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Message added by Morrigan

Please remember to be constructive even if you disagree with what someone else says. We are all here to learn and share experiences.

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I think we can agree that roleplaying is for fun and isn't a competitive event. But what about improving one's writing skills or expecting others to be good writers?

 

As a roleplayers, I don't see much discussion or emphasis in techniques and improving writing skills. We talk about making better characters or describing the characters' surroundings or the age-old "quality vs. quantity" argument, but the only time we ever get into being a good writer, it's encouraging things that DON'T make someone a good writer. For example, going in-depth with description doesn't make you a better writer - it allows the other players to understand the setting or character background more fully. Sure it has the potential of making somebody's writing better but it doesn't really improve one's ability to write. Instead it's a blanket statement that is expected to work for every writer in just about every scenario.

 

I'd love to see more emphasis on grammar, diction (making word choice appropriate for the character/scenario), not telling too much, flow of sentences / sentence structure, narrative, etc. These things are incredibly important for writing and they're so often overlooked. There are other topics that are more specific to roleplay (ex: how to make characters important without stealing the spotlight, or how to work on character arc / development through roleplay posts) which would also be really neat. Even though this is just a hobby, we can improve our writing, too. I think people are so quick to brush things off because "it's just a game and people don't want to stress about things" which is true. But even with other hobbies, you still push yourself to become better. No one wants to paint for years and never become any better. Sure, you can switch types of paints and canvases or explore other topics to paint, but you don't dismiss improving your painting techniques because "it's just a hobby" and whatnot.

 

I've considered making documentation for the RP community focusing specifically on writing techniques, but then I fear people would expect me to be a really, really good writer. I'm pretty mediocre, and I try to get better, but I don't think I have the skills to be telling others how to write.

 

It's a pretty tricky topic. I love playing with a variety of people, and with that comes a variety of skill levels.  There are level-specific sites, but those are most often based on quantity and how well you can describe your environment, not actual writing skill. We say quality over quantity but we don't talk about how to achieve quality or what it really means.

 

Thoughts / ideas / insight / experiences? It would be awesome if we could explore writing skills in the roleplay world.

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I think we can agree that roleplaying is for fun and isn't a competitive event. But what about improving one's writing skills or expecting others to be good writers?   As a roleplayers, I do

I'm not going to lie. I'm incredibly judgemental when it comes to writing proficiency. For me, if you write 300+ words of fluff... Then it's really like you have written nothing. o.o; I'm not a Charl

In order to become better at something, a person has to want to become better. "Better" is a subjective term for everyone. The types of stories a person wants to tell and be a part of, how they want t

I have a full subboard with various writing resources and I also post on tumblr (when I remember to post) varius writing resources. I do write to improve my writing skills, and I think any aspiring writer should want it. (But yes, I was surprised to see that several don't and they are happy where they are).

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I'm not going to lie. I'm incredibly judgemental when it comes to writing proficiency. For me, if you write 300+ words of fluff... Then it's really like you have written nothing. o.o; I'm not a Charles Dickens kinda girl. Whoops

 

That said, I will excuse some parts of writing proficiency for other features writing proficiency. For instance, I will excuse basically all mediocre grammar skills if someone is writing a character that I think is realistic. Since I'm a sucker for 1x1s and love plots, the love interest has to capture my unwavering attention or I become bored.

 

All this said, I think writing proficiency and style is incredibly subjective. I mean, let's be honest, there are famous books and writers who are objectively amazing writers who some people hate. Hemingway comes to mind, and Salinger.

 

I remember writing for a class in college one semester and getting my writing torn to pieces because I wasn't flowery enough and the next professor said that they loved my harsh, cold voice. 

 

So far as I've found, workshopping with a variety of writers and styles (with mutual respect) can be a great way to improve writing over time. Likewise, pay attention to your writing partners. Why do you like so-and-so more than that-other-dude? Is it their character or their phrasing -- or is it something about their plotting style? 

 

I make myself goals all the time. Try this or work on that. Take prompts for writing samples so you go out of your comfort zone. 

 

(As a side note, I seriously would do workshopping if people want to. T.T it's so great.)

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The fact that people's writing styles differ so much is the reason I don't particularly like the idea of TOO MUCH focus on writing techniques.

 

Yet at the same time, the roleplaying community already holds in high esteem one writing style over another - we're told that those who write more are better writers. Some people say it outright; some acknowledge it subconsciously. But we are already dividing ourselves and saying that one style is superior. (Even though we aren't really touching technique.)

 

So if that's the case, might as well break it down more and focus as objectively as possible on technique.

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I always try to improve my writing. And I will judge other people based on theirs. 

 

That said: I run a game, not a school. I won't help people "fix" their writing beyond telling them something is not acceptable in an app. I'll offer resources if I find them, but I wouldn't dream of approaching someone and going "Hey, by the way. This aspect of what you're doing sucks."

 

@Thyme - I've seen it brought up before but never looked into it but what does a workshop generally entail?

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I'll be honest - I got into rp to improve my writing skills. It's one thing to write every day and try to improve that way, but roleplaying through writing is an active effort you do with others. It exposes you to different styles in a more engaging way and can really help you discover your voice. Writing can be a very social and interactive activity, and if you want to be good at it, you have to write and involve others in your writing. RP is the perfect place for that. But you have to go into it with the intention to improve and a goal to work toward.

