What's new

Tutorial I need help with being descriptive in rps

EmberYouth

almost always confused
I'm not too good at being descriptive, but I'd say I'm at an intermediate level. What I like to do is literally get inside my character's head, think of their personality, thoughts and beliefs, and try to imagine the way they'd react to a particular situation.
As far as the surroundings are concerned, I use my imagination for that as well, trying to describe the location. I also like to search online for images of the area my character is in, and be as descriptive as possible based on the images.
 

gheist

Potato Patata
personally, my problem is being too descriptive hahhaha. one way i do it is basically elaborate on things and focus on tiny details. when your character is talking about something sad, do they move their hands a certain way, do they tear up or grimace or do they keep it in? when you're describing a place, is it clean or dirty, well kept or dilapidated, is there a vending machine, are there potted plants there? and so on.

you could also think about the different senses; aside from how something looks, how does it smell? what can you hear? etc.

of course, don't go overboard with the details. i find it's good to do broad strokes and then add a little touches. a little can go a long way.
 

Knudeli

The forgotten
I agree with what EmberYouth said, what also helps me is considering my character's past. It can add quite a lot of depth and you can slip in bits of your characters backstory, here's a shitty example:
  • Anna shrugged on her leather jacket.
  • Anna shrugged on her worn out leather jacket, it was a gift from her dad when she had turned 18, she hadn't liked it back then. It was too stiff, too heavy, too big. She had always had an excuse why she wasn't wearing it. Her dad looked so disappointed. Now she wears it so much it's like an extension of herself. She hopes her dad watches her from heaven and sees it.

BAM easily wrote half a paragraph lol, I hope this get's the idea across.
You can also compare new environments/people to places/people your character knows/knew, another shitty example:
  • Mrs. Miller was an old sweet lady, who always wore colourful knitted sweaters.
  • Mrs. Miller was the kind of old lady you looked at and instantly liked. She reminded Anna a lot of her own grandma who loved knitting and gave Anna socks every Christmas. Anna suspected that Mrs. Miller liked knitting too, since she always wore clearly hand knitted sweaters, sometimes so colourful and crazy Anna didn't know where she bought such unique wool. She sure as hell had never seen such a hue selection in the crafts stores.

(Edited cause the formatting fucked up* slightly)
 

PeteTheWitcher

I’m the big Nothing
I agree with what EmberYouth said, what also helps me is considering my character's past. It can add quite a lot of depth and you can slip in bits of your characters backstory, here's a shitty example:
  • Anna shrugged on her leather jacket.
  • Anna shrugged on her worn out leather jacket, it was a gift from her dad when she had turned 18, she hadn't liked it back then. It was too stiff, too heavy, too big. She had always had an excuse why she wasn't wearing it. Her dad looked so disappointed. Now she wears it so much it's like an extension of herself. She hopes her dad watches her from heaven and sees it.

BAM easily wrote half a paragraph lol, I hope this get's the idea across.
You can also compare new environments/people to places/people your character knows/knew, another shitty example:
  • Mrs. Miller was an old sweet lady, who always wore colourful knitted sweaters.
  • Mrs. Miller was the kind of old lady you looked at and instantly liked. She reminded Anna a lot of her own grandma who loved knitting and gave Anna socks every Christmas. Anna suspected that Mrs. Miller liked knitting too, since she always wore clearly hand knitted sweaters, sometimes so colourful and crazy Anna didn't know where she bought such unique wool. She sure as hell had never seen such a hue selection in the crafts stores.

(Edited cause the formatting fucked up* slightly)
Thank you it helps!
 

PeteTheWitcher

I’m the big Nothing
personally, my problem is being too descriptive hahhaha. one way i do it is basically elaborate on things and focus on tiny details. when your character is talking about something sad, do they move their hands a certain way, do they tear up or grimace or do they keep it in? when you're describing a place, is it clean or dirty, well kept or dilapidated, is there a vending machine, are there potted plants there? and so on.

you could also think about the different senses; aside from how something looks, how does it smell? what can you hear? etc.

of course, don't go overboard with the details. i find it's good to do broad strokes and then add a little touches. a little can go a long way.
Thank you!
 

Idea

The Pun Tyrant The Gif Hydra
There are several tricks to helping to increase your detail, but there is one fundamental step to not only writing in a more detailed fashion, but also to doing it well. I explain it better here, but in a lot of ways the detail with which you write and prefer to write has a lot to do with your mindset as you approach writing, and what you value.

