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1. Take action that someone can react to. I'm really amazed at how prevalent this is, and all I can think of is that people are afraid to be bold, especially if they are new to RP and don't want to step on people's toes. Back in the day, I used to roleplay on a Lion King forum (ahem), and the few close friends I gathered called this kind of crap "butterfly roleplay", as in: a lion comes into the thread and chases butterflies. Another lion comes in and chases it, too. They get to be friends by bonding over a butterfly. Everyone is happy forever and ever. Look, text roleplay is a training ground for learning how to write and write well. Conflict is your friend, not peace, love, and butterflies. I would not watch a television show about lions chasing butterflies. (I will watch the hell out of a lion framed for murdering his own father!) And I sure as hell wouldn't read a book about lions chasing butterflies. But so often, what I see is people just posting these extremely static reactions. In conversation, they nod their head. They agree. They stand there and do nothing, or offer inane and stupid opinions that have no relevance to what's happening. In combat, they stand there or attack everyone on both sides. If someone else enters the thread and does something, most of the time the new person will be totally ignored. In the thread as a whole, they risk becoming The Load (See Rule #5). In general, these kind of players are are just a drag to have in the roleplay. In real life these people would be considered brain-damaged. If they were a gesture, they'd be a noncommittal shrug. But in RP, they're someone's "character" and that's supposed to make it okay. In RP, I swear I will take a racist, a sexist, and a bigot over the most agreeable person in the world. Because I know who is going to be more interesting to react to. I can have pleasant and normal conversations in real life. I don't want to roleplay something I could be doing in real life, when the point of RP is to ride dragons and shit. In writing, the saying is "Character is action." A character is the action they take. Not what they TALK about taking, or THINK about taking, but what they DO. In roleplay, if your character is REACTIVE, they are not TAKING ACTION. If all your character is doing is reacting to everyone in the thread, and never doing anything themselves, get the hell out of my roleplay that that weak-ass bullshit, because you are not someone I want to play with. Every post you make, you should be providing fodder for your fellow players to react to, in addition to having your character react to theirs.

2. Say yes. This was something Stephen Colbert said about the first rule of improv comedy: say yes, no matter how absurd the suggestions. From an individual point of view, it results in a great skit. In the sense of Colbert's career, it allowed him to do amazing things, just because he never said "No, having a machine on NASA named after me is just ridiculous! Sponsoring a speed skating team is too odd!" Roleplay is a type of improv. And if you think you have to say "no", because it's humiliating, humbling, or not "in character", yes, you've achieved the impossible: you're roleplaying wrong. Way back in the day, I played with a Dungeons and Dragons group, and inevitably someone would play the lone wolf ninja badass, who played by his own rules and was gritty and anti-social. (Barf.) What ended up happening was that the rest of us, as a group, would wait around for hours while the DM ended up running an entirely separate game for Mister Ninja. Eventually, as group, we got tired of that crap. And Mister Ninja waited around for hours while we played our game. And when he complained, the DM said, "Don't like it? Then don't play that kind of character." This gets back to being The Load: it is NOT EVERYONE ELSE'S JOB TO CARRY YOUR CHARACTER THROUGH THE ROLEPLAY. Nope. I don't care. I don't care if your character hates everyone, is blind and mute, and would never, ever in a million years go to a bar to get a drink with folks. Because maybe this time he would, and he needs to, because saying yes is how you will get an interaction. Saying no will get you nothing. "It's my character!" is the rallying cry of the asshole who doesn't want to be considerate of other players. If you don't want to play with other characters, don't roleplay. Go play a video game. The computer won't mind, I promise. Say yes. Does it humiliate your beloved character? Say yes. Does it make the character do something strange or a little odd? Say yes. This rule doesn't mean you have to say yes to extreme things like dying, or something your character rejects with all of his heart and soul, but a drink? Conversation? Something within the realm of a reasonable, sane person? Say yes.

