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Advice/Help brickwalling and dealing with roleplayers that do.

SirTiredEyes

treat others as they want to be treated
I've been experiencing a specifically frustrating habit of role players recently. I don't know if the name of the title is completely accurate, but it boils down to this. I feel like I'm making replies and writing a story, while my partner is usually reacting to what i've written and nothing else. This usually continues on for a week or so as written replies become shorter and shorter till i eventually find no interest in writing a response.

Maybe my expectations are just off here but I feel like I'm DM'ing a roleplay for someone instead collaborating a story instead. I don't exactly want to ditch people when this happens but the few feedback responses i have gotten back is basically, 'I didn't want to interfere with what you are writing', or 'I didn't want to take control of your character and change the scene'.

Any advice on how to counter act this? I don't know if much can be done on my side of this as much as the partner but... I think this would be more productive or contructive than to berate their writing style. Any advice is appropriated.


edit: thank you to everyone that contributed, it's given me some ideas to think about
 
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Husk

wears heelies to escape their feelies
Passive voice is when the subject is acted upon in writing (to put it simply, active and passive throw me in a loop sometimes), so not the right terminology to my awareness but I catch your gist.

Hm, this is a toughy. One thing I think helps is being upfront with your partner, so, perhaps when you see the trend of a decline in the quality of the posts/frequency/length, you may want to ask if they're still interested.
If I were in your shoes, I'd likely tell a partner who was not adding to the story, or simply responding without giving you anything to go on what realistically you can work with.
I think honestly the best thing that's helped me read partners is to have some form, even minute, of OOC or getting to know your partner a bit more.

My greatest partner was found here, and we bounce back and forth ideas all the time. I think RPN can be hit or miss.

I think politely bringing up the subject and making game plans could help? If that doesn't work, they may just not be the sort of partner for you, sadly.
 

SirTiredEyes

treat others as they want to be treated
Passive voice is when the subject is acted upon in writing (to put it simply, active and passive throw me in a loop sometimes), so not the right terminology to my awareness but I catch your gist.

Hm, this is a toughy. One thing I think helps is being upfront with your partner, so, perhaps when you see the trend of a decline in the quality of the posts/frequency/length, you may want to ask if they're still interested.
If I were in your shoes, I'd likely tell a partner who was not adding to the story, or simply responding without giving you anything to go on what realistically you can work with.
I think honestly the best thing that's helped me read partners is to have some form, even minute, of OOC or getting to know your partner a bit more.

My greatest partner was found here, and we bounce back and forth ideas all the time. I think RPN can be hit or miss.

I think politely bringing up the subject and making game plans could help? If that doesn't work, they may just not be the sort of partner for you, sadly.
I was pretty sure that wasn't the right wording for it but I don't know what exactly to call it. As the subject here is acted upon but doesn't interact back in a meaningful way. I wanna say almost like they are NPC'ing a character?

Otherwise it seems you came about to the same conclusion I did and i have done that. I try to coordinate as much as possible ask and answer questions and try to come to solutions or ideas if people are struggling to find something to write.

Maybe I should asking about how to not write in the passive/active voice. My concern is that maybe i'm giving off signals that welcome that kind of response.
 

rae2nerdy

Ultra Nerdy
You aren’t. I think some people just don’t know how to write a plot. Short of telling them it bothers you I don’t know as there is anything you can do.
 

Crayons

Member
This is called "brickwalling", (just mentioned this in another thread), and it's a massive pain in the butt. I would suggest asking them to move things on in their posts so that you have something to react to, maybe you can do this in a tactful way. If they still won't move things along, then politely ditch them with something like, "I don't think that we really want the same thing out of a roleplay."
 

Husk

wears heelies to escape their feelies
Passive vs active shouldn't be the issue. I've written with passive voice users (I use active voice, mostly), and they've given me plenty of juicy stuff to reply to. You can't ask them to not write in passive or active because most sentences are either passive or active when you write, aha.
So, let me find you examples of passive vs active:
1572976235381.png

I personally will leave a roleplay if my partner is being a brick wall and doesn't change after trying to work things out.
 

Setsuna

Beautiful But Ferocious
Pretty much being up front and honest with them as you were. Give them the chance to make improvements and if they don't tell them it's not working out.
 

Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
Helper
'I didn't want to interfere with what you are writing', or 'I didn't want to take control of your character and change the scene'
There are no two ways about it, this doesn't make sense. I mean obviously you shouldn't take control of another's character, but interacting with another's writing is what RPing is, and you don't need to change the scene save in very specific moments.

So there are two scenarios here:

A) The situation you're creating is one which actually prevents the other player from having more proactively without this ruining what you are writing, taking control of your chacacter or changing the scene. If this is the case, and only if this is the case, then you should attempt to write in a way that leaves your partner with more freedom to maneuver.

or

B) The situation is not like that, and your partner is either making excuses or they unable to see how to respond proactively. If this is the the matter then the most you can do other than being upfront about it is maybe point to how they could act without doing what they are worried about. However, this is on their hands- coming up with a way for them to actually move the plot on their posts is their responsability, and if you're not ok with working with a partner that can't, then you are under no obligation to. So presuming that you are not locking them in a certain kind of responses with your posts, and give their characters freedom to act, then they have to know how to get themselves moving.

