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So, as stated in my profile, writing for RP is pretty new to me. A writer friend of mine recently told me that when you're writing for a hobby (she was speaking in the context of writing fanfiction), you can just... skip the parts you don't want to, or don't know how to write. "You're writing for fun, so just write the fun bits. The other parts might come to you after, too. Once you have point A and B, it's easier to write the journey."

That was super encouraging. But also, this...doesn't work so well in an RP, where.. I can't skip to the next scene and come back to this one later because I can't figure it out. (Or maybe it does? Tell me your secrets?)

So you're staring at a half written post, and it's been hours/days/weeks and your RP partner has assumed you've ghosted them and started another thread in this subforum about RP etiquette, etc. etc. and you're stuck.

What do you do?

Further than that...
Sometimes you're stuck because you don't know what needs to happen.
Sometimes you're stuck because you know what needs to happen and you can't write it, can't get the words out.
Sometimes you're stuck because you wrote it out, and it sucks.
(Other?)

Do you approach those scenarios differently? (of course you do, please sure)

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oh man!! I KNOW THE SECRET. THIS IS A SECRET I ACTUALLY KNOW

it's a simple request for scene change.

like in tv and movies, how the camera is just suddenly somewhere else and your brain has to take it all in, the setting or time switch, which character is in focus, what implications are there that something transpired (car wreck in the bg, quick dialogue or even narration summary)

even fanfics are snappier when they don't hold our hand through the tedium of scene transition so here's the secret remedy:

if it's hard (boring, vague, a bit unimportant) for you to write, it will be hard (bored, confused, impatient) for someone else to read.

you just gotta ask for a time skip or a placeholder summary

THIS ALSO LEAVES ROOM for thematic flashback. like what doesn't get said in the scene transition can be referred to in tense moments of introspection, regret, ambition, et c. -- you get to leave room for a reverse trail of breadcrumbs

:>
Communication with your roleplay partners can save so much !! Let them know you’re struggling with the scene, see what can be adjusted, skip over, or simply ret-conned!

We’ve all been there, struggling if it’s worth it after so long to reply anymore, and it’s so worth it to just… let them know you’re struggling. Admitting this relieves you both of the worry of “am I enough”, and allows the essence of RP, collaborative writing, to come into true play!

Some scenes are better off as purely ooc discussions, agreed on, to continue the overarching plot. <3

Hope this helps.
oven wrote:
oh man!! I KNOW THE SECRET. THIS IS A SECRET I ACTUALLY KNOW

it's a simple request for scene change.

like in tv and movies, how the camera is just suddenly somewhere else and your brain has to take it all in, the setting or time switch, which character is in focus, what implications are there that something transpired (car wreck in the bg, quick dialogue or even narration summary)

even fanfics are snappier when they don't hold our hand through the tedium of scene transition so here's the secret remedy:

if it's hard (boring, vague, a bit unimportant) for you to write, it will be hard (bored, confused, impatient) for someone else to read.

you just gotta ask for a time skip or a placeholder summary

THIS ALSO LEAVES ROOM for thematic flashback. like what doesn't get said in the scene transition can be referred to in tense moments of introspection, regret, ambition, et c. -- you get to leave room for a reverse trail of breadcrumbs

:>

A scene change can definitely be the solution, but not always. Sometimes you are in a spot where a scene change is not very feasible, or sometimes it's the character you are using that is the problem. I admit that I have one character who has such a foriegn mindset to my own that sometimes getting into her head can be a bit of a challenge.

So sometimes if a scene change is either unfeasible or unwanted, it might be best to set it aside for a bit and do something else before picking it up again later. Maybe then you'll have the creative energy you need to write it.*

In these cases, don't be afraid to take a little extra time to write your post.

*edited for previous poor word choice.
simple: i just don't write it

let's take an example: i hate writing travel montages. i will spend three weeks poking at it. my partners know it and for the sake of keeping things moving, we both agree to handwave it.

"And so they drove."

and that's all she wrote

it works for everything. fight scene? "And so they beat the shit out of each other." love scene? "And so they ####ed." death scene? "And so he died."

ok maybe not that last one but you get the point
silentruth Topic Starter

oven wrote:
if it's hard (boring, vague, a bit unimportant) for you to write, it will be hard (bored, confused, impatient) for someone else to read.

you just gotta ask for a time skip or a placeholder summary

THIS ALSO LEAVES ROOM for thematic flashback. like what doesn't get said in the scene transition can be referred to in tense moments of introspection, regret, ambition, et c. -- you get to leave room for a reverse trail of breadcrumbs

:>
That's a good rule to write by.
Also thematic flashback for a scene I couldn't write the first time is actually genius.
konnie wrote:
Communication with your roleplay partners can save so much !! Let them know you’re struggling with the scene, see what can be adjusted, skip over, or simply ret-conned!
Absolutely, communication is so key. You just hate to disappoint, you know? Especially if they carefully crafted a scenario that they're obviously excited for.. and I just, can't write it out?
Especially for a combat scenario - here's an antagonist with these really cool powers, that's specially designed to be a challenge for your character - Not being able to get through that is disappointing for us both?
Katia wrote:
So sometimes if a scene change is either unfeasible or unwanted, it might be best to set it aside for a bit and do something else before picking it up again later. Maybe then the creative juices will start to flow better.

In these cases, don't be afraid to take a little extra time to write your post.
Yeah - sometimes it's a middle of a conversation, or combat. Suppose I still bring in a TTRPG or even video game like mentality to RPing, where I feel like everything's a problem I need to solve, and every scenario has a SOLUTION.
I do not assume patience from others, I should do so more.

