How To Increase Writing Length in Rp

 

Have you ever hit a wall on a reply where you're just not sure what to say, what else to write about?

Maybe the other person's reply doesn't feel as interactive this time around, or your plot is at a point where the events are just a little less exciting. No matter what the reason is, now and again it can be hard to find the words and hard to match the length of the other person's reply.  Being able to write a similar length to who you are collaborating with is beneficial to make sure neither of you runs out of things to talk about. Sometimes, those minor details can make all the difference in setting the scene or capturing the mood of the current point in a plot.

I've compiled a list of factors to think about when you sit down to write a reply, or for any story-based thing, you might be writing whether it's novella, scripts, or whatever else you can set your mind to. Use this list side-by-side to your reply to help and generate ideas on what details might be helpful. If you go down this list when you hit a roadblock, it can help you build on your reply and grow as a writer!

**There's a TL;DR list at the end if you're skimming.

 

 

Let's Talk About The Senses.

At any moment, you (and your character) are taking in different sensations from touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight, and in for supernatural characters, sixth senses that might be applicable. These details aren't readily thought about unless you write them! Consider this-

  • What is your character touching that could be relevant?
    Are any textures your character is touching notable to the story? (I.e. the cup they are holding. The surface of a book they have.)

    Examples:

    The blanket was taken in her hands with care. The fabric was silken and soft which made her feel at ease just in holding it.

    His fingers slid along the railing of the staircase. The pine surface had been worn smooth from the tavern's traffic over many years.

 

  • Is sight important? Could you talk about how close or far the item your character is observing might be? Where is their focus?

    Examples:

    In the fog, the sign waiting up ahead was just far enough that he had to squint to read it.

    Her eyes followed the clock as the second hand made slow progress around it. How long had it been?

 

  • Is smell important? What about the environment might be noteworthy scent-wise, and how can it set a tone?

    Examples:

    They opened the cafe doors to the warm scent of coffee ground and cinnamon pasteries waiting behind the counter glass.

    As they approached the abandoned village, the smell of soot and ash burned his nostrils and caused his nose to wrinkle.
  • What sounds are nearby, whether its someone they are listening to, or maybe a sound in the distance? 
    Can you use background noises to better set the scene of where they are?

    Examples:

    The old floorboards squeaked and whined under the person's weight when they walked in.

    Although the room was quiet, she could hear the low hum of the pipes that ran above her on the ceiling.
    Every now and then she thought she could hear a whisper.

 

  • Does your character have a 'Sixth Sense'? This might be instinct, or hyper senses that are subconscious to them. The classic "I can sense another supernatural in the room" case fits here, along with any intuition your character might have. Find physical ways of showing these senses.
    Note: A supernatural with really high senses might be able to comment on more sense-based details.

    Examples:

    When the door opened, he felt a tingle on his skin he couldn't quite place. His hand moved to rub his arm where goosebumps had risen.

    Although the woman's words seemed confident, her stomach held on to a sense of dread about the plan.

    The vampire turned the street corner, tuning out the conversations of pedestrians and the humming of the electrical lines.

 

 

Let's Talk About Adding Some Self Awareness.

By this, I mean any thoughts your character has about themselves at the moment.
It could be a sudden realization of tiredness, how they are handling pain.
It could be recapping how your character feels about an event that just passed.
This can be emotion-based or how their own body physically changes. 
It can also be how your character perceives other characters in the moment.

Note: This type of thing is easy to write because it's personal to your character, but avoid talking about this for the majority of your reply! It becomes hard for the other person to find ways to respond. Keep it at... let's say 30%.

  • How's their physical health?
    This pain, relief, tension, any physical traits.

    Examples:

    She felt an ache in her hand when she let go of the handle, not realizing how tightly she had held on.

    Upon waking up, he felt a throbbing pain greet him at the back of his head. The ringing in his ears was barely tolerated as he groaned and
    stood up slowly.

    They let out a deep sigh of relief at the news, and all the tension in their shoulders melted away.

  • How do they feel emotionally?


    Examples:

    An overwhelming sense of joy welled up in her chest. They had made it! They survived! She resisted the urge to run over and hug the other.

    Was the woman walked off, his brow furrowed. What the hell was with her, anyway? He didn't understand it one bit.

    He took a seat on the ground with a sigh. He didn't take his eyes off the stranger that he still didn't trust in the slightest.

 

Let's Talk About Facial Expression.

This is huge, I could write a whole blog on this, and... I think I generally overdo it myself. The key to describing facial expressions is to have variety. "His eyes narrowed" loses its effect when it's over-used but a slight difference in wording can make it interesting.
There's 42 muscles in your face that control expression, so let's use em!

  • EYES
    All things eyes, including how your eyebrows or nose might change along with it.

    Eyes can widen or narrow / Tears can brim in them / One can roll their eyes / An angry person might glare
    A skeptical person may squint /So would a person in a sandstorm
    In turn,
    Eyebrows raise in surprise / Eyebrows come closer together in anger / They relax when a person stops glaring.

    Eyes and how eyebrows move are connected. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

    Examples:

    At the comment, his eyes narrowed at the man. His brow knitted together in confusion and he huffed.

    Blue eyes shot daggers across the room at the man before she took her leave from the museum. 

