If there's one thing I've noticed, it's that all roleplays follow a formula. You may or may not agree, but this is what I think about most of them even though they do have different stories and elements. Maybe I'm not really getting at a formula, per se. But you have to admit, almost every roleplay does the same things.


τнɛᴌɪτɛᴙᴀᴙʏ ɛᴌɛϻɛɴτѕ

First off, I think we all know that roleplays are categorized, more or less by one of five levels:

Advanced Literate
Literate
Semi-Literate
No Expectation (which usually just says no requirement)
and whatever you would call *doing this* & d1$ & t4at.


I can't even do that last one right. But you get my point. Everything is neatly categorized and has a nice little indicator somewhere in either the rules or title. But seriously, what are they exactly? One roleplay says Lit. they only want three nicely descriptive and grammatically correct sentences. Now, that's not Lit. in my book, but everyone has their own idea of what's Lit. and what is not. So here's my idea, as I've posted somewhere else as well but that was awhile ago.

a d v a n c e d..l i t e r a t e To me Adv. Lit. is more than six good, five to eight sentence paragraphs. That's my idea of it by definition. Of course, that could be eight paragraphs of crap and a description of an apple. I'm not too particularly fond of Adv. Lit. myself, I mean, it's supposed to reflect more realistic things. And no one, I mean no one thinks that much between words. Humanity is too brash for that type of analysis.
l i t e r a t e This is probably what you see rather than Adv. Lit. It's still pretty unreasonable sometimes though. But some people can pull of four meaty paragraphs of greatness that is all relevant, without going off on some mind ******** of a field trip right in the middle. About four or six sentences each I think it's possible and I have stumbled down that path an uncountable number of times.
s e m i - l i t e r a t e This, I think, appears more often than not in the forums. I'm most comfortable with this, because, by my definitions anyways, floating between this and Lit., and face it; people like what they can do easily. A challenge is something that, if you go after it, I applaud you for. And I mean a real challenge that you yourself have given and no teacher or boss or peer.
n o..e x p e c t a t i o n So this where it starts getting a little sketchy. Although I think these are usually the ones to last longer, they're not...easy to follow sometimes. Mostly the characters are all over the place and, I'll share with you a little secret, the people behind the characters may appear a little..dumb, just by the way they type and order everything. But again, they're not all that bad.
t h a t..o n e..t h i n g Okay...really really bad roleplaying. That's all I have to say, and not because I'm getting bored of typing because 1. I know how to type quickly and 2. there is a lot more to go. I'm not going to explain this one because I feel it could get slightly ugly on my part.


τнɛτнɛoᴙʏ oғ ғᴀτɛ

So now that I've explained my...feelings on the levels of roleplaying, because I feel that really, there are no set guidelines on this and there should be. But anyways, I'm gonna move on to what I originally created this entry for.

Has anyone noticed, that each roleplay starts out the same way. Which is couples. I'm not even kidding you right now. Every single roleplay I've joined people immediately begin choosing who their character is going to be with for the entire duration of the roleplay. I do it, if you roleplay I bet you do it, even possibly sub-consciously. I know I do it, because I've obviously recognized that this particular 'fate choosing' of a character exists. This is what I like to call the Fate Theory, or Theory of Fate, whichever floats yer boat is fine with me.

The first time he or she laid eyes on that one person, but that's not when it starts. People, when looking at pre-existing profiles to a thread choose in one way or another, who they want to talk to, meet up with, be with forever. In this stage of my little theorum here, people look at, and I kid you not, the picture used, the name and personality of course. The latter makes most sense of the three but this is what this kind of choice is. It's almost like real life at this point. Of course, this is more of a preliminary choosing, and subject to change.

The other kind is in the actual roleplay itself and begins when you start reading the most recent posts. It has two properties that people look for.
A. How well the person posting is written so you know if you'll be comfortable or not.
B. How often the real person behind the posts gets on. I don't know how many times I've joined roleplays and had the person skip out on me. Both of these make more sense than the preliminary choices.



τнɛᴆɪғғɛᴙɛɴᴄɛ

Yes, I know this seems to be dragging on, but think about it this way - You can click that little red X in the corner of the tab any time you want. Not that I'd advise it, because I'm not just writing this for me; though you may have thought so.

Anyways, this is not just any difference that I'm explaining here, this is the difference between a good story and a bad one, the difference between a hard-boiled story and a one that has been lightly cooked to a delicious crisp.

