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Thread: MSPAFA Tips and Guidelines (Read Me! [Updated 8/20])

  1. #1
    I'm out, motherfuckers Schazer's Avatar
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    MSPAFA Tips and Guidelines (Read Me! [Updated 8/20])

    Hello and welcome to the MSPAFA Subforum! This corner of the fora is dedicated to fan-made Forum/Fan Adventures where you decide what happens next, suggestion-box style. Your moderators for this subforum are Schazer and SleepingOrange - this is the one we hang out in most and understand the best, but the report function and other moderators are always available for urgent matters. If you ever have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of us - PMs or the IRC channel (#MSPAFA on esper) work nicely.



    Subforum Guidelines

    As a subforum, we’re pretty relaxed, except for matters of Friendship (which is Paramount). The only enforceable rules here are those outlined in this thread (which basically equate to “don’t be a dick”). Still, because the bulk of our threads work a bit differently to threads elsewhere on the forums, forumite Wheeeeeeatthins assembled this nifty guide on good MSPAFA etiquette. Read it. Love it. He’s awesome, and you’ll be awesome for reading it and taking its contents to heart.

    But first, a little reminder! Part of the rules we just linked (and the "don't be a dick" philosophy they espouse) is treating criticism maturely. As a community filled with artists and authors and various creative people, this is certainly not a No Criticism Zone; at the same time, first and foremost in everyone's minds should always be respect and politeness! If you have problems with someone's adventure or RP and you feel they just have to know, remember the following things:

    1) No matter how flawed you think an adventure is, it's not worth insulting someone over.

    2) Never make a post just to say "Your adventure is bad" or "I don't like your adventure"; it's rude and unhelpful, and you should know better. Wait 'til your father gets home.

    3) Make sure the author is looking for critique; most people here are just doing this for fun, and may not be taking things as seriously as you are! Keep this helpful thread in mind.

    4) It is far preferable that you do things privately than make a stink in the author's thread; even if you they have a pleasant, polite conversation, it's better that you don't air your grievances in public and clutter things up. This also prevents embroiling other posters in your critique and letting things degenerate into a fight.

    5) Remember the rules. Really.




    1) Have fun posting suggestions! Suggesters are the backbone of our little enclave here that you now find yourself a part of, and by offering suggestions, you are important. If you read an adventure and never post a suggestion, then the author has no idea you're enjoying it! Try to make quality commands in your favorite adventures... then the author will feel loved and want to continue updating. If you are feeling generous, just post a quick 'thank you' or create some fan art! Authors love that stuff.

    2) For good suggestion-making, remember, most (good) authors have a basic gameplan for what can happen next. Try to make suggestions that help the story flow along and bring it to its potential, not grind it to a halt with "random" distractions. Putting yourself in a character's shoes and asking "what would this character do in this situation?" can work well for coming up with suggestions.
    +2b) Don't be lazy about your suggesting - posting "==>" defeats the purpose of the forum adventure format, and isn't all that interesting to read. Take five minutes and think up something the author can actually use.

    3) If a suggestion you make is not initially used by the author, don't repeat it over and over again.

    4) Remember to respect the author's wishes in their adventure's thread! Especially if they ask for you to not make a certain type of suggestion (for example, if they ask you not to make silly off-topic suggestions. FYI: "silly" suggestions are different from humorous suggestions. Silly suggestions are nonsense that really have no bearing to the plot at hand. Humorous suggestions can take an aspect of the plot and turn it into a humorous situation.)
    +4b) try not to use "sloppy makeouts" as a suggestion

    5) Sure, you're cool and all... but don't hog up an author's thread with your own personal antics! (If you're actively planning something with the author, and think that it might be seen as antagonistic to bystanders, run it by a mod so that you don't get taken for a crook.)

    6) There's no need to post "author: update" as a command—most adventures end up unfinished. If you'd like an inactive adventure to update, try posting some fan-art or a relevant command along with how you miss the adventure and think it would be neat for the author to update (though no pressure).




    1) The most important thing to remember is that you are doing this for fun! So before starting, think to yourself: do I want to spend all of this time and hard work to tell a story this way? Forum adventures are quite time- and effort-consuming; not taking this into account is the reason why most adventures are abandoned. Would-be authors lose interest once they realize how much hard work it is.

    2) Before starting, it helps a lot to flesh out some characters and/or a setting! If you have a developed setting or characters, the suggesters will expound on their characteristics in a way that helps your story flow along. It can also help to have an idea for where you'd like your plot to go! Many adventures are abandoned because they have no real base to build off. Also, maybe you could consider practicing drawing your characters or brainstorm some storyboards so that you can get a feel for your adventure.
    +2a) On the merits of making Homestuck/Sburb/Troll adventures: Ultimately, it comes down to what you, the author, will enjoy making and updating, but the subforum's already pretty saturated with 'em. What this means for you is that if popularity of your adventure comes into the equation of whether you enjoy this, you've got an uphill struggle. Forumite Wheeeeeeatthins had this to say in reply to a query about someone using the Midnight Crew in their adventure:
    Quote Originally Posted by Wheeeeeeatthins View Post
    http://gapingvoid.com/2004/08/01/put-the-hours-in/

    Quote Originally Posted by How to Be Creative
    The main thing I get out of knockoffs of Homestuck and Problem Sleuth is that Andrew Hussie has already done it, and unless you want to sink in even more work and effort than Andrew Hussie, it's not going to be as enjoyable. And if you have the ability to make Homestuck or Problem Sleuth even better than the person who originally made it, why not bring to life something of your own design?

    3) Communicate with your readers. The intense level of reader/author interaction we've got here is something that makes MSPAFA such a unique and fun place! If you're feeling like you're not getting very good commands appropriate for your adventure, tell your readers. They can really help you out in a squeeze!

