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Uaithne

Starting Threads

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Why the heck is it so hard to start threads, and how do I make it more interesting so that I WANT to be the thread starter?

 

Nobody likes to start a thread, but there has to be some way to deal with this besides "suck it up and start the thread."

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I don;t mind starting the thread. It's a story I want to tell,so I have to start it.

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For me this is all about environment and inspiration. When the story or environment don't give me a lot to go off of then I'm not going to want to start it.

 

For example, my least favorite threads are the "introduction" threads when that's literally all they are there for. Everyone knows what I'm talking about. "Oh hi, nice to meetcha! I'm so and so." "Nice to meet you so and so, I'm this and that." etc etc etc. While I know in many ways these are a somewhat necessary part of roleplaying it doesn't make them any less tedious or dreadful to write so I do one of a few things:

  • I work out an established connection/knowledge of the people in the thread with the other player. For this all you have to do is find something they can have in common (coffee or lunch for example) and make them in passing friends/acquaintances then the "nice to meet you" parts are out of the way and you can get onto the actual threading part.
  • Write a scene that isn't a getting to know you thread. Make it include some action adventure or something. It always depends on the scenario/environment but the point is to tell an intriguing story so throw some people together and give them shenanigans. Have them hiding from assumed gun shots or... running for their life from an angry hobo or something.

 

Point is, don't make it hard on you because you dread them, make it easy on you because you get to set the scene! You get to decide where you start.

 

The only problem with being the scene writer is that some writers don't take what you have and extrapolate, they expect you to continue to draw the scene so be careful in how you do this so that it doesn't make you out to be the story driver all of the time.

 

@Uaithne

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I love starting threads, but I think it's because I enjoy describing the setting, establishing the mood, and generally setting the tone for the scene. Usually once things get rolling, too much mood/setting description can slow everything down, and unless that's the tone you're looking for, taking the time for those sorts of descriptions can just be disruptive after the starter.

 

If you don't take joy in starters, you might want to think about why. Are you more comfortable responding to someone else's actions, or you need their actions to inspire your own? You may just not be the sort of person that enjoys writing starters. Which is fine, but you probably also want to work past this to both grow as a writer, and not always put the pressure on your writing partners.

 

Things that might help you out:

 

Where is the scene taking place, and is it important to what you intend for the scene? I mean, if you're writing the first meeting of characters you are planning a long arc of them falling in love and maybe getting married some day, they may look back on that first meeting and think fondly of the locations. They may even come back here to celebrate future moments of significance. If so, taking the time to establish the ambiance, the appearance, etc will make it easier to revisit for a future thread. Or are two enemies coming to exchange words or blows? Then it may matter how crowded or deserted the place is, and how likely they are to draw outside attention... are there innocent bystanders to get hurt, are there people who might call authorities on them, are there weapons (actual or improvised)? All of these things can help shape the coming thread.

 

What's the mood supposed to be, and how can you convey that? Are you having old friends catch up over a lazy afternoon? What can you do the convey that lazy mood? You can take your time and spread out your description of the place they're in. You can add details that may get ignored in a faster paced scene, but cause the reader to slow down and consider what's happening and what's to come. Describe the smell of the grass, the bubbling of the brook, the wandering path of the dragonfly passing in and out of the shade of the willow, etc. Or you're in a busy city center, lots of people around, and everything is bright and moving, and you have a need to get something done fast — keep your description of the area short, use efficient sentences, don't linger on any one thing too long. You're somewhere that has a sense of repetition or plodding like a factory or a long march somewhere? Repeat words, repeat phrases, repeat concepts. Develop patterns, use them to emphasize.

 

 

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I love starting threads! I know it's not for everyone, on one site I think I started every single thread I ever participated in...

 

I like setting the tone and the mood and the situation up in a way that's nice and clear for everyone... As such... most of my starters end up being essays... I can't help it :P

 

For me it's a lot about character development too, what's changed sine the last thread i did with this character? Why are they here? is this some place they haven't been before or is this a regular occurrence? It's like setting things up so that you know everyone is on the same page with that first post? idk... 

 

Lots of good advice up there to help you find the joy in it tho :) good luck!

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I can't agree with @Death Kitten more! It's a lot of fun to establish the mood and scene of a thread.

 

These can be really fun to write for me because it allows me to explore how my character thinks and acts in new settings. This town hates species that aren't human, but she has to sell her wares there because it's the closest town: how's she gonna avoid getting in the trouble that will inevitably follow her?

 

In threads where it's the "getting to know you" intro, I like leaving things open. Give people multiple options to have their character enter the scene! It can be a challenge, yeah, but a really fun one! And once you get the hang of it, you can create some pretty memorable first meetings! Things like this are how one of my characters has a running joke of meeting new people and immediately getting soaked, either by someone spilling a drink on her, falling into a body of water, or even just the weather.

