Hidden 7 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by BrokenPromise
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BrokenPromise With Rightious Hands

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Collabs, for Total Scrubs

A guide on collabs for the rest of us.

Part 1: What is a collab?

Collab is just a short way of writing "collaboration." It refers to a post that was written by more than one person. Two (or more) players use a service like discord, google docs, or even the forum PM system to take turns writing parts of a post. Once finished, the whole shebang is posted as one reply.

The advantages this has are numerous. Players who are online at the same time can respond to each other faster. The scene will not be split up by the posts of other players. It also allows players to get away with writing replies that are shorter than desired while removing the need to inflate a post with inner monolog. It's also the only time your characters are truly alive at the same time.

Of course there are downsides. When used improperly collabs can cut people out of scene who should really be there, and not present anything worthwhile to those not involved. We'll cover the dos and don'ts of collabs later.

But the thing to keep in mind is that collabs are a tool. When a tool is used for the correct job, it produces good results. The goal of this guide is to help you make the most of your collabing experience.

Without further adieu, lets start the show!

Part 2: Assessing the Situation, and Selecting Partners

Collaborating with others can be fun, but we want to make sure the conditions are ideal for it. Just as you wouldn't go fishing near a tsunami, you'll want to make sure the situation is favorable for a collab before you start. This is the most important step in the entire process. Some of the things you want to look at are...

Your Intent

This may seem kind of silly, but what you plan on writing is important. Your partner should be more than just a show piece in the collab. If you just need a quick input from another player to move things along, you can just *bunny them into your post or let them write in a quick line. If there aren't a lot of meaningful ways for your partner to participate in the collab, this might be better of as a solo post.

*Bunnying is when you include a character in a post to do a minor action to give your post better flow. this will be explained better later.

Everyone's Availability

It's easy to get a collab going if you're both in the same time zones with like schedules. but this is the internet. I'm sleeping while some of you are eating lunch. In instances like this, greater planning will be needed to devise a good time to actually write the collab. Sometimes this isn't possible though, and you'll have to write individual posts to progress. Another aspect of availability is how easy the person is to get a hold of. If they are difficult to communicate with, collabing will become more difficult. These problems become compounded when you start adding more people to the equation. With two people, it's really easy to tell who's turn it is to add. But with three or more people, it can be a lot trickier for people to coordinate.

You CAN do a collab by just posting a little bit each day, without everyone being online at the same time. But this only works best for shorter collabs. You don't want to hold up the RP for a full month while you go back and forth with your partners. Communication, communication, communication.

Interference with other Players

Collabs do have a tendency to force nearby characters out of the RP for their duration. Character 1 and character 2 have a talk about character 3. Character 3, 4, and 5 are around to hear it. But since only characters 1 and 2 are in the collab, 3, 4, and 5 won't be able to respond. It isn't good etiquette to exclude others, so make sure everyone involved in your collab is away from anyone that might be able to interfere. If that's not plausible, then it might not be a good idea to collab at this moment.

In summery: For a good collab you need...

-A decent number of things for all involved characters to do.
-Everyone should be able to come online at a particular time, or at least be able to post daily.
-The collab should not force nearby characters out of the RP.

Part 3: Writing with a Partner, and Writing for the RP

The actual writing process is pretty easy, especially if you communicate well with your writing partner. Now you just need to decide on a platform for your collab and take turns writing. The following are some tips and suggestions to make the most of your collab experience. Not all of them need to be heeded, but I suggest trying them out at least once.

Talk it over

You should probably discuss what you'd like to happen with your partner before you start writing. You don't have to go over everything with a fine comb, but particulars like the direction you want to go with dialog, who should win the battle, etc, might be worth going over. How much and what to go over depends on what you and your partner want. There are some things I don't like to know in advance, and other things I feel that need to be talked about right at the start. If you have strong feelings about something, you should probably discuss it!

Remember: you have an Audience

It's important to keep in mind that while the collab is a closed circle, it's still part of a bigger roleplay with a bunch of other players. While it is not always necessary, the collab will be more engaging to those not involved with the collab if it makes references or otherwise affects the rest of the RP. This can be something major, like a character death. However, it can also be something very small, like the characters discussing their opinions about other characters. One of my most praised collabs was just two dudes talking to each other about all the ladies in the RP. Everyone thought it was really humorous and a great read. People like to know you're observing their characters.

