developing writing style

POSTED: Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:50 pm

I've only recently come back into roleplay; and lately I have been trying to "revamp" the way that I write to put a greater emphasis on coherence.

I tend to add a lot of introspection and stylistic "flair" when it's not strictly necessary. I'm quite nit-picky about my writing, so I may be overthinking this, but I do have a few questions that I hope will help me to improve overall:

How did you guys develop your writing style? What resources do you use? Do you have any tips on keeping your writing clear and straightforward?

POSTED: Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:06 pm

Introspection and flair may not be strictly "necessary," but they can often still be relevant. As long as these things contribute something -- whether that's character development or setting the scene to help paint a clearer picture for your RP partner -- then it's fine, imo.

Things that I think help with clarity and straightforwardness:
- Set both a personal minimum and maximum word count for posts
- Ensure your character performs at least one direct action per post; speaking counts as action
- Ensure every sentence is relevant

As with any kind of "style," I think people develop it naturally over time and it's a mishmash of their various personal influences. You can develop it actively by reading a lot and incorporating things you like into your own writing. For example, I know I'm fond of long, "basic" compound sentences with long strings of "and" for stylistic effect, especially when juxtaposed with very short sentences -- and I know this is largely because of Hemingway. I liked the style, even though I'm largely indifferent to the subject matter of most of his work.
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POSTED: Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:26 pm

This is very helpful—thank you!

I suppose it's a matter of balancing style, introspection, and your character's interaction with the world around them. I'll definitely try to utilize some of the tips you've provided.

POSTED: Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:49 pm

What Kiri said, and I also stalk the "vets" (Mel, Raze, Alaine, Libri) and everyone else with a particular writing style that I feel is amazing (San, Daniel, etc.). I'm probably leaving out a ton of people, but I can't think right now. Anyway, as you RP with people here and stalk posts, you'll find other players whose writing appeals to you. There's nothing wrong with trying to mimic your favorite writer (whether they be a Souls writer or a famous writer) to try and establish a style that takes all the best parts from theirs to establish your own.

I've been trying this for years, and I can say that roleplaying with Daniel, specifically, has made my visual imagery / metaphoric additions brighten my posts up, so I mean there's good that comes from doing this.
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POSTED: Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:03 pm

One thing that I think is important when it comes to writing is dialogue, and for that, listening to people and how they talk can help make your characters speak in a more natural way. Consider conversation as it happens -- sometimes reading dialogue aloud can help you hear where things sound strange. Some people drop words when they talk, others may never use contractions, and so on. Most people repeat certain phrases or words in their speech. Finding a "voice" can really help you when it comes to character development.

As far as style overall, Kiri has pointed out a lot that can help with RP. Direct actions/engagement of the other character will move the scene forward. It's fine to have character introspection and thoughts, but consider how they relate to the moment.

NPCs are a huge help in driving action/scenes forward, especially if you have a character who wouldn't do or say something in that scenario. Interaction creates substance, and from there you can build events.

If you think you've written too much, go back and see what can be cut. Less can be more. Sentences have a speed/flow to them as well, so having these function as your tempo can help you out when it comes to engaged reading. Your eyes are lazy, so having "breaks" helps with this.
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