old quickly. If you want people to read a lot of your posts rather often, sticking to sidebars is for the best. It’ll save them precious seconds, and they’ll stick around to read longer.
Make sure you navigation is way visible. Left and right arrows somewhere should be tasteful, but not hidden in the bushes somewhere. You want to be able to go from page to page easily. If the same way, avoid endless scrolling! Seriously! It’s neat on one hand, but trying to find your place after your browser tab crashes and you’re 200 pages into the blog is so horrible some people close the window and never return. You’ve killed another chance. Go for pagination, not endless scroll as often as possible.
Tags are important, so is the time posted, and links to profiles/OOC/tag lists/open thread tags and the like. These should all be visible and easy to access so people can get online, check the tag on your blog, see when you replies, and reply themselves. New people want to read your OOC, character profile, and information about everything important. So have your Out of Character and rules done and ready to go before you open shop!
Fancy elements should always be done with accessibility in mind. Do not pick some weird fucking mouse pointer that is hard as fuck to use, they’re cute, but make sure they have a point on them so people can see how to use them right. Don’t make the scrollbars too small to click. Don’t make a constant glitter shower on every single page that blurs out the writing and constantly distracts people. Avoid colors that clash painfully, red on blue for instance causes weird shapes at the corner of the eye and is generally unpleasant. You want your space to be as open and comfortable as possible.
This doesn’t mean don’t have cute art, or sweet fonts (at least for titles and the like, maybe don’t use cursive for the actual text font). It doesn’t mean some gifs can’t be managed, or a dropdown header that only appears when you raise your mouse can’t be done. Just do it tastefully. Work hard at making your roleplay blog something everyone can read, and you’ll be that much closer to getting more partners to play with. Good luck!
Anonymous asked: You give a lot of good advice. (Hi, longtime listener, first time caller.) I was wondering if you might have any for playing a canon character with unfavorable fanon interpretations that the fandom just refuses to see any other way? I hesitate to call my portrayal “canon divergent” because it’s not, but many potential partners seem to have their own ideas of this character burned into their heads and refuse to accept my portrayal as my own. Many refuse to play with me at all because they dislike this character based on unfair fanon characterization, so I don’t even get to make my own impressions. Any advice?
Oh god– pause here to reflect and realize that you’ve been reading for a while, thank you!– and return to the horrible memories of playing characters with decent, responsible portrayals based on your own reading being dissed. Oh my god. Oh god. Fuck. So many memories. Because apparently that’s all I fucking do half the time. I’m forever reading canon and going off into something easily read, but generally ignored in the fandom.
I had this one character who was super soft and lovable in canon, but I read into his actions some passive aggression, sarcasm, short temper, and typical teenager groaning. The fandom did not see that. The fandom believed there was nothing more to this character than a soft smile, warm affection, and a fatherly sense of confidence and kindness. To say that the negative opinions leveled towards me were not annoying as shit would be a misunderstanding of fact. (Luckily, canon proved out he did have a temper on him, and was sarcastic as hell. So bite me, I did him right before you knew what right was because I read into gestures instead of going with fanon.)
So, yes I have some experience dealing with people who are trying to enforce their headcanons on you in order to get what they want, rather than playing with the character you’re actually playing! … I’m just gonna be angry about it all post, but let’s watch…
SO. This shit, I’m gonna repeat, is annoying as fuck. I’ve again got a habit of picking up characters that are interesting in a certain light, and hated by the fandom because fanon’s primary interest is making them out as assholes with no redeemable qualities whatsoever or characters who are kind of boring if you don’t read into them. And I’ve played everything from villains, to heroes, to anti-villains, to anti-heroes so it’s not a matter of ‘well you just play bad guys and try to make them look nice!!!’ It’s a matter of reading between the lines and not immediately dismissing everything but the shallow scan tells you.
Congrats, fair question asker, you have done this. You’ve actually looked at the character, felt a connection, understood their background and/or motives, and are trying to play up what you find there. Whether it’s a misunderstood and understated part of a character, or simply a different read on what is avaliable. You are different, unique, and genuinely trying to play the character true to canon, but how canon came off to you rather than everyone else. The only issue here is people aren’t catching onto what you’re laying down.
This is suffering. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it, this is just something that comes with roleplaying. No one will read the same character the same way every single time. Every time you rewatch you catch that little quirk of the mouth that makes something previously serious into a joke and suddenly that character is entirely different for you. Everyone has their own interpretation, and if they can’t handle yours they’re better off playing with someone else or writing fanfics, that’s just facts.
That’s honestly the best way to handle them if they can’t accept you. Say goodbye, move on, let them suckle at the teat of fandom alone. It’s better to just keep moving than start fights, let them see you RP, let them see your headcanons all fleshed out, let them make their own decision. If they don’t like how you play, that is their prerogative and they can follow their own dreams with other roleplayers. They aren’t wrong, and neither are you, they are incompatible which doesn’t mean someone involved is wrong, just their your views don’t mesh.
Doesn’t mean it don’t hurt, I know. So to help you feel better, and to build a defense against more bullshit, build up an explanation. Create a page, a site, a profile section that details everything supporting your character decisions. Explain your character in depth, and offer canonical things to back it up. Do you think they’re a secret crybaby? Bring up instances where they’ve hidden their face, or wiped away tears, or been shown crying when no one is looking. Support your claims and explain how you got to this idea. If people have an open mind, they may read it and decide ‘well shit, this sounds neat’ and play with you. Even if they don’t agree, they might enjoy it anyways.
That brings up an important point too. Roleplaying is not canon. Just period, you’ll never be canon because you’re not writing canon, but that’s not the point of roleplaying anyways. Who the hell wants to rewrite canon exactly? Roleplaying is the “What If? World” and in it, you explore possibilities and ideas and viewpoints that may have been missed or overlooked by canon. Moments that may not go against canon but were not shown in it, or hell, moments that completely rewrite canon.
To assume that canon is that important to a roleplay is to snuff out all creativity, life, and change. You character ceases to grow because it is forced to conform to the series, and not to the events happening to it. This is horrible, honestly. This is just not something that is fun for other people by any stretch of the imagination. Every jump, every leap, every change your make together in some deep scene where you spill your feelings and desires being immediately erased? Because you wanna stick to canon? Nuh-huh, no thank you. I’m sure roleplayers like that exist, and good luck to them, but that is not what most people want out of roleplay.
Roleplaying is to enjoy things in new lights, to see other interpretations, to bring new life to a series that may be dead, on hiatus, or finished. This is what happens after Happily Ever After (or if they took another route to it, or if the writers focused on a different character as the main– and so on and so on.) To close down someone else’s interpretation has two outcomes: you limit their happiness and creativity, and you also push things closer to what you want and expect. Sometimes this is good! Sometimes you want to see something more, specifically in line with your concept of the show so far. Coolios, picking your favorite canon route is fine. You want what seems real to you, and breaking suspension of disbelief is huge. Sometimes this is bad, when you take it too far and start telling people they’re bad or they suck at roleplaying a character just because you two came away with a very different idea.
Sometimes people actually suck at the character, and don’t add anything about them from the series at all, and play a bland rice pudding with no seasonings, and slowly eliminate everything that makes them a character. Turning them into some cardboard cut out with their face, and a self-insert. … Yeah I wouldn’t play with that either. But shhh, they can just RP elsewhere.
Which is what I suggest. Simply, make your argument. If they disagree and refuse to play, they disagree and it’s not your job to fix that. If they disagree and give you a chance to show it in RP, then by jove, show it. If they agree that that’s a possible read, although not what they came away with, roleplaying is great. This is what I hope people aim for. AND THEN OF COURSE THERE’S THE TOTAL CONVERTS. I love those. They’re fun, if rare.
At worst, you too can write fanfics! Show the world your version, explain, show don’t tell, bring about a fandom change. When some really good fic gets passed around, that interpretation takes root. You can totally fuck up a fandom with your ideas just by getting them out there in a consumable form. People start picking it up, people who may not RP with you, but also RP the character. The whole thing shifts, and suddenly you’re validity meter shoots up. It’s tricky, you gotta nail the right tone and get some interesting fanwork out there, but by god it’s hilarious to watch if you can manage it. Just be you. If no one likes it, their loss. There’s always someone out there willing to play, and it’s no skin off your back.
Yes! Always unless I blatantly say I’m going on hiatus or leaving.
In regards to my posting schedule: I write when I have time, so articles take a while, and I tend to pick articles I know the answer to or which are less likely to cause a fight sooner. This is why I suggest not sending me anything time-sensitive. I tend to do bursts of finished articles every month or so.
If it’s about the loading icon, this is to keep up awareness about the FCC Net Neutrality decisions. I’ll change it back soon, probably after the FCC decision is made.
Anonymous asked: Do you think a character HAS to be likeable for people to like them, if they’re the protagonist in the story? I’ve had a lot of conflict over this, as I myself enjoy having unlikeable/mean/“villainous” characters as the main character, but I’m unsure as to whether this would go well over with the majority. Do you think being likeable is a must-have trait for a popular, or enjoyable character?
Hi yeah okay uhm, no. Never. Nope. Honestly people just love a character they can connect with, and there’s a lot of people out there who look at themselves and are guilty that they have less-than-perfect responses to situations. Seeing someone who does similar, yet thrills and interests them, can give them that hook. Let them know they aren’t alone, and give them a fictional anchor to see themselves in. That connection, be it fascination, love, attraction, or reflection is the important part. Let’s examine a few of the ‘most popular’ characters from recent shows and see why they were popular, because surprise surprise, most of them were straight up villains yet everyone loves them. … I’m going to talk a lot about basically these two paragraphs ad nauseum as I explain, get ready for it.