 

The most important thing it to make the starter fun for yourself. If you wouldn't want to read or reply to it, why would anyone else?

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I'd love to read some good starting posts to get an idea of your guys' starts.

 

I always feel like I'm investing too much or giving away too much in the first post when I try to make it interesting. If I try to hold off the "hook" until the second post, then it looks my character is doing nothing and there is no way for the other character to be involved (even if there will be soon).

 

@Elena @Morrigan @Death Kitten @Zahara @FriedKilamari


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Oh fuck me! Off the top of my head most of my threads that I can show you have established something going on or established relationships. If I can find my super old Elizabeth Bathory one that was pretty open ended I'll see about posting it.

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Oh man, I've been out of the RP scene for a while, so you'll have to forgive the rust here.

 

Starter One

So this thread is between my girlfriend and myself, but I left her a couple options of joining in. I'd been expecting her to have her character, Cyrus, help mine pick up his scrolls. Instead, she took another presented option and had Cyrus the one who'd knocked into mine.

 

Starter Two

This is a thread between my roommate, my girlfriend, and myself! I set the stage, and left it super open for Jojo to leap in however he wanted. He chose to have his character bust into the flock in lynx form and maul an old sheep, which left room for Gen to come in and have her character offer assistance.

 

 

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When the Gods turn on their people, the tables turn.

Where will you stand?

Original High Medieval Fantasy || 3-3-3

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O.k... so... firstly forgive the shitty skin... we're limited because my co-admin is colourblind and he could read that one sooo... yeah... I'm waiting on our custom one...

 

some enchanted evening

My character's first thread back on the board, she's been away for a while, so a lot of this is internal or describing the setting... she's currently heading home after being away for 10+ years... She's a good example I think because this is ten years on from the source material so she's changed a lot. It gives the other player the chance to decide what point they come in at, has she been sat there a while by the time they find her? Are they going to ignore the fact that she wants to be left alone? 

 

walking in with my tail between my legs

So in this case she knows who she's going to see, we know how we want this set up and she's made the choice to go and see this person. So she's reflecting on why she's made this decision now, she's been back in town nearly three weeks and she's only just going to see this guy who used to be one of her best friends. 

 

 

Different board now, lots more characters to choose from... :P

 

I'll cover you

And then there are the ones that are just amazing to write cause this plot is like the best thing ever... lol wedding in a post apoc setting why not? (Ok like ten years after the apocalypse but whatever...) This is just kinda an example of how just because you're starting a thread doesn't mean it has to all be on your shoulders. It's not the start of a plot but it's good fun... and I'm playing two different characters in it that are in two locations in the same area, which is another interesting one...

 

chance acquaintances

So this wasn't her first thread on the board but it's her first thread timeline-wise... set not long after everyone over 18 was wiped out... there's a lot of description in here, and it's fairly obvious where the other character is supposed to come in... but that was agreed with the other player beforehand...

 

sweet dreams are made of this

same character much later in game time... she's drunk which always makes for fun introductions... and there are more options here for when the other character is involved from... like how much of her conversation with the horse does he hear and stuff...

 

I dunno if any of those will help at all, but... there ya go...

 

I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with holding off the hook until the second post, but that means more communication with the other player, getting them to do their own establishing post and then have the characters lives collide. Getting everything into one post can make things seem so much longer than they need to be when actually you need that to remind yourself where you are let alone the other player knowing what's going on... 

 

It's certainly not the easiest thing in the world to do...

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I use to describe the setting, the athmosphere, and where the characters are both physically and emotionally:

Healing wounds - the idea of a romance blooming in an almost delirious mind ;)

Ensnared - a day at the May Fair turning into an impulse engagement of sorts...

Doomsday - the beginning of the battle is finding the enemy...

On cheating and spying - two pirates are trying to learn about a ship.

A big ransom price an exchange of prisoners happens.

Restoring order - or how a mutiny ends...

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Oh man! I LOVE starting threads, to be honest. Usually with me and my main RP partner, our characters are already in established relationships or there's already a base plot laid down so that makes it hella easier. Starting threads like open threads or for new people I've never RPed with are a bit trickier. But yeah, I love starting because I get to set the scene. :D And I like setting the scene somewhere that is NOT just your typical coffee shop thread (those are fine sometimes but I'm a little more action oriented or emotional oriented). So I started a coffee shop thread a bit ago and had it start with my guy getting his coffee and ending with the hook, which was somebody came staggering into the shop with a bite wound! So that gives whomever answers it some interesting places to start. They could be the one who was bitten, they could be somebody in the shop who can help the wounded person, etc.

 

I just try to think about what might hook ME as a writer and get my mind pumping with ideas and then start a thread accordingly. 

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