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Old November 21st, 2007, 04:36 AM
Alter Ego's Avatar
Alter Ego
that evil mod from hell
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Touhou land, grazing danmaku all the way
Age: 26
Nature: Quirky
Okay, after double-checking the section rules I saw no rule forbidding this sort of thing, but Mizuki, Archsage, if you think this thread doesn't fit in the section or is otherwise unseemly, I'm okay with a lock or delete or whatever. It's just that this is something I really need to get off my chest. Also, to anyone reading this: this is not intended as a bash towards anyone in particular, I just think that this is an alarming trend within the section that bears being addressed in more depth.

Character profiles.

We all know what a profile is, but there is a world of difference between a good profile and a bad one, and I'm sure I'm not the only person on these forums who is depressed by the amount of the latter that is out and about. The RP Section Rules (which, incidentally, are there for you to read) already recommend detail in profiles, but my aim here is to bring a bit more focus to what precisely a detailed sign-up entails. My examples are going to be tied to pokémon RPs here, but most of what I say should be equally applicable to other franchises and settings as well.

Now, for clarity's sake, let's start by a very basic setting. Imagine your average 'new region' type RP with a cookie-cutter, anime-style plot but with the added twist of not requiring the RPers to be complete rookies. (Meaning that they're allowed to have previous experiences with pokémon etc. but for one reason or the other they only have one, first stage pokémon at the start) In an RP of this type, I wouldn't be surprised to see a profile that looks something like this:

name:timmy
age:11
gender:male
personality:cool,calm except when he's angry,very smart.girls like him a lot.
appearance:normal-looking.brown hair but oddly colored eyes
history:timmy grew up in pallet town and was always very smart.he befriended an abandoned eevee called yuna and went on a pokémon journey then he caught a dragonite and a charazard and a butterfree and a swampert and a lucario and then he beat the pokemon league in kanto, jotho, and hoenn.but then he got depressed so he released all his pokemon except yuna and now he is very excited to go on a new journey
pokemon:yuna the eevee

To those who share my sensitivities: I'm sorry to have put you through that. To the rest of you, let me stress: this is not a good profile. No, don't try to wriggle and find something good in it, this profile is horrible. Now why exactly is this profile horrible? Well, first off the grammar is atrocious and the fields are all squashed together, making it look rushed and a serious pain to read. Before acknowledging all the other (more crucial) flaws and lackings of this particular profile, let's start by making it readable by adding some basic grammar and a sentence structure that doesn't look like an eight-year old's first story writing project:

Name: Timmy

Age: 11

Gender: Male

Personality: Timmy is a very smart, cool and calm person, except when he gets angry. Girls like him a lot.

Appearance: Timmy is a normal-looking boy. He has brown hair and oddly colored eyes.

History: Growing up in Pallet Town, Timmy has always been very smart. When he was young, he befriended an abandoned Eevee called Yuna and later went on a pokémon journey with her. During this journey, he caught a Dragonite, a Charizard, a Butterfree, a Swampert, and a Lucario. As his journey progressed, he beat the Pokemon Leagues in Kanto, Johto, and Hoenn. After his last league victory, Timmy got depressed and decided to release all his pokémon except Yuna and start a new journey in a new region.

Pokémon: Yuna the Eevee


Now doesn't that look nicer already? Clean spacing, proper grammar, and a flowing narrative in the description (as opposed to a bunch of lists) really makes a big difference for the appearance and clarity of your profile and - as was already noted in the section rules - it really doesn't take that much longer to type, so please do it. It is also worth noting that profile's aren't just a matter of what you say; they're just as much a matter of how you say it. You may have an amazingly detailed profile, but if it's practically illegible you may still be declined simply because your writing skills aren't on par with RP standards. Conversely, a profile written in the right style can enhance your character's personality and make him/her come alive for the reader much in the same vein as a character from a book and when done right, this adds a lot to the picture the reader gets of your character.

So is this a good profile, then? Absolutely not. This profile is still missing several crucial pieces of information, and when you stop to think about it, a number of the things mentioned in it don't make much sense.

Name

This may seem like a weird question, but have you ever met a person who's name is only 'Timmy'? Odds are that you haven't. Normal people aren't just identified by a first name; they have surnames and - usually - middle names as well, though giving the latter isn't always necessary. Your RP characters should be no different. 'Timmy' also has the flair of a nickname rather than an actual given name and though there's no rule against it, you may want to stick to given names that a parent in their right mind would give, unless of course your character's parent(s) aren't in their right mind, in which case you are free to go wild with it. If you go with an unconventional name, it's often preferable to give some explanation for it within your character's history, personality, or appearance (wherever it is best suited).

Age

I know we're dealing with a world where twelve-year old children carry around creatures with devastating powers in their pockets, but let's try to maintain some level of realism, alright? Given that league championships are, by canon, held once a year and Timmy can't be at many places at once, having attained three victories would mean that he took his first challenge at the age of eight, and that's the latest possible. Seeing as how he won and had to journey through the regions too, this would mean that he'd have had to start his journey at an age of six or seven. I'm sorry, but no matter how smart the child I think there are laws of some kind against that. The notion of an adolescent chick magnet is also rather far-fetched and - to be completely honest - rather disturbing.

