Good writin'.


  • Pitcrew

    This post is going to produce a lot of contradictory opinions, because everybody's got different ideas as to what makes for 'good writing,' obviously. That's okay, though, since its more of a feeler post than anything.

    I feel like it's usually clear when a game has players for whom writing/story/prose/character development are at the center of that game's culture, though. Are there games out there like this? I'm such a sucker for people who can wordsmith, tell a good story, hatch in the nuances of a character's personality and take risks IC. It's such a hard thing to find, though. Or maybe that's just me being out of the loop?

    Anybody playing anywhere that feels like this to them? Bonus points if there's actual intrigue, too.


  • Admin

    I don't think this is a game-wide issue as much as an organic way certain groups get together.

    That is, no staff can really define let alone try to regulate a particular type of writing, but we all have our preferences. If I know someone's compatible with my style and I like them then I probably end up playing with them more, and others less so.

    What you would call a wordsmith or good story teller might be someone else's nightmare for a number of reasons - they might not be detailed enough, or they are too slow, or they make typos, or... whatever. There are a myriad variations of what we like and of how we come across regardless of our earnest intentions; I might think I'm witty and suave yet some deluded souls might find my poses pretentious and overbearing.

    Now... if you're asking for specific recommendations I'm sure you've come to the right place to ask. :)


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel Yep, specific suggestions, based on people's differing opinions! I know people's suggestions will vary based on their own preferences, but it's good enough for me that they think of 'x' game when someone asks for this kind of environment, if that makes sense. Worst that can happen is it turns out it's not for me, but there's always a chance, right?


  • Politics

    I like details, but I don't like verbiage, if that makes sense?

    I don't need LONG FLOWING POSES. I need the details. A lot of people confuse "detailed pose" with "long pose that explains every little thing". To me, a detailed pose is a pose that has a sentence about the action, and a good few verbs and adjectives to explain that action and make it come alive.

    My writing workshop professor this semester loves the poetry of explaining things indirectly. Yesterday he went on and on about how someone said a character 'blonde' and he would really have preferred something like 'as I brush my hair, I pick a gold-colored lock from my sweater' to let him know the character is blonde. To which I readily witheld my reply of 'fuck that shit'. And that's for prose. In RP? FUCK IT TWICE.


  • Coder

    I have an eye-rolling test. If I roll my eyes at someone's posing three times in a short enough span of time, I'm out. Generally, this is for:

    • Self-aggrandizement, going on and on about how sexy, cat-like, hulking, brutish or any other descriptor you are. If you have to repeat this more than one time in a scene, you are annoying.
    • Drawing attention to one's self through actions. This is different, slightly, from above, in that I mean here that the character does IC actions to literally draw attention to them in the scene. Grand entrances, bursting out into Singing in the Rain, and so forth.
    • You get two TLDRs with me before I write you off as a RPer. The only exceptions to this are scene-setting poses and exposition narrative about a plot, scene, or critical IC information.

  • Admin

    I've lots of little (and not-as-little) peeves but I try to not take them too seriously unless it gets distracting.

    My main marker is the signal to noise ratio in poses when people are trying to buff their own legend a bit too hard, especially when it crosses into metaposing. "Bob walks in a room and picks up a drink. That's right, a drink, because everyone knows what happens when this guy gets drunk; people get hurt, blood is shed, the police is called. Oh yeah. And wait, is that Jack Daniels? Damn.". I wish I was exaggerating a lot. :)

    But even aside from those things I've got my own preferences. I like meaty poses; unlike @Coin I'll very gladly take a subtle implication of hair color rather than an one-word description for it, and I value the effort someone takes in describing their character's action in flowery prose - I like prose. I'll also take any environmental immersion offered and try to enrich it - is it raining hard outside? Maybe my PC's cheap shows got soaked on the way over so now he's making funny sounds when he walks anywhere.

