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How does one write for a role-play?

Perseus

Member
I'm very new to this, and was wondering what the difference was between role-play writing and say, general narrative writing.
 

Jas

Exceptionally Common
Forum Moderator: Arena
There is an awful lot of overlap between the two. In fact, role-play writing is typically also general narrative writing. The main change-up comes from the fact that instead of one author, you have two or more collaboratively writing the story.

The difference really comes down to nuance. As a single author, you have absolute control of the narrative, the setting, and the characters. As one of many authors, you have only partial control of the narrative, potentially all or no control over the setting, and control over only those characters to which you bring a voice.

You'll still use standard literary devices, such as metaphors, foreshadowing, and other such things. But you have to respect the others who are colluding with you.

This is a high-level answer, and others here may offer their own take on it. If you want anything more detailed, though, just ask more directly. You asked a very broad question, and as such I cannot give you a very focused answer. Ask a more focused question and I'll give you a less broad answer.
 

Zat

Member
This was also something I was wondering. I'm new to this type of thing myself. I'm curious if there's any kind of etiquette for joining in on an RP? like, do you just.... hop in and insert yourself into an ongoing story, or should you wait for a new thread to start up? Not sure how this all is supposed to work.
 

Jas

Exceptionally Common
Forum Moderator: Arena
Good question, and not easily answered. But I'll try.

Generally, each roleplay will have at least 2 threads: an "in-character" (IC) thread, where the actual collaborative writing takes place, and an "out-of-character" (OOC) thread where meta-discussion takes place about the roleplay. Another way to consider these is that the OOC thread is inhabited by the players (or the authors, if you like), and the IC thread is inhabited by the players' characters.

I'm sure this makes some level of intuitive sense, so I won't belabor it. However, I did bring it up for a reason: if you are unsure whether a roleplay is accepting new players, read the first post (or posts, in the event the OOC thread has multiple posts detailing the rules of the roleplay) of the OOC thread. They may say in that post whether they are taking on new members. If the posts don't specify, then ask the current players (and/or game master (GM)) in either the OOC thread or in private message.

Keep in mind that the above is general advice. There are some things you can look for to make the dilemma easier.

Tags are used on SC for each thread. You can opt not to use them, but from a player's standpoint, they can make things easier. You can expect a thread with the "Open" tag to be accepting players, and you can expect one with the "Closed" tag to not accept new members. The absence of a "Closed" tag does not indicate openness nor the complement. But it's a good place to start.

Another good place to start would be the bulletin board. If you are at all familiar with MMO culture, this is sort of the "looking for group/looking for player" area. If you're not, then suffice it to say that this is an area where people pitch prospective roleplay ideas and see which ones gain enough interest to start.

The bulletin board is helpful in that you might be able to get into another roleplay on the ground floor. If you're a founding member, you will have secured your spot in the roleplay, right? Another thing is, humans being the fallible critters they are, there may be details in even a started RP's bulletin board post that are for some reason assumed in or omitted from the related OOC post which may shed more light on it.

But if all else fails, ask. That's the general advice. Be respectful, of course, and communicate well. Good communication is the single best defense against conflict.
 
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Zat

Member
Thanks for the detailed response! That should all be very useful. I'll definitely be checking out the bulletin board! Thanks for explaining about the tags as well!
 

Jas

Exceptionally Common
Forum Moderator: Arena
Glad you found my rant helpful. :) I'm just one person, so all of these ideas probably fall somewhere between fact and opinion, though I try to stay objective. Objectivity is hard, though, so it might not be a bad idea to get another opinion. But yeah, I think you identified the major takeaways so I'm glad..
 
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Zat

Member
Glad you found my rant helpful. :) I'm just one person, so all of these ideas probably fall somewhere between fact and opinion, though I try to stay objective. Objectivity is hard, though, so it might not be a bad idea to get another opinion. But yeah, I think you identified the major takeaways so I'm glad..
Definitely! One last question, if you don't mind... Is it common to use the same character between separate RP's, or are you expected to make new ones for each? Not really an issue either way, but I wonder what the norm is.
 
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Jas

Exceptionally Common
Forum Moderator: Arena
It depends.

Usually the GM will give requirements for characters. Sometimes, you're constrained to humans only or to Tolkien races. Sometimes, the character's background or skill set are constrained. In these cases, some characters that you already have rolled up may or may not fit the mold. If they do, great. If they don't, either make a new one or "nudge" an experienced character in. I'll usually just make a new one in that case.

Sometimes, though, there are no rules, and you can submit anything. In such a case, I'd find it difficult to believe that anyone would take issue with you upcycling a character.

That said, the GM rules. Anything you can convince the GM of is valid.

I've personally got a rotation of a few characters I use repeatedly, but sometimes I'll just roll up a new one. I like the character creation process, personally. But it can certainly be easier to drag-and-drop in something pre-made.

And several people do just that.

So, you do you. If you were to main a cat-lizard (just for instance), there would probably be a good number of rps that you cannot join. It can be hard to work in something so monstrous from the GMs point of view if they are not expecting it. But if that were the case, nothing prevents you from having a "standard alternate" you could use when you couldn't use your main.

So yeah, it depends.
 
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