Top 5 Tips For General Roleplaying

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Returned from the Void
Original poster
Invitation Status
  1. Looking for partners
Posting Speed
  1. One post per day
  2. 1-3 posts per week
  3. One post per week
Writing Levels
  1. Intermediate
  2. Adept
  3. Advanced
Preferred Character Gender
  1. No Preferences
Urban Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic Quest, Sci-Fi, Time Travel and World Hopping, Steampunk, Action/Adventure, Modern Drama, Mystery, Slice of Life, Romance, and many more.
I'm not sure if there's already a guide out there like this, and if there is somebody can feel free to either let me know or remove this post, but I felt like this might be useful to some folks.

Everybody writes in their own style, and everybody has their own preferences for what they like in roleplay posts, but these five can be applied pretty much anywhere

So if you're looking for some basic starting points to move your posts from

John gets off the couch and goes to the door

Cali was waiting on the front step when he opened it. "Hi" said Cali, she blushed.

"Hi" says John. "Im making pizza, please come in"
John looked up as the doorbell rang, pushing his sandy hair out of his eyes as he lifted his lanky form off the couch and headed toward the door. He peeked through the eye-hole before opening it.

Cali swallowed as she waited for John to open the door, fiddling with the bracelets on her wrist and nervously shifting her weight from foot to foot. She jumped when it finally opened. "Hi!" she blurted, flushing red.

"Hi" John replied, eyebrows raising slightly at her apparent nervousness. "I'm making pizza, please come in." he stepped aside, holding the door open for her.

Then you may want to check this list out.

Roleplaying in the present tense is generally frowned upon
"Jack goes to the door" is present tense; it's written as if it's currently happening.
"Jack went to the door" is past-tense
Writing is usually done in past tense, as it gives the story an easier flow. It's easier to write a sequence of events when you're not writing like they're ALL happening at the same time.
"Jack goes to the door and gets his wallet for the pizza guy, he takes the pizza while saying 'thanks'" Sounds a lot more rushed and unstructured than
"Jack went to the door and got his wallet out to pay the pizza guy. "Thanks" he said, taking the pizza."

Punctuation, spelling, and grammar count!
Taking the time to proof-read post says two important things:
- That you respect your partner(s) enough to put time and effort into your replies
- That your post will be read the way it was meant to be read.
"He helped his uncle jack off a horse" vs "He helped his uncle, Jack, off a horse"
"Dawn was excited for her dance she spent all day picking out her outfit and even got a makeup lesson from her older sister it was the first time they'd really bonded since Dawn was five and nobody came to her birthday party her sister had taken her out for ice cream and a movie." (Sounds rushed without any grammar to give pauses!Using C-box style formating to denote *actions* is generally frowned upon in forum roleplays as well; write 'he jumped' not *jumps*.

There's nothing wrong with a short post, but...
if you're going to write a one liner, you may want to check out Diana's tutorial on making them count

You need to think about the story direction and the other characters
The roleplay isn't all about your character; the very core of roleplay is multiple people and characters all sharing a story; when you post, you need to be interacting with other characters, paying attention to their problems, and helping to keep the plot moving
If you're in a roleplay about treasure-hunters, then don't make a week-long pitstop researching your ancestry; go hunt treasure!
If your roleplay is a journey-style one, help make sure the group always has a destination and a reason for going there

You need more information in your posts
It'll take practice to find the line between underdescribing and overdescribing, but here's some key elements to consider when people complain that they 'don't have enough to work off of'
- Body language; Consider how a character is feeling, and show it through their body language. Don't just say Cynthia felt nervous, write about her fidgeting, blushing, biting her lip, playing with her hair, say how much time she spent choosing her outfit and describe how her stomach feels like it's tied up in knots; these give a much clearer picture of how she feels than just saying she was nervous.
- Motive. People do things for reasons; is Joshua smiling at everybody because he's in a really good mood after waking up on time to gorgeous weather and his favourite breakfast? Is he trying REALLY REALLY hard to impress everybody? Knowing why people do what they do and behave how they do helps us get to know characters a lot better than just reading their actions.
- Give the other characters something to react to. Talk to them, ask them questions, start a situation that they'll have to or want to get involved in like setting the building on fire, having the enemy start a raid, or enlisting their help with something. It can be handy to keep a list of plot candies to make sure there's always something for people to do other than stand around looking cool, like rescuing another character, finding an important item, or surviving some action-packed catastrophe like an earthquake or escaped zoo animals
Very nice stuff as always from Minibit. ♥

Practice with these five tips will help a lot of roleplayers who want to improve themselves. I have another tip, though it's definitely not in the top five, it can help.

My tip is simple: challenge yourself. Eliminate to-be verbs from your posts for a few weeks, write only what the other person can detect with their five senses, start doing challenges from the content forum for fun, make a character that you don't identify closely with, or even come up with other self-challenges.

By challenging yourself like that, even a little bit, you experiment with new techniques and may even discover a new plot candy, a new characterization, a new turn of phrase, or a new plot that you love!
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