Most of the time, mind all those roleplays that say..."Go at it sonny boy!" and they're off on a roleplaying spree of five thousand posts until it's over. But how long it lasts doesn't necessarily mean the story is out of this world. It means the majority of the Gaian populace (love that word) doesn't like to read all the little details of a good one.


a..g r e a t..s t o r y Usually people look to original roleplays for this, though I don't believe hardly any of the self-proclaimed roleplays are actually original, but I know they're out there. Otherwise what would people copy from later to create the newest roleplay trends? Just kidding, but you know it's true.

I'm currently in a roleplay that is so original it's mind blowing. Of course it's lucky because the story didn't require much reading, which is part of the reason I was attracted to it. But any who, the pieces that make it so great are, again, as follows:
a setting
a protagonist (the good guys)
an antagonist (the bad guys or problem)
and more importantly: Q U E S T I O N S


And I'll go into the last one for you right now.
So the questions. I've seen too many times that the story, which has a problem, has already been solved. The little jigsaw piece that is missing to fix the problem has already been put in front of it's member's faces. There's no 'thrill', if you will, to the story. There's no p o s s i b i l i t y. And that is what makes a great roleplay.

Why? Because even though the story dictates what it is in the beginning, just like genes tell us what we look like in the beginning, it's the scars that make us who we are. And I know how corny it sounds, how horrible an analogy it is, but it works and that's all that matters, because:

Questions are to Stories as Scars are to People


And that's just how it goes.


But go back a few lines with me, back to that little 'original' thing and the need to quotate it. I think, original stories and concepts are the best kind of stories and concepts. But the average amount of people allowed in a roleplay is about ten. Of course you know about 95% of all facts are made up on a whim, but I think I'm pretty close, consider though, those that accept forever, and those that only want five or possibly twenty-five. Not everyone posts unless they're absolutely dedicated, I know that, you know that and I'll explain that later too. See everything is intertwined!! Anyways, think about it this way:

There are 19,785,018 registered users on Gaia.
Back to the whole 'well how many of those are actually active?'
Right now, at this moment, 6:23PM Eastern Standard on October 27, 2009, there are a total of 65,758 users on.

59,258 of those are visible users, 4,021 are hidden, and 2,479 are just floaters, or unregistered guests

The record was a little over a year ago at 123,381 users.

And I know not all of them roleplay, I myself only started in May this year and I've been on for 2 years and 25 days today, but I wasn't going to tell you that because that would mean I'm inexperienced and shouldn't tell others how to roleplay. Keep in mind that I'm not telling you how, I'm just setting a standard that I haven't seen so far yet.

So where was I going with this? Oh yeah, having an original idea is great and all. But sometimes, the originals that have been mulled over a few times are good, because all the kinks are out and maybe someone who is more capable of running the roleplay is in charge. And more importantly, with all these people wanting to roleplay, many taking on more than one at a time, I'm willing to bet hundreds from those numbers would openly apply for a single roleplay, if only they'd seen it before it was full, or at all. There needs to be repeats of a story, just to be fair. Of course, life isn't fair, but you know what I mean. It's not obscene for people to take ideas. It is however, to not give credit to the original creator. That's a whole 'nother matter entirely though. But this leads me to my next topic: Overused Stories, or as I like to put it, hard-boiled.



t h e..h a r d..b o i l e d..e g g I know we've all seen these stories. Used so many times it makes some of us want to vomit. Take for example; vampire boys in a mansion with human girls. (And I've even seen that used as a title, talk about creativity) It can be demons, werewolves...oh cursed ones, whatever floats your boat is fine with me. I personally like a good one of these every once in a while. But they are over-played, and I can recognize that.

Vampires in general are over-done in the forums, and even though circumstance is different, it's all the same. Vampires verses Humans. Vampires verses Werewolves or all three, every man for himself. It's really quite pathetic that we can't come up with anything different. I've yet to see Vamps and Humans verses Lycans (the word that Lit.s use to make their roleplay seem intelligent ; P ).

I'm tired of seeing Vampires and Werewolves, though I love them to death, they need a break. And now. What happened to Elves and Trolls? Faeries are making a comeback, but all too quickly for my comfort. And more importantly, and this is a serious question. Why can't people go to school, and just be human? Why do they have to be A. 'Different' B. Gay or C. Lesbian? I mean really, why is there all this Yuri and Yaoi stuff going around? You people think that's hot? Well some of you obviously do, and, not just because I disagree with that whole setup, but most of those stories are very under-developed. This takes me to the close for this entry. Some people just like hard-boiled eggs. It's less of a mess, anyone who wants to take a chance joins a 100% original if there is such a thing. Because you start with a slimy thing, but trust me, perfectly browned eggs are better than hard-boiled.




I may come back and add, edit or whatever as I see fit. This is only part of the dissection, seeing as I hardly even came close to covering everything I wanted. But people don't like to look at blocks of text and this is what that's becoming. So make sure you keep an eye out for another.