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    Five Common Mistakes that Roleplayers Make

         Roleplayers are just like any other writers; we strive to improve ourselves, day in and day out; constantly wrack our brains for new, exciting materials; and, of course, we make mistakes. This article is about common mistakes that roleplayers make. We've all made them and maybe some of us still are: hopefully this article will give you the nudge you may need to break out of a loop.

    1. Saying 'Yes' when you shoulda said 'No'

         This one I'm sure we've all done. A friend comes to you with a great roleplay idea! They're excited and have it all planned out; they're very eager to get started. Oh! Of course you'll be joining too, right?

         Normally joining a roleplay is never a bad idea. The only time it is, however, is when it's truly an idea that doesn't interest you. If you aren't interested, the best thing you can do for the success of that roleplay is to stay away from it. Anything that you have to force yourself to partake in is generally not going to get your 100%. I rarely give my 100% to things that I am interested in; I can only imagine what I'd give to something that I committed to but didn't really want to do.

         Learning to say no (politely but firmly) is an important skill to have as a roleplayer (and in real life in general, really). I honestly think that it makes you stand out as a collaborative writer when you're willing to put your foot down against something that you feel you won't be able to give your heart to. I respect that ability in people and I'm sure people respect it in me too.

    2. Rushing a Roleplay (especially characters)

         This one goes hand in hand with the above; you're more likely to rush the character creation process if you aren't interested in something.

         However, outside of that, it still happens all the time. This is especially true for Dungeon Masters (or Game Masters). You've spend weeks, sometimes months, working out the details of your campaign. The closer you get to completing it the more thrilled you are to see people walking your world in flesh and blood. You push harder and faster, pumping out content as you go.

         Little do you know, that by pushing yourself harder and faster you are slowly but surely burning yourself out. That's right, you are hurting your creation by pushing yourself. For me this happens around the Character Creation Process. By the time I get around to making the NPCs of my roleplay, I'm tired. Very tired. When this happens, you end up with characters that might have a few good aspects but overall are merely shells of what you could be making out of them.

         I've found that the best method for this is to control yourself. You will get excited and this isn't, by any means, a bad thing. Having a passion for a project is always a good thing. So take a few breaths and, if you are running a User Created Roleplay here on RPGChat, consider delegating some of the work to your moderators!

    3. Is that bird? A Plane? No it's a God-Moder!

         Since the dawn of roleplaying time, back during the days of yahoo roleplaying chatrooms; we have all known them and hated them. They leave a dirty taste in the back of your mouth and make you spit on the ground they walk upon! God Moders.

         What if I told you that chances are high that you've done it too? Worse yet, you've done it and you probably don't even know it. It's the easiest thing to do and you may have had the best of intentions in doing it.

         The Line between God-Moding and Not is generally a thick line and hard to cross. But it's easy to step into that gray threshold in the middle. Have you ever assumed another players reaction to something your character has done? Have you ever had a blow land without your target acknowledging it? Have you ever described your own character as beautiful?

         That last one probably caught your attention! It's true, though. Something as simple as writing, "She walked across the room, her beauty radiant as the firelight danced off of her silky shimmering gown," is, in essence, God-Moding. You've assumed that every character that is looking at your character shares that same descriptor, "Beautiful."

         Now while this doesn't immediately make you a horrible person, it is something that I feel every roleplayer should strive to overcome. Instead of describing your character as beautiful, describe the aspects of your character that you find beautiful. "She walked across the room, her smooth blonde hair fluttering in the smooth heat of the fire (of which danced in her deep, blue eyes)." That sentence to some may describe a beautiful woman, to others it may be unattractive. That in essence is the point: by doing it this way, you have left that decision up to the other roleplayers.

    4. Focusing too much on being unique

         At some point in the middle-ages, something happening in the world of literature. Something amazing and unprecedented. EVERYTHING had been done. EVERYTHING there was to be written about had been written.

         Does this sound true to you? Of course not! It sounds a bit far fetched, but it isn't that far off. Coming up with something unique now a days can be a real struggle and it's a struggle for a really good reason. It's not important.

         Writing isn't about coming up with an idea that no one has ever come up with before. This isn't inventing, at least not in the same sense. If you love Tolkien and you draw inspiration from his work and it inspires you to the point were you begin to add aspects of it to your own adventures: do not despair. Everyone does it. In fact, I am willing to bet this years paycheck that a single book this year hasn't been published that didn't draw in aspects written by another author.

         It's not wrong, by any means. If you're concerned that your writing isn't original, don't worry! Read over what you've written when your roleplay is done. You've sprinkled your own style and your own creativity into it. You've made it unique by the changes and situations that you put it in. Don't despair about not being unique; I want you to rejoice in the fact that you are inspired by what you read.

    5. I'm so stupid, I should have done this instead...

         You are your own worst critic. This reality applies to roleplayers as much as it does to creative writers; I'd say it even applies more. Many writers have the comfort of knowing who they are sharing their writing with and who will read it. When you are roleplaying, you know that the whole site has the potential to read what you've posted. Due to this, you are way more prone to nit-pick your own writing to the point of driving yourself into insanity.

         While criticism is important and having self criticism is positive; having an abundance of self criticism is damaging. It hurts your self esteem and it begins to show in your writing. Rather than your writing flowing and coming off as being you (or your character) it begins to become mechanical. You begin to write by rote, falling into infinite trends and loops. Before you know it, you won't even recognize your writing anymore.

         Over criticizing your own writing can lead to writer's block. We all know that writer's block is a hurtle to get past; why would you continue to do something that has potential to put you in that negative space?

         If you notice that you're being hard on yourself and you're tearing your roleplay apart trying to get it perfect, consider just giving in and letting someone else read it and criticize it. The chances are very high that you were being hard on yourself. They'll give you a list of what they'd change about it and what they wouldn't, and you roll on. It gives you a good base-line to work off of while still giving your writing that little hint of special that makes it yours.

         I hope this article has helped some of you improve your writing. If it has, I'm happy for you and very excited to read your writing here on RPGChat! I feel like we can all improve as writers and roleplayers and every little bit helps us. We all have something to teach everyone else and the best way to do it is through example.

         Thanks for reading and happy roleplaying!