Do you want to know the secret to becoming one of the best Roleplayers out there? Imagination. Oh, so you have imagination, do you? Then why are you still looking for RP?
Well, keep reading. Here are some tips and tricks to help you on your Roleplay journey, and to become an RPer everyone will want to write with.
1. Get To Know Your Character Before You Roleplay
Just because you’ve decided on a Canon Character or Original Character (OC), that doesn’t mean you should RP immediately.
If you’ve chosen a Canon Character (CC), read and watch everything you can to understand what defines who they are in the fandom. Of course, you can stray away from some of their qualities. But their core traits should be there when you RP.
If you want to make Harry Potter work in a candy store, fine. But his wizardry powers are a core element of his Canon status. If you cut this magical ingredient from his character, then he’s Harry Potter in name only and not the best way to entice RP your way.
If you’ve created an Original Character (OC), write down everything that makes them unique. This can include their personality traits, exciting line of work, or even quirks that make them great to interact with.
Because an OC is your own character, help others get to know them better.
OCs usually have a harder time finding RP interactions, so do everything you can to sell them to potential partners. A great way to gain interest in your OC is to write a backstory or solo that entices the curiosity of other roleplayers. This is also an excellent way to show off your writing skills. For more information on developing your OC, check out 9 Ideas For An Amazing RP Original Character.
2. Read Your Partner’s Reply Well And When You’re Done, Read It Again
Hey, you’ve found an RP partner – congratulations! I know you’re excited to jump right into your storyline, but before you answer, pay close attention to what your partner says in their reply.
If your partner says their character walks into the room and sets down a basket full of puppies, don’t respond with a comment about how great the weather is. You get the idea.
Roleplay is about responding to what your partner is saying. If you’re not willing to carefully read your partner’s reply, go ahead and write a solo story and rethink your plans for RP.
3. Write Your Replies To The Length Of Your Partner’s
There’s nothing more frustrating than working hard on a detailed reply and waiting for your partner’s response, only to receive a line or two back. RP writing takes time. And great RP takes a lot of time. The old saying, you reap what you sow is so true. Don’t be surprised when you drive your partner away by not giving back replies as good as you’re getting.
4. Make Clear Separations Between Dialogue And Action
Here’s an example:
Sherlock sends a wad of paper flying across the room. Ok, John, let’s get over to the murder scene.
In RP, it’s essential your partner knows what your character is doing and when they’re talking. There’s a clear difference between action and dialogue and this technique isn’t any different from what you would read in a book. Still, it’s surprising how many new Roleplayers don’t realize that you need to do this in your replies. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to weed through another person’s reply to figure out where their dialogue ends, and the action begins.
Depending on what forum you’re using, the common ways to make this separation is by using quotes (“”), asterisks (*), bolding speech, or italicizing thoughts.
Sherlock sends a wad of paper flying across the room. “Okay, John, let’s get over to the murder scene.”
*Sherlock sends the wad of paper flying across the room* Okay, John, let’s get over to the murder scene.
Make sure to check with your RP forum to understand the accepted style conventions. But no matter what platform you’re using, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Discord, or any of the hundreds of forums out there, find other Roleplayers who have good RP interactions and study their style. The best way to learn is to use the technique of those who are already successful with it.
5. Shake Up Your Storyline With Conflict
Keeping a strong RP storyline going is not an easy thing to do. Real-life often gets in the way of finishing, but boredom also plays a role in extinguishing our fire to keep going. The same old stuff, day after day, reply after reply, can get incredibly dull. But having a storyline filled with dramatic highs and lows will not only make your RP more interesting, but it’ll also help you develop your character through those rocky times.
Conflict is what brings dimension to our characters. It’s in finding solutions to problems or fighting their way through the storm that brings out their best or worst qualities. There are so many cookie-cutter RP characters out there. We call these characters Mary Sues and Gary Stus because they’re just so perfect.
What kind of conflict can you plunge your characters into that will make them work the hardest and prove they’re truly unique?
6. There’s More To Roleplay Than Shipping
If you’re coming into RP focused on shipping your character, this will be a glaring red light to other Roleplayers. Desperation to ship is easy to spot, and many are wary of this call to romance.
Even if you’re already in a ship with your partner, if all you ever do is romance and sexy stuff, it’s likely to get dull over time. Yes, even love, and sex gets boring in RP land. But if you bring in dramatic storylines like unfaithfulness or addiction, you might soon look forward to writing the makeup love after the battle.
7. Before You Send Your Reply: Read, Edit, Then Read It Out Loud
Every writer makes mistakes, but every great writer knows the importance of editing. As Roleplayers, sending your replies back and forth is part of the fun. But don’t send your response back so quickly that you haven’t read it over a few times first. Too many mistakes make you look sloppy and not serious about your Roleplaying.
And here’s the secret sauce every great writer knows: READ YOUR REPLY OUT LOUD. How many times have you looked back at what you’ve written and cringed because of a spelling mistake? It’s even more frustrating when you post up a mistake and you know you’ve read your reply over carefully. Well, that happens to all of us.
The best strategy is to give yourself a break between writing and editing so you come back to it with fresh eyes. But if you can’t do that, reading your reply out loud engages a different part of your brain to catch those nit-picky mistakes. You’ll soon realize you dropped a word or substituted “I” instead of “a” in your sentence.
There are also free services available to help you catch common errors before you send that reply. Grammarly.com is one of those services that can be added as an extension to your internet browser. They even have their own keyboard that will edit your texts on the fly. I religiously use the keyboard app on my phone to double-check for spelling mistakes before I post any reply to my partner.
8. Roleplay Does Not Equal Real Life
Remember, everyone has a life outside of this RP world we love, and real-life always comes first. Have patience for your partner, but also have common sense about your RP relationship. You should not be expected to be actively RPing all the time, and neither should your partner. There is a happy middle ground.
Communicate with each other before you start RPing. Talk about when you expect to send your replies, and when you can’t. Make sure to let your partner know, so they’re not left wondering. The partners you’ll want to keep are those who have patience. But make sure to be equally patient back.
9. Let Your Character Be Miserable, But Avoid Bringing Your Real-Life Misery Into Your RP World
Misery loves company, and that may be true. But chances are, you’ll have a harder time finding a writing partner if you’re carrying your real-life misery into your account. If you’re whining and moaning Out-Of-Character (OOC), your partner might not be sticking around for very long.
For most people, RP writing is a form of escape from their real lives. Their character is near and dear to them, but so is their time. When you become your character, leave your real-life problems and baggage at the RP door. Escape into your storyline with your partner.
10. HAVE FUN!
You’re spending your time weaving your SLs with your partner and becoming someone else for a little while.
Why are you Roleplaying if you’re not having fun?
There really are no magic tricks to becoming a great Roleplayer. But by using these simple tips, you’ll find your Roleplay to be something you and your partner will want to keep writing for as long as your muse flows.
So what tips do you have for other Roleplayers? Do you have any other RP suggestions I’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below. And happy writing!