A note from the Editor: This is a genre that I was, quite frankly, unaware of. I found Cara’s blog to be an interesting topic, one that needed to be published here on Two Drops of Ink. If you are like me and have never heard of this genre of writing, then you’ll enjoy this. If you have heard of it or are currently participating in it, tell us more about your experiences in the comments section. Best wishes, Scott
By Cara Hughes
I love where I live. It is a small village in rural Essex and is a perfect place to sit quietly and write novels. However, it can also be a lonely place to indulge in my passion. We do not have any writer’s clubs nearby, not for people of my age anyway. I needed an outlet to improve my writing, to learn new techniques and to ‘bounce’ ideas off people. That is where the Internet and, specifically, Twitter came in. I became a member, or rather a founding member, of a Role-play group.
Role-play is where, in a small group (or large as ours has now become), you work with other people around the world to write stories ‘live’ on the Internet. By ‘live’ I mean you write your story as you go along, with a partner or in a solo. You do not tend to pre-write a piece and post it on the Internet. If posting with a partner, you agree to a plan of what you will write about with them, but your reactions to what they write will be genuine and instant… make sure to check spelling and grammar, though! In the group that I am in, we have writers from North and South England, Canada, all over America, and South Africa. We regularly brainstorm ideas for future storylines and over the course of two years now have written enough material to fill several large volume novels. We support each other and assist with helping everyone improve their level of skill with the written word. They even helped me to overcome a fear of attempting to write poetry, and now I am regularly to be found preparing pieces of prose to share on my timeline. I have made excellent friends, and I know that some of them will be friends for life.
Now I am sure you are all reading this and thinking of horrific tales of being involved with Social Media. Do not get me wrong; some people think they are better than everyone else and voice their opinions a little louder than most, but I am sure you would get that in a writer’s group meeting as well.
There are two ways that you can get involved. Firstly, is there a particular television series, a novel or a period of history that you like? Well do a Twitter search and see if you can find a Role-play group that writes a story for them. There are Role-play groups for Tudor history, Plantagenet history, Georgian history, the French Revolution, Supernatural, Wrestling, Fifty Shades of Grey (for adults only), in fact, you name it there is probably a Role-play group for it. Look at what they post and if they are looking for writers. I would assess them carefully as you can get varying levels of ability in people’s writing. Get chatting with them, let them know you are a writer and if they have a place available you would like to audition for it. This is the more factual basis of Role-play. You become characters that actually existed, so you are somewhat controlled on what you write. Well, that is unless you write an alternate reality but that is probably too much information for today!
What happens if you cannot find a ready-made group to join, well that is my second way of becoming a Role-player. If you are already active on social media, maybe you have a few friends on Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress that might be willing to form a group with you. This is what I did. I became involved in the fandom of the BBC series Musketeers and with a couple of my friends, we formed @TeamDeTernay. Team DeTernay is named after the original brother and sister characters that were created, Charlotte and Henri, and our Role-play, as you can probably guess, is set in the time of the Musketeers in France. This may seem a little daunting at first but if you follow my handy hints below you will be fine:
- Develop characters and an initial Story Line plan. Try to get inside the head of the characters. What they look like, what motivates them. What direction will the story take them? Do they have any special characteristics or movements which you can describe to bring their story to life?
- Set up Twitter accounts for the characters, to do this you will need to develop a biography for the character and choose a photo based on how you wish to look. For my character @CharlotteFabien (she is married now) I use the actress Nina Dobrev. Make sure you state in the bio that you are not Nina Dobrev and that the character is a RP one.
- Tweet the Roleplaying pimps (@ATtheInquisitor is one I use a lot) to tell them about your group and ask them to Retweet details of it.
- Follow other Role-players (as previously described there are many out there) and ask them to Retweet your account. Some will, some will not.
- But mainly…get writing! That is what gets you noticed! Write well, write descriptively, write original and drama packed stories with characters that readers want to fall in love with, hate or fear.
What happens if you do not have people that you can write with. Then again, I would say develop a character and a background for them and do the steps above in an area that you feel you could be happy writing in. You will get noticed and will get invited to join groups before you know it! I know we are always looking out for new writers. Be pushy but not too pushy; some groups do not like writers that constantly use Twitter’s personal message service asking for a part in the group. Sometimes they are mid story line and cannot introduce new characters into their writing, but many will try and help you find a part elsewhere or retweet that you are looking.
Once you have found your place, you will have a fantastic time. I am often to be found laughing so much I have tears streaming down my face. Roleplaying can be addictive and nerve-wracking at the same time. It allows you a voice as well when, like me, you live in the middle of nowhere and want to develop your skills.
Once you are in a group, there is etiquette and rules to learn, but that is for another blog!
My name is Cara Hughes, and I am a self-employed Accountant, who manages to fit work into a very busy life which includes being a wife and mother. I live in a small countryside village in rural Essex. I have been married to Adam for over ten years now, and we have two children.
For most of my life, I have been very mathematical, from specializing in business science for my degree, obtaining a First and then an MSc to my Accountancy qualification following which I became a member then Fellow of the Association of Chartered Accountants. However, two years ago I became a founding member of a writing group via Twitter (@TeamDeTernay) and have discovered a new passion with words instead of numbers. I have taken onboard the responsibility for preparation of the storylines for the group, and I now find that my head is often full of wonderful ideas. Also, in the last six months, I have also begun writing poetry and have had two poems published, including one about the love I have for my son following his diagnosis with Autism. I can be quite a shy person and sometimes lack confidence but by using words I have found that I am able to express myself in a way that I have never been able to before and in doing so have made some very lovely friends all over the world.
I have very varied tastes; if I like something, I will read, listen to, or watch it. If I do not, then, I will simply put it aside. My literary tastes are very historical based although, again, if a current day book captures me I will read it but this does not happen very often. I studied English Literature during my final two years at senior school and developed a love for the classics ranging from Shakespeare to Jane Austen and The Brontes. I also enjoy reading poetry including classics such as Shakespeare’s Sonnets and William Blake to a modern author called Rupi Kaur, whose book Milk and Honey my husband brought for my birthday.
Cara’s Website: http://carahughesauthor.com/