Info Guide: Para-RP and Verbose Response Roleplaying

Started by Dusky Hues, 2016 Mar 02, 15:51:13

previous topic - next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Go Down

Dusky Hues

2016 Mar 02, 15:51:13 Last Edit: 2016 Mar 02, 16:27:59 by Dusky Hues
I would like to begin by saying I'm very much enjoying the forum so far! I've only made a few posts, but I've been doing a lot of lurking! Yes, I'm confessing to lurking. You can learn a lot from just sitting and reading a forum and not making any responses!

What I've learned in my lurking adventures is that most of the roleplaying posts made in this forum consist of brief responses. I use the word 'brief' simply as an antonym of 'verbose', and would like to formally state that I am not using it as an insult or slander. There is absolutely nothing wrong with brief roleplaying responses if everyone involved is responding the same way, and the storyteller/gm/op of the thread is perfectly okay with those responses. I just want to connect with the roleplaying community here on LoE forums to see if I can find those who prefer more 'verbose' roleplaying.

The most common word you will find to describe this kind of roleplaying is Para-RP or just Para. Some roleplaying communities use mostly Verbose Response Roleplaying and don't even use a word to describe their style of roleplaying. Other roleplaying communities consist of younger people and people of whom the primary forum language is not their first language where posts are mostly Brief Response Roleplaying and a term like Para is needed as a shout-out to those that wish for this style of roleplay. Brief Response Roleplaying (henceforth referred to as BRR) is a term I made up (though it may already exist) just to help me write this post. It simply means the opposite of Para or Verbose Response Roleplaying (henceforth referred to as VRR).

Spoiler: Here is an example of BRR compared to VRR/Para • show

BRR: Dusky Hues looked out the window for her friend, but they weren't there. She went back to what she was doing.

VRR/Para: Dusky Hues sheepishly pushed herself against the cool window pane and peered into the dusty streets below. Her gaze swept from house to storefront in hopes of spying her dear friend. Of all the ponies below her, none resembled her friend in the slightest, and so she withdrew with a feeling of deep disappointment. 'When will my friend arrive?' She wondered as she returned to busying herself. Anything she could find to distract herself from the wait would do.

Neither form of roleplaying should be considered superior over the other. Brief Response Roleplaying can be used for direct and to-the-point responses that aren't 'muddied' by a large amount of descriptions and can be useful in allowing faster posting, while Verbose Response Roleplaying, or Para, can be used to add much deeper detail to the scene and move an elaborate plot further along. Both have their uses in the roleplaying community and in fact, many roleplaying sessions can benefit from both types of responses!

The most common thing I see when someone brings up the subject of Para or VRR, is that the person bringing it up is often looking down their nose at those that don't roleplay this way. By opening a discussion on the subject of Para, I only wish to help inform people who don't know what it is, and hopefully lure other people who prefer to roleplay this way into a game! Wouldn't that be fun! In no way do I wish to discourage BRR or any form of roleplaying that is currently going on. You folks are having fun, and I love that! I'd never want to stop anyone from something they enjoy just because I may enjoy doing the same thing a little differently! I also want to include that I too can enjoy BRR, when it suits my fancy; I just have a hard time not speaking (or writing) my mind in full detail. Honestly, it's why I lurk a lot! Haha.

If you are not familiar with the term Para or VRR, please keep reading!
(I'm going to try to lay out this information loosely because everyone who Para-RPs does so a little differently.)

Para is simply short for 'paragraph' or in the case of roleplaying 'paragraph roleplaying'.
It's a very old term used in roleplaying communities and its origin is honestly from a very negative point of view of BRR (Brief Response Roleplaying). In the beginning, roleplaying communities used this term to distinguish their own roleplaying from what they viewed as short, 'childish' posts, and that's very unfortunate. Their opinions of BRR were that it revealed the roleplayer to be uneducated or immature. That's far from the truth!

Outside of the roleplaying community, the term is not at all used in a negative light. In fact, sometimes,  actors in film or theatre are asked to write a 'Para' for the director to see if they have a firm grasp of the character's personality. It is usually 3-4 paragraphs of the character involved in a situation relevant to the film or play. I have no idea if this practice is still widely used, nor do I know how common it is any more.

