Author Topic: Bios!! aka the Biography Tool  (Read 2496 times)

Zenith

  • Posts: 896
Bios!! aka the Biography Tool
« on: January 28, 2018, 05:09:29 PM »
I wrote these up for my clan, and it has been suggested that I share them here. This post is about bios. I was pointed at these when I was new, and have used them ever since.

How do you get to the Bio tool?
You can go to Armageddon.org, log into your account in the upper right hand corner, and select "biographies" from the drop down list. This will take you to a page with all of your characters on it. Select your current character by clicking on the eye beside their name (unless you are just desperate to add bios to past characters, I suppose) and then hit the green "+ new entry" button to begin.

You can also bio from the mud client, but I find this much more unwieldy than using the website.

What sort of bio entries do you write?
The short answer is, anything you need or want to remember. The following is literally the second bio I ever wrote (the first being useless to this discussion):

Quote
After being taken on as a student at the Atrium, Ceria was introduced
to Lord Lucith Borsail. After a surprisingly brief meeting she was hired
as his Aide. Right after revealing she speaks Cavilish. She is of the
opinion this is the reason she got the job, but is determined to do her
best to serve no matter what reason she was hired for. She also is
beginning to like him, and is quite happy to be serving someone she is
coming to enjoy and respect.

This bio is simple and yet holds a decent amount of information. It reminds me who hired me, why I think I was of interest to them, and the mindset of my character when I was starting a new job. If ever I wanted to remember how I felt when I was hired, this is a brief description of such.

(Please note: this bio is older than 1 year past the date that everyone in it died or stored, and thus is not against the rules to share. Please do not share IC information that has happened within the last year or is about or pertaining to characters that are still alive.)

What things might I bio about?
-feelings about various PCs and ideas for how to work with them/use them/screw them/etc in the future
-events I am involved in
-plans I am developing

I now tend to write very long bios with multiple paragraphs that covers RL weeks worth of playing tailored to a single plot. So I may cover how I met person Y, fell in love with them, was betrayed by them, and worked as hard as I could to ruin them over it. Or I might discuss how I have had a long standing hatred of person Q and have spent a year trying to engineer their death. Or I may write about how I have an idea to create a new wine IC and all of the steps I have taken to see that come to fruition.

On previous PCs I would have had all of that information broken up over a number of bios. The amount I bio tends to change with how much extra time I have. When I have less time, I bio less often, creating larger bios.

Why bio at all?

It can be very helpful to go back and read your bios and remind yourself of how you felt about things, or about large events that happened. Let’s say that I have just run into Seargent J of the Byn, and I vaguely remember him, but not much. I can quickly search my bios for Seargent J and remind myself what I thought about him the last time. “Oh! That’s right. He’s the ass who got drunk at a party, felt me up in public, then vomited on my shoes.”

It can also be helpful when your character reports are getting too long. In your character report you can write “ongoing issues between Joanne and Mark, see bio titled Ongoing Issues between Joanne and Mark for more information.” Then, in a bio titled thusly, I could explain my side of the whole long convoluted tale of why Joanne and Mark are having issues. If staff wants to know what is going on, they can then go look at your bios and learn my POV. In an ideal scenario, Mark would have a similar bio discussing our problems and staff could see both sides. I am not sure how often that really happens, though. My guess would be rarely.

Bios can also be very fun to go back and read long after your character is gone. I scanned a number of my old bios in the process of writing this post, and was reminded of a lot of fun I had on various PCs, particularly things I had forgotten about.

This concludes my tutorial on bios. I hope that this comes in handy for anyone reading this.

Please feel free to ask any related questions or add more helpful tips below.

sleepyhead

  • Posts: 577
Re: Bios!! aka the Biography Tool
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2018, 08:24:55 PM »
Thank you so much for creating these guides! This looks fantastic and I hope it inspires someone to bio. It can be hard to summon up the will to do it, but once I get going, adding bios gets me super excited about character arcs.

One thing I'd add is that writing bios can be kind of like writing a diary. It's easy to get overwhelmed when so much has happened and you don't know where to begin. The great thing is that the website allows you to easily edit bios later, so you can add one or two-sentence placeholder bios and expand on them later (or not!)

