I have been introduced to role-playing as a form of writing only quite recently; as I go, and as my first dozen role-plays progress, I learn.
Recently, I sat down and I collected everything I've learned so far into a single line of thought, and I wrote it down: I formulated my own rules of thumb, guidelines, and general principles of role-playing. Now, I am trying to learn to follow these rules.Here are they:- Create a deep character:
bio, physical appearance and features, motivations and aspirations, psychological and emotional characteristics should intertwine to create a consistent, logic-based, dynamic personality. (see Amelia's Blog - Character Creation and Development
for some further advice.)- Develop my character through the story:
make them change in some way, learn or understand something new, add, remove, or change their aspirations and motivations.- No post without a purpose:
make sure each and every one of my posts does -at least- one of the following three things (and just one is a bare minimum, usually I'd go for at least two): reveal character, develop character, advance the story.
- Allow my characters to act:
let my character contribute to the plot, not just react and interact and follow the story idly or passively without adding to it.
- Plant at least two hooks in each post:
hooks are dialogue lines, actions, emotions, or events in my post that my role-playing partner can use in different ways to their choosing - or with other words, things that my partner can choose in what way to use them, can have multiple options and the opportunity to decide for themselves. The more options I give them, the better. For example: "Hey!" he said, staring at her breasts.
--- with this hook, my partner can decide whether their character is angered, upset, amused, indifferent, embarrassed, happy, sarcastic, aroused, whether she fights, hides, responds, ignores it, etc - it gives them quite allot of options to choose from.
- Keep dialogue lines and flowing action short:
no matter how long my post is, I try to keep dialogue and action short enough to allow my partner to keep up easily and to make the interaction intense and fluid.- Make each of my posts full:
no matter how short my post is, it should always have - something external (dialogue, action, reaction, expression of emotion), something internal (internal emotion, internal monologue, flashback), hooks, and description.
- Follow the story rules:
each RP has a certain story world, certain setting, certain mood, certain boundaries. I always follow them to the letter, or at least as best as I possibly can. This goes especially for group role-plays with a thorough and detailed setting. (see the Oath of the Drake for Group Role-Playing
).- Description is for my partner:
description of scenery and characters should be used to help me and my partner stay on the same page, to visualize the setting and the story the same way.- Role-playing is about playing a role:
the essence of my role-playing should be internal emotion, internal monologue, character progress. - Stay away from the story:
I should try to stay away from the story as a writer, I only participate through my character.- Make no mistakes:
I try to make as few mistakes as possible - anywhere from typos to misunderstanding my partner's latest post. I always read my post at least twice before posting it. My mistakes will spoil my partner's experience.- Don't be demanding:
I never demand regular posting or post length from my partners. Miss Muse is a tricky thing to handle, so I try to leave my partners alone. If they're good partners, they'll come around on their own.- Always seek to have fun:
with each and every post.
I am publishing my guidelines in my blog for two reasons - to see what others think and to further motivate myself to follow them. Comments and discussion are welcome.