3. Variety is the spice of life. Humans are complex beings, but man, too many of them have a habit of creating one-note character. Like, say, you have an angry character. Kinda fun to interact with, because anger is so volatile. But it doesn't matter what happens, anger is all this guy will ever react with. Insult? Anger. Offer to help? Anger. Adorable puppy? Anger. Who cares after a while? You're writing a one trick pony with one dimension (who probably also lacks in growth, see Rule #4.) Thinking about how your character reacts in different situations is key to making a good character. I recall an old roleplaying buddy of mine who thought that "strong female characters" killed with violent precision on the battlefield and then cried and felt guilty about it later. Which, as a girl myself, made me want to punch him in the face after his umpteenth female character cried about how bad a person she must be for decapitating that ogre. Even just in basic social cues, children bring out different responses than adults. An adult being a jerk is held responsible for their actions; a child being a jerk is either blamed on bad parenting or an off day. Similarly, if you see a kid being called names by a parent bent on shaming and humiliating them, you respond entirely differently than you would to two adults doing the same thing. Maybe you do have an angry character. Are they going to get angry at a disabled person? A mute? A child or someone very old? Different nuances in different situations should bring out nuanced reactions. And sometimes, yes, this means your character steps outside their comfort zone for the sake of interaction. I might play a quiet, thoughtful introvert, but if the rest of the gang is going somewhere, I'm probably going, too. Roleplay lends itself to wonderful variety, because there's such a variety of players, and it's a lot of fun to see your character respond to the unexpected. A recent personal favorite moment in roleplay was when a friend of mine was playing a kind of obnoxious guy on a ferry, while my quiet introvert was a passenger who could see the ferryman and other passengers were really bothered by obnoxious guy. So when the obnoxious guy put his feet up, my introvert tipped him overboard. (My friend had to leave, so it was a perfect way to excuse her from the RP after I asked if I could.) It's become a great moment, because my introvert earned the friendship of the ferryman and the passengers, and that in turn led to further interactions. There's no limit to what can happen if everyone is on board with asking questions and saying yes.

4. Keep growth in mind. I happen to think roleplay, especially text based roleplay, is a wonderful training ground for writers. Mostly because what makes good roleplay makes for good writing. Roleplay with tension and high emotional stakes and a great plot is just as enjoyable as a book with the same elements. But a common problem I see with RP characters is very similar to a lot of protagonists: all their growth happened in their past. Moving forward, they have nothing to gain because they're already who they will be until they die. Which makes for some pretty damn boring interactions. They're never going to change their mind, have sympathy for another point of view, and they are certainly not going to change. The easy answer for this is "trauma." "Yeah, man, my character had really bad, traumatic things happen to her." Well, for the most part, (barring something like wartime PTSD) trauma actually has been proven to lead to self improvement in a vast majority of cases. Seeing or experiencing suffering creates compassion. If you see a bunch of people living without water, you suddenly get a lot more aware that water should maybe be a human right. If you see dogs dying of neglect, you might get more protective of a stray or be motivated to work at an animal shelter. If you suffer from depression or anxiety, you have more sympathy for depressed or anxious people. It's actually if you are super protected in a bubble all your life and never had any difficulties at all that you are more likely to be lacking in empathy for others. Even if growth is small, or even if just one character brings out something different in yours, growth is still important and rewarding. And a necessary part of writing a good character arc for a book. Characters need to be changed by events in a book, so you should have them change in reaction to roleplaying events. An introvert becomes a little more sociable. A loudmouth learns to shut up and listen a little more. Big, sweeping changes? Even better! Go for it. But don't stagnate your character just because "It's my character!" Especially when you're using it as an excuse not to interact with other players.

