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liq

Concise Actions, Stronger Words & More

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liq    24
Posted (edited)

I found a very interesting guide an old friend made and I asked if they won't mind if I post it. I'll be leaving their name out of this and I'll also be editing out the guide on my own to make it fit the GTA World purposes better. @Law made a good point about language used in emotes and otherwise speech and I feel this could be a good standalone addition to my Grammar and Emotes topic.


"I wanted to share some writing tips I’ve learned over the years. This guide was written for everyone, whether you’re an experienced writer or a novice. It can be used as a reference for improving both your writing and your role-play." — Creator
 



Concise Actions

Nobody likes to read lengthy actions. It creates unnecessary layers around the point and it gives some people a hard time understanding them, especially if subtle language is used. Actions should be to the point. Instead of describing every action in excruciating detail, try to break it down as short as possible. This is a quality most experienced role-players may already possess, yet modern role-play is mostly interpreted the wrong way.

Examples:

Jane Parker picks up her fork, cuts a piece of her steak, raises it to her mouth, and takes a bite. ✗
Jane Parker eats her steak. ✓

Jane Parker takes out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, lights her cigarette, raises it to her mouth, and takes a puff. ✗
Jane Parker smokes a cigarette. ✓

Jane Parker searches her pockets, takes out her wallet, pulls out some money, and hands it to the cashier. ✗
Jane Parker pays the cashier. ✓

We already know how to eat a meal, smoke a cigarette, or where to pull out money from to pay for something. We don’t need to know every action within an action. Avoid being too wordy.
 




Unnecessary Actions & Descriptions

Role-playing absolutely everything your character does can bog down your chat. Not every action or detail has to be written out unless it’s absolutely necessary to the scene. This goes hand-in-hand with being concise with your role-play.

Examples:

Peter Newman kicks his feet into motion and leaves. ✗

Peter Newman can just leave. No emote needed. You don’t need to write it out unless you’re making a point out of it.


Peter Newman drives a 2018 Ford Mustang GT with leather seats and performance-pack wheels. ✗
Peter Newman drives a new Mustang. ✓

We don’t need to know the exact year, model or features of your character’s car.


Jane Parker has double-D breasts, a big ass, a tiny waist, and long, platinum blonde hair. ✗
Jane Parker shows off her hourglass figure. ✓
Jane Parker tucks a strand of blonde hair behind her ear. ✓

Sometimes it’s okay to just say “Jane is a curvaceous blonde,” too. Narrowing down every aspect without due cause is unnecessary. We don't need to know the cup size of your character.
 




Show, Don't Tell

Many of us are guilty of “telling” instead of “showing” in our role-play. Sometimes we are too direct and literal with our actions. It’s lazy and leaves little to the imagination to the reader. It is also wrong because it may incite people to meta-gaming.

Examples:

Dan Pitts is drunk. ✗
Dan Pitts slurs her words. ✓
Dan Pitts staggers. ✓


Jane Parker looks tired and hungover from partying all night. ✗
Jane Parker has bedhead and bags under her eyes. ✓
Jane Parker reeks of hard liquor and vomit. ✓

Karen Palmer thinks Adam is cute. ✗
Karen Palmer checks Adam out. ✓


Dorothy Swanson is old. ✗
Dorothy Swanson has a wizened face. ✓
Dorothy Swanson dodders with the help of a cane. ✓


Bianca Garcia looks sexy. ✗
Bianca Garcia wears a skimpy red dress. ✓


Howard Anderson chainsmokes. / Howard Anderson is a chainsmoker.. ✗
Howard Anderson has been a smoker for forty years. ✗
Howard Anderson speaks with a raspy voice. ✓
Howard Anderson shows his yellow teeth when he smiles. ✓

Tip: You can also “show” with dialogue.

Dorothy Swanson is old. ✗
Dorothy Swanson says: “Back in my day, we didn’t have color TV.” ✓

Emily Collins is angry at Frank. ✗
Emily Collins says: “You’re a disgusting piece of shit, Frank! Don’t ever talk to me again!” ✓
 



Stronger Words

Why walk when you can saunter, stroll, or amble? Why smile when you can simper, beam, or grin? There are much stronger words to use in your actions. You want to use stronger words to convey your actions in the most efficient way. But don't use just any synonym you find — it needs to fit the situation.

Examples:

Dorothy Swanson walks like an old lady. ✗
Dorothy Swanson dodders. ✓

In this example, we want to show that our character Dorothy Swanson has trouble walking due to her age. Dodder, which means "to tremble or totter, typically because of old age," fits perfectly.

Valerie Curtis looks at her boyfriend playfully. ✗
Valerie Curtis meets eyes with her boyfriend and simpers at him. ✓

In this example, we used "meets eyes" to show a connection between the two characters, and "simper" -- which means "to smile or gesture in an affectedly coquettish, coy, or ingratiating manner" — to convey her cute, playfulness toward him.

Note: Sometimes simple words are fine to use, like "Jane Parker smiles." Would another word be more appropriate for your action? Use your judgement.
 




