First and foremost, we want you to feel comfortable being creative. Each contribution you make can affect the course of the game and we welcome it, no matter how much experience you have with the group. Your contributions can make a difference and move the story.
Continuing the Story vs Plot Twists
First and foremost, know that all players on the ship can effect a plot. As you will see below, all missions start with a rough plan, an idea of how the adventure could go. "Could", in this case, is the operative word. One Captain shamelessly stole an adage 'no mission survives contact with the crew', simply to point out that missions never ended how they were envisioned. This is proper. This is good.
That said, there are a few things a player can that often lead to problems for the command staff and crew. Imagine for a moment your CO is involved in some intense negotiations with some Romulans, trying to negotiate their withdrawal from a planet. Things are tense, but progress is being made. Then, suddenly, a writer sims a Hirogen ship crashing into the negotiation room. Such a plot twist is not just a twist, it would be quite outside the realm of what you might see in a typical story or episode. You are free to post what you want, but try to keep it in the realm of the story. Learning the difference between what is and is not acceptable in this regard is essential to writing effectively.
While its hard to say what's out of the 'realm of the story', a few rough guidelines are below. Before,
Give a shout to the senior members of the staff. This allows us to prepare, and if it is too outlandish, we can advise you on how to proceed so that your idea does not get abandoned, but does not derail the story either.
But really, the group would rather you continue the story than worry you are doing something wrong. We are all learning as we continue, and we would rather you make mistakes and learn from them than never try anything new.
Back Tags / Back Sims
Back tags are tags for responses left for a player after they have already progressed past that point in the story. For instance, you are starting a sim and realize you would really like adding a boarding party being detected in the middle of your sim; however, the player action has already progressed past the point such an incursion would be detected and responded to. Adding the plot element, and then tagging the appropriate officers for a response would be a back tag. Back tags lead to a myriad of problems: tags get lost by players not looking to 'go back', it sets up situations where players' future actions don't match previous events, and they can cause players to need to write extra-long posts to include both the 'back tags' and future events.
Each sim, whatever its quality and whatever its content, is, by necessity, sacred. Only under extremely rare circumstances will a sim be revoked or wholly changed. Minor details or mistakes can be corrected, but unless a sim features something so outrageous or unacceptable that the mission cannot continue with its inclusion, it must remain. Adding backtags fundamentally changes what other writers have written, and are thus disruptive. Please do not include back tags. If there is a mistake in a sim that must be corrected, speak to the command staff, or speak to the writer that made the error, or, depending on the situation, role with it.
In the case of the boarding party example from above, a more permissible way to complete the desired action would be to sim an indicator of 'something strange' and then later in the course of events sim the actual detection of the boarders. If you find yourself wanting to write backtags, consider it a challenge to not do it and find a way to accomplish your goal at the current point of the action.
Back Sims are sims you wish to write to fill in gaps in your writing, your character's backstory, or simply when you have been away for a bit and want to give your character some closure. Back sims are permitted, provided you do not introduce back tags and realize that some other players, due to their own time constraints, might not respond. Plot Twists and similar mechanics must not be introduced in a back sim. Think of backsims as a way of catching up a character, and placing them back in the action. However, given the choice between a backsim and a current sim, the current sim is always preferable.
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