As a token of example, a more casual player will tend to focus more on what moves the plot along- to the point of some making it the sole criteria for what should or shouldn't go in a post- and more on the concrete actions of the characters rather than the reasons or thoughts behind those actions, which are often expressed through a degree of internal monologue for more descriptive writer's. A more casual player will tell you this is in accordance with the "show don't tell" rule, referring to the action itself as already describing what one needs to know about the thoughts and character behind the action. A more descriptive player, however, will value the "why" in the action- watching the build up and the process (often struggle) of the decisions, reading about how the gears turn and how they perceive things that finally leads to the decision, this is part of what makes a more detail-oriented player happy, whereas it would just bore a more casual oriented player.

For that reason, more than just "can you improve your level of detail", it's important to ask yourself whether you should. Is the kind of focus detailed players have, on descriptions, thoughts, and the more structural aspects of writing the kind of thing you also enjoy? Or do you prefer, say, the more action-oriented, faster-paced casual type of play? Or maybe even what you love is to really get to play with your OCs and such and not have extra worries, a simple player's style. In regards to post speed too, detailed players tend to take longer with their posts, because the speed of posting, detail of the post and quality of the post tend to be a trilema, where having one will reduce your chances of having the last significantly.

Don't try to shift to a different writing style just to accomodate a certain partner. There are a lot of people out there, and more coming in every day. So do it only if you feel that would improve your experience or if you are simply trying to experiment.

That said, if you do decide to persue the detailed writing style after all, then I suggest you begin by trying to get into your head the kinds of values a detailed player usually has, our mode of thinking. Size requirements are a canvas, you don't fill it up randomly. How a character feels, why they feel that way, how they see the world, are all part of the characterization. How that world is exactly, what is their environment like, that lady selling fish to a poor orphan in the corner, they deserve a moment of spotlight because they caught your eye and they are important worldbuilding. Extra details are not superfluous, they are an opportunity to build and create atmosphere, and even foreshadow. Ask yourself the "why" of things, etc....

If you want detail, you're going to have prize the things detail seeks and has to offer. If not, you're better off trying to hone your craft in the other styles, which are no less valid.
 

PeteTheWitcher

I’m the big Nothing
There are several tricks to helping to increase your detail, but there is one fundamental step to not only writing in a more detailed fashion, but also to doing it well. I explain it better here, but in a lot of ways the detail with which you write and prefer to write has a lot to do with your mindset as you approach writing, and what you value.

As a token of example, a more casual player will tend to focus more on what moves the plot along- to the point of some making it the sole criteria for what should or shouldn't go in a post- and more on the concrete actions of the characters rather than the reasons or thoughts behind those actions, which are often expressed through a degree of internal monologue for more descriptive writer's. A more casual player will tell you this is in accordance with the "show don't tell" rule, referring to the action itself as already describing what one needs to know about the thoughts and character behind the action. A more descriptive player, however, will value the "why" in the action- watching the build up and the process (often struggle) of the decisions, reading about how the gears turn and how they perceive things that finally leads to the decision, this is part of what makes a more detail-oriented player happy, whereas it would just bore a more casual oriented player.

For that reason, more than just "can you improve your level of detail", it's important to ask yourself whether you should. Is the kind of focus detailed players have, on descriptions, thoughts, and the more structural aspects of writing the kind of thing you also enjoy? Or do you prefer, say, the more action-oriented, faster-paced casual type of play? Or maybe even what you love is to really get to play with your OCs and such and not have extra worries, a simple player's style. In regards to post speed too, detailed players tend to take longer with their posts, because the speed of posting, detail of the post and quality of the post tend to be a trilema, where having one will reduce your chances of having the last significantly.

Don't try to shift to a different writing style just to accomodate a certain partner. There are a lot of people out there, and more coming in every day. So do it only if you feel that would improve your experience or if you are simply trying to experiment.

That said, if you do decide to persue the detailed writing style after all, then I suggest you begin by trying to get into your head the kinds of values a detailed player usually has, our mode of thinking. Size requirements are a canvas, you don't fill it up randomly. How a character feels, why they feel that way, how they see the world, are all part of the characterization. How that world is exactly, what is their environment like, that lady selling fish to a poor orphan in the corner, they deserve a moment of spotlight because they caught your eye and they are important worldbuilding. Extra details are not superfluous, they are an opportunity to build and create atmosphere, and even foreshadow. Ask yourself the "why" of things, etc....

If you want detail, you're going to have prize the things detail seeks and has to offer. If not, you're better off trying to hone your craft in the other styles, which are no less valid.
Thank you Idea you’ve been quite a help today
 

MindOfChrist

Way too many exclamation points!!!
Abut late to the party, but one of the best ways to make your posts more descriptive is to use as many senses as possible. Like ninety percent of exhibition in writing is sight and sound. When you include touch, taste, or smell, it grounds your reader in the world. See the diffeerence between these two?

