The Character Development Threads can be found in the Writer's Block section. Intended as a shared story and a writing exercise, tropers can write a character in and develop him or her through a Story Arc. These threads have become a tradition, since borrowed from NaNoWriMo.Although some of the earlier threads, such as Bar, Nightclub, and Picnic have been sadly Lost Forever in the archive purges, most of them can still be read deep in the depths of the Writer's Block thread list.Our discussion thread is here.
You must care enough, as a writer, to use proper spelling and grammar. To exercise your writing, offer at least a few full paragraphs. Did you react to the other characters in the scene? Did you act out and flesh out your character at all? A few full paragraphs means exactly that: at least 2-3 full paragraphs, or at least 12-15 sentences. Paragraphs are at least five sentences. Each post is like watching another player's turn in a high-tense place — make it count.
By extension, put significant action in your post. This can mean you might introduce a new element that advances the plot, have your character take an action that the other players can’t ignore, or that sets up something for later. You might simply characterize your character(s), be it by delving into his/her thoughts, or having them take seemingly trivial actions that reveal aspects of the character underneath. You might explore the relationships between the characters, be it between your own characters or with those of another player. These are all examples of significant action.
The practical reasons for doing so is because it is unsatisfying for people to put down filler posts which describe little more than a hit on a ghostly foe, or simple small talk that fiction writing would gloss over without second thought. It's also frustrating, waiting for the story to get its move-on in this manner. In short, more depth per post results in deeper story immersion, and it would help curb the overwhelming rapid-fire posting.
Conversely, be wary of forcing too much action in your posts which keeps other characters helplessly at bay.
Refrain from taking control of characters that belong to somebody else. More often than not, this causes characters to act out-of-character. If you come to a point where you want to or feel that it is necessary to do so, ask yourself the following questions. "Do I know this character well?", "Are my plans for them consistent with their established characterization?", and, most importantly, "Do I have permission to do so from this character's author?" And, yes, you need to ask yourself those questions every time.
Try to stick to writing one character at a time. Having two or more characters tends to lead to detached micro-management a la CRPG and Real-Time Strategy games, and depth of character would be preferred to breadth.
Keep OOC-chatter to a minimum, unless if it's serious like an extended absence, dropping out from the story, or major plot issues. This is to help keep immersion. Minor quibbles can be adapted to in the writing itself, or through PM's. If you wish to have a chat about a character thread, have a look-see in ze Character Discussion thread.
Ass Pulling your character out of harm's way is seriously frowned upon.
While we can have our fun with innuendo and nudity, we suggest any actual sex be done offscreen. Think of the young'ems!
Overall, try to have good etiquette which includes (but isn't limited to) encouraging other participants to contribute to the story. Each post must advance some element of the story in a significant manner, as described above. If your character grows and changes in the process, goodly! Imagination and creativity is the staple of writing.
Good Examples of Posting
— A tingle went up Mary's spine. She stopped in her tracks, as if she had hit a brick wall. Her nose wrinkled, and her eyes widened. She was in the upper-right section of the carnival, in front of the Top Spin. It consisted of a passenger platform connected to two beams that made it spin around. The yellow and red paint was chipped and faded, and the fence around it had holes in the chain link.
Although she didn't see any spirits—-or Manifestations-—around, Mary was having the same feeling that she had when the passenger car attacked her. It was like she stepped into a predator's territory, and it had her in its sight. She looked behind her back. There was nothing but rain, gravel, and pieces of paper.
There were too many pieces of paper.
The paper was floating in the wind, blocking the way where she came from. They rotated in a clockwise position, as if they were alive. A menacing yellow aura emitted from them.
"Oh no..." she reached for her gun, which was attached to a holster on her thigh. She lifted up her foot, and unstrapped it. She carefully picked up the holster, and attached it to a belt ring sewn into her jeans. She reach for the gun...
An unearthly screech rang out in the carnival, echoing. She ducked down and covered her rings. Her heartbeat quickened, and her fear heightened.