This is super niche, but a friend of mine once showed me one of her old bio entries that I really loved. It was written just like a log from the game itself, and could have easily been mistaken for one. I thought it was a super creative idea! There are so many ways to do bios, so just do what inspires you.

azuriolinist

  • Posts: 472
Re: Bios!! aka the Biography Tool
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2018, 09:32:31 AM »
Bios are great. This post is great! Thanks for the numerous tips, Zenith!

Biographies can be pretty fun to write. Other times, it's an utter slog trying to fill up a bio. Personally, what's worked for me during those moments is immersing myself in my character. Write the bio in the PC's voice.

Also, I agree with what you said; reading bios from previous characters is always a blast.

Well, sometimes. Other times, I just found myself grimacing.

edit: Also, this submission has amazing examples for biographies. I love the diary style.

tiny rainbow

  • Posts: 223
Re: Bios!! aka the Biography Tool
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2020, 12:59:59 PM »
I was searching around for biography and this is really useful too from another thread:
I tend to do a lot of 'fill-me-in-later' BIOs...

Code: [Select]
bio add Something Great Just Happened, Click Here To Find Out
~
Then after a month or so, on a day when I can't log in (or when I'm idling waiting for PCs in my sphere) I'll go back in and fill them out.
This is a really good idea, but too late if you want to add stuff after when you hadn't done this already before, so you have to try and back-date it, but it still has that wrong date at the top that you can't remove... But at the same time I can see the purpose of it to try keep some fixed OOC time for when stuff was added - maybe it would be nice if there was something like an option to checkmark if you want the game date for that time to be shown (ticked for each entry as default option) or instead to write the date in yourself (and the OOC date of added/modified would still be passively there)

Another thing I've seen from looking about bios is that you sort of have to choose between making a first person (from post above this) or third person story, and picking either loses aspects that the other would have - with first person having more chance to write more detail on thoughts and motivations, but third person being better for recording things like events with more details that the character might not be personally so invested in
- It seems like it'd be good if you could have alternate versions of the same bio side by side, one of which is what your character remembers or has as their opinion of things, and the other is a more impartial story or log for the point of seeing the big picture of OOC events from a more neutral perspective and not omitting much details to not lose the history, it could be interesting to see how different they are sometimes actually. :)

It's sad that when people make stuff like special songs but if they didn't write an original submission or forums post nice creative things like that just disappear if no one saves the logs, maybe there should be a big long term backup when need to dig for cultural/historical stuff :) reminded me of this and https://nanorosetta.com/
"A time of ash shall mark the rise of the cities. Days of old shall be new once more."

tiny rainbow

  • Posts: 223
Re: Bios!! aka the Biography Tool
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2020, 08:11:32 PM »
I think maybe something like borrowing the drag and drop rearrange thumbnails for imgur albums thing would be useful, because it'd keep the dates but just change the order

try and back-date it, but it still has that wrong date at the top that you can't remove... But at the same time I can see the purpose of it to try keep some fixed OOC time for when stuff was added - maybe it would be nice if there was something like an option to checkmark if you want the game date for that time to be shown (ticked for each entry as default option) or instead to write the date in yourself (and the OOC date of added/modified would still be passively there)
It looks like the only workaround really if you want to write about when your character first started out is to edit the oldest entry and shuffle everything along in dominos but that means ALL the dates become wrong, though in the right order, and maybe is actually a bit more misleading than deleting everything and re-adding to put everything in the right order (though helped by writing the dates in manually)

...What do most people do when they want to write early stuff, just wipe it all and re-do or what?

Also what do people think of music in the biography or is that too OOC? I've only seen song lyrics with chapter headings in books not actual links, but most books aren't actual internet pages so I guess it could be justified and very modern, though it doesn't have play within the page like forum
"A time of ash shall mark the rise of the cities. Days of old shall be new once more."

valeria

  • Posts: 6117
    • I have a writing page.
Re: Bios!! aka the Biography Tool
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2020, 09:30:26 AM »
I write about events I might not have put in a bio for at the time as a current memory of a past event.

"I was recently thinking about the time that we got to the edge of the Shield Wall and the spice took hold...."

Also, a shameless plug but several of one of my character's bios can be found here. I really enjoy first person, in the character's voice. It's like using the "think" command but for longer things.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2020, 09:36:19 AM by valeria »
A Kuraci regular shouts, in sirihish:
     "Bad move, fool!"
A Kuraci regular slashes a filthy grey rat on its body.

