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Posted: Feb 6 2012, 03:37 AM
Group: Head Admin
Member No.: 1
Joined: 30-March 11
An Illiterate’s Guide to Literacy
Last Update: April 15, 2008
Table of Contents
I. Table of Contents
III. First Things First: The Introduction
IV. The Beat of the Drummer: Plots
V. S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G: Spelling
VI. So, who are you? : Characters
VII. I have six sides and you hate me: Writer’s Block
VIII. It was a dark and stormy night: Descriptions
IX. 1 2 3 8: Order
X. Free at last: Conclusion
XI. Note to Literate role-players
XII. Additions by Others
Alright, since you’re here that means that you’re willing to accept help on going from illiterate to literate. This is good because it shows that you’re willing to work to get to a higher level, most people will only complain but you have become brave and asked for help. For those who don’t really know, role-playing is when two or more people get together with one or multiple characters that interact and speak with each other, formulating a plot as they go along or going by one that was decided before they started. There is one major part to a role-play: introductions. An introduction can decide how your entire role-play will go; the other person (people) will judge you on your character, your writing style, and most of all your creativity!
In the further subjects there will be much more length and detail so if you’re not truly dedicated to this drop out now.
First Things First: The Introduction
For those who are beginner role-players, the introduction is the most important part of the role-play (aside from the plot). This gives you a setting, characters that interact, and as the title says, starts the role-play. When you’re typing your introduction, you need to (of course) introduce your character. Though there’s a trick to doing it in style. While typing up your introduction, try to think of the setting your character is in. For this example, say it’s a haunted house. Is your character scared? What time of day is it? Why are they there? Do they like haunted houses? What are they feeling? Thinking? Get inside your character’s head for the best introduction.
A way that you can strike up a good idea for interesting and new things in your introduction is by doing something you probably do daily: listen to music! Though you may not realize it, when you’re listening to music you may picture things in your mind, or maybe the lyrics give you an idea. Either way it gets your mind going and your imagination to spark.
When writing your introduction, try to avoid it being too short. If you’re the first one to post the introduction, then try to make it a reasonable length. I don’t know about you, but you can’t fit the setting, character, and the mood into one introduction. If you do, I’d like to see it look good. If you’re a Literate role-player try to keep your introduction at three good paragraphs (that’s what I’ve figured the average to be). A note on this, quantity is not better than quality. No matter what anyone says, a three-paragraph introduction that has wonderful flow, characters, etc. is better than a twenty-three-paragraph introduction with nothing but fluff.
To start off your introduction, try to avoid ‘Erik got up…’ or something of the like; start it with something original, like this:
“For the first time in hours, the swathe of blankets moved, releasing a low groan. On the bedside table, the alarm clock continued its shrill duty as the youth’s eyes opened.”
It’s much better than just:
“Erik woke up to hear his annoying alarm clock, eyes opening slowly to see only a wall of blankets still around him.”
It will add not only length to your introduction but it sounds much more nicely. Another thing you should try to avoid doing is always starting off with ‘Erik’ or ‘he’; it will get boring after a while. Find more creative words for it, ‘the youth’ is a good example of it, though you could also turn the sentence around so instead of saying ‘Erik got out of bed slowly, groaning as he did so due to the morning’s blinding light.’ You could say, ‘Slowly, Erik rose from the bed, groaning from the direct exposure to the morning light.’ If you start off with ‘he’ or ‘Erik’ every time you’ll get boring. Repetition is a good tool though not not not not not not not not not not like that. (Multiple ‘not’s intended.) If you’ve ever been falling asleep while reading and re-read the same sentence, it is the equivalent of repeating ‘he’ or ‘Erik’.
The Beat of the Drummer: Plots
Though it is debatable, most people believe that a good, solid plot is necessary for a good role-play. This may be true for some but not all. Plots can vary from romance to violence and more often than not, just an outline. Plots can vary from being made up as you go or being decided upon before the role-play starts. Either way, the plot needs one thing: conflict. This conflict is between characters, inner conflicts, or even conflicts with nature, though either way there’s a conflict. For the plot to be good, the conflict needs to be good. For example, a stereotypical conflict with little background or depth isn’t fun. Teachers vs. Students isn’t new. However, Teachers vs. Teachers is new, teachers don’t usually fight so it rises the questions ‘why’, ‘how do they fight’, ‘over what’, etc.