    What I'm saying is there's a difference between the things I enjoy - but which aren't necessary, and I realize are just stuff I like - and what's actually detrimental to a scene since they're supposed to highlight a player's ego and not what makes a character unique or noteworthy. If they're trying too hard to shove how special they are down my throat it's more of the latter than the former.


  • Pitcrew

    Based on my most recent scene, with someone who has apparently been on the game for years, but this was my first time RPing with them:

    Read the desc of the room. Read the pose I have written. Respond appropriately to those things, rather than just shotgun your way through a staccato series of:

    'Amadeus nods.
    Amadeus lets it go.**
    Amadeus asks, 'How did you do that?' ***

    poses that give me absolutely zero information or hooks to respond to.

    Don't RP from your phone without informing me that you are planning on doing so. Don't expect me to carry the whole scene for you, providing a paragraph (or so; my pose length can vary) of text for every single bland sentence you give in return. Give me a chance to pose before you shotgun - since I am actually writing, it takes me more than fifteen seconds. Don't cheat on rolls unless pre-determined (by asking) if it's okay that rolling dice is unnecessary for the scene.

    ** Actual response composed in reaction to seeing a ten dollar bill spontaneously combust on a service counter.

    *** Eventually said after said combustion, with no Awareness roll made to determine that my PC had actually used Pyrokinesis.


  • Pitcrew

    In my mind, a good pose should:

    a) Be detailed enough to give flavor and be interesting.
    b) Be clear enough to avoid ambiguousness or an interpretation different than the author's intent, in grammar, spelling, and style.
    c) React to and respond to the scene in progress.
    d) Provide something for others to respond and react to.
    e) Does not overwhelm or dominate the scene.


  • Pitcrew

    @Lisse24 said in Good writin'.:

    In my mind, a good pose should:

    e) Does not overwhelm or dominate the scene.

    This this this this this this.

    I know so many people who 'get' the rest of your points, but not this one. They will come into a scene and pretty much ignore the cooperative writing of everyone else and just steamroll the scene into being all about them. And then brag about how they entertain! They make things interesting! They're great to RP with because they mix things up!

    Not realizing how much people cringe when they walk into a public scene because everyone knows they're going derail the entire scene to be about them.


  • Coder

    This exact behavior is what I abhor most. I have been introduced to a RPer on a game that literally would fill your screen with me-me-me crap posing, and somehow many people that this RPer walked on water. I gagged when said RPer tried to give me advice on how to RP and be popular and have a following.


  • Pitcrew

    @Rook Well then, now I know why I'm not popular and have no following. :(


  • Coder

    Now we know, right? That's been our shortcoming all along!


  • Admin

    @Lisse24 Would you like to subscribe to my newsletter? Twelve easy ways to get a following! The third one will SHOCK you!


  • Politics

    @Lisse24 said in Good writin'.:

    Well then, now I know why I'm not popular and have no following. :(

    I like you.


  • Pitcrew

    I imagine those people are unable to grasp the difference between providing hooks and atmosphere. Atmosphere gives a sense of what's going on around 'you' and things to latch into if you want.

    But when Sir Priss is having a meltdown for the thousandth time in the middle of the room, that's not atmosphere. That's not something engaging.

    It's draining. And it brings what the rest of you were doing to a grinding halt.

    When the Class Clown has run in and fallen on her ass on a huge mess that wasn't there because she ignored the set pose that said that the place is freshly cleaned (and went 'HEE HEE JUST ROLL WITH IT!' when you tried to correct her OOC), it's not fun! and different!, it's negating what the rest of you had been doing and partaking in as a proverbial team.

    I don't care how well-written it was. It's bad team and coop-writing. I'll take an engaging two-line pose that acknowledges that we're all in this together over a well-crafted eight-line pose that gives no fucks about me as a person and my enjoyment of the game. Because that's what those people are truly saying: I don't care about you or your enjoyment of this game. I only care about the attention you give me.


  • Coder

    ^ I cannot upvote @Auspice enough for that post.


