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Old Feb 7th, 2015, 06:09 PM
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The Two Paragraph Post, by AMY

Originally written by AMY
The Art of the Two Paragraph Post

The lessons of SNOT:WWAD are intended to teach cleanliness in posting habits and creativity in descriptive detail no matter where the post appears. We are also proud of our goal of teaching each student to have a hook - to allow their personality to come through in each of their posts as a unique style. We do not crank out AxeMan copies: we provide an environment in which each student learns about themselves while absorbing an understanding of what it takes to be exceptional.

However, maybe one out of ten in-game posts can be noteworthy. Most of them are short by comparison. With each post you need to prove that you have an understanding of the game's status, acknowledge the actions of other players, and, most importantly, move the game along. If you fail to do these things then your excellent grammar and pristine spelling means nothing.

Each of these Steps can be accommodated in one sentence. The longer your standard post, the less likely others are to get all of the details. Pack your sentences with descriptive terms so that it paints a picture in the reader's mind - even if it is a messy picture - because that is what makes even the most standard post memorable.

Paragraph One, Step One: Please read what others have written.

You've got to know where the game stands before you write. This seems like a no-brainer, but so many discrepancies are caused because another player 'missed something'. Don't miss anything: it might be a huge mistake. Nothing goofs up a game like going back a page to re-write a post because it conflicted with what others wrote. We all make mistakes, but try to keep on top of the storyline.

Paragraph One, Step Two: Respond to the DM's Information.

If the DM said something happened to you, then respond to it. You do not have to reiterate the cause in a complete sentence. Instead, combine the cause and the effect. If you rewrite everything that came before you your post can get unnaturally long, causing readers to lose interest in the course of the action. Remember: several (many?) other readers are going through this storyline with you and they know what struck your character. They want to know what happens next.
ExampleCassel rolled with the impact of the Ogre's fist, scrambling to his left and springing to his feet with his sword in hand.

Paragraph One, Step Three: Respond to the Other Players' Actions.

If the Cleric offered you two potions of healing then you need to take them or otherwise acknowledge receipt of them. Write that you take them gratefully or begrudgingly or bleedingly. You could even respond in words.
ExampleCassel nodded his head in appreciation of the gift, "Many thanks, kind sir." He then dropped them on the ground and crushed them under his heel. (Next Paragraph)

Paragraph One, Step Four: Record your Character's Status.

The ending of Paragraph One is a springboard to Paragraph Two. Record where your character is at the end of all previous actions and prepare for new material. Check over your work in the fist few lines and make sure you included everything so that a reader will be up to date and ready for more movement in the storyline.
ExampleCassel paused in thought as he prepared for his next actions.

Paragraph Two, Step One: Describe your Character's Actions.

This is simple: describe what you are going to do to push the story forward. These are the actions of your Character that go beyond standing in the gloom or being pensive. Many players enjoy the stoic type or the bold type or the quiet confident type. But you have to explain what the character is doing in a way that gives motion to the game. Otherwise you are standing on the sidelines like all of the Stalkers.
ExampleCassel ceased his brooding long enough to draw his sword form his sheath. "If we are to be manhandled into this adventure, then I say we do it with blades of fury and the anticipation of death."

Paragraph Two, Step Two: Give Other Players Something to Work With.

A solid player post does not stand alone. Instead, it integrates what has happened before with what is about to happen in the posts to come. Sure, there is no way to predict what the next players will write about. But you can give them something to work with. If your Character wants to do something, suggest it to the Party. Offer something or make some kind of action that allows input by other Players.
ExampleCassel tossed the amulet onto the ground. "If you want it, take it."

Paragraph Two, Step Three: Be Creative.

This is the part where you get to do something outside the box. If you are in a cemetery then use a tombstone. If you are in a kitchen, use some pots and pans. You don't have to pick them up and fling them. You can just fall on them and describe the noise to add color to your post. Get our of your comfort zone. Try to do things creatively. Bring in your hook.


Read it like you are a reader, not a writer. Try to understand the imagery that you were aiming for. If you can't see it, no one else can either. Check for grammar mistakes, spelling mistakes, and too many commas. See if it flows. See if it responds to the DM's explanation of events. See if you used the same word too many times. If so, replace some of them or rewrite the sentence.

Post Your Post

Post it.


Always reread your post after you post it. Check for bracket errors and continuity. Check to make sure you weren't ninja'd and that someone else snuck in there to do something that is in your post. Check and recheck. Have a reputation for solid posts that make sense.


Please note: ALL works written here are originally by AMY. I simply borrowed them from the archives for student's to use, and learn from their wisdom.
Aside from RPG, I collect used postage Stamps, Some Coins (quarters), and 1/6th Scale military Figures. Let's talk!

Last edited by Admin Dirk; Feb 12th, 2015 at 12:36 AM.
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