All things considered, Timmy needs to get a couple of years under his belt. I know the anime makers have a thing for giving their protagonists ridiculously low ages (*cough*May*Cough*), but you really don't have to follow their stupidity. Take it from the ex-daycare voluntary writing this: your average seven-year old boy still needs help with learning how to hold a spoon and how to write the letter 'R'; they are not mentally or physically equipped to handle a trek across monster-infested wilderness.

Personality

A lot of people still don't get this; a personality is more than just a list of adjectives. Also, a personality should never EVER be all about the good things. Just look at Timmy: he's all smart, cool, and calm and liked by the ladies with no real negative traits. Calm except when he's angry? I'm sorry, but that says nothing whatsoever. How many people are calm when they're angry? The more attentive amongst you will probably immediately recognize the disease here: Gary-Stuness, also known as Perfect Person Syndrome. It's the embodiment of the RPer's will to always have their character look good and make the right decisions (And, in many cases, be what the RPer him-/herself would like to be like) and I'm sorry to say that there's only word that can describe interacting with characters like this:

BORING

No-one is a perfect little angel twenty-four seven, no-one has the right reaction to every situation and no-one succeeds at everything they do. That's life. With a personality like this, we might as well make little Timmy all-knowing and name him God while we're at it.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: don't be afraid to give your characters flaws and shortcomings. They're just as important for an interesting character as talents and merits; no-one loves utter perfection because it incites an inner feeling of annoyance (Does he think he's better than me?! >O) within the reader. Flaws, on the other hand, often help the reader relate to your character and his/her decisions, which in turn makes him/her more likable, so if you want your character to be well-liked then giving him/her an unlikable trait or two is often the best way to go about it. But hey, don't take my word for it: take a closer look at your own favorite characters from written fiction and anime, look for the character you like most of all. Is a single one of them perfect in each and every way? Would you still like them without their lackings?

Odds are that you wouldn't, so ask yourself: if a flawed character can be this awesome, why should I avoid giving mine flaws? The trick is to balance the good and bad points of your character and create a pleasant blend. You should also note that not everything is black and white. A character may, for instance, have a habit for chewing his fingernails or a particular liking of plums; these aren't really negative or positive personality traits, but they still play an important role in establishing your character as a believable and multi-faceted person and are thus equally essential for the personality.

Another important point is to match the good and bad characteristics of your character to create a coherent and believable whole. In the case of Timmy, his most highlighted merit is his intelligence, so what negative personality traits would go hand in hand with that? As in, what could be the downside of being smarter than the rest?

Well, if he's always been smarter than those around him, he may have developed a certain air of arrogance, a belief that he is always right or a patronizing manner that might annoy others. Given that he is used to succeeding at whatever he does, he may also have developed a complacent attitude. He may not be willing to put in as much effort into what he does as others, seeing it as pointless since he always succeeds in everything anyway. He would not be used to having people say 'no' and not getting his way, so his reaction to this kind of scenario could well be one of childish denial. This kind of narcissistic attitude would also add more credibility to his choice of releasing his old team, which currently seems weird to say the least.

Remember, personalities aren't created purely at random; a person's upbringing and the things he/she has experienced play an important part in molding his/her personality and as such, it's usually a good idea to tie in central personality traits with important events in the character's past. You don't need to (and shouldn't) create a big scene for each and every habit, but always keep possible ways of obtaining these traits at the back of your head when writing out your character's personality.

Finally, never EVER do what that last sentence does. You do not have the right to dictate how other people's characters should relate to yours. Likability isn't a personality trait; it's just an end result, and different people have different likes and dislikes. Some characters will like yours, some won't, that's just part of RPing. You can, however, decide on your character's own perception, so having Timmy think of himself as loved by the ladies is completely acceptable and may well hold comic value as well.

Appearance

If possible, this field can be even more depressing that 'personality'. First of all: avoid diffuse terms. In the case of Timmy, what is a 'normal appearance'? 'Normal' is not an objective term; it varies depending on the context, unlike objective terms like 'brown' which don't. For instance, a brown sheet of paper would be brown in the same sense as a brown hedgehog, but a normal sheet of paper has very little in common with a normal hedgehog even though they are both normal. In a similar vein, your perception of what a normal person looks like may be completely different from mine, making the information content of "normal-looking" practically non-existent. To avoid this, describe what these 'normal' physical traits are. Gives us skin pigment and body build. Tall, short or in-between? Fat, skinny, fit, scrawny? Big or small hands? Any special physical traits or marks that bear mentioning? How long is the hair and what's the character's hairstyle? What's are the shapes and comparative sizes of eyes, nose, and fingers? The more of these details you give, the better your fellow RPers will be able to visualize your character.

