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Mousia

RP Creation Guide

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Welcome to the RP Creation Guide!

 

This is a helpful, informative, step-by-step guide on how to create a successful, active, and fun RP for you and your peers to enjoy! Please read through and refer back to this thread if you're unsure about how to get your RP approved and how to increase your chances of getting more members. But take into consideration that not every RP needs to be created this way and that it's just how I would suggest making an RP. While I looked at a few successful RPs and also went from my own experience as a mod and RPer, it's up to you to make crucial decisions. It's just a guide to help you make your own way and get better at RP creation.

 

Table of Contents

 

First Post: Content

Second Post: Structure and Conventions

Third Post: Reserved Posts

Fourth Post: OCC Threads

Fifth Post: Titles, Descriptions, Appropriateness

Sixth Post: F.A.Q.

Seventh Post: Reserved

 

How do I start?

First, look around the RP section. See if your RP hasn't already been created. If it has, I'd suggest going to have a look at them. But if not, keep reading. Take some time out of your day to get to know what's a good RP and what should be improved.

 

Okay, okay. I've done all that. Now will you tell me how to start?

Alright! Good for you!

The first step is to click the little button that says "create new topic". But that's obvious.

Once you've gotten to the right page, you have to give your topic a title and description. But here's an insider's tip: wait until you've got your RP idea fleshed out to create a permanent title.

 

Now, a bit on titles and terminology. The following terms are often used in titles and descriptions of RPs (or in the approving process) in this section. Be sure to use them. We'll know what you mean.

 

WIP = Work in Progress

DNP = Do Not Post

Crit = Critique

OP = Original Poster or Original Post (interchangeable)

IC = In Character

OOC/OCC/OoC/OoCC = Out of Character/Out of Character Comments

 

Anyway, once you've got a basic idea, it's time to put it on paper, so to speak. Write your ideas down. Let the inspiration flow through you. If it helps you to organize while typing, go right ahead, but that'll be touched upon later anyways.

 

Awesome! This idea is so great! I've got a whole FIVE SENTENCES!

Whoa, Nellie! Hold your horses, there! I was about to get to that. Make sure you have enough content to be passable first. It can get annoying when people have to comb through the unapproved section telling OPs to lengthen their threads over and over. Now, I know what you're thinking. "Mousia, I don't know what else to write! Help me!" Alright. I will. That's what this thread is for anyway.

 

How to lengthen your OP:

  • Describe it with more detail
  • Give more information
  • Tell your potential joiner what they need to know
  • Ask yourself questions
  • Come up with more interesting content
-Describe it with more detail

--No one likes something with no descriptors. Add in adjectives and adverbs. Spice up the writing with different words, longer words, shorter words. One-word sentences. Yes. Did you just see that emphasis right there? Now that I know I've got your attention, I know that I can give you a longer sentence, knowing that you're ready for all this information I'm giving you. And because of that long sentence, I'm giving you a break. But I'm still adding lots of detail to this. You know, this could have been one sentence. I'm adding layers, creating emotion. This writing style is personal, I am talking to you directly. This allows me to relate to you on an individual level. I'm describing everything I do.

-Give more information

--Chances are, the characters in your world know a lot about it. They've lived in it for all their lives, for Pete's sake! And just in case they haven't, you should give your peers enough information to work with. If I don't know what world I'm RPing in, your RP will probably turn out very different from what you imagined, making it stray from your original idea. Plus, it's less comfortable to the potential joiner.

-Tell your potential joiner what they need to know

--Give them rules, restrictions. Tell them what kinds of characters are allowed and what kinds aren't. Allow them to make conclusions about the world you've created. Make them cling to every word because they're all important to their experience. Otherwise, people will run amok and throw dirty laundry all over the RP section (thank Khay for that joke).

-Ask yourself questions

--You probably know more about your imaginary world than I do. So explain it to me. Read what you've written and see where there are holes. Tell me everything I'd want to know about your world. If you just ask yourself questions, it saves everyone a lot of time.

-Come up with more interesting content

--A bland world is one that no one wants to live it. Make it interesting, make it fun, make it interactive. Allow some room for interpretation, but not too much. Leave some mystery, but make sure people know which way is up. Hell, make up a new type of cactus that eats snakes, just make content that won't get boring and go flat.

 

Okay, I've added stuff. I've got, like, three pages of information that's not crucial to the story or that could be summed up in two sentences.

People won't read your entire OP if it's too long. That's boring. The same way that a short OP doesn't give people enough to RP around and is bland, something that's too long feels like a book. And no one wants to read a long, long narrative that's broken up by nothing but paragraphs. I'm sorry, but I'm just not interested enough to keep reading. It'll take me weeks to decide to dedicate that much time to something I may not even like.