"It's..." Mary thought, "It's..."
The paper flew into the air.
— "Emptiness?" This time, Gant's laugh is loud, echoing among the trees as he throws his head back. "Oh, how mistaken you are about me. Let me say what differentiates humans from ants or monkeys. Power. Some, such as you, are filled in the soul by love. I consume and am consumed by battle; every time I can test myself against a yet-stronger foe, I am assured of my own capacity for pure might. I can move just a bit faster, strike just a bit harder, solve my opponent just a bit better."
He shrugged. "Yes, love pleases. But the world cares not for pleasure, and fate demands that certain qualities be met by her champions. Those who overcome her whims, through strength, obtain more. Those who are weak have the destiny of losing what they have. And power, that universal moral negotiator, determines who makes the morals, who makes their decisions the force of law and damnation."
"For all the praise that love garners, it is specific. Limited. I have tasted the scent of love, and it is a fine thing, but it should be a footnote, a thing secondary to the perfecting of oneself, and it must be understood within fatalistic limits. If fate orders me to fight instead of loving, there can be no other choice, and I fight. Because power does for me what love can not. Demonstrates that my destiny has been cast by my own hand."
He straightens his head, looks straight at her. "I am sated with war; there is nothing that love offers me. Of course, there exists one whom I love, but we have been separated for a while; I expect to see her again in a year or two." Or a decade. It depended on how long it would take him to hammer out the oddities of his mind.
"I have found that this is what dwells inside me. Nothing more."
— "No messy catfight?" Grimm looked visibly disappointed. "In any case, just as long as we're all sharing now, how 'bout you pass some of those over here?"
— Valentine unholstered her pistol and looked over at Polly.
"Should we follow?"
— Damn, Kiora thought. Wish I hadn't forgotten my sword, then. The heirloom was edged in silver, so it should be useful in fighting those things.
"What about fire?" she asked, weighing her options.
Anyone Can Die/Nobody Can Die: A bizarre mixture of the two. Troper characters aren't immune from deaths. But declaring another troper's character dead from one of your own's attacks is generally frowned upon.
Characterization Marches On: Since the purpose of these threads is to learn about and develop your characters, this is the expected result of using your character in the thread, especially if they return in a later thread.
Closed Circle: Castle takes place in an Island Base surrounded by a tropical storm. Hotel and Bar had intense snowstorms. Carnival takes place in the middle of a thunderstorm 30 miles away from the nearest city. Nightclub seems to have this at first, only for the cast to adventure out to the end of the city, into the depths of the ocean, to Rapture.
Extremely Short Timespan: The majority of the threads take place in less than twelve hours, due to Webcomic Time. Averted in Heist, which lasted for about one in-story week, and Resort, which lasted several days.
Genre-Busting: Inevitable when crossing over characters from different settings and genres.
Genre Roulette: The genre of each thread varies slightly. While Beach House was very relaxed, Castle and Carnival played out more like a Closed Circle mystery.
Genre Shift: Different conversations in the same room can appear to be from completely different works and settings, let alone what's going on between different rooms.
Idiot Ball: This was lampshaded by Ian Down during Castle due to his recklessness that got him injured several times.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Carnival has the characters questioning whether or not they're fictional. University has two characters discussing the way previously-described parts of the setting do not appear to have been created by someone who's visited an actual university.
Lighter and Softer: Some OPs insist that the setting should be relaxed in order to avert meaningless fighting, but that doesn't stop other writers from writing in life-threatening crises.
Myth Arc: Believe it or not, there is. The question of what has been drawing these various characters to certain locales remains up for grabs.
Never Live It Down: An in-universe example in Island. Prisha has known Bianca to hallucinate once and he sees her as a schizophrenic for the rest of the thread.
No Ending: Constantly. These threads will, more of then than not, fade without a proper end when people get bored or too busy in Real Life to keep going. Castle was the first to avert this, and Carnival, Resort, and Mansion have followed in its stead.