So we’re going to jump right into some fandoms people have hashed back and forth to the point that, really, we want to gag. Yes. Let’s walk directly into hell and pick up BBC Sherlock, the MCU’s Avengers, Game of Thrones, and… you know what, let’s do it. Let’s go grab that Nolan version of Batman.
You probably realized who I was talking about first for each and every one of them, so let’s point at our targets. Moriarty, Loki, Joker, and Joffery come on down! Actually GoT has a lot of fucking targets let’s be real. We’ll leave that one for last because we can drain it of the most meat before we toss it aside. Anyways.
What do these characters have in common? They’re evil, yes, they’re strongly represented in their respective canons, and holy shit the fandom fucking loves them. Like everything about them, there’s fanart, and fanfics, and rewrites, and redemption arcs in every little fanish heart for miles. (peep TVtropes about this following phrase) They have more Leather Pants than Draco Malfoy, another fond favorite but we’re not gonna bother with him because he doesn’t have much hearty fulfilling canon meat on him. Fandom strongly wishes that these characters, despite their issues, were ‘good people’ and could care about another person. They want them to be a little bit goofy, and are completely willing to overlook everything they’ve done if they could get better now.
So my theory, and oh no I have a theory, is you can get away with a character being a total fuckface if you pick which part of Triumvirate of Attraction they fail at and keep the other two. It’s a triangle. The corners are: Attractive Looking, Witty/Sarcastic/Intelligent, and Relatable. So if you have a character who is relatable and funny, everyone loves them even if they are literally made out of goopy clay pasted onto some sort of twig framework. If they’re good looking and horrifyingly intelligent, no one ever has to bond with them or understand them on a deep personal level, because wow they’re funny and I can look at them!
Each of these character has unlikable aspects, and I’m sure the fandom can give me a real debate about each so this is a minefield. Just remember, everyone has their own interpretations of the characters, and mine are not 100% correct, nor do I claim them to be. But my view is useful for breaking them down and explaining them as a POV to learn from, so bear with me even if I insult your favorite by accident because I’m using them for examples of assholes right now. (Hint: I’ve roleplayed most of them, so I love them too, I love them even if they’re horrific pieces of burning trashfire. )
So, Loki. He was raised as the second son to is King-God father and warrior son, tended towards trickery because of a rift between him and his family. He tended to be blamed for things, and then do other things. We know him as a character who has ripped people’s minds out to use them as pawns, murdered people by stabbing them through the gut, and seemed to quite enjoy warring with other planets. These, regardless of how desensitized to them we are, are not good things. That’s mind-control, murder, and murder on a team he tricked into it, and we aren’t even going to look at various things he may have done elsewise. This character is not a good man, he’s flawed, and yet people adore him. Why? Well, mostly it’s because he’s hilarious. The man turned into Captain America for a crack, he says those snappy little one-liners we all wish we could, and he’s brilliant when it comes to an extended master plan. He keeps things interesting. He’s also not bad looking, sure he might not be to your specific taste (especially after people have harped on it so long) but he’s got the kind of face that blends in with the bland circus of ‘handsome actors’ well enough. Not to mention we also identify with him, he’s got the triumvirate. The outcasts, walking in people’s shadow, who feel they’ve been pushed into being bad. Those people who want power to help others, even if it means destroying them in the process. People who need to prove themselves, and get the love they crave. They’re all seeing their reflections here, even if Loki is haughty, extremely intelligent, and out of reach as a bit of an Ice King.
Now Moriarty. Once again, we have someone who is handsome and witty! He’s sarcastic as hell, uses his voice in a certain patter to draw you in for the punchline, and then lets it rip. He knows how to keep people pulled in waiting for him to say his next memorable line. He also fucking poisoned kidnapped children with mercury, paid men to kill other people with Russian Roulette style bets, caused several man hunts, and forced people to commit suicide for kicks. Wee bit of not-good there. Is he relatable? Maybe on some shallow level, but widely, he’s too smart for us, he’s doing things we probably wouldn’t do because, well, they’s a bit mean ain’t they? He’s a mystery in many respects, and we can’t so much as bond with him, as pretend to bond with him by trying to enforce the character of Sebastian into a world he doesn’t exist in as our ‘in’, or by using Sherlock to wedge in the same ‘mirror’ so we can understand the guy who is outside of our league. We fake understanding him because we like him. So, strike relatable, keep him attractive (bisexual jokes nab a lot of looks and he’s handsome) and witty! Add as much asshole as you want the fans are snagged. He could kick a puppy and fans would croon about how evil he is, an awful sinnamon roll they want to see more of. That’s how it works. (And as a reminder, our Smart/Pretty Sherlock over there isn’t much of a relatable person or nice either.)
Why not jump to Nolanverse’s Joker now. He’s one of the first who break the ‘Handsome and Witty’ pair up, because look at him. He runs around in unshaven legs in a nurse costume with soggy makeup. He’s not clean, he probably smells funny (get it, because clown), and he’s an abusive piece of shit out to murder half the city for kicks and to get Bat-Sempai to notice him. But we find him funny and relatable, he hates how the world is dependent on money and wants to change it. He considers the world one big nasty joke being played on the people. He’s got one-liners everywhere, and frankly good advice (never do something you’re good at for free). He’s against society, against money controlling people, and wants to ‘level the playing field’. Sure, he finds that graveyards are all remarkably flat as a playing field goes, but we get it. He’s miserable and wants to do something with his life. This is how cults start to be honest. He’s an angry ugly man with a funny way of looking at the world that makes you think he’s just like you, and maybe he does have a point? So people latched onto him, he became the figurehead of a movement. Anarchy, and chaos, something they could look up to even if it wasn’t a very good thing. He is beloved, whether or not you personally like him.
Then there’s Joffery. I want to make an agonizing groaning noise over him because he’s got one trait: he’s not bad looking. If he wasn’t a raging shitstorm of pubescent narcissism bent on destruction for kicks, he’d be kind of hot. He’s not very smart, he’s not witty, he’s just cruel. If he’s relatable, it’s not through direct relation. It’s through knowing that one little prick you had to deal with your whole life who was just like him but without the power. Or I guess, there’s a lot of power fantasy loving folk who probably just liked him for him. I’m not judging. … I’m judging a tiny bit. There’s some judgement. He’s a little shit okay, he’s a pretty nasty little shit. But was he popular as fuck? Hells yes! Everyone knows Joffery if they’ve watched the series! He’s bigger than life, people groan loudly at his name, he’s got a fandom supporting him and his tragic life. Tragic in part because he had one. People looked forward to episodes with Joffery to see what evil stunt he’d pull next, to see what happened to his victims, and most importantly to see the evil little booger meet the finger that picks him. We couldn’t wait for something to happen to Joffery, whether it was a slap to the head, a stabbing, being shoved off a building, being eaten by dire wolves… the list goes on, everyone wanted to see his comeuppance more than anything. He was also, somewhat, creative and stylish about how he went around shit. Not clever, but creative, and he made evil look descent.
Now here’s where we turn on GoT In full force, gimme a second. So we have Cersei, and her twinsie-lover Jaime. Both assholes, but we love them too. They’re pretty, and immoral, and actually witty as fuck honestly. We watched fervently to see what would happen to them, but were they specifically likable characters? Hell no! Especially not at the beginning when they started really being massive tossers. How about Littlefinger? Oh no, he was nice once. But he’s witty, and pretty, and relatable, but a total fucknard too. The Mountain? We love his rude, violent, smouldered off face. He’s not pretty, but he’s his kinda street-smart, and he’s relatable. See how this is working out? My triumvirate of interest is proving out in our illustrative pudding. It doesn’t even have to be bad guys, look at Tyr. He’s fucking smart as hell, hilarious, people adore the shit out of him. He’s not supposed to be that pretty, but he is. He’s a total cock to people a lot, but he’s funny, and relatable. Everyone relates to Tyr. This is why Tyr is so beloved.
… now that I’ve nattered uselessly on that for a while, let’s look at the other reasons these characters were delightful. Because believe it or not there are totally other reasons beyond my theory.
If you look at everyone I’ve suggested here, there’s another reason people watch shows with them. Morbid, or entirely reasonable, curiosity what the fuck is going to happen next. So you need to set up a story that draws people in not with your characters, but with what their future holds. Is the testy little jerk going to die? Are the demons going to eat him? What horrible thing is he plotting next? God, I just want to see if it gets worse actually… These are the thoughts in the back of people’s heads. This is why Clockwork Orange went over so well, the surrealist batch of malarkey, sex, and ultraviolence that was. This is why Neil Gaiman’s American Gods has so much pull, when the protagonist was drawn on by events, rather than being an excessively fleshed out and interesting character. He was surrounded by interesting things and characters, he didn’t need to take that away from them. Sure he had interesting moments, but he wasn’t in and of himself extremely out-there and trying to take the spotlight and yet he was the main character. And I still couldn’t put the damn thing down. Thank you Neil.
So if your character is lacking in ways for people to be attracted to them, if they’re mean, ugly, horrible little people, who want nothing more than to hurt others, who aren’t funny, or even very smart. Who are disgusting wastes of flesh, who are too violent to live, and empty hollow unrelatable characters– you have to compliment them with the most excessively interesting plot anyone as ever made, with fantastic background-characters and a shout-outloud-at-the-library ending. Something’s gotta be palatable if your characters aren’t, but do they need to be? No. Not at all.
Can you think of any characters that have had a complete failure even though they’re marketably pretty, supposedly witty, and but-we-made-them-relatable? You’re probably, through no fault of your own, going to think about lots of mass produced strong women characters written by people who don’t ‘get it’. They assume that prepackaging the deal will instantly catch them views, I mean, she’s got sex appeal right? That’s what sells! That’s all that matters! We gave her little quips, and made her fall in love or out of love or something to do with love or the usual standard ‘I’m just as good as the guys!’ storyline, so why aren’t you falling for her yet? Because, consumers (that’s you readers!) know when something tastes like plastic. It’s fake.