 

Edit stuff out. Read the whole thing through and decide what's necessary and what's not. Decide what can be summed up in a shorter span. When in doubt, ask for help trimming it. People should be able to tell you what's redundant and what's unnecessary.

 

Alright! I've got my medium-size RP ready. What now?

Just do one last check. Make sure you've got a plot, history, setting, rules, character sheet, etc. Try reading aloud to see if you can find anything that youd didn't mean to put down. It'll help you, even before you get to the next section. Then add a placeholder name in your title field and insert 'WIP' to your description.

 

'Kay. Now what?

That's all for this section (content). If you're comfortable with the content, keep going onto the next post. That'll be structure and convention.

Edited by Mousia

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Start talking, teacher lady.

Okie dokie. So, once you've got your content, it's time to categorize.

 

You're going to need a history, setting, plot, rules, and some way to join. But that's the bare minimum. If you've ever seen one of my more recent RPs, I love organization. You can easily tell where one idea ends and another begins. You shouldn't get lost anywhere. I think it's common courtesy to let readers know where they are and what you're talking about.

 

You're going to want headers that are somehow different from the main text. One of my pet peeves is when people have what I call "lazy headers". They're technically headers, but they're the same font, size, color, everything. Honestly? You can do better with some simple tricks.

 

Boldface, Italics, Underline, Strikethrough

 

Boldface

[b]Boldface[/b]

 

Used for dramatic effect or to draw the eye to a certain area. Recommended for headers.

 

Italics

[i]Italics[/i]

 

Used for dramatic effect or to indicate sarcasm. Not recommended for headers unless used with other type effect.

 

Underline

[u]Underline[/u]

 

Used for dramatic effect, draw the eye to a certain area, or to stress a certain point. Not recommended for header unless used with other type effect. Tends to be mistaken for a link.

 

Strikethrough

[s]Strikethough[/s]

 

Used to indicate that something is no longer valid or for comedic effect. Not recommended for headers.

 

Font, Size, Color

 

Font

[FONT=Times]Font[/font]

 

Used to change the aesthetics of a piece.

 

Size

[SIZE=1]Size[/size]

 

Used for dramatic effect or to draw the eye.

 

Color

[COLOR=purple]Color[/color]

 

Used for dramatic effect or to draw the eye. Avoid bright colors; they cause annoying eye strain and chase people away.

 

You should categorize your OP based on content. A common format is the following:

Plot

 

History

 

Setting

 

Rules

 

Character Sheet

 

Personally, I like to include and introduction and break everything down on a case-by-case basis, but this is your skin and bones structure. It should basically look similar to this if simplicity is what you're going for.

 

What should I put in each section?

Okay... I'll break this down. Just a second...

 

Plot

What are the characters doing and why? This should be no shorter than five sentences. We need to know what's going on.

 

History

What happened in the past? What is your character likely to know about their ancestors? Also, you'll want to lead into how things are in present-day.

 

Setting

What does the world look like? Deserts, dense forests, rivers everywhere? Do they live on the sun? Where are we? Ah!

 

Rules

Tell people what's allowed, what's not, and what's required of them. Should they PM forms to you or post them in the OCC? How long should posts be? R ppl allwd 2 pst liek dis?

 

Character Sheet

How do people join? Will you include a character sheet or allow them to make an entry post with certain information they must include? Let them know what's up!

 

What should my character sheet look like?

Well, it's really up to you. A few things you should include are: character name, gender/sex, age, and appearance. Many like to include personality and history as well, though it's up to you.

 

A crucial thing to included, though is anything that is important relating to your particular RP. If it has to do with powers and you don't include a field for that, "you're gonna have a bad time", to quote a meme.

 

If you're ever unsure about what to include in your character sheet, look over some RPs with lots of replies or that are really active. NEVER COPY, but see what's working for those people. It's pretty much how I compiled this list. If you just look at a few popular RPs and mix it with your own style, you're bound to please a crowd and also be original.

 

Okay! My RP looks exactly like what you posted!

No! Nothing makes people ragequit faster than an unoriginal RP! Personalize it. Make good use of color, size, and other formatting skills. Also, switch up the order if you want to! Add anything that you think would shed more light on the RP and don't be afraid to break it down in a different way.

 

A lot of people like to add a "news" section with RP updates. Personally, I favor an "introduction" section that includes a narrative from the perspective of the character.

 

Just like the above, you should add your own style to it. Have a signature thing or a set of things that you like. It's like writing itself. If you're like everybody else, nobody pays attention. Take this guide in stride and be sure to make it your own. Spice it up! Everything in here will give you a base, the rest is all up to you!

 

Mkay. I've got it. But what about grammar and spelling?