Necessary Description

Occasionally, description is necessary to set the scene. This does not mean you should go over-the-top, though, like in the examples given above. You should be descriptive if you're trying to evoke a sense, make a point of something, et cetera.

Examples:

Lily Oakley's apartment reeks of cigarette smoke. ✓ (evokes a sense of smell, makes a point of Lily being a smoker)

Lily Oakley's car rattles and squeaks. ✓ (evokes a sense of sound, makes a point of Lily driving a cheap car)
 




Redundancy & Other Unnecessary Words

You also have to watch out for redundancy and unnecessary modifiers. We want to write as concise as possible.

Examples:

Jack Iatone quickly speeds downstairs. ✗
Jack Iatone speeds downstairs. ✓

We removed "quickly" since "speeds" already implies quickness.


Heather Murphy accepts the free gift, an unexpected surprise from her boyfriend. ✗
Heather Murphy accepts the gift, a surprise from her boyfriend. ✓

A gift is always free, so "free" is not needed here. The same applies to "unexpected surprise" -- surprises are always unexpected, so we can omit that from our action.


Emma Olson looks up at the ceiling. ✗
Emma Olson looks at the ceiling. ✓

We removed "up" because where else is a ceiling (or the sky, in another example)?


Emma Olson sits down on the floor. ✗
Emma Olson sits on the floor. ✓
Emma Olson sits down on the chair. ✗
Emma Olson sits on the chair. ✓

Again, where else is the floor or the chair?
 




Notes/Tips

"Sometimes when we go into detail, we provide unnecessary information. Why do we need to know your character's exact cup size, for example? Most of the time, "voluptuous" and "top-heavy" are enough. the same applies to people who like to role-play their tuned-out cars in detail. Unless it's important to the scene, we don't need to know everything about your character's car. What purpose does it serve to tell us your character's car has underbody neon lights and 15" alloy rims? Instead, maybe tell us her car is covered in dents and scratches, implying she's a careless driver."

"The longer the action does not mean the better. you don't want to bore the reader/role-player with unnecessary details and wordy actions. What I'm suggesting with this guide is to be concise with your writing. Make your actions count."

"Details are fine as long as they're important to the scene. Detailing everything to prove the point that you're "a better, more experienced role-player" or just because that's you is wrong."

"Clumping a few actions into one isn't detailed role-play. For example, everyone knows how to sit. Why do you need to include "bends her knees", when your action could've ended with "sits on the sofa"?"

There are always going to be stubborn individuals who won't understand what most role-players are trying to express through modern means of role-playing, yet it is better to try and understand rather than outright deny the validity of the fact that role-play has changed and many of us are guilty of doing it all wrong sometimes.

The beauty of role-play is the reader's imagination. It doesn't matter what you think unless you have this fixated idea of getting a whole scene to play out exactly as you vision it. It unfortunately doesn't work that way and you're not a production director. So instead of giving a ton of unnecessary details, it's better to put it out in a simple way and let the reader use their imagination for the rest. It lets people think, or see what they want and that's what everybody wants.
 




Hope this was helpful. Thanks to my friend and me.

Edited by liq
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CloutToken    7
Posted (edited)

This is a really good guide that everybody should read in my opinion.

People seem to think that having a long /me makes you a good roleplayer.

Fact of the day: Having a long /me describing every minuscule detail does not make you a good roleplayer. A short /me such as /me socks David in the face. gives you the same understanding as /me balls his right hand up, lifting his arm up, aiming his fist at David's face before rocketing a punch at his nose.

Edited by CloutToken
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Ssiregar90    3
Posted (edited)

Thanks for the concise guide as well!

 

I've been thinking the whole time that really makes you a good roleplayer is when you give your mate a chance to give feedback on your actions. Nevertheless just like what Lao Tzu said that "simplicity" is one of the greatest treasures at all the time.

 

 

 image.png.a7adeef72f981cbe7564adf5207e0d91.png

Edited by Ssiregar90

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Really well written guide! I think a lot of us fall into the pitfall of confusing wall of text /me's as quality roleplay

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Kestalas    26

@liq

 

Are you speaking in general use of /me actions for every day actions or is this something that you think should be carried into everything? My question is in regards to mechanic roleplay. Is that something that you feel should also be more concise, rather than detailed? Or is that something that would be in an entirely different category? I suppose it could be left to the discretion of the role player, but I've seen it played both ways. I've seen very short and to the point mechanic role play and then I've seen longer, drawn out, far more detailed mechanic role play down to what kind of wrench they are using lol. 

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liq    24
Posted (edited)

It's a general rule of thumb for everything you role-play unless it makes a point out of it, and it's all subjective to a number of factors. Every detail you add has to impact the other role-playing parties involved, otherwise it's futile, and for example I couldn't care less what hand you use to take a wallet out to pay for a drink at a bar and in which pocket you put the wallet back and all of that's just useless detail that only clogs up the chat. You need to make a point out of something in an emote. Role-playing is essentially writing and reading, and when you start showing much more than telling, that's when things stop getting fun for most people. It's important to let everybody interpret an action the way they want to interpret it and make amends after the fact if there's a misunderstanding. and it usually isn't.

 

Subjective to mechanic role-play, it depends. Most people on the server come to max out their cars or modify their maxed out cars. They aren't looking for role-play, they're looking to get the script-wise end result. But even then you have knowledgeable individuals who come and put you in front of a real mechanical problem and expect you to role-play it (I for one did that and had the pleasure of seeing some knowledgeable mechanic role-players in turn who know a thing or two about cars). It depends who you're role-playing with and what the other parties are looking for. In the circumstances of how mechanic role-play happens as I've outlined above, I'd take any role-play 90% of the mechanics of the server do with a pinch of salt because maxing out a car and going from an all out engine swap, transmission swap, exhaust pipe and intake swap and either replacing or adding a turbo as a whole, putting aside any body work, is hard, weeks worth of work in real life considering you need parts delivered and considering what parts you use (if they're legal or black market), and those parts cost money. Additionally, an auto shop/tune up shop usually can't do it all or hasn't worked with a specific car before, therefore can't provide a good end result for everything you typically ask them to do in game.

 

It all comes down to who you role-play with and if they want you to be detailed but that isn't something that needs to be agreed in OOC beforehand. I simply type out emotes of inspecting, analyzing and generally paying attention to what someone does (mechanics included) and then they're inclined to give more specifics. If I don't then I usually don't wanna know. And if you want to role-play a mechanic, be realistic and only start working on a large number of cars divided by make and model once you've done some of them, and even then don't do everything if you take role-playing a mechanic seriously and want to provide quality role-play. It's called character development after all. 

Edited by liq

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Silverfish    25

The "Show, dont tell" and "Stronger Words" parts of this of this guide where great, I will make an effort to do that more often. Infact, i woudn't mind seeing this guide expanded upon with a list of potential "Stronger Words".

 

There is a part of this guide do vehemently disagree with however and that is the "Concise Actions" part. 

18 hours ago, liq said:

Nobody likes to read lengthy actions. It creates unnecessary layers around the point and it gives some people a hard time understanding them, especially if subtle language is used. Actions should be to the point. Instead of describing every action in excruciating detail, try to break it down as short as possible. This is a quality most experienced role-players may already possess, yet modern role-play is mostly interpreted the wrong way.

There are poeple that do enjoy reading lenghty actions if they are well thought out and although i find there is nothing wrong with actions being to the point and concise, i can equally enjoy a more nebulously written action assuming i wont need an enigma machine to figure out the meaning. Having a action broken down to a barebones "Jane Parker eats her steak." feels like an overreaction to the percieved issue of convoluted walls of text and i would go so far as to consider such actions lost potential.

 

19 hours ago, liq said:

There are always going to be stubborn individuals who won't understand what most role-players are trying to express through modern means of role-playing, yet it is better to try and understand rather than outright deny the validity of the fact that role-play has changed and many of us are guilty of doing it all wrong sometimes.

 

I get wanting to trim some of the excesses and i can support that to a degree, but to claim this is the right way to roleplay and those who prefer more descriptive actions are just stubbord dinosaurs "guilty of doing it all wrong" rubs me the wrong way. Unlike the grammer guide you posted earlier i find this guide occasionally dips out of guide and into opinion territory.

 

Despite the issues i have with this guide im glad i've read it, its clear and brings up some valid points, thnx for posting.

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Humour    18

Although I appreciate the guide being uploaded and being so extremely detailed, I have fun in being overly detailed within my roleplay. I have never received complaints about it and I didn't know it was 'wrong' in your eyes.

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Fenrir    109
Posted (edited)

While I do agree that sometimes there's no need for a long description of a simple action, I think that it also depends on the situation itself. Sometimes, a better description of an action will give out a deeper insight on the situation at hand. For example, when interrogating or when being interrogated yourself. Most of the examples will revolve around body language in order to give you enough information to decide on the approach to be taken in a certain situation. A lot of times body language has a relevant presence and it shouldn't be overlooked. However, it's true you don't need a paragraph to describe someone opening up a trunk. Still, I think everyone's free to RP in any way that fits them.

Edited by Fenrir

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borhoi    115
Posted (edited)

I think this varies depending on the 'type' of RP you're currently involved in.

Smoking a cigarette? Taking a bite of food? Absolutely. I couldn't agree more.

But in situations such as fights being role played via /me I think it's important for detail to be added. Maybe not in the manner given as an example in the guide, but you certainly want to say more than t/me hits blank in the mouth. Depending on positioning, which hand was used to throw the punch, how hard or quick it was thrown et cetera the other role player has different options for how to react. It doesn't need to be ten lines, of course. I don't need to know how many degrees your wrist was curved to or anything like that. But something more descriptive than t/me punches blank in the stomach does help move things along and avoid potential silly arguments. I think this applies to a lot of RP where physical actions from one player to another are being conveyed. When I was in PD for example, it was always a rule of thumb to be as detailed as possible when performing a search because if you're not it's reasonable for the other party to claim powergaming.

I definitely think this applies in most situations though. I especially like the 'show, don't tell' part. A lot of people emote things like their thoughts or things people couldn't definitively know about them just by glancing them over.

Edited by borhoi

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