In a similar vein, 'oddly colored eyes' tells us nothing. There are countless ways for eyes to be oddly colored; they may be heterochromatic (different colors), they could bubblegum pink or pitch-black without a visible pupil or even rainbow-colored with random dots of periwinkle in the middle for all I know. Again, you may remark that the color is weird, but you should also say what, precisely, that weird color is.

Finally, clothes. Judging by this profile, little Timmy is a nudist, which is a disturbing image to say the least. Always, ALWAYS describe what your character is wearing. Of course, reason will probably demand that the outfit be changed from time to time as the RP progresses, but try giving some favorite garments, perhaps general inclinations in terms of what type of clothes they like or don't like to wear, what colors they like etc. Clothes are an important part of your character's image, so try to match the clothes with the tastes of the character wearing them. A tomboyishly inclined girl would most likely not be going for frilly dresses and an older upper class gentleman would probably not be sporting shorts and t-shirt. Also, if you intend for your character to carry a lot of things, make sure that they have something to carry them in. Remember, this isn't a computer game; the objects you collect don't just mysteriously vanish into an ethereal inventory for easy access.

History

Tying back to the point about plausibility from the age field, try to use some common sense here. First off, encountering and befriending an abandoned pokémon (aside from being one of the oldest clichés in the genre), especially one of such a rare species, stink like Gary-Stun a long way. Also being super smart and breezing through the leagues is certainly Gary-Stuness. Sure, your character can have had a successful life, and sure he/she can befriend a rare pokémon, but let's not make it all roses, m'kay? Setbacks and disappointments are part of life too, and can often be as important for shaping a character as successes. There's also a major logic break of capturing pokémon from completely unrelated regions like that, not to mention the aforementioned toddler champion issue. You don't have to make your character perfect and unbeatable to impress the point that he's good at what he does; a number of lower profile victories or possibly a single championship win (within a more realistic time frame) is just as effective in this case and a lot less Gary-Stuish.

Also, make sure to acknowledge the development of your character in their history. As it is, we know nothing of Timmy's journeys through the four different regions save for what pokémon he had, making his past diffuse at best. What sorts of things did he experience during his journeys? How and where did he catch the pokémon mentioned here? What kind of parents let their seven-year old kid leave home? Why did he just release a team of highly trained pokémon like that? There are certainly a lot of questions to answer here. In fact, the sheer scope of things to describe is overwhelming here, and as such a more focused approach is in order. As mentioned in the comments on the 'personality' field, a useful method is to focus on the events that helped shape your character to what he/she is today. In Timmy's case, a few words on how it was growing up as an exceptionally smart child would be in order as well as a general overview of his career on the road, any events of particular significance, and an explanation of some kind for why he was allowed to embark on such a demanding career at such young age.

Pokémon

Okay, important note, peoples; always note collocations (associations) when deciding on a name, both for a pokémon and your character and never EVER name your characters after ones from high profile franchises. Now you may think Yuna is a lovely name, but a number of people will immediately make the link to a certain well-known RPG and thinking of that every time the Eevee does something is just...awkward to be honest. It also screams 'plagiarism'. (Kairi is a similar case, and - apparently - not a proper name either) We also don't want to see Umbreons named 'shadow' (or 'kage' for that matter) because names like that are all over the place. Be original, think through your character; what kind of name would they give? Sure, if your character is very unimaginative and fond of clichés then something like 'Shadow' the Umbreon or 'Sparky' the Pikachu is perfectly acceptable, but as a rule of thumb: originality is far preferable.

Finally, your pokémon is as much your character as the trainer. As such, giving a brief account of the pokémon personality and its history with the trainer comes strongly recommended, though depending on the RP this may or may not be necessary. For the sake of simplicity, let's say that this RP doesn't require it.

Some further notes

Flexibility

On the insistence of a certain gentleman in red - and with my full agreement - this bears underlining. While these guidelines are all intended to be as generally applicable as possible, no amount of rules can substitute common sense. Yes, unexplained, peculiar names in general are discouraged, but if we're dealing with a fantasy universe where everyone has odd names then the usual definition of 'normal' obviously doesn't apply. If things like technicolor hair, tails, angel wings or magical powers are standard fare in the RP setting then you don't need to justify them, and if the plot specifies that your character needs to be a certain age or have certain remarkable accomplishments then your character can obviously not be faulted for conforming to it. Finally, while having all of the things listed on personality and appearance is usually preferable, not everything is necessary. Outlining the central personality traits and basic physical ones (body size and height in comparison to an average member of their species, color of skin, hair, and eyes, and a basic set of clothes or sometimes even just a clothing style, if you plan to elaborate in character) is usually enough for a comprehensible profile. You don't need a deep thought reason for each and every choice in attire etc., you don't need a detailed account of each and every thing your character has been up to during his/her lifetime (In fact, it may be preferable not to divulge everything in certain cases); a general overview is enough. That being said, full, detailed accounts are still preferred as it's far more unusual to get declined for giving too much detail than for giving too little.