    4) That being said, don't rely solely on suggesters to carry your story along! Complaining that you are not getting enough commands is a bit annoying, and the problem likely comes from not providing enough story or opportunity for story advancement to your readers. If you're at a point where you need to advance your story but don't have enough suggestions, you can always use the default command of "next" as a tool to develop your story more, and perhaps make some exposition that gives readers something to suggest.

    5) You may want to advertise your adventure in your signature. Take a look at the next post down for a guide on how to do it.

    6) There's no need to feel guilty for not updating adventures! Real world stuff comes up for all of us. Don't feel bad if you don't update at the pace of Andrew Hussie--some of the best adventures on here don't update regularly, but rather slow and steady like the proverbial tortoise. And don't forget--you're doing this for fun. If it's not fun anymore, there's no need to force yourself to keep doing it! If you plan on leaving for a few weeks, leave a note for your readers so they don't get antsy in their pantsy. And if you are really feeling like you need to end your adventure, at least provide your reasoning so the readers will know it is truly done."

    7) Try following rules of spelling and grammar! You're telling a story, and having issues with clarity impacts your ability to tell that story. Writing your adventure in you dang teenagers' t3xtNfrndly moonspeak makes it incomprehensible and is a good way to get people to avoid your adventures, games or RPs.
    +7a) Another issue with clarity in storytelling is image size. Some adventure authors had a discussion about the former, but the key here is "screen-scretchingly huge is too big".



    Guide to the sub-sub-fora

    The Cradle is where all new adventures (following the 2010 Guy Fawkes Forum Restructurin') start. After a certain number of updates you can inform a mod to get the thread moved out to the main subforum. It's quality control to filter out the majority of adventures that get abandoned before anything happens. It's currently the only place in the Forum Adventures subforum where threads can be made.

    Completed Adventures is a dignified resting place for the minority of adventures which are seen through to completion (most are abandoned and sink into the depths of MSPAFA). There’s plenty of great reads in there, helpfully catalogued in this thread. Feel free to necrobump threads in here if you want to say you enjoyed them; it’s predominantly an archive thread.

    Formerly tossed together in a monstrous clusterfuck sub-subforum called Meta/Misc, Games and Collabs/RP are now the two ‘activity’ sub-forums in Forum Adventures, Games and Roleplaying. They’re generally for things which are fun to do (like adventures) but don’t follow the usual ‘suggestion box’ scheme. If you’ve got something in mind but don’t know where to put it, just go with your gut. If it’s in the wrong place, the mods can shift it over without any hassle.

    Games threads tend to have stricter restrictions on player actions (like a game), or use game-like mechanics (like stats or inventory systems). Compared to Collab threads, they have a much better-defined ‘win’ condition. You’ll find Expendables, Roll-the-dice, DUELS, Mafia/Werewolf, and a few other gems in here.

    Collabs/RP includes, funnily enough, collaborative projects (like SALDs) and roleplays. The latter includes tabletop game threads as well as less rigidly organised stuff (like the FanTroll thread and spin-off RPs). Also included in here are Grand Battles and their derivatives. Finally, this forum is also the new home for formerly "meta" threads, including our very own Adventure Critique thread.
    Last edited by SleepingOrange; 08-20-2011 at 03:48 AM.

  2. #2
    I'm out, motherfuckers Schazer's Avatar
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    Re: Guidelines for MSPAFA (yes that means you read them)

    HELLA USEFUL GUIDES (if you have one, PM it and it’ll be edited in here.)

    Some tips on character concept art (by Norivia)

    Tips from assorted authors about MSPAFA-ing in general

    How to make an adventure sigbanner (by Wheeeeeeatthins)


    Browse the Art Forum Stickies for more tips related to arting, remember critique is encouraged there outside the fanart threads! Also this post is full of guides

    New! We now have a thread for serious critique on all aspects of adventurin' - character design, composition, panel layout, text, story, characterisation, what have you. MSPAFA Gen Chat is a slightly more relaxed place to get feedback on single aspects.

    Tips and tricks for MS Paint

    How to make gradients (by Wheeeeeeatthins)


    How to do layers (also by Wheeeeeeatthins)

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    Some Asshole SleepingOrange's Avatar
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    Re: MSPAFA Tips and Guidelines (Read Me!)

    Update: Thread's title changed to be clearer. No new tips and guidelines added.

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    Some Asshole SleepingOrange's Avatar
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    Re: MSPAFA Tips and Guidelines (Read Me!)

    Update: Guidelines for criticism added to the first post, near the beginning. Everyone should read and remember them.

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    What a passionate person! Samifer's Avatar
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    Re: MSPAFA General Chat: I'm on Lesbian Cloud 9!

    SOLARISMODNOTE: Originally Posted Here

    I finished the tutorial I talked about! It's not as short as I would have liked (I divided it with spoilers) but I think it reads fine. Special thanks to Jovian for beta-reading it!


    How to make a forum adventure: Advice to remember

    Disclaimer: Everything on here is just guidelines and advice that you are in no way obligated to follow! I wrote this because I remember that when I first started working on GRIMM everything seemed really overwhelming which is probably why it took me months to achieve anything. My goal with this little guide is to help people starting out know what they should think about when making a forum adventure (it can also apply for stories in general, but some of the advices will be specifically written with forum adventures in mind!)

    I will try to make sure this covers both text and pictures adventure but as I don't have much experience with text-only adventures, I am probably not the best person to discuss it, sorry!


    Starting




    Planning




    Planning the story





    Planning the characters





    Here are some other things that might be helpful to remember/think about.

    Last edited by Solaris; 04-18-2013 at 07:34 AM.

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