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Potter’s Army is a roleplaying site that's been up and running since 2007. We pride ourselves on fostering a welcoming and helpful community where all levels of writers are accepted.

In this alternate universe, Lord Voldemort is dead, but so is Harry Potter. Factions continue to fight, Hogwarts educates the next generation of witches and wizards, and the Ministry of Magic does its best to hold everything together.

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Alexandria Gibbon
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Writer's Envy

on Mon Jul 07, 2014 5:57 am
Message reputation : 100% (3 votes)
So there's a character handler (aka roleplayer) who you feel writes either more than you, or just "better than you." Before you decide you don't want to write with them, consider the following:

Hands-on experience is referred to by many as the most beneficial and efficient way to learn.

While you may not always agree with that, just hear me out. I came to PA after a space of about two or three years in which I didn't consider sites like this. It wasn't for lack of using them before. No, I have been on a good few sites like this one over the years, and always Harry Potter related. But I had so much going on that my writing fell to the wayside.

I recently found my first in-character post on this site. It was shockingly short and the vocabulary was impressively bad. Going from that to my recent thread for Darren Isaacson and Erika Dixon, it's actually amazing (even to me) how much my writing has grown.

This wouldn't have happened if I hadn't told myself to write with those I feel were (and still are, undoubtedly) better writers than I am. Every day I look at my recent posts and chide myself for something I've done that I realize later wasn't the choice I wanted to make as a writer. I'm not saying that you should be hard on yourself. I am only this way because I want to hone my skills for a job down the road. Plus, I'm a little bit OCD. Or a lot.

So what AM I saying? I'm suggesting that you look back on old threads, see how far you've come. All of us have learned new things and grown from our time here.

Next, get in touch with someone whose writing impresses you, and ask to thread with them. If you feel open about it, say you're wanting to learn from them through experience. The members who you contact will undoubtedly be thankful that you've passed them high praise like that, and I bet they would love to help you out. It certainly won't hurt their writing, and it opens up new plotting opportunities.

Then, in your thread with this new person, watch for things that they do that you either do or do not like. You probably don't want to point out the negatives to that person -- we each have our own style, which makes it a lot more fun. But you do want to find things that you can learn from and decide which things you don't want to include in your posts or your writing.
You SHOULD: thank them for helping you, if you told them the reasoning,
But you SHOULD NOT: copy anything directly from their posts. Don't start taking their metaphors or opening sentences. This is for you to learn to build your own skills, and not to plagiarize anyone's work.

In the end, you should come out with the ability to write longer posts with perhaps more thoughts, or details, or better dialogue -- whatever it is that you want to work on. This is in no way a requirement or anything like that. This is, instead, a process through which you can better your writing and hopefully feel less of that Writer's Envy that we are all so prone to.

*Note: if you are wary of approaching a member you don't know, you can always ask a Mod or Admin. As Khaat posted, we're around to offer skills training for anything from writing regular posts to specific instructions in dueling, how to write as a werewolf or vampire, etc. Just shoot a PM if you need us.
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Albus Potter
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Re: Writer's Envy

on Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:21 pm
I second this a hundred and ten percent.

I went searching for the first ever site I roleplayed in: I remember feeling proud of my character, and the plot, and pretty much everything else- then I opened the thread and went through the posts and my jaw was left hanging open.

It was pretty much one of the crappiest threads I've ever read.

It was predictable, over dramatic, every line pretty much screamed 'trying-too-hard' (admittedly, I feel some of my posts still have that at times XP), and I'd probably commit voluntary suicide before showing it to any of my friends on here. The point being, I was so shocked because my writing had come miles and miles from that ridiculous, ridiculous thread.

The brilliant part about writing with someone better than you is how, sometimes, you inadvertently pick up on things. For instance, earlier I hardly ever dwelled on the subtlety of details, how a single swallow of the throat or a fidgeting finger could convey so much more than all the dramatic adjectives in the world- and a few posts on this site changed that for the better. You don't even need to deliberately try to be better, it just happens- maybe while you're gawping at the length of a fellow RP'ers post, or a particularly pearly phrase, some part of you decides to give as good as you receive. I myself, feel no compunctions at all in admitting that I've improved perhaps ten times over by the Albus/Jack threads I had with Jackles right in the beginning of my PA 'career' XP More importantly though, it isn't just things like writing quality that we can learn from our friends on here- it may be things like writing speedily WITH quality (something I woefully lack and completely envy), being understanding and cooperative, patience, helpfulness.....PA is a veritable well of qualities, really Very Happy

The last, and most important thing. While all of us want to write brilliantly, and greatly appreciate those who do, the fact remains that none of us are professional writers here. (I think XP) More than writing like a pro, and evoking staggering awe in all those who read our work, which is what stems Writer's Envy, I think; PA is about having fun. Its about doing something we all love, so forget about who's worse or who's better, and let the enjoyment take over Smile

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Hallie Cooper
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Re: Writer's Envy

on Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:58 pm
I totally agree! I used to RP on a site years and years ago but ended up giving up then coming across PA a year ago and decided to pick RPing back up. Admittedly I was a little intimidated about the 100 word count. I was thinking: how on earth will I manage that in all my threads?