At the end of the day, it's the RP master's call, so if you are familiar with the likes and dislikes of the RP master in question then by all means, follow your own intuition with the profile. Not everyone is a "Everyone do a huge sign-up, regardless of who you are or think you are" type like me. ;D

Finally, to give the official version of this straight from the proverbial horse's mouth:

Quote:
Originally Posted by theEND View Post
While following the guidelines provided here are nice, they are not absolute. Not to say an RP owner can go ahead and say "One line signups are okay here", but rather keep in mind that things are subject to change based on who you're RPing with and the conditions in which the RP takes place. Keep an open mind and follow the basic guidelines of completion and detail while filling in RP-specific sections not covered here.
You heard the man; obey.

The many faces of Sue

"Mary-Sues don't have histories; they have tragic pasts." ~ Quoted on a forum far away, origin unknown

The problem of Mary-Sueness was already brought up in passing, but the Mary-Sue is a devious creature, and as such a closer inspection of its ways is called for in order to truly avoid the path of sueishness. As mentioned above, the standard Mary-Sue is a perfect person, devoid of any serious flaws or shortcomings, successful and loved by all. It is an embodiment of the author's will to have their character (often one representing themselves) loved by all, but there are multiple ways to go about this, and as such there are two other prominent strains of Mary-Sue to be wary of:

Angsty/Gothic Sue

As lives go, Goth-Sue's is almost a perfect mirror image of her more prominent sister's. Where Mary-Sue wanders through a successful life of joy, flowers and sunshine, Goth-Sue's life is angst, typically involving abandonment, starvation, loss of loved ones, regular beatings, rape and other traumatic experiences. You name it; she's suffered it. To put it simply: whereas Mary-Sue aims for everyone to love and admire her because she's perfect, Goth-Sue whines for everyone's sympathy and pity for her plight.

This is usually done in one of two ways: passive or aggressive. The passive Goth-Sue is usually tormented by deep feelings of guilt and personal anguish (Usually guilt over something she is actually innocent to), she hates life, she hates herself, and if she has any special powers, she will most likely think of them as a curse (odds are that she has suffered tragic things for these powers). Goth-Sues are usually characterized by self-destructive tendencies (sometimes even attempts at suicide), from which they are usually only turned by the undying love of another character who'll - after painstaking amounts of angsting - manage to persuade them into believing that whatever they're angsting about isn't really their fault. Aside from the constant crying and wrist-slitting, Goth-Sue is a perfect little angel, just a tragic, misunderstood, and shunned little angel who needs your love.

In short: a major-league whiner.

The aggressive Goth-Sue is a whole different story, however. Where the passive Goth-Sue is content to cry on a cold street, hungry and alone, the aggressive Goth-Sue is out for revenge. She has no feelings of guilt or remorse, believing (usually backed by the belief of the writer) that all the horrible, angst-filled things that have occurred to her in the past justify all her actions as she wages open war against society and humanity. She will steal, she will hurt and she will kill, reminding everyone, every step of the way, that she's not to blame for anything and that she is the misunderstood one. Pity her or not, she will still slit your throat. The aggressive Goth-Sue is also a major showstealer, and will usually spend every minute of her time in the spotlight one way or the other, overshadowing everyone else with her concerns, which - obviously - are larger than life itself.

Anti-Sue

Sometimes confused with the Goth-Sue, the Anti-Sue is truly the direct opposite of the standard Mary-Sue. Where Mary-Sue is characterized by being superior to everyone around her in every conceivable way and not having any flaws to her name, Anti-Sue is nothing but flaws. She's weak, ugly, cowardly, stupid, immoral, and fails at everything she does. While having some negative traits generally enhances your character's status as a believable and multi-faceted person, the Anti-Sue draws this to a deadly extreme just as annoying as Mary-Sueness.

The relativity of Sueness

In lieu with the point about flexibility, this too should be acknowledged. Please, good peoples, don't be too hasty to peg something as a Mary-Sue. A character may well have feelings of guilt and angsty events in their past without being a Goth-Sue. Similarly, positive traits or success don't automatically turn a character into a Mary-Sue. Once again, the key words here are common sense. Sueishness is characterized by openly defying all logic and sense to either angstify or glorify a character beyond all forms of realism, so when trying to diagnose sueishness, always focus on the big picture; not the parts. The individual traits of a Sue are usually innocent; it's the sum of its parts that makes readers writhe in agony.


So, what do we make of all of this? Well, let's try applying some of these principles to Timmy's profile:


Name: Timothy "Timmy" Fawnsworth

Age: 16

Gender: Male

Personality: Timmy is a true trainer prodigy and an irresistible hit with the ladies, at least as far as his opinion is concerned. Numerous people have disagreed on both counts, but Timmy has never been one to pay much heed to such things: after all, it is only natural that a prodigy like himself should attract jealous and spiteful remarks from the unwashed masses. Rather proud and aloof, he carries himself in a calm and collected manner, backed by the unshakable confidence of one who is certain that his rise to the title of undisputed pokémon champion is nothing but a matter of time and formalities. He is often more than willing to help out his less fortunate colleagues and always ready to grace any fortunate girls in his vicinity with his near-divine presence. The patronizing attitude that he maintains often rubs these people the wrong way, but even so, the fact remains that Timmy - Timothy, to everyone save his mother - is a trainer of considerable skill and has yet to fail a challenge.

