Rehab for Roleplayers - Intro

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By salshep
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Welcome to Rehab for Roleplayers, a series of articles aimed at helping roleplayers more successfully make the transition into writing fiction.

Introduction: How to Spot a Drow Illusionist

I can identify a habitual roleplayer from fifty paces. Those who've been spooked by my asking whether they're a roleplayer within ten seconds of reading their fiction will know what I'm talking about.

"But how did you know?" they gasp. When I'm done chuckling, I explain that I know they are a roleplayer, because they write like a roleplayer.

There's usually a pause, then, while the writer decides to what degree they're going to feel offended by this statement, and/or wonders whether I've been stalking them, before they pose the next question: "What, exactly, do you mean by that?"

What I mean is this: roleplayers almost invariably share the same basic writing habits, and some of these habits stand out as flaws in their non-RP material.

Many people develop their interest in writing via roleplay, and then a desire to write outside of that sphere as their RP skills grow past a certain point. The problem in transitioning from RP to fiction is that RP teaches people writing habits that simply don't wash in the real world of writing.

What makes these habits difficult to both identify and to shake is that they are generally learned by osmosis; the roleplayer does not deliberately or consciously learn them, but assimilates a set of habits over a period of time as they seek to become a better roleplayer, and strive to gain the esteem of their peers in the roleplay world.

The fact is, a great roleplayer does not need to be a great writer. While the best roleplayers are inherently, even obsessively, concerned with language, they still gain their successes in an area where the rules of publication-standard fiction do not apply.

In this series, I aim to help roleplayers identify these tell-tale habits so that they may, in doing so, eliminate those which are affecting their capacity to write fiction.

The language of RP is not the same as the language of fiction. The structure of a great RP is not the same as the structure of a novel or a short story. For the purpose of these articles, I have divided the relevant RP habits into two categories: language and structure.

In Part One, I'll begin the discussion of language, and identification of those RP habits which I have observed to be problematic in fiction.
anonymous's avatar
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NonieR's avatar
Forgot I hadn't faved ALL OF THE CHAPTERS of this guide!
Oooh I can tell this is going to be a great read!
And what a title.
Great work!
SoulCrystal214's avatar
I started out differently than most rpers, then. XD I started out writing fiction, and /then/ got into rping. But I probably still have habits that don't work in one way or another, as rping is now more common for me than writing fiction. So... Off to read all these I go! XD
SoulCrystal214's avatar
Several years later, I've made the transition back to primarily fiction writing. I still roleplay from time to time, but I often get stymid because I am a perfectionist with my writing.

But, for curiosity's sake, I'll be reading these again. Always good to see if you can pick up pointers from somewhere, even when you're experienced in both fields discussed.
talkingcamara's avatar
I think I need this very badly, lol. Thank you for theses.
salshep's avatar
You're welcome! If you found it useful, please feel free to pass the link around.
DesiresUndisclosed's avatar
I am interested in this. Never realized there was a difference between the two!
snarkyVansnarkson's avatar
I always feel a little strange when a piece is sold to me as ordinary fiction, but it comes across as narrative from a dungeon master.

"You see a beautiful woman in front of you. You walk toward her but she does not notice you. You..."
Storm-Torrent's avatar
Wow, this is SO true. Excited to read more!
salshep's avatar
Cheers, glad you liked it!
Jburns272's avatar
For a roleplayer who is considering dabbling in writing, this looks very helpful :D

Personally though, I think it's obvious that there would be some differences. I mean a novel reads differently from a campaign. The situations are very different.
salshep's avatar
I hope it is! Thanks for reading. :)
FrozenSilver99's avatar
... I think of SO many people when I read this...
salshep's avatar
Send it to them? =P
phoenixofthenet's avatar
Beautiful, Sal, just beautiful.
salshep's avatar
Rukkys's avatar
This might come in handy. =3
salshep's avatar
HonnuArt's avatar
I'm gonna read this. Thanks! This could REALLY help so much!
salshep's avatar
Let me know if it does. :)
HonnuArt's avatar
I think it already has! I'm going to work to changing my writing style!
iPixehKitteh's avatar
roleplaying enhanced my writing skills, actually.
I'm not saying that I'm an amazing writer, because personally, im a digital artist.
but still.
salshep's avatar
It enhanced mine too, a heap. But I didn't just want to stay a roleplayer and when I made the change to fiction found there was a heap of snags, so that's why I wrote it.

I'd not be writing fiction now at all, if was not for those rp years.
iPixehKitteh's avatar
exactly, and my friend is a roleplayer, and she writes like, 2000 word responses u3u
anonymous's avatar
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