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The Basics of Good RPG PBeM Writing

Written by Rebecca Tifft-Donovan


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5. Proofread

Once you finish writing the turn, reread it. Then reread the previous turn and the one you just finished together. They should flow together smoothly. Additionally, proofreading your work will allow you to catch errors the spelling and grammar checker may have missed.

6. Plan Your Plot in Advance

Have a master plan well laid out in advance. PC's tend to do strange things that test even the best-laid plans (of mice and men), but having a well developed plot will help pull you out of the tough spots. It will also help ensure that your villains remain consistent to their character.

7. Vary Your Sentence Structure

It is quickly and exceedingly dull to read even a short narrative wherein all the sentences seem to be stamped out by cookie cutters. In order to keep interest, it is advisable to alter the structure of your sentences.

Boring:
The bandit troop moved quickly through the forest. They set up an ambush several miles outside of town. They waited quietly for the Mennocin caravan to arrive. The troop attacked the caravan.

More interesting:
The bandit troop moved quickly through the forest. Several miles outside of town they set up an ambush. As the caravan slowly approached, the bandits crouched quietly in the bushes. With a fierce war cry they leapt from the bushes and descended on the caravan.


Common Errors

1. Dialogue

Spoken words should always be encased in double quotation marks (" and "). Further, only one person should be speaking in any given paragraph. Switching to a second speaker indicates you should switch to a new paragraph. Commas should separate spoken words within a sentence. Further, commas should always be confined within the quotation marks.

Groa looked up from her writing desk, "What do you want?" Her tone was cold, indicating her displeasure at being interrupted. "I take it you have something of great import to tell me."

"Yes," Ruick replied, "we have just received word that the House of Mennocin is planning to export a large shipment of weapons north to Verboda at dawn."

"Good." Groa smiled, "Tell the men to prepare to ride."

2. Tense

This goes along with being consistent. Past tense is most often used in writing; the reader reads as if the events have already taken place. Present tense is less commonly used and, in my humble opinion, more cumbersome to read. However, either tense is equally correct. The main problem with tense is that people tend to switch tenses from turn to turn, or sometimes even in the middle of a turn. (I know I have done it once or twice.) This error most often comes from GM's pasting character responses, which are often in present tense, into turns, which are often written in past tense.

Wrong:
Ruick nods and leaves the tent. Outside the men were scattered about the small encampment; they were playing cards, sharpening their weapons, or sleeping. "All right, men," Ruick shouts, "We've got work to do, let's saddle up!"

Right:
Ruick nodded and exited the tent. Outside the men were scattered about the small encampment; they were playing cards, sharpening their weapons, or sleeping. "All right, men," Ruick shouted, "We've got work to do, let's saddle up!"


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