Well, a real challenge anyway. Those small mishaps and cases when he let his opponent win out of a sense of charity really don't count and Timothy would much prefer it if people would just stop bringing those up thank you very much. Even though he usually comes off as little more than an empty braggart, he does possess a sharp mind and considerable intellect, it is just that most of this intelligence is usually concealed behind his even more considerable ego.

Appearance: Standing at a height of about 5,6 feet with a slightly scrawny bodybuild, Timothy is nothing that spectacular at first glance. His skin is of the same light pigment as that of most people from his region and his hair is of a light brown color, usually kept in a neat bowl haircut. His eyes, located on both sides of his slightly pointy nose, are dark blue in color and - if he does say so himself - simply irresistible.

On the clothing side, Timothy always seems prepared to go and have dinner at some nice little place, sporting a pair of snuggly fitting black slacks, secured firmly around his waist with a black leather belt, dark brown leather shoes, and a white dress shirt and usually a nice blazer to go with it. Contrary to what most would believe, this is his idea of a casual outfit, however; when faced with a formal situation, he has been known to wear nothing short of a full suit, complete with a tie and a pair of white, satin gloves.

History: Growing up in Pallet Town, Kanto, Timothy has always led a sheltered life. As an only child, he was coddled and babied since young age, and when the child proved considerable intelligence even at young age, there was no end to the praise he received. Wonderchild, prodigy, it didn't take long for these praises to seep into the impressionable young Timothy's mind, and as he grew up in years, he began to take up a more and more scornful attitude towards his peers, loudly and publicly lamenting how unappreciated he was and how his childish companions were holding him down. When he reached the age of twelve, he had already managed to alienate most company of his own age, so in an effort to ensure that their beloved child wouldn't grow up a loner, his parents decided to buy him a present that would turn out to change his life: his first pokémon, an Eevee who was later dubbed "Celestine".

Though the two had their differences at first, Celestine was the only faithful companion Timothy had and the two eventually bonded. Confident that their bond was the best in existence - after all, the boy was always partial to believing that he had the best in everything - Timothy announced that he was going to embark on his own pokémon journey soon thereafter, his mind firmly set on the title of league champion.

Pokémon: Eevee (female) "Celestine"


I think we can all agree that this is a change for the better. This is not the mind blowing profile of the century, but neither is it gutter trash. At this point, you'll probably want to interject that you don't have the time to "write a whole essay" about everything concerning your character, no? You'd need several hours of free time for a profile like this, right? Well, let me share a little secret that I've learned from RPing on these forums:

No, you don't.

Seriously, converting the fields from the profile's original form to what you see here took about five minutes for appearance, twelve for personality, and twenty for everything else combined, and that includes looking up names and such. Though that sums up to over half an hour hour, the individual pieces are all pretty short. A bit of thoughtwork and fifteen minutes of writing time is usually all that a decent performance in each field takes and you don't have to write it all in one go. If you run out of time with your profile, just save it on a text document and come back for it later. If you're afraid that the RP will start without you, ask the RP master for a reservation. The only fields that will take serious time are Personality, Appearance, History, and - in case it's necessary - the RP Sample, so just pick off one at a time. If it's really impossible for you to find fifteen to twenty minutes of online time then you've really got to ask yourself what you are doing in this section in the first place. Making a proper RP post usually takes longer than writing out a single field of a profile properly, if you can't manage the latter then you won't really be able to manage the former either.

And finally, it's a matter of courtesy: remember that the RP master has toiled for days and maybe even weeks or months to come up with and write out a fun interesting plot for you to enjoy. Is giving up fifteen minutes of your time in return really such a great sacrifice on your part?

What does a detailed profile do for others?

Well, first off it brings a smile to the faces of quality-obsessed pricks like myself. It also gives your fellow RPers more material to work with when interacting with your character, which makes the interaction more fun for all concerned. If, for instance, a character has a particular fear of spiders, declaring this fear in the profile may allow for someone setting up a situation where this fear can come to life with potentially hilarious results. It also helps others contribute to character development if they know the kind of things that provoke a reaction from your character. A detailed history may leave room for encounters in the past between characters (again, nice CD material) or your character may have certain traits that give him/her the potential to play a more central role in the plot that the RP master didn't want to reveal to everyone out of fear of spoiling the surprise. Finally, a clear and detailed profile makes the RP master's decision of whether your character is right for the RP or not a lot easier to make and good use of language within a profile makes it a lot more pleasant for the RP master to read.

What does a detailed profile do for you?