I would try to give more concrete advice, but with the information given thus far, this is all I can say.

Best of luck and happy RPing!
 

ashwynne

|aquatic authority | ✎ art: peritwinkle
Supporter
Obviously this is no good and needs to be dealt with, but I think it can be important to understand why this might be happening. Sometimes it's not done out of laziness or because of a bad partner.

Stories do not always have a perfect balance of character importance. What I mean by this is that sometimes the role of one character makes it so that the actions of another are dependent on this character (think... prince and servant, for example. The choices/actions of the prince inform what the servant will do, but the actions of the servant are unlikely to have the same impact on the prince). This can also be true of plots. Sometimes a plot hinges on the actions of one specific character, and for the other person to make choices that carry the plot forward (as opposed to simply reacting) they have to essentially undermine the power dynamics that would realistically exist.

In the same vein... if you're the one who came up with the plot idea that you're writing with your partner, sometimes people feel uncomfortable with putting their own ideas into it for fear of wrecking your vision for it. Even being told from the outset "feel free to expand on this however you want IC" is sometimes not enough because there are people out there who will say that but then freak out when their partner actually does so.

If neither of these are what's happening then the person may not be a good partner for you or else they might have no idea that they're doing it.

The solution to all of these is the same: communication.

A quick message explaining that you feel frustrated by having to carry the plot all by yourself and that you don't enjoy them just responding to what you're putting out there is a good start. If you are playing a character in power or are the one who came up with the original plot then reiterating what you're okay with them doing might also be a good plan. Brainstorming together can eliminate a lot of these issues too and offering to help them come up with ways to carry the plot forward themselves can overcome it. Open lines of communication are the biggest asset, really.

If they don't see anything wrong with what they're doing/don't change, then I'd suggest telling them you're no longer interested in the roleplay and leaving it at that.
 

SirTiredEyes

treat others as they want to be treated
In the same vein... if you're the one who came up with the plot idea that you're writing with your partner, sometimes people feel uncomfortable with putting their own ideas into it for fear of wrecking your vision for it. Even being told from the outset "feel free to expand on this however you want IC" is sometimes not enough because there are people out there who will say that but then freak out when their partner actually does so.
I think this part is the closest to what is happening. I don't think power balance is the issue, at least based on the feedback I've been given. Problem is this seems to be a reoccurring issue. so i'm more willing to believe I am doing something wrong rather than the reverse
 

ashwynne

|aquatic authority | ✎ art: peritwinkle
Supporter
I think this part is the closest to what is happening. I don't think power balance is the issue, at least based on the feedback I've been given. Problem is this seems to be a reoccurring issue. so i'm more willing to believe I am doing something wrong rather than the reverse
Not necessarily... could be you're just getting unlucky with partners. That said, it might be worth looking into how your OOC chats have been working. Perhaps, for whatever reason, they don't feel comfortable contributing to your plots? I mean, really the only way to figure it out is to ask them directly. There's really no other way to definitively sort out why they might be doing this. But it definitely sucks!!
 

Crayons

Member
I think this part is the closest to what is happening. I don't think power balance is the issue, at least based on the feedback I've been given. Problem is this seems to be a reoccurring issue. so i'm more willing to believe I am doing something wrong rather than the reverse
Maybe what you could do is alternate who "takes charge" scene by scene. So if you're the one who initially came up with the scenario and plot, it makes sense that you would lead the first scene. Your partner can then see where things are going and understand what you're trying to achieve. The next scene (or story) let them take over. Then its more like one person leading a dance than a GM and player, and you get to alternate.
 

rae2nerdy

Ultra Nerdy
So as someone who has the tendency to take the lead hard when it comes to world building and planning I definitely get the frustration. Especially when you aren't comfortable letting your partner have free reign with the setting but want them to contribute to the actual plot.

I find in this case you really do have to break things down in the clearest way possible. "I have this idea for my character. What ideas do you have for your character?" Basically before you even write a post you got to make sure the person is motivated in some way to help push the plot forward.
 

Punkie

Gaymer Enthusiast
Supporter
I had a partner who was like this, but from the beginning they told me they hadn't wrote in awhile, and were nervous they wouldn't be a good partner. I ended up going along with it and helping them out, where after each reply I gave to them, I'd give them some tips and ideas to think about when creating their replies.

When I did this, I told them to consider things like
- Pay attention to your characters senses, What are they seeing? What emotions are they feeling? What's relevant to them in this moment?
- What are they feeling about the situation, and how are they considering to react?
- What is their inner monologue vs. what they are actually choosing to display? Such as, perhaps they feel negatively about something, but don't speak on that or express it to the other person, for example.
- What is their body language showing about them right now?
- What unspoken things are being expressed right now? Such as, perhaps one character notices a gesture from another character, and although they don't speak it out loud, it's implied that they understood the interaction

These are the kind of things I try to use when I write with people. Sometimes I think people tend to just write simply a response to what you said, forgetting that they're playing their own character that has their own emotions, feelings, actions, etc. A reminder to get back into character and consider everything from their own characters perspective I feel like is key to fixing that kind of thing.
 

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