5. Don't be a Drama Queen, The Load, or a Damsel-in-Distress.  Everyone loves drama, especially teens. But if you are any of these things, you are, essentially, placing the burden of action on others while expecting the plot to remain centric to your character. You tailor your actions to limit the actions of others into doing something you want them to do. Everyone centers around your characters desire's, and if they don't, you're not playing at all, or playing so badly you may as well be punishing the other players. For the last time, roleplay teaches you how to structure story and character, and this is about as close as you can get to being a Mary Sue. Everyone else is actually doing stuff, but you're reaping the benefits. For example, your character is crazy. Certifiably so nuts that no sane person would ever get near you, as you smash things, attack guards, and do other wacky hijinks that have nothing to do with the plot. You're the Drama Queen, especially if you whine when others don't want to play with your idiot loser of a character. If you never react to anything, never act out your own ideas for the situation, or give anything for the other players to react to, congratulations, you're The Load. The rest of the characters will tolerate you and haul you around, because let's face it, you're dead weight, but the next time they go hunting for someone to play they're not going to extend the invite to you. And if you get to sit and do nothing while your companions fight and struggle, for a cause that means nothing to them but everything to you: you're the Damsel-in-Distress. Emo characters who constantly have to be stopped from self harm or overdosing or killing themselves  are very popular for this. They have to be "rescued" from who they are, and even if a nuclear missile is five seconds from launching, they're about to shoot up that heroin so save them! And don't think these are mutually exclusive terms, either. One of my absolute favorite stories about how NOT TO ROLEPLAY was experienced by a friend of mine on an animal forum years ago. She was a jaguar, and started a thread where she was hit by a tranquilizer dart from a poacher. THREE OTHER PEOPLE came in with their own characters and made the exact same thing happen! The thread died six posts in because all it was was a bunch of unconscious jaguars at the base of a tree, an idea so fabulous in its terribleness I get tears in my eyes laughing about it every time I think about it. How magnificently stupid can you get? It's a brilliant and awful combination of Loads and Damsels-in-Distress ("Hey, sweet! I don't have to contribute my own ideas! I'll just copy the OP and then MY character will get carried around by someone else's plot!") too scared to come up with anything original.
  • Mood: Cheerful
  • Watching: Muppets Tonight
EDIT: If you like this journal entry, check out The Sarcastic Guide to Writing ebook www.amazon.com/The-Sarcastic-G… for exclusive content on world-building, character, and dialogue!

1. Work on something else. I know, I know. You've been working on that story of yours for twelve whole years, and it's your baby. Sure, it may have been inspired by that Dungeons and Dragons session you had when you were thirteen, but you're going to make your fortune with it! It's the next Harry Potter! When my pals and I have gone to writing conferences, we've made note of an interesting phenomenon: when someone has written a first novel in the fantasy genre, it is invariably a sword-and-sorcery novel or a portal fantasy. I will bet money on it: show me a first novel and I will show you a sword-and-sorcery or portal fantasy. There's nothing wrong with sword-and-sorcery as a genre, don't get me wrong. It's just that in writing Lord of the Rings, Tolkien provided a simple, easy-to-follow template for amateurs. C. S. Lewis wrote one of the greatest portal fantasies in existence with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. (Incidentally, Lewis was best pals with Tolkien, and when he decided to foray into fantasy for the first time guess what he wrote? Portal fantasy. Coincidence? I think not!) Portal fantasy provides a comfortable setting to start in: your own world. Not quite so many balls to juggle right out of the gate. The thing is, your writing reflects your level of skill in a first novel. It takes ages and ages to make a first novel work. That's why authors take the easier route and write something else. I write many, many stripes of fantasy: xenofiction, steampunk, and urban fantasy. And I may just be about to, gulp, write straight YA. I am not immune to this rule: guess what my first novel was? Sword-and-sorcery! The thing is, even a different story in the same genre can teach you things you didn't know. To paraphrase Disney's Pocahontas, "You'll find out things you never knew you never knew." When I meet someone who has held their baby novel to their chest for twelve years, refusing to change anything about it and reacting aggressively to critique: that's someone going nowhere fast. Only slightly less pathetic than the person who roleplayed once and has had this great idea for a novel for years but hasn't written jack squat. By working on something else, you free yourself from stagnation. You start fresh, and can try again. One of the things I've recognized about my own improvement is that I've begun to world-build based on my plot, so the neat fantasy details I come up with serve an actual purpose to the story. That took me years to figure out, ages! And I've gone back to older work and been like "What the hell is this? What was I thinking?" Working on something else gives you more than one basket to put your eggs in, which makes you more likely to be critical of your own work. The writing is the easy part, my friends. Making your writing publishable is a whole new ball game, and only something like 2 percent of the population ever gets to see their work in published print. Enjoy those odds, crappy writers!

