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RP ~ Writers and Players

It has been my experience in RP over the years that it comes in two basic forms...
  • Writers ~ Those who tend to write stories and like to collaborate with other writers and create an epic tale. They tend to focus on good grammar and punctuation and paragraph breaks to make the longer text readable on a computer or mobile screen. Exchanges take place as part of dialogue in the paragraphs and the posts tend to overlap in the timescale to give a smooth flow. Posts may be one or a few in a day or maybe one or a few in a week.
  • Players ~ Those who tend to write in a quick format to carry out real time dialogue, may use first person, and notes actions with an asterisk. Each character step is noted as a post, and post exchanges may be several within minutes and hundreds in a day.

What is your preference? Is there a middle ground where the two can meet and both have an enjoyable RP? Curious on your thoughts.

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In my short time here that sounds quite right! I am so much a writer. So much.

But I've seen people that have elements of both I think. I have found that people who do acting seem to be really good at doing shortish posts that are a mixture of action, dialogue, and thoughts in a really eloquent way. And me with my multi-paragraph posts can fit right in with that, even when it's just a few sentences. It doesn't usually happen though...just with a few people. Who all happen to also be into acting. It's weird. :)
Ellender (played by Yuka)

Definitely writer for me, both in how I RP and how I prefer other's I RP with to write.

Definitely a writer as a fan of great literature in books movies and music.
Depends entirely on the story for me. Action stories with multiple players do well in the gamer format. Romance scenes vary wildly and adventure sequences with two players seem to lend well to writer format.
Hi there! This topic is really interesting!

I have to say, with my personal experience in roleplay communities over the years(roughly getting on to 17 years if you count creating characters in my bedroom and making stories for them with friends), there are far more than two types of roleplayers. There are just too many to wrap it up in two forms.

I considering myself to sit directly under the "Writer" description that you have here, but I heavily game. I game far more than I write. I think what you're describing is far more like someone who is a "short term" writer, over a forum writer.

In my beginning years on the internet in roleplay communities, we used chat systems. This produced the "Gamer" writer that you're describing. It was difficult to create anything longer than those posts because we were given very short character permissions. This was the case on AOL chat, MSN messenger, and YIM.

There were also those who wrote in emails and had much more space to develop their writing out and continue on writing a story in a massive amount of writing. Many paragraphs.

What you're basically describing are "novella" writers and "one-liner" writers. There is a time and place for both of these. A good majority of people who start out with the asterisk system are generally doing so in an MMORPG, on a chat system like Chatzy, messengers, or other platforms like cellphone texts. They may even be restricted entirely to a cellphone for creating their posts. While some may not find this to be at all limiting, it can be entirely exhausting for some people to try and write multiple paragraphs on a phone or tablet.

I myself am a multi-paragraph writer because I do not write nearly enough to be considered Novella.

As a gamer, I cannot stand writing with people who use the asterisk system, write in first person, or don't formulate proper grammar usage to an understandable level. I need punctuation. I need things to be structured, but I also love writing multiple posts in a single night. I love quick replies and fast pace stories with heavily dialogue centred development. I love for characters to go through actions and great deals of adventure, but the dialogue is equal in importance on most cases, if not the more important aspect. This can also change though, as I require there to be importance in physical actions. A character doing something that is highly outside of their normal behaviour is considerably detrimental to a story, because they have broken their own character out of desperation, need, or forced hand.

Something that was brought up on an older platform I used was called "Quality over Quantity." This means that anyone can be bad at writing, but still write a lot of content in their stories. This in and of itself has a lot of different meanings, because there can be incredibly short replies, one liners, that have an immense amount of quality to them over something someone wrote that was well over 10 paragraphs long.