Saturninum wrote:
death scene? "And so he died."

ok maybe not that last one but you get the point
LOL can you imagine?
I remember putting in a "And they did a thing." as a placeholder for a post once, and forgot to fill it in before I posted - and everything was fine, so you're right!
silentruth wrote:
LOL can you imagine?
I remember putting in a "And they did a thing." as a placeholder for a post once, and forgot to fill it in before I posted - and everything was fine, so you're right!

i literally have used that one before though. sometimes i don't feel like writing a grand description for every little thing, so one time i just went with "She shot him. He died. It was, to say the least, rather unfortunate." and that was that

but yeah i mean, memes aside, i generally operate on the basis of "will this permanently affect the course of the rp?" if the answer is "no", then you're safe to handwave it if you're stumped and feel as though it's caused the rp to grind to a halt. travel montages, small conversations, scene changes, and sometimes even combat are often skippable (tell ur partner first tho). obviously if it's a climatic moment, you should shelf it for a while and wait for the inspiration to strike, but otherwise don't sweat it.

sometimes a two sentence summary can be extremely comedic in the right circumstances, and thus be far more memorable than some random prose babble
First thing, if you've noticed you're taking longer than you usually do to respond, it's probably a good idea to send your partner(s) a quick message to let 'em know you're still working on it. Depending on the issue, additional detail in that message could be super helpful.

Now, assuming it's not a full writer's block, burnout, or perfectionism issue...

Some parts are just... really tedious and boring, and may not even have any value in the overall narrative. You could discuss doing a scene change, and possibly chat about potentially important details to include in a (optional) summary of what was skipped over (sometimes, the other person was actually hoping for a scene change, too!). You could discuss some possibilities that might spice things up, like some minor inconvenience to get through along the way or some important conversation the characters should probably have at some point anyway. You could also kinda... half-ass it together, kinda doing a goof-off scene that won't be considered how things really played out, but that can help things to still feel more fleshed-out (plus can help you feel a bit more connected as players); something like treating your characters as caricatures of themselves and doing a more simplistic childhood play-pretend thing until you get past the bit you were stuck on.

If something is actually making you uncomfortable, definitely have a chat about that.

If you're stuck because you're not sure how something should work and Google's not helping any, you can ask your partner(s) for suggestions, or for clarification, or just vaguely discuss where you're both hoping the scene will lead (which can mimic the "come back later" thing now that you know where you're aiming at for point B). Sometimes, I'll actually reach out to a partner who hasn't responded in a bit to make sure I gave them enough to work with and stuff, or if there's something they need me to add or change.

Depending on how big of a skip could be needed, you even could come back to it later. One partner and I developed a habit of doing RPs as "chapters" because of how long and involved our games got, and while we usually were always moving forward in time, there were a few times when we figured, "hey, we should take a step back to this point and flesh out what happened there." Granted, those were usually little nostalgia asides or disconnected what-ifs that sometimes weren't even intended to necessarily be canon, but it can be done.

I feel certain I'm missing a bunch of other things, but my brain seems to done with the whole "thinking" thing for the night. ^^; Probably for the best, anyway.
silentruth Topic Starter

Zelphyr wrote:
Now, assuming it's not a full writer's block, burnout, or perfectionism issue...
What if it was a perfectionism thing?
Zelphyr wrote:
Depending on how big of a skip could be needed, you even could come back to it later. One partner and I developed a habit of doing RPs as "chapters" because of how long and involved our games got, and while we usually were always moving forward in time, there were a few times when we figured, "hey, we should take a step back to this point and flesh out what happened there." Granted, those were usually little nostalgia asides or disconnected what-ifs that sometimes weren't even intended to necessarily be canon, but it can be done.
Yeah I quite like this suggestion for when things are coming to a head, and I'm not sure how to resolve it at the time. Would certainly take the pressure off
Sometimes I just straight up tell people something along the lines of, "I have no idea how to react to that. Give a bit."

It's fine to write something bad though, or to ask questions ooc about things. Writing for roleplay is different, but it is still something you're doing for fun. It's not unreasonable to twist things a little bit or to talk things through a bit ooc before reaching a final decision.
silentruth wrote:
What if it was a perfectionism thing?

Then the answer is a lot easier to say than to accept: Stop trying to make it perfect.

It's a pretty common trap that I think most, maybe all of us fall into at lest sometimes, and for some of us it's a much bigger and more frequent issue. And went trying to get past it, it won't always be the same tactics that help. Sometimes, it really does just need a short time longer to feel acceptable (which can make it harder to let go when that's not the case). For some, it helps to remember that none of us are perfect, and it's okay to be "good enough." (What "good enough" means can vary, too, but it tends to actually be pretty minimal when everything gets weighed out.) It could be thinking about how your partner(s) is more interested in getting something that lets the game keep going than in getting epic poetry maybe someday.

When I'm comfortable enough with a partner (which improves with more OOC chatting!), there have been a few times I've even just resorted to literally, exactly as vague, something like "and some things happened so they could get to the place" or a 4th-wall-breaking, "[...] because the writer was too tired to make it go differently and wanted this post to be done already." Sure, it'll often feel weird or even wrong, but it lets things start moving again, and things have generally proceeded just fine after those little hiccups. Plus it can bring in a little levity that might help both you and your partner(s) relax a little into a potentially much more engaging experience.

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