2. Learn to incubate. The ability to leave your writing alone is a valuable one. First, you have to come back to manuscript with a reader's eye, and not the bleeding heart of an author who loves their flawless work. In traditional publishing, edits and rewrites can take up to 18 months before the book comes out in real form. And during that time, you better believe you're expected to write something else. Even before that, there is the special, fresh hell known as querying, which requires you to wait ages and ages for an agent to get back to you on whether or not they like your story. Waiting on that reply is wasting time. Start on another story. Let the first one sit for a while, and age like good wine. Don't get caught in the trap of rewriting endlessly (something I found myself in danger of doing recently so I panicked and decided hell or high water I was going to collect some rejections.)  It is very easy, especially for people in violation of Rule #1, to fiddle endlessly with the same thing. It is entirely possible to overwork a manuscript. I've done it at least several times, and come back to it hating what my brain fizzle managed to crap out on the page. Me personally, I have a built-in boredom paradigm that kicks in after about 6 weeks. I've got 6 weeks to actively write on something before smoke starts coming out my ears and I start to hate it. I can world-build and play with ideas all the live long day, but it takes a lot of fuel to write a novel and I run out. After that I need copious doses of movies and video games to feel even remotely inspired again. Incubation is a natural "season" of the writer, assuming you have honed the necessary self-discipline to finish a project in the first place. When I was a teenager, I didn't have that requisite skill yes, and enjoyed leaping from one project to another project willy-nilly. Whatever. I cared enough about what I was doing and wanted to do that I matured, and you probably will, too.

3. Value rewrites. One of the most appalling novels I have ever had the displeasure of reading was when I attended a week-long writer's conference and had to read about 12 of the first 50 pages each from my fellow classmates. One of them was a sword-and-sorcery fairy tale retelling, but the grammar was so terrible it was damn near indecipherable. I'm talking like something I read out loud to my writing buddies while we howled over breakfast each day and wiped away tears of mirth. This manuscript has become a running joke among two of my pals and I. I think I managed to get through about ten pages of it before I flipped to the last page and wrote "This will never get published in its current incarnation. You need to study grammar, because no agent is going to read past the first page." Later, this fellow posted indignantly on Facebook that he got "rude critique." Well, I thought his manuscript was rude. It was definitely an offense to anyone with eyes and a functioning brain. And seriously, grammar? If you don't have proper grammar and spelling down, I am under no obligation whatsoever to suffer through your crap. I used to get really indignant about the idea that agents only need 5 pages of your novel to decide whether they'd go with your project or not. "Tyranny!" I'd say. "How unfair!" But before this conference started, I put the manuscripts to a simple test to decide which order I'd read them in: reading the first sentence. And I'll be damned, the manuscripts that had good first sentences were good, meh first sentences were meh, and bad first sentences were bad. An agent can tell if you suck just by your first sentence! I can tell if you suck by your first sentence! So pay attention to what you're doing in rewrites. Don't just slap a first draft on paper and expect it to fly. It beggars belief that Mister Grammatically Incorrect thought his stuff was good when he was literally changing tenses midsentence. Who does that!? I believe it was Ursula K. Le Guin who said "Rewrites are where the magic happens." And it's true. It's where you find your first sentences and make stronger character arcs and better plot twists. Don't delude yourself into thinking that just because you wrote it down means it gold.

