OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


Writing your first post

Worried girl writing on laptop

You might be confused, you might be cautious, you might feel under pressure that your post isn’t going to be as good as everyone else’s. This is normal when you’re writing your first post in a new roleplaying game, especially if you’ve never roleplayed before. After you’ve made the plunge and submitted your story post, things will get much easier and you’ll get a grasp of what’s going on, and wonder why you were worried in the first place.

It can be confusing

If you’re new to roleplaying you might find the whole process confusing. The Ongoing Worlds website was created to take some of the confusion out of the process by making it simple, but it still might not be clear to you if you’ve never been involved in a writing-based roleplaying game before.

The best advice I can give though is just get involved. It’ll all become clear over time and you’re realise it’s not complicated.

Read the latest posts

Before you write your post, it’s important to understand what’s going on in the story. If the game has been going for years then it’s not always recommended you read all the way back from the start – it might take you weeks! Make sure you read at least the latest posts, and if things don’t make sense maybe go back a bit further until you find a post that explains the situation. If this is difficult, send an email to the GM or another player and ask them where you should start reading from. They might also be able to give you a summary of what’s going on for clarification.

Read the character biographies

If you’re going to include other characters in your post, make sure you’ve read their character biographies. This should explain what sort of person they are, and you might be able to mention some details about them that your character notices. If you’re unsure how their character would react to you, check with their player first or you risk putting words in the character’s mouth which they wouldn’t say.

Most new members can be very nervous about writing about another person’s character in case they get it wrong. As long as you check with the player, most people will be flattered that you’ve included their character.

Meet other characters

A good way to introduce yourself to the other players is to have your character talk to their character. Like I mentioned above, you might want to send them a personal message checking if you can do this, and how their character would react. This gives them the option to decline if their character is busy in the middle of a storyline where it’s not appropriate to stop and have a chat. But if you’ve read the latest posts, you should know already if they are!

Later you might collaborate with another member on sub-plots and have your characters working together to complete a mission or escape together from some dangerous situation. Establishing a relationship between your characters early on make this more believable when it happens.

If you do want your character to meet another, you could leave your post where it’s their turn to talk, or a cliffhanger where you’re both in danger and it’s up to the other character to do something to save you both.

Don’t worry about getting involved in the story straight away

The current story might be a bit confusing, and could be difficult for a brand new character to immediately be in a position to contribute to the story. So if it’s too difficult, just concentrate on introducing your character.

Make a lasting impression

For the other players in the game, this will be the first time they’ve read anything about your character so you want to make a good impression that will stay with them. Write about your character doing something that they’re good at, or something you want them to be known for. This will make a good introduction that will stick in other players heads. If your character has any personality traits, eccentricities, fears, or catchphrases, it’s best to mention them too. You’ll notice that in Films and TV shows, the most memorable characters are introduced like this, in a way that you’ll remember them for the rest of the film/series.

If you have any tips for writing first posts please add them to the comments below. If you haven’t yet joined a game, find one on Ongoing Worlds now!