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Writers' Resource Blog

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xx Rules for Improv, RP, and real life.
May 30, 15, 03:24:36 PM by Nicole
Improv rules have been adapted for just about everything from the workplace to the dating world -- and they're occasionally actually used in improvisational theater, too.

What we do on Blood Rites is, in my opinion, a combination of cooperative storytelling and improv. We plan a lot of storylines and threads in advance, but once your characters are in a scene, they may surprise you. That moment of discovery is part of the fun of telling stories in this way. We work to get those little pieces of magic.

We all want that.

We also want stories to work, thus we need to find a balance. Here are a few rules that I think help, borrowing from some basic tenets of improv:

Say Yes...And yes, and!
In improv, scenes are all about making and accepting offers, which can be as simple as, "It's Tuesday." For our purposes, I see characters as an offer. For example, let's take your garden variety Warlord Prince of any jewel color. We've established on the board that Warlord Princes follow the Anne Bishop model of "violently passionate and passionately violent."

That's why our make-believe world has Protocol, and why a Warlord Prince coming on the scene is reason to be on high alert. Not all Warlord Princes will rip your throat out for looking at them the wrong way, or making a crack about his queen, but there's an assumption about them.

Keeping those assumptions is important to building a character. A few examples from the board:

Elisif Brenden. Glacia turns around the Gray-jeweled Queen who is a triple-gifted messiah of sorts. Even people who would seem to be technically more powerful than she is are afraid to get in her way or run afoul of her. She's not unbeatable or infallible, but even characters who have never interacted with her make decisions informed by what they know of her and her rule. Tal made a huge offer to everyone playing in the Territory by making this character. With everyone accepting Elisif as presented, the conflict and stakes are heightened for every storyline. Sure, Aksel Winterton thinks he's a badass and could try to take her down with his darker jewel. But, she has Otso Oskari -- who even though he's much lighter than Aksel, he's still a Dark-Jeweled Warlord Prince, very strong and very scary. Aksel would feel the smack-down. The fact that he knows this makes the whole story more interesting.

Ranseur Ecthelion. Ranseur isn't the darkest jeweled Warlord Prince lurking around Dea al Mon. He wears an Opal which -- though spatially falls in the middle of the spectrum -- is a seriously formidable amount of power. Beyond his caste and the color of his jewel, Dany has created a guy who has murdered Brood monsters, and killed women and children in their sleep because he believed that's what was necessary. He's big. He doesn't talk much. He's scary, and that's acknowledged by people more and less powerful than he is. Dany does a great job selling Ran as this character -- and she didn't need help, but she got it.

Check out this thread that doesn't even include him except in a flashback (which I wrote with Dany's OK and review) in Persistence is Futile. Saffron struts around showing off her Red jewel, but Ranseur is the one who ultimately saves the day -- because no one wants to mess with him. It served my story, supported Dany's characterization of Ran, and moved the plot forward.

These are great examples of the power of "Yes, and...!" Sif is terrifying. "Yes, and she is the reason our characters must escape/persecute all the Light Jewels/be smart about moving against her." Ranseur is powerful and scary. "Yes, and that's why I want him protecting me/that's why I'm using him to my own ends/that's why I cross the street when I see him coming."

Don't Block.
This is really an extension of saying, "Yes...and.

But wait! What if it is in your character's best interest to block? Say, if someone is trying to murder your Queen or steal your sweet roll. Then, of course you aren't going to say, "Oh, you want to steal my sweet roll? Why, yes, and let me wrap it up for you with some extra sticky icing."

If you've planned out a conflict in your scene, obviously you want to move toward the goal of the scene.

Blocking occurs when you flat out negate the other character and writer's intentions. For example, say we're in Scelt. In Scelt, everyone dislikes and distrusts Black Widows. So, if a Blood Opal Black Widow comes on the scene, keep that in mind when interacting with her. One of the offers on the table in Scelt is their feelings about Black Widows. Unless you have a specific reason built into your character for that character to be contrary, then you're blocking the offer if you decide that you just love all Black Widows.

In other words, if someone offers you, "It's Tuesday," don't say -- "No! It's Wednesday!"

That kills the scene, and puts all the onus and pressure on your partner to create a new reality for the scene you're inhabiting with them.

This all leads up to...

If your partner looks good, you look good.

An old adage of improv is that everyone is a supporting actor. Or, another way to look at it: No one has time to be your back-up dancer.

Selling the strengths and key traits of the characters in a scene with you make your character seem that much stronger. The writing is better and the scene is more powerful. It's easy to get hung up on your own goal in a scene -- and you should always keep those goals in sight. But, it's equally important for us to pay attention to what's happening in a scene. Be in the moment and listen.

An example of screwing this up:

In the first scene phinn and I did with Baelfire and Allure, we had some OOC chatter about the direction we wanted the story to take. I was excited about this, and kept scouring her posts for subtle cues to push the scene in that direction. I unfairly pounced on what amounted to a pause in Baelfire's speech.  Phinn cordially called me on it, and rolled with it -- and was right to. The scene got better once I stopped trying to push it into the future, and focused on what was happening between the two characters in that moment.

On an out of character basis, accept the other character as your writing partner wants them written, and have your in character actions follow accordingly. That doesn't mean they are in complete agreement (your character might not agree with my vain character that she's got the best hair in the land, but your character at least acknowledges that SHE thinks so).

That's what helps make our stories feel more real. We've all contributed pieces to this reality, and our characters have to operate within that complex reality.

Lastly, another rule is there are no mistakes. For our purposes, we can do-over, we can retcon, we can edit, we can check in with each other.

So, go fearlessly have fun and support your fellow storytellers.
xx Points of Protocol III: Respectfully Bossing a Queen
Feb 19, 15, 10:43:07 AM by Nicole
Protocol is a system of checks and balances. As the natural order of the Blood gives ruling power to females -- as only females can be Queens -- Protocol serves to give men some equal partnership. It also balances out the drive many Queens have to work themselves and their courts to exhaustion.

There's a good example of this when Gray is training to be a First Escort, and he's exhausted by the end of the first day.

"You didn't rememeber the part about the First Escort being able to insist on rest breaks, but I figure you'll learn that Protocol fast enough for self-preservation if for nothing else."
-- Daemon to Gray in Shalador's Lady.

The First Escort and, indeed, the First Circle seems to have considerable latitude to boss their Queens. This privilege seems to be particularly common between Warlord Princes and Queens they serve.

"When Protocol is being observed and a Warlord Prince makes a request of his Queen, she graciously yields to his request unless she's no longer willing to have him serve."
-- Saetan in Daughter of the Blood.