4. Read outside your genre. I recently came across a self-published book about dragons and elves whose main character was named Paolini. Gee, I wonder where they got their inspiration from!? (Incidentally, their first sentence was pretty hilarious in its badness, and it violated Rule 1 by being something the person had worked on for 12 years straight.) You don't make things easier for yourself by making your story a funny sword-and-sorcery idea for adults and kids that deals with serious subjects like rape and slavery. An agent ain't touching that. Sword-and-sorcery is an accessible genre, but man, too many people never go beyond that. Read historical fiction to find out how plate mail and arrows worked. Read straight YA coming-of-age to learn how to make the emotions of the character the only stakes in the story. Read nonfiction to research the impact of technology and environment on science and history. And for god's sake, read more than one kind of fantasy! There's like a million different stripes out there: magical realism, urban fantasy, steampunk, xenofiction, grimdark, allegorical, dying Earth, paranormal, mundane, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, on and on. And you think you're clever because you gave your character a baby dragon and a staff instead of a sword? Spare me. One of the biggest beefs I have with Stephanie Meyer (and believe me, I got plenty) is that she never read any vampire stuff. And if she had, it probably wouldn't have just been the sparkling vampires that got fixed. Your ideas are not as unique as you think they are, and the more you read the more you will realize this. You're supposed to be reading anyway, because you're a writer. I'm constantly dismayed by a lot fantasy being published today, because it's same old stuff so often. Maybe the agents are to blame for that. But the people who write in the first place sure are, too.

5. Accept that ideas adapt or die. I have two dead worlds in my gallery: The Dragon Rose and The Bronze Key. These are books that will never be published and that I no longer work on, because their ideas no longer appeal to me. (They also have sequels which I could never, ever write.) However, my urban fantasy, Daemonfire, is still going strong after 16 some-odd years. The fundamentals of the characters is still the same, and the very idea that I came up with a set of dynamics that actually worked at the age of 16 is nothing short of a cosmic roulette win. However, the story itself has changed shape many, many times. It started out as a sword-and-sorcery (Told you.), jumped to portal fantasy (WHAT DID I TELL YOU?) and then finally made the leap to urban fantasy. And even then, the manuscript still needed about 6 more iterations before it reached its current incarnation. Those manuscripts will never see the light of day, and those who read those manuscripts have been both sworn to secrecy and promised hush money if I ever make it big. The original execution of the idea was nothing short of total shit. It was ludicrous. But somehow, the idea kept appealing to me, and I kept trying again. The thing is, I was writing other stuff in the mean time. New ideas and new lessons about structure and arcs and characterizations came to me. At a fundamental, animus kind of level, I suppose the idea is still the same. But its methods of execution are worlds apart. I didn't keep trying to make the same darling of my 16 year old self work at 20, or 25. Ideas adapt or they die, and if they don't die, you're probably writing crap. Over and over and over again. Things that were life and death at 16 change when you turn 21, to say the least. Don't cling to things because of nostalgia or in memory of better times. Cut what doesn't matter to the story. In some cases, it means scrapping the entire story idea altogether. I don't lament the years and years I spent in a story world now dead. They taught me very valuable lessons. But just like an artist doesn't show off preschool finger paintings, you don't need to keep working on something just because it's earlier work you have feelings for. Yeah, yeah, growing up sucks and all that, but being brave enough to say "This isn't working, I'm going to try something else" will take you to knew places just as enjoyable as the old.
  • Mood: Content
  • Watching: Gravity Falls
Nobody get excited (although it certainly made my day), but after 50 rejections for Mark of the Conifer, an agent requested the first 3 chapters. Woo!
Raptor Adoptables 2 by Droemar
Raptor Adoptables 2
Second verse, same as the first.
If you'd like to see enlarged detail, you can see it here: droemar.deviantart.com/art/Rap…
You will get a full resolution (8x11 300 dpi) painting of your raptor if you win the auction.
Paypal only.
Beginning bids are $5. Buy It Now for $10.
I'm hoping the money for this can go towards a model horse show I'd like to attend  in a few months.
Also, any bids will be considered final in a week.
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1. Take action that someone can react to. I'm really amazed at how prevalent this is, and all I can think of is that people are afraid to be bold, especially if they are new to RP and don't want to step on people's toes. Back in the day, I used to roleplay on a Lion King forum (ahem), and the few close friends I gathered called this kind of crap "butterfly roleplay", as in: a lion comes into the thread and chases butterflies. Another lion comes in and chases it, too. They get to be friends by bonding over a butterfly. Everyone is happy forever and ever. Look, text roleplay is a training ground for learning how to write and write well. Conflict is your friend, not peace, love, and butterflies. I would not watch a television show about lions chasing butterflies. (I will watch the hell out of a lion framed for murdering his own father!) And I sure as hell wouldn't read a book about lions chasing butterflies. But so often, what I see is people just posting these extremely static reactions. In conversation, they nod their head. They agree. They stand there and do nothing, or offer inane and stupid opinions that have no relevance to what's happening. In combat, they stand there or attack everyone on both sides. If someone else enters the thread and does something, most of the time the new person will be totally ignored. In the thread as a whole, they risk becoming The Load (See Rule #5). In general, these kind of players are are just a drag to have in the roleplay. In real life these people would be considered brain-damaged. If they were a gesture, they'd be a noncommittal shrug. But in RP, they're someone's "character" and that's supposed to make it okay. In RP, I swear I will take a racist, a sexist, and a bigot over the most agreeable person in the world. Because I know who is going to be more interesting to react to. I can have pleasant and normal conversations in real life. I don't want to roleplay something I could be doing in real life, when the point of RP is to ride dragons and shit. In writing, the saying is "Character is action." A character is the action they take. Not what they TALK about taking, or THINK about taking, but what they DO. In roleplay, if your character is REACTIVE, they are not TAKING ACTION. If all your character is doing is reacting to everyone in the thread, and never doing anything themselves, get the hell out of my roleplay that that weak-ass bullshit, because you are not someone I want to play with. Every post you make, you should be providing fodder for your fellow players to react to, in addition to having your character react to theirs.