So yet another thing to keep in mind is making sure your characters steam with realism. Balance your traits, good and bad. Make sure that their reactions aren’t forced or canned or seen in every version of that character ever. It’s surprisingly easy to write characters once you treat them as 3D human beings with entire lives we’re just dipping a tow into, rather than a 2D story helper to act out our little head play and then go away. Hint at their lives, draw people in. Make them realistic. Give them reasons to say the things they do, and show those reasons if you can instead of just telling them. Avoid serious stereotyping and handwaving characters as unimportant because they’re fictional.
You are a writer have one job. Make them real. If they’re real enough, it doesn’t matter what kind of a person they are. You’re telling a story, telling something that should feel real and thick like some sort of reality soup you’ve made special. Unlikable protagonists tend to be plastic cutouts, that’s the real big issue writers face. So, even if they are horrible, make them. Tell their story. Tell all their stories. Express them like the finest of anal glands. It’ll touch someone, in their heart we hope, and it’ll grow their vocabulary. People read to expand their horizons, not to fall for the same cookie cutter good guy everyone’s afraid to break the mold of.
Remember, you can write anything. Anything. Everything. It doesn’t matter if someone will find it offensive. It doesn’t matter if it grosses someone out, or someone hates it. It doesn’t matter if it looks like a first grader should have written it in crayon. Nothing matters except getting it down on paper. After that, you can pick through it with a fine tooth comb and clean it up. Then leave it alone for a while, reread it later. If you love it and feel like it’s something that can be shared without people throwing a fit? Share it.
But before that, you have to write it, and you don’t need anybody else at all to tell you what’s good enough’ when you’re trying to birth a word baby at 3AM in a mad dash of typing. Story now, let the true thing out even if you’re embarrassed, guilty, ashamed, threatened, and upset by it. You know it will hurt others, but you’re already thinking it. Get it out of you, like a poison and onto the paper so it stops bugging you.
You aren’t breaking your morals, or doing something that anyone else matters in by letting a story out, if you don’t share it with anyone you know it will hurt. You’re just helping yourself. It already exists in your head, and once you accept it and let it go on the page, finally, you can pick to delete it, or just save it and never share it and die off before it gets published, whatever. Think about the details and fixes later, let the story flow, and do not let the judgement or enjoyment of some other fucker ruin that flow by making you second guess everything.
You got this. Write that less-than-stellar character, and see where they lead you. Good luck.
@kjsage-aion asked RPedia: What do you do when you have an RP partner for years, 2 of your characters are best friends/lovers and things go south OOCly? Our characters are fairly entwined ICly and have a very stable relationship, but the only time we talk now ends in the other person ignoring me, after I’ve tried to work things through with them. How does one deal with such an abrupt change that is quite character-affecting ICly without overstepping? I’ve an entire bio of mine that makes frequent note of their character.
Ah, not a pretty sight, but one that does happen to folks. Entwining your character with another in this way really limits your choices. It’s a good feel, it is, but people are prone to fandom/character drift as much as you end up drifting away or butting heads with your actual friend. OOC and IC cannot really be kept apart in this kind of a scenario. It happens. I’m sorry for anyone who has had to deal with it. I’ve handled this myself quite a few times, and I’ve found ways of dealing with it. It’s hard as fuck to do it in a tactful way, but at a certain point you have to help yourself move on, and find something new, before you can help the people who have left you behind, even if they’ve done so for good reason. If they’re leaving, the person you have to live with isn’t them, it’s yourself. So pick something that works with your moral compass. Something that feels right for any given situation.
Let’s check out the variations on the same theme, removing the hard connections you’ve got with your partner and character. Some of these will be ‘cleaner’ than others, and easier to revert, some will be an open declaration that they are absolutely gone for good. Some are a pause button, until the initial pain wears off. Pick whatever suits your situation and heart.
The Hard Reboot
The sharpest tool in the arsenal is of course, the hard reboot. Do you remember where you started roleplaying the character, way back in the day? Before all this happened, before they were happy and in love. Back when they were fresh and new and empty with no life yet. Being excited for the next day, to see what you can do with them. It’s time to go back. The Hard Reboot calls for simply cutting your character’s life into two pieces, before them, and after them, and discarding the bits you can no longer use. Starting over from scratch and creating an entirely new world, an an entirely new set of events lightly following the last but in a new and wonderful way can be really cathartic.
For some people, the idea of wiping everything away like a witch making a deal is a very attractive one, for others, the old memories are in deeper etchings than a simple wipe can remove. If you trend towards multiple universe threads anyways and they’re already just one of many, this can be a very attractive because it’s just another AU, starting over. I have trouble remembering which events belong to which RPs, and remembering just how my character was before all the experience and age muted their personality fresh out of the gate is really hard for me. Sometimes it’s worth it. Sometimes it’s not, that’s up to you. The emotional toll this make take on the other person is “oh, I wasn’t important to them,” and a feeling like you’ve decided your stories together are not worth your time. That it was a waste of time for both of you. Be careful with this, it is the nuclear option.
The Enshrined Life
Another option that is simple and fairly precise at taking away everything that hurts is enshrining that character. Your character’s life is done now, they’ve reached their ‘happily ever after’ and there’s nothing more to be told. The ending is now officially, they grew old together, in happiness. You leave those characters as happy memories in your mind, and smile at them occasionally. They survived the break-up between you and your partner in crime, and there’s no need to change them now. They are that happy beautiful painting at the end of every fairy tale book. Time to move on and create a new character, maybe their kid or descendant in a sequel, or someone who knew them from stories and genuinely liked them and aspired to be like them. Maybe someone entirely new from that universe. You can cement them for all of time in this happy place, while you go on an expand the rest of the world that follows them, at no cost to you or your partner. You just need new characters. Maybe even jump to a new world or universe to see what you can do there instead.
This is the kindest way to approach this, but it does come in as a bit of a saccharine sweet level of kindness. You show your love and keep the story whole and safe and beloved. Something you can both look back on, especially if they’re abandoning their character because the memories are too much. This can backfire though, if someone decides that you showing these memories are precious are your weak spot and they feel they need to target you for them in some way. Another issue is they may not agree, and continue playing their character, that’s okay. You have your version frozen in time, and they’ll always be okay in your universe. A third issue is, it may come off as too much. An obsessive attachment to something. This isn’t often, but if your partner is particularly jaded, they may be unable to see the care put into it as anything but an attack on them for leaving it.
The Heavy Past
A timeskip passes, years later ‘something’ you never quite explain happened and now your character and their beloved have parted ways. You skip the whole issue of coming up with a good reason, just say things happened, and allow your character to continue on their way. They’re older, wiser, but still the past loss hurts them. Maybe they’ll say ‘I had a spouse once’ with a distant look while drinking with new friends, and people won’t push. They’ll just pat their back, and your character can shake it off. This is so that loss and history is retained, as a backstory that is no longer part of your character’s life.
It’s a healthy, reasonable break that doesn’t imply fault in either direction, simply the loss that happened, and the growth that developed from that loss. It doesn’t come up other than backstory references and memories important to the plot. You might want to reminisce to spice things up for your new partners, but don’t turn it into a shitshow of personal grief that everyone has to deal with at every event. We get it Greg, you were married once, you’re sad about it, you do this every Thanksgiving, can we eat the fucking turkey in peace now?
An Entirely New Person
You loved that character, but that version of that character is out of your reach now. So, the Entirely New Person method involves stepping out of your usual zone. We all remember the AU-Stucks. Some people use the term even if we haven’t been involved with the series because __stuck is just such a catchy term. Well, time to invest those years of coming up with crazy AUs, from the coffee shop, to the mermaids, to what if they were fighting an intergalactic war in the future, to hey what about medieval version? A dark one! A light one! In this universe everyone’s gender flipped! In that one, they’re all robots. What about furry versions, or ferals?
The trick is to take your character, beloved that they are, and shove them into another world entirely. This is similar to a hard reboot in that they start over, but this time you can build a world where meeting that other person never happened because in this universe, they were on Mars while the other was on Venus, both fighting a war, and so it just didn’t make sense. You can alter your character, redefine them, give them a new history and a new look. You can alter the entire universe to fit a kind of AU, and then start over roleplaying them.
This can help with people who have trouble ‘wiping’ a past away, because this is more… making a new past entirely, a step to the side, it’s not rehashing old ground but creating similar ground from what you’ve already grown to learn about your character. It’s also easier to remember what happened to who when you have a tail to roleplay, a coffee machine to hate, or a brand new blaster weapon unknowingly fueled by souls.
The other player may take this as an attack, and feel replaced, but those fears are generally unfounded and someone looking to raise Cain for any reason because they want to ‘get back at you’. This is actually a pretty kind way of handling a character in an entire new light, because as long as you make it clear you don’t want to invalidate the character, simply write them in an AU now that their old story has been told, it’s… kind of sweet. It’s a little bit Enshrined Life, and a little bit Hard Reboot without going too far in either direction of ‘I will love you forever, and enshrine our time together in perfect replica’ and ‘I will destroy everything we worked for, and make sure it never surfaces again in my clean rebirth.’