Reasonable requests like stopping for a meal, resting, handling certain tasks are all within the purview of a male serving a queen. A functional court uses Protocol to make sure a Queen gets what she needs. The Queen, in turn, is bound to hear and consider these requests -- and for the most part, comply with them, or at least explain herself.

While there are more formalized aspects of the relationships between the Queen and her court, you can take many of these interactions as a model for most male and female interactions.

For example, Escort's Privilege is something any male acting as an escort to a female may claim. (Check out The Invisible Ring for several examples of this -- both pertaining to a queen and not.) This allows the male some latitude to do what he deems necessary to keep a woman in his charge -- even if temporarily -- safe. This includes everything from insisting she eat breakfast to staying nearby while she's sleeping.

This is an example of where we can adapt our play in our AU -- Anne Bishop doesn't list every single perk of Escort's Privilege, but it can be interpreted fairly broadly. A good little detail to have in your back pocket the next time you're dealing with a surly female in character.

What other instances might Escort's Privilege come into play? What other examples can you think of using Protocol to help keep a court running smoothly?
xx Points of Protocol II: Where do I stand?
Feb 19, 15, 10:41:40 AM by Nicole
Where do I stand?

Protocol, in Blood society, can show at a glance where someone stands in the perceived pecking order -- and also dictates literally where someone ought to stand.

So, in the Anne Bishop books, Jaenelle and her posse of queens delighted in ignoring Protocol. This is a point where our alternate universe would differ significantly. No one in our history had the insane amount of power Jaenelle had, so you're not going to find so many people here ignoring Protocol, which is actually a very handy tool. A lifesaving tool in some cases -- so, if you buck Protocol, your character should have an excellent reason for it. In this instance, it's a fun way for you characters to subtly show support or cut someone in a scene.

You can tell a lot about a character, just by where he chooses to walk, like Theran Grayhaven in this example:

"He was ignoring Protocol by walking on her right to indicate his Jewels were dominant instead of walking on her left to indicate his power was in her service. He wasn't offering his hand in the traditional escort position so that she could rest her hand on top of his. Maybe he thought it wasn't necessary to follow those formalities until they were clsoer to the audience room, but the servants they passed noticed.

"Prince Theran was sending a message that would trickle through the court and through the Blood who worked in the mansion: the new Queen wasn't worthy of courtesy or respect."

- from The Shadow Queen.

I love the example because there are a few tidbits of Protocol embedded in there, and also a great illustration of how following or bucking Protocol can affect another character, and the perceptions of characters around you.

As this implies, standing to the right of someone indicates you're stronger than they are. This could be a pretty audacious thing to do, particularly if you're close in jewel strength. If you have a very strong character who goes to the left of someone, that character is indicating to everyone present that he or she will fight for that person.

The system for determining the pecking order can be somewhat convoluted. When everyone is the same caste, it's easy enough to assume that the strongest jewels are the strongest individuals. However, when you have a Green Prince and a Blood Opal Black Widow -- could be a little more complex, yes?

Since Protocol can be somewhat instinctive for Blood who grow up using it -- but not for the writers behind these characters -- I like to ask myself the following questions to figure out what my character would do.

- Can the other character in the scene kill mine without breaking a sweat? If yes, that means my character probably OUGHT to defer and the riskier a break in Protocol will be.

- What are the relationships between the characters in the scene? A slightly weaker character who is the favorite of the queen is probably not someone I want to risk angering without good reason.

How do your characters react to those more powerful than they are -- and how does their knowledge and use of Protocol demonstrate those leanings? What other questions are helpful to ask yourself in guiding your character's actions?
xx The Queen's Bond
Feb 19, 15, 10:25:37 AM by Nicole
One of the more interesting original relationship concepts in the Black Jewels books is the idea of the Queen's Bond.

This happens when a male (and in much more rare cases, a female) and a Queen are drawn to each other to serve and protect. The bond forms instantly, and from descriptions in the books, seems to be felt more acutely by the men than by the queens -- though, I imagine that might vary.

One of the best descriptions and explanations of how this happens is in The Shadow Queen, when Jaenelle (a very experienced queen) is coaching Cassidy (a fairly new queen to ruling) on how to choose a court.

"It's simple," Jaenelle said. "You stand in front of them and let them all get a look at you. Say something so they can hear your voice. Then you wait. Many are going to feel disappointed -- and some will feel bitter about it because they don't realize it's part of forming a court. For most of them, you won't be the right Queen to serve -- at least not in the First Circle. They'll need to look at the other Queens. But the ones who do belong to you -- you may not recognize it immediately, since you've never felt it, but they'll know. Some will approach you and look relaxed or relieved because they've finally found something they've needed. Others will be wary when they approach because they aren't sure if they can trust the instincts that are pushing them to hand over their lives and surrender to your rule. As each man approaches, look him in the eyes. If something inside you says, 'This one belongs to me,' then he does."
-- The Shadow Queen.

Jaenelle then adds that the Warlord Princes who belong to her will want to sniff her neck -- and not to make a fuss about it. It's later explained it's not sexual -- and that the bond isn't necessarily sexual. In fact, most of the time, it's not.

However, it is viewed as a kind of love, and as such, it's not infallible. It can sour, it can break, it can die if not properly nourished.

"I served a Queen before I turned rogue. She was the reason I turned rogue. I never felt the pull with her that I feel with Cassie. I don't think I could turn away from Cassie, no matter what she did at this point."

"That bond can wane or break, like any other kind of love," Saetan said. Having faced the possibility of killing a son in order to save his Queen, he knew what Talon was feeling, but there wasn't much comfort he, or anyone else, could give this man."

- Talon and Saetan talking in Shalador's Lady.

I love that passage, because it shows how the Queen's bond can tear a man's loyalties. It also indicates that if a Queen abuses her males, over time she can destroy and corrupt the bond between them -- something that we don't often see play out.

What's your favorite queen's bond dynamic? What kind of relationship would you like to see play out related to the queen's bond?
xx Points of Protocol: An Introduction and Courting a Warlord Prince
Feb 19, 15, 10:22:33 AM by Nicole
When you spend most of your time with people who are wired to be hot-tempered and passionate — and a fair number of them could kill you with little more than a thought — manners become incredibly important. For the Blood, this collection of etiquette combines what is instinctual to them and turns it into a comprehensible collection of rules referred to as Protocol.

These are the checks and balances that help a queen maintain control, govern how Blood interact with each other and — importantly — help keep Warlord Princes from killing everyone in sight. Protocol determines how ranks are addressed, how deeply to bow, equips men and women with a commonly recognized set of gestures, and there are apparently enough nuances to Protocol that it fills volumes of books.