2. Say yes. This was something Stephen Colbert said about the first rule of improv comedy: say yes, no matter how absurd the suggestions. From an individual point of view, it results in a great skit. In the sense of Colbert's career, it allowed him to do amazing things, just because he never said "No, having a machine on NASA named after me is just ridiculous! Sponsoring a speed skating team is too odd!" Roleplay is a type of improv. And if you think you have to say "no", because it's humiliating, humbling, or not "in character", yes, you've achieved the impossible: you're roleplaying wrong. Way back in the day, I played with a Dungeons and Dragons group, and inevitably someone would play the lone wolf ninja badass, who played by his own rules and was gritty and anti-social. (Barf.) What ended up happening was that the rest of us, as a group, would wait around for hours while the DM ended up running an entirely separate game for Mister Ninja. Eventually, as group, we got tired of that crap. And Mister Ninja waited around for hours while we played our game. And when he complained, the DM said, "Don't like it? Then don't play that kind of character." This gets back to being The Load: it is NOT EVERYONE ELSE'S JOB TO CARRY YOUR CHARACTER THROUGH THE ROLEPLAY. Nope. I don't care. I don't care if your character hates everyone, is blind and mute, and would never, ever in a million years go to a bar to get a drink with folks. Because maybe this time he would, and he needs to, because saying yes is how you will get an interaction. Saying no will get you nothing. "It's my character!" is the rallying cry of the asshole who doesn't want to be considerate of other players. If you don't want to play with other characters, don't roleplay. Go play a video game. The computer won't mind, I promise. Say yes. Does it humiliate your beloved character? Say yes. Does it make the character do something strange or a little odd? Say yes. This rule doesn't mean you have to say yes to extreme things like dying, or something your character rejects with all of his heart and soul, but a drink? Conversation? Something within the realm of a reasonable, sane person? Say yes.

