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Description Workshop Thread
No Scavenger Hunts for us

This thread will serve as a grounding point for community suggestions just regarding descriptions. I want to hear a bunch of suggestions, and there's about two requests or warnings I have, even if someone submits a suggestion or a question that seems utterly dumb to you, make sure that you don't attack the people for them. No hurling accusations, no claiming falsehoods. Take a look at their argument, and think about where they are coming from with it. And explain why it is a bad idea thoroughly and make suggestions for improving it. If you can't do that. I would request that that criticism is taken elsewhere.

Second a warning, if you make a description, this is not a place to post it before play, for critique. Do not post any element of your now or future character in here. If you have a question about if you are doing your description correctly, give an example divorced from the description itself.

Good questions include,

Is using the word, adjective, when I have an attractiveness short description of good looking, allowed?

Would injecting metaphor be a bad idea?

Bad questions would include.

I have INSERT DESCRIPTION HERE as my description, can anyone give me comments and critiques about how I wrote it?

If you want critiques on your desc, do it in game. To the people standing near you. People are normally pretty tolerant of it if you're in a lightly populated room.

Now onto my suggestions, and I'll be keeping these short, because I don't want to fill up space anymore than I already have.

My suggestions are thus.

Keep it short.

Keep it simple.

Size and frame. Posture and walk style. Detail sentence.

Three sentences is really all you need to make a description that works within the code of the game.

Second suggestion.

Work within the code and constraints of the game. Your nakeds should contain detail, your description is just a place to basically provide a 3 second snapshot of your character. Read help describe it actually really helps get this across.

I have compiled a list of things for descriptions, specifically tailoring, after analyzing examples from Neal Stephenson and William Gibson:[/b[

-What are you trying to portrait in the character?

-The description should be a story.

-Relate to the senses, what might spark a familiar memory in the reader.

-What is the practical purpose of the clothing?

-Set the attitude you want the wearer to inherit.

-When describing in 1st person, consider objectively describing the feeling of the clothing or the associated action. (ex.What does it feel like to wear it.)

-Imagination will create the details, other than the most noticeable features, most of the writing should be for the purpose of setting theme.

I'm gonna spitball out some descs using Varo's questions they posted. These descs are ones that I think work from a physical sense with the game. I'm gonna list what attribute/descriptor I'm trying to convey. As well as a relative level of charisma. Because that's one stat that should influence a lot of things with regards to general description.

Large, Ordinary Level Charisma.

JoeBigga is a proverbial walking fridge with legs. He walks heavy, with a short pace, like he's been carrying some on his shoulders most of his life. His dark skin seeming to belie his size, making for an even more impressive silhouette.

Ugly. Low Level Charisma

JaneCrabbo looks like a crab perched in human skin. She's got zero levels of coordination to her walk, and seems to move about like a caffeine lacking stumbling zombie. Her tanned skin's mottled and muddied, acne and mole ridden complexion giving her an almost I can't believe it's not skin cancer feel.

Petite V High Level Charisma

SallySinner is tiny, in almost every respect. Pale and funsized in a way that makes peoples heads turn. Her gait and posture is slow and almost ponderous, before she's found something of interest, and then it heats up.

Nerd, V Low Level Charisma

SamStim is about like if you took an alien out of Rosswell, and stuffed it into a skin about three times larger than it should be. All rolls and jiggles as he moves around, ponderous and panting. He tends to cradle his rolls as he walks, rubbing at them gently with his all too pale hands.

Notice I think only one of these was more than three sentences. However you can get a massive feel for each character and what they may seem like, at a moments glance from each one. This is the effect you should be aiming for with a description. A description should contain next to none of the details a naked would. It should however establish the feel of everything that follows.

Staff have cautioned against including posture and gait in one's description, the reason being this can be very situational. Are you still gonna walk and carry yourself the same with three stab wounds to the gut?
Hmmm, that's an interesting thing. Good to know, the @describe in help description is what I based most of this structure on.

@describe me as "The woman before you has tanned skin and Asian heritage. She carries her lean frame with ease. Just shy of six feet tall, she moves with conviction and precision."

My only suggestion for people when writing descriptions, and emoting for that matter, is to show not tell. Don't ever include the work "you" or "your" in a description. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:


Bob's huge guns bulge out of his arms, making you think of a military man with a long history of smashing skulls just like yours.


Bob's arm muscles bulge from his arms, rippling with the motions of his body.

The defining difference here is that you don't want to assume your audience. Maybe the person reading it is a monster themselves, and wouldn't be intimidated by Bob's muscles, or maybe they're a wimp and would, or maybe their a horny chica and the sight of such a thing would be more alluring than intimidating.

The point is to describe without interpreting the aspects of the the description for your reader.

That's some good advice JMo, appreciate it. I tend to try and inject a certain amount of feel into a lot of my descriptions, and I think that it's a fine line to walk between, propagandizing thought. And providing description.
I like Rhea's descriptions except the part that explains it in the present as they should allow for the all the different moods and situations that character is going to be involved in, maybe this example works:

Clem has a face like a desert lizard, bony, scaly, and dull. It's like he lacks the muscle to in his gaunt cheeks to make expression, he tries, but it just doesn't work. What he does have is a crooked beak of a nose with a long ass philtrum from a drunken pregnancy. His neck would make a giraffe swoon with envy, and all 190 pounds of gangly, greasy limbs have as much direction as a rabbit thrashing in a snare trap.

The only things I can really contribute are:

Don't use "cute" synonyms if your charisma isn't up. People know you're trying to game perception of attractiveness. Put actual points into charisma if that's what you want.

Also please watch desc length, because there's only so much someone is willing to read on someone's lookdesc. Your desc is long, then you add clothes... it gets to be too much.

Eliminate purple prose from your writing when possible. It's a bad way to write and it makes it difficult to parse what exactly is going on in your desc at all. Eliminate adjectives where they don't serve a purpose, use nouns and layman's terms where you can.

Here's a guide on eliminating purple prose: