Rehab for Roleplayers - Part 1Welcome to Rehab for Roleplayers, a series of articles aimed at helping roleplayers more successfully make the transition into writing fiction.
Part One: Your Syntax Has Been Eaten A Grue
The term 'syntax' pertains to the rules of grammar and sentence construction in any given language.
I'm starting this series with a discussion of problematic syntax because passively constructed sentences and/or wrenched and unnatural sentence structure are the number one signpost which will identify a writer as having spent a lot of time in the RP world.
Wrenched or passive syntax is also the number one 'crime against fiction' committed by the average roleplayer while attempting to cross over into fiction writing.
I'll now explain the difference between the active and passive "voice" in sentences, and why active sentences are far more desirable in fiction.
An active sentence makes the subject of a sentence the focus of action. A passive sentence focuses instead on the verbs,
Rehab for Roleplayers - IntroWelcome 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
To Those Who WaitYou wake to pitch darkness, and roll toward to the clock the display says 2:44 AM. You roll back over and try to recapture sleep. You fail.
Sighing, you grope for the lamp and click the switch. Nothing happens. You blink, in the dark, and your groggy mind thinks: light bulbs. You forgot them.
Stumbling across the room, you bang your knee on a chair before locating the switch on the wall. You flip it. Nothing happens. You are pretty sure you changed that bulb just last week.
Somehow, you reach the kitchen without mishap, and flip both switches there. Nothing. Must be the wiring, you think. You'll have to call an electrician in the morning. While you're there, you decide, you may as well get some water, and feel around for your Mr. Happy cup among the items in the dish drainer. The tap emits nothing but an odd gurgle when you turn the handle.
"That won't work, either."
A sudden voice; a woman's voice. Mr. Happy hits the floor with a loud, plastic clatter.
"Who's there?" You