Back when I first started RPing on another site about six years agoI used to write the bare minimum, just saying what my characters actually did. I never put thought in it, never thought about what my characters would saw or how they would reapond. Since joining PA I started to notice how magical you allwrite, how you can make sometimes what would seem mundane so interesting and joyous to read! I remember one thread in particular, I think it was my first with Amy (Romeo/Grace) and I was getting seven paragraphs of creativity leaunched at me. I felt obliged to reply at least five, some of what I wrote may have been garbage but it was helpful to see how other people make their posts interesting and I feel proud of some of the posts I write sometimes. They may not seem special compared to others but I have been pleased with how I have improved and I guess that's all that matters!

It's not about writing to impress or compete but to fulfil whatever goals you have. Whether it be to improve different aspects of your writing and storytelling or to reflect on different issues in society through writing. For example, Henry's addiction allows me to look into how an addict may view the world, how ssociety may see them, the troubles they go through and I love that most - that and getting lost in an amazing plot!

Plus I love making characters and thinking about different tylws of people - if I could I'd have a few extra characters I am keen to create but then would be feel bad if I didn't give them as much attention as the likes of Hallie, Pansy, Henry, Bertie.

Ps: sorry if any of this ia illegible im on my phone!!

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Jack Dyllan
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Re: Writer's Envy

on Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:06 pm
Our first thread, Kiera <3

I can point out so many of my own improvements and where I learned them from. I pushed myself to catch up to the lengths of Molly, and then Red, and then Amy, and then Amelia. Then I realize I actually had to have content in those paragraphs, and I learned from RPers like Keith and Selwyn who's posting lengths varied from small to large to make every word count - something I still remind my rambling self. I can read a few sentences of my posting and tell you if it was from time posting with Red, or when I first started with Amy, or with Emily, or with Keira, so on, so forth. I think, if you're not learning from the good and bad habits of your fellow writers, you're missing out.

It's interesting, Kiera, that you mention speedy posting. I'm actually trying to develop the habit of going more slowly. I consider myself one of the faster (if not fastest) posters within my closest circle of fellow RPers, but I think I often post carelessly. Silly errors pop up, phrases get redundant, and it seems rushed. I have this bad habit of not wanting a post to sit for too long, but I think I need to learn that I can leave posts waiting for awhile. Most of the people I RP with do take a few days or so to reply, but it's always SO worth the wait, that I want to make mine like theirs.

Also - I love that you mentioned fun. If we're not having fun... what is this all for? When I used to get swept away in drama or politics on sites, it was because I forgot that this was all for fun. It's amazing how many problems cease to be problems when you remind yourself of that.

Re: Writer's Envy

on Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:30 am
There is little for me to say that has not been said already, but I wouldn't be me if I couldn't find something to type about. Razz

A few weeks ago, I decided to read all the threads from one of my ships from start to finish for inspiration. At first, I was a little appalled by the length and writing in that very first thread. Then I looked at things from a different angle, and it really hit me how much my writing has improved since then. Then, being a single year ago!

Quite a few people on this site are better writers than I am (those who have commented above, for starters). While I have no qualms with threading with those better than me, I sometimes feel unworthy. After all, am I really deserving of Amy's legendary 27 paragraph posts when I only reply with 11? Or what about Kiera, who can bounce from one writing style to the next in a way that seems effortless? Or Addie, who responds with beautiful posts quicker than I can blink? Or Jackles, who is capable of making me feel things even when I'm hardly invested in the characters? I could go on, listing RJ, Hit, Khaat, and others - but that's not the point of this post.

During my time on PA, I've realized something. Every writer needs work in different areas. I may be incredibly envious of the length, speed, or style of someone's posts, but they may be envious of me for things they feel their own posting lacks. Every time we thread with someone, we learn something. On that note, everyone is more critical of their own work than they are the work of others. I may read something and see perfection, while the writer frowns at the second paragraph, thinking it doesn't flow.

Basically, what I'm trying to say, is that it's okay to be envious of the writing of others. We all are. It's what makes us better.

Addie, thank you so much. Your post was great and very helpful.
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