But how do we get our hands on these books?

Obviously, these volumes aren’t available to us, but that leaves us largely free to do what Anne Bishop did — make up points of Protocol as we need them. These are the little touches that help make our world feel a little more authentic, and help us think about what we can do to ground our characters in a world brimming with dangerous types.

How big a deal is Protocol to the Blood? Pretty serious. For example, the only reason Saetan SaDiablo didn’t challenge Dorthea when she denied him paternity of his son Daemon was “because he believed in the Blood Laws and Protocol.” The sense of honor that binds the Blood to obey these tenets is so strong, that arguably the most powerful man in the entire series lets it separate him from his son — and essentially ruins his son's life for a long time. It’s that important to them, so think about that when you’re creating and playing your character.

This blog series will highlight some points of Protocol spelled out in the books. You can incorporate these into your writing, or use them as inspiration for taking the next logical step.

Courtship with a Warlord Prince
In the books beyond the original trilogy, a Warlord Prince setting foot in a village is reason enough to put the locals on high alert. These are dangerous men by their very nature and with a tendency to become very fixated on a specific woman and possessive. How does one survive a courtship with a Warlord Prince? How does one survive a Warlord Prince courting one’s sister?

This is where Protocol comes into play.

”Warlord Princes weren’t like other men. They were passionately violent and violently passionate and far more territorial than other males. And when a particular woman intrigued a Warlord Prince sexually, he had a simple way of dealing with potential rivals: He killed them.

Because that lethal response was part of the nature of Warlord Princes, the Blood had long ago established Protocols to give other males a  chance of survival. When a Warlord Prince indicated interest in a female, the other males stood back, giving him time to get to know her — and for her to get to know him and consider if she wanted that formidable temper and driving sexual hunger focused exclusively on her. Because it would be exclusive, but the choice was always hers. When she’d spent enough time with him to make a decision, she would either accept him as a lover — or tell him to go. And if she told him to go, he didn’t argue, didn’t try to persuade her — he had to walk away. That was part of Protocol, too.”

- Anne Bishop, The Prince of Ebon Rih in Dreams Made Flesh.

Some points aren’t fleshed out. For example, how does everyone else know a claim has been staked? I imagine to the wise, seeing a Warlord Prince flirting with a woman would be reason enough to steer clear. In other places, do you think it’s a more formalized process sometimes? Consider the conflicts that could crop up around this — both for Warlord Prince characters and people around them. Consider how careful a Warlord Prince might feel he needs to be around a woman to prevent creating the perception of a claim if he intended none — or how dangerous concealing such a relationship could be for the couple, and for any who innocently ran afoul of the Warlord Prince.

- What examples have you used in your games of courtship with a Warlord Prince?
- What Protocol customs could you see being adopted around "claims" and courtship? Are there reasons some territories or areas might make this more formal? Less formal?
xx But where do I begin?
Jul 23, 14, 10:28:55 AM by Nicole
Blood Rites has been around for nearly five years and it's still going strong. This powerful history lends the board to really thoughtful, layered role play, but if you're just coming in for the first time or coming back after a long break, it can be hard to know where to start.

I just joined the board back in September. I had not read a single Black Jewels book. I thought the Black Gates were actual gates, and imagined them as such. I couldn't put my finger on what the Abyss is exactly. I limited myself to the lists of strengths and weaknesses used as examples in this really helpful article.

I know how it feels to be new -- and that there can be a bit of a learning curve. The good news: The site is a lot simpler than it seems, the rules all make sense, and the work put in to understand this vibrant world pays off in some of the best roleplaying you've ever had the pleasure to experience.

The conversation I have had with just about every new person who comes along eventually hits on, "But where do I even begin?"

Here are my top five tips for diving in:

1. Read the newcomers guide. It does a fantastic job of walking you through getting started, how to do your first application, how to set up new subaccounts. Plus, when you join, you're assigned a guide, a veteran member of the board who can help you navigate until you're comfortable. Ask this person a hundred questions. They'll be happy to answer or -- if they don't know the answer -- help you figure it out.

2. Cruise the Wanted Ads. Wanted ads are a great place to get started. These are characters with some built-in plot, and they can be a great springboard for getting started. My first character on Blood Rites was an adoption, and she turned out to be one of my favorite characters ever. Even if you decide not to adopt one of the characters available, these ads also give you a big hint as to what kind of characters are needed in each territory. If you have the bones of an idea, and you're looking to flesh it out, you might find a way to fit that character into an existing plot who needs you and your idea. Just contact the person who wrote the ad, and ask for a brainstorming session.

3. Read the "Of the Month" nominations. Want to know which plot-lines are heating up? Peep the nominations for Character of the Month and Thread of the Month. Often, these nominations include a synopsis of a character or a current storyline, and they help put a thread in context. Just opening up a thread and trying to suss out what's going on can sometimes feel like you came into the movie halfway through. The nominations themselves often offer a blurb that explains why a given thread is important and how it fits into a larger plot. This is why I love the OTM nominations.

4. Don't fear the review process. I had a nice long roleplay career that involved never having to write a character sheet ever. I knew nothing about the world. I let my guide handhold me through the process, and it didn't hurt a bit. Think of the application as an opportunity to get to know your character better, and to lay the groundwork for connections that character can have to others and to plot -- either existing, or the amazing plots you're bringing with you. You will get some feedback, but don't look at it as a quiz. They're just trying to help your character fit into the alternate universe as best they can.

5. Strike up a conversation. You see someone who is playing a character who intrigues you? Is there a territory that sounds like the place where you always wanted to plunge a fictional character into pain, angst and drama? Is there a subplot that has you obsessively googling what a serac is? Message the players involved, and ask them if you can play, too. We're into collaborative storytelling around here, and most of us, if we're not currently playing our favorite character, we're probably dying to talk about that character -- like a schoolgirl or schoolboy with our first crush.

Jump right in. The water is fine, and I promise: There is a Queen who needs you to help her rule, a Warlord Prince spoiling for a fight with you, a spy looking over your shoulder, a mystery waiting for you to solve it, a Landen whose village needs your help, or a district hungry for your character's leadership. It's all on the board somewhere -- and if it's not, there's room to make more!
xx Multiple Caste Characters {a guide to successful applications}
Aug 24, 12, 03:27:33 PM by Jamie



One of the toughest type of applications to pass through the Review Council are those what incorporate multiple castes into a single character.

