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Distinguishing RP types

Roleplayers make up a large part of the community here on deviantArt. It's an ever-growing community, and new members join it every day. Thirsty for adventure, these new members leap into the large world of roleplay, blissfully simplistic, filled with hopes and anticipations. They expect a rich roleplay experience full of excitement, and they want it to be delivered!

New members, however, also means less experience, and less experience means less knowledge. That knowledge which new roleplayers need to acquire may be earned in the long run, by partaking in several satisfying and unsatisfying roleplays and learning through trial and error what is right and what is wrong to include in one. I have taken that path, and I can say that it's a hard place. Some people, even after several years, haven't even made as much progress as would have been expected; they just can't get the hang of it. I have decided to let anyone who so desires take an alternate path, a shortcut to avoid the trouble of being dissatisfied with as many roleplays as I have been. This shortcut takes the form of several tutorials, each of these tutorials equalling one step on the shortcut, which in turn equals a dozen steps on the long path.

Now that the introduction is over (am I the only one who thinks it was long?), I will begin on the tutorial itself. I would like to open with a simple concept. Many people already know about it, but some of the newer roleplayers might be unaware of it. The first subject will be the distinction between the two roleplay types which people can use: script-style and paragraph-style.

Script style

This style is also known as "bracket RP" or "casual RP", among other names.  As the name "casual RP" implies, this type of roleplay is accessible to everyone. The reason for this is that it's easy to grasp and easy to start. However, script-style roleplays will rarely offer much character development or plot advancement; it's usually used as a "pick-up-and-go" roleplay for fooling around. The posts in a script-style roleplay will usually start with the name of the character which will be involved in the post, followed by dialog and action done by that character, and possibly, in-between the name of the character and the dialog, an emotion, most often in parentheses, with which the dialog will be spoken and the actions done.
To assist me in my quest to improve the general level of roleplays, I have created an assistant. Her name is Kara Chter. Let's meet her right now in a script-style post to concretely demonstrate what exactly script-style is:

Kara: (shy) Hi... *fiddles with the edge of her shirt*

This style of roleplay, as mentioned before, is casual; it doesn't require any amount of skill to play, except maybe the ability to make your posts legible enough for everyone else to understand. Because of that, this guide will not focus on "how to roleplay script-style". It will rather focus on the second type of roleplay.

Paragraph style

This style, also known as "formal RP", "mid-long post RP", etc., is much more intricate than script-style, and has much more potential for setting an atmosphere and describing actions and thoughts than its casual counterpart. This is what most people will say was meant to be true roleplay; writing a story collectively with one or more other people, each person using one or more character to make the story advance. People who roleplay with this style need a certain amount of concentration and attention to detail when writing. Roleplayers using this style want to make their posts look as though they were excerpts of a novel.

The posts in a paragraph-style roleplay need to be detailed enough to set a certain mood, although exceptions exist. This style most of the time requires a linear scenario, some sort of concrete plot. Sometimes, people will develop it as they go, needing only a setting to begin writing, and other times, people will decide part, if not all of the plot before even beginning on the first post. The latter can take up several hours – if not days or weeks – of planning before actually beginning, and will often feature longer early posts and a better starting morale from the players, since they already know what will happen; it leaves less room for uncertainty and moments when neither player will know what to do and would just make their characters speak with each other without much action going on. Planning lets the roleplay deliver action at a rhythm which every player is able to handle. Let's have Kara Chter introduce herself again, this time in paragraph-style:

A woman stands in the center of the plain, unfurnished room. Her appearance is veiled by an indescribable fog, letting only her outlines and actions be visible; she appears to be of average size, and her arms, resting on either side of her body, allow her hands to tug nervously at the bottom of her shirt. "Hi..." she says in a timid voice.