Be Willing to Compromise and Adjust

One of the problems you may run into is you and your partner may have a disagreement on how a certain scene should progress. This kind of ties into "talk it over," but it's not always possible to foresee every possible outcome. Sometimes things will come up on the fly, or you and your partner will just have second thoughts as things develop. Be ready for it, and try to find a solution that makes you both happy.

Decide on a Point of view Character

This is an advanced technique, but I'm going to put it in here anyway.

It can be kind of difficult, sloppy, and just messy to juggle any number of characters and their internal thoughts. It might be wise to choose a character for who the scene is playing out for. Basically, you agree on a point of view character and only that character will have their inner monolog written. Any other characters could write small gestures to hint at what their characters are thinking. Like balling your fists for anger, or quivering lips for sadness or guilt. Small info dumps are also viable if you can pull them off. As for how to select who's the best point of view, It varies from situation to situation. But the one who has the most to lose is always a safe bet.

Part 4: When Things go South

By now you've probably realized that collabs work best when it's just two people in the same timezone writing together. They are most effective for getting to the nitty gritty in duels and back and forth dialog. However, life will give you lemons at some point. Maybe you'll invite too many people into the collab, maybe your partner's real life responsibilities will get in the way, or maybe it'll be as simple as them not having the spark to write.

But the show must go on. Even though you're collabing, you still have an obligation to post at an agreed time. That, or things are starting to move around your collab and you need to finish. What do you do?

Post the Partial Collab

The simple solution. This lets everyone know your alive, shows what you're working on, etc. Because you aren't actually leaving the collab's "sphere," your characters are still locked in that area. However, an outsider can make an appearance, which creates an opportunity for your character to rejoin the RP. Be it an epic duel or sensitive conversation, your characters can pick it up again later.

Add your own Disturbance

Another great solution for when something's partly written up. The characters in the collab are doing something, and then something big happens in the RP. You want to be a part of it, but your partner has gone absent. Maybe you're on a naval base that suddenly comes under attack. You could write that a bomb or torpedo exploded, which alerted your characters to the presence of danger. With this new disturbance, your characters now have bigger fish to fry. You could even talk to someone and have them create a disturbance in one of their posts. Communicate, communicate, communicate!

Cancel the Collab.

ONLY recommended if you can talk with your partner, or you haven't started writing. This can destroy relationships if you're not careful. But it's as simple as it sounds. You just don't go through with the collab.

Talk to Someone!

If nothing seems good, it's always worth it to talk with a GM. You should only take this option if you can't come to a conclusion on your own. But if you are going to use it, sooner is better. No GM wants to hear that you've had a problem after 2-3 weeks of radio silence. Give them the scoop ASAP.

Part 5: When Collab is not an Option

Collabs are awesome for a lot of reasons, but they aren't good for every situation. Sometimes it's just not necessary, or things like time zone magic get in the way. but that doesn't mean you can't orchestrate something with your fellow RP partners to make a post go smoother.


When you bunny a character into your post, you're momentarily borrowing someone else's character.
Taking control of another person's character is normally considered a form of god modding (not good), so you do need to be a little careful when doing this. Typically you won't describe a character's actions with much detail, especially dialog. "Bill told carol all about the hillbillies" is preferable to trying to impersonate Bill's character. Just make sure Bill is the type of character that would tell Carol about the hillbillies he saw. While asking for permission to bunny isn't always necessary, it certainly never hurts.

Write in

You tell someone what you're writing, they write the requested dialog/action, and you stick it in your post. This is ideal for situations where you can't bunny due to the complexity of the action, or simply not knowing how said character would respond.

Part 6: Closing Comments

Hopefully this article has increased your understanding of the art of collabing. Remember that a collab is but one of a roleplayer's many tools. May you enjoy all the collabs you are going to write!

Everything presented is a guideline for beginners and those with little luck using collabs. It is not the end all of the collab discussion.
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by BrokenPromise
Avatar of BrokenPromise

BrokenPromise With Rightious Hands

Member Seen 6 hrs ago

UPDATE: Corrected some of the phrasing and wordiness in preparation for "Writing Collabs Like a Total Boss."
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