When you’re making a plot, think of the same things as when you’re writing an introduction, what’s the setting? What type of role-play is it for? Take into consideration that different people have different characters with different personalities. You can’t immediately assume two people will fall in love because they’re there, be specific with what happens and how it happens. Also, try to make it sound appealing to the ear; just as your posts need a flow your plot needs to have a flow and rhythm to it, too. If your plot is dull and boring, your role-play is going to be dull and boring. If your plot flows and has a good idea to it, then your role-play will flow and have a good idea to it. If you want a good role-play, have a good plot.
Though it may seem like a silly thing to be worried about, spelling is actually a fairly large part of role-playing. If you misspell a word it could come out as something totally different. Or the person you’re role-playing with might not even understand what you’re saying. If you send someone a post that is like this: “she wlkd dwn the hllway, hr long blck hr plled bck in a pny tail.” No one will want to role-play with that. The English language is here to be used; it’s a tool for use to properly and efficiently send messages to each other and to record things. Role-playing is for fun but it may not be fun for someone to have to go through that and have to decipher what you’re saying. Be fair to the other role-player, spell out your words and be patient when typing. This mistake is one of my own, I will often try to type faster than my ability allows; the result is spelling errors (and a fairly noisy backspace key). People can make a mistake, that is understandable, but it’s not acceptable to butcher the language on purpose. Take your time and when you find a good role-play you will feel much more accomplished with your well thought-out and typed posts than crappy half-hearted posts.
So, who are you? : Characters
The way people develop their characters is all different, you can base them off of someone you know in real life, you can base them off a person in a book, movie, video game, or even after yourself. Whether they’re based off of something (or someone) or you made them up yourself they’re your character and there are plenty of things characters need: a background (what happened in their past? Why are they like how they are now?), a personality (how do they react to other people? What is their view on life?), a physical description (hair color? Eye color?), family (everyone has family whether you like to admit or not), and of course, a place in the role-play. Let’s get started on each of them.
Backgrounds. What does this word mean to you? The definition from dictionary.com says: one's origin, education, experience, etc., in relation to one's present character, status, etc.
With this in mine, please take a note of something very important: not all characters live the same life so your character should have the same history as every other character in the forums. Yes, I understand it’s hard to come by original ideas and it’s hard to think of something someone hasn’t already thought of, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the same ‘my father beat me’, ‘I cut my wrists’, ‘I think I’m fat’, or even ‘I was sexually abused’. Though there is a lot of crime in the world, it’s not that popular. Not everyone has abusive parents, not everyone cuts himself or herself. Yes, there are ‘emo’ people but not everyone is emo. There are people who are optimistic. On the note of optimism, not everyone lived completely rainbows and butterflies, there are ups and downs to everyone’s life, try not to make them too… Cliché.
Personality. This is another field that is so typical. For girls, it’s usually mysterious and kind but if you anger her she’s unstoppable, right? Do you know how many girls in the world are actually like that? The answer is very few. Take into consideration that most girls do have explosive tempers that can rage on for days, they aren’t always kind girls when they’re not mad. There are different types of people other than just the girl that every guy wants to be with. There are people that hardly anyone likes that are hardly ever seen in a role-play. Think of your characters are real people because that is what they are. They live, they breathe, they eat, and they reproduce. Just because they only live in a virtual world doesn’t mean they’re any less real than anything else. They are real in that world, so think of them as real people. In reality, how many people are actually nice? Think of it in that perspective and you’ll have much more interesting characters. Consider that not everyone acts how they look and that people may have complex personalities.
Appearance. This is the big one that everyone worries about. Is my character attractive? Does the other person like my character’s appearance? Though appearances can be different from skin color, to eye color, to hair color, to facial structures, there are so many people still that make characters who are the same as every other character. A girl with long black hair, blue eyes, skinny frame, and a pretty face is so over-used that it should be erased from everyone’s memory as a description. Yes, people do have black hair but that’s not the only color. Blue is one of the most unpopular eye colors as well, what are the chances that so many people will have blue eyes? Very little. Brown eyes and brunette hair are the most popular eye and hair colors, though why do we have a thousand blue-eyed blonde-haired or black-haired people running around? A lack of creativity is the answer to this question. When you make your character try to avoid things that are normal. Make your character have green eyes instead of blue, maybe even brown. All of the colors are available to you for eye color and hair color; it doesn’t have to be natural.
