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Writing Guide

Writing Guide

All writing should be done in the third person. Of course there are times where other perspectives could be used but day to day posts should be in the third person.

You are not going to be graded on grammar and spelling but keep in mind that many mistakes in these areas can be distracting to the other players.

The recommended format is as follows. Separate your paragraphs. Don't run ideas together. Stay on a event long enough to make it comprehensible. Use a spell-checker. Use a thesaurus (carefully) to add variety to your writing without losing precisely what you mean to convey. Borrow methods from others. Look at how your favorite writers present their stories and try to emulate their style. Don't rush. And, most important, have a clear idea of your objective within the entry and focus on achieving it.

Post may be categorized into two basic types. Character development and plot development. Both points are important but to much of either can be tiring to the other players. Character development posts deal only with a personal issue or feelings of your character. Such posts do not move along the plot and usually don't involve other characters directly. Plot development posts deal only with a plot point or introduce a new plot twist. To many of these and your character will seem two dimensional and uninteresting. There should be motivations behind your character's actions for example a sense of duty. And stating your character has a strong sense of duty isn't enough, the things you write for your character, his words, his thoughts, his actions, should demonstrate his sense of duty. Everyone wants to learn about your character to some extent but they also want the plot to move along. Writing all character development will take away the incentive to interact with your character. If everyone learns all there is to know about your character there's no need for his or her character's to get involved with your character. And they may be afraid of never getting back to the plot once they get involved with your character.

Plot development posts can also be categorized into two subtypes, reactionary and hyperactionary. A reactionary posts simply react to something another player has written. For example one player ends an exciting post with a call to the bridge and your character is on the bridge, you then write a post that says little more than "Smith here what can we do for you ensign?". Draw it out, become involved in the story, introduce your own plot point. If the other players aren't learning about your character it will be harder for them to interact with your character.

A hyperactionary post introduces plot twist after plot twist. This can confuse other players and discourage them from trying to work through the plot for fear of another plot twist coming on. To many plot twists and people might start to forget what the story was supposed to be about or how to get to the end.

All of these hazards can be found in a single post or over multiple posts. An occasional character development post isn't going to ruin you as long as more frequent good posts balance them.

A truly good post will move the plot along while teaching everyone else something about your character and most of all be entertaining.

One of the major goals here is to interact with players the better your posts the easier that will be and the more others will want to interact with you. Be alert for any openings a player leaves for you to get involved with their plot lines, take advantage of them when appropriate for your character. And be careful not to misinterpret something as an opening a player may not want their character cured from a deadly disease to fast, it never hurts to check with a player off line if you are unsure. Conversely you should be sure to leave openings in your posts for other players to get involved.

Don't take advantage of another player's character exposition. Naturally, as a reader you may know things that your character couldn't possibly know. Keep the two separate and avoid employing exceptional means to have your character learn something they shouldn't or to empower the character in some way detrimental to the group. It's unfair to give your character the advantage of insights they might not otherwise have, but for talking with their "god" (you). Abuses of this sort can and should be met by rejection from the other players. This is related to the problem of creating a superhero or infallible type character. We are writing stories about people in the unusual setting of the future and it can quickly become uninteresting and frustrating to other players when your character can solve every problem, or know everything even when the knowledge was really gained because you are the reader and not the character.

Don't be uncertain. If you have questions, or are uncertain about what another player's actions mean, ask someone. Nobody's got a master plan for the game (and nobody should be trying to guide events outside of their own character and territory anyway), but questions of conduct with relation to others are appropriate.

Respect is what all these guidelines boil down to - respect for other players, acknowledgement of their characters and, succinctly, respect for the game. Cooperation is a must! The story takes precedence. Nurture it, feed it and protect it. If your ultimate concern is with the welfare of the group project, then you can't go far wrong.