OngoingWorlds blog

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


Taking 5

When we need to reach a certain word count set by the mod, it can be difficult. But not everything needs to be said or even thought. Sometimes, bringing in our five senses gives two characters something to do or talk about.

1. Touch

Sure, you can say that the character jumps into a brick wall, but why not do more? The wall is red and rough, causing the character’s pants to rip when they jump down. This creates a situation for them to work around. While we may think “rough” when we hear “brick wall” but not every brick wall is rough and scratchy. There are some that are smooth, or smooth enough to not cause a situation. So adding adjectives to things make the world more realistic. Just don’t go over board, or you can come off as long winded.

2. Smell

When touch doesn’t work, smell can be used. Walking in front of a coffee shop smells of vanilla and cinnamon, mixed with that distinct coffee scent. What does the garden smell like, dirt or roses? Is that a skunk nearby? Smell gives players much to work with. Never discredit it… unless the character can’t smell, then don’t worry about it.

3. Taste

When you don’t want to overload the nose, why not describe flavors? In the desert? Your mouth can taste like it’s full grit and sand. Eating breakfast? How are the surgery, maple syrup pancakes with bananas and cinnamon? While those are simple, try this scone. It may taste nutty, with a strawberry after taste.

4. Hearing

What’s that sound? Is it a hammer and nail? Or a woodpecker hunting for grubs? Sounds add depth, both literally and figuratively. Sound travels, so that woodpecker sound echoes through the trees from a few feet. But a sonic boom travels miles. Unless magic or science is involved, odds are that the voice on the wind is in the character’s head.

5. Sight

This is the sense we take for granted. We say clouds and sky, but how blue is the sky and what are the clouds doing? Are they angry in a dark blue sky? Or are the wispy, almost frail, in a bright blue sky? Is the chicken a golden brown or white? It’s okay to use details to make the world brighter.

Bonus: The 6th Sense

This is a extrasensory sense. Many call it a gut feeling, but it is simply a way to sense danger. When magic is involved, it is considered any form of power, from sensing someone watching to knowing something doesn’t feel right about a person to seeing future events. Other wise it is a gut feeling or intuition. You can use this to make the story more interesting, but don’t over do it. You start to look like a Mary Sue if you do, and people don’t like that.

This is just how you can add depth and realism to your games by adding a few words. It may seem strange, but think about this: The bakery in down the street in the rough, bleached brick walls that smells of coco and fresh bread is making a new scone that tastes of apples and cinnamon with a nutty after taste. Your mouth watering yet?