Still on the subject of appearance, I’d like to go ahead and state that the ‘emo’ and ‘scene’ stuff is way too typical. Everyone in a role-play now a day is ‘emo’ or ‘scene’ or ‘goth’, don’t make your character like everyone else. Make him or her stick out from the others, have a prep or a skater (still too overused, but not as bad). With the appearance also take into note that your character doesn’t have to be a male model or a gorgeous woman. If everyone in the world was beautiful there wouldn’t be many role-players, so don’t make everyone in a role-play beautiful. Be the brave one and make a character with acne issues as many people have, or maybe even mental issues. People have faults and everyone has a physical fault.
Family is probably the one thing that no one likes to talk about, though since it’s an essential part of your character, you need to hear a little about a family. Not everyone’s family is abusive and not everyone comes from a rich household. The world does have abuse and the world does have aristocrats but that doesn’t mean every single parent is either abusive or an aristocrat (or both), there are people in poverty who love their children to death and there are middle-class parents who would never lay a harmful finger on their child even if someone held a gun to their head. Be creative with your character’s family, incorporate their best friend into the family, they don’t necessarily have to have a real family. They could be an orphan whose only family is their friends, or they could only have a church family; either way they have a family of some sort. Family is one of the biggest parts of your character’s history; it affects how they were raised and what they were taught as a child and how they’ll react to things now that they’re older. Family is a huge piece of someone’s life; so don’t forget the family of your character.
I have six sides and you hate me: Writer’s Block
Those two words can be your own personal hell as a role-player, though there’s one important thing to remember about Writer’s Block: IT WILL PASS. If you experience Writer’s Block inform your role-play partner of it so that you don’t keep them waiting for a response. If there’s something that sparks your imagination, such as music, then sit and listen to music, don’t think of the role-play, just listen to it and relax. That last word is probably the largest part of getting rid of Writer’s Block - relax. Just relax, calm down from the role-play, take a little break and let your imagination run free in your mind. When you return, if you are still experiencing Writer’s Block, go to another role-play or think of a book you’ve read, have they done something you could do? Re-read the other person’s post and relax, just be patient and you’ll get over the Writer’s Block, it won’t last for the rest of your life.
It was a dark and stormy night: Descriptions[
Writer’s Block will attack you more than likely when you’re describing something. Descriptions are important to a role-play, if you can’t describe things then how can you tell the other person what your character looks like? Or where they are? Take into mind that your description can be rough for suspense reasons or it can be very detailed so that they know all that they need to know or so that you can form a mental image in your mind. When you’re typing up a description picture what you’re describing in your mind, it helps a lot and may spark your imagination a little bit more. Just like everything else, your descriptions need to have a flow to them; a flow to everything will make things more interesting. If your muse is music as mine is, then type to the beat, or even form a beat in your head while you’re typing, that could help you with your flow.
1 2 3 8: Order
Keeping things in order is important; if you are talking about something and then skip to something completely different it will completely destroy your chance at making sense. This is not only frustrating to see but it isn’t very pretty and can ruin a role-play. Since role-plays are a lot like stories, think of the plot line of a story: complications first, then climax, and then the resolution. That is order, if you have resolution, complications, then the climax then things won’t make sense. Try to keep things in order, if you’re talking about the wind, don’t talk about his/her shoes next.
Free at last: Conclusion
I have covered pretty much the basics of Literate role-playing; there isn’t much to it besides that, though I will suggest that you practice before hopping into an actual role-play. Though I know that this guide wasn’t that long at all to cover everything there is to know about Literate role-playing, it should help push a few people from the level of illiterate to Literate. Though this guide is over with, I will offer to help anyone who wants further help or spot correction (correction in a specific field) with their role-playing. If you feel that you need tutoring on how to become a Literate role-player, feel free to PM me up here or IM me on AIM (epicbattleaxe), or just request so on the board. Thanks to those who have actually read through this entire guide, I hope that it can help you get to the next level.
Note to Literate role-players
This guide is open for contribution, if you feel something is missing type it out in a paragraph and send it to me, I'll read through it and if I agree with you that it should be added I'll add it on. All suggestions are appreciated and loved. Also, fellow Literate role-players interested in tutoring is greatly appreciated and all help is accepted.
Additions by Others
An Illiterate's Guide To Literacy is copyright of Pandex (ExpectoPatronum) of RPG-D. If you steal it, I swear to God I will hunt you down and kill you. >:C
If any modifications are made, then you must first contact the creator, Pandex.
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