 

I've been a part of rp's that had writing workshops in the past, and it was actually pretty great. The workshop prompts always centered around our characters, too, so it was both a focus on writing styles and character development. It was always a sort of peer-review process, where you'd submit your prompt and several others would read it and give you their notes, and then you'd go back and try to improve. If you've ever taken a creative writing class in college, it worked much the same way. And each workshop session would have a particular theme or goal, and it was always a fun little extra to the game. You didn't have to feel obligated to participate (though if you did you'd get like points or something) and there were never any hard feelings at the end of the day. People went into it with the intention of making their writing better, and you had to submit a prompt to read somebody else's. So it was less someone going "you need to fix this" out of nowhere, but rather somebody coming to you and saying "can you help me make this better?"

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In order to become better at something, a person has to want to become better. "Better" is a subjective term for everyone. The types of stories a person wants to tell and be a part of, how they want to make their reveals and develop their characters- it's unique to each person. I think anyone who practices their craft will improve in it- at their own pace- if they have that drive behind it.

 

I don't think there's anything more that other players can do to expedite that practice other than offer encouragement and tips in a way that is non-invasive. Continuing to roleplay with that person, for example. Some things people need to discover and experience for themselves, as that too is part of the learning process.

 

Over the years, I've encountered other writers that have made me a better writer- and I've also seen improvements in other people that I write with as well, thanks to my own contributions in their stories. It's a slow, slow process. But people get there.

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6 hours ago, Josie said:

In order to become better at something, a person has to want to become better. "Better" is a subjective term for everyone.

 

This. The same with creativity, "better" is subjective. Your idea of better is not the same as someone else. What you find creative (this pans from the whole word discussion a while back) may not be what some one else finds creative and vise versa. This is why I don't hold much truck with a creative writing class. Yeah it'll help you figure out what is means for you, however what the instructor finds creative may not be the same as what you do. 

 

That being said. I try extremely hard not to judge people on their writing. I do and I will, but I try not to. Its not my job to make them a better writer. I'm not going to point out their errors* and tell them how to do it better/my way. I'm not there to better my writing, I'm there to enjoy myself, I have found that my writing improves dependent on who I write with and is dependent on how much they write. This is all a subconscious effort. I don't make a purposeful effort to change it, it just happens. I just don't care whether my writing is on par with the best sellers or with those oldies like Charles Dickens. 

 

My thoughts are this. Stop trying to make people do what you want them to do or what you think they should be doing. It's not your job or my job or the job of the next writer to make sure they're doing it my way. They have their own way. 

 

 

*I will assist people who's first language is not English with grammar, spelling, context, definitions and the like when they ask for it. 

Edited by jenneral_jennson
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Outside of spelling, grammar, and comprehensibility issues writing is SO subjective that I think it's a difficult thing to teach to another person and seems to me to be a skill that is grown simply by doing. Even if it's not being actively pursued, I think that anyone who's been roleplaying for a few years or more will find that their writing has changed, evolved, and/or improved over the course of that time naturally.

 

I also think that the fact that not everyone who participates in this hobby consider themselves a "writer", nor wants to be one, has a lot to do with why it's not a more discussed and explored topic.

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I judge others, not in any childish 'haha, your writing is crap!' way. It is easy to see when a writer is being utterly lazy and changes the rules when it's convenient for them. Same for hypocrites.

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Part of this is because of the roleplay community as a whole, though. If we all expected to learn and receive feedback, unsolicited feedback may not really be unsolicited. It's kind of like when you go to a water park, you prepare and expect to get wet, but if someone just hosed you down when you were walking through your neighborhood park, it wouldn't be appreciated since it's completely different community atmosphere, it you will.

 

Not saying that we SHOULD make the roleplay world focus on being better writers - just a thought on the topic.

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Unsolicited feedback is unsolicited feedback no matter what everyone is doing or expects. If I do not specifically ask you to give me feedback it is unsolicited, I'm not going to be impressed when you give it to me anyway. Its like unsolicited advice, no one likes it. Just don't. You're just going to irritate/piss someone off. 

 

I do not go into an RP with the expectation to learn how to write or do "better". I go in expecting to have a damn good time and if someone starts picking apart everything I write I'm going to get pissed off and rage quit. As Zahhy said. I go to school, I write every day for ten weeks a course, a master's program in psychology requires MASSIVE amounts of writing. I already get my writing picked apart on dumb things like minor grammar or syntax errors every time I turn in a paper. I do not want my downtime and relaxation to turn into more of the same. If I ask for advice or feedback it's appreciated. If I don't, its not. 

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The fact is that RP is a hobby. It's not school. I don't participate in this hobby to be educated. If some education happens as a matter of course or because I actively seek that education that's fine, but it's ultimately not the point.

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I think you might have misunderstood my last post.  Or maybe I wasn't clear.  I understand the definition of unsolicited feedback, and I know it is not appreciated in the roleplay world.  So please don't think that I'm advocating that people should or need to receive feedback just because they're roleplaying.

 

I was toying with the idea of an "alternate reality roleplay community," if you will.

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