Shaydee

  • Posts: 74
Re: Bios!! aka the Biography Tool
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2020, 10:18:52 AM »
I am actually really glad this popped up again because I was just thinking about starting to do biography entries but wasn't quite sure on how exactly to go about it. I tend to just have a google drive document open (I actually have several for differing things). I keep track of my characters thoughts, tasks, people they meet, etc, so that I can remember OOC, then when I move on to a new character I just kind of, erase everything. So I literally lose everything, obviously some things stick but erasing everything and starting from scratch really helps me to start fresh, with a clean slate.

In saying that, I regret not writing biography entries sooner, because I think it would be entertaining to come back to a previous character and read entries after some time has passed? In the very least, I think it would be neat to see how I personally grow in RP with each character. I already do that when I go through and look at main descriptions and background - but those only show so much-, so to get a little more through biographies would be nice.

Not to mention that bit about character reports getting too long. Because I felt that  ;D

Barsook

  • Posts: 8186
Re: Bios!! aka the Biography Tool
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2020, 04:56:59 PM »
I am actually really glad this popped up again because I was just thinking about starting to do biography entries but wasn't quite sure on how exactly to go about it. I tend to just have a google drive document open (I actually have several for differing things). I keep track of my characters thoughts, tasks, people they meet, etc, so that I can remember OOC, then when I move on to a new character I just kind of, erase everything. So I literally lose everything, obviously some things stick but erasing everything and starting from scratch really helps me to start fresh, with a clean slate.

In saying that, I regret not writing biography entries sooner, because I think it would be entertaining to come back to a previous character and read entries after some time has passed? In the very least, I think it would be neat to see how I personally grow in RP with each character. I already do that when I go through and look at main descriptions and background - but those only show so much-, so to get a little more through biographies would be nice.

Not to mention that bit about character reports getting too long. Because I felt that  ;D

I do the same but not that extent.

Shaydee

  • Posts: 74
Re: Bios!! aka the Biography Tool
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2020, 06:57:06 PM »
I do the same but not that extent.


Most of mine are not actually to that extent either, I should have probably said that. Most of the time it's actually just a brief list of people I know. Really just depends on what is or isn't going on I guess.

Barsook

  • Posts: 8186
Re: Bios!! aka the Biography Tool
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2020, 07:14:00 PM »
Ah. Yeah, I'm gonna admit that I mostly do that too.

tiny rainbow

  • Posts: 223
Re: Bios!! aka the Biography Tool
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2020, 09:34:22 PM »
I decided what to do about not being able to to re-order biographies:

Just try pretend you didn't mess up and start writing the as new entries from the beginning of the story after character creation as you want and ignore the stuff before that until you get to the time and then just carry on as normal making copies of it in the right order :) Then you can delete the copies of the later stuff AFTER it's all done, it doesn't matter that you deleted it because you already remade duplicate entries in the right order anyway. :)

Have to still use this https://gdb.armageddon.org/index.php/topic,52014.0.html azuriolinist's Zalanthan Time Converter for the dates




ALSO! Big thing... If you ALT+TAB between logs to use the biographies page and have a New Entry open, at the moment you don't need to click the X to close the popup which seems a bit bad, because if you click on the page to get focus anywhere outside the text box... It will close the popup and you will lose everything you wrote! :O


But I found a way to recover the lost story if you open the new entry popup again and right click on the text box you can see Undo and Redo, there is actually a secret key combination for this too, CTRL+Z and CTRL+Y... And you don't need to keep pressing it either, holding down is enough!

So DO NOT TYPE ANYTHING but instead click on the text box and hold down CTRL+Z for a while until when you right click the text box the Undo is greyed out so you reached the start of the scroll-back in the memory

After it's reached the start (undo is now greyed out when you right-click) you can then hold down CTRL+Y and you will start to see the text you wrote come back in front of your eyes - it's safe to select and copypaste the text to a safer program as long as you are careful to not type anything and break the undo/redo order, you might want to right click copy just to avoid accidentally typing the letter C or whatever
If you go too far you can rewind back through by holding CTRL+Z again before CTRL+Y again

I wouldn't rely on this though because the line breaks and order of text seem to sometimes get really messed up by it, and it looks like some stuff can get lost seemingly only things that were copypasted and not typed in but still bad - probably better to write stories outside of the website and save regularly in case phone dies or crashes or power cut or whatever anyway then post it when done later
« Last Edit: May 12, 2020, 10:40:24 PM by tiny rainbow »
"A time of ash shall mark the rise of the cities. Days of old shall be new once more."