There are sooooo many different kinds of roleplayers and forms. If I were to break it down into an old system I'm familiar with it would look something like this:

Novella Writer
  • This writer is going to bring the story in hardcore. You're going to have very long posts, great details and go really far with this person if you love to read and can produce just as much content as they can in a reply. However, Quantity has never meant Quality.
  • This writer can be extremely good in quality, grammar, and reply-ability.
  • This writer may take a great amount of time to produce a reply to a game, but the reply has the high chance of being worth any wait.
  • This writer may post content that is overlapping, have multiple time stamps, and move a story very quickly.
  • This writer can also sometimes produce multiple replies in a single day.
  • This writer generally doesn't use a cellphone or tablet to write, but it is not unheard of by any means.
  • This writer can be extremely bad with quality, grammar, and have no reply-ability. This writer may produce content quickly, but it can be disorganized and even forget information from previous replies.
  • This writer may be prone to fluffing their posts up with uninteresting, useless, or irrelevant content

Multi-Paragraph Writer
  • This writer can produce anywhere between 2 paragraphs to 15 paragraphs. They're still going to give you a great deal of story, details, and information to take in with every reply they make to your game.
  • This can be extremely good in quality, grammar, and reply-ability.
  • This writer also has the advantage of generally producing this content in shorter time than the novella writer.
  • This writer can usually bounce between a mobile device or a computer.
  • This writer can also still be extremely poor in content, useful details, reply-ability, and grammar.
  • This writer may be prone to fluffing their posts up with uninteresting, useless, or irrelevant content.
  • The content of these replies can have multiple steps to them OR real time steps and dialogue.

Semi-Paragraph Writer
  • This writer can produce anywhere between 1 to 3 paragraphs per reply. This can still have great amounts of story development, pertinent details, and useful information to continue to develop the story.
  • This writer can be extremely good in quality, grammar, and reply-ability.
  • This writer can produce content generally on fast rate.
  • This writer can be on either a mobile device or a computer.
  • This writer can also produce useless, uninteresting, fluffed up content that can be irrelevant to the story.
  • The content of these replies can have multiple steps to them OR real time steps and dialogue.

Paragraph Writer
  • This writer produces usually no more than 1 full paragraph of writing. Their attention to detail can be rather minimal, but there is still a good amount of intent to their content.
  • This writer can be extremely good in quality, grammar, and reply-ability.
  • This writer can generally produce content at a higher rate than most other writers.
  • This writer may use both a mobile device or a computer.
  • This writer can also be terrible at quality, content development, grammar, and have no reply-ability.
  • This writer can also produce content that is completely irrelevant to a story.
  • This writer generally produces content with only real time steps and dialogue.

One-Liner or Chat RPer
  • This writer can usually only produces no more than 1 to 3 sentences of content.
  • This writer can have impact with their minimal posts, but generally skips on the little details. Their replies are to the point, but useful and can have great reply-ability.
  • This writer is generally only using a mobile device.
  • This writer can also have no grammatical structure and still produce those impacting replies.
  • This writer can also produce useless and irrelevant replies that hold no reply-ability.
  • This writer can only produce real time development and dialogue.

While all writers on these levels can be on one side of the coin or the other, they can all be good quality writers. It depends entirely on how you, the writing partner, see their replies and games. Some people may not care if their partner has perfect grammar, useful content, or mind blowing story quality. This is all entirely subjective, because people cannot generally be broken down perfectly into a system even as broad as this one.

I have run into writers on all of those levels who were bad and again on all those levels who were incredibly good. There have been writers who fall just short of one category, but stand far beyond the outside of another. The system itself is not perfect, but trying to shove writers or even gamers into two categories is a little too ... black and white. It's not at all that simple. Nothing is truly that simple.

I prefer to write enthralling stories, good details, and make sure I'm using good grammar. However, I do not spend all of my time focused on my writing, and I refuse to write with anyone who produces content below what I can produce. I expect my writing partners to write more than a paragraph or two, have good grammar, and pay attention to the little details while producing something easy to reply to. I write with people who can produce extremely epic tales, people who write general stories that are just fun and interesting, and I have written in the past with people who couldn't even figure out how to write themselves out of a paper bag. I also change my style of writing based on what platform I am using. If I am involved in a roleplay on an MMORPG, I generally write no more than a very short paragraph for a roleplay. I may even only use dialogue as a response and throw in avatar emotes to further immerse myself. When I'm writing on RPR, I'll stick to multiple paragraphs, for some stories I write 5-8 paragraphs, and some stories I won't write more than 2-3 paragraphs.

