Looks like it’s finally done
the-waythingswere asked: Okay, so I recently began writing a new story (after shamefully abandoning a previous story with over 30k words) and I'm a little stuck on something pretty trivial. There's a scene in which two characters are walking to a nearby location and talking to each other along the way. My issue is that the scene is basically 70-80% dialogue, which I think makes it boring and would have readers skipping lines. Is there any way I can bring the scene to life? Thanks in advance.
Well first off, make a list of all of the information this scene delivers unto the reader.
- The reader learns there is a great war brewing in the east.
- The reader learns that Jo has budding feelings for John.
- The reader learns that hunters frequently poach the woods, looking for…
Then ask yourself if all of this information really needs to be conveyed via dialogue. I’m gonna stick with those things for my scene to use as an example. It’s not gonna be the best writing in the world, but the purpose is just to show you how to work with scenes where there is due to be more dialogue than there has been previously.
Keep Them Talking
The first point about the war could be relayed through conversation alone since there isn’t likely to be a news broadcast in the middle of nowhere. In this instance, word of mouth is the most likely source for the information, so you don’t have to avoid dialogue at all costs. By all means, use it!
'Things are tense now,' said John.
He had his back to me, his gaze trained on the sun as it rose behind the distant mountains.
'They've closed their borders for fear of invasion from the north. There's no way we're getting through that passage today.'
Just don’t make it black and white. Tease information, so that the reader can draw their own conclusions. I don’t have to say, ‘there is a war brewing in the east’. John looking eastward and speaking of closed borders and invasion makes that clear enough.
The feelings of one character towards another are things you can layer underneath the scene. Rather than getting a character to shout, ‘I hate you!’ or ‘I care about you!’, try and show their brewing hatred - or affection - in other ways.
He looked thin and frail, and the wound at his arm still seeped through the precarious bandage I’d tied the night before. Pulling my jacket tighter around my waist, I hid the torn part of my shirt out of sight.
'We should keep going,' I said. 'There's a town not far from here -'
'And what if we're seen?'
'You can't carry that injury for much longer. It's already infected.'
'Then I'll lose my arm.'
'Don't be ridiculous.'
I shoved him hard, knocking him a step off balance. It would have been more fitting for me to keep the distance between us, but I closed it with a sure stride. I teased the bandage at his arm and re-tightened the knot…
Rely on Your Setting
You say your characters are walking from A to B, so what kind of things around them can speak on their behalf? I listed that in my scene, there are hunters around, poaching the woods for something specific. It’s not likely that John or Jo would know everything about the landscape or what is to come, so they can see it or hear it instead, right?
Already, I have a fair bit of dialogue in my scene, but it can be broken up with description or internal monologue to keep it from coming across as a ping-pong dialogue segment.
Where the track had once been uncertain, a pathway of flattened grass opened up beneath the tree boughs. John shielded his eyes from the jabbing rays of the sun. If I hadn’t kept my gaze low, I might never have caught it. With no time to explain, I wrapped my arms around his waist and dragged him a few steps back.
'Idiot,' I seethed. 'You almost lost your foot as well as your arm!'
He broke free of my hold and stared ahead, aware of the toothed, metal trap concealed well by the long grass.
'Hunters?' he wondered aloud. 'It's unusual for them to be this far out.'
I shivered. ‘Let’s just get out of here already.’
'Yeah,' he agreed. 'Rumour says they're raised in darkness. They see in the night better than they see during the day.'
I caught a laugh in my throat, then stifled it. Hurt softened his expression for a brief moment, before he continued to walk on ahead. I trotted to keep up…
My examples aren’t the best, but I hope you can see now that dialogue segments can still be kept interesting (this being the operative word when it comes to my quick writing, but you know what I mean, ha ha!) without it all being supported by talking alone.
- Use the five senses. Sometimes taste is a difficult one to put in there, but make sure your characters are taking in the world around them as they walk through it. Give your reader a strong setting, so that they can visualise the world you have created and also learn through the dialogue and the things your characters perceive.
- Break up the dialogue. Without indicators or any kind of movement between characters, your reader might struggle to keep up with who is talking and when. This in itself should keep the scene from being too dialogue-heavy.
