The Writing Craft
I'm putting this in Mildly Constructive vs. Tastes Less Gamey because it can be used to better one's roleplay.
The purpose of this thread is to share links relating to writing that you think people might enjoy or that you've found personally helpful in the pursuit of such.
Here's a few to start. These are all ones I've personally saved for reference.
- 50 of the Best Screenplays to Read and Download in Every Genre
- John August's site (useful for writing in general, but especially screenwriting)
- How to Develop + Test a Story Idea
- Nuts and Bolts: “Thought” Verbs
- When to Make a New Paragraph
- Punctuation in Dialogue
- Using Semicolons
- Screenwriting Format Mistakes
- Writing the Shots
- The 10 Types of Writers' Block (and How to Overcome Them)
- 13 Famous Writers on Overcoming Writer’s Block
- Writing With Color (they have an entire post on skintones that's fantastic for bio data / desc writing)
- Writing With Color: Stereotypes & Tropes
Part of why I include (and recommend!) screenwriting tips is because MU*ing is a very 'visual' format as well. We try to eschew metaposing and especially thoughtposing. Some of us use it to comedic effect or to help expand on what would be knowable, but certainly not to the extent one would find in a novel. You almost have to approach posing as you approach screenwriting: by focusing on what can be seen.
I'll happily expand here as I find (and find merit in) more.
Check out the podcast, Writing Excuses: http://www.writingexcuses.com. Hosted by a bunch of published speculative fiction authors, including Brandon Sanderson.
Start with season 10.
It's the best fiction writing resource I've ever come across. (Just my opinion, but it works for me.)
I think the basics work for RP too, particularly if you're building a game from scratch, because that entails world-building. (Their most recent episode actually focuses on how to adapt fiction for games.)
One of the reasons I roleplay is to practice the description of motion and body language. To convey emotion through showing, rather than telling. To display an emotion through gesture and form rather than outright handing it to the reader.
I've had some success with this. I've had people pick up on things through a character's body language (as written) without having to outright state what is being evoked. I always check in, 'Hey, she's sitting like that because...' 'He did that gesture as a...' since I figure hey, their character would know this, even if they didn't pick up on it. And often? People say they got it.
Even better is when I've been threading something subtle through a scene and someone later goes, 'Oh shit! I just realized...'
To me that's success. For as much love as I have for snarky asides and meta-jokes at my character's expensive, I love even more when my writing is immersive enough to draw the other player(s) in.
All this to lead to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfqD5WqChUY.
It's about camera direction and acting in regards to immersion (David Fincer, verily, is a god unto men), but it showcases, to me, just how vital that display of body language is. It's not enough to just show it in Fincher's world, but he wants to pull you in and sweep you up in the moment through the camera.
I strive to do the same through words.
Because it got me excited and I wanted to share:
AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS IS IN HERE.
Read a sample from the writing of a famous theorist you enjoy, and put the writing 'tic' in your work. I was a fan of Karl Marx in college, and I used is double - clause a lot.
I.E: The Penguin looked askance from the young hooligan - he was used to such men coming up with such trifles - and moved his arm around the man's shoulder, preparing to bring him in on the real secret of Gotham City.
It gives your writing a bit of flavor, that commonly repeated eccentricity, especially if you're unconsciously using the author's ideas in your work.
I do this often with words. I'll get hung up on a word for a few days. I've seen authors do it for an entire book, which honestly can be kind of vexing (see Piers Anthony and the word occidental in Wielding a Red Sword).
I use semicolons in my writing a lot. It's probably the thing that -- if someone were trying to seek me out -- would most notably flag me. In point of fact, it's what made me sort of giddy to play with @BobGoblin on a game because he uses them fairly liberally too. It was a moment of 'ah-ha! Someone else with this writing quirk!'