Role-Play: An Interactive Form of Creative Writing

photo by flickr user LMRitchie

photo by flickr user LMRitchie

It’s time to take a break from my normal book reviews and introduce the world to a fantastic hobby of mine: role-play (RP for short).

What’s role-play you ask? Well role-play is basically creative writing with a friend. It can be done face to face, or over e-mail or text or social networks or even phone calls. It’s a great hobby that helps expand your territory of creative writing that can be done really anytime and anywhere.

I figured it’s just be easier to give you step by step instructions for role-play and explain it along the way also. So here we go!

  1. Find someone to do it with. Role-playing is typically done with two or more people, since doing it by yourself isn’t as much fun, and is more just creative writing than actually role-play.
  2. Choose your characters and settings. The great thing about role-play is that you can do so many things with the characters and settings. You can choose characters and settings that already exist from TV shows, books, movies, etc. or you can make up your own character/setting! Or, my personal favorite, combine the two! You can be a character created by someone else, and your friend can be her/his own character, and vice versa. You can combine things from your brain and things from somebody else’s brain into one great story. There’s great exercise for your creative writing in all alternatives. By playing a ready-made character, you get to think of things that character would do in situations that never happened in their original story. When writing your own story, you typically change something. It helps by thinking of things that character would do that he/she was not originally intended to do.
  3. Create a story. With role-play, you can’t plan out the whole story. You just can’t. However, you can plan the main base of it. Either you or your fellow role-player (or both) write a paragraph setting the scene, vague plot, and tone of the story you are about to role-play. It’s like a first paragraph of a chapter. There are endless possibilities with this one.
  4. Role-play. Once the first paragraph is written by someone, a different person continues. When writing role-play, don’t write for somebody else’s character. Just write your character’s thoughts, what your character says, what your character is doing, etc. You can carry on the story however you want, as long as you are controlling only your character and things that are inanimate or parts that aren’t assigned to anybody. Once you’ve written your part (try not to make it too long or too short, but it doesn’t matter much if the person you’re role-playing with doesn’t mind), the person/people you’re role-playing with continues the story, and it goes back and forth. Since you don’t have control over the entire story, it’s a great exercise for creative writers or people who wish there was more to a book/TV show/movie/etc. If you’re doing it live with somebody, it’s great for thinking on your feet, and practicing improv and/or acting.
  5. Make it your own. When it comes to role-play, there aren’t many official rules. Just have fun, and customize it to your own! Try making characters you use reccurringly! It’s lots of fun, I promise!

So get out there, and have fun! If you have any questions, comment them and I’ll answer. Happy role-playing!

-Danielle L., 6th grade

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