3. Variety is the spice of life. Humans are complex beings, but man, too many of them have a habit of creating one-note character. Like, say, you have an angry character. Kinda fun to interact with, because anger is so volatile. But it doesn't matter what happens, anger is all this guy will ever react with. Insult? Anger. Offer to help? Anger. Adorable puppy? Anger. Who cares after a while? You're writing a one trick pony with one dimension (who probably also lacks in growth, see Rule #4.) Thinking about how your character reacts in different situations is key to making a good character. I recall an old roleplaying buddy of mine who thought that "strong female characters" killed with violent precision on the battlefield and then cried and felt guilty about it later. Which, as a girl myself, made me want to punch him in the face after his umpteenth female character cried about how bad a person she must be for decapitating that ogre. Even just in basic social cues, children bring out different responses than adults. An adult being a jerk is held responsible for their actions; a child being a jerk is either blamed on bad parenting or an off day. Similarly, if you see a kid being called names by a parent bent on shaming and humiliating them, you respond entirely differently than you would to two adults doing the same thing. Maybe you do have an angry character. Are they going to get angry at a disabled person? A mute? A child or someone very old? Different nuances in different situations should bring out nuanced reactions. And sometimes, yes, this means your character steps outside their comfort zone for the sake of interaction. I might play a quiet, thoughtful introvert, but if the rest of the gang is going somewhere, I'm probably going, too. Roleplay lends itself to wonderful variety, because there's such a variety of players, and it's a lot of fun to see your character respond to the unexpected. A recent personal favorite moment in roleplay was when a friend of mine was playing a kind of obnoxious guy on a ferry, while my quiet introvert was a passenger who could see the ferryman and other passengers were really bothered by obnoxious guy. So when the obnoxious guy put his feet up, my introvert tipped him overboard. (My friend had to leave, so it was a perfect way to excuse her from the RP after I asked if I could.) It's become a great moment, because my introvert earned the friendship of the ferryman and the passengers, and that in turn led to further interactions. There's no limit to what can happen if everyone is on board with asking questions and saying yes.

4. Keep growth in mind. I happen to think roleplay, especially text based roleplay, is a wonderful training ground for writers. Mostly because what makes good roleplay makes for good writing. Roleplay with tension and high emotional stakes and a great plot is just as enjoyable as a book with the same elements. But a common problem I see with RP characters is very similar to a lot of protagonists: all their growth happened in their past. Moving forward, they have nothing to gain because they're already who they will be until they die. Which makes for some pretty damn boring interactions. They're never going to change their mind, have sympathy for another point of view, and they are certainly not going to change. The easy answer for this is "trauma." "Yeah, man, my character had really bad, traumatic things happen to her." Well, for the most part, (barring something like wartime PTSD) trauma actually has been proven to lead to self improvement in a vast majority of cases. Seeing or experiencing suffering creates compassion. If you see a bunch of people living without water, you suddenly get a lot more aware that water should maybe be a human right. If you see dogs dying of neglect, you might get more protective of a stray or be motivated to work at an animal shelter. If you suffer from depression or anxiety, you have more sympathy for depressed or anxious people. It's actually if you are super protected in a bubble all your life and never had any difficulties at all that you are more likely to be lacking in empathy for others. Even if growth is small, or even if just one character brings out something different in yours, growth is still important and rewarding. And a necessary part of writing a good character arc for a book. Characters need to be changed by events in a book, so you should have them change in reaction to roleplaying events. An introvert becomes a little more sociable. A loudmouth learns to shut up and listen a little more. Big, sweeping changes? Even better! Go for it. But don't stagnate your character just because "It's my character!" Especially when you're using it as an excuse not to interact with other players.

