Role-Playing Classes: You Can Do It
1. Interact All the Time
Interact with another character in every single post you make. And interact meaningfully. I see many class threads where each post is a single student going about their work without speaking to another soul. Role-playing class threads should not be as boring as real school. Collaborate with other students. Ask the professor questions. Get off task. Say hello to friends. Ask if you can sit there. Come to class late. Try and budge in on those cliquey Ravenclaws and their discussion. Muster up the courage to sit next to the kid you’ve got a crush on. Interact with at least one character in every single post you make. (It doesn’t hurt at all to PM the other writer. Even diligent readers might miss your cue.)
2. Use Class Threads to Further Your Own Plots
Class is a day in the life of your character. Use that time in their life to continue and enrich the plots that you’re already working on. If your character has been planning some mischief, give your mates a psst to remind them of that meet up tonight. Got some romance brewing? Stoke the awkward. Stoke it. Whatever juiciness your character is involved in outside of class, bring it right into Herbology. If we make classrooms a staging ground for real plot, class threads become the place to be. They become just as exciting as the rest of our writing. JK Rowling only wrote Harry in classes to press her plot along with him, after all!
3. Professors: Have Some Style
If I might wax nostalgic, the professors in the books were all really strange. Professor Snape was just always such an asshole. Professor McGongal was strict. Professor Trelawney was flighty. Really color your classes with your professor’s style. Let your professor’s style touch everything. How does class begin? One professor at Absit Omen locks his door when the bell rings – there are no tardies in that class. Another professor I can remember considered it a loss if he didn’t make a student cry on the first day. Your class should not follow a standard format. Your professor need not be predictable, organized or fair.
4. Students: Cause Disruption
Make your professors acknowledge you. Demand their presence by demanding their attention. You don’t need to be a trouble maker to cause some disruption. Wands slip and spells misfire. You’ve lost your rat. You’re sick from lunch. Perhaps you have a thousand questions. Perhaps you can absolutely work with no one else but your best friend. Perhaps you are a trouble-maker whose disruption options are nearly endless. Make each class something to write home about. Do not wait passively for your professor to entertain you. I bold: Do not wait passively for your professor to entertain you. Do not worry about their plans for the session. It is class. It is, by its nature, open. I don’t mean that we writers should be uncooperative, but more that we should collaborate and realize that the story does not have to go smoothly.
5. Don’t Just Respond – Create!
This goes for every role-playing thread. There is not a single thread where this is not true. Each and every writer shares an equal responsibility for where the plot goes. This is especially true in class threads. All writers are equal and so no character should be passively responding to the class going on around them. Your professor and fellow students are writing with you, not at you. Your post should contain reactions to what has just occurred, and then, most importantly, new action! New action for others to respond to. And don’t forget number 1: Interact! Your new action should include others. Create plot by doing things. It seems like a basic idea at the foot of all role-playing – and it is. Always, always take the opportunity of every post to add something new to the plot in your thread.
(I wrote this post for my blog awhile ago, but I figured it would help here!)