Jorey's 8 Step Sim
|Embassy of Duronis II|
This is meant as a guide to help new officers (and act as a refresher for veterans) to improve your sim writing. This is the 8 step process I use every time I write a sim. I have also included many tips that I have learned from others and through my own simming experience. - Brayden Jorey
Step One: Copy & Paste
The first step is to collect your tags. The easiest way to do this is to copy and paste the sims your fellow simmers have written that involve you. Use the latest sim as your starting point. The last sim is likely to have all the dialogue that has been posted so far - likely, but not always.
“Occasionally, even a veteran simmer, can miss or forget an email someone posted in which they answered tags. When you are writing your sim have a look at the tags left for other simmers too. Check the last sims posted by those players to double check that they haven't already answered tags. It can save a lot of confusion and if their answers were missed. As a bonus, you'll become everyone's hero for catching the mistake and including them in your sim. ”
Step 2: Delete & Notes
Once you have copy and pasted the last sim that relates to you and double checked for missed tag answers, it's time to Delete! I delete everything that isn't dialogue. Descriptions, feeling, thoughts, everything! Then I read the sim (in my email that still has everything) and make a note in my barren dialogue-only sim if a character touches me, reacts to me or if there is something that happened that my character would react to in some way. With the exception of other character's dialogue and a few descriptiions about
By now, you will have a text document that looks a lot like an actor's script. It has a bunch dialogue and a few notes.
Step 3: Answer Tags
The next step is to answer the tags left for your character. This is the simple part. You write the words that your character would say. However, you might notice that it is very rare for me to just write dialogue alone. You will rarely see:
Jorey: I wonder what people will be wearing to Toni's wedding? I'm sure many will just wear their dress uniform. It's stress-free and easy.
You are much more likely to see:
Jorey: ::He gestured to his large, overstuffed closet with that 'I have nothing to wear' expression.:: I wonder what people will be wearing to Toni's wedding? ::He plucked a blue garment an held it to his chest for T'Mihn's opinion.:: I'm sure many will just wear their dress uniform. ::He flung the garment on the growing pile of rejects on the floor and turned to the Vulcan with a pouty, sarcastic lip.:: It's stress-free and easy.
oO… and BORING! Oo
“ As you get to know your character, more and more you will begin to hear their voice, get a sense of how they talk, their body language and ways of expressing. You may already hear and see it. The rest of us can't! Use description within your dialogue to bring your character's words and the scene to life.”
Step 4: Present Description
Besides the descriptive text interwoven in your dialogue aim for one paragraph worth of ::Descriptive Text::. Describe your environment, describe your relationship to others, describe how your character is feeling at the moment, or what they are thinking. This gives the other writers (and readers) some insight into how your character thinks/feels and reacts to their environment. The paragraph worth can be spread out over your sim or literally as one paragraph.
“Present Description can also include a piece of information about your character's species and/or culture. A good example of this was after Jorey ordered the helm to warp by saying "In good faith, Helm". The paragraph that followed not only gave some insight into how Brayden thinks, but offers readers a glimpse into Betazoid culture and life on a Betazoid starship.”
- On Betazoid ships, "In good faith" was as common as "Engage" or "Make it so" was on Federation vessels. For a Betazoid Commanding Officer the expression had a three-fold meaning. The first was that the Captain and her officers all had the best interests of the collective crew at heart. Second, while they were departing prepared for the worst, they had nothing but good intentions. Lastly, that they were departing with the blessings of the Gods.::
Step 5: Past/Future Description
Aim for one paragraph worth of writing where you relate your current environment or situation to something from your past or your goals, ambitions, and hopes for the future. Describe a memory or dream about your future. This paragraph gives the other writers (and readers) some insight into why your character is the way they are and who they are trying to be. The paragraph worth can be spread out over your sim or literally as one paragraph.
“I will occasionly write two paragraphs that combine a present description with a past/future description. Just to mix things up or when it seems to flow naturally. For example, when Brayden described Ensign Oddas' reaction to seeing the Thunder's bridge. It was a blend of describing the present situation, while relating it to Brayden's past.”
- Brayden loved seeing the expression on Aria's face. It was full of excitement, possibilities, and awe. He knew he must have had a similar expression when he stepped onto the bridge of the Prometheus class heavy cruiser USS Tiger-A straight from the academy. There was something wonderfully unnerving about realizing you were on the bridge of a Federation warship.::
Step 6: Advance the Plot
This is the part of simming that makes most simmers nervous - new and old. The trick, for me, is to think about simming like an actual episode of Star Trek.
