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 Tips for Writing Longer Posts

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PostSubject: Tips for Writing Longer Posts   Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:43 am

“Spaghetti, please,” said Fred.

Do your role-play posts look anything like the above? Are you ever bamboozled by how other role-players can manage to type ten paragraphs while you struggle with one? Or do you simply wish to have more detailed posts?

Well, if you said yes to any of the above, then this guide is for you!

While not everyone role-plays to get better at writing, a good, detailed post can often help make it easier for others to understand what your character is doing, as well as make the role-play seem more like a story instead of a bunch of sentences.

While typing long posts may seem hard, it’s actually quite simple. You don’t have to be a genius to buff up a post, in fact, even those with writer’s block can still easily manage to buff up a sentence to a paragraph or two. All it takes is to add in a couple of details.

Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when buffing your posts: Your character’s actions, their thoughts, their emotions, their body language, their location, and their surroundings. By adding in these details, you can quickly add several sentences, and these aren’t even the only ones you can use.

Actions

Take a look at the sentence at the beginning again. What information can you gain from it? We know that the character’s name is Fred and that he is asking for spaghetti, but that’s pretty much it. So how do we buff this up?

We already have the character’s action, which is to ask for spaghetti. But, what else could he be doing? Suppose Fred just ran a marathon or fought off a hundred bloodthirsty orca whales. He’d be pretty tired, right? So we could have something like this:

Breathing hard, sweating, and (if you imagined him fighting off a hundred bloodthirsty orca whales) dripping with sea water, Fred managed to reply, “Spaghetti, please,” between his heavy pants.

How about something more normal, like if Fred was buying school lunch? Think of what he would do.

Sliding his tray along the lunch line, Fred decided he would buy spaghetti. “Spaghetti, please,” he told the lunch lady behind the counter.

See, much longer already. Note that even though both revamps spawn from the same sentence, they are so much different from each other. That’s because now, each sentence reflects their scenario much more accurately. The first seems very dramatic, while the latter is mellow and casual. Details can really add not only to your word count, but also to the RP’s mood and tone, taking the RP to a whole new level.

Thoughts

We can see what your character does, but we can’t always see what’s going on inside their head. So let’s take a look at our original sentence again. The problem is we don’t know what Fred is thinking. Does he like spaghetti? Or does he hate it? Is there some tragic event in his past linked to spaghetti?

So let’s so some more scenarios, this time adding thoughts. Suppose Fred absolutely hated spaghetti, but is trying to be polite.

Fred didn’t really fancy any spaghetti, but he hardly wanted to offend his host. I guess I’ll just have to endure it, he thought moodily. “Spaghetti, please,” he said.

How about if Fred is an obsessive nutritionist?

Personally, Fred felt all the choices were far too fatty and didn’t want to eat any of them. Perhaps the spaghetti, it had the carbohydrates he needed and if he avoided the cheese, he’d minimize his fat intake…And there was also the fact that he actually liked spaghetti, it being something he enjoyed as a child.

And so he made his choice. ”Spaghetti, please,” he said.

Emotions and Body Language

Your character’s emotions and body language are closely linked with each other. You don’t need to type out what exactly your character is feeling, instead, body language can help those reading get a clear picture and work out what your character is feeling through minor actions.

There are many different bits of body language, some of which are so common we barely notice them. The most common of which are facial expressions, but there are also hand gestures and posture. For instance, if your character was feeling dejected, their head might be drooping and they’d have a sad look on their face. An upbeat character might have a wide smile and a cheerful spring in their step. Blinking might show surprise, and diverting one’s eyes show nervousness, embarrassment, or fear.

The best way to learn about body language is to be aware of your own actions. If you aren’t sure about something, it doesn’t hurt to consult the internet, which provides a wide database of information on body language.