The Past Life
This is a spin on the Hard Reboot too, instead of completely removing everything and starting over from scratch with it never happening, your character is rebooted with the feel that something is missing. They remember parts of their past, either as a past life, or some sort of magical amnesia caused by time being restarted by someone else. The memory changes how they act, there’s enough there to make up for them not being exactly as they started out, without them quite making that click who caused it because they never see the other person again.Instead, they move on, plagued by dreams. It can be a bit more of a memorial in this version, letting the other player know they’re still important, but letting you move on. There’s love and loss, but enough change for it not to be a sudden jump of distance, to more of a slow decay over time as they either stop paying attention to the flashbacks, or the flashbacks peter out entirely leaving them whole in their new life without the patterns of the old ghosting over it. It’s a little bit like the Hard Past, except where Hard Past is a clear attachment to the past, this one is an attachment to a life they lived before, not another universe, but a reincarnation. It softens the slice of Hard Reboot quite a lot, and also gives a testament that your stories together meant something enough to carry with the character for each one of their new lives. Also a nice neutral way to go, emotionally.
The Universal Splits
It’s a “I died for you, you died for me” deal where you are now both from universes from which the other person died. Your characters may not be aware of it, but it’s a point in time and space where there was a choice, and that choice is which of you would die, disappear, get kidnapped, or any of the various ways that two people end up split up in real life suddenly. Death is just the sharpest and cleanest without forcing anything weird on them. Your character now continues life, bereft, because of their loss. At some point, this i one of the easy recovery versions. Your universes converge somehow, you both explain the other died in your universe, and strive to work together to live in this, your merged universe, together again even if it’s a little awkward to know you’ve never met, yet know all about each other because your lives were shared with identical copies.
This one pushes something on the other player, taking control of their character for that one instance. It may become a point of contention for them if they wanna start a fight, but it also opens a door for them to play their character similarly. This is actually kind of neat, because you get two worlds for the price of one, and like I said above, they can merge again in case of trouble! It’s definitely related to the Hard Past, in fact it’s pretty much the same thing. The difference here lies in the firm explanation, the easy mode recovery, and the grief your character can feel brand new instead of later down the line thanks to a timeskip.
The Forced Split
This version is a little less clean than Universal Splits, and gets rid of the total grieving loss pattern. Instead, you force an argument, some nasty thing to break up the relationship. You remain in the same universe, but you make up a reason to fight, or even separate amicably. You make something up. Make up a reason they just couldn’t be together anymore and ride it. Something you never expected has happened, and you’re off to the races.
This takes away that safety net of two universes, and is kind of a rude move. You essentially take complete control of your characters, force them to separate by making up something that happened that the other party doesn’t get a chance to agree to, and then claim it happened to both of them. Essentially, you write your own history to spite and attack them. If they’ve done something like write your character suddenly abandoning them because they were a lying scumbag the whole time, might be time to do the same back to them. This is mostly just a mean move, an option, but mean. This is your option to cause shit and be peevish and spiteful.
The Lengthy Vacation
Ever hear that trope of the dad who walked off for smokes and never came home? That’s this. No breakup, no loss, no fight, no death, no removal of their existence, no rebirth from scratch. Your partner is just… out on vacation. They went out for a little while. For some reason they decided they wanted a job in New York, so you’re staying home to take care of the kids/dog/potted plant/your own job. They unfortunately have stayed gone for a really long time. Think John Winchester from Supernatural, Dad went hunting and he hasn’t been home in a while. Except if you two never make up, they don’t come home and eventually just get phased out of their life in a subtle way as new important things come up. This can lead to the drama of ‘cheating’ on your significant other, if you find new romance, unless you roll to the left and go with the Hard Past motif when you spot a new cuddle buddy.
This is also a neutral way of handling it. They’re just missing for a while, you imply nothing weird is happening, they just took off for a bit and you’re both accepting of it. You live a happy life, continue on your way, get occasional ‘phone calls’ or ‘letters home’ in passing mention. This gives them a chance to come back to the roleplay at any time, and patch things up. It also gives them the chance to never come home at all, and you move on in time assuming when they went to war, they died. You could even have fun drama when/if they come back. It’s all cool. Just kind of letting things… slip along and disappear as time heals the wounds without disavowing them openly.
So… yes! Those are the methods I’ve thought of/used myself, even though they seem similar in content, I’m sure ya’ll can pick out where they differ; if I haven’t done it for you. Pick one that feel right to you. Something that makes you feel like the bigger person, the better person as an outcome. People regret being mean later on, so while the spiteful option is an option, they’re also an attack. They sort of left you hanging here, which sucks big time and is why your hand is being forced anyways, so a little ‘rude’ in taking over to give yourself an out that doesn’t openly hurt them is perfectly understandable. Especially if you’re willing to retcon or fix things after-the-fact if they come back or complain.
Since you’re not talking, communication as my usual go-to has been essentially hacked off at the knees. If you could communicate, in case anyone else in this situation comes along, TAKE THE CHANCE. Find a way for you both to feel comfortable and fulfilled, even if you aren’t sure you’re gonna be friends anymore. I highly suggest the amenable splits that let you kind of fog over the reason, or make up thinking they died. Nothing that makes the other person look bad.
Good luck, I’m super sorry about the IRL fights hurting your characters, and I really hope you find a choice that makes you comfortable and happy. Same goes for anyone who has experienced this. Remember, do what feels like it’ll make you a better person, not what feels like great revenge at that second. It’ll come back to haunt you, and I personally prefer to be haunted by happiness.
Anonymous asked: Alright, I’ve been reading your stuff and it’s all really helpful and you’re awesome- I’ve gotta ask this though. How do I get two characters to meet and a story going? I can’t seem to come up with good reasons for people to interact with my character and it’s really frustrating. I’ve made starters, but I always end up stressing over not being able to come up with a plot good enough to keep anyone’s interest for very long and never send them. Any tips or anything would be great!
Sounds like you’ve got some issues beyond the original question, which means you want to meet characters and keep them interested in each other, I’ll deal with that too, but first! Let’s discuss how to get characters to meet up, in situations ranging from ‘we work together’ to ‘we don’t even exist in the same universe canonically.’
So. There’s a bit of a spectrum here in terms of how problematic it’s going to be to even set up a scenario in which two characters might meet, let alone the chemistry of that meeting and how to keep it going. So we’ll try to consider some broad strokes here, remember that these get ‘harder’ so you can use anything from any section for the others, they’re just focused on the easiest way to do it each time. So you can make it harder for yourself if it’s… actually easier. I don’t mind. Use as tools, not as rules.
So what if they already know each other? If they’re people who are from the same canon, and may know each other things are a hell of a lot easier. You’ve already got a library of scenes and situations they regularly find themselves in, together, or have the possibility of finding themselves together in. Is there an elevator? A pool? A regular event? Something hinted at, or rooms, or anything really that has a chance to have them both in the same place at the same time? Look! They have a reason to meet up. You’re golden.
Do they not inhabit the same area really, but know each other a little bit? Well, you have a more limited, set of preconceived settings. You don’t know anywhere they both frequent, but that means you can make one up. Look at people they have in common, or situations they may be attracted to but haven’t been show in. Things that are logical, just… improbable.
Have they never met at all, yet have a reason to meet up? This one’s easy, spot their commonalities. What do they have in common? Do they both love hot dogs? They can meet at a hot dog cart. Do they both fight? Make a fighting tournament. Whatever they both like, or dislike, they can find a point in this universe where that would push them together. If not, there’s always the next option up.
Have they never met and have no reason to meet? This seems harder, but hell it’s just a matter of situations converging instead of people. A series of convenient plots. Some kid’s mom hasn’t picked them up from school. They meet an aliens from another planet whose navigation system got bumped by their co-pilot, they land on Earth, and while there realize they need to pick something up anyways. They walk across town, and bump into the kid. They’ve met. Kid shows interest in the alien being awkward. Takes an active approach to bothering them, and follows them. Tada! If it can work for boring school kid and an alien from another galaxy, something similar that’s just a bunch of excuses to get them in the same place.
Are they actually in different universes, so you have to break something to force a meeting against all laws of physics and man? Now this one is fucking fun. Because you literally get to BREAK THE UNIVERSE. This tends to be deliberate as fuck, so you might have a third party or force elaborately pushing these things to happen, or having them happen as a side effect to some major event somewhere in the universe. Or a minor one that causes major side effects. Look, something happened, and now a portal opened. You go through it, or your universes merge seamlessly, or you wake up in a city you don’t recognize and there they are. Surprise and fear and loss and hell the universes splitting in two during science and magical bullshit that defies physics is well and enough reason to latch onto the first relatively friendly or manageable person you see.
Now that they’ve finally met up, somehow, someway, they have to interact and stay interested in each other. This comes down to a lot of factors, including chemistry between the characters, and chemistry between the writers. You’re gonna need to step your game up, make shit up! Make the world come to life, give them reasons to interact. One of your characters has to be an active participant, curious about the other. They have to lead the story. They need to pester them, while the other character needs to do something else so that the first character has a goal to ‘understand’ them. Let secrets out slowly, and make sure you drop shit that makes no sense. They need to have more questions to follow up on them.
This can be as simple as giving a weird name, and having the character wanna know why they’re weird. Or your character could say something additional. “This is my name. Now scat kid, I need to ___.” Then the kid asks about the blank, and yadda. It all depends on temperaments too. Two nice character, a mean one, rebellious, a kid, an old fart who is so tired of this shit? They’re all gonna react differently as fuck to each other. So react! React big! Ask questions about them, show curiosity, share your character’s life in pieces to force them to ask questions back. Engage in curiosity, and drag them into hell with you by feeding theirs. Once you’ve met up, you need reasons to keep talking. Choose activities to do together as background noise or a sub goal while you really tie them up in each other’s lives. Force the setting to force them both to stick together. Kid doesn’t know how to get home anyways, so the alien, who forgets where they were, has to take them with them INTO SPAAAACE, or fucking whatever. Whatever makes sense.
