Author Topic: I need help to be more creative in emotes  (Read 398 times)


  • Posts: 9570
I need help to be more creative in emotes
« on: April 21, 2018, 04:03:22 PM »
I'm having trouble being more descriptive and flavourful in my emotes.   I see other players emote more creative things and I feel like my simple emotes don't give off good characterizations of my toon.  I want to show that my character has a personality and has quirks, but I don't think I'm portraying it well.

Do you have two or three helpful hints to be more creative in describing my actions?
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Re: I need help to be more creative in emotes
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2018, 04:14:38 PM »
There's a happy medium in these things. Some emotes are so bareboned that there's nothing to react to. Some emotes are so flowery they're excessive and take fifty words what could be said in ten -- a lot of 'noise' without much 'message'. My go to is to describe what I'm doing in detail -- how I'm moving, the way my character's face is expressing, ect ect without unnecessarily flowery vocabulary. Anything that's not necessary to convey the action or soul of the moment is cut.

Brevity is the soul of wit, and that includes emoting to some extent. My hints:

1) Don't be concerned about how long or meaty your emoting is.
2) Vocabulary is your friend. There might be fifty synonyms for what you're trying to convey, but there's always only one perfect word amongst them that strikes the right tone.
3) I like to emote what I'm doing rather than describing painstakingly how it looks. This is a personal preference. For example:
       A) The man balances on the stool he has pushed up against the wall, rummaging around on the shelf above his head amid the clatter of ceramics.  He grumbles and grunts as he stretches, searching for something.
      B) The man balances on the stool he has pushed up against the wall, stretching out. He shivers and shakes tremulously, sweat beading on his brow as he concentrates. His cerulean colored eyes are narrowed in focus.

It's a subtle difference but the first emote is focused more on action and the second one seems more focused on description. I prefer the first. Again, that's a preference.

4) Read. I love reading novels and I happily scavenge turn of phrase for my emotes from my favorite authors.


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Re: I need help to be more creative in emotes
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2018, 04:32:30 PM »
I try to make sure that my emotes answer any questions the other players might have to give, as you say, good characterization. So as a general rule, I try to answer basic questions, and give a strong feeling of the action my guy did. So first of all it is important to know the propositions I want to move forth. Here are some tips.

#1 Your emotes can be richer if you think, very quickly, how this character with a personality and quirks would react to the different layers of interaction they are having. So let's imagine you are entering a tavern from the north. (A) How is your character feeling (imagine they are feeling tired). (B) How is this character reacting to what is around them? (imagine they are avoiding the crowds because they are tired and they are not very sociable). (C) What other additional flavor information you can add to contextualize your character? (they are wearing a very tattered apparel). If you combine these propositions, you could craft: The tall, tanned man arrives from the north, the tatters of his cloak brought to flutter like tiny flags against his slumped form, tired-looking eyes watching the bar as he heads to a table away from it.

#2 As Namino said, noise is bad and sometimes (especially when you are focusing too much on emoting properly, I'm guilty sometimes), and it should be avoided. Every proposition in your emotes should clarify things, not make them confusing. If your emotes are hard to follow, they are useless. If reading your emotes contributes to the other player and they WANT to read them because it helps with their roleplay, fantastic. This is why when a tavern is too crowded, my flavor emotes will go in hemotes. Otherwise they won't be read.

#3 There's a lot of psychology into how to grow a sentence and how to communicate what you want while growing it. English is my second language so I don't know how to explain this in grammatical terms, but pretty much take into account that the way your emote grows dictates a style. If your every action is a flowery emote, that is fantastic IN MY OPINION, but that communicates something about the tone of your character: sophisticated. Flowery is not long. Flowery is fancy. Fancy is okay as long as you are doing it for a reason. Your emote can be long and have a macho style too, which is where propositions are short (The tall, tanned man gets a pile of coins, picking up the pouch, looking down at it and scowling.) whereas the fancy style can be longer and more elaborate (Dropping to a knee, the tall, tanned man gets a pile of coins, his fingers wrapped around the pouch as he tests its weight; his face twists into a disapproving scowl, head shaking a little bit.) Both are in my opinion economical; aside from a couple of words that could've been trimmed, they are not wasting time, but the styles are different and give a subtly different feeling.

And yes! Read. Also check reference books for writers. My signature has the On Good Roleplay thing where I have posted some books. On Writing Great Sentences has a lot of the advice that I am writing here, in its own way.


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Re: I need help to be more creative in emotes
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2018, 05:21:13 PM »
Thieve what you read. My emotes are always way better when I'm actively reading. I nab a few lines of action description per novel, at least.
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  • Posts: 416
Re: I need help to be more creative in emotes
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2018, 06:17:10 PM »
I get immersed in the character and just type whatever stream of consciousness style... admittedly, I'm terrible.
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Re: I need help to be more creative in emotes
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2018, 06:54:17 PM »
Include environment. Include other senses beside visual. What is the smell, sound, feel of the area/object/etc?

sit chair [the cracked leather padding letting out a creak of protest]

s (into the reek of stale alcohol and vomit)

e (squinting against the harsh noontime sun)
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Re: I need help to be more creative in emotes
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2018, 04:13:58 AM »
I am 99% stream of consciousness, with my fingers hardly keeping up with my mind. Once in a while, I'll add an adjective to whatever I'm doing. >emote takes a drink of red liquid from ~mug. >emote spills a tray of sticky cakes onto the floor. It tends to work a little better than whatever I decided was needing effort.
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