That's right, peoples, well written profiles are good for you, you, YOU. First off, writing out extensive descriptions of personality, appearance, and history forces you to think about these things. An idea may seem perfectly clear to you when you first get it into your head, but when you try to implement it you will most likely find that it's not as great as you first thought when you try put it into writing. From personal experience, I can say that I've had this feeling with many of my earlier characters, appearance traits and plot ideas that seemed just right when I thought of them but which I later ended up regretting. When you take your time with a profile, you also give your mind time to process the initial idea and improve on it. Halfway through writing a character's history you may realize that you want him/her to have a certain appearance trait. In writing personality you may come up with a cute little even for the character's past that you never would have thought of. To put it simply: all ideas grow and improve with time, so if you just rush through the sign-up process you'll end up submitting a profile that's really a lot worse than what your skills would allow, which is a shame. A clear and detailed history or personality also works as a reference for you, making it easier to keep your own character in character and remember the sorts of things that he/she would react to.

Second, it gives you something to do while you wait for the RP master. Hands up, how many of you have posted a profile in the RP and then followed it up by anxiously checking the RP master's profile, loitering around PC without really posting anywhere, or making impatient remarks in the OOC thread (Or, worse yet, the thread of the RP itself)? Yeah, I think we've all been down that road at one point or the other. But really, if you have time for that sort of thing, why don't you give your own profile another readthrough and some last-minute touch-ups instead? Not only does this help with keeping needless (and rule-breaking) OOC clutter away from the section, it also improves on your chances of getting accepted when the RP master does come around, and we all like getting accepted, don't we? As alien as this concept may seem to you, you can edit your profile without the RP master explicitly requesting you to do so. ;D

Finally, effort shows. If you really put some time and thought in it and post a neat and detailed profile within a jungle of messy, copy-pasted one-liner sheets, your profile will immediately stick out from the crowd and your chances of getting into the RP will be a lot higher. At times, even a profile that is slightly below standard may get accepted if it conveys that you've really tried your hardest to make it shine. There's a difference between "fine, I guess you're in" and "Your profile rocks my socks! ^0^ Accepted!".


So there you have it, folks: detailed profiles are good for you, they are good for everyone else, and once you get the hang of it they only take a fraction of extra time to create. Really, I urge every one of you to give it a try. Try, at least once, to outperform yourself in profile writing and then tell me if it doesn't feel a lot better to be Accepted with a capital 'A'. All of those limits are there for you to exceed, not just brush by. I'm not going to place the whole of the blame on your poor RPers either; the RP masters are just as guilty in this for unquestioningly accepting subpar profiles. :\

Really, guys, why are you so afraid to tell people that they need to improve? Demand quality and most RPers will give it to you. Be honest, when you open your RP, would you rather see this:

name:timmy
age:11
gender:male
personality:cool,calm except when he's angry,very smart.girls like him a lot.
appearance:normal-looking.brown hair but oddly colored eyes
history:timmy grew up in pallet town and was always very smart.he befriended an abandoned eevee called yuna and went on a pokémon journey then he caught a dragonite and a charazard and a butterfree and a swampert and a lucario and then he beat the pokemon league in kanto, jotho, and hoenn.but then he got depressed so he released all his pokemon except yuna and now he is very excited to go on a new journey
pokemon:yuna the eevee

or this?

Name: Timothy "Timmy" Fawnsworth

Age: 16

Gender: Male

Personality: Timmy is a true trainer prodigy and an irresistible hit with the ladies, at least as far as his opinion is concerned. Numerous people have disagreed on both counts, but Timmy has never been one to pay much heed to such things: after all, it is only natural that a prodigy like himself should attract jealous and spiteful remarks from the unwashed masses. Rather proud and aloof, he carries himself in a calm and collected manner, backed by the unshakable confidence of one who is certain that his rise to the title of undisputed pokémon champion is nothing but a matter of time and formalities. He is often more than willing to help out his less fortunate colleagues and always ready to grace any fortunate girls in his vicinity with his near-divine presence. The patronizing attitude that he maintains often rubs these people the wrong way, but even so, the fact remains that Timmy - Timothy, to everyone save his mother - is a trainer of considerable skill and has yet to fail a challenge.

Well, a real challenge anyway. Those small mishaps and cases when he let his opponent win out of a sense of charity really don't count and Timothy would much prefer it if people would just stop bringing those up thank you very much. Even though he usually comes off as little more than an empty braggart, he does possess a sharp mind and considerable intellect, it is just that most of this intelligence is usually concealed behind his even more considerable ego.

Appearance: Standing at a height of about 5,6 feet with a slightly scrawny bodybuild, Timothy is nothing that spectacular at first glance. His skin is of the same light pigment as that of most people from his region and his hair is of a light brown color, usually kept in a neat bowl haircut. His eyes, located on both sides of his slightly pointy nose, are dark blue in color and - if he does say so himself - simply irresistible.

On the clothing side, Timothy always seems prepared to go and have dinner at some nice little place, sporting a pair of snuggly fitting black slacks, secured firmly around his waist with a black leather belt, dark brown leather shoes, and a white dress shirt and usually a nice blazer to go with it. Contrary to what most would believe, this is his idea of a casual outfit, however; when faced with a formal situation, he has been known to wear nothing short of a full suit, complete with a tie and a pair of white, satin gloves.