I have a arguably terrible habit of always going for the same basic things. Sleep, eat, play, work. I love dragging characters to go get food in town, or go hunting, or cook in the kitchen. I like to be tired, and get weirdly existential, and fight to go to bed, or find somewhere comfortable, or curl up near people and just talk. I like to go do things, like see the sights, go to carnivals, events, mess around with things we’re given in canon (or have devised as canon) in such a way as to be inclusive to my partners, or just play tag or wrestle. Sometimes, I even work, a character might have to drag a tagalong to work, and they can function together finding out they work better as a team than solo. They can fight, teach, explore, whatever comes with the job with tons more fun than they can alone. Even if they just tell stories while they go out delivering packages, and laugh it up.
Try to keep a real basis of interaction underlying everything. Nothing is perfect, I’m sure you’ve talked to people and had arguments in your life. Not everyone agrees, and a heated conversation can get you guys bonded together once you come out the other side. Embarrassments, misconceptions, errors, just plain disagreements? They are, surprisingly, fantastic ways to keep a story going. If everything is just yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir… well. If you’ve been around this blog long enough you can say this with me: Crisis is Necessary. Keep things interesting by keeping goals and problems arising that you need to fix. A happy comfortable character has no motivation to change what they are doing, and therefore you write yourself into a rut and everyone gets bored.
See: cuddling for 8 hours, walking for an entire RP without talking, falling asleep and expecting your partner to respond to your sleeping posts, kissing constantly, or just being quiet together and ignoring each other. You’re better than that. Show it. Do things you haven’t before, break your rituals, change little things, or make big things happen. It doesn’t have to come from internal actions, like what your characters want either. External forces can shift the whole story. Daily coffee? They were closed for repairs. Elevator broke, you’re trapped together. Someone died, and you need to get out your emotions. They didn’t have your fucking brand. Oh, a war is going on. Look aliens invading. Jesus Christ I got a letter to Hogwarts.
Anything is better than the daily grind. It can be hard coming up with stuff because you get iffy about whether your partner will like it, or if you will. You worry yourself out of it, or maybe you’re burned out and have no idea where to go next. Just kinda… roll the dice on it. Open a dictionary website and find a random word, and go off that. Read a news report and let it fuel your imagination. Skim fanfics, and go write your own ending and concept or, how you’d do it better. Take your favorite appealing things and apply them to your character’s stories. You love pears? Your character hates them? Have them mistakenly eat a pear, and react to it. Let them call someone to talk about it and complain. Anything can be a story idea. Every little happening, magnified, and plastered into a bigger wider version cut and clipped to fit your character.
Now why would people lose interest in a storyline? Some of the common issues are, the story isn’t moving fast enough, the characters aren’t being empathetic, your partner is stonewalling you by not reacting or acting enough, your partner is giving you minced replies with no content to reply to, or you don’t feel the chemistry and you can’t summon the willpower to enjoy yourself. It’s okay if you just don’t mesh. It’s not the end of the world. If you don’t mesh many many times over, you may want to examine your approach.
Do you regularly offer information that continues the storyline, or do you tend to use precise replies? Precision is great for school work and official documents, it’s shit for creativity. Give more than you get. Do you tend to try and avoid things partners are nudging towards you without giving other options? That’s stonewalling, it stops the flow of information, and therefore the creativity and story. Do you tend to rehash the same things over and over again? That can lead to burn out and boredom and players will wander off. Some folks just can’t keep their focus on slow replies too, so you might ask yourself if you’d do better in a faster chat, or a slow journaling platform that may take a week to reply.
You need to stand up, push for story, and keep things moving. But at the same time… stories end. And continuing the same scene day in and day out is not a good bet. I personally play in an episodic style. I do a scene, then we cut out for the day (sometimes over the course of two days) and timeskip to the next “fun” part. You don’t need to play out all the boring inbetweens, you’re a writer. Writers don’t explain how someone takes a shit unless it’s important to the story, that’s why it seems like no one ever goes to the bathroom in novels unless they find something important there.
Feel free to do Episodic play, each day is a new scene, or every time you complete a scene jump ahead. You might run out of steam over time anyways. Most of my longer roleplays last a couple years max before they move on. My shorter ones last one session in public and then we never really get into it again. Roleplay is a fluid creature, don’t blame yourself if it stops occasionally. Sometimes it’s just not the right time for it. If someone complains, or you regularly lose RP for no reason… there’s a reason. Look at yourself and figure it out, don’t just whine, ‘people never RP with me, they just quit or block me for no reason!!!’ because that’s a fucking red flag that you do something horrible you don’t even realize, or you have been told and think they’re lying. Hint… they aren’t, and you’ll scare away more players that way.
In any case, action! Reaction! Story! Build more than you expect to get through and they’ll pay attention to the little details as future story hints. If you drop a phrase now, you might not get to it now, but you can bring it up again in a new context when things get slack. Just have fun, and make things as big and vivid and round for the character as possible in order to keep folk around.
Remember, it only has to make sense to you and your partners, everyone else can go fuck themselves. Have fun.
Anonymous asked: Hey, do you have any advice for people who have been in roleplays for 1 year+ that have just closed down? Feeling kind of lost & in a funk now I’ve lost contact with people I was close to & enjoyed writing with. Not sure if this is the right place to come and ask but figured it was worth a shot
Oh no! Another lost lamb. I see this happening a lot, and boy experiencing it was no happiness either. It’s like finishing a good book and having the world slowly fade in. Everything’s different, and empty, it’s horrible. Unfortunately, no matter how long your RP friends have lasted, sooner or later it starts falling apart. It’s always good to have interests and accounts in other places in case of loss like this, because you’re gonna have to build from scratch one way or another, paralleling it with growth takes away some of the ‘waiting’. Let’s talk about some likely ways to handle this though from the beginning!
You can go to somewhere new.
Explore! There’s a whole wide web of sites that want to encourage you to roleplay, from forums to chatrooms. I keep a list here that anyone can reply to and add places to check out, and that I add to whenever I move sites. I haven’t for some time actually, because each new fandom I move to, and each new group has been found and expanded on that very large very open site. (Thanks F-list!). When you join a new site, you can usually find someone, somewhere, willing to chat with you. They may not be the kind of partner you want right that second because they aren’t what you’re used to, but talk to them anyways. Work your way to RP for the sake RP with a new person, and you can find people you didn’t realize you’d be so close to, because you simply were busy with people you already were close to! Offer enough chances, and something will pan out.
Try speed dating.
Like the sound of quick semi-meaningless RPs to check for Chemistry? Omegle, Cherubplay, MSPARP, even Chatroulette in an emergency. Just set your standards to how you like, make sure you suggest “roleplay” and your fandom name of choice on Chatroulette and Omegle, and then play out random little abstract tidbits about your characters meeting. You can find really interesting people like this, who might be willing to toss a Tumblr handle or Skype handle your way where you can find each other again and start roleplaying in a bigger way. Many of the users on these sites either don’t have a solid constant flow of RP elsewhere (which means they may be open to a tighter bond with someone) or they’re shopping for neat people to share with others. You can build patter, and teach yourself to be more social through these cold start prompts. It’ll force you to drop some habits you’ve gotten used to with other people, and open your mind to new people.
Try going out and doing other things, or finding new fandoms.
Oh look, personal growth! You’re free, instead of lost. You’ve got no roots and therefore can meander into anything you find interesting. Something maybe your past partners were tentatively interested in, or not interested at all so you set it aside. Watch a new series, get addicted, get fresh ideas and try new OCs. Do something you’ve never done before, and you’ll find people who were connected to those things the whole time. When you finally get into those things, you’’ meet people you’ve never met. The RP world is basically a giant net, and everyone is connected via interests, threads, and other people. If you put yourself out there on a thread or in a chatroom and just talk about something new, you’ll be visible to new people, and if you share interests and chemistry with these new people… Well the obvious happens. You’ll end up chatting, possibly making friends, and since you both like RP if you stick to RP sites, you might actually get into another group. Just because your group is dead, doesn’t mean there aren’t living ones looking to suck in someone of interest who used to be busy! Don’t be afraid to approach people just to talk, or to work out a plot.
Hang out on Public Chats/Forums.
Be yourself, in front of other people! Related to all of my points a little, if you’ve been in a private chat, or a private Skype, a closed tumblr, or a private forum you haven’t had much time to get out and be seen. You’re basically a stranger to the internet. Someone who hid themselves in the ancient caves to practice their art, unseen for centuries before bursting onto the scene. If you become seen, people will check you out. People who may not approach you at first until they get a nice sense of you. If you’re nice to whoever comes to you, no matter their RP quality, you’ll have people who may be really good, but really shy, find you safe. If they find you safe, they’ll approach you, and you can bond with them. If you play long enough in public, you’ll get regulars, and friends. When you have friends and regulars, they may play with each other in public using you as a jumping off point for why they are interacting. You’ll help them greet people they would never meet on their own. As that gets bigger, this Katamari of Roleplay will build and build until you have your own little niche/clique/community within the larger landscape. All this, just by being visible, and good natured/interesting in public, regularly.
Roleplaying wasn’t hard to get into the first time you did it, I have a feeling. Sure it was big and new and a little intimidating, but you didn’t know what to expect. You wanted to learn, interact. You didn’t have any solid ideas of what was going to happen, or memories of people who were fantastic players you were really close to. Your friends mean something, and they always will. But you’re allowed to have more friends. You’re allowed to open up, socially, and try everything as if it’s brand new again.
Let yourself be hesitant, but don’t be afraid to jump in! Jump into everything! Everywhere! Explore your new characters through writing fanfics or short stories. Work on profiles. Design worlds. Design life. Come up with concepts. Play with yourself, by writing by yourself. Maybe in public. Let yourself do crack-play, or bullshit you wouldn’t do because you have a higher standard now. If it’s fun, it’s fantastic! It doesn’t matter what other people think. You’ll find somewhere, as long as you openly invite interaction in your posts. No hanging out in corners sipping tea, no yawning, no sitting by yourself hoping someone will get curious.
