Okay, so I administrate over at Distant Fantasies and as such, on a regular basis get to see new sites or existing sites as I just browse the DF Directory. As such I find sites that strike my fancy and while I am not a chronic site joiner I love to be able to suggest sites to my friends and I’ve noticed this blaring trend of waffling.
Now I say that and your first instinct is ‘wtf is waffling’ but waffling is a failure for one to make up their mind. Mind you, I’m a queen waffler IRL.
Next question you ask is ‘wtf are they waffling about’? Well that’s where it gets interesting. It’s their word count. Now mind you, I’m an avid anti-word count advocate. I find that I have as much potency in a one line post as some people feel that you only get from hundreds, if not thousands, of words. That notwithstanding though, I don’t like reading things like:
We’re a no word count site but……
But what? Are you a no word count site or aren’t you? There is no buts in such a statement unless you’re not, in fact, a no word count site. If you add in a “but we like to see at least three paragraphs” or “we prefer that you have at least 200 words” then why don’t you make that you’re minimum? A “no word count” site means that I can post one word or I can post ten thousand but there is absolutely no restriction on how many I am required to put into that post box.
After I read this and it infuriated me, I talked to my boyfriend Cricket about this. Mind you, my boyfriend is a DnD based roleplayer, he uses his dice to determine things while I use communication with my partner. I asked him if he had this type of thing in his campaign, these types of players and he said that he did except his players are overly wordy for the sake of trying to cover all of there basis so they don’t get killed. “I turned the knob to the left really slowly before pushing the door open, just as slowly as to not make a sound” and we both didn’t know of a single person that was legitimately that careful, especially when you consider the setting. I explained to him that for my format that people felt themselves on a higher rank than you due to the amount of words that they post, no matter how relevant or important those words were to be able to progress the story line.
The conversation continued and he asked about how relevant the post content was and I advised him 70-90 percent of it is fluff to fill the word count or time travel posting (time travel posting is responding to parts of the previous post because the previous roleplayer continued past that point and didn’t giv eyou ample opportunity to respond even though your character, would in fact, respond). Time travel posting incites more time travel posting which incites more fluff to fill an arbitrary number for a ranking system that only exists in the minds of the players themselves.
I’m a 17 year play by post roleplayer. I have been through the advanced years when 1200 words were the minimum to be considered a part of the roleplay elite of “Advanced” and I’ve been through the years that 600 words was that and now the new trend is “no word count but”. I’m an advanced roleplayer and after all this time I’ve come to finally a zen point in my roleplaying time to have finally figured out that:
- This is just a game. I shouldn’t feel like getting onto my roleplay sites is a job. There is no reason for this and I should feel like my relaxation hobby is a chore. Word counts make it a chore.
- A word count is an arbitrary number to keep up a fascist belief that more is better. I’m going to fill you in, that if it doesn’t contribute to the plot then it’s likely not worth your time to type it out. How many books have you read that a character inner monologues for pages, upon pages, upon pages, that actually keep your interest and doesn’t progress the plot. Sure you can talk about your childhood tragedy for 400 words but how does that help your character now, or the plot that you are trying to progress but posting about how your character shifts uncomfortably and gets a look in their eye that someone might be able to see, that’s proper writing. Yes, I reduced 400 words into a single sentence but the single sentence is far more potent.
- Word counts kill the muse. I’ve read posts that are amazingly long that give me absolutely nothing to reply to and one liners that speak volumes in themselves that inspire me to write a thousand words. If the situation calls for the post then post it but don’t strangle me with your words because you are obligated or you feel a better sense of self by posting a longer post. It perpetuates a lie that your quality cannot be seen by posting something less then some arbitrary number.
- Confucius say: “Do not use a cannon to kill a mosquito.” I can’t say how appropriate this is. Your concise words should speak the volumes in your character actions.
Really in the end you will play the site you’re comfortable with and if that’s the site that requires 3 paragraphs or nine million words per post, then so be it. I just request that you stop your waffling and either say your no word count because you are or say your a word/paragraph count site because that’s what you are. There is no reason to have a but in your rule about count minimums if you have one set in your mind.