I am like ice cream: awesome, and then boring and melty. (Help!)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Sjöfn, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. I have a problem. I looooove to write long posts. I can monologue like no one's business. My roleplay partner can give me nothing to work with, and I go off in happy tangents. It really doesn't take much to please me. But this leads me to two problems:

    1) I'm fairly certain that I never give my partners much to work with and therefore make it difficult for them to respond, because I don't need much of anything to go on my merry way.

    2) Dialogue, when in long posts, is nearly impossible. I find it incredibly hard to structure long posts around dialogue. Long roleplays just aren't conducive for well-flowing conversations, in my opinion. I have to struggle to answer things my partner's character said, and then address the things they say later in the post, etc. It's like the conversation doesn't flow right because it's occurring at different times throughout the length of one post. Trying to address (or decide what to ignore) in dialogue, for long posts, is just insanely difficult for me. I feel like it ruins my ability to flow because I'm thinking too hard on how to structure the post, and I feel like the dialogue muddies up the thread and bogs it down. My struggle to address dialogue and keep the plot moving, when using long posts, results in what I'm sure are really boring, plodding, threads. It makes my partner sad, and I'm oblivious (at least, most of the time).

    I know I'm not the only person on here to have problems with the dialogue issue. My roommate, Tsimmu, and I have had discussions about our problems with structuring long posts around dialogue. But at the same time, I don't want to sacrifice length in order to let dialogue flow.

    So I guess my questions are:

    1) How can I make it easier for my partner to respond? What techniques and tips do you long-posters have to ensure the partner is able to have something to go off of? I don't want to be boring just because it takes absolute zilch to please me.

    2) And, what are your tips on getting dialogue to flow better without sacrificing length?

    Thanks for the help! I'm eager to hear your opinions and tips.
  2. I'm going to give you an answer, but you're probably not going to like it.

    First: There's no way to effectively make dialogue flow in a big, long, tangential post. Dialogue needs to be back-and-forth, or your reader will lose the thread of conversation (or start skimming). An effective dialogue post is going to be short and snappy.

    Second: Lengthy monologues make you happy, and that's great! But- as you have noticed- they aren't going to make most of your partners happy. If you don't give your partner anything to respond to in that wall of text, that's not good roleplaying etiquette. It's selfish. You're indulging your own desires and not meeting your partner's. Those tangents are all about you and your character, not theirs.

    Dialogue is one way to engage another character. So is action. The more your character is doing, the more your partner's character has to react to. Just be careful not to go overboard and leave them in the dust. Reduce internal monologues unless they give clues to your character's outward demeanor. Think about how your character is presenting themselves and how they are interacting with the world and with that other character. Describe what's going on in the background if it's something they might be able to work with. If all else fails, communicate with your partner and plan the basic idea of how a scene should go.

    Third: Sacrificing length is not a bad thing. One of the keys to good writing is knowing when to run wild and when to be concise. Long monologues are all too often not very interesting to read, because they're not dynamic and they contain what we call "fluff". You're likely bringing up a ton of unnecessary details that aren't relevant to the scene at hand and don't add any real meat to your writing.

    Ask yourself: How much is actually happening in your post? Are you flashing back to memories that are not important to the current conversation? How much time have you spent describing what your character is actually doing versus describing the scenery?

    This doesn't mean you can't EVER do lengthy posts. But your problem here is mostly to do with pacing and flow, which can't be fixed without adjusting length. Dialogue and interactive posts are going to be shorter than moments of introspection or mini-scenes used to establish a character's personality.

    Be more dynamic and cut out the fluff. No one is monitoring your word count but you.
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  3. ^^^^

    Ozzie's got it right. I have ignored posts or skipped parts of posts if I feel like it's fluff and doesn't contribute anything to the plot or general feel of the roleplay. If you have to, be like an editor and remove anything that you feel isn't contributing to the overall story. It's good that you're recognizing that some of the stuff you write isn't working for your partner, so start asking yourself what you can write that they work off of?

    As far as dialogue goes, one thing that I've started using is writing collaborative posts. Where you and your partner write the dialogue for each other, and then one of you posts it up on the roleplay itself. That way the dialogue flows easier. One drawback to this is it can still go on tangents. Don't do that; figure out when to cut off the dialogue.
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  4. Personally, I find that working on the environment around the characters for length gives more then enough structure, while making concise and short conversations possible. This also adds to the imagination aspect which allows them to picture the painting in their mind of whatever you wish to portray to them. Giving a detailed environment will more then likely give people more stuff to do in a role play, other then just conversing or walking around (I'm sure more could technically happen, but I don't want to list them all.) which could lead to boredom. Fluff is not needed, but sometimes the small details can save a role play, it mainly depends on the genre of the role play and what actually is needed in my opinion.

    While shorter posts do indeed get faster replies, longer posts usually have more details in them, which could be used for role playing. I mean, a book, football, gun, or anything could be a subject for the role play, and if the partner has nothing to work with or work on, then how could they respond? I cannot say this from personal experience, but I can imagine this would be annoying to say the least. Another problem with lengthy posts is the fact that people will not always respond with a large post, but can summarize what they mean in shorter words, leading to a smaller post. What took you thirty minutes to construct, could be responded to in less then half the time.
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  5. These are good pointers, and I thank you all for that. I don't generally think of what I'm writing as fluff because it's relevant to the character and helps my partner get to know them, but that being said, they can't respond to much of it. I do know that with most my partners, when I say 'screw it' to length and just give them a few short paragraphs, it's easier and quicker. While I enjoy writing long posts more, and enjoy reading lost posts even more, I know it's not always practical and not everyone I write with is on my level.

    I think the thing that is most upsetting is that most people I RP with are like me, and prefer long posts, so I try to keep up with that expectation, but then get boring as a result. And at the same time, they warn you that its "quality over quantity," which I agree with whole-heartedly, but you want to impress them and surprise them. I'm just going to have to suck it up and accept giving them shorter posts, and hope that the quality is better and they don't get bored of me. The pointers on what to think about are good though, and I appreciate that. I've been writing for a decade but that doesn't mean I'm good; sometimes you forget the simple things, like how to think about the scene itself. It's easy to get lost in the flow of writing and forget that someone has to respond to what you're writing.