5. Don't be a Drama Queen, The Load, or a Damsel-in-Distress.  Everyone loves drama, especially teens. But if you are any of these things, you are, essentially, placing the burden of action on others while expecting the plot to remain centric to your character. You tailor your actions to limit the actions of others into doing something you want them to do. Everyone centers around your characters desire's, and if they don't, you're not playing at all, or playing so badly you may as well be punishing the other players. For the last time, roleplay teaches you how to structure story and character, and this is about as close as you can get to being a Mary Sue. Everyone else is actually doing stuff, but you're reaping the benefits. For example, your character is crazy. Certifiably so nuts that no sane person would ever get near you, as you smash things, attack guards, and do other wacky hijinks that have nothing to do with the plot. You're the Drama Queen, especially if you whine when others don't want to play with your idiot loser of a character. If you never react to anything, never act out your own ideas for the situation, or give anything for the other players to react to, congratulations, you're The Load. The rest of the characters will tolerate you and haul you around, because let's face it, you're dead weight, but the next time they go hunting for someone to play they're not going to extend the invite to you. And if you get to sit and do nothing while your companions fight and struggle, for a cause that means nothing to them but everything to you: you're the Damsel-in-Distress. Emo characters who constantly have to be stopped from self harm or overdosing or killing themselves  are very popular for this. They have to be "rescued" from who they are, and even if a nuclear missile is five seconds from launching, they're about to shoot up that heroin so save them! And don't think these are mutually exclusive terms, either. One of my absolute favorite stories about how NOT TO ROLEPLAY was experienced by a friend of mine on an animal forum years ago. She was a jaguar, and started a thread where she was hit by a tranquilizer dart from a poacher. THREE OTHER PEOPLE came in with their own characters and made the exact same thing happen! The thread died six posts in because all it was was a bunch of unconscious jaguars at the base of a tree, an idea so fabulous in its terribleness I get tears in my eyes laughing about it every time I think about it. How magnificently stupid can you get? It's a brilliant and awful combination of Loads and Damsels-in-Distress ("Hey, sweet! I don't have to contribute my own ideas! I'll just copy the OP and then MY character will get carried around by someone else's plot!") too scared to come up with anything original.
  • Mood: Cheerful
  • Watching: Muppets Tonight

deviantID

Droemar
Laura Jennings
United States
Current Residence: Kempner, TX
Favourite genre of music: Pop, dance, techno, alternative
Favourite style of art: Cel shading, comic
Operating System: Windows XP
MP3 player of choice: Winamp
Wallpaper of choice: Zelda: The Twilight Princess
Favourite cartoon character: Scar, from the Lion King
Personal Quote: Compassion for things I'll never know. - David Byrne
Interests

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:iconrainewhisper:
rainewhisper Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love your character designs, and found the journal about RPing to be quite helpful. I'll be sure to check out more of your art when I have the time! :D
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:iconart-zealot:
Art-Zealot Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Okay dang, you know you've got to +Watch someone when you get lost in her Gallery for an hour...

Seriously, you've got some mad flair. My curiosity for the novels you've got in the works is piqued!
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2015
You got lost in my gallery for an hour? I'm flattered!
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:iconxxamberthewolfxx:
xXAmberTheWolfXx Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
What is LightBox? I think I've heard about it it sounds familiar. I just saw that you use it.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2015
Well, if it's what I'm thinking of, it's something like this: www.painfulpleasures.com/body_…
I use it to clean up lineart, mostly, or make corrections. Sometimes I work on multiple pieces of tracing paper, and I'll flip the drawing to check my perspective while the pieces are on the lightbox. It's just handy to have around to do some tricks like transferring a rough to the final paper and such.
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:iconxxamberthewolfxx:
xXAmberTheWolfXx Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
I see. That must very helpful right?
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2015
I find it to be, yes. You can usually grab one for $20. Not a bank breaker. :)
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(1 Reply)
:icondragonfire810:
Dragonfire810 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2015   Filmographer
Would you like to look at my dragon drawings?
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:iconweirdsketch:
weirdsketch Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Out of curiosity i feel the need to ask, Have you heard about the upcoming game Saurian? it seems like something that's right up your alley.
and by chance have you ever read the book Raptor Red?
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2015
I adore Raptor Red. I wish they'd make into a movie, or at least a documentary on Discovery Channel or something.
I have not heard of Saurian. I will have to check out the trailers for it!
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