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How to Write a Really Good Open Thread?

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I.... struggle so hard with writing good open threads that people find it easy to hop into and roleplay with me. I feel like I never know when to end them at a comfortable place or I always provide too much detail in the opening (and it gets looong).


I admire people who can write a short, particularly simple opening thread and leave so much potential. I don't know how to do this.


I really need some guidance. Anyone have some sound advice for me (and anyone else that's struggling)? 

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The main thing to remember is that you're writing an opener. So you need to leave an opening for another character to come in. Second most important, people want to jump in fast so you want to keep it to the point. Personally, I don't much enjoy making openers. That's a different discussion of course, but I say that in order to say, I have generally good success with people responding to the openers I do make. My general 'recipe' is:


1 paragraphs to set up the scenery (weather, location, relevant info on where/how my character is located/positioned in that space)

1 or 2 paragraph(s) to get some action going! What is my character doing there? Why? Etc.

1 paragraph with the 'hook'. The thing that's happening that invites another character to take notice, react, or join in. 

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operation: bowtruckles & bombs


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oh open threads. you either love em or hate em or both. i've got some tips that may or may not be helpful. i love writing open threads, and finding creative ways to do so.


pacing - pacing is super important and often overlooked. jones made an excellent point - your post should end on a hook to invite the other character. make sure not too much happens before the other character jumps in, or else people may lose track of what happened or not want to respond to a reaaallly long post for a thread that might not work out. jones' had a good outline for an open post, but mine - personally - would be:


1 - set the scene

2 - introduce the conflict

3 - hook the character


you don't need only one paragraph for each, but keeping it short will make it easier for people to write up a post for you.


make it relevant and interesting - a good way to get people interested is to write something that's relevant to the site setting, plot, or your character. is your character searching for something, such as a clue to their enigmatic backstory or an old friend? the open thread can be for someone to help them with their goal. is there a conflict in the site's setting? have your character get swept up and need rescuing, or maybe rescue someone else. you appear to be on a stray dogs rp - your character may end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, or get into something they're not supposed to. 


a lot of people will make their open threads a throwaway coffee shop meeting, but a thread with plot is a lot more appealing to join.


the hook - since we're mentioning hooks, it'll probably help to explain what a good hook is. you want to strike a balance between open-ended enough to let anyone come in and giving people enough information that they have an idea of what you want. if your character needs a rescue, you want to write something to the effect of "if someone doesn't come quick, they'll be done for." 


what you don't want to do is write the character's action before they show up. saying that they do help your character and then having your character thank them will turn people away. just leave off at the spot where a character would feasibly be able to step in.

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My big problem with open threads is that I have zero attention span, and without anything to respond to, I get bored with my own writing and the quality just drags, which is why mine end up being on the shorter end and then get longer as the replies go on.


When I'm READING an open thread with the intention of joining, I tend to jump right to the situation that the character is in, skipping the introspection in the beginning. That can come later; I want to know how the protagonist arrived in their particular situation and how they might come across my character. It's really hard for someone to jump into a thread where Character 1 is just walking down the street, minding their own business (although I'll confess I've written those as well.)


I know some people who write in the next character's entrance into their opener, and I'm ambivalent towards that approach, because on the one hand it builds in a reason for my character to be there, but in doing so it loses some of the character's own motivations. When I do it, I tend to leave it simple, usually "X character noticed something in the vicinity."

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