History: Growing up in Pallet Town, Kanto, Timothy has always led a sheltered life. As an only child, he was coddled and babied since young age, and when the child proved considerable intelligence even at young age, there was no end to the praise he received. Wonderchild, prodigy, it didn't take long for these praises to seep into the impressionable young Timothy's mind, and as he grew up in years, he began to take up a more and more scornful attitude towards his peers, loudly and publicly lamenting how unappreciated he was and how his childish companions were holding him down. When he reached the age of twelve, he had already managed to alienate most company of his own age, so in an effort to ensure that their beloved child wouldn't grow up a loner, his parents decided to buy him a present that would turn out to change his life: his first pokémon, an Eevee who was later dubbed "Celestine".

Though the two had their differences at first, Celestine was the only faithful companion Timothy had and the two eventually bonded. Confident that their bond was the best in existence - after all, the boy was always partial to believing that he had the best in everything - Timothy announced that he was going to embark on his own pokémon journey soon thereafter, his mind firmly set on the title of league champion.

Pokémon: Eevee (female) "Celestine"


You only get as good as you accept, so please, for the sake of all the literate people out there, for the sake of the section, for the sake of the RPers who aren't living up to their true potential, for the sake of you, the RP master who will have to sort out the mess the aforementioned RPers make, make them do those four lines. At the end of the day, everyone benefits.


This concludes my little lecture. If you bothered to read through all of this, then I salute you on a most commendable start. Good writing really doesn't take more than a bit of dedication and work. Now, as a final parting gift, I'll leave you with a couple of links:

RP Section Rules - Read them, embrace them, make them yours. It's a five-minute read that saves Mizuki a lot of headaches, peoples.

Bad habits of RPers - Ever wanted to know just what ticks your fellow RPers off? Well, it's pretty much all there.

Useful Links - Not very new, despite the title, but definitely worth checking out.

Universal Mary-Sue litmus test - Not 100% accurate, but you can never be too careful when handling PPS victims. If your character is spiraling into Mary-Sueness, this test will probably tell you so.

Wiki article on Mary-Sues - Surprisingly, it's of very good quality with plenty of references.

Finally, if you have any questions/comments/objections to any of the above, drop me a PM about it and we'll see what we can see. ^^
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Last edited by Alter Ego; December 5th, 2007 at 07:29 AM.
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Old November 24th, 2007, 06:03 AM
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John Locke officially hates us both for hocking his title style, AE. XD

Anyway, moving on from that this is a great little guide. If I were a mod, I'd definitely sticky it, and I'm now inspired to go write crazy good profiles everywhere I go. (By the way, there should really be something about the gothic Sue or the Anti-Sue in there. They need some sort of mention.)
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Old November 24th, 2007, 12:37 PM
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Well, after all the hours I spent studying his arguments for my Philosophy exam I think I'm entitled to a little artistic loan, thank you very much. xD

Anyways, thanks. Gothic-/Anti-sue thing duly noted. I think I could ramble on forever about this subject if I really put my mind to it, but I figured I ought to keep in a sort of manageable size so I tried to restrict it to cover the big points. I'll definitely try to find a way to squeeze that in, though, that and anything else I find this one to be lacking. x3

Aaaand...I'm pretty sure that guides don't get stickied here. Something about keeping the number of stickies under control, I think. Anyway, I'm just glad it didn't get disposed of. xD
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Old November 24th, 2007, 01:21 PM
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*DELETES*

Oh, wait a second, this is actually useful... XD
Yeah, we don't sticky threads if we can avoid it, so most likely I'll throw a link into the Useful Links for New RPers thread.

Something I'd like to add to the thread though:

Flexibility

While following the guidelines provided here are nice, they are not absolute. Not to say an RP owner can go ahead and say "One line signups are okay here", but rather keep in mind that things are subject to change based on who you're RPing with and the conditions in which the RP takes place. Keep an open mind and follow the basic guidelines of completion and detail while filling in RP-specific sections not covered here.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 08:55 AM
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...

You nearly gave me a heart attack with that post, yes you did. I hope you're proud of yourself. xP

Anyway, I've finally added notes about flexibility and a more in-depth look on Mary-Sueness. W00T.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 03:55 PM
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Wooow. O_O

I'm inclined to link this in the Rules, as well. xD Great guide Alter Ego, I'm inspired to write my own guide, though I probably won't, and I'm definitely going to use this the next time I write a sign-up. xD

When I'm the thread creator of a roleplay, I'd just like to throw this out there, but personally, if you don't SPACE your sign-ups, and BOLD the subjects like 'Name' and 'Appearance' etc., boy your chances of getting accepted go down a nice big notch. So that's how important making things readable is! D:<

Now we need a 'How to Post More than Four Freakin' Lines' guide. =A=;;



Golf claps, everyone. :D Now... read. And take to heart.

And I pray to god that with this, we will never need to set up a 'sign-up minimum' rule.