Name drop, in narration not vocally for your character unless they know the names. Interact with other posts. Someone do something silly? Laugh about it. React to the people around you. Invite them to react back. Allow them to see you want to play with them. As long as you actively seek out other people, and actions instead of trying to lead everything yourself you’ll end up getting the ball rolling on new RP friendships.
Interest can be anything from playing a character that is unique, to playing a character doing something other people haven’t seen a thousand times which has something that they will notice. Be it sound, visual stimuli, smells, emotions, or even sense of touch. Don’t be obnoxious and grab strangers or attack people out of no where. For the love of god, poking will annoy a lot of people. But maybe, sit down and set up a board game. Roll some dice loudly. Start laughing at something on your cellphone, and look around for someone to share it with. People will jump on open interactions like that. Especially if you make a note you’re looking for someone to do so. Glancing around for help, literally calling out, ‘Hey anyone wanna join me?’ shit like that.
Pretend you’re in public in the real world, in New York. They pretty much ignore things that are wacky and abnormal unless they explicitly involve them in the action. Not by touching, so much because that’s kind of creepy and assault in some cases, but by vocalizing and calling out. “Hey! You!” yelled at the big guy in the corner will get their attention. Emotion and shit, tone of voice. Are you curious, snappish, excited, angry? It brings elements to RP to draw new people in.
And of course, skim their profiles if they have any. OOC sections and ‘likes and dislikes’ and other important ‘Please don’t do this’ things should be known if you are approaching someone new. It takes 15 seconds, and could save you from calling out someone, and demanding a fight, from someone who doesn’t like fight RP. Or who doesn’t want to play anything you find interesting. Everyone’s different, and honestly, it takes a few extra seconds to make things so much easier on everyone else.
I also suggest the tag #RPediaRP for everyone trying to find partners! Look, the tag’s empty right now. But if you use the tag on here, on Omegle, on Twitter, anywhere you can use a tag system? People looking at it because I just advertised it to over 6.5k people, might see you. Say hi! Mention that you’re looking for asks, or replies. Say you’d like to chat about stories. Give a summary of you and your character. See who shows up to the party. #RPediaRP is 100% user generated, not me, but it’ll let people find each other. I get a lot of fucking asks about advertising and finding each other. Using that tag to post open starts, and stuff like that will get that community participation in a smaller area. Ya’ll are good RPers right? GET OUT THERE. GET SEEN!
Advertising a tag to help ya’ll find other RPedia readers who want RP aside, that’s great advice and I’ll repeat it 30 thousand times. Get seen. Make friends. Interact. You got this, it’s all a matter of self advertisement and trying.
Emotionally, I would like to touch upon recovery. You have just experienced a major loss. An RP network is a support network. It’s friendships, and building a world that feels real and unique. Even though it’s fictional, it still has the same value as face-to-face relationships in terms of support, interaction, social ties, and emotion. You still feel love for them, kinship, understanding. You’ve learned their tics, and how they interact with one another. You’ve gotten close to these people, and having those ties severed feels like shit.
Reach out to them, some of them may be feeling the same way and you can continue on your journey with people who already understand you. People who care about you, and don’t want to lose contact. Maybe some of your friends are more healthy by going on their way? But sharing your life with someone you’re used to, and who will remember things can make the loss less sharp. Just don’t hyperfocus on them and force them to be your entire social network, they’ll get tired, resentment will brew. Remember to keep reaching outwards, and never focus all your attention on just one person. It’s unhealthy and ends up making everyone kinda upset in the end.
You still matter, even though you’ve lost things. You’re a person, and roleplaying means something to you. It’s an interest or hobby that can help you grow as a person and really see the world, and meet people. You’ll do things you can never hope to do in real life. So, in a way, roleplay can heal what roleplay has harmed. Don’t abuse it, and make yourself the center of every sad story, but you can hint as losing friends, or missing people and get a little bit of coddling. Here and there, a light dusting of sad spice. It can be cathartic if you’re not heavy handed.
Give yourself time to heal. Rest up, you’ve been through something. It might take you 5 minutes to be fresh as a daisy, or months or years to get over that loss. Everyone’s different. You might go through all the stages of grief, or you might go ‘well…. time to move on’ and find something to distract you entirely. It’s okay, no matter what you choose to do, or well, not choose, but have to experience because your brain is a mean little thing that pushes various chemicals whether you ask it to or not.
You’re going to be fine, experiencing pain and loneliness is normal. It’s normal to feel both loss and grief, and love and sentimental warmth. Look back on it as something amazing, something you loved, and look for new challenges. New purpose, relief, and happiness is in your future. You are not lost for good, you’re just… in-between roleplay partners. You’ll get new ones, the urge to write and tell stories never leaves you entirely.
Good luck, and happiness on your path to finding this shit. Gooey and lovey-dovey as I sound, and as hard as this feels for some of you? You’ll be okay. Everything will be okay.
Anonymous asked: I know this is normal for writers and that there isn’t a real solution but I’m gonna ask anyway: Any advice on how to stop feeling insecure about what/how I write?
Oh man, this is gonna sound like such an asshole move, but my favorite way to help myself is to write to spite everyone else. Seriously. Write like you hate everyone else in the world. Write like they mean fucking nothing to you. Write because they’re gonna get what you write, and they’re gonna like it, if they know what’s good for them. Write to make that mental editor representing the ‘them’ in your head mad as hell.
It’s always energized me to flippantly declare to myself that if people don’t like something I like, they can go fuck themselves in some fancy new way, because I’m busy writing and I don’t see them getting off their ass! They’re reading anyways ain’t they? Then they god damn don’t have anything better to do than let me shove words, and ideas, and mental pictures into their heads rapidly. Them complaining? Hah, you mean leaving impassioned responses because I hit a nerve. I CONTROL them. 𝕀 𝔸𝕄 𝔸𝕊 𝔸 𝔾𝕆𝔻.
…ahem. There’s other things to think about. I just, really like getting pumped about that concept because getting pumped makes it really awesome. Lemme uh… lemme try talking about … other things… next. Instead of declaring my godhood, wow, that is so ‘famous last words’ material for a character to say.
So forgiving my earlier outburst, I’m going to natter about the subject! Writing confidence comes around slowly, really, you were right. This is normal for writers, and there’s not always a solution. A lot of posts have been made on Tumblr about decreasing anxiety as a whole. Everything from taking a long bath with some scented candles, to breathing and meditation exercises, to radical acceptance. This can all soothe you, making it easier to write, or at least post your writing somewhere. That’s a good start. A lot of it though really, is understanding what you’re doing from new angles instead of just ‘am I good enough’ and ‘in my head about it editor mode’.
Going back a half step, I love radical acceptance, let’s focus on that for a moment. Basically, it’s just saying ‘I am who I am. These things have happened. Now that they have happened, they are passed, and while they are real, I can now experience other things. I give myself permission for this. I have permission to move on to something else because I accept what has happened entirely and cannot change it. I can only change what reality is in the now, and I can only do that by moving forwards and altering my behavior or other people’s ideas with fresh words and actions. The past remains, real and behind me. I accept it and step forward.’ This would be great if you put it to writing. ‘I accept my writing may not be the best, there is always someone better, and I do not need to care. I am writing what is meaningful to me. It is what it is.‘
Writing is also a performance art. Which means, writing is not complete until an audience, not necessarily the intended one, has read and reacted to it. It’s not whole. It hungers to be read and understood, and for the feedback on that writing works to complete the circuit. To explain what the writing did for someone else. Regularly we find that it was close to our intention, but sometimes wildly out of left field, they’ll point out something you may not have even noticed. This is secondary to knowing it is read. While they may never interact with you, it doesn’t matter. Your writing will evoke something in another person, one way or another, and that is the point at which it becomes complete. Kudos and comments and likes, and thumbs ups and everything are not a way to measure success. Sometimes someone never directly tells you how they feel at all. Page views are interactions, are chances for it to have been read. To know that someone has looked at it means it has been read. It’s finished.
The audience changes depending on the type of writing too. That audience may only be one person, it might even be yourself. A diary is like that, it forces us to complete the circuit by contemplating what is written and what it means about us, or towards us, on another day, at another time. It is a mirror of who we are, and we’ll judge the shit out of it because we’re fucking ruthless and don’t have any feelings to save when it comes to us. We’ll word it nicely to others, but to us. fuck you self, you’re not good enough. How demoralizing.
This is important to note here! We’re so used to being our main audience, so used to analyzing everything we do or say and how it effects others, we’re stuck in that eternal loop of ‘If no one likes it (or shows they like it) I did something wrong and I need to fix it.’ We blame ourselves for things that seem like they ‘broke’ it, but really we’re dealing with way more circumstances besides ‘did I do it good’.
Truth is, we can do everything right, and still not get a response. We can write brilliantly, and not have it get to the right audiences. We can get people who are oversensitive to certain topics going batshit about them, and disregarding the writing or intent. We can accidentally hit that one guy who tells his friend, who shares a link with a room of supporters, and suddenly we have a fanbase, and now everything we write is ‘good’ to them, and outsiders get attacked for being wrong if they don’t like it. We can get folks who just don’t say anything because they’re shy, and you’ve genuinely made them feel good but they can’t explain it.
Not everyone has the talent of putting their thoughts into writing, and that’s what comments are essentially. That’s why people read, to see someone who can do it, do it in front of them as a performance they can stare at in awe and pleasure. All those kudos on AO3 are made of this. This feeling of ‘not matching up’ or ‘not having the time or prowess to respond to something they love.’