- Subtext. Try not to have the dialogue too black and white. Make your reader work for their information, and also use the opportunity to show them some character development and character interactions. This will keep the dialogue pieces interesting and also motivate your reader to pay attention as they learn new things about the characters and their feelings for one another.
I hope this helps you out…! Best of luck.
HELLO FANFIC AUTHORS IT’S TIME FOR A VOCAB LESSON
- wanton: sexually immodest or promiscuous
- wonton: a type of dumpling commonly found in Chinese cuisines
YOUR CHARACTERS SHOULD NOT BE MOANING LIKE A CHINESE DUMPLING OKAY THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT
either way, things are sure gonna get
Anonymous asked: Hi! I'm thinking of role playing. Is there anything I should know about before starting? And If I were to start rping where would I start?
Since I haven’t roleplayed anywhere else, I’m only going to focus on roleplaying on tumblr.
Generally, there are three way to roleplay here: group roleplay, independent (indie) roleplay, and 1x1 roleplay. Each one of these have their own pros and cons, and it’s really up to you which one will suit you best.
1. Roleplay Groups
- Other people in the group will follow you
- You get to roleplay with everyone in the group
- Being part of a roleplay group gives off a sense of community
- There are rules on how you should roleplay, which will cover aspects like the length of your writing, the content of your roleplay threads, and the time you commit to roleplaying
- Sometimes you won’t get along with some of the group members
Misc and Links
- Making A Character With A Prewritten Bio Your Own - benedicthelps
- Finding Plots in Roleplays - linderwrites
- Just a Quick Reminder - thestarkshelp
- Roleplaying Etiquette - thetrolliestcritic
- This is a good place to start if you’re new at roleplaying due to the already established community. With a set number of members to roleplay with, along with the admins of the group, you can get tips more easily.
- To look for roleplay groups, you can start browsing tags like #rp, #rpg, #roleplay, #original rp, #fandom rp, #bio rp, #oc rp. Note that the first three tags are kind of hard to go through due to the sheer amount of promotions. It’s best to go through more specific tags pertaining to your interests such as #circus rp or #supernatural rp.
- You can also search by fandoms in tags like #(fandom + rp/roleplay); you can either type in the full name of the fandom or its usual abbreviation. For examples, look at #harry potter roleplay, #harry potter rp, #hp rp and #alice in wonderland rp, #wonderland rp
2. Independent Roleplaying
- You get to establish your own rules
- You have the freedom to choose on how to roleplay and how often you go online
- Due to the large amount of indie roleplayers, it can be hard to find a good roleplay partner for you
- Also because of the number of indie roleplayers, it’s hard to get yourself out there and be noticed; dedication and patience is needed
- Your tutorial for Indie Roleplaying - lexieboo-therph
- A Guide to Independent Roleplaying - spektorhelps
- "I want to start and indie roleplay blog, but I really have no idea what to do or how to do it." - fuckyeahroleplayadvice
- Mads Guide to Independent Role-Playing - xhollowedheart
- #independent rp / #independent roleplay
- #indie rp / #indie roleplay
- #open rp / #open roleplay
- You can also search by fandoms like #(fandom + rp/roleplay); you can either type in the full name of the fandom or its usual abbreviation. For examples, look at #harry potter roleplay, #harry potter rp, #hp rp and #alice in wonderland rp, #wonderland rp
3. 1x1 Roleplaying
- You get to establish your own rules
- Since it’s one-on-one, there’s a tendency to have a deeper discussion about plots and characters
- The replies in 1x1 roleplays tend to be longer in length
- With the large amount of 1x1 roleplayers, it can be hard to find a good roleplay partner for you
- Also because of the number of 1x1 roleplayers, it’s hard to get yourself out there and be noticed; dedication and patience is needed
- The replies in 1x1 roleplays tend to be longer in length
- The Ultimate Guide to 1x1 Roleplay on tumblr - lolita1x1
- How to Start a 1x1 Page - prinsloo-rph
- #1x1 plot
- #1x1 rp
- #1x1 roleplay
On an even more general level, there are several things to know before roleplaying. It’s best to know the terms frequently used in the roleplaying world (I added links below to help you out).