The dragon opened its maw and roared. Ria dove to the side just before a pillar of flame incinerated the rock where she'd been standing.. The flames lit up the cavern, throwing dark shadows along the walls. As she pushed herself to her feet, Ria saw the thing she'd hoping for: a gap in the beast's scales just wide enough to thrust her sword into.

"For the king!" Ria screamed, and charged the dragon. It lunged at her, but too slowly; its teeth snapped shut in empty air. Ria took her sword in both hands and thrust it into the dragon's chest, piercing its heart.
The dragon opened its maw and roared. Ria dove to the side just before a pillar of flame incinerated the rock where she'd been standing. Heat washed through the air above her, threatening to cook her in her armor and making the air chokingly thick with the rotting taste of dragon's breath.

Ria pushed herself to her feet as the dragon's jaws snapped shut. In the final glow of flames, she saw what she'd been hoping for: a gap in the dragon's scales just wide enough to drive her sword into.

"For the king!" Ria screamed, and charged the dragon. It lunged at her, but too slowly. Its jaws snapped shut on empty air. Ria took her sword in both hands and plunged it into the dragon's chest. It gave once as it broke the skin, again when it met bone, a final time as it pierced the creatures heart.
 

satanael

it's showtime !
I think something that often goes overlooked is whether you're writing from an omniscient narrator perspective, or the limited perspective of your character. In the case of the latter, you'd want to consider what your character would notice and what they'd overlook. What stands out to them? What's something they'd fail to pay attention to? Just something worth mulling over.

If you're painting a scene for your partner, though, you'll want to think about details that speak to the character of a location. If it's a bazaar, are people engaging in small talk and socializing - like a communal space - or is everyone on their phones, rushing to work, pushing through the crowd?

Detail for the sake of hitting a word count gets tedious. It'll start to sound like a dry and boring laundry list. It's better to write something short and meaningful than something long-winded that drags on.
 

Beckoncall

World-Weaver and servant to the most-holy PC
Supporter
Here’s some advice that helped me: use your senses. Not just what something looks like, but how does the air or other things smell, not just how but What do characters FEEL, does the earth tremble when something walks, does a parry hurt the characters arm? Do they smell the blood or garbage or perfume or coffee or beer? Whenever you’re at a loss to describe start with vision and metaphors or similie to bulk it up, then run through the senses
 

Krugman

Dreamer
Thank you for everyone in this thread, and of course for the one who started it!
I'm still new on RP (I only tried it a couple times at another place) and since english is not my first language I tend to have difficulties explaining or detailing my post, reading this thread really give me something to consider when I write my post.

Once again, thank you.
 

Nove NuVonde

Certified worm boy
Many people have touched upon the importance of the 5 (or more) senses, as well as the characters thoughts and feelings - which don't get me wrong, are important - but I haven't yet seen anyone talk at length about the actual flow of your paragraphs and getting creative with grammatical structure. Filling up your posts with as much sensory detail as possible is only one way to make a post more pleasing to read.

One of my personal rules is to always challenge myself with how I word sentences. "Does this have to be worded this way, or can I rearrange it?" One of my biggest pet peeves is when people start every post and sentence with their pronoun or name. For example:

"John was taking a walk to the park. He found it often calmed him down after a long day. He couldn't explain it, but there was something soothing about the open expanses of fresh cut grass. He almost didn't want to leave, even as the sun began to set."

Starting every sentence with a pronoun like this causes a sense of repetition and choppy structure. To make it flow better, and force you to get more creative, you could instead try something like:

"Exhausted from another long day, John was taking a walk to the park. Often, he found it calming, perhaps even therapeutic. Although he couldn't explain it, there was something soothing about the open expanses of fresh cut grass. Even as the sun began to set, he had a hard time willing himself to leave."

Obviously it will seem strange if you never start a sentence with a pronoun, and I'm definitely not saying to never do that, however I often find that when I force myself to avoid pronoun use in this way, I write much nicer, more naturally flowing posts.

EDIT: I can't believe I nearly forgot this, but ALWAYS proofread your posts. No matter how confident you feel that you haven't made a mistake, there WILL be a typo or error hiding in there. Even if you didn't make any spelling or grammar errors, there might be a weirdly worded sentence or poorly used "big" word in there you'll rethink on the second read.
 
People put too high a value on being descriptive, in my opinion. Acting like everything matters. The sun, the air, the waves... sometimes you do notice all these things. But if you give your readers room for their own imagination, they'll feel more immersed. A moment like your first kiss... well, that deserves all the description you've got. Taking a casual stroll in the park? Maybe not as important. You can tell how characters feel from how much they notice.

As somebody writing a book, I believe that you must hook your reader in your first paragraph.
 
Last edited:

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top