Dual Caste Females

Dual caste females ought to have a level of complexity that supports their status and castes. The bar on these applications has been set high and the expectations are that the character and application should clearly represent the two castes throughout the application and concept.

Elements of a Successful Dual Caste Female Petition:
  • The blending of the 2 castes should be unique and impactful to the character.
  • The entire application should support the need and existence of the two castes.
  • Clear indication, in the application, if the castes are natural or trained.
  • The minimum won’t cut it; we expect these applications to be of a higher quality and caliber so trying to scrape by with the minimum amount of words or elements will not get your character accepted.
Leveraging the Application to Make your Case...
One element that we look for in each multiple caste application is to see if all castes are represented throughout the application. Many times the writer focuses too heavily on the Personality as the best way to showcase the castes; but this leaves the rest of the application without the necessary caste elements.
  • Personality: Each caste in the realm of the Blood has certain personality traits associated with it or that are natural to the caste. It is key to identify how those traits shape the character, even if they do not possess them, and how they blend with other personality traits to make the character unique. The Personality section is one of the strongest sections in which to showcase the castes.
  • Likes/Dislikes/Fears: These sections should always enhance the character and provide further depth to the character. Reflecting the castes in this section is key to providing further insight into the impact of the castes upon the character and application; be careful not to overwhelm this section and focus too heavily on the castes. They should be reflected but not dominant.
  • History: Often times we see applications where the strength of the castes is reflected heavily within the personality and throughout the other elements of the application but it is missing very the very key element that defines the character; their History. Given the impact of multiple castes in this alternate universe of the Realms of the Blood it is key to include a strong reference to the multiple castes and how they’ve impacted the character’s life and growth.
  • Sample: The sample can often be overlooked when it comes to these applications but by showcasing the impact of the multiple castes in this setting it can give the Review Council insight into the impact of the castes outside of the application.
Dual Caste Males & Triple Caste Females

The application process for dual caste males and triple caste females is explicitly difficult and involves elevated expectations of the characters. Because of the requirements and restrictions around the application the HBC and Review Council are extraordinarily hard on these reviews and they are subject to difficulty high standards.

The restrictions around these petitions include:
  • Writer must have 4 characters with 10 posts a piece.
  • Active community member for no less than 2 months.
  • Requires 2 HBC Approvals.


It should be noted that in game Dual Caste males are far more common than a Triple Caste female due to Territory requirements and the availability of training in several of the Territories.

Elements of a Successful Dual Caste Male or Triple Caste Female Application:
  • All of the elements from a Dual Caste Female.. plus more.
  • These characters should have significant plot concepts already planned. This means we are looking to see what large plot opportunities they will be involved with outside of their own personal plots and personal character development.
  • The characters should also have signfificant plot influence; the ability to create plots, connect plots and drive plots.
  • The petition is absolutely key to the success of the application! This is a chance for you to explain the impacts and importance of the castes outside of the application and with an out of character understanding. A poorly presented petition will have heavy impact on the review process.
Advice from Review Council & HBC

Given the level of difficulty with these applications I asked several questions of the Review Council (and HBC) on advice they would give to players who are looking to complete a multiple caste character for application.

Below are the questions that were asked to the Council members; and their responses. Some even included examples of their own application work and what they did to incorporate the castes. I’m hoping that this really detailed feedback will help inspire the next generation of fantastically blended multiple caste characters.

What do you look for in the application that is definitive of a multi caste character?
Quote
Clear indication of both castes on their own as well as a unique melding of the castes together. Really there needs to essentially be three castes present, caste A, caste B, and caste AB (or A, B, C, and ABC for triple). I want to see the way this affects them in their daily lives and in their upbringing, as well as their Craft. If the second caste is trained, how did the addition of the new caste alter or affect their personality? Has that stabilized out or are the changes ongoing?
Quote
The biggest things I look for is that the character supports the caste. Many times we see multiple caste applications with a pure lack of ambition. The plot and history of the character should also support the caste. It should be well rounded and encompassed through every element of the application.

What advice do you give to players who are taking on a multi caste character?
Quote
Things to consider:
Where do the castes merge together in harmony? Where do they sharply contrast?
How do they make your character stronger at either or both of their castes? How
do they weaken your character at either of both of their castes? If you are
thinking that having multiple castes means they are now MORE AWESOME at
everything, try again. We need to see flaws to balance those strengths.
Quote
Vet your idea with another seasoned player. If you want to write a Healer who learned to be a Black Widow because her mother forced her... that may be a little weak.
Quote
Find a compelling story for ANY dual caste is defined by their castes. They won't be carpenters, painters, or weavers, they will be the embodiment of their castes. By the very nature of being dual casted you will be focused upon, not forgotten and overall, wildly important no matter your Jewels. You are blessed by the very duality you hold, even more so for triple castes. Don't underplay it! Unless you’re hiding it, then play up HOW AND WHY its hidden.

What are the most frequent mistakes you see in multi caste applications?
Quote
Too much emphasis on one caste
and little to none on the other. Reading all one caste. Too many ways in which
the character is now REALLY amazing but not enough ways in which carrying the
weight of the extra castes also hampers them. There is a price that comes with
the extra castes. I want to see what it is.
Quote
A conceptual character that has no tie ins with existing plot. A multiple caste character carries weight with it and expectations that they will drive plot beyond their own bubble. These characters should be significant contributors to plots and driving activity in a Territory.
General advice from an HBC & Review Councilor
Quote
First, make sure you really want to write the character with multiple castes. Do you really LOVE the concept? I have two dual caste males (one still in review but still) and both of them were concepts that I fell in love with.
>> For Dayaal, I really wanted to do a character where there is a definitive split in the personality. I chose the two castes accordingly, but more than that I fit him into an overarching plot that would support what was going on in the Territory. I was able to show what growing into the natural caste of the healer as well as the Warlord Prince would do to a man, especially one who valued compassion over strength. And I like to think the result was pretty successful. He got passed through the review process with very relatively few edits and able to get into play pretty quickly.