On tumblr, people roleplay either by script or para. Script-style consists mainly of dialogue with added action indicators (e.g. -laughs- Nah. I didn’t steal the cookie from the cookie jar); action indicators can be enclosed between dashes, brackets, slashes, or whatever your prefer as long as you’re consistent. Para-style is what you typically see in books (e.g. She laughed. “Nah. I didn’t steal the cookie from the cookie jar”). Unless you’re part of a roleplay group, the length is really up to you, but please make an effort to reply with more than a sentence when your partner writes a 500+ response. Gifs are another component you can add in roleplaying, though you will see that gifs are mostly seen in script-style threads.
Presentation and organization are important. If your font is too small or is difficult to see read due to font color; your theme is hard to navigate; and links takes a while to find, it will discourage potential roleplay partners from contacting you. It’ll also be nice to have an about page for you and your character. For your about page, add information like activity level, your preferred roleplaying style and length, and topics you would like to avoid seeing. For your character’s about page, write a short biography or anything you feel that is important to know—this will help differentiate you from other roleplay blogs. Apart from that, tag your posts and have a page to keep these tags organized. Have a separate tag for threads, headcanons, interests, and ooc (out of character) things. Look here for an example—the top links are, in order, about the roleplayer, about the character, misc information, list of threads, link to answered asks, and link to open plot ideas. You want to attract someone’s attention, and a great way to do this is by presentation and organization.
One of the biggest pet peeves in the roleplaying world is godmodding. Don’t godmod. Godmodding can mean two things: when your character is ridiculously powerful and when you start controlling your partner’s character. I’m going to elaborate more on the latter. When roleplaying, you only get to decide your character’s actions, reactions, and thoughts. Thus, you cannot write anything about your partner’s character unless your character is assuming or hoping for something. An example is when Character A (yours) punches Character B (your partner’s). You cannot write “Character A punched Character B’s chin” because you’re taking away your partner’s decision on whether or not the attack will land. However, you can write “Character A aimed a blow for Character B’s chin” because nothing is certain, leaving your partner to decide on what Character B will do. Another thing: just because you, the writer, know something about your partner’s character doesn’t mean your character knows that information.
Know that roleplaying is a hobby. If you’re really active, good. If you’re not very active, good. If something or someone makes your uncomfortable, politely excuse yourself by ending the thread or unfollowing someone. If you need a break, take one.
I can go on, but there’s already a lot of guides on roleplaying that I’d just end up repeating what they said.
- Roleplay Terms - fuckyeahroleplayadvice
- Glossary of RP’ing Terms - kpoproleplayguide
- A Little Love and Advice… - aroleplayersguidetolife
- Blog Organizing - beneficii
- Guide: How to Fail - beneficii
- How to Roleplay - feelthedancemoveyou
- Easy Guide to RP For Beginners - iamtheoneandonlymelissascarlet
- Getting Over Roleplaying Insecurities - kgillsrpc
- So Want to Start a RP Blog… - mrspiritual
- Gif Chatting Basics - please-be-kidding
- A Roleplaying Q&A ll Part One: The Basics - poshhelpers
- Basics of What to Know Before You RP - rationalizeroleplay
- How Do I Start RPing? - rpedia
- What Not to Do, EVER! aka the Roleplaying Sins - rpedia
- How to Save Gif Hunts the Easy Way - rphbyday
- The Science of tumblr Roleplay - thereichenbachfraud
- How to Handle and Actively Avoid OOC Drama - thetrolliestcritic.
- Writing, Without Rambling (Para Guide) - thetrolliestcritic
- General Tips for Roleplay - vector-sigma
- Whisper’s Tumblr Roleplaying Guide - wisteriaprincess
- Tumblr Roleplay for Beginners - writeworld
- Masterlist: Guides, How To’s, Tips, and More - megan-helps
- Masterlist: Creating Your Own RP - rptheme-helper
Blogs With Roleplay Tips:
- #how to roleplay
- #rp etiquette
- /tagged/rp tip
Searching for Partners (goes beyond tumblr roleplaying):
I hope that helps! Roleplaying is a fun hobby—it’ll help you with writing and characterization. And, hey, if you decide to make a roleplay blog, send me the link? I’ll be happy to roleplay with you~