Tips for lrp brief writing, a guest post by Andy Raff.

Something I don’t do enough of is to watch alertly while good words wander past me on Facebook, and then grab them for later linking. They’ll only end up in Zuckerberg’s content graveyard otherwise. Everything below this line is his.

1) JUST WRITE IT: No job takes as long to finish as the one that never gets started. Writing the wrong sentence down helps you find the right sentence much better than staring at a blank page.

2) THERE *ARE* BAD IDEAS: If anyone tries to tell you otherwise they are probably selling something.

3) REMEMBER YOU’RE WRITING FOR IDIOT STRANGERS WHO HAVE BEEN HIT ON THE HEAD TOO MANY TIMES: Bane of my life. Every sentence needs to have a point to it. Take words away until the sentence stops making sense, then add some new ones back in until the sentence says something useful or important. Be clear. Don’t use allusions only you and three other people understand (cf “No Death Knights” – it doesn’t mean what you think it means)

3a) WHO ARE YOU WRITING FOR?: Seriously. Who is the intended recipient of your words. Write for them, not for someone else.

3b) USE THE RIGHT VOICE: Who are you writing for? What voice are you using? Your IC info voice and your OOC info voice sound different. Avoid mixing them in the same section, but don’t be afraid to drop out of one to include the other. I like boxouts, IC flavour text, and the “XXX In Play” tag for this.

3c) NOBODY SPOTS SUBTLETY: That’s not entirely true but it is a hard lesson to learn. If you’ve got something to communicate SPELL IT OUT. Because sure as little green apples if you try to be subtle it will go over the heads of 78% of the readers, and the remaining 22% will interpret it in the worst possible way.

4) SOME/MANY/MOST/EVERY: Work out which of these words to use where. Also MAY/SHOULD/MUST when you’re talking about permission to do something.

5) FULL STOPS ARE YOUR FRIEND; Long run-on sentences are the devil. Try and break them up before you feed them to the ducks or the ducks will choke.

6) PICTURES MAKE A PAGE READABLE: But they’re also a way of communicating. Random pictures of people looking vague are worse than no pictures at all. Arguably.

7) DON’T DO IT ALONE: Find someone you can work with and work with them or at the very least get other people to read what you wrote and listen to what they say. Edit it. If you have the luxury use a method of working together that lets both of you edit in real time – hearing someone read words out is no good you need to see the words written down and read them yourself.

8) WRITE POETRY: That’s a personal one and it doesn’t always work. Ignore point 3 – write as if what you’re writing is intended to be read aloud. Give it a cadence. Don’t be afraid to use writing tricks to make your words pop. People remember a good turn of phrase.

9) YOU ARE WRITING FOR LRP NOT TABLETOP: You are not writing for a tabletop game. What works inside the imagination of six people sitting round a table will not necessarily work as well for 100 people up to their arses in mud in a field (or sitting around a table in a stately home in coolthentic ballgowns, whatever). Think about how someone will physically make each element of your brief work, what the players will do, how they will make your brief element part of their in-game lives. If you can’t, don’t do it. Tabi boots for minotaurs sound like a great idea I guess but you could count the number of Omega minotaurs in tabi boots on the toes of one tabi boot.

10) ADD 78% MORE ZZUZZ: Your writing always needs more zzuzz.

11) STRIVE FOR PERFECTION: Perfection may be the enemy of done, but “good” beats “terrible” every time. Keep working until you are happy with what you’ve written. If you’re not happy, it’s probably not right. If you *are* happy it might *still* not be right but the odds are slightly skewed in your favour.

I hope you enjoyed reading that as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’ve been feeling a bit weird all day.

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