>>For Aksel, I looked at the culture he was set it. His castes had already been determined by Dani in the storyline, but even so I had to fall in love with the idea before I could REALLY write him. I played around with different ideas based on Glacia's, and decided I wanted to tell the story of what happens when the caste manifests, especially for a grown male. More than that, I really liked the idea of being an example of what happens to a male when he tries to force something that is strictly forbidden in their society. Since I wanted to explore the alteration of his personality, I made him only half trained. It leaves me lots of space to RP with people that I wouldn't have otherwise. Now he fits what is necessary for the story, but also lives and breathes as a character that I want to write. It's not all about him either. His story encompasses Kaija, Markus, Yrian, Matias, Lilja, Elisif. He is a character that is now necessary for this story.
The next bit of advice I would give to someone wanting to petition a multi caste (whether it be male or female) is to write. Write a lot. You are not going to scrape by with a 250 word personality, and not putting in craft strengths and weaknesses. Go above and beyond. With history, make sure you show what these castes did to the character - especially if they are natural. For the sample choose something that REALLY draws out the castes, or shows a conflict in them. More than any other application, it is necessary to really shine in the RP sample of a dual caste.
Third - be prepared to rewrite. I have yet to see a multi-casted character simply be accepted. There is a process to this. It is one of the most difficult things to get passed through on review, especially if they hold a Dark Jewel. Not only should you write a lot, but you should be prepared to rewrite. Review council always tries to make suggestions that will help you, but there are times you just have to go back in and rework something. For Aksel, Phe had me go back in and rewrite some more Prince into his personality. She felt that the Black Widow overpowered, which while necessary in RP at times, was too much in an application. Don't get upset that review is sending you back - don't think that you're going to just slide through without a process to it. This is not a light jeweled hearth witch that we will overlook weak parts for a strong sample or history.
If you're uncertain, talk to someone who has been through the process. Each of us who has written a multi caste understands the process. We know how difficult it is, and we also know what notes that we were given. Reach out to someone who wrote one that you really like. If I absolutely adore how Yrian was written, I'm going to contact Dani and be all "Hey Dani! I am wanting to petition a dual caste male, and I love how you write Yrian. Do you think you can help me out?" And Dani will either say "Yes of course! I'd love to!" or... "I don't really have a lot of time right now because of school and work. In my free time I'd love to help you out, or you can talk to Blue. She wrote a pretty awesome dual caste male too and was there to help when I wrote Yrian!" We're a community. We are not going to leave you high and dry on this sort of petition

xx Flaws & Fears: Putting the Pieces Together
Jul 16, 12, 11:48:01 PM by Petrichor

Character creation is a puzzle.  Each piece of the application must be whole itself, but merge together with the others to paint a consistent, clear, three dimensional description of a believable person.  It’s generally easy as a player to figure out what we want our character to excel in.  Flaws and fears however, are often trickier to figure out.  However, taking the time to really reach deeper into a character’s mindscape is very rewarding.  Figuring out these darker parts of the mindscape consistently yield stronger characters with riveting, surprising, and exciting storylines.

Balance and realism between the strengths and flaws on an application are key in creating a strong character.  An application’s assets should be matched if not exceeded by the failings and fears detailed within.  Therefore the more powerful/connected the character, the more noticeable their flaws and fears should be. 

Why is this?  Well, if the challenges posed  don’t match or exceed a person’s capabilities they’re really more nuisances than notable fears or flaws.  Making a character who in spite of power, or because of lack of it, is in way over their head is a great way to make a character with great posting potential right off the get go.  Strong obstacles and troubles generate self-sustaining plot and story for a character.

All of this is good and fun, but where do flaws and fears come from?  To understand this we need to step back and examine the facts and foundations of a character’s personality and compiled experiences.  This sounds like a daunting task but by understanding and referencing Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs it becomes simple.

The Pyramid is a theory of motivation and personality, which is why it’s relevant for our purposes. Basic physical requirements constitute the lowest level of the needs hierarchy. These needs must be satisfied before other, higher needs become important to individuals.

Needs at the higher levels of the hierarchy are less oriented towards physical survival and more toward psychological well-being and growth. These needs have less power to motivate persons, and they are more influenced by formal education and life experiences. The resulting hierarchy of needs is often depicted as a pyramid, with physical survival needs located at the bottom of the pyramid and needs for self-actualization located at the top.

As the pyramid illustrates the three largest layers collectively hold the things a neurotypical person requires to feel safe and happy.  While important and unquestionably motivating, fears related to the loss or deprivation of these universal human necessities and desires don’t help shine a light on your character’s special qualities.  More often than not fears relating to the pyramid’s lowest steps are sent back for changing by the review council.  Contrariwise, flaws that prevent a character from having or sustaining the regular meeting of their basic needs pose a large and interesting to read IC challenge. 

Everyone wants to live, eat, sleep, and fuck. As we do those things we’re  preferably safe, able to access income and support a home and possessions.  While doing that we hope to have friends, family and intimate partners to share it all with

The Higher levels of the pyramid pertaining to esteem and self actualization are where the more intricate workings of personality reside.  Fears and flaws of a deeper or more complicated nature dwell here.  They may be borne from a lack of having not had their essential needs  throughout substantial portions of their developmental years.  For the purposes of Blood Society childhood/developmental years go from infancy to the age when the Offering is made (usually right around 20). 

A good way to think of it would be to imagine this pyramid as a large tree. If the roots representing physiological needs, safety needs and love/belonging needs are not fully nourished the branches and fruits of esteem and self actualization will suffer. Hardship is where learned fears come from and those manifest in the branches, leaves and fruits.  These imperfections are personalized and unique to the character though the issues most often can be traced back to those most human of requirements.

This is how fears and flaws evolve in human personality. Experiences good and bad in our formative years , mixed with what we did (or did not) have growing up shape what frightens and cripples us. 

Fears are easier to come up with than flaws.  An entire section of the application is dedicated to their selection and explanation. It’s easier on BR to come up with fears, a whole section of the app is dedicated to it and Review Council is careful to make sure these are fleshed out.  However, it’s the –creator’s- duty to go the extra mile here and find things that are deeply personal for your character.  Also, keep in mind fears that are too general are often refused.

Most people are afraid of more than three things.  Listed fears should be things that cause your character much anxiety, stress, and fright. These items/stimuli/whatever should be things that keep your character up at night, cause their heart to race, wake them from nightmares with sweat covered sheets and chattering teeth - that sort of thing. 

For the purposes of this article let’s say that there are three kinds of fears:
   
1.) Likely to be sent back fears.

These are fears that will, without Review Council believing the situation of your character is truly unique or essential to their being, likely be sent back for changing.  You are welcome to try one of these in your first review pass but we generally prefer players to reach elsewhere.

      Examples -
         
a.)  Being Broken.

To Review Council this reads as a fear of being crippled.  Whatever the character’s personal reasons may be, no one wants to be lessened. Particularly in the post purge era this is a huge concern in the collective consciousness of the Blood.

   
b.) Not Being Loved/Never Being Loved/Being Alone.   

If you refer to the Hierarchy of Needs diagram, the third level from the bottom (and the last of the ‘basic’ needs), focuses on the importance of friendship, family, and sexual intimacy for the psyche.  Not wanting these things/avoiding them/disliking the idea of companionship is far more noteworthy.
   
c.) Rape.