<3
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Old December 5th, 2007, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenocrates View Post
Now we need a 'How to Post More than Four Freakin' Lines' guide. =A=;;
Heh, too true. Maybe you should take advantage of that inspiration and make one? xD

I've had half a mind to write something on that myself, actually, but you know...don't want to steal all the guide writing fun from everyone else (not to mention that standing on the soapbox all the time might annoy people). Really, peoples, try it; it's a lovely aggression release. ;D

Anyway, thanks. ^^
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Old December 6th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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Alter, I love you, I hope you know that. -Clings to Master's legs- You made me happy in my soul with this post of yours. -claps happily- I am tempted to make one for character creation, however I am extremely bogged down with exam crap(READ: Lazy) right now. I am glad to see that someone is making an effort to help out! ^^ -sneaks away before she is scolded for not being around often-
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Old October 9th, 2008, 11:49 PM
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Wow that must have taken you a long time to write. I agree with everything that was said, though lengthy. But I think I can do you one better with the Mary/Gary-sue thing. Man I will never forget how far my jaw dropped when I read that profile. Totally and utterly disgusting. It was so bad that my character-profile-Nazi friend was speechless, and couldn't even think of words to say to bash the character.

Anyways, I hope that this has helped a lot of people and spared us from many of the Mary-sues out there. Kudos!
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Old October 10th, 2008, 08:26 AM
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Please don't revive older threads please. Thank you.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 05:44 PM
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Um, so I decided that I'm going to sticky this, since we've linked it in the rules, we've got the space, and it's a kick-butt tutorial.

So I've reopened it as well, so if anyone has comments/questions/suggestions, or if Alter Ego wants to respond at all, then he can do so. <3
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Old June 12th, 2009, 08:29 PM
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After reading the example of the absolutely terrible SU that you put up, it made me think, think that if someone ever had an SU like that in one of my RPs, or any RP that I had joined for that matter, I would blast them with a machine gun and then douse them with ice-cold water. But seriously, you make a good case and I learned a few good things as well, thanks. XP
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Old August 10th, 2009, 01:46 PM
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Nice guide. You can expect my signups to be way more detailed and better from now on, unlike that Mary-Sue in the academy thread.
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Old June 26th, 2010, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alter Ego View Post

Pokémon

Okay, important note, peoples; always note collocations (associations) when deciding on a name, both for a pokémon and your character and never EVER name your characters after ones from high profile franchises. Now you may think Yuna is a lovely name, but a number of people will immediately make the link to a certain well-known RPG and thinking of that every time the Eevee does something is just...awkward to be honest. It also screams 'plagiarism'. (Kairi is a similar case, and - apparently - not a proper name either) We also don't want to see Umbreons named 'shadow' (or 'kage' for that matter) because names like that are all over the place. Be original, think through your character; what kind of name would they give? Sure, if your character is very unimaginative and fond of clichés then something like 'Shadow' the Umbreon or 'Sparky' the Pikachu is perfectly acceptable, but as a rule of thumb: originality is far preferable.
So are you saying I SHOULDN'T have a Farfetch'd named Samurai Quack?
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Old July 2nd, 2010, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thordainhammer View Post
So are you saying I SHOULDN'T have a Farfetch'd named Samurai Quack?
Quackuri sounds better IMO.

I have a character whose pokemon is named Joey Rats. XD

Ontopic:

I think under benefits, you should also include that taking the effort to make better character profiles, as well as posts, will improve your writing skills as time goes by, which is extremely helpful to those still in grade/highschool who have to write essays constantly.
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Old October 21st, 2010, 04:23 PM
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I will now take this into mind when I make a SU/RP, or at least I will try.
I will also...
Strictly. Enforce. This. In. My. RP (if it ever gets approved XD)
(hope this is not considered necromancy as the last post was only...half a year ago)
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Old December 8th, 2010, 07:21 PM
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I found this quite funny. Good job!
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 04:21 AM
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So are you saying I SHOULDN'T have a Farfetch'd named Samurai Quack?
Thanks for making me LOL!

Also, this is a good guide. I think everyone should read this so we don't get any character like the bad Timmy example lurking around the roleplay streets.
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Old December 22nd, 2010, 08:16 PM
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Didn't this used to be stickied? What happened? It is very useful information.
I have been also been seeing quite a few(relatively speaking) bad Timmy's around. It's not a very pretty sight...
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Old December 23rd, 2010, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Nakuzami View Post
Didn't this used to be stickied? What happened? It is very useful information.
I have been also been seeing quite a few(relatively speaking) bad Timmy's around. It's not a very pretty sight...
I agree with this post. Both this thread and the Character Discussion Thread were very useful resources for new RPers (and some of the less new RPers). Originally when they were de-stickied I thought we were just going to get replacement threads, but its been a while now so I don't know.

The forum as a whole seems to be on a bit of a dip from where it was a couple of years ago, both in terms of activity and sign ups. I'm hoping that the release of B/W in the West will bring a bunch of new RPers to the forum, but I think we need threads like this one and the Character Discussion Thread easily available to the newcomers, to help them slot in more easily while still maintaining some semblance of quality.

Just my 2 cents I guess :/
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