Please run your ideas through MS Word or use spell check before asking your peers to correct eighty billion errors. It's tiring and people have lives to get to. If you're not sure how to fix it, just wait for crit, but save the lot of us from having to spend hours going through to fix all of the funky things going on. It saves your time and our time if you know what you're doing with grammar and spelling.

 

Common Grammar Slip-ups

they're = they + are

there = referring to a location

their = denotes possession

your = denotes possession

you're = you + are

Bob's = denotes possession or contraction (Bob + is)

Bobs' = denotes possession (it's the possession of many Bobs, not just one)

its = denotes possession

it's = it + is

to =

two = a number (2)

too = an excess or agreement ("too much" or "I like that too!")

 

Please Note

When using a/an, read it aloud. If there's a weird hiccup or it sounds funky, you're probably wrong.

EXAMPLE: a RP an RP

WHY?: Read that out loud. "A RP" has a weird hiccup that makes you pause and it sounds awkward. Grammar hates awkward turtle words. If you run into something like this, revert to the other form of the article. If you read that aloud and it sounds better, you're probably right.

 

an = article used before a word that begins with a vowel or a letter that acts like a vowel (h, y, etc.)

a = article used before a word that begins with a consonant

 

Commonly Misspelled Words

Necessary

Tomorrow

Definitely

Believe

Chose (past tense)

Choose (present tense)

Lose (win vs. lose)

Loose (not tight)

Mimicking

Tomatoes

Potatoes

Volcanoes

Separate

Colonel (ex. Colonel Sanders)

Environment

Noticeable

Mystery

Helpful

Careful

Joyful (pretty much anything ending with "ful"; if it's an adjective, it probably only has one 'l')

 

~USE SPELL CHECK~

It's the easiest thing to do to so you can avoid speelin liek dis, bro. Aslo, it heelps wit typos and rong usagee of wordss, witch is reealy helpfull.

Edited by Mousia

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What's next?

Next comes reserved posts.

 

What are they?

Reserved posts are posts made by the OP with no content when they're posted. These posts are intended to be filled later by the OP through post editing. They're really helpful, especially when you know you'll need more space later but want a less cluttered OP.

 

Awesome. How many should I reserve?

Well, that depends. I always go for a few, but lean towards more posts than I think I'll need. That way, if I decide I don't need the space, I can delete the post. Plus, you can just leave a reserved post the way it is to be filled in later.

 

When should I reserve posts?

Make sure to reserve all your posts before someone else posts. Otherwise it's all disorganized. If someone does happen to post when you're trying to reserve space, you can just ask if they can delete their post. It's an honest mistake.

 

What should I use a reserved post for?

See above. You should use the categorizing skills you learned from the last post to figure out what you want to do with your reserved posts. They should be just as organized as your OP.

Edited by Mousia

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Okay. I have a well-organized, medium-sized post with properly used BB code and enough reserved posts for my case. What else could you possibly teach me?

Patience, grasshopper.

You've yet to learn about OCC threads.

 

But... But...

Shh. Just listen for now.

OCC threads are for non-canon discussion of plot, characters, etc. This is where you'd plan things with other members. Not everyone needs/wants and OCC thread, but it's important for you to know what they do.

 

Okay. I'm all ears.

Good. You want to first create a new topic and give it the same name as your IC, but label each one appropriately.

 

Labels: check!

Cool! So, you just want to give brief description of the RP in the first post of the OCC, as well as a refresher on what can and can't be discussed there (see rule thread for what is and isn't allowed). You can also include a character directory or copypasta your IC thread into the OCC OP (not recommend for threads that require many reserved posts).

 

Okay. Final step, right?

Oh, you know me so well! Yes.

You'll want to be sure that your RP is approved or close to approval before posting your OCC. This isn't a requirement, but since most OCCs are auto-approved, you don't want yours sitting around gathering dust. Let your IC go through the process, then post the corresponding OCC. Saves time, space, and effort. Trust me on this one.

Edited by Mousia

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So you're finally telling me about titles?

Yep. The reason I took so long is because it's important for you to have your entire idea down before you start with the titles. A title should summarize or describe the story in some way. The dictionary.com definition is:

the distinguishing name of a book, poem, picture, piece of music, or the like

This means that your title should be descriptive and original. You don't want people confusing your RP with someone else's. Make sure that yours stands out.

 

How can my title stand out?

Here are some trends I've noticed:

-One-word titles

--They catch your attention and offer enough mystery to keep people interested

-Mysterious titles

--These titles are a word or combination of words that only make sense in context. You need to read the topic to figure out what it means.

-Descriptive titles

--These titles let you know what's going on. If you like what it's about, you'll join. If not, stay away.

 

What should I name my topic?