It's undeniable that a lot more content is present in this version of the same post; it may require more effort, but it's worth it; the amount of detail dished out by this style if done correctly often prevents people from getting confused. That will prevent posts in which the last actions of the other character would be completely ignored, or posts that overlook certain crucial details. For example, I've tried making this last post as clear as possible (although still somewhat short) by describing the surroundings, what the others can see about my character, and her actions, so that my partner wouldn't wonder "where is this happening? what can my character see about this other character? what is the character doing exactly?" and wouldn't assume wrong. Though it may be difficult at first, experience should teach most people how to underline details in order to make the other player(s) notice it and have their character(s) respond accordingly.

That's all there is to distinguishing between script style and paragraph style. It's simple enough, but had to be made first, since some script-style roleplayers may not even know what paragraph-style roleplay is; this first "How to Roleplay" hopefully put some light on the subject.
Hm'well, this is my first tutorial. I didn't want to start with something too big or implying that the reader has any more knowledge than what roleplaying is, since I'm supposed to be writing this for newbie roleplayers.

If I made a mistake or forgot to mention something about anything, feel free to comment about it. I'll make sure to edit to include what's missing.

This guide is copyrighted to ~DummysGuideForRP.
You are authorized to link to this page from any site, but you may not claim this as your own.
Add a Comment:
Aiden-Ai Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Is there a tutorial for finding paragraph role players? Cause I need that in my life.
Morriganpendragon100 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
i tend to use script form mixed with third person
example :

Icecreek : " Today is a lovely day for a hunt! " [ He exclaimed as he exited the warriors den and padded towards the freshkill pile to get something to eat. ]


Icecreek : [ He exclaimed as he exited the warriors den and padded towards the freshkill pile to get something to eat. ] " Today is a good day for a hunt! "
AbusedPrivilege Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2016
Hmmm, I tend to use a blend of both actually. Interesting.
RaudonaK Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
Paragraph RP for me is always the must & best.
I don't know why, but for some odd reason, the script one really puts me off. Feels more like a 'chat' in a group chatroom instead of a proper RP.
But I guess everyone has their own preferences.
xHiroshi Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i feel the same way o.o
RaudonaK Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
Pity not many people do it that way, especially on Quotev. v_v
ConnieTheCorgi2 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I don't know why but I prefer sort of paragraph because it helps me get more information to go off of and continue with.
Ego-Man25 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2015  Student Writer
Oh... don't EVEN get me started with the paragraph style. That "more intricate" style of RPing is just an excuse for certain RPers to flaunt their fancy words around. If I use that style, then all my focus is on the dialogue, the action, and/or the simple emotions. I don't CARE about the hidden details of the other character not controlled by me. Otherwise, I exploit the other character's thoughts via having my controlled character explain their thoughts. (Though surprisingly, some of my watching buddies actually LIKE it when I do that, so I dunno.)

That being said, however... I'd rather post THIS style as a deviation, than script style.
communistcreeper Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2015
Derp Derp Derp ....there's more then two styles of RP
j9970 Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2015
im a bracket one i gess
yamochanchan Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2015
good guide but dont forget an rp can be more than just a game ^^
VinnieEXE Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2016
Thats right rp is not a game and is srs bsns
yamochanchan Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2016
i said can be i know lots of people just see it as one but if you write with people long enough it may set them off if you tell them "oh its only a game for me"... happened to me so yeah
Severynn Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I always do script style :la: I love that one
NadouChan Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That was really helpful c: Thanks.
Dragic721 Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2015
This helped me a lot! Thanks!
dayafow Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
(I skimmed over this but I have a question..)

