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Nobilis

Writing Styles

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I don't particularly concern myself with the length of my posts, though I do tend to try and match the length of my partner(s). I'm confident in my ability to be concise while giving enough description, just as I am well aware that sometimes I fall short, even to my own standards, not to mention the standards of others.

Sometimes, it's hard to be brief when getting into the description of something, whether it is a person, a house, a city, or a bubble in space. I try not to go overboard, but I love description where description matters - when the mood of the post is set around a looming but morose cathedral, or a bubble floating in the vast emptiness of a cold and starless void, or a simple log cabin. I don't need to know the shape of every pebble on the road than I need to know the exact color of your nails when I'm focused on the King's dreadful assassination during his grand feast. Focus on things that are important, that are relevant. Make it short if you want. Make it longer, if you want. But make it matter.

I love the English language because I love how certain words that essentially mean the same thing can yet evoke very different feelings.

"Arms outstretched, Kyle was suspended in the air." Sounds a little uncomfortable, maybe forced upon him, compared to,

"Arms outstretched, Kyle hovered in the air." Maybe he's flying? In a craft of some sort?

I choose carefully what words to use when I'm writing, down to the swear words when I'm writing someone who may be especially cranky. To add to that, I do change my writing to match the personality of the character. This goes down right to the words and punctuation used.

Kyle tore the banana from its yellow skin and bit into it fiercely. Chew and swallow, chew and swallow. Goddamit, what the hell was that noise? He couldn't think! He could barely hear himself! "FUCK YOU, SHUT UP!" he screamed, almost choking on his words.

Belle peeled the banana from its shell and took a nibble, chewing and swallowing. Where was that noise coming from? She could barely hear herself. "Please be quiet," she murmured.

(They die at the end) 

I don't do it perfectly; I slip up quite often, but it's fun and when done right, it's absolutely perfect. When good writers change perspectives, you can feel the personality vibrate through every word. You start to connect with them, and when they end up dying or achieving their goals, you will mourn or cheer sincerely. And when you feel things for the character, dullness evaporates. You may get something very engaging indeed. 

One of the worst things that can happen is a reader putting the book back on the shelf. Not saying, "It's too long," or "It's too short," but, "It's too dull."

"The house stood and then fell." That's nice. That's it? Maybe, and maybe that's all that's needed. But you want to make sure of that, and that it's what you intended. I try to make my writing beautiful and simple to read, and while it's hard, the joy of it is quite profound.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Houndy Poochykins said:

I simply can't write large volumes. 

And I can't read them very well. 

 

It becomes absolutely daunting to read large amounts of text. To the point where I just don't feel like any kind of writer at all.

Not sure how to interpret that last part but, like I told you before, length should never determine quality!

It's as simple as comparing some really great long novels with some really great short stories. It's all about the platform and the purpose.

I was thinking of a tavern setting just now, because it's often one of those locations where I can either go one way or the other way when it comes to 'length of text'. Sometimes I might keep it as simple as "The party entered a tavern", maybe mentioning a NPC smoking a pipe outside, a bartender running a rag through a glass, some laughing patrons, but three sentences later and it's down to business and say no more. (And that doesn't even depend on how long the party stays at the tavern. In my experience, that's often besides the point.)

Other times I might convey the color scheme of the tavern, what the tavern's name is, the appearance of that bartender, the music being played, the quality of the alcohol, the contrast of furniture. This isn't three pages describing a single chair; it's just added flavor to what already works, really for no other reason than to further detail the scene, especially if I plan on using it in the future. Of course, it does mean more words, which can attribute to longer reading, especially if I'm writing in some kind of 'style' (or whatever word you want to use) where my PC is being rather reflective in that moment.

Necessary? Probably not. I could even expand the setting in future posts (or threads) instead of all in one. Likely, my fellow writer won't even refer to the added detail (it could actually be jarring if they did). More than likely, they would fill in the blanks for what isn't mentioned, and I'd be none the wiser. The mind is amazing in how quickly it can conjure an image of something with little more than a word; say, "tavern". It is also amazing in how it can work with material that is otherwise very minimal. Yet, it might still be offered for the same reason I enjoy reading it when someone else does it: it's just thatenjoyable. Sure, I can fill in blanks with my imagination too, and that's a sales pitch for roleplay to begin with, but I like seeing what my fellow writers conjure.

Sometimes, that is. I may be breaking my own record of repetition but, really, it tends to depend on the thread at hand and its participants. I'm comfortable hitting ten paragraphs in a post. I'm just as comfortable with two.

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55 minutes ago, Houndy Poochykins said:

To the point where I just don't feel like any kind of writer at all.

I can appreciate this, and there is a delicate sort of self-evaluation that I think we all face. First of all, we can't help but hold ourselves against contemporaries and peers, but the problem is that we really shouldn't. I feel this whenever I read my favourite authors, the works of friends of mine, and so on. I want desperately to write as well as they do; but that isn't my voice and it's not how I write. I absolutely empathize with this feeling of 'not feeling like a writer at all'. It stings and sometimes makes you just want to not do it, at least that's how I feel about it. But I try to remind myself that writing is like any activity/craft, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Most people aren't good 'naturally'.

25 minutes ago, The Hummingbird said:

Sometimes, it's hard to be brief when getting into the description of something, whether it is a person, a house, a city, or a bubble in space. I try not to go overboard, but I love description where description matters - when the mood of the post is set around a looming but morose cathedral, or a bubble floating in the vast emptiness of a cold and starless void, or a simple log cabin. I don't need to know the shape of every pebble on the road than I need to know the exact color of your nails when I'm focused on the King's dreadful assassination during his grand feast. Focus on things that are important, that are relevant. Make it short if you want. Make it longer, if you want. But make it matter.