No one wants to be raped, but for the average person there is not a day to day risk of it happening so it fades in to the background as one of the many bad things that can, but probably won’t, happen to you.  For a slave character this might be acceptable, or someone who has a history of assault in their lives.  However,  Review Council prefers writers utilize other tragedies as the source of strife for your boyo or girly.  This subject is a raw, complicated issue that hits home personally/in a triggering way for many women.

2.) Acceptable, but might be sent back on a Dark Jeweled or Multi Casted application fears.

Examples -

a.) Loss without cause.

Loss of  what a person cares about and values is generally considered to be something considered undesireable at large.  For more standard characters such fears are usually acceptable.  However, dark jeweled and multi casted characters have a different sort of life than most others, and their fears should be more relevant to their story than a rudimentary fear like loss of X person, skill, object, or relationship.

b.) Fears/phobias.

Fears and phobias, particularly the less likely they are to occur can be good flavor for most characters.  The more powerful/unique a character is though, the more we want to see that in their application.  Unless the phobia is going to be a very real and constant problem for the character it is unlikely that this background information will be considered deep enough.

c.)  The Twisted Kingdom.

We’ve accepted a lot of this one in the past, but as we state consistently our board’s standards are always evolving and changing with our ever-growing players.  This fear has become common enough that we no longer feel this fear is deep enough for dark jeweled, multi casted characters - even Black Widows.  Just like being crippled, no one wants to go insane.  Unless a character has a constant and real level of dangerous interactions with this part of the Blood world, it doesn’t often cut it.   Security and safety are essential to human needs and fears should reach outside the scope of driving instincts.



3.) Excellent fears.
   
There are no standard excellent examples because they shouldn't be cookie cutter.  The best fears for generating character depth and story are personalized to the character they've been crafted for to the point where they could not easily apply to another person's life.

As with most rules there are exceptions to all listed here but these should be considered to be a good outline to guide your hand as you’re working on your applications.

Less straightforward, more nuanced, but just as important is the inclusion of realistic, substantial flaws for a character to wrestle with.  Craft weaknesses can really be important here.  Taking craft weaknesses that actually impede your character, instead of say Hearth Craft for a Warlord Prince or Combat Craft for a Healer.

Flaws should be consistent and show themselves repeatedly through a character’s application.  As much, if not more than strengths, the cracks in a character’s armour should be showcased.  Even a person who is consistently successful will almost always more sharply remember the negative.  Failures, as opposed to victories, stick out in our memory.  Large losses are major shaping events in a person’s life.

If an application contains no issues other than a single “achilles heel,” type of flaw it will be returned.  Epic heroes may have been perfect save for one deal breaking fault but Blood men and women are not heroes of legend.  They live in their “real world,” and real people are full of weakness.

Our strengths and weaknesses follow us like dueling shadows forever fighting for the spotlight in the drama of our lives.  This eternal struggle between the best and worst parts of human nature, skill and thought is what makes the human condition what it is.  Reading through applications Review Council wishes to see this interplay at work.  If a character’s flaws are negligible this will not happen.

Fleshed out flaws are defects in character that have the potential to influence plot as much as their gifts.  When considering your character’s personality, likes, dislikes, fears, and their successes think deep about the impression those imperfections make on each section.  It’s a hard thing to add in after your character is at the review stage. Keep it in mind as an important part of creating a believable denizen of the Black Jewels world from concept inception to finale and it will  help you realize the most evolved, fleshed out version of your character. 


Remember - all things used in moderation create the most intriguing and relatable characters.  That isn't to say that extreme concepts can't be good or valid.  Quite the opposite in fact. Instead consider this - where there is great individuality there are also qualities that unite and equalize characters so that even in spite of their more "out there" traits, they read as believable. 

Treat this post as a guideline when in need of help/inspiration but there are exceptions to all rules!  If you wish to use something that has been listed here as non-ideal, talk to one of our many helpful members of the Review Council!  We are always happy to talk character concepts and give input.  Your best resource for wondering if X or Y exception is okay is us, and we're here to help!

A big thanks to Phedre for helping me with this essay, and Blue for her wonderful header graphic!

What do you think is most important when coming up with character flaws and fears?  What works best for you when working out the rougher sides of your creations?
xx A Reviewer's POV
Jun 29, 12, 01:41:59 AM by Phedre

The Review Council is one of the hardest working Councils on the board and without a doubt they have the hardest job. In addition to managing the Keep’s Registry, which involves things such as maintaining Graphics Claims and the Board’s Ratios and Statistics, Review Council is also in charge of the more obvious duties that come along with reviewing characters. It is their responsibility to ensure that the characters we approve follow our guidelines, create sustainable plot, and enhance our Board’s AU. 

As a reviewer, there are specific things that I am looking for when I work through an application that has been marked ready for review.

Some of these elements are basic application standards, such as:
  • Ensuring basic word counts (Personality/History/Writing Sample)
  • Age is supplemented with Birth Year and the math is correct
  • There are at least 3 Likes, 3 Dislikes, and 3 Fears Defined
  • All of the areas of the application are filled out and nothing has been skipped


Other elements that we look at are often more difficult to describe or define, but include:
  • Ensuring that there is greater depth to a Dark Jeweled application to support the character
  • Ensuring that the avatar/play by match the Territory appropriately
  • Ensuring that the Caste of the character resonates throughout the entire application


In this post I will walk through the process of what we, the Review Council, are looking for when we go through your applications. Hopefully it will give you, as the writer, a better understanding of the review process from our point of view.

Name

When it comes to the Name we pay the most attention to naming conventions that pertain to the Territory. We also make sure that the first name does not already exist on another character. There are sometimes concerns over a name that does not fit the Culture of the Territory. For instance “Shannon Cormick” is a very Irish name and we would not expect that character to exist as a Pruulian witch, both due it being out of place and because it does not follow Pruulian naming conventions.

Naming conventions to take into consideration:
  • Pruul: Naming Conventions
  • Hayll: Naming Conventions
  • Scelt: Clans are a big part of the Sceltic culture so we do not allow for duplicate surnames that are unrelated.
  • Askavi, specifically Eyriens: Female names are meant to end in “ian” and male names in “ar”.
Age
We want to see both the age and the year born. This makes updating the characters age as time passes much easier. We also check the math to make sure it’s accurate.

Race
This is where we start looking at the avatar. Does the avatar fit the racial standards identified for that race? If not, is there an explanation in Distinguishing Features for why that is?

