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Rehab for Roleplayers - Part 3Welcome to Rehab for Roleplayers, a series of articles aimed at helping roleplayers more successfully make the transition into writing fiction.
Part 3 Echolalia Jones and the Thesaurus of Doom
As we've seen, one of the most significant differences between RP and fiction is that RP is an interactive process. Aside from issues already discussed, there are several related aspects of writing styles in RP that can become problematic when employed in the realm of fiction.
The bulk of RP occurs within the context of a 'gameworld' or a pre-set environment into which player's characters are inserted. This can be anything from a fully represented reality with pre-created 'rooms' that a character moves through, simulating a real-world environment, to a loose arrangement of locations created according to need in a chat-based free form RP.
There's also, in most RPG environments, a strong sense of community among the players. Whether a player is a joiner
Rehab for Roleplayers - Part 2Welcome to Rehab for Role-players, a series of articles aimed at helping role-players more successfully make the transition into writing fiction.
Part Two If It Walks Like RP and Quacks Like RP, Then It Is Probably Not a Novel.
As I have already discussed in other parts of this series, fiction and roleplay are two very different things.
Here, I'll be discussing those differences as a means of illustrating why the bulk of roleplay-style writing is not conducive to selling your work to an editor as fiction, nor in many cases providing an enjoyable reading experience for anyone unfamiliar with your personal RP.
Primarily, this segment of the series is dedicated to examining the structure and the purpose of each, and comparing the two.
I feel it's important to make clear at this point that I am not suggesting that concepts, plots and characters originating from RP cannot make the leap to fiction.
Indeed, several very popular series of books have been bor
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
Kings Of Oblivion"Someday," said Wax, "Someone's gonna write a book about us."
"Bullshit," said Stone, "We're indescribable."
And really, they were.
"Bullshit," said Wax, "That Ezekiel chappy did not a bad job, even if he was silly as wheel. A WHEEL! Ahahahaha! Geddit? D'ye geddit? And then there's oh, whatsisface gah, you know, lanky feller, colourful, had a bung eye. Liked the tights."
"Pfft," said Stone. "You're cracked. Told you we shouldn't just drop in like that."
"Pffffffffffffft," countered Wax. Pleased with that retort, he slipped his fob-watch from his pocket. "Look. Look, here. It's the late Nineteenth Century."
"Again? For fuck's sake." Stone rolled his eyes, causing several minor galaxies to implode, or explode, or evolve sentient life which would evermore be paranoid about eyes and thus never develop any.
"Shall we, then?" Wax didn't wait for a reply, but snapped the watch shut.
It was dark, in the late Nineteenth Century, thought Stone. Not
ViolinI remember the day
you told me violins
were strung with cat gut
and that is why
you hated music
(who says that to a child?)
I followed you
all that summer.
I watched you
grow away from mother -
your whiskey held better conversations
and all she did was cry.
We'd sit cross-legged on the porch
and count the horseflies
settling on our lunch.
You would drown tadpoles
in a bucket
surprised they could not swim
and I would dream
of cherry popsicles.
And when night would gather
on the sidewalk
I'd hold my breath
until a star appeared.
Don't bother making wishes
you'd tell me -
stars are dead weight in heaven
and God has cloth ears.
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