You need to remember, you can’t please everyone. Think about the people you know, think about their favorite pairings. Do all of them have the same pairing? Does everyone you meet, without hesitation, name exactly the same couple in your favorite show? Not by a fuckin’ long shot unless somebody’s fucking with your Causality. If you loaned dice to any Gods, maybe take them back is all I’m saying. The point is, rambling aside, no one ships the same shit. No one even fucking agrees on pizza toppings. Why would they all agree your writing did something for them? Or means things exactly the way you intended it?
Language is imprecise, the job of a writer is to write things in the way that makes sense to their context of the world, and then let it loose to see if it works. If it doesn’t on a large scale, write something else and leave the first alone as an example. Don’t give up. They’re all tests, and somewhere, somehow, it’s gonna hit someone else just right. You might even hit a large section of the audience just right and make them all react like you intended. That’s the sign of a good writer who has also found serendipity has favored them. A good crowd, nicely warmed up and receptive instead of following an act that makes them hard and cold. Even if your writing is a couple hundred years old, you can still suddenly hit that audience one day.
It’s not always your writing that changes how people react to things either. People have lives. You’re a writer, you know that. Every character you write should have a backstory, a name, emotions, reasons for those emotions. These characters map onto real people. They had an ex that treated them like trash and called them Kitten. Well suddenly your cute little nickname for a character, which makes perfect sense to you, is a pun, feels right, and gives the feeling you want, suddenly hits a person wrong and is wrong. They don’t like what you wrote, not because you’re a bad writer, but because they have bad associations with things you cannot control.
Writing is a pot shot of hoping that what you want works with what someone else wants without ever meeting them. That’s why a lot of famous bullshit people love enmasse is kinda… blurry. It’s not precise because if you scattershot and allow the audience to make up half of it, everyone loves it for what they read into it. Look at popular fandoms, Homestuck took the world by force because everything was incomplete. This is a visual medium that managed to make characters that nobody knew what they actually looked like precisely. So some people drew the main characters are POC, and represented themselves, and loved them so much deeper for that. Some people drew them fat, or thin, or special. People expanded on their histories in ways that worked with the story, but voiced something in their own hearts.
Homestuck is a fantastic show of people getting a bunch of nonsense, that they’ve somehow turned into patterns that deeply changed their lives. That’s how a person reading it could come out on the other side either thinking, “Wow, I want to be a troll, they can be mean and classist, and they don’t fit in just like me. I’m gonna go be like my favorite character and hurt someone else by saying fuck a lot and spitting in a bucket.” just as much as we could get “Wow, this is a story about friendship, and different forms of love regardless of how different of socially ingrained it is to hate one another when we don’t understand. We can all work together and make things beautiful because the little things, like a can donation to food banks, can have a butterfly effect!” Like. Holy shit. Those are very different outcomes, but you saw both of them happen in the Fandom!
If you remember that writing, once set free, has such a huge life beyond the artist’s work? it can help the anxiety, because it’s not completely on you to do it right. It’s not your fault if no one reads it, well, not your writing’s fault anyways, go advertise for goodness sake. Self promote! Your writing doesn’t even have to be really fantastic technically to be adored and loved. Stephen King’s 11/22/63 has an example of this. No major spoilers, but a teacher reads a paper done by a student. That paper is written horribly. The grammar is shit, the wording is terrible, the spelling came out of a trash compactor, the punctuation is a masterclass in how not to do it. That story sticks with that teacher though, the whole book, it nags at him. It tickles him, because it made him feel a certain way. It gave him a motive, an imagination. It set something going in him. The writing was terrible from a technical point of view, but from an emotive empathy inducing view, holy shit. it worked. It was good.
So, that means, the value of your work changes depending on the metric you use to evaluate it. I’m sure technical specification manuals are all written wonderfully, with precise language and information by the bucketful. Hell that’s why they exist. But are they considered dry reads? Do classics lose that shiny new language feel, or connection to people via the words alone, because they can be a bit boxed in by the era’s acceptable standards of what made for good writing? Yep. 100%.
But what gets read, over and over again, every single generation? Things that make us feel because they have meaning. Things that strike a nerve. Monsters, and romances, and stories about the human condition. Sure fine grammar and spelling will get you more readers, which is important on a small-scale level like a roleplay, or a fanfic, but they aren’t the heart of good writing. Good writing makes you feel, relate, and love the characters. It brings a world to life. I can’t tell you how often I’ve ignored shitty skills and kept reading because they had me hooked on what was going to happen.
So instead engage with your project on different levels than ‘is it good’ because Jesus Christ, that is such a hard thing to measure. Ask yourself instead: Did it feel right? Do these words bring a clear mental image of what I want? Do the characters feel like people? Do I create a sense of ‘questions to be answered’ and do I answer them with enough regularity to keep people invested, while supplying more? Do I solve all the problems that come up, or suggest they can be solved easily? Do I feel engaged with this work, does it represent part of me? Is it easy to read, or does the pace stutter, is that what I want? Working on these instead of some non-solid idea of ‘good’ and instead ‘is it what I intended’ will give you fresh eyes, and help eliminate some anxiety because…
All writing is good for something.
All of it.
Somewhere, it will have an audience that needs it. Don’t stress about finding that audience, don’t stress about making it perfect for them. Make it perfect for you, and deign to allow others to read it. Your writing is your voice. It is you unique vision. Only you can write things in ways that play on your personal vision of the world. Seriously. We can’t even map minds at a level that allows us to pull stories out of it. Not even dreams can be recorded. You know what your dreams are. You know what you want on the paper. As long as you feel like it brings what you want to the table, you can write anything and it is good.
Think of yourself as a pioneer, forging new ideas into the world. No one gets it perfect the first time. You’ll throw an axle occasionally, or a horse will die, or a party member gets dysentery. But the point is you made the effort, and can change or recover. Writing is what it is. It exists waiting to be seen and translated into part of another person’s life. Try to pick a good idea of what you want to share, and then share it.
You’re golden. Don’t let one or two comments get to you. Don’t let your inner editor scream you down. Don’t engage with the ideas that you can’t write, or you aren’t good enough, or that this is easier for other people. Accept them as your personal doubts, not as your personal truths. Accept they are worries. Then let them go, they are worries, not truths. They exist, but they do not have to be what you base things on. Breathe. Think. Writers generally feel like shit, especially when they
have been trying to write and finish a novel for 2 years and can’t even pick up a pencil to do it, god damn it self, get in gear can’t reach goals they set for themselves. If you disappoint yourself, that’s where anxiety sets in that you can’t live up to your ideals.
That’s actually good for one thing. If you can see flaws, you’re getting better at the job. Writing is practice. Editing is putting that practice to use. Like, seriously. If you had a piece of art, and you went back years later after a hundred more pieces of art, you could do a better sketch or version of it. Writing is very similar. You can figure out what went wrong, rewrite the sentences, the story, the flow, something you’ve learned doesn’t work. It’s not solid, I have to point that out. Writing can change, even if it felt perfect at the time. Not because it wasn’t right, because it was right for the you who wrote it, the mysterious past you who was in a certain mindset. It’s because the you now who read it, wants to say something different because they’ve seen the future. They’ve read ahead in the story. They’ve got spoilers, and you could set up for those spoilers a little better.
At a certain point though you have to say, ‘look, either I edit forever, like I’m going to do to myself as I grow and learn. Or I set it down now, call it history, and use it as a reference point in the future when I get even better.’ The second one is better, less stress. History isn’t something we can change, we can only change the perceptions of those around us with additional words and actions. It is what it is. You, and everyone around you, can accept that. Even if it means dealing with hard truths, or hiding something that got a less than stellar reputation. (Never fully delete anything, it’s painful, and makes you not want to do more. Just set it to private or something. Let your messed up creations hide in the dark places, because someday you might grow enough to want to visit them and love them as they are, when they remind you less of current immediate failure, and have a more sentimental feel.)
Remember too, your writing will not meet anyone, not finalize, can be changed and edited and fixed, all the way up and past you showing it to an audience. Read it in different fonts, in color changes, to catch it in new lights. Edit the shit out of it. Make it closer to your intent. Refine, and examine it until you feel like it’s good enough to share, and then share it. But until then, no one is judging you. No one sees it. No one is out to get you except that fucking little editor voice in your head trying to give you SHIT. Well fuck that voice, you can change it later. Get your ideas down now, and let them grow and evolve with your progress. Don’t worry about what it says, it could say anything. The important part is not the writing, but the experience of having written it.
A story is an idea, written down. You can’t change an idea, until there’s enough solid parts to interact with them. A vague idea you’re nurturing to growth is great, but you have to write it down before it becomes solid and real and you can trim the branches and shape it into something more. Don’t be intimidated. Nothing has to be perfect the first go around, it’s just a draft. You have a story inside you, a life, a creation. Something about you, a part of you that longs to be free and shared and alive. It doesn’t have to be perfect, long, or well-written. It just has to bloom on paper, and then expand and grow and seed and birth new stories. You can do it, you really can. It’s just planting that idea that scares people.
You matter. Your writing matters. Regardless of anything else, everything you write is real, and it matters. It’s one of the steps you take to get somewhere else. Every step is important, even if you never reference that step again.
Let yourself fall in love with your writing. Let yourself put it away, and come back to it with fresh eyes, and experience it for the first time as an audience. Fix what doesn’t work, but love what does and focus on it, because that’s what an audience will remember. What they loved.
Good luck. You’re fantastic, and I cannot put into words what kind of pride, and joy, and this… big budding feeling in my chest is. This bubbling need to tell you that every action you take towards becoming a writer makes me kinda tear up and have hope. Because… I need writers. I need them badly. Whether they’re roleplayers writing ephemeral stories back and forth across electrons that expire after they’re spoken, or writers who sit down and write novels that will last and last and last. All of you give me hope, all of your words touch me, and mean something to me. Ones I disagree with, ones I love, ones I hate, ones that impassioned me, or bring me closer to understanding myself.
