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Concise Actions, Stronger Words & More

Khaleesi

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Joined
Sep 7, 2016
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2,449
I found a very interesting guide an old friend made and I asked if they won't mind if I post it. I'll be leaving their name out of this and I'll also be editing out the guide on my own to make it fit the RC-RP scene a lot more better. This guide actually breaks down the whole "detailed role-play." deal some people want to wave around in this community and breaks the labelling one person created for "movie style role-players." and "literature style role-players." as there's no such thing and it's just role-players.

"I wanted to share some writing tips I’ve learned over the years. This guide was written for everyone, whether you’re an experienced writer or a novice. It can be used as a reference for improving both your writing and your role-play." — Anonymous




Concise Actions

Nobody likes to read lengthy actions. It creates unnecessary layers around the point and it gives some people a hard time understanding them, especially if subtle language is used. Actions should be to the point. Instead of describing every action in excruciating detail, try to break it down as short as possible. This is a quality most experienced role-players may already possess, yet modern role-play is mostly interpreted the wrong way.

Examples:

Jane Parker picks up her fork, cuts a piece of her steak, raises it to her mouth, and takes a bite. ✗
Jane Parker eats her steak. ✓

Jane Parker takes out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, lights her cigarette, raises it to her mouth, and takes a puff. ✗
Jane Parker smokes a cigarette. ✓

Jane Parker searches her pockets, takes out her wallet, pulls out some money, and hands it to the cashier. ✗
Jane Parker pays the cashier. ✓

We already know how to eat a meal, smoke a cigarette, or where to pull out money from to pay for something. We don’t need to know every action within an action. Avoid being too wordy.




Unnecessary Actions & Descriptions

Role-playing absolutely everything your character does can bog down your chat. Not every action or detail has to be written out unless it’s absolutely necessary to the scene. This goes hand-in-hand with being concise with your role-play.

Examples:

Peter Newman kicks his feet into motion and leaves. ✗

Peter Newman can just leave. No emote needed. You don’t need to write it out unless you’re making a point out of it.


Peter Newman drives a 2018 Ford Mustang GT with leather seats and performance-pack wheels. ✗
Peter Newman drives a new Mustang. ✓

We don’t need to know the exact year, model or features of your character’s car.


Jane Parker has double-D breasts, a big ass, a tiny waist, and long, platinum blonde hair. ✗
Jane Parker shows off her hourglass figure. ✓
Jane Parker tucks a strand of blonde hair behind her ear. ✓

Sometimes it’s okay to just say “Jane is a curvaceous blonde,” too. Narrowing down every aspect without due cause is unnecessary. We don't need to know the cup size of your character.




Show, Don't Tell

Many of us are guilty of “telling” instead of “showing” in our role-play. Sometimes we are too direct and literal with our actions. It’s lazy and leaves little to the imagination to the reader. It is also wrong because it may incite people to meta-gaming.

Examples:

Dan Pitts is drunk. ✗
Dan Pitts slurs her words. ✓
Dan Pitts staggers. ✓


Jane Parker looks tired and hungover from partying all night. ✗
Jane Parker has bedhead and bags under her eyes. ✓
Jane Parker reeks of hard liquor and vomit. ✓

Karen Palmer thinks Adam is cute. ✗
Karen Palmer checks Adam out. ✓


Dorothy Swanson is old. ✗
Dorothy Swanson has a wizened face. ✓
Dorothy Swanson dodders with the help of a cane. ✓


Bianca Garcia looks sexy. ✗
Bianca Garcia wears a skimpy red dress. ✓


Howard Anderson chainsmokes. / Howard Anderson is a chainsmoker.. ✗
Howard Anderson has been a smoker for forty years. ✗
Howard Anderson speaks with a raspy voice. ✓
Howard Anderson shows his yellow teeth when he smiles. ✓

Tip: You can also “show” with dialogue.

Dorothy Swanson is old. ✗
Dorothy Swanson says: “Back in my day, we didn’t have color TV.” ✓

Emily Collins is angry at Frank. ✗
Emily Collins says: “You’re a disgusting piece of shit, Frank! Don’t ever talk to me again!” ✓




Stronger Words

Why walk when you can saunter, stroll, or amble? Why smile when you can simper, beam, or grin? There are much stronger words to use in your actions. You want to use stronger words to convey your actions in the most efficient way. But don't use just any synonym you find — it needs to fit the situation.

Examples:

Dorothy Swanson walks like an old lady. ✗
Dorothy Swanson dodders. ✓

In this example, we want to show that our character Dorothy Swanson has trouble walking due to her age. Dodder, which means "to tremble or totter, typically because of old age," fits perfectly.