Racial standards that we take into consideration:
  • Long Lived should have black hair, tan/dark skin, and golden eyes.
  • For mixed raced long lived, please see this thread
  • Glacia: Blonde, blue eyed, very caucasian.
  • Red hair, while common in Scelt and somewhat less common in Dharo, is distinctly less common elsewhere
  • Raej is Egyptian, while Nharkava is Indian
  • Pruul is a complicated mix based on Persia. You can read more here

    Caste and Jewels
    Caste and Jewels indicate how critically I am going to be looking at the application. This is because typically a light Jeweled witch requires less depth of character than a Dark Jeweled Warlord Prince.

    When it comes to a dual caste female I will be looking for signs, within the Personality and throughout the character sheet, of each Caste on their own as well as a unique blending of the two castes together. It is key to show the melding of the Castes because this is what makes a multi-caste character so unique and we need to see the relevancy within the character sheet.

    Dual caste males and Triple castes females are petitions which are a more complex review process than what I am currently touching on, but in the briefest possible language, require proof that the character could not exist or stand without that specific melding of Castes. Not to worry, there will be much more in depth blog posts on Dark Jewel applications and Petitions at a future date. The depth of that topic requires a full post all on its own.

    Distinguishing Features
    This is not a required section, but if there is something different about the appearance of the play by compared to cultural norms, here is your chance to explain it to us. Does the explanation make sense with the play by? Does it explain any anomalies with the standard of the Territory or race? In some cases, does it give me a better sense of the character?

    Personality
    First we check the word count and ensure that you have at least 250 words.

    Generally, if you are writing a Dark Jewel, you may need more than this to really expand on the character and support the weight of the Jewel. This is a difficult one to define because it’s not an “I want to see this many more words from you” situation, it’s, “I want to feel the gravity of the character.”

    Again, it is a combination of Caste and Jewel that creates this need. Each reviewer will approach this a little differently. We are not machines and we cannot review your applications as if we are. While this may at times be frustrating for you, please understand that we are doing the best we can to hold a high standard of fully realized characters so that you can then have truly fulfilling RP.

    Beyond the Jewel we also need to understand how Castes, or lack thereof, affect your character’s personality. In Black Jewels, the Castes help define and mold a character’s personality and we expect that to carry into reviews. We are not looking for cookie cutter characters, not every Black Widow is going to be overly sexual, and not every Healer will be overly nurturing, but we need to understand why they break the mold when they do and how the Caste affects the character.

    One thing in specific I want to mention about personality is that we want to know about who your character is now. If you start writing a narrative with a timeline, that likely belongs in the History section. While it can be great to contrast who your character is now with who they have been before, make sure that you stay focused on your character as they are currently.

    Likes/Dislikes/Fears
    This is really a place for you to expand on who your character is. We would always prefer to see things here that continue to show depth and add more layers to your creation. It is wonderful when, during an RP, you can look at your sheet and say, “Wait, my character specifically doesn’t like…” and build an entire idea off of something that was in your application.

    Regardless what you choose, the more explanation and justification you offer, the more I am likely to agree that Like is valid and truly a part of the character’s personality. If one writer says their character likes chocolate and writes a one sentence explanation while another uses the same Like but offers me a paragraph of compelling reasons, I am much more likely to sign off on the Like of chocolate for the second character. I am not saying you need to write a paragraph for each Like, I am simply saying that the more explanation you offer, the more we understand why it matters to your character.

    One issue that has come up multiple times is “I have seen this on someone else’s sheet, why am I not allowed to use it on mine?” We try to be as consistent as possible across Review Council as we can, but again, we are not robots, we are people. The other factor that is often not considered is the character as a whole. Take for example the Fear of Being Broken. As a whole, the Review Council is attempting to steer players away from using this Fear. Why? Because all Blood fear being broken. What does it tell us about your character specifically?

    There are a few circumstances where it does in fact make sense and we will sign off on it, such as a girl who has not yet experienced her Virgin Night or a character who has felt the pain of being broken from their descent and is terrified of losing their Birthright as well, but it has to be supported by the rest of the application. These are individual calls. Overall, we’d prefer you find a different Fear, but if you feel it fits your character specifically in a way that is far beyond what other characters feel, you may attempt to persuade us. Just realize, we may still say no. 

    It’s important to remember that we view Likes, Dislikes, and Fears on a character by character basis. What we want to see from the sheet is explanation and justification for each. We want them to provide depth to the character. This is a great place to really show us who your character is. Be creative!

    Craft Strengths and Weaknesses
    While these may be optional they do provide a great depth to the character that is often overlooked.

    If you do choose to use the Strengths and Weaknesses section of the application there needs to be two and only two of each. Thanks to the advent of the Keep, we now have this wonderful resource that can help players come up with ideas for Strengths and Weaknesses if they are struggling. Another option is to look to other players’ characters to see if you can build off of their ideas.

    As a reviewer, what I am looking for are the following:
  • Are these balanced? If they are not balanced, are they more heavily slanted toward Weaknesses? I would prefer your character be overly flawed than inexplicably strong and good at everything.
  • Do they make sense for the character? Are they explained in a way that makes sense? If you are not a Hearth Witch, having Hearth Craft as a Weakness will likely get a comment from one of us. Has it been done before? Yes. But the site is ever growing and evolving over time. Our standards for Review have evolved, too.
Family
Regardless if a character is an orphan or estranged from their parents, I want to see this section populated with Jewels and Caste information. What I am looking for is family member’s names, their Jewels, and their Castes. I would prefer to have ages as well.

When we are reviewing the Family section we are looking to understand the origin of the Jewels. Were the family Jewels rolled, and, if not, do they follow the Board guidelines for choosing family Jewels? If you would like to potentially have a family member open for adoption and have the player roll their own Jewels, we still need to see Jewels for that family member on your sheet. What you can do is put an * with a note beneath that simply says *Jewels and caste subject to change so that we know it might occur. If and when that family member gets picked up and the player has their Jewels rolled, you can then go back to your sheet and simply make the needed changes. If you are connected to other characters, I will be checking their sheets to make sure that the family names and ages match for consistency.

History
The first thing we check on the History is word count. Yes, back to the word count. Yes, it needs to be at least 350 words. Some are 400 words. Some are 6000 words. It needs to be as long as it needs for you to tell the story of the character’s history. Long lived often require more words simply because, well, 2,000 years of life is a lot of history to encompass. Other times it’s that there is just a lot of say to explain how a Landen girl ended up ruling the sex trade industry of Little Terreille wearing a Yellow Jewel.