The roleplay community is immensely diverse in all kinds of writers and story tellers. As is any community. There are SO many therebetween and you will still end up of having people who fit into every single category.

I thank you for opening this topic up though. It was fun to ramble on and express my opinions and views. :)
Rogue-Scribe Topic Starter

Hey Hadeslicious, thanks for your in-depth detailed post! I pondered writing in depth when I opened this, but had a short time limit to get it done before getting offline. I agree with all your points and levele there. I guess my "basic" is some see it as 'gaming' and some see it as 'writing'.

I myself never considered RP 'gaming'. To me, gaming would be my tabletop D&D or LOTRO or Close Combat. My first RP online was in forums, but I also did some chat RP on AOL and MSN, so got that experience.

There are advantages to the 'paragraph' RPs is I can make a reply on my phone at work while walking around the warehouse or such. The longer multi-RPs take a bit of time to read and write replies, and I have gotten bogged down at times overthinking it while writing replies. I am into a novella RP on another site that has been going on for about three years now.

Good insights! I would like to use your post here in my profile if you are ok with that.
I totally got what you were going for too, but I like to throw my opinions around and am trying lately to become more open with them. :)

I only us the word "game" as that seems to be a common descriptor here for RP. I call them stories, games, roleplays, and threads. Threads is my most common, but I've been trying to steadily break the habit, because it doesn't typically fit the narrative of RPR.

I really liked your points, but I thought it would be good to stretch things out a bit and give a broader spectrum for people to use. I also understand needing short time to write smaller replies when I'm walking the grounds during my security shifts. lol

I still can't say I've reached a novella story! I've tried, but at some point I feel like I'm just adding content for the sake of extending the content of the post I'm making. I end up fluffing things and adding irrelevant character narratives or soliloquies.
When I first started to rp online it was always the *action* method as we were in a chatroom and it was very fast paced. Any long post would be swallowed up by the shorter ones, you had to be quick, you had to get in there, it was very lightening speed and we got a lot done in a night. I pulled many an all nighter back then, when I was young *sniffle* hahah.
It worked for the format we had going.

Later I delved into forum based rp which required full paragraphs, slower posts, more thought out replies. You couldn't get as much done so fast, but I believe it massively improved my writing ability if nothing else.
With my timezone being so difficult, I never quite got back into the chatplay style again.

Now, this said, I wouldn't say those old rps were somehow lesser than the longer story style rps of later years. I mean, we had some amazingly fun, creative and exciting stories going on. It was just very different and I have always been of the opinion that different formats require different styles.
Tabletop rp is different to forum rp which is different again to chatroom rp. All are good, all are fun, but the way you approach them, the way you interact with them is not the same.
I've never known anyone in tabletop to spend 10 minutes describing their character, talking about introspective thoughts or saying much beyond "I try to stab the monster" or "I grab the treasure and run"

I really though, have grown to dislike the climate of "more is more" that's slunk into forum rp over the years. I've always been of the opinion that quality is important and that every post SHOULD be something another player can respond to or adds something. Every post should encourage either character development, interaction or move the story forward somehow. I cannot see the point in long posts of a character sitting in a tree on the other side of town from everyone else being antisocial and adding nothing to anything.

I also just cannot pad out my posts, that's not my writing style. I feel like i'm just adding pointless fluff to fill a word count and it makes me self concious and kinda grumpy. I feel like, when another player demands a word count, that i'm being judged and that is a huge turnoff for creativity. Makes me super anxious, and when i'm anxious i'm unlikely to be at my creative best.
I do not like feeling judged. I rp for fun, not for some sort of contest on how purple you can make your prose. Word counts stifle flow I find, sometimes a short punchy post is actually extremely effective from a narrative perspective.