Valerie Curtis looks at her boyfriend playfully. ✗
Valerie Curtis meets eyes with her boyfriend and simpers at him. ✓

In this example, we used "meets eyes" to show a connection between the two characters, and "simper" -- which means "to smile or gesture in an affectedly coquettish, coy, or ingratiating manner" — to convey her cute, playfulness toward him.

Note: Sometimes simple words are fine to use, like "Jane Parker smiles." Would another word be more appropriate for your action? Use your judgement.




Necessary Description

Occasionally, description is necessary to set the scene. This does not mean you should go over-the-top, though, like in the examples given above. You should be descriptive if you're trying to evoke a sense, make a point of something, et cetera.

Examples:

Lily Oakley's apartment reeks of cigarette smoke. ✓ (evokes a sense of smell, makes a point of Lily being a smoker)

Lily Oakley's car rattles and squeaks. ✓ (evokes a sense of sound, makes a point of Lily driving a cheap car)




Redundancy & Other Unnecessary Words

You also have to watch out for redundancy and unnecessary modifiers. We want to write as concise as possible.

Examples:

Jack Iatone quickly speeds downstairs. ✗
Jack Iatone speeds downstairs. ✓

We removed "quickly" since "speeds" already implies quickness.


Heather Murphy accepts the free gift, an unexpected surprise from her boyfriend. ✗
Heather Murphy accepts the gift, a surprise from her boyfriend. ✓

A gift is always free, so "free" is not needed here. The same applies to "unexpected surprise" -- surprises are always unexpected, so we can omit that from our action.


Emma Olson looks up at the ceiling. ✗
Emma Olson looks at the ceiling. ✓

We removed "up" because where else is a ceiling (or the sky, in another example)?


Emma Olson sits down on the floor. ✗
Emma Olson sits on the floor. ✓
Emma Olson sits down on the chair. ✗
Emma Olson sits on the chair. ✓

Again, where else is the floor or the chair?




Notes/Tips

"Sometimes when we go into detail, we provide unnecessary information. Why do we need to know your character's exact cup size, for example? Most of the time, "voluptuous" and "top-heavy" are enough. the same applies to people who like to role-play their tuned-out cars in detail. Unless it's important to the scene, we don't need to know everything about your character's car. What purpose does it serve to tell us your character's car has underbody neon lights and 15" alloy rims? Instead, maybe tell us her car is covered in dents and scratches, implying she's a careless driver."

"The longer the action does not mean the better. you don't want to bore the reader/role-player with unnecessary details and wordy actions. What I'm suggesting with this guide is to be concise with your writing. Make your actions count."

"Details are fine as long as they're important to the scene. Detailing everything to prove the point that you're "a better, more experienced role-player" or just because that's you is wrong."

"Clumping a few actions into one isn't detailed role-play. For example, everyone knows how to sit. Why do you need to include "bends her knees", when your action could've ended with "sits on the sofa"?"

There are always going to be stubborn individuals who won't understand what most role-players are trying to express through modern means of role-playing, yet it is better to try and understand rather than outright deny the validity of the fact that role-play has changed and many of us are guilty of doing it all wrong sometimes.

The beauty of role-play is the reader's imagination. It doesn't matter what you think unless you have this fixated idea of getting a whole scene to play out exactly as you vision it. It unfortunately doesn't work that way and you're not a production director. So instead of giving a ton of unnecessary details, it's better to put it out in a simple way and let the reader use their imagination for the rest. It lets people think, or see what they want and that's what everybody wants.




Hope this was helpful. Thanks to my friend and me.


 

Melly

Helper
Joined
Dec 30, 2017
Messages
865
I like the guide, although the roleplay style for me personally, depends on a given situation. Good job nonetheless, as it was a fun read.
 

Hippie

Silver Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2016
Messages
1,208
Location
UK
was good to read. quite useful for slow typers and new roleplayers
 

Mussy

Modder
Joined
May 30, 2016
Messages
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Location
your clubhouse
./me blinks an eye, tilting his head to center view as he looks at the wall and move his facial muscles when he notices the black spot on the white wallpaper. He moves his left leg and right leg and activates his leg muscles and brings it to the edge of the couch. He then tilts his head down and slightly leans in to look for his black and white-strapped slipper on the brown-tiled floor. He then moves his jaw, opening his mouth, and exhales air as he yawns normally for 6,714 milliseconds. He then finally trigger his ankle muscles and straightens his leg bones to stand up, ensuring his slipper is worn on his feet. He takes about ten steps forward with minimal noise until he reaches the white wall.
 

Bauer

Retired Admin
Joined
Nov 29, 2010
Messages
8,579
Location
The Netherlands
It's a guide, not a rule. Deleted all meme, toxic and derailing comments. You're not obligated to RP like this, it's only a different view on the matter.
 
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