  • Pitcrew

    @Auspice said in Good writin'.:

    Not realizing how much people cringe when they walk into a public scene because everyone knows they're going derail the entire scene to be about them.

    Hello huge personal fear. Who wants to be that guy? Not me!

    I'll admit to being pretty verbose & descriptive, and with my last PC there was usually a tonne of dialogue, since they were a chatterbox. This probably isn't everybody's cup of tea (& that's a-ok!), but it feels hard to know if one's own personal writing/RP style lends itself to grandiosity, & alienates others.

    So my question is: what tips are there for Players who want to make sure their style is meshing well & inclusive of those gathered?

    I like to think I can read a room, although I worry I miss on certain flags, in terms of reception. My big peeve is when other Players aren't willing (or able) to align with the thematic or emotional tone of a scene. Example being like, a group of PCs find themselves trapped in cave & need to teamwork to avoid detection from a known Big Bad (or soooomething), but meanwhile Fluffy O'Happydanse is trying to get everyone to share baked goods and crying when nobody wants to have a sing along (or sooooomething).

    A lapse in reading the tone, or at maybe in expressing an in-pose argument / subtext as to why their PC would be so wilfully blind to the situation, dire as it (hypothetically) is.

    But maybe good writin' all boils down to taste - which as we know, there's no accounting for.


  • Admin

    @Auspice I think I've mentioned this before but...

    We were in a three-person scene that had been going on for a bit when this guy comes in from outside. Immediately, and without waiting to see what was going on or ask OOC what we wanted to do, he posts about him being bloodied because of the pitchfork-carrying mob outside trying to get'im.

    In all my years in the game that was the grossest attention-seeking I've actually seen in practice. I still can't quite imagine a bigger 'fuck you and what you were doing before, from now on it's about me' than that.


  • Pitcrew

    @A.-Meowley My general rule of thumb is that I try to respond to one thing/player/group and to offer one new thing. If I'm attempting to be subtle, I'll offer a subtle hook and a blatant hook and let the player choose which. I also adjust my pose size closer to the average pose size of the room. If everyone's posing pages, I'll pose a little under a page. If they're doing paragraphs, I do a paragraph.


  • Pitcrew

    @A.-Meowley

    What you described is really about on point.

    Wait a round or two. See what's going on. Pose into it. Is there a party going on? Join the party. Is there a quiet conversation? Walk into that.

    Imagine what it would be like walking into that setting IRL and pose accordingly. It's not as difficult as people make it out to be and I think you're already very much on the right track. You may be overthinking it because you see other people flubbing it up so majorly and you're worrying too much that you might be, too. And I'm gonna say... I doubt you are, since you see the problematic people, too. :)

    Because, yeah, you've seen those people and they're a peeve. The person who is not seeing the eldritch horror and reacting accordingly. You're trying to pose your character and wondering why the ever-living-fuck Jane over there is giggling and flirting while everyone else is wigged the fuck out by the thing with twenty-eight eyes and forty tentacles.

    They're not visualizing.

    That's the key: visualize. (Yes even if it means imagining the many-tentacled-beast.)

    Visualize. 'Okay, my buddies are standing around the kitchen looking somber... Even if my character is running in in a great mood... these are her bffs, she's probably going to scale it down and realize something is up.'

    Another tip:
    Even if I have very good reason to derail a scene (something happened in another scene and I have BIG PLOT NEWS to share), I will ask OOCly if it's OK before doing so.


  • Coder

    @Arkandel
    I dunno, Ark. I could really go with that, since it was entirely IC, and the mob was right outside. That implies, to me, that it is a currently-running, happening-right-now plot, and it is entirely plausible that someone would burst into a room all bloody and needing help.

    If it had happened a day or two ago, yeahno. But RIGHT NOW? Yeah, that should interrupt what is happening in the next room, as 1) they should have ICly heard the mob's shouts and screams outside, 2) might've noticed the torches from the windows.

    Sorry to nitpick your example. :(



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