The term Verbose Response Roleplaying (VRR) also has negative origins in the roleplaying communities around the net, much like the term Para. Sometimes, the communities that use the term VRR even look down on the use of the word Para. This too is very unfortunate. 'Verbose' simply means to use many words to describe something (though the word verbose can also have negative connotations, but I'm not going to get into the etymology of the word!).

What does Para look like?

Para roleplaying can be one paragraph or many, and the length of the paragraphs can vary widely. Most paragraphs consist of 3-5 sentences. In Para style roleplaying, sentences are usually more than just a standard 'noun and subject' sentence like "He ran". However, these types of sentences can be used to emphasize action in a paragraph and can be used strategically for great effect!

While in literature and writing, paragraphs are usually indented (often with the use of the 'tab' key), it's difficult to indent when typing on forums. This is usually because the 'tab' key is used to move the insertion cursor (that flashing line that appears when you type) to another typing field in the page, and hitting 'tab' won't indent at all. If someone complains that you're not indenting, they're being silly.

Para-RP is used to convey way more than just actions and dialogue. Responses are used to further move the deeper plot of the story and physically describe settings and scene objects the characters are interacting with. The main reason why Para posts are so much more elaborate and longer than BRR posts, is because the players are often describing the thoughts and feelings of a character, even if the other characters don't know how that character is feeling. We, as readers and players do want to know to better understand why a character is performing an action in a certain way, even if our characters don't actively know. Teal Turken says more about using out-of-character knowledge as your character, also called Metagaming, in his awesome posts here. All of that thread is very informative!

Para-RPs do not move quickly.

I have to emphasize this. It is perfectly okay for a person in a Para-RP to take a day to respond to the thread. That person has to read what the other players have written, think in detail how they are going to respond, and then sit down to write that response. This is why corresponding OOC threads are especially important to Para-RPs. A player can announce in the OOC thread that they are working on their post to keep other people informed.

Para-RPs should also have their players post in 'rounds'. If there are five people in the RP, each person must make a post to end the round. They don't have to post in any order in each round, but all players should let each other post something before posting again- even if that 'something' is only one, short paragraph. Rounds don't have to be set in stone, and sometimes people can be skipped if the scene gets deeply involved with only a small number of the group. Firm rules can be posted in the OOC thread, if needed, and the GM/OP can dictate if skipping someone is appropriate in certain cases.

Take heart, dear friends! Para should never be taxing or overwhelming! All roleplaying is just a game, and should never be anything more than fun! If you're not having fun roleplaying this way, feel free to opt out! I myself have many mental and emotional health problems and sometimes find large blocks of text overwhelming to both read and write on my bad days. Even the most eloquent writers have these problems! If you feel like you're going to struggle through the whole RP, don't enter it. There is no reason for you to stress yourself out. No one is going to blame you or insult you for it, and if they do, the moderators of the forum will enforce the rules against these actions and do what is necessary with them.

What are the main rules of Para-RP?

The truth is, there shouldn't be any 'rules' that separate Para/VRR from BRR, but if there was one, it would be this:

Every response is in the form of at least one paragraph. This means, no one sentence responses.

Some Para-RPs may have guidelines in each individual game that define their posting structure even more. Some of those guidelines can be things like: Paragraphs can't be less than 3 sentences; Post should be more than one paragraph long; etc.

Some of these rules can get out of hand, in my opinion, but honestly, if you don't agree with a rule, just avoid the thread completely! This is why I want to emphasize, again, that Para should be fun, not taxing! You should take pride in your writing!

I think I covered all the main bases, so here are some tips and suggestions for Para:

  • Begin your post by adding to what the previous person wrote. This doesn't mean you should rewrite what they wrote, but start writing how your character feels about what happened in the previous post or how they are reacting to what that last character did. If the last person described their character entering the room, you could begin your own post by describing whether or not your character noticed them, and their first impressions of the character entering the room.

  • Instead of just writing that your character performed an action, describe how it looks. This is a great way to flesh out an action and set atmosphere to actions your character is preforming. Here's an example: Instead of writing "Glamor Hoof levitated the tea cup to take a sip." you could write, "Glamor Hoof slowly closed his eyes, and a gentle aura of silvery-blue emanated from his horn as the tea cup slowly rose to his mouth."