That's all up to you. But make absolutely sure that your title RELATES TO THE TOPIC. I cannot stress this enough. If your title has no significance, I can guarantee that no one will be interested. I want for you to succeed, but your title is the seed you sow. Make a good first impression.

 

What about descriptions?

This is similar to titles. You have a lot of freedom with this. Some people update it to reflect an RP's status. Some people use it as an extension of the title. But you should be sure that, in the unapproved section, your description tells people about your RP's status. If you need an approver, say so! If you don't want people to post, say so! If you have a work in progress, say so! Once your RP is approved, you can do what you like with that or delete it completely, but do make sure that you make good use of it in unapproved.

Edited by Mousia

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F.A.Q.

 

None yet.

Edited by Mousia

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R.E.S.E.R.V.E.D. Edited by Mousia

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Thank you for finding this again. I'll see where we're at on this.

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I remember using this long ago. Why isn't it pinned by now? Mousia did a great job.

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Can I create another post for history? Would that be an OCC or OOC or OoCC or something? Or am I not allowed to do that? Is this even the right post to ask that question? Is this even a post for questions? I'm still trying to read the whole thing.

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Can I create another post for history? Would that be an OCC or OOC or OoCC or something? Or am I not allowed to do that? Is this even the right post to ask that question? Is this even a post for questions? I'm still trying to read the whole thing.

This post isn't really for questions, but since we don't have a place for them, it's okay that you asked here. However, you can also ask in your thread. Whatever approver stops by can help answer those questions.

 

An OOC/OoC is an Out of Character thread, where users can ask questions when they're confused about someone's post, plan future plot devices, and correspond with each other on other RP-related posts that are not actually RP posts. An OoC thread is typically a new thread, not just a new post within your thread.

 

Is there a reason you don't want the history in the same post as plot? You can organize however you want. Typically, people do one post with plot/history/settings/rules/etc. and then reserve a post for character sheets. However, we organize for logical flow so users can easily find the information they need, so keep that in mind when you're deciding on the organization of your post.

Edited by SockPuppet Strangler

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This post isn't really for questions, but since we don't have a place for them, it's okay that you asked here. However, you can also ask in your thread. Whatever approver stops by can help answer those questions.

 

An OOC/OoC is an Out of Character thread, where users can ask questions when they're confused about someone's post, plan future plot devices, and correspond with each other on other RP-related posts that are not actually RP posts. An OoC thread is typically a new thread, not just a new post within your thread.

 

Is there a reason you don't want the history in the same post as plot? You can organize however you want. Typically, people do one post with plot/history/settings/rules/etc. and then reserve a post for character sheets. However, we organize for logical flow so users can easily find the information they need, so keep that in mind when you're deciding on the organization of your post.

I don't want it to be long and boring like the thing said. How do I use the show/hide thing? Is that possible?

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This post isn't really for questions, but since we don't have a place for them, it's okay that you asked here. However, you can also ask in your thread. Whatever approver stops by can help answer those questions.

Why don't we make/pin a post for questions and answers? If someone is new to the RP world, they're bound to have a lot of questions. The main post can have FAQ and all that stuff for new RPers who have certain questions that have been asked multiple times. Any other questions they have can be posted in there

 

Just a suggestion o.o

 

FailFish I just noticed the FAQ but it doesn't have anything in it.

Edited by Raptor of Dragons

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I don't want it to be long and boring like the thing said. How do I use the show/hide thing? Is that possible?

This forum doesn't have show/hide option. You could just do a summary in your post, then do the longer version in a second post if you think the extended version is necessary.

 

Why don't we make/pin a post for questions and answers? If someone is new to the RP world, they're bound to have a lot of questions. The main post can have FAQ and all that stuff for new RPers who have certain questions that have been asked multiple times. Any other questions they have can be posted in there

 

Just a suggestion o.o

 

I've already been debating on how to get rid of sticky's in this section because this section has a lot and it's not even that busy. (And a sticky is easier since threads with no posts in the last 30 days are automatically need hidden, so such a thread would disappear a lot.) As well, I can't recall many questions about these sections at all. I'd rather just allow questions in this thread. I don't know how DH feels, though.

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I've already been debating on how to get rid of sticky's in this section because this section has a lot and it's not even that busy. (And a sticky is easier since threads with no posts in the last 30 days are automatically need hidden, so such a thread would disappear a lot.) As well, I can't recall many questions about these sections at all. I'd rather just allow questions in this thread. I don't know how DH feels, though.

Alright. Not a problem. smile.gif And you're right about this not being a busy thread

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Since questions are popping up in here on what's going on, I've been slowly working on revamping all the stickied posts. Only reason the new versions haven't been edited in is because I've been busy, but haven't stopped working on all of them. I just haven't announced that to everyone, as I didn't really see a drastic need to.

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