What we want to see here is a coherent, accurate, and filled out history for your character that makes sense and helps us understand where they have been and how they have become the people they are. It also needs to fit within the timeline of the surrounding Territory(ies) involved, which can be particularly tricky for Long lived. We now have the Great War timeline, which we hope has helped with this.

If your character is old enough to have survived the Purge, there needs to be mention of it in the History, including how they managed to keep their Jewels intact if they are not broken.

We also review the History for elements that help to define the Caste and Jewels. How was their childhood affected by growing up with their specific Caste and interacting with those around them? How was the Jewel they were gifted with perceived by their family and the Territory they grew up in? A Dark Jeweled child in Chaillot is going to have a radically different childhood than one in Glacia. This needs to be reflected in the History. We review the History to ensure that these elements continue to support the growth and status of the character.

Writing Sample
Again what we check first is the word counts; and this time they’re meant to be 250 words.

I love the writing sample. This is the first time I really get to hear your character’s voice. But what I want to see here is your character come alive. This to me is the most personal part of the character application and it’s the first chance I have to see a glimpse of your character in action, the way they think, the way they phrase things. Find a moment in your character’s life that was truly pivotal to them and share it with me. That’s what I want to see. 



Finally.. a disclaimer pertaining to the Review Council’s duties and evolution...

The Board evolves constantly based on the writers involved. Review Council and the standards we set forth have evolved along with the Board. We’re comfortable where we are at now, but it’s taken us some time to get there. Not every decision we have ever made has been perfect. We’re not perfect. But we do the best job that we can for you.

I’ve outlined our process for you so that you can have a better understanding of what it’s like from a Reviewer’s perspective and in the hopes that it will help take some of the mystery out of the process of character reviews. The process isn't meant to be confusing. Hopefully it will also make writing your next character a bit easier!

I have not done this so that you can now attempt to hold our already overworked Reviewers to the standards I have just set forth. We hold ourselves to them already. Neither I nor the other staff will be appreciative if we hear of any Reviewers being hassled. Be kind and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. We are all doing the best we can.

At the end of the day, what we are really looking for in a character is clear support and justification of Caste, Race, and Jewels throughout the entire sheet. Our goal is to help you create great characters so that we can enjoy enriching RP together. I hope this has helped you understand our process a bit better.


I’d like to thank Jamie for helping me with this Blog Post and for the fabulous graphics!
xx Thread Titles
Jun 16, 12, 05:41:24 PM by Jamie


Thread titles seem to be the great mystery of RPing; how they're chosen, where they're found, what inspired them, what works and what doesn’t work.

Everyone seems to select their thread titles in a different way. What remains a constant factor as it pertains to thread titles is that we all get stuck in choosing them every now and again. The purpose of this Blog post is to help create a "go to" resource for when you're stuck and need a little nudge to help you select or create the perfect thread title.

Thread Titles can be selected based on a neat turn of phrase, or a song lyric that you love; they can be very literal or incredibly esoteric. Style is subject to the writer and participants but it is also key to remember the target audience of readers. While we all might remember a cute thread title this week, when it comes to the end of the month or the end of the year, would that thread title remain clear on what the contents of the thread were? This are considerations to be made when you’re involved in an RPG; especially one that highlights and acknowledges threads throughout the year.

Several members of the community gave me their own insight into how they select their titles. I hope by passing it along you’ll be inspired to leverage a new method next time you’re stuck on a title. (Thanks to Cally, Tangled, Ariana, White and Dani.)


Types of Thread Titles

There are several key types of thread titles that we see across RPGs. These can range from the Practical, to Thematic, Poetic or Lyrical, to pure Wordsmithing. Most writers have their own unique style and some are dependent on the characters featured within the thread.

Practical Titles
These are the titles that spell out exactly what is going on in the thread. They are often straight to the point. Examples on BR: “Return of a Queen”, “Establishing the Dark Haven”.

The Benefits:
  • Provides Clue to Subject Matter. Often recognizable when in a sea of threads because it relates to the actual events.
  • Beneficial in an Open Thread when being clear about the intent is more suited than being cleverly poetic.
Thematic
Theme based titles often are best used to link certain threads together through the titles. Examples on BR: “The Complications of Debriefing an Assassin”, “The Aftermath of an Affair with an Assassin”, “The Nightmares of Tormenting an Assassin”.

The Benefiuts:
  • The clear benefit is to link threads together that are related (either by characters or arcs or something bigger).
Poetic/Lyrical
This style is easily the most popular among RPers. It usually involves borrowing a line or a phrase from poetry or song lyrics and applying it as the thread title. Examples on BR: “The Beast You Made of Me” from Florence & The Machine’s ‘Howl’, “Miniature Disasters and Minor Catastrophies” from  a song with the same name by K.T. Tunstall.

The Benefits:
  • These are often seen as the most “creative” of thread titles and are meant to capture attention on the basis of their words.


Approaches:
  • Selecting Lyrics that are appropriate to the scene being played out.
  • Selecting a specific  song for the atmosphere or scene (unfortunately this usually means that the writers will have to have prior knowledge of the song to see the correlation).
Wordsmithing
Wordsmithing, or creating your own creative thread titles from scratch, is perhaps the most difficult task to accomplish. This can be anything from Double Entendres, Alliteration or just the beautiful use of the English language. Examples on BR: “Candles and Clockwork”, “Solace in a Sister’s Smile”.

The Benefits:
  • Pride in your own work; and showing off some serious skills.
References for Thread Titles

For those times where we simply don’t have the capacity to brilliantly create our own Titles it is a good thing to have a list of resources to go to when in dire straights.

For Lyrics:
For Quotes:
For Poetry:
Other Resources:
Some helpful advice:

1. When writing the thread don’t let yourself become hung up on the title; when you become hung up it can halt the progress of the thread or your muse. Sometimes you have to write the thread before you can pick a Title.

2. Keep a Document (GDoc, Desktop, etc.) of a running list of inspiration titles from around you. Sometimes when I listen to a song and a line is particularly poignant I jot it down to later add to my doc. You can use the doc to provide you with inspiration when you’re stuck on choosing a title; or you can use it as inspiration when crafting a post.

3. Be aware of the thread, content, arc and characters when selecting esoteric titles. If it is a plot driving scene that you want people to read it may benefit your agenda to find a more specific and practical title.


Feedback!

Everyone has their own opinions of thread titles. So why not share them as a response to this topic? (10 points for participation).

  • What's your preferred style of thread titles?
  • What's your favorite thread title at BR and why?
Code: [Select]
[b]What's your preferred style of thread titles?[/b]
[b]What's your favorite thread title at BR and why?[/b]



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