    Their eyes widened in shock instantly. Their face went slack as the doctor spoke, causing her eyebrows to raise in disbelief.

  • MOUTH
    There's more to just smiling and frowning.

    A smile is standard. 
    A grin might be a little happier.
    A toothy grin is wider than that. 
    A frown is standard. 
    A scowl is dangerous. 
    A smirk is cocky or teasing.
    Your lips can purse to be serious, or when thinking.
    A mouth that is a thin line is stoic, or reserved.
    Biting one's lip can be teasing, thinking, or mean you're hiding something.
    The corners of your mouth can move only, like when you read that one meme and it makes you laugh inside for a second.

    Examples:

    The lines on the vampire's face deepened when he heard the news, and a frown spread across his face.

    The wolf watched with a grimace on its muzzle as the silver bullet struck its pack mate, who let out a howl.

    A grin spread across her face while she tried not to laugh. Her mouth formed a thin line to try and keep it back, pursing her lips.


    How do wrinkles show on the face under certain emotions? What order do the facial expressions change in? The above is a brief list. A google or two on the topic can lengthen it.

 

Let's Talk About Posture.

This is how your character moves. Generally, it's easy to imagine big-picture movements like walking across a room, but you can also dive into the subtle movements that people make. Humans are fidgety, so are most supernaturals. Vampires or ghosts might have their own ways they fidget too if you get creative with it.

  • Where is your character in the room?
    Start off with general placement, give people an idea on where they are.

    Examples:

    As the two walked in, an older woman was sat behind the hotel counter with a book in her hand. The cover looked akin to a romance novel.

    The man was waiting for them by the stables. His back was leaned against the fence that held a slight lean when he put weight on it.

    They had sat themselves down on the floor as they caught their breath. Their head turned when the door opened.

 

  • Let's add movement.
    We'll start with fidgeting. Are they sitting as still as a statue? What little movements give characters life?

    Examples:

    Touching/fixing their hair
    What rate are they breathing?
    Do they have an item they might be fidgeting with?
    Do their fingers tap on a surface?
    Does their leg bounce subconsciously when they sit in a chair?
    Do they bite the inside of their lip when they think?
    Do they run their finger over the hem of their jeans or some other item?
    Do they adjust their clothing, like unzipping a jacket or fixing a shirt?

    If you haven't noticed the trend, how a person might fidget goes right along with what their quirks might be. 
    Depending on the mood or how nervous they are, the amount of fidgeting may change. 
    There's plenty of lists online for this one if you need ideas of odd character quirks or gestures. 

 

  • Point A to point B.
    How your character walks, gestures, or approaches. Everyone has a different walk, and we walk differently depending on our mood. 
    The same goes for body posture. Walking forward to hit someone in the face has a different feel than walking out of a funeral.
    A lazy person will have different timing than a person that is scared.

    Examples:

    He sighed when called on and stood up slowly out of his seat. He rolled forward on his heels and made his way over to her. "Whaaat?"

    Her hands balled into fists as she charged toward the woman with a murderous look in her eyes.

    Hurried footsteps carried them down the stairs, skipping steps on the way. A fearful glance went over their shoulder at the shadow following.

 

Read (and Write) the Room.

The space your character in has things to interact  if you look hard enough.

  • What is your character touching that could be relevant?
    Are any textures your character is touching notable to the story? (I.e. the cup they are holding. The surface of a book they have.)

    Examples:

    The blanket was taken in her hands with care. The fabric was silken and soft which made her feel at ease just in holding it.

    His fingers slid along the railing of the staircase. The pine surface had been worn smooth from the tavern's traffic over many years.

    What's that you say? The room is... literally empty?
    No it isn't. I believe in you. Channel your inner Stephen King and find detail in all spaces.

    When he woke up in the room the air felt damp and stale. The four walls greeted him in a 10x10 meter square where the ceiling showed no difference to the walls. The floor was a cold concrete, the other planes of the box painted white. A light shone overhead that was industrial in nature. The seam where a door presumably could open was seen on the wall beside him but showed no signs of opening from the interior. The only sounds in the maddening silence of the box were the light above and its low electrical hum as the current passed through. It gave a flicker on occasion. The floor was cold, but the clamminess of his skin from waking up negated it while he sat up in the space.

 

TL;DR

Are you stuck on a reply? Remember to write about details like:

 

The senses

Touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight, sixth senses

Self Awareness

Your character's status physically and emotionally

Facial Expressions

Your character's eyes, mouth, eyebrows, and more. 

Posture

Where is your character in the room and how are they moving about?

The Room Itself

Describe the materials and objects. Describe what your character finds interesting.

 

 

The End (and a Disclaimer)

If you got this far, I'm proud of you. You must want to work on your writing and hopefully found this useful. Please let me know how I can improve this or if you see any typos. Drop some good feedback in the comment box. Do you want more like this? Do you have topics you struggle with? Let's hear it.

I claim zero expertise on the topic of literature or the correct ways of writing a story because I'm growing myself and trying to remember these things as well. Every now and then a consistent writer will feel their work is stale, and as a good friend told me once, "if you feel your work is going stale, it means change is around the corner."

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

Kei/Lenny has been writing collaboratively since 2009 and has been with Wrealms as an admin since its start in 2015.

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