In almost every scene, some new piece of information is introduced or a new development occurs that pushes the plot forward. It's rare for an episode to jump ahead quickly in leaps and bounds. Instead an episode of Star Trek is usually made up of dozens of small moments that slowly, but steadily, move the plot forward to a satisfying conclusion.
When I'm thinking about advancing the plot, I think of what could be a new piece of info or a little thing that could happen to keep things moving slowly to the next scene. If the person before you simmed a new piece of info or development, than your job in advancing the plot is to acknowledge it and discuss it. If the person before you acknowledged and discussed it, your job becomes to move the sim to the next scene.
It's a simple formula if you think about it this way: 1. New thing happens. 2. New thing is discussed. 3. New thing leads to next scene. The trick is to pay attention to where you are in that cycle. Here's an example from our recent sims on the USS Thunder-A:
- 1. New Thing: We intercept a non-responsive runaway freighter.
- 2. Discussion: We discuss and determine we need to send over an away team.
- 3. New Scene: The Away team gets in the lift and heads for the transporter room.
- 1. New Thing: The freighter is at warp and we can't transport the team over.
- 2. Discussion: We discuss the problem and find a solution to bring the ship out of warp long enough to transport the team over.
- 3. New Scene: The Away team beams over to the freighter.
“The best way to get others involved in a sim is by adding a new thing that relates to your duty post, but is important to or must be dealt with by a different department. Basically, do not create problems or dilemmas that you or your department can solve. Spread the trouble around!”
“Be careful with adding the "New Thing" to the story. I have often seen simmers put problems on top of problems on top of problems. It can quickly make the story confusing, unnecessarily frustrating and convoluted. A "New Thing" doesn't always have to be a problem or 'trouble'. Other "New Things" can inculde relating the current situation to the past, including Star Trek episodes. A "New Thing" could be a new detail to the current problem. As a guide, if there are already two unresolved issues or problems in the story it's probably not a good idea to add another one.”
Step 7: Leave Tags
The last thing to worry about is leaving tags for your follow simmers. For most sims, I recommend leaving no more than four tags and no more than two tags to any character. If there are more than four tags, the scene can get overly crowded. If there are more than two tags for one character, you are likely forcing a specific response from them. Essentially, it's a more passive way of simming someone else's character, which is probably the biggest no-no in roleplaying. Last, make sure the Tags you leave are current. Do not (I repeat do not) leave new tags in a part of a scene that the team has already moved past. If something was missed, include it in the current scene - never go back.
“Be specific with your tags. If you need scientific information tag a science officer. Personal advice - tag a counsellor. If you have vital information about the mission, tag the ranking officer. If you are asking for 'someone' to do something, be specific! Who does your character think is the right person to do it? Tag them! Leaving "Anyone" tags or a Tagging half the crew for one response leads to walls of dialogue and will likely leave the last person to respond feeling overwhelmed.”
Step 8: Edit, Update, Send
The last step is to edit your sim. Check for spelling mistakes, awkward sentences, formatting issues, and anything else that just doesn't feel right. Then, double check your email to make sure someone hasn't posted while you've been writing your sim. It happens more than it should! Two sims sent to the group minutes apart, driving the scene in different directions, all because someone missed a recently posted sim.
Google groups is actually pretty reliable and I've never had a problem with it. However, if you have had issues go directly to the group page to make sure you aren't missing a sim. Embassy GoogleGroup
Hit send! Bam! All done!
“For editing, the very best thing you can do is to read your sim out loud. It will reveal more spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and awkward wording in a way just re-reading it won't do. When I'm really bored, I like to read it out loud with…the strange artic..ulation of Will…iam Shat..ner as captain…Kirk. ”
So there you have it!
- 1. Copy and paste the most recent sim. Check that the tags are current.
- 2. Delete everything but the dialogue and note anything your character would respond to.
- 3. Answer your tags.
- 4. Include a paragraph worth of text describing your present
- 5. Include a paragraph worth of text describing your past or future that gives us insight into your character.
- 6. Advance the plot.
- 7. Leave tags for others.
- 8. Edit and send.
I hope that this helps all our newcomers and that even our veterans might have even found some useful things; like "Shatner-ing" an out-loud reading of your sim... for editing purposes, of course!