How can I start an RP here? Like posting the topic, theme and making sure that people will join (I'm new to this site, hardly on it but I could always RP here)
VinnieEXE Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2016
This is not a site to rp at. Go find a roleplay forum or something.
xXDoritoDustXx Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
We can rp
TealFarlight Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you SO MUCH for your RP tutorials!!!!
lucarioniteofAPH Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2015  Student General Artist
Thank you!
KamariBunny623 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2015
I haven't even done my first RP yet, but I'm pretty sure I do the paragraph one.
marshmellowponi Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
i needed this, i roleplay on msparp and theres always options to either be script or paragraph, i never really understood either  so. thanks!
dexteradon12 Featured By Owner May 7, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
This was a helpful tutorial
TheJaySayber Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2015
My first time experiencing an rp was back in the days of TinierMe(anyone who knows what I'm talking about is awesome ow~), so I've become very used to the script style rp.
ashuriproductions Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
same here though even back then i was a paragraph role player or at least i was more in the middle XD now I'm more full paragraph.
snowfang123 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2015  Student Artist
I might have to try script RP sometime ^^
Arceus55 Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm scared to start RPing now. O_O
Rifu-Kun Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
There's nothing wrong with roleplaying, y'know :) It just depends on the person who you choose to do it with. For example, if it was a roleplay account, that deviant may have a journal/ for their rules and preferences. They may prefer you reply the same amount of text as they did or longer or shorter.

Some roleplayers can be picky regarding the way you roleplay or how many sentences you write. For me, the majority of those who I roleplay with will not take a liking to one-liners. E.g. such and such writes a big, long paragraph and you reply with one part of an incomplete sentence. "Okay. Anyways."

Well, at least that's what I know from my experiences roleplaying here and on other websites/forums. If you have any questions, just send a reply or give a quick PM.
ashuriproductions Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Role playing is fun ,but some people are picky when it comes to the length of your reply (most of them tending to like longer replys). mainly naming the paragraph role players.
but script role players that I have seen so far are not really that picky when it comes to how you reply or at least thats my experience.
TheDuckParade Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Student Digital Artist
This is cool! May I use this As a reference in my group?
Skunkyfly Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
woah! thank you,,, this is really helpful! We join some RP group and dunno how to RP LOL. thanks! 
nhprodigio Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for this, I was actually the opposite way around though lol I know how to paragraph RP quite well, but when I heard a friend say they liked script-rp I was like "wait, how do you do that exactly?" and had to look it up pfff....
booglybear Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2014   Traditional Artist
Huh. Interesting.
rsdo456a Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I prefer paragraph rps uwu
ashuriproductions Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
same here with the paragraph thing.
 i can't realy do script i tend to like more detail in my characters actions and the area around them.weird i know.
rsdo456a Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It's not really that weird! I think it helps with forming a better response.
EasyRightOverCrest Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014
I suck at paragraphs, I prefer the faster, script one.
UchihaNudge Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014
The best thing to do when you're first trying out paragraph RP, is to tell whoever you're rp'ing with so they can sort of guide you through it until you get the grips of it.
fairehfun099 Featured By Owner Edited Aug 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
We'll I guess I'm Lit/Para then, haha. 
Ratchetpower2 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2014
I've had no experience with a paragraph RP, just script RP
ashuriproductions Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
you should try paragraph sometime in the future to broaden your horizons and if you do not end up liking it then that is fine.
never know until you try right?
Ratchetpower2 Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2015
True, I might try it sometime.
yemto Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I usually match the style of those that I RP with, but I must say that I'm not that good with the paragraph style.
everdeen127475 Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2014  Student Writer
I tend to do the Para RP Most of the time, but i will do a casual script RP every once and a while :D
MsTakoyama Featured By Owner Edited Jun 24, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Sometimes I switch between both styles.. not sure why. But I do end up naturally using script RP if I'm doing something silly and non story related
SilverSketch13 Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
but what about drawing RPs?
Avaquaire Featured By Owner May 2, 2014
When I roleplay, it's kinda like a cross between the two. When my main RP group roleplays with Dialogue & actions it's script-style, though we do have a setting for the RP. When describing scenery, it has a kind of paragraph-style to it.
Vipermoon999 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks you 
greenpower12 Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2013  Student
I thought this was very helpful, but I still have 1 question. Where do u DO a RP?
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