Preparing a Quality Post

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Minibit, Apr 13, 2014.

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  1. This resource is intended to give a more detailed explanation of what many players mean when they say they want a partner who can produce "quality posts", or who "Has command of the English Language", or any other variation on these terms.

    When attempting to produce a post, whether it is in-character roleplaying, or an OOC description of the setting and plot, there are some key elements to consider:
    • Content
    • Accuracy
    • Flow

    To make sure your post has good content, it helps to ask the following questions after writing it out
    • Have I told the reader everything they need to know?
    • Have I wasted time on details that are obvious, distracting, or unnecessary?
    • Does this post leave room for the other player(s) to add their own contributions?
    • Does what happens in this post move the story forward?
    The first two questions concentrate on what you chose to mention, and what you chose to go into detail on. If you go into detail about something, the reader will expect it to be important to some degree (Checkhov's Gun Principle). So make sure that if you go into detail, it's on something that the other player(s) need those details on. Streamline your descriptions to keep the story focused on what's important right now, and you will avoid a scattered, inconclusive plotline.
    When you are describing things, make sure you leave room for the other player(s)' creativity. If you have a specific way something needs to work in order to make sense with what is already in play, then that's fine, but the difference between writing a role-play and writing a novel, is that in a role-play, everyone gets to contribute to what happens, and add in their own ideas and twists. Bottom line: Don't set too many rules; nobody likes to be bossed around.
    Finally, a roleplay is about a story. Some are more driven than others, but in general, roleplays get boring if there's nothing to do but stand around chatting. Create posts that introduce things for the other player(s) to react to. If the story has a main goal (ie: the characters are on a quest, or there is a big event coming up), create circumstances that will either move the characters closer to, or complicate the achievement of that goal.

    Using your words accurately means using good proofreading techniques, and being familiar with word use and phrase meanings. A couple points I've learned over the years that help prevent these mistakes are:
    • Use a spell-checker
    • Read the post out loud
    • Google any word or phrase you are not 100% certain on the use of.
    • Let a post sit overnight, and read it again with fresh eyes in the morning
    In this day and age, there is no excuse left for poor spelling. Most browsers come with a built-in spell-checker, or have one you can add for free. Most Operating Systems come standard with a Word-tpe program, which contains a spell-checker, and if you somehow manage to not have both of these, a quick google-search will bring you many websites which will happily check your spelling for you. That said, spell-checkers are not the solution to everything. They are miracles for catching typos and spelling errors, but only if those errors result in a combination of letters that do not make a word. What I mean is, it will catch 'biated' instead of 'baited', but if you accidentally type 'bated' instead, it will not point it out, since Bated is a word.
    Reading a post out loud is a good way to check for this, as it keeps your eyes from skimming over these errors and disregarding them. Spell-checkers will also not catch grammatical mistakes like using an apostrophe for a plural (It's "Mr. Brown's cars", not "Mr. Browns car's"), or abusing commas instead of starting a new sentence.
    Making sure you use your words and phrases correctly takes practice and research. If you are not a native English Speaker, and struggle with the nuances of English phrases, or if you are simply prone to such errors, you may consider asking your partners to point out when you misuse a word or phrase, so that you can recognize it. After all, you look pretty silly saying "Nip it in the butt" instead of "Nip it in the bud".
    When you have finished writing a post, you may be tired, you may have already gone over and revised several pieces, and are bored of reading those parts. You may be in a hurry to post, excited to see the other player(s) react. In these cases, it can be hard to concentrate and pace yourself enough to properly check for errors. Let the post sit overnight, or at least for a few hours, and come back refreshed.

    Writing a fluid post is a somewhat abstract concept that can be difficult to describe, but when broken down to it's core, it basically means
    • A post that reads at a pace appropriate for the content
    • A post that is easy to read
    • A post that is easy to understand
    In places where the reader should feel like things are happening quickly, you need to avoid excess description and concentrate on using active verbs. (The Living Words part of the Toolbox is very helpful!). Some additional description, and softer verbs can slow down a scene, if you want it to feel more peaceful. It's hard to get excited about a fight scene that feels drawn out, and you don't get the sense of characters relaxing if the wording is rushed, so control your pacing.
    A post that is easy to read usually means a post that has correct spelling and word use, and appropriate pacing. Runon sentences can be confusing and disorienting. Misspellings slow down a reader, misused words and phrases are confusing, too. This point is a result of Accuracy.
    While it's great to use creative vocabulary and alternative adjectives when writing, it's also important to stay within the realm of what the other player(s) can easily understand. Nobody wants to have to read a post with a dictionary open in another tab. In addition, jumping from synonym to synonym until you find a melodious enough word can lead to word-misuse; it might not even mean what you want at that point!
    #1 Minibit, Apr 13, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2014
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