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 How to Make Your RP Look Good from the First Glance

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Lan Fan
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PostSubject: How to Make Your RP Look Good from the First Glance   Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:13 pm

Congratulations! This thread has now become a Global Announcement, on any section of the forum, it will be seen by any member. Thank you for your hard work in making RPC and it's community better! - Rebecca
(This is a personal favorite guide of mine. I insist everyone look at it. xD)

Hey, Lan Fan here. As some of you know, I'm practicing with a different keyboard layout, so this will be my... practice. It's a little longer than a normal RP post, so typing this guide will help me be more consistent with my typing. And without further ado...

Lan Fan's Guide to Making Your Role-Play Look Good From the Start

Believe it or not, a lot can be determined about a role-play just by what you see at your first glance at it. For sure, you can't see everything about it in the first few seconds, but first impressions mean a lot. And first impressions begin from the moment someone looks at your role-play's title.


THE TITLE
The title, being the very first thing that any fellow RPer sees on your role-play, is very important. Granted, you shouldn't give yourself a headache coming up with it, but it should clearly have had some thought put into it. A good title is one that isn't overly simple, but gives at least a vague idea of what the role-play is about; think about it like naming a book that you want someone to take off the shelf after only seeing the title. For example, "Hawks and Eagles" isn't good because it's just too plain; if you're writing nonficton about the general lifestyle of those birds, it's okay, but if you actually have a plot that's original and thought through, the idea doesn't get through to your fellow RPers, and they'll never know what they're missing. "Birds of Prey: The Mass Exodus" is much better because it conveys the message that you put effort into your RP.

Also, try not to overdecorate your title; if it looks like ***~<THIS>~***, it might make it look like you're not taking your RP seriously and you only want to see more people on your RP's "Members" list. A few symbols is fine, like ~*this*~, but if you do it too much, the title will just look unprofessional.


A NOTE ON "PARTS"
Unless you actually have more than one RP's worth of plot in mind, don't bother adding "Part 1" to the end of your RP's title. Nowadays, every role-play I see has "Part 1" added onto the end of it, while in reality, very few of them ever make it even to Part 2 unless they have a large group of dedicated members and an active dungeon master (one of the many terms for the person who runs the RP). So there's really no purpose unless you really plan on extending the RP's plot past one topic.


THE INTRODUCTION
Now you've gotten someone to click on your RP, but we're still in "first impression" mode. Now you want to get that person's attention with an interesting intro. Most of the time, a good introduction gives the reader an idea of the RP's setting: the time period (if it's relevant), where it takes place, and at least a basic idea of the plot and some of the history of the plot (like how the main conflict came about). If you want your RP to be especially mysterious, you don't have to say everything outright, but if your intro leaves your reader thinking "What is this about, anyway?" then you probably don't have enough information.

Another question your reader might have in mind is, "Why do I want to join this?" Now, be aware of the straightforward invite approach. It may not seem like it, especially if you're new, but there are tons of RPs out there that end their introduction with, "So-and-so said, 'would you like to join ___Clan/Pack?'" Personally, whenever I see this, it really gets on my nerves. It's just so darn cliche. But let's think of it impersonally. First of all, when in actuality would this happen in the first place? Even goody-two-paws Firestar doesn't just ask a random stranger he's never seen before, who may or may not the epitome of evil who wants to kill him, to join his Clan. Unless this really makes sense in the context of the role-play (like if it's a dying wolf pack that needs more members or it will disappear totally and the leader is desperate enough to recruit wolves he or she doesn't know), avoid it at all costs. A better idea would be to leave something in the plot hanging, such as "there was no way out. Or at least it looked that way... If they all work together, they just might find an escape." Vaguely cuing your fellow RPers to join you sparks interest and shows that you actually have an idea of how the plot will go from there.

The introduction can be anywhere from a few (descriptive) sentences to a few paragraphs long. Personally I make mine on the longer side, but since most of the RPers here aren't at the five-paragraph level (even I'm not, and I've been role-playing for a long time), so a paragraph-or-less introduction should do fine as long as it's comprehensive.

Also keep in mind that too many images, especially flashy bright or animated ones, can get in the way, and images should only be used where absolutely needed. If you need to use an especially large image, link to it instead of posting it directly on the page; big images can slow a computer down, and can also stretch the page if viewed on a small monitor.


THE RULES AND FORM
Okay, so you've managed to make a good first impression. You're not done yet, but you're almost there. The rules don't need to be extremely extensive since there's a very good guide about role-playing etiquette that everyone should read if they haven't already, but if there's anything you want to emphasize, put it in the RP's rules. A very good thing to remember about creating the rules is to never make yourself the one and only exception to them. There was one role-play on another site that I saw once that's a good example. It was a Pokemon RP, and in Pokemon, most of the creatures you can capture are at least fairly common, or obtainable by raising one Pokemon to a certain level; however, there are some -- the "legendaries" -- that are extremely hard to get. This RP's rules went something like, "Only one legendary per team, except me. No Pokemon over level 60, except me". Now, these are totally reasonable for the most part, but it just isn't fair to everyone else if you're the only one who gets all the cool stuff. It's really just taking advantage of the fact that you're the one running the RP. Either allow something for everyone in the RP or don't allow it at all.

The form doesn't need to be extremely detailed, but if a lot of fields are needed, it's not a bad thing. The bare minimum of an application form is sections for the name, gender, and appearance of a character, but most people also like to add in fields for personality and a short history. Typically, right after the rules comes a blank form for other users to copy, paste and fill out into a new post to join. If you're the one starting the RP, the form is usually the simplest part.


OTHER POINTS
Overall, if you want to make your RP look attractive, use decent spelling and grammar. Nobody is perfect, but an introduction and form with typing errors all over the place looks rushed, and no one will want to be in a role-play if their leader slacks off on his or her job. You're totally allowed to type a rough draft of your RP into a word processor and check the spelling and grammar that way if you want to, but it's also important to remember that a computer won't catch all of your mistakes, so proofreading is always a great idea.

Also remember to be polite to those who join your RP. Not only will this make the role-play more inviting to them; it will also make them want to join your RPs in the future! In addition, if someone fills out the application form and skimps on a rule, or is only at the semi-literate level but tries to join your literate role-play, by all means go ahead and say so, but do it nicely. Something like "looking good, but maybe you should read over rule #3 again" or "This RP is literate, meaning we require at least two paragraphs; you can join if you expand on your form some more" will deliver the message perfectly.

And finally, keep the forum's appearance in mind if you want to use fancy colors. For example, at the time that I posted this, the forum had a light gray post background. Dark blue or green would look great if I wanted to make my RP look a little more exciting, but light colors like yellow or white would be very hard to see. Also try to avoid excessively bright colors, since they can literally be a pain to stare at.

-------

Yup, the lesson is finally over! I'm so thankful that you took the time to read all 13 of those paragraphs. Now let's get RPC going again!

This guide was typed entirely in Dvorak.
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Rebecca
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PostSubject: Re: How to Make Your RP Look Good from the First Glance   Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:52 pm

These are some really great tips Lan Fan! I think most new members should definitely be redirected here if they're thinking about making a new RP.

Thanks for putting something like this up, I'm sure it'll get tons of use!
- Rebecca
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PostSubject: Re: How to Make Your RP Look Good from the First Glance   Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:06 pm

This are great tips, Lan! Hopefully this helps the newer members and those who don't have many members joining their roleplay.
i'm actually at a five paragraph level but nobody replies with long replies so i can't really type that much

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