I’m the kind of rper whose starters usually are longer than one page. I just love adding details, and I think they are important because they make the writing more interesting and fluid. It’s all about the witty bits of a sentence, you know? And while some of my partners love me for writing a lot, there are some that just can’t keep up. So they’ll always say things like “oh, yeah, I love this plot you thought of, we can totes do it, but please don’t write too much lol”
Hence the muffled sobbing. I can’t not write too much. I’m so sorry, I’m a bad friend and I will flood you with letters!
Submitted by theripperofnyc
This is directed more toward paragraph posters and purple prosers in general than the OP:
Yes. Yes you can. That goes double for Tumblr/forum posting, which allows editing time that live rp doesn’t. All you have to do is go back through your post and take all that shit out.
If it’s not directly related to the immediate scene, take that shit out. If it’s an inner thought or observation your partner can’t respond to, take that shit out. (If it’s a an emotion-laden memory, throw into the fucking sun.) If you describe your character’s appearance in any way, and it isn’t vital for the plot at hand, take that shit out. If you spend more than a sentence on a single action, take the extra shit out. Any time you tell instead of show, take that shit out.
I get the appeal of florid detail, I do, but this ain’t 1890. Good writing is concise; it’s evocative without being cumbersome. Make the effort to leave those details to the reader’s imagination. Not only will your friend appreciate it, you’ll be a better writer.
"Show, not tell" is one of the most important rules of writing.
It’s even more important in live RP, like within MMOs, where the RP is dependent on the presence of the people involved. Don’t make somebody wait fifteen minutes for you to slam out ten paragraphs that basically amount to your character taking a seat on a bench and opening a book. Try to keep it brief:
"[Character] delicately seats herself on the bench, straightens her skirt, and removes a well-loved tome from the velvety satchel at her side once she’s settled. She opens it to one of several marked pages, and after a moment’s passage her frustrated muttering is audible over the din of the square as she furiously flips between marks. ‘I know it’s here somewhere,’ she hisses."
It doesn’t require a description of the character’s prim, proper, and feminine outward attitude— that can be inferred by her mannerisms. It doesn’t require an internal monologue talking about how she can’t find what she’s looking for or even what it is that she’s seeking— it can be inferred by the fact that she’s angrily flipping between pages that she badly wants to find it. It doesn’t require a description of her love for study, reading, or whatever the book’s subject matter may be— it can be inferred by the fact that she’s clearly been through this book and references it frequently, and also the passion with which she uses it.
It also leaves plenty open. What is she looking for? It’s a hook to approach, something for another character to ask. The less said, the more is left open to your partner. Give people something to work with. Paragraph RP can get very one-sided because there may be something someone can respond to, but then you’ve gone ahead and narrated past it and it becomes awkward to address.
In forum or journal situations it becomes a little more tolerable because there’s ample time and space to fill, but in live RP the shorter the sweeter.
No lie: the other day, I saw someone emote something along the lines of
[Character] inclines her head towards [person], nodding at him.
This was the beginning of three emotes’ worth of internal monologue and unnecessary description to basically say “[Character] inclines her head at [person] in greeting. ‘Hello, [person],’ she says.” And every emote was like that. I’ve also seen someone take three paragraphs to say “[Character] blinks and smiles” and nothing makes my style-loving heart sadder.
But I’ll get to that in a minute.
In MMOs, I honestly find people who emote that way to be incredibly rude, particularly when they’re doing so in a public venue. In high traffic areas, it’s already easy for emotes to get lost in the chaos—I know that I’ve frequently had to repost because so much was happening around my character and whomever they were interacting with—so adding really long, unnecessarily flowery descriptions makes it harder on everyone. Chat scroll can be a huge problem, and if you’re doing this and you’re doing it in a high traffic area… and especially if it’s unnecessary description? I’m putting you on ignore, and I don’t want to do that, because you might be a really great storyteller or be someone whose character really clicks with mine. BUT once you get into those pointlessly huge emotes, you’re disrupting the setting for the people around you, and that’s really rude.
This ties in with that unnecessarily long emotes are just not good writing.
Good writing makes things clear for the reader. With good writing, I know exactly what happened, who the actor is, who the receiver is, and only the necessary details. Good writing is clear and it’s concise, because when writing isn’t concise, a lot gets lost in the delivery.
Going back to the example above: the nodding character was trying to tell the person she nodded at that yes, her guild was recruiting. Somewhere, in her redundant and excessively flowery emote (her sapphire hues flashing suspiciously), she said that her guild was recruiting, but the person she was addressing couldn’t find the answer in all of that emoting and asked again, after she’d finished, “So… is your guild recruiting?” The RPer had gotten so caught up in trying to fluff up her emotes with unnecessary descriptions and clarifiers, internal monologues, and thesaurus soup that her meaning was lost.
When I studied technical writing, one of the most important things we learned was that it’s the writer’s fault if the reader couldn’t make sense of our sentences (as opposed to who was at fault if the subject matter was just above the reader’s head). If I’m trying to convey something to you (say, Mairèad frowning and wrapping her hand around the hilt of her sword) but my meaning gets lost, that’s on me. I need to be clearer.
If you’re emoting in an MMO, unnecessarily long emotes are unnecessary at best and rude at worst, particularly in a high traffic area. Journal-based RP, forum-based RP, and messenger-based RP are a little more forgiving in that area, but you should still stick to writing only what’s necessary because fluffing up your emotes or tags with unncessary descriptions and clarifiers, internal monologues, and thesaurus soup can make it hard for your fellow RPers to follow and respond to you.
Re-reblogging for extra commentary from your local disgruntled technical writer.
I’ve done both short and longer posts… Though, not generally five page epics of posts. 8| Mine get anywhere between three and seven paragraphs, but some of those paragraphs are just three sentences long. Not like fifteen sentences, and then OOP LET ME MAKE A BREAK HERE SO I CAN WRITE ANOTHER.
I can say that short RP leaves much to be desired in many cases. Especially when the person I am RPing with basically makes it impossible for me to reply to their post because they practically did nothing in it. But… I think that’s just short posters making me drive the story. They want to read more than RP, as far as I can tell. They want me to write them a story. And I’m not down with that. (not to say everyone who only does one to three sentences is this kind of person, of course)
I have had a few occasions of good, short RP. Though not in a long while. Lately I’m more prone to longer RP, and while I personally say it’s a bit purple prose-ish… Most of my partners don’t think it is. So I guess that’s a plus. :|
And not even gonna touch MMO RPing, because I don’t know how anyone one does it, the format is too awkward for me. Dx I only know how to do forum, email, and IM RP.