I tend to view all my rps through the lens of "cinematic". I like to imagine it as a tv show or a movie, combat should be epic and cinematic, conversations should have a purpose, the plot and subplots should have satisfying conclusions and resolutions. Stuff should be SATISFYING, if it isn't, then imo you're failing as a writer and a role player. You can write thousands of words but if it goes nowhere, what's the point?

So i tend toward people who write varied length replies, don't insist on a word count and don't have the dread "multi para only" in their rp requests. Oooh nothing turns me off faster than "multi para every post" demands. Even if I know I COULD do it, I don't want to because i'd just be padding stuff and feeling self concious and eugh, it just... there's a degree of ego in that demand I think. Least to me it reads as ego and I don't want to rp with egos like that.

I also really quite love "asides". those quiet moments that focus on a single character just.. doing something. Whether it be them collapsing into tears in the shower as the weight of all the drama gets to them or them preparing for something. A moment of a character praying before marching into battle, a moment of a character flipping through old photos reminicing, just... quiet private moments that serve no purpose other than to offer a little insight into the character as a person. Much like in modern tv shows where you have those long scenes set to music of people just doing STUFF you know?
I like those moments when used appropriately, I like to see what happens when a character leaves mine and goes home for the night. What are they thinking about? What will they do in the wake of that interaction?
Even though I can't directly interact with a post like that, it fills the purpose of "furthering the narrative" in some way.

I'm with PrettySir who put it so well, every single style has good and bad and ultimately, you find someone who's writing style and character portrayal gels with your own and you're golden. Find a player who's ethos matches yours, who you just... click with, and you'll get good rp.

and in the end, isn't that what matters to most of us?

My ideal is mid length, a paragraph or two, actual interaction. I'm generally speaking not that fussy though, I will genuinely rp with just about anyone lol. As long as you give me some meat to sink my teeth into, I will take your one line reply and character who is "lol random", I can work with that! (there's a twisted part of me that likes to inflict misery on my characters and lol random characters are torture for them bwhahahah)

Big turnoffs are a strict word count, a very set in stone universe you feel you can't really add anything to and a player who feels like they don't really want to rp and just want some people along for their story, in which their characters take center stage and nothing anyone else's characters do matters. Sadly i've been in a few rps like that and they're so frustrating. I don't get why you'd do that. What's the point of rp if you aren't going to collaberate, share and interact? Surely that's kinda the point? If you know how it's all gonna go down, why bother playing it out?
Honestly I find the unexpected twists and turns the exciting bit of rp, you can guess how the other player or character will react but you can never know for sure, and those times when they do something you didn't expect I find wonderfully exciting. If I wanted as much control as some people seem to want, why wouldn't you just open up word and write your own novella?

I don't like being stifled or dictated to, I don't like being controlled. I need freedom in my rp, to contribute and all that.

and it's funny because in tabletop rps i'm very quiet and anxious and nervous. internet anonymity gives me confidence heh, face to face? I kinda just yelp and go along with it all. thankfully tabletop you tend to have a gm so you don't need to contribute as much, it's more reactive than proactive. Forum rp though? generally is far more proactive, you have to give and take for anything to go anywhere... you know.. unless you find one of those railroading "it's MY story" people I dislike so much hah.
That is so accurate. But I’m a little bit of both. I’m so picky with punctuation and grammar. But I also like to have lots of details. When I don’t have anything in mind though, I tend to write short paragraphs. But with the ‘little bit of both thing’ is that I love to continuously rp. Like I don’t respond, and then 2 hours later come back and respond again. I respond usually right after the other responds. :)
Rogue-Scribe Topic Starter

(Dumpster dive of the day)

A year on, since coming to RPR, I have experienced some people who can combine the best of both styles. Some lean more toward the 'Writer' aspect, and some lean more to the 'Player' aspect. I've added the Writer/Player and the Player/Writer to my lexicon. :)

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