  • Adjectives and Adverbs! Adjectives and adverbs are wonderful! Adjectives are words used to describe a subject (a noun), while adverbs are used to define verbs, clauses, and even other adjectives and adverbs (in case you didn't know)! Adding adjectives and adverbs can really help to describe and emphasize a situation, but try not to go overboard! In Para, two adjectives for one noun are very common, and it is also common for nearly every noun in a sentence to have at least one adjective. Here's an example: Instead of writing "Silver Blossom tossed her head to move her hair away from her face and began speaking to her assistant." you could write, "Silver Blossom tossed her head to move her long, flowing hair away from her soft, round face and began gently speaking to her assistant." In this example, the words 'long,' 'flowing,' 'soft,' and 'round,' are adjectives that are describing things in more detail (in this case, Silver Blossom's hair and face), and the word 'gently' is an adverb that is describing how she began speaking to her assistant.

  • Think deeply about how your character feels and describe it in their actions. If your character is angry when they attack, write that your character is gritting their teeth, lowering their head, and narrowing their eyes when they charge forward. If your character is super happy, describe them grinning from ear to ear and beaming with glee when they speak! If your character is very upset when they crawl in bed, write that your character crawls into bed haphazardly, forgetting to remove their shoes or robe, or instead of writing that they are just crawling into bed, describe them flinging themselves on top of their blankets and pillows with their whole body falling limp and ragged like a stuffed doll. Other members of the Para want to be able to see how the character is feeling by their actions through your writing. We can't read your mind (though it might be nice, huh?), so give us all the detail we need! Trust me, we really do want to know!

  • If you aren't sure you wrote enough, your probably didn't. This tip isn't mean to patronize anyone. I, personally, am a very anxious and worrisome person, so I often feel this way, but to be perfectly honest, if you do question if you've described how your character feels in enough detail, you may not have. If you can read what you wrote and imagine yourself as another person that doesn't know how your character is feeling or what they are doing doing, and you simply don't fully understand what you've written, add more! Don't be afraid of reiterating what you already said.

  • [I]If you're not sure what a word means, look it up![/i] I just used the word 'reiterating'. Do you know what it means? Never be afraid to look up a word you're not familiar with. You're not 'dumb' or 'uneducated'. Not everyone knows everything. In fact, I looked up two words while I was typing this, because, even though I knew the meaning, I had to make sure I was using it properly! Also, using a word that you don't know the meaning of can confuse those who read it, so try to refrain from it.

  • Never be afraid to type your responses into a writing program. Writing programs like Microsoft Word or Open Office Writer (a free program) that check for spelling and grammar mistakes are very useful for spying things you miss. Also if you type in the program, as you write, you can see your mistakes as they happen to better learn as they happen. Just make sure to keep your eye out for misused words like 'there, their, and they're', as writing programs often miss these (there's also a great guide to english grammar here)! Making sure you have good spelling and grammar in Para is very important, even more so than BRR, because you are conveying a large amount of information at once. If you're afraid your inability to write with strong spelling and grammar will inhibit you from maintaining a good Para, please opt out. You should never stress yourself or feel like you're struggling to write. On the other hand, if you feel like Para will greatly improve your spelling and grammar, please join! You don't have to have perfect spelling and grammar to join a Para, and a large part of Para-RP is strengthening your writing skills while having fun!

Let me take a moment to point out what I just said in that last tip:

"A large part of Para-RP is strengthening your writing skills while having fun."

It's very, very true. The more you roleplay in the Para and VRR style, the stronger your writing will become. In time, you'll be able to maintain hardy posts and greatly expand your vocabulary!

To conclude, I deeply hope this was informative! If anything else can be added, feel free to do so!

Post Merge

Since no one else has responded to this thread yet, I'm going to go ahead and add:

A very simplified way of explaining Para is that everyone involved is basically writing a big story together. Every response furthers the plot and continues to describe and set the scene as well as add individual character thoughts, actions, and dialogue.

Aaaaah! I was so scatterbrained when I wrote this, I hope it's even legible!  DD:


This is really well thought out and informative.  Now I see why you decided to create your own post. :]  I hope that other roleplayers can learn something from your tips, I know that I did!
[Avatar drawn by Dusky Hues; Thank you!]

Dusky Hues

Ahaha! Thank you! I appreciate you saying so!  <3

Go Up