Just write. I love it, whatever it is. Thank you.
Anonymous asked RPedia: Hi! I was browsing online for random stuff about roleplaying and I found a post about what people find annoying, and one of the points was ‘replies that are too long’ and as a person who writes a lot it kinda made me paranoid? Their point was that it is useless and you should just get to the important parts, especially if you repeat yourself or are too wordy. Is it true that people find it annoying? I never thought of it, I always write long replies to explain what is going on on my OC’s head :/
Yep, this is actually a problem, but it’s not a problem for the reasons you’ve listed! Look, I’m gonna give you two sample posts, you tell me which one is more fun and we’ll dissect why. This is actually a very common problem, because a lot of kids really, really, want to impress their partners, but just don’t have the skills (or possibly the ability to frame new details/information) to do so yet. Your content and presentation, essentially, has to mean something, and relate to what you’re talking about in your post. Your wording should add to the story in some way; be that to elicit a response, or explain an idea you want to get across in some way so the other author knows about it. Squish unimportant things together to make them more important bullet points, or don’t say them if at all they don’t add something to the pot. That’s the major concept here.
So, sample posts!:
Jeffery walked along the street, picking at the edge of his sleeve. The sleeve was rayon, the colors of which corresponded to blue, and green, and yellow. Really it was an ugly sweater. He continued picking it, as he walked along the street, glancing this way and that. A thread unraveled, but he was already preoccupied by the way the street lamps, on the street which was a London street, were lit. The soft footfalls of his shoes on the cement brought him ever closer to his destination.
Jeffery walked the London street, picking at the hideous blue, green, and yellow masterpiece that was his rayon sweater. He was so preoccupied he didn’t notice when a string came loose. His attention was on the dimming street lights as he hurried to his destination, soft footfalls on rain-wet cement.
Same information, same concept, same kind of unwieldy and awkward feel. I wanted it to be a little awkward to make the character seem like an anxious dork with no fashion sense. But importantly, the second one read better to most people even though it was shorter. Why?
Well for one thing, let’s just… add commentary to that first post bitching about it. To get an in-situ view.
Jeffery walked along the street, picking at the edge of his sleeve. (Okay solid. We learned: walking, location, person, picking, sleeve.) The sleeve was rayon, the colors of which corresponded to blue, and green, and yellow. (Look, okay, you don’t need ‘and’ that much. “Blue, green, and yellow,” will suffice. Is rayon important anyways, maybe? Can you combine this somewhere to make it less… useless added bullshit?) Really it was an ugly sweater. (Okay, Lemony Narrator. Interesting and implies a lack of fashion, keep that. ) He continued picking it, as he walked along the street, glancing this way and that. (… you coulda said all this earlier, why you repeat this walking and picking and street shit, buddy?) A thread unraveled, but he was already preoccupied by the way the street lamps, on the street which was a London street, were lit. (Okay, thread unraveled, ignored it, London, street lamps being lit. We coulda used that location stuff earlier to frame the whole setting, you dumbshit. But that’s forgivable. Not a bad sentence if taken alone, the bits that repeat him moving and on a street? Combine it elsewhere.) The soft footfalls of his shoes on the cement, wet with an earlier rain he hadn’t been present for, brought him ever closer to his destination. (OKAY WE GET THAT HE’S DOING A WHOLE BIG WALKIES, YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY IT AGAIN UNLESS YOU WANT A READER TO THINK HE TOOK AN AGE TO DO IT. The ‘soft footfalls’ give an unremarked on ‘hearing’ sense though, and increases the setting, you can keep that. Same with rain and cement. It modernizes the city and gives that immediate imagination reaction of: chill, damp, dripping sounds, the smell after a rain, and reflections everywhere. The way it’s said is awkward as shit though, who the fuck cares if he was there for it or not? Is that important? No. Go away. Keep the rain-wet cement, the soft noises, and move the fuck on. The only time you should repeat something is if you want the reader to notice, or you want it to seem like it’s gone on for an insurmountably long fucking time so they can relate to the character. Right now, I’m like, Jesus fuck, are his legs going to fucking wear down to nubs before we get somewhere? )
So… yeah that.
Why did the second one work? Let’s do it again.
Jeffery walked the London street, picking at the hideous blue, green, and yellow masterpiece that was his rayon sweater. (All the details are in bullet points and overall connected, setting, visuals, character. We don’t have any meandering sentences here, just facts that explain the sweater all in one go in a humor-related way to hook people.) He was so preoccupied he didn’t notice when a string came loose. (We finally described his disposition, something happening to make it obvious to another character in this world, and then kept going instead of hanging about. A sense of urgency and distraction, gave a question ‘why?’.) His attention was on the dimming street lights as he hurried to his destination, soft footfalls on rain-wet cement. (There’s the wet and footfalls, added almost as an afterthought to leave the taste and sensation of a whispered sole on cement in your mind in time for your post. The streetlights dimming add more urgency, and explain the last sentence a little more (he’s in a hurry!) so we know what he’s preoccupied with. In short this was ‘description of setting, bulletpoints of his visual style/personality. Phrase with action, declaring mental state. Reasoning for previous sentence, and setting exploration.’ It repeats, but in a way that brings it around home, rather than sends it off into the cow fields looking for a lost sheep. )
Another part of it was not wandering off on flights of fancy in the middle of your paragraph, the first one mentioned the street constantly, which is good for some kinda writing (repetition can be used as a writing device to make your reader come back to the same idea a million times to represent a mind that can’t get away from a fact, i.e. someone trying desperately not to think that someone has just died.) but it’s not always a great idea in roleplay. You want your reader, and partner, to understand what’s important. I’m setting a scene here, so honestly it could be several paragraphs of information, if it was relevant to the scene.
Edit yourself, essentially. Rambling on about things, and trying to pack as many words into a paragraph as possible is going to give you some fucked up material to read. The first example really just made a mess of things. Hoo hoo, fuck you buddy, what do I care? He’s got an ugly sweater and he’s ruining it, good job. But the second describes the action, the locomotion of the character, indicates he’s preoccupied, and that dawn is coming if you really look at it. The first one failed to mention the lights were dimming because, god fuck, it was trying to repeat itself 80 ways to Sunday.
Sitting there and talking about your character’s mental state, how they feel, is not the same thing. That gives context to the story, to how a character is evolving through these actions. A man dies, is the character happy, angry, sad, or a mixture of the above? Do they regret it, or do they feel satisfied? Does it remind them of something important to them, something you can hint at to draw the other writer into exploring that concept? That’s important! That’s information that very well changes how the character acts, the tone of their voice, the way their body language reads even if you don’t go into detail. Someone who is absolutely furious, or who is panicking and trying not to show it, or one who is hiding barely suppressed sadness are all going to act amazingly differently. It has meaning.
I fucking talk forever, but you people watch this blog or choose to read my posts with some regularity, to be honest. Part of it is I keep you guys engaged, I may repeat ideas, but I’m rewording them in new ways with new examples so that even the most obnoxiously hard to understand point can be seen from like 8 different angles. It keeps you from ‘not getting it’ even if some people have caught on during my “too long; didn’t read” sentence in the intro. I also cuss a lot and in creative ways, and you guys think that’s hilarious if the tags are anything to go by.
What does that mean to you? It means it’s not the length, despite what this other article may say. That sounds like kind of a bait-y concept to draw in roleplayers and try to solve an issue, but it ended up causing anxiety in people. I always go by the rule of thumb, if one person complained visibly, then 100 people sneered and moved on but the idea kinda… wedged itself in there and makes you nervous and double check yourself at the oddest times. It sucks. It happens to everyone, by the way. Those throw away comments people make fucking leave a mark, ouch. I’m still panicky over shit people said years ago.
The point is, read your own work. Are you having fun, or do you find your points obscured? Do you enjoy your own writing and understand what’s going on in your prose, or do you have a habit of adding meaningless fluff that is so unconnected it hides the uh, let’s call it a dagger of truth. See look, now you got sheep’s wool hiding a dagger. Good for trying to obfuscate (look at that word, I love that word) but terrible for trying to make sure that your partner understands everything that is going on.
I’m actually all nervous now I’m coming at this problem too many times and over-talking myself, but you know what, screw them. Screw that. I’ll talk exactly how much I think is needed for ya’ll to understand, you aren’t broken if the only issue is you do write a lot, or that you focus on things you want to express and make sure that gets across. The only time it becomes obnoxious as shit is when you turn simple acts into several sentences with nothing new to add to the conversation. When you add way more words than anyone needs to say something.
This seemingly goes right against some advice I gave earlier about expanding your posts. Nope, stand by that. You can turn “They walk” into “They walked at a clipped pace, eyes darting, and worn out shoes scuffing at the gravel occasionally” because god damn it, that means something. You’ve shown body language, you’ve told them speed, and you indicated their style and even implicated the kind of space they’re walking on. Those are important bits of information!
It’s… when you talk like that stereotypical old man telling a story from his childhood that things become an issue. Get to the point. Don’t go off on what price everything was in the 1950′s unless that’s important to the story. Grandpa, thank you, but I asked what time it was, not how you got to school by walking both ways, uphill, in snow up to your neck, with only a toothpick to dig your way out. Seriously, thank you, I’ll just check my phone.
Don’t feel bad if the idea bugs you after this, if you see yourself meandering, clip it. That’s the best advice I can give you. If it feels important, it is important. If you like it and feel it’s an interesting turn of phrase or good writing, it’s good enough. If it feels rambly, or like you force yourself to write way more than you wanted to match/impress a partner, it probably is, go ahead and cut it. You got this, trust in yourself and your writing instinct.