Here are some useful resources on body language:

Human
http://1to101.com/Body_Language
http://changingminds...dy_language.htm
http://www.businessb...dy-language.htm
http://www.bodylanguageexpert.co.uk/

Animal (Since there are several types of animals, I recommend using a search engine instead)
Cat: http://www.tidbitsan...-body-language/
Dog: http://animals.howstuffworks.com/pets/how-to-train-a-dog1.htm

So let’s give this a shot. Here’s my revised version of the sentence. Note the actions and try to figure out what Fred is feeling.

“Hm…” Propping up his head with his arm, Fred contemplatively looked at the fancy chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, not even bothering to look at his menu. He took his time to answer the waiter, who although still had wide smile on his face (albeit a tad bit forced); his eyes were shooting daggers at this man who was wasting his time. Stifling a yawn, Fred finally turned to his waiter, a disinterested look on his face. “Spaghetti, please,” he said.

“Sir,” said the waiter, taking deep breaths. “Spaghetti isn’t on the menu.”

So what can you tell about Fred? What about the waiter? While it is never outright typed out, one can assume Fred is bored, and the waiter impatient, all through what they do. Actions speak louder than words, eh?

Location and Surroundings

Where is Fred, anyway? Over time, I’ve found that locations are fairly important if you’re trying to interact with others in the RP. Other people can have their characters join you if they know where you are. If people have no idea where your character is, especially in cases where the role-play takes place in a vast area, it’s difficult you have their characters join you.

Whenever your character moves to a new place, I advise you to make sure to write it in that post. You don’t have to consistently put your location in every post; however, adding a couple of details about your character’s surroundings never hurts.

What do you picture when you visualize the sentence back at the beginning? With no information, everyone who reads your post might come up with much different ideas of what you are actually trying to convey. You might imagine Fred at a restaurant, while another person imagines him at a school. Save yourself from having to explain a misinterpretation later by taking a few minutes to describe your surroundings.

“What would you like for lunch?” asked his mother.

“Spaghetti, please,” said Fred. He sat on a wooden stool in his kitchen, watching as his mother chopped up vegetables and meat. The checkered curtains were pulled to the side, letting daylight stream through the glass window. From behind him, the refrigerator hummed softly, making the kitchen seem less quiet.

Can you visualize the scene better? While people still can still come up with different interpretations, describing surroundings can narrow down the differences between each person’s visualization and reduce the chance of a large misunderstanding happening (and they also make your posts longer, which is probably the whole reason you’re reading this in the first place).

Things to Avoid

As great as long posts are, there are some downsides. For one, I’ve had a couple of people admit that they simply skip or skim over long posts, especially when very little happens. Heck, congrats for even bothering to read this far. To keep from over-inflating your posts, don’t put all your details in one post. You can always save some of the details for the next ones in case you need them.

Another thing – avoid describing unimportant things. Nobody needs to know what your character ate for lunch yesterday, unless it has anything to do with what he or she is doing at the moment. Really, it may make your posts longer, but if it contributes in no way whatsoever to helping other RPers understand your post, you might as well just write a one-liner.

There are also some things that shouldn’t be described in detail, such as how beautiful or handsome or sexy your character looks. Anyone who wants to know what your character looks like can look at your bio and praising your character’s looks simply gives then a Mary Sue kind of aura (not to mention it makes you seem completely absorbed by your own character).

Lastly, you don’t have to repeat things. If you mentioned light was streaming in through the window in one post, you don’t need to mention it again if the light’s still the same. Otherwise, to the reader, it will seem like they are reading the same post over and over again.

Tips for Getting Better at Writing Longer Posts

Even with a list of details in mind when writing, it can still be hard to suddenly go from short posts to super- long ones. Set goals for yourself, such as three lines, two paragraphs, four paragraphs, etc. Don’t be afraid to push yourself. While it may be difficult at first, once you get your writing skills into shape you’ll find it easier and easier to reach your goals.

Well, hopefully this article helped you out. Before you go, I’d like to leave you guys with a challenge. Type up your own buff-up of the sentence, “Spaghetti, please,” said Fred and PM it to me. You can make up the scenario any way you like, add characters as you please, and characterize Fred however you want.

Happy Writing! Very Happy


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