EXERCISE Writing Longer Posts

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Minibit, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. Some quick disclaimers that you've probably heard before

    It's not the length that matters, but the CONTENT

    Posts do not need to be super-long to be super-useful
    That being said, if your partner, or the GM of a roleplay you want to join, is complaining your posts aren't long enough, it's usually shorthand for "You're not giving me/other players enough to work with"

    So how do we fix that? Well, the first thing is to identify the problems; when people say or imply your posts need more content, what do they mean by that?

    • Your post needs to progress the story
      Progressing a story is much simpler than some think, it's three easy steps:
      1 - take a step back and look at where the STORY is headed; in this example, let's say a girl has gone missing. The STORY right now, is about finding her
      2 - Consider what your character can do, or what things you can add to the scene, that will facilitate finding the missing girl
      3 - Try to think of yourself from the other player(s)' perspective. How would YOU respond to what you've posted? Would you be able to move the story more from the information you put out there?

      Show Spoiler
      "I don't know" Jack said, shaking his had "I haven't seen her in a while" he wondered where she had run off to, and why she was so upset. It didn't seem like her at all, and it made him worried as a friend.
      Changes to
      "I don't know" Jack shook his head "I haven't seen her since Friday, when she got back from her grandma's place. She looked pretty shook up but didn't want to talk about it." He frowned; the thought of his friend in distress made him upset, Sherry was usually such a cheerful girl, he wondered what could have happened to make her run away.

      Now we know that Sherry was last seen by Jack on Friday, and that there's a possibility whatever upset her is to do with her grandmother; there's a direction to look for new clues!

    • Your post needs more DESCRIPTION!
      A descriptive post is not necessarily a good post; if you spend pages talking about the scenery, there's still not much for your partner(s) to react to. So you need to decide what things are important enough to be described in more detail. These things are usually (but not always)
      - Body Language
      - Tone and inflection
      - Anything you are currently TELLING needs to be SHOWN instead
      - Any hints/clues, or objects you want other player(s) to focus on for the sake of the storyline
      Show Spoiler

      Marcia smiled, squeezing Jonas' hand a little bit. She felt happy, and wished the day would never end.
      Marcia smiled, a blush spreading across her cheekbones as she squeezed Jonas' hand. She hoped her palm wasn't sweaty as butterflies danced up from her stomach. The sunshine and sound of laughter and smell of popcorn wafted around her until she felt dizzy from the joy in the air. If the day never ended, she thought, her dreamy smile still stuck stupidly on her face like permanent marker, that would be perfect.

      It's the same thing being described, except now it's obvious that instead of just having a good time, Marcia is in puppy-love; you can tell by her body language and what she's thinking about, which were mostly left out of the first version. Note also that the TELLING "Marcia was happy" was cut out, and replaced with a description of SHOWING what Marcia looks and acts like when she is happy; the result is a much more vivid picture.

      Jonathan shivered as he looked around the room. He didn't like the place at all, especially not the way the doors hung creepily on one hinge, except for one door, which seemed to have been busted out altogether. There were cobwebs everywhere, and weird skittering sounds of bugs and rodents in the pipes.
      Jonathan shivered, rubbing goosebumps from his skin as his eyes darted around the room. There was an eerie feel to the place; the way the cobwebs swayed from the ceiling in great ghostly sheets, the unidentified scufflings and squeakings from the walls and ceiling, where vermin and other horrors squabbled among themselves. Doors and cupboards swung, screaming softly from rusty hinges, except one door, a black maw that seemed to have beeen broken down, which seemed to beckon to the group.

      To create a scarier TONE, adjectives that we associate with horror and scary scenes have replaced the more normal descriptions, and the scary door, which the group is meant to be drawn to, is saved for last, and it is more heavily implied that the group is meant to go there next. The TELLING "He didn't like the place" is also replaced with SHOWING his reaction; shifty eyes and goosebumps.

    • You need to focus more on THE OTHER PLAYER(S)
      Roleplays are a group effort; if you're in a roleplay, you need to think of what's going on with the other characters, and be involved with them. The golden rules for this are
      - Don't derail the main story with your characters angsts/subplots/agendas
      - Describe beyond your character
      - Remember that it's just as annoying in roleplay to hang out with a character whose only focus is themselves, as it is to hang out with a self-absorbed person in real life

    Your exercise is to choose a scenario from the spoiler messages below, and write a post as if you were in a roleplay where the scenario is happening. There is no length rule, but your post MUST accomplish two things
    - It MUST further the story
    - It MUST be a post that another player could use as a building block to continue the story even further

    And it must avoid two things
    - Over-describing irrelevant parts of the post (ie: what your character is wearing)
    - Pulling attention from the main story and onto your character

    Show Spoiler

    High-school setting, modern day
    Maddison has gone missing; she was last seen Friday, and now it's the end of School on Wednesday and she's been mysteriously pulled out of school. Maddison is friends with everyone in the roleplay so far; she isn't answering her phone, and she isn't at her home or any of her usual public hangouts. The group is discussing where to look next, and whether they should be worried at all

    Show Spoiler

    Medieval-Fantasy setting, Dragon Hunting
    A reward has been offered for the head of a dragon terrorizing the land; each character in the group questing to go after it has been personally affected by the dragon's rampage, and has a personal reason to want to take it out. Halfway to the dragon's lair, they are begged by a peasant to postpone the dragon-hunting in order to find a remedy for a village which is suffering under a mysterious plague. The group discusses their options

    Show Spoiler

    Assassin x Cop, modern setting
    The police character, having unknowingly befriended the assassin they are supposed to be hunting, is having coffee at the assassin character's apartment. He/she reveals what case they are working on; write the assassin character's reaction
    Show Spoiler

    Show Spoiler

    'Gifted' setting, modern day
    A teenager with powers that he/she hides because of persecution against people with these powers, discovers the person he/she likes is extremely prejudiced against gifted people

    Feel free to come up with your own scenario if you want to
    • Like Like x 3
    • Love Love x 2
    • Thank Thank x 1
  2. Lyle quickly made his way to Mr. Burg’s class; it wasn’t that he was fond of math, it was that he wanted to sit in back of Sasha Jamie; his elementary school crush. They were in ninth grade now yet he still hadn’t had the courage to ask her out! She was a popular kid…he was a geek. A geek with gifts; he could lift things with his mind, but he’d never let anyone in the school know that…yet. When he entered the classroom, Sasha was already there. Scuttling to take the seat behind her, he made himself comfortable. But before he could talk to her, it seemed that she had left something on the desk for an intended friend; it was a picture of a kid shooting lasers out of his eyes at his parent’s. It was…Scott Summers? ‘No…she wouldn’t make a crude joke like that,’ he thought, staring at it. A hand ripped the picture away. “I’m sorry about that,” she apologized. He looked up at her confused. “W-what is that exactly?” he asked innocently, hoping that she’d lie and tell him that it was ‘see through vision’ or something (which he knew it wasn’t). “Oh, this? It’s a picture of one of those horrible mutants. Scott is freaks…all of em are. If you ask me, the government should just kill them; or at least tag them. You never know what they are going to do,” she replied, smiling at him. All he could do was stare at her; how could she say that? He felt as if his heart was going to explode right here; it hurt. He got up and ran from the room with tears in his eyes; the girl he’d fallen for, had turned out to be just as cruel as his family.

    How'z that?
    • Love Love x 1
    • Thank Thank x 1