I love this sentiment. I think that there is a really important and very valid point about *what* you address. Talking about what is important is key, and avoiding unimportant things is I think key to clearly communicating intent. I think, much like you, that there are always going to be times and places where expanding on things helps set a tone, feel, or give clarity to a situation. I think there's a vast ocean between 'posting not much' and 'posting all the things', and selection of where you float in that ocean is what makes you happy with your writing. I don't think that there is a right answer in terms of length, but I think that there is a right answer in terms of 'what you're saying'. Not enough information results in a lack of connective tissue for a story, but too many details makes relevant things disappear amidst the flotsam. Just my two cents.

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36 minutes ago, Nobilis said:

I can appreciate this, and there is a delicate sort of self-evaluation that I think we all face. First of all, we can't help but hold ourselves against contemporaries and peers, but the problem is that we really shouldn't. I feel this whenever I read my favourite authors, the works of friends of mine, and so on. I want desperately to write as well as they do; but that isn't my voice and it's not how I write. I absolutely empathize with this feeling of 'not feeling like a writer at all'. It stings and sometimes makes you just want to not do it, at least that's how I feel about it. But I try to remind myself that writing is like any activity/craft, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Most people aren't good 'naturally'.

I love this sentiment. I think that there is a really important and very valid point about *what* you address. Talking about what is important is key, and avoiding unimportant things is I think key to clearly communicating intent. I think, much like you, that there are always going to be times and places where expanding on things helps set a tone, feel, or give clarity to a situation. I think there's a vast ocean between 'posting not much' and 'posting all the things', and selection of where you float in that ocean is what makes you happy with your writing. I don't think that there is a right answer in terms of length, but I think that there is a right answer in terms of 'what you're saying'. Not enough information results in a lack of connective tissue for a story, but too many details makes relevant things disappear amidst the flotsam. Just my two cents.

I foolishly put a lot of my self value and worth on how my peers perform. Naturally it hasn't worked out well for me. 

its ot just through writing... Its everything.

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“Relevant” can be a versatile term. There is what is relevant to the immediate story of a thread (here’s where your A to B action is paramount), the overall context of a thread (that may include intercharacter dynamics woven within the thread’s story while not necessarily driving it) and elements outside of the thread (such as the greater setting, maybe the country of a city the thread takes place in).

I fancy all PCs to be ‘main characters’ especially on a site like Valucre so sometimes the details I find relevant might be centered on the other person’s PC and I may not be able to practically use it at all. But I can appreciate the insight. I don’t mean writing three paragraphs of what that PC did on this same day ten years ago every day, but I liken it to characters in a novel—I can’t really use the information but still it’s interesting to learn. It adds to the overall story and world (which here would be Valucre itself).

It’s all about balance. If you find your post pushing paragraphs, why the length? Not a bad question to ask. If it’s eight paragraphs focusing on a chair then you may have a problem. If it’s a mix of character insight, PC interaction, worldbuilding, advancing the story or what have you then that’s swell and even better if properly coordinated.

There should always be a limit on length though, however loosely defined. A one-word IC post is likely not going to cut it but thirty paragraphs is just insane. I have a natural stopping point that usually caps around the same paragraph number each post, because I reach a point where I feel I’ve covered the relevant elements, and additional writing would indeed just be redundant if not ridiculous.

Edited by Die Shize

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1 hour ago, Die Shize said:

“Relevant” can be a versatile term. There is what is relevant to the immediate story of a thread (here’s where your A to B action is paramount), the overall context of a thread (that may include intercharacter dynamics woven within the thread’s story while not necessarily driving it) and elements outside of the thread (such as the greater setting, maybe the country of a city the thread takes place in).

I fancy all PCs to be ‘main characters’ especially on a site like Valucre so sometimes the details I find relevant might be centered on the other person’s PC and I may not be able to practically use it at all. But I can appreciate the insight. I don’t mean writing three paragraphs of what that PC did on this same day ten years ago every day, but I liken it to characters in a novel—I can’t really use the information but still it’s interesting to learn. It adds to the overall story and world (which here would be Valucre itself).

It’s all about balance. If you find your post pushing paragraphs, why the length? Not a bad question to ask. If it’s eight paragraphs focusing on a chair then you may have a problem. If it’s a mix of character insight, PC interaction, worldbuilding, advancing the story or what have you then that’s swell and even better if properly coordinated.

There should always be a limit on length though, however loosely defined. A one-word IC post is likely not going to cut it but thirty paragraphs is just insane. I have a natural stopping point that usually caps around the same paragraph number each post, because I reach a point where I feel I’ve covered the relevant elements, and additional writing would indeed just be redundant if not ridiculous.

its not necessarily your length. Just style that feels a bit advanced for me. I find myself feeling kind of dumb when I read other peoples posts.

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9 hours ago, Houndy Poochykins said:

its not necessarily your length. Just style that feels a bit advanced for me. I find myself feeling kind of dumb when I read other peoples posts.

This isn’t a knock against myself or any other roleplayer but I haven’t come across one with a style I’d call advanced lol. I’d reserve that term for some of the finer authors of novels I’ve read.

I’ve been inspired by a few but ultimately I’m in this game to have fun, and one way I do that is by experimenting, for better or worse. Depending on the gauge of your concern with your own writing, you could try doing the same. I tend to tell people a universal suggestion that I found successful with me; not with writing well so much as feeling comfortable with knowing what to write. That is to put yourself in your character’s shoes and to otherwise let your character write the post.

This is what I do with third person limited point of view. You get inside your character’s head. You don’t narrate them from a distance—you let them narrate for you. In a